In which the
actress/musician sets out upon a noble quest.
BY REBECCA PIDGEON
Ed. note: Although her
husband David Mamet might claim otherwise, Rebecca Pidgeon’s estimable gifts as
a musician and song stylist may one day eclipse her not-too-shabby acting
skills – but in the interest of diplomacy, for now we’ll just call it a draw. Still,
since music’s our primary focus here at BLURT, we have to say we were excited
to receive Pidgeon’s tour diary documenting her band’s recent April road trek
opening for pop/soul guitarist Jeffrey Gaines. The less said about Willie the
inflatable penis (and his balls), the better, but hey, you’re about to get a
special English translation of an incredibly rare French epistle penned by the
good Mr. Mamet, so dig it! Oh, and don’t miss the Shel Silverstein
cameo-by-anecdote. Pidgeon’s latest release is The Blackboard Acoustic
Session EP – ordering details for that
and previous recordings, tour dates and news are available at her official
website. And away we go…
My Rebecca Pidgeon Tour to end hunger (of the band members), supporting
the wonderful Jeffrey Gaines, 1st night of
tour: Tonight, Tim Young, Chris Rugulo and I drove from NYC to Wilmington Delaware.
I’ve never been in Delaware, but I presume
it’s where Washington
“crossed”, with those other seven or eight guys in the boat. I’m assuming he
had back up, because he “whomped the ass of the British” as my Chicagoan
husband would say. Washington
was a “great guy”. If I was from Delaware, I
would be very proud to have had Washington
cross my river.
We played tonight at a place called “The Logan House”, where according to
a poster on the wall of the green room, Pete Best’s band “Best of the Beatles”
always think of tonight as “Megan’s Night”. Megan was the bride who came in
half way through our set with a huge inflatable penis and balls strapped to her
back, and her seven hundred squealing girlfriends, for her bachelorette party.
Megan was very young, and very adorable, and with her friends, not paying one
jot of attention to the music Tim and I were playing, as why would she? She was
involved in that rite of passage: “The Last Fling.”
She and her
friends were me twenty years ago. I ended up extracting her from the group,
giving her a blessing, and also giving her some advice about marriage, as I,
unbelievably, have been married for twenty years to a guy I adore, and felt in
a position to jolly well do so. She either appreciated it, or she was just
being kind, but I wish her the best in her sweet young life, and hope she has a
very happy marriage. We got her picture at the end of the night with all her
friends, and “Willie” the inflatable penis.
This is what
life on the road is all about.
Note to self: should the
next tour be “The Rebecca Pidgeon Tour to end peckishness of the band members”?
Think about it… Van humor: Tim sent me an email which has apparently
gone viral on the world wide inter-web, by an alleged 8th grader on the subject
of Koala bears. He posits that though endangered, koalas don’t do shit for him,
so why should he help them? They are not “hard” like the cool panthers and
other hard animals, like, I presume, lions, but on the contrary they are
“weak”, and though they pretend to be members of the Kangaroo family, they are
just full of it, because kangaroos are “hard” and have big hard legs, whereas
in contrast the koalas legs are mere “little ass” legs that can’t do shit. He
thinks that if a storm comes, the koalas will just be falling like rain from
the trees because of their little ass legs.
But I wonder
if on pausing for thought he might remember their one super power. I put it to
him, that though cute and little ass, they I think are the one animal on the
planet who can digest eucalyptus leaves, which is their diet, thus making them
smell like a lozenge. So if you take a koala bear to bed with you at night, and
hug on to it, it may CURE THE COMMON COLD! And what bad ass kangaroo can do
to me that I’m too “pleasant looking” in my photos, and that I always smile
just like a weak koala. So I have determined to be more bad ass like a
kangaroo. Watch out for some bad ass kangaroo photos of me. Rock stars should
be more like kangaroos, and totally bad ass. Enough of all this koala bullshit.
tonight at the ADORABLE (think koalas), coffee house, “Godfrey Daniels” in Bethlehem.
It was a lot
of fun, and as the audience were all in their right minds and they all had
their coffee and cookies, we didn’t get into any drunken brawl girl
bachelorette parties, which was nice for a change, but I wouldn’t want it to
ALWAYS be like that. Just every now and then.
Bethlehem is a very picturesque
town, which used to be a steel mill town, but now there’s an enormous casino
Now we’re in
the van talking about “Allentown”
by Billy Joel.
Pidgeon tour to end the hunger of myself due to nervous tension, and of
Tim Young due to finding good restaurants in New York, day 3: We took a day off of
touring to take part in a benefit for our pals the Atlantic Theater Company,
(actually to benefit school kids going to see performances at this magnificent
company). At the last minute Mare Winningham had to drop out of performing her
song, so Tim and I donned our superhero capes, or in my case a jolly nice Dolce
and Gabbana dress, and in Tim’s case, just what he normally wears, which is
damned decent in and of itself, leapt on to the stage, and saved the day with
an impromptu version of one of our favorite songs “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, by the
fabulous Brian Wilson.
We saw lots
of nice folks and friends, helped raise some money for a worthy cause, and a
good time was had by all.
perform at the Rockwood
Music Hall. I’m
Oh and this
morning I wrote a song with Freedy Johnston who is the BEST.
husband Mr. Mamet, (or “Dave” if you will), wrote for me the following epistle
in French to deliver to our friends at the Atlantic Theater Company fundraiser.
I offer my meager translation for your benefit, as I feel the words are too
moving to be horded, but MUST I say, be passed along, and so I do:
“It was, I believe, the great French writer Marcel
Proust who once said, ‘who, for the love of God, released the sacred swans from
their pen, and who the hell is going to clean up their shit?’ Another equally
unforgettable historic figure and doyenne of the stage, Sarah Bernhardt replied
to Marcel Proust, ‘shut up you asshole, and take your foot immediately from the
hem of my dress!’“
take these words to your hearts – and long live the Company!”
words, yes, but so true.
Day 4 of the Pidgeon tour to end hunger of Tim Young and Rebecca Pidgeon: Well, today I raced uptown to have a singing lesson (“like you do,” as
Eddie Izzard would say), and then I raced back down to have a vital nap.
I needed my
beauty sleep because we were meeting our intrepid film crew, Josh and Ralph,
who were going to be taking moving pictures of me and Tim “walking around”.
moving pictures, and Tim and I walked around with the adorable Jamie from Sacks
and Co. We had a few laughs, broke a few hearts, nobody was arrested.
Successful moviemaking in short.
Then Tim and
I raced in to the Rockwood
Music Hall to play our
gig there. I’ve heard so much about the place. It is VERY cool. In case you
don’t know, it is a bar in downtown New
York, famous for its singer songwriter guests who
come and play for the fortunate passersby. I believe Nora Jones plays there
sometimes, though I may be mistaken, but I do know that Jesse Harris was on right
after us, and that’s pretty damned impressive in my book.
Bracy and Matt Keating were both in attendance, two very talented songwriters
who I have been lucky enough to work with. We are playing a whole bunch of new
songs in preparation for a new CD we hope to record in June this year. May it
evening on a happy, rather “koala”-like note I’m afraid, and all off to bed.
Tour to end hunger of band members’ day off: Well, today we had a
lovely day off, which meant that I got to spend the morning with the impressive
Alec Wilkinson from the New Yorker,
and we chummed about doing errands. He joined me for tea, and we talked about
my dad, who is a physicist.
I realized I
couldn’t accurately tell him what it is my dad actually does, beyond “he works
in semi-conductors and lasers,” and I don’t really know what that means. So we
called my dad, who was in the middle of doing construction in his kitchen, and
I couldn’t hear a blessed thing he said, but there was a lot of laughter and
ribaldry on his end of the conversation I must say.
I said, “Dad,
I’m here with Alec Wilkinson of the New
Yorker and he wants to know what you do!” (Much laughter at his end). “No
dad really!” (Howls of laughter). “Just tell me so a normal person can
understand for Chrissakes Dad please.”
It turns out
he’s working on some sort of Quantum computer, to either A: make the world a
better place, or B: make pornography much more quickly accessible. I couldn’t
quite make out which.
jolly impressive I think. I’m quite proud. I just hope he’s not trying to
renovate his kitchen BY HIMSELF, which I wouldn’t put past him. Next stop after
our important tea was to Matt Umanov’s guitar shop on Bleecker Street, the best guitar shop in
the world. My husband took me there many years ago, and bought me an old 1930’s
Martin guitar. Our dear friend Shel Silverstein was with us as I recall, and we
stayed there for hours while Matt, Dave and Shel told stories and sang songs.
That was pretty damned great. (Shel was such a good friend of ours that he came
with us on our honeymoon – but that’s a very INTERESTING story for another time
Alec and I
hung out with Matt for a bit, and he gave me some picks which I needed, and
then Alec and I buzzed up to Euphoria rehearsal studios to meet the lovely and
talented Timothy Bracy who I am doing some co-writing with.
Alec had to
shoot off, and Timothy and I wrote a song.
the news from Lake
Rebecca Pidgeon tour to end the hunger of Jeffrey Gaines, day 6: Woke up this morning with
a cold! Oh no no no. I made an emergency visit to Gwen Korovin, ear nose and throat
doctor to the stars, who fixed me up god bless her. Then back in the van to
drive to Connecticut,
but this time we had our lovely camera and sound crew with us, the intrepid
Josh and Ralph. They tried and tried to get me and Tim to give them a straight
answer on any topic at all really, but with not much success, until Josh told
us to stop behaving like children.
pictures of them and they took pictures of us.
tonight with Jeffrey at the beautiful Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut,
which was built in the 1880’s as a vaudeville/meeting hall by three women whose
names I forget. One of them supposedly still walks around the hall on occasion.
(All theaters worth their salt have to have a ghost.) Apparently Mark Twain
used to speak in that hall.
sound engineer gave us lovely monitor mixes, which was good because I felt like
my head was in a goldfish bowl what with my cold and all.
staying at the lovely Mountain View Inn run by a lovely couple, who serve
breakfast, art and vintage clothes! (I have my eye on a couple of beautiful
nobody about, all is quiet, there could be deer on the lawn, and I am going to
have a bath in the clawfoot tub.
and I will meet for breakfast and discuss Quantum physics.
Tour to end the hunger of Jeffrey Gaines, Rebecca Pidgeon, Tim Young,
Jeffrey Gaines’ band of 24 yr old youths, and the strange adventures of Tim
Young, day 7: After our breakfast discussion of Quantum Physics,
we hit the road, sans camera crew who had left early to go back to NYC. I for
one was very tired because the utter and complete stillness of the country side
had woken me up VERY early with an uneasy, “What’s all that no noise thing
After a ride
of 5 hours of philosophical discussions, and metaphysical musings, plus a nap,
we showed up at the beautiful Hyatt hotel where we de-camped for a bit, while
the trusty Chris Rugulo (my Barrett Bonden for all you Patrick O’Brian readers)
went out to scope the venue. Tim and I checked into our rooms, and probably had
much the same experience except for one crucial point. My room wasn’t double
So Tim took
a leisurely bath, hung around in what we can only assume was his most
comfortable state of being, lay down on the bed to watch TV, and in walked… (It would be nice here to pause and think,
“the girl of his dreams”, except he’s already married to her, and she’s waiting
for him back in LA, or to think of some happy scenario where two people meet in
an unexpected and potentially awkward to say the least situation, but it’s the
beginning of a beautiful thing and maybe they even get married, how sweet….),
the business woman whose room it actually was, just, in fact, at the moment
that Tim noticed somebody else’s unpacked bag at the foot of the bed.
Tim was of
course a brick about the whole thing, the hotel were very apologetic, and the
lady – well I dunno. How would you feel?
well that end’s well, and we were off to play our gig at the Milkboy in Ardmore Pennsylvania.
love Philly. It’s where the founding fathers put together this extraordinary
system of democratic government from which we all benefit so profoundly in this
United States, and it’s where they built a monument to William Penn, the
founder of Pennsylvania, that was very high, and there wasn’t to be another
building any higher, or else Penn would put a curse on the city. Some
developers, alas, not heeding this warning, built at least three (as far as I
can tell), MUCH taller buildings than the monument to Penn, and that’s when the
trouble began. The Phillies lost game after game, not unlike the curse of the Cubs
when they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. There was a pall cast over the city,
and nothing, but NOTHING was going right. That’s when some clever Phillyites
got the idea to make another smaller statue of Penn, and stick it on top of the
TALLEST building in Philly. From that point on, everything has gone smoothly
again. Phew. I guess each time they build taller buildings they’ll have to keep
moving the statue to the tallest one.
We got to
the charming Milkboy Coffee house, jammed around a bit with fabulous Jeff
Gaines, had some Thai food and played our gig.
Tim and I went to have a weepy little beverage as it is sad to part from good
chums for a wee while, but we were cheered by the notion that mayhap we will
see each other, and do this crazy music tour thing again, sometime in the near
or distant future, when our paths will once more meet, on another happy day.