Wind and Water.
That’s what the masseuse Laura said as she did some Lomi Lomi thing on my back yesterday. Double-triple Aquarians (whoever they are) have a really hard time on these islands, she said. They just kind of float out into space. But you need land. You need to be grounded. And there’s not much of that here.
Laura’s Lomi Lomi, I guess, may be immaculate proof of that.
So two days ago I threw up that post about, what? Bill Graham. Running. A dead body on a path. Switching out of a hotel. I need to be writing about troop movements in WWII, and instead I was punching the keys on all that other stuff.
It really was a string of non-sequiturs, a string of non-sequiturs that had an audience of precisely. . .zero.
So post it I did.
Then some people read it. And one person in particular, Poppy Davis. (Some day ask me for the Poppy story). And Poppy shared the post with some of her friends. And then things kind of blew up. Because one of those friends happened to be Laura who in a former life had worked for Bill Graham Presents. And so the post went to her FB and then to all the former Bill Graham staff and acolytes and that all apparently turned into a conversation. And it turns out that Laura is here on Maui. Not only is she here on Maui, but she’s, like, two blocks away from our new hotel in Wailea.
And not only is she two blocks away, but she just worked a benefit that involved Jackson Browne and Wavy Gravy among other musicians and they had all come to Hawaii and were booked at….you guessed it….the hotel from which we had checked out.
And like us, the talent couldn’t take it. They found the environment strangely strange. One singer left to stay somewhere else. Wavy Gravy was weirded out (and that guy comes pre-weirded. I imagine it might take a lot to further weird him out…) Who knows on what dark and lonely road Jackson Browne set himself trudging.
So that’s how we ended up with Laura the fantastic traveling masseuse from Na Alii Massage in our hotel getting fantastic complimentary massages. Laura wanted to make sure that I got all the dead body ju-ju out of my system. Which she certainly did.
And on the way, I learned where to get good fish tacos. And about Laura’s husband who is way into history. In particular WWII history. And in particular what went down in Eastern Europe and precisely who’s village was slaughtered by whom. And about an elder relative who in her 80’s had nowhere to go until she heard from someone that in New Mexico you could live in University dorms as long as you attended classes. So this ancient woman enrolled in some classes, moved into the dorms, hoarded shit to the ceiling, and all the other freshman students kind of looked after her. It went on for years. And about how one can be trapped (by addiction, by life, by whatever) and the discipline of self that can help one break free.
I also learned about the second-to-last-Jewish-refugee kid to be adopted from the Army barracks in upstate New York. And a little more about why a man who should have been so reviled was in fact so loved. “Bill Graham single-handedly created the system,” Laura said. “He was the one who built the socket that allowed millions of people to plug into the Universe.” The Dead on their own? They couldn’t have done it. They were the channel, but they needed this huge system – a system of Graham’s devising – to make it happen.
In 1988 soon after Anna and I started dating we went to a New Year’s show at the Oakland Coliseum. Anna had confessed that she didn’t really like the Dead. She said that she would have preferred watching the The Tom-Tom Club comprised of the leftover members of the Talking Heads. That night they were playing their own New Year’s show at the Warfield over in San Francisco. But there we were, in the Oakland Coliseum, waiting for something to happen. There was some warm up band that I can’t remember. They left. Then the lights went down. More folks walked on stage and picked up there instruments. It was none other than the Tom-Tom Club. And they began to play.
That was Bill Graham.
So floaty floaty we’ve been the last few days. If you asked me what exactly we did after the massages, I’d be hard pressed to tell you. Give it up to the wind and water.
Except for one more thing. Remember the pig boat to Moloka’i? Well when we didn’t get on it, we had to call Anna’s friend on the other island and tell her we weren’t coming.
No worries, she said. She would just get on a plane and come here. Soon, very soon, the wind and water will carry me (and by extension you) into her story.
Stay tuned. It’s a good one.