Monday, August 31, 2009

Fame in the Small Time

Last weekend I was walking down the street when someone stopped to ask me for directions. I told the guy I wasn't sure where the row of restaurants he was describing could be. Then he said, "Hey, you don't work with the Bindlestiffs, do you?" I said yes I did. He said, "Soubrette, right? I've seen you play." Probably in 2006, from his description. "I think we're facebook friends," he added. Fame! It's a small town, really, especially for those of us who perform in variety shows.

I gave him an alternate restaurant recommendation and he sent me a facebook message later that night to say Kashkaval was perfect and he hoped every time he stopped a stranger on the street in the future it turned out to be me.

This marks the second time someone has spotted me when I'm going about my non-glamorous everyday life: the first was a guy in the Park Slope Food Coop who had seen me play a show in Staten Island, of all places (my only show in Staten Island, I might add).

It makes me think of my first ever uke performance, which was going to be in a Valentine's Day 2006 open mic at the now-defunct CB's Gallery, where I arrived just in time to miss it. Only after I had gotten good and liquored up did the show's emcee announce me as a surprise (to no one more than me) opening act.

My memory of the performance itself (mercifully brief) is a blur of swimming faces, bad tuning, and awkward fingers, but the moment afterward is crystal-clear: when I went backstage to put the uke away, Nick Jones (lead singer of serialized pirate puppet show rock opera band Jollyship the Whiz-Bang), a performer I knew through the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, looked at me and pronounced: "Welcome to the small-time."