I had taken the previous day off to hang out with Ryan and one of his awesome friends so I was ready for a chill night.
Hung out on New Year's Day with the family and the future in-laws. My dad had Friday off so we went down to Hoopples to hear Glenn Schwartz play. I've always heard he was an amazing guitarist and the preaching isn't going to bother me as much as it would some, so we finally satisfied our curiosity.
When we got there, he'd just started, and was whispering hymns and old blues tunes into the microphone, crazy preaching about repentance, the blood of Jesus, and loose women and how we've polluted the earth with our cars, but as he got going, it was amazing to watch him shred away as he climbed up on his amp and dragged the strings of his guitar across the signs hanging from the wall. We watched his first set, but then he started ranting about women and Dad and I figured we'd quit while we were ahead. Still, I don't know how I went that long without seeing the guy play because it was one of the most powerful things I've ever seen.
Here's David Byrne's film of it last time he came through.
I still haven't processed that night completely, it reminded me of walking into a short story by Flannery O'Connor where everyone involved is messed up in one way or another but there's something kind of redemptive about the whole thing in spite of ourselves.
Friday, we went to Oberlin and found cool jewelry and hung out with my friend Naomi, and I got to see her baby girl for the first time. We came back and watched 'Black Orpheus' which was sad as anything especially knowing the original story.
But the ending is beautiful.
The highlight of the weekend though was the birthday party for the kids I hang out with on Saturdays. We had a New Year's/birthday party for them (if you don't know your birthday, you're given January 1 when you go through immigration).
I wasn't sure what to expect, but it ended up being over 200 people, between the volunteers and refugee families from two different churches on the west side, seemingly everyone in this city from that tiny country.
my first time enjoying skewers of goat meat fresh off the grill
The kids love it too:
We did games, and they made us all this food, and two pinatas got destroyed, but the best part was watching the kids get to sing.
Click on this one to watch
I'm still in awe. 2009 has started way more interestingly than I ever dreamed.