Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Family Friendly Show & Captain Erica Save-A-Ho

I played a show at the Art House Theater in Provincetown for a disparate group. Some gay couples, some lesbian couples, a group of Williamsburgian hipsterish 20-somethings, and parents with their three kids, 16, 19, and 22. I met the parents earlier in the day and warned them that the show was inappropriate for kids, but they said it depended on the kid. Some kids are just mature enough to handle that kind of stuff—but in front of their parents?

I said, "I have a song called, 'Pig Fucker.'" They said, "Perfect." The 16-year-old blond boy sat by himself in one of the couches in the front row with his family right behind him. I decided not to play "Pig Fucker" when I saw him sitting there. Still, I played "Pussy Pantry," "Vagine," "Oxygen," and "Smell Yo Dick," songs with seriously parent-unfriendly content. They didn't flinch. I would have squirmed out of the theater at 16 if my parents were in the room. That's a cool family. His eyes were wide open through the whole show.

Sometimes the universe aligns things so it is hard to be anything but grateful. At the very last chord of my first song ("Ben Lerman Plays Ukulele") I popped the bass D string on my baritone ukulele. Boy-yoy-yoing. Uh, oh.

I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached a turning point in the show where things could truly go either way." I picked up the soprano ukulele, scrambling in my mind to remember what songs I could play on it. Could I fill a whole show with just the soprano? "This is going to be an adventure ladies and gentlemen, so please come along with me on a musical journey down I-Don't-Know-What-The-Fuck-Is-About-To-Happen Avenue."

Before I could start the first song, Zach chimed in from the sound booth. (I encourage Zach to talk to me during the show.) He asked me if I had more strings. I've popped a string twice before. Nylon strings just don't go easily. With my inexperience, it would take me 20 minutes. Zach asked the audience if there was anyone there who could change a guitar string. I had been hassling the cool lesbians who work at the Art House Theater and live upstairs from me to come to the show. Thank god they waited and came to this show because I was in trouble, and Erica, who sells tickets at the box office quickly turned into Captain Save-A-Ho.

She came up to the stage, sat Indian style, and restrung the baritone while I played two songs on the soprano. It was like some sort of lesbro miracle. Erica is amazing. She got mad skills. It's comforting to know that my lesbros got my back.

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