Some rumblings and ramblings, by about.me/jamesguardino.
I saw him yesterday.
Tall, lean, caramel-colored skin.
Long and greying dreadlocks,
Charles Bradley at UCLA’s Royce Hall Last Night
LOS ANGELES - There is an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry decides to get in touch with his emotions for the first time ever and begins to cry after a breakup. The sensation is so foreign to his usual detached self that he asks “what is this salty discharge” when referring to the tears streaming from his own eyes.
I imagined this same reaction last night during the Charles Bradley with the Menahan Street Band performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The audience was filled with men with ironic Movember mustaches and women in berets and tattoos This segment of our society is commonly associated with irony, sarcasm and a Seinfeldian-like detachment from things like feelings and emotion - which is why what I witnessed last night was so astonishing.
If you don’t know Charles Bradley’s story I suggest you read his Wiki now. But if your mouse finger doesn’t feel like depressing anything at the moment, I will sum up it up for you. Charles was a gifted singer always. But never broke through. He becomes a short order cook for most of his life to get by. Then ends up living on the street. Then his brother gets murdered. But through it all, he sings. On the street, in bars, in small time recording sessions. He always sings and holds onto the dream. Then many years later, after much heartache and disappointment, he is discovered while performing as a James Brown impersonator by the good folks at Brooklyn’s Daptone Records. They work with him, write songs with him and bring him out of his shell. They record an album with him. They tour the world with him. And here he is. A man whose dream to be a singer is finally realized at the age of 61 - overcoming all those horrific events in life we fear most like murder, homelessness and failure.
On this day in 1988, a limping Kirk Gibson hit a pinch-hit ninth inning home run off A’s closer Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 1-0 series lead. It’s the first time a World Series game is ever decided on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.
-I was alone in the den of my childhood home watching this unfold. Fourteen years old and still in love with baseball. When Gibson limped to the plate and then flicked a home run over the wall using the only part of his ailing, broken-down body that still worked - his wrists - I jumped up and down on the couch like it was a trampoline.
Fast forward to this weekend. Watching my favorite team, the NY Yankees, play baseball is a actually depressing me to the point where I had to stop watching. And this was before Jeter broke his ankle!
It feels like ownership put this group of individuals together to hit lots of home runs which attracts fans who are willing to pay these higher ticket prices. But lots of home runs alone do not win championships. Teams that win championships sacrifice for one another. Make contact. Move a runner over. Bunt. Hit a sacrifice fly. They do the selfless things that win close playoff games. And the crowds that can afford these tickets aren’t the most raucous. They are reserved and show up late and leave early which make for a quiet, lifeless stadium. Not sure that this is what ownership wanted but it’s what they’re stuck with. Quiet bats and a quieter crowd = #Losing.