From 2002 till 2011, Patrick and I saw thirty SY (and related) shows in eighteen cities over three continents. (I'm pretty sure anyway; I tallied the numbers whilst hungover.) All of these shows have been written about, featured in 2009's "No Setlist" and the forthcoming "Spirit Desire." For the latter book, I had bandied about the idea of Patrick and myself revisiting some of our favorite extracurricular activities during those travels, which would be used as breaks in between chapters. When I put this idea underneath the lights, though, a multitude of flaws became exposed. So here, in this space instead, I invite you to enjoy a chronological "best of" the stuff that wasn't the show...and, in some cases, outshone the so-called "main attraction."
2002: Towson, MD. It was here, in the city that isn't Baltimore but is close enough to Baltimore so you can tell someone from out of state that it's Baltimore, that J met P. We walked, we ate fries, we left a whole bottle of water untouched by our lips.
2003: Pittsburgh, PA. Great view of Heinz Field from across the river, much lovelier than thousands of ugly hand towels waving virtually non-stop. The local art festival was more interesting than innovative.
Cincinnati, OH. The Millennium Hotel is still the only hotel where I have eaten pizza and Pop Tarts (not at the same time, mind). The neighborhood around Bogart's was sketchy, so it was downright relieving to return to a beautiful building that granted us a superb glance at other beautiful buildings. And I saw a horse-drawn carriage on the street below stopped at the red light.
2004: London, England. ATP was in East Sussex, but the day before, we (and other mates) checked into Piccadilly Hotel. Our mates were a bit more savvy, and knew to request a room with a bath when booking reservations. Meaning, Trick and I ended up sleeping in a closet that had its own closet, with a window that looked out to another window. Walking the city left us with little energy to complain, however. Also, how rude would that have been?
For ATP we were powered by terribly greasy chicken, edible pizza, and Burger King Simpsons watches.
2005: Los Angeles, CA. The year of Arthurfest. Patrick's first time out West. Ah, the sunshine! The lack of reliable public transportation! Doesn't matter, this trip was all about the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Basquiat exhibit. At least, when it wasn't all about Hollywood Boulevard and the homeless guy sleeping outside of Mutato Muzika.
Hoboken, NJ. Never would I have predicted my virgin voyage to the Garden State to go so splendidly. We had to park ten blocks from Maxwell's, but hey, I was a super fat ass then, and whatever physical activity didn't kill me made me realize I didn't want to go on being a super fat ass! The Hoboken Day parade was winding down as we made our way up, which gave us plenty to talk about as well. The second SY's shows finished close to 1 AM (the first ranks among the very best either of us have seen). Instead of finding a place to stay, we walked the ten blocks to the car, and Patrick stayed awake for the whole six hours whereas I lost consciousness a minute after strapping into my seat belt and vowing, "I won't let you fall asleep behind the wheel!"
2006: Atlanta, GA. An utterly average show, but one of the best times I've ever had with my best friend. The Atlanta Aquarium turned us into giddy little kids. It wasn't just about what we saw, but what we heard, mainly the most Tennessee accent ever. The Coca-Cola Museum featured a lot of what you would expect, but who could ever prepare themselves for the World of Coke, offering visitors a taste of what soda lovers in other countries sip. Internet reviews will insist that Italy's Beverly Soda is the worst on tap, and I can tell you that....yeah, it tasted like radish juice and anti-freeze.
Minehead, England. Another ATP. All I can tell you, I woke up one day at nine, showered; enjoyed Pringles and Heinekin for a ten o'clock brunch; and saw Dinosaur Jr. play live at 1 PM.
Seattle, WA. West Seattle made us envy everyone who lived within its limits. Easy Street Records and Pike's Market. So much hills, but oh well, we got strong ankles as a result. Seriously. Run up on either of us, try to break one of our ankles.
2008: New York. Our last ATP, held at David Lynch Summer Camp (formerly Stanley Kubrick Family Resort and Spa). Arrived a day before, threw our shit in a hostel, and walked parts of Manhattan we hadn't seen before, culminating in a wind-whipped glimpse of the Hudson River.
2010: Riverside, CA. A Mexican lunch followed by a trip to The Mission Inn. This structure's boggling complexity is matched by its enchanting elegance.
2011: Brooklyn, NY: Of all the visits to the Museum of Modern Art, 2011's takes the cake, pie and pudding. Why? The Willelm de Kooning exhibit. I'd been obsessed with his "Woman" paintings ever since reading about them, and seeing them reprinted in art texts, so to get up close at last meant a great deal.
This was the same trip that featured a Scrabble game driven by red wine and cheesecake.
Queens, NY: Sripriphai. The best Thai food we've ever eaten. The only reason I'd be upset if the borough of Queens evaporated.