Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No. 471 – Just Because

Performer: Jane’s Addiction
Songwriters: Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, Bob Ezrin, Aaron Embry, David J
Original Release: Strays
Year: 2003
Definitive Version: None

It got better.

When I lived in Cleveland, that was about the last time I listened to rock radio with any regularity. I didn’t go to the library every day. I took advantage of my lack of regular work hours to run errands when the crowds would be smaller.

On those days, I’d head to the gym—the closest Bally’s was two suburbs over in Westlake—then I’d go to the Great Northern Mall before swinging by one of the grocery stores close to home before heading home to work from there.

I found Evanescence via the radio; this song was another one. Then I’d have to rely on the kindness of friends to get these songs onto my computer and therefore onto my workout tapes. (Yes, I still was using tapes for workouts.) I bought few records. I just wasn’t spending money on anything.

I did enjoy a few indulgences, however. One was Angelo’s Pizza, catty corner to my apartment building on Madison Avenue. Once a month, I’d splurge and get a deep-dish seafood pizza—lobster cream sauce, shrimp, krab and spinach and provolone. It might sound nasty, but it was good. It was the first pizza good enough to have wine with, instead of beer.

The other indulgence was Eddie Izzard. I wasn’t going to any shows in 2003. I passed up both Pearl Jam and even the first tour by Peter Gabriel in a decade, on purpose, but I wasn’t going to miss Eddie Izzard. If you don’t know who Eddie Izzard is—and I’ve mentioned him before, now that I think about it—just rent or buy Dress to Kill. You’ll thank me later.

Anyway, he was set to appear at Allen Theater downtown in October. I told Scott, to whom I’d introduced Eddie Izzard awhile back, and Chuck, who also was a fan. Scott said to get him two tickets; Chuck said to get him one. I got seats on the floor about 15 rows from the stage.

That weekend ended up being a weekend of indulgences. It turned out that the Browns were in town that Sunday. (Eddie Izzard was scheduled for Friday.) Chuck proposed a trade: You buy Eddie Izzard, and I’ll take you to the Browns game. Cool.

Chuck picked me up at my apartment, and we drove downtown and grabbed some dinner before meeting up with Scott and Shani. They had dropped off Leah in Columbus with the grandparents—who loved being grandparents—and we hiked the few blocks to the Theater District for the show. I’d never seen a comedy show outside of a club before, and I was in a mood to laugh.

Well, even if I hadn’t been in that kind of mood, I couldn’t have helped it. Eddie came out in full drag and was on fire from the word go. (See the Sexie video.) Chuck dropped me off and then went to stay with his Dad, who still lived in the same Cleveland-area home where Chuck had grown up. See you Sunday.

On Sunday, Chuck again picked me up and we headed to the site where the late not-so-great Mistake by the Lake stood—where I never saw a sporting event, but where I saw The Who in 1989 and Pink Floyd (as recounted) in 1994.

Browns Stadium was so much better. You actually could walk in the tunnel below and not feel as though you might be crushed in the stampede. There even were enough urinals so sink use wasn’t necessary. Chuck was a season ticket holder back then, and his seats were in the Dog Pound at the east end of the stadium.

I wasn’t a Browns fan by any stretch of the imagination—in fact, I hated them when I was a kid. But I was falling in love with Cleveland, and they were my hometown team now. So I jumped on the bandwagon and rooted vigorously for the Browns, but it was for naught, alas. The Browns lost a tight one to the San Diego Chargers, 26-20.

Still, it was a sunny, fairly warm October day, so it wasn’t all bad. It was—and is—the only Browns game I’d ever seen in person, and it capped a fun weekend. It was fun to pretend I was living my old life and getting out and doing things. On Monday, I went back to being a hermit with a purpose.

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