Last Sunday, while Michele was in Napa, I went to see Fury with Brad Pitt. It was pretty close to the classic war movie, checking all the appropriate war-movie boxes. And it was pretty good. Actually, the first three-quarters was very good and then it became a little too fanciful. It was a world that felt very familiar, not that I have ever been in combat, but it felt like alot of early 50s war movies that I have seen.
When I got out, it was pretty late so I stopped by El Grullense Grill for some pisole. I figured it would still be open because they have a bar at one end of the restaurant. I ordered my pisole and, while I was waiting for it, a fight started in the bar. I looked over and it seemed like a typical bar fight with a couple of three or four guys sort of inexpertly pushing and shoving with alot of yelling (not that I know anything about bar fights, the last one I saw was at Evy’s Partytimer on the edge of Watts in 1963).
As the fight escalated, the adults who were eating – especially the women – started backing out the front door so that the restaurant side of El Grullense was semi-empty by the time one of the fight participants threw a beer bottle at the bartender (incidentally, for those of you, like me, don’t know what an exploding beer bottle sounds like, it sounds a little like a gun going off).What surprised me, shocked me, actually, was that, when the fight started, all the kids in the restaurant left. Instantly! The was a yell by the back door, a push or a swing, and all the kids got up and ran out the front door.
I grew up in a world in which the kids would have been trying to see what was happening at the other end of the room. A fight after all is intrinsically interesting, in much the same way that an accident by the side of the road is interesting. But, in El Grullense, this time at least, no kid looked to see what was happening, they just all ran for the door. This is not a world I am familiar with.
Last Tuesday, Michele took me to An Evening with Caroline Casey & Climbing PoeTree – Magnetizing Metaphor into Matter at Oakland’s Impact Hub. Caroline, pictured above with Michele and one of her favorite clients, is hard to describe, she uses astrology as lens to riff about everything, from the Grail Legend to Sufism, from Voodoo to the Kabbala, from Classic Chinese Theatre to Movies. She is always entertaining and insightful. On Tuesday, she was joined by two women who are equally hard to explain, Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman. They reminded me of a CD I had – probably in the early 90s – by a black woman, whose name escapes me, that – looking back – seems to be a combination of poetry and rap. Rather than even try to explain Climbing Poe Tree, I’ll just embed a performance from Bioneers.
What surprised me was the crowd. Both the familiar and the unfamiliar worlds of the crowd. The crowd was overwhelmingly female. The familiar part was the women my age that I feel I know: they are intellectual and liberal, they are consumers of art and invested in things as they are. They say they want change and, even, recognize the necessity of change. Still, they aren’t – really – doing much about bringing it about except voting. Most of my generation, especially the men of my generation, but including these women, for all their good intentions, have stonewalled progress towards equality and fairness. As an aside, when I say especially the men of my generation, I include women like Dianne Feinstein who seem to be living through their masculine side even though their persona is female. End aside.
The unfamiliar world of the Tuesday night crowd, however, was the majority of it: young women couples. This Impact Hub was started, primarily, by several women of color and is dedicated to change.and this crowd seemed to be living and embracing that change. Even though it was a new world to me, it is a very welcome world.