Jill Sobule plays at my Hamptons house (8/20/99)

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This is more than just a Jill Sobule show at my house; It's another in the long line of recurring theme, that's up to you to figure out. It is two stories in one. Subject one: the show. Subject two: Laura.

It all started back in March when I had the idea of having Jill Sobule play at my summer share house in the Hamptons. Sure, I sang with her a bunch of times on stage, but why would she want to play at my house, especially since she doesn't even know me? I brought it up to a mutual acquaintance of ours and he said she would actually probably enjoy it, so it gave me the confidence to try asking her.

I saw her play in Piermont, NY a few weeks later and she came up to me before the show to say hi. Up to that point, I didn't even think that she knew who I was because she never acknowledged me even when I weaseled my way on stage with her.

A few weeks later she played at Maxwell's in Hoboken and I just walked backstage ready to ask her at that time, but her manager was there and I got intimidated, so I decided to email her instead. I told our mutual friend and he said it's probably not best to do that as she may know me when she sees me, but not by name in a random email message. Being a lucky east-coaster, Jill was playing again in Philly a few weeks later. I went to the show and sat right up front, as I had an erotic cake I was to present to her, compliments of Johnny Lake. She pre-empted my yelling of the "Clitoris Song" by saying, "Ok, let me get this over with right now because you (then points to me), a.k.a. assassin." Ok, now I know for sure she knows exactly who I am. So after the show is over I her if she'd like to play at the house and she said yes and gave me her and her manager's phone number. She said to talk to him, but if he gives me any crap that I should call her and she'll straighten it out. I was excited that she said yes, but I thought it might just be a quick answer to keep me off of her back.

I emailed her a formal message about what we discussed and asked her about all the incidentals about what date, time, etc. she'd want. I called her manager to ask him how much I would have to pay for this. He said that since I was more of a friend than some random club owner, so he really couldn't give me a number but that I should come up with a number and he'd pass it on to Jill. I said I'd have to take some time to figure that one out. I was out of my league, so I called Jill to ask her. I also had a list of items that I wanted to discuss with her about the show that would make her feel more comfortable with me. So I called her and asked her what type of security she wanted and she laughed. Good, that made me feel better. I asked her how much she would want and she said she didn't want any money, and as long as I provided round-trip transportation, that would be fine. I asked her what food and drink she'd want and again, she said anything would be fine.

So now I start making my list of the special people who should be invited to this special show. Jennifer, Amy, Amy, Amy, Thom, Halina from NYC from Arizona, TamiV5, Lace, a few people from the Jill Sobule mailing list and a few people from work including Greg and Linda. Only one of the previous mentioned people actually made it.

Once again, A Jill Sobule show happens to occur at the Knitting Factory on the day I am coming back from Tampa for work. My plane leaves late and I am thinking about going straight into the city from the airport, but I still have a little leeway, so I go home first. I was going to drive in, but the traffic going into the city on a Friday night is just too hectic so I do the train. I make it in about 45 minutes before show time. I forgot which subway to take so I hop in a taxi. I get far downtown when we get stuck at a traffic light that won't turn green. What's the chance of this?!?!?! I tell the alien driver to go through the light. I don't know if he doesn't understand or he's just very law-abiding. Finally after he realizes it ain't changing to green he does go through and mentions to me that it must be broken. Duh!

I get to the place 15 minutes before showtime and walk backstage. I stick my head in so as to not disturb anything. She sees me and gives a big smile and says, "Gary, come on in," and introduces me to her mom. She tells her mom, "Mom, this is Gary." Her mom asks, "Gary the assassin? I've been reading your web stories all these years." LOL! She tells her mom about how she'll be playing at my party in the Hamptons, but I have to inform her that it is not a party, but a small gathering of friends numbering about 50. I again ask her what food and drink she would want, tell her that I got her a hotel room, and a limo. She told me she doesn't need a limo and that she'd be happy taking the train. I told her not to worry.

I meet John N. and his friend right up in front of the stage after the opening act goes off. At this point, a girl walks up. She seems overly excited. She comments on how she can't believe Jill is playing at a place this small. John and I look at each other and I tell her that she always plays in places this small. I can only assume she has never seen her play live before and she confirms my suspicion. I ask her where she lives and she says NYC. I ask her how she could possibly miss Jill play when she lives in NYC because every few months, Jill can be found somewhere in NYC. She asks me how may times I have seen Jill. I respond, "about 35 times." "35 TIMES?!?!" she exclaims. It's time for Gary to make someone happy. Should I tell her about the Jill gig at my house? After all she is very cute, and it would only be fitting that I should meet a girlfriend at a Jill Sobule show. One thing for sure is that she would like the same music as me. LOL! I decide that I should just her number or email address and tell her in a more quiet setting. Her name is/was Laura.

The Knitting Factory is not really in the best area and not close to civilization downtown, so I fear how I am going to back home. I know someone else from the Jill mailing list will be here, who said he would drive me back to the train station on Long Island, but how am I going to find him. I joke around with John saying I should make an announcement calling for Mike Zenboodist (fake last name). At that point, a girl standing right next to me says, "Did you just say Mike Zenboodist? That's my dad." Good, I found him, so I can now get home safely. On the way back home, Mike's car break down in Manhattan and it was an amusing sight with me and his friend and his daughter pushing it through the streets of the city trying to jump start it.

I email Laura and ask for her number. She gives it to me and I call her, but explain to her that she'd have to go out with me before I tell her a piece of news that I think she'll really like. She agrees, and I tell her. It turns out she'll be out of town on a business trip that weekend, and my heart drops. I really wanted her to be able to see this show. I like making people happy, even if it comes back to bite me in the ass, which it has many times. I ask her if she'll still go out with me and she says yes. We go out and she tells me she's going on another business trip the following week at the same time I am going to Tampa again. It turns out we are both leaving from LGA at about the same time. So when the day comes, I try to track her down. As luck would have it, her airline, Frontier, leaves from the terminal right next to mine! This is now fate; it is no longer just coincidence. Oh no!! The security guard at the entrance to terminal D asks for my ticket. I play dumb and show it to her. "Sir, this ticket is for American, and that's in the other terminal." Shit, it almost worked out perfectly. So, I'm going to go on the assumption that she's not here yet and sit outside the entrance. Ten minutes later, there she is. WOW!!! The script is working perfectly. I ask her the status of her other trip and she tells me that she just put in to come home a day early and no one said anything, so it looks like she'll be able to make the Jill show after all. Yay for her and me!!!

The day arrives.

People are canceling out on me left and right due to the inclement weather. Screw them, I'm not going to let it ruin what could be the best weekend of my life. Jill is supposed to arrive at about 1:30 via limo. When 2pm comes around and she's not there I call the limo company. They ask for my confirmation number. I am on hold for quite some time when they come back and tell me that she "should" have been picked up. What?!?! Can't I get a better answer than that? At 2:15, I'm sitting outside, worried. A car pulls up and it's Jill and her friend Mary Kaye (not the one in the song). Ok, so now even if no one shows up, Kenny, Lori, Robyn, Michelle, Barbara and I will be treated to an extremely private show. I drive them to their hotel and come back to the house. I tell Jill that I'll pack her up at about 6pm for a 6:30 starting time. Laura calls and asks if the show is still on and that she better hurry or she'll miss the Jitney. 4pm, no one else shows. 4:30, same story. I try to think who I could call to see what's going on. I call Jennifer's mom and she tells me there was a change in plans and that she would not be making it after all. Although Jennifer did get to see Jill before, meeting me down in Philly, she was one of the few that it was important to me for her to be there. Kenny's friend start arriving and now we have a nice crowd. Only about 6 or 7 people who have a share in the house wind up showing, with the other 20 or so people being guests.

At this point, Laura should be arriving, but she's not here and no phone call. Kevin goes to pick up Melissa and crew and comes back with, surprise, Laura! She tells me a rather amusing story. She was on the Jitney and didn't know where to get off, so she asked the bus driver. He didn't know either, but Melissa overheard her and tried to help. Melissa looked at the directions I emailed to Laura, when she realized that these were directions to our house. How weird is that? So they brought her to the house.

I am ready to go pick up Jill and ask Laura if she wants to come with me. She is so excited, like a pig in shit, and comes along. She is really overly happy. I am glad I can brighten her day up so much. We pick up Jill and Laura is overwhelmed. We get back to the house and everyone is milling around waiting for the show. Kenny calls and asks to hold off the show until 7pm as they are at a restaurant and will be back shortly. I agree, but tell them I can't hold it off further than 7pm.

I'll leave out the details of who is at the show and other minor items that I would normally put set the mood. The show goes on at 7pm, sans Kenny and friends. After the first song, Jill asks me what she should play next, but I explain to her that this is HER show, and I am not imposing any demands. She pulls out the lyrics to one of her songs that I brought (she routinely forgets her own songs, so luckily I'm there to supply them. LOL!) People are really enjoying themselves. Then it's time for "The Clitoris Song." My friend Bill, who was at the Mulcahey's show in 1995 (and recorded the show on video!) asks Jill if I will sing it with her and of course Jill agrees. I wasn't planning on this because I really didn't want to turn this into a circus. Jill really went way out of her way to do something as nice as this and I didn't want her to feel like she wasn't the one in control. If she asked me, I would surely do it, but I didn't want to make any suggestions whatsoever. I even fell into Jill's little trap; she tried to clear her voice by doing the old, "mememememe," to clear her throat. And when I did the same she said, "It's always about you, isn't it?" Good one!!!

She even made me do a solo, and I can admit I even have a worse voice than that awfully nauseating pathetic Counting Fucking Crows lead singer. A few songs later, Laura requests "Love Is Never Equal," to which Jill asks her to come up and sing it with her. Laura is a nervous wreck. Her foot is shaking like a hummingbird's wings. She is overwhelmed. Her foot doesn't stop throughout the whole song. She's one wacky bi., I mean babe.

Everyone is really enjoying the show, including Jill (I think). We do a sing-along or two and then the show finishes up. Everyone gives her a big hand and people greet her after the show. I am very satisfied that people actually stuck around. I figured that the people who weren't here to specifically see the show would take off and go to the party that we were all supposed to go to. I drive Jill back to her hotel, accompanied by Laura. I think Laura is coming down from her high. I'm wondering what she's thinking of me at this time. We get back to the house and head to the party. All the people from the house greet me at the party and thank me for a great show, and I feel like some big concert promoter who has done a good deed for all these people. I didn't care. It felt good to do what I did. I didn't do it for myself. Hell, I've seen Jill so many times, it's not going to be anything new to me. I wanted to expose her to as many people as I could and I think I accomplished quite a lot. People who were at the show called me to tell me they went to buy her CD's during the week.

Now to Laura.

I was wondering if now that my usefulness has been exhausted, would she give me the blow-off, or did she have an interest in me? I didn't think anyone would be so cold as to wait for the show, then the next day to give me the cold shoulder. Since I had an audio and video recording of the show, she still needs me for those items anyway. She's emailing me while she's on vacation at her parents' home in New Jersey, so I think she's interested. I come into the city the following week to see Barbara's art show and Laura makes the effort to come down and see me for half an hour before she has to run off to a birthday party. I'm being told that no one would go out of his or her way to come down for that short of a period if there was no interest. However, I gave her the videotape and CD at this time, so let's see what happens.

Paranoid Gary may be imagining his paranoia this time. Laura continues to call him and return his emails with the same wit that he has been experiencing all along. We go out again and have a good time. Is there a future here?

I knew my paranoia would eventually one day be justified. All of a sudden, the two emails a day I send stop getting responses. A phone call goes unreturned. She was supposed to come with me to an event that my summer house was doing at "Luvbuzz" on Friday, so when I get into work on Friday, there is a message on my voicemail from 12:30am that she won't be able to make it. Was this her being nice and not let me hanging and wondering about that night, or was it a convenient message knowing full well that I wouldn't be at work at that time. So I email her on Friday telling her how sad I was that she would be able to make it and give her a call but I get her voicemail.

I go into the city and stop by my cousin's apartment. I decide to call her and ask her if maybe there was the possibility that she would come. She informs me that there is no chance and when I ask her why, she states, "Because I don't want to go." I ask her if I can call her the next day and she says yes, but I know she really doesn't want to hear from me.

That's and ending if I ever heard one.

No explanations. Too bad, because I really liked her.

I learned a good lesson here, but that's not going to stop me from making other people's lives happy, if I can control it.

I am still puzzled as to what caused the sudden end. I don't think I could have been any nicer. A strange observance by me is that the day the emails stopped was one month EXACTLY since the Jill show. Maybe her thinking was that she didn't think it would be right to blow me off so soon after the show, and she figured a month would be a good amount of time.

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