Ice Cream, Cluj Napoca, etc
Today my iPhone informed me that this time last year I took a photo at our local grocery store.
(Hi, my love.)
It’s Sunday and a year later ice cream is back in stock, among other things. Writing you today from a stage in the middle of a park in Romania.
Cluj Napoca, specifically.
It has been a journey. Amsterdam to Cluj is not an oft traveled route, so we had a connecting flight with a perilously short 40 minute layover in Munich.
To facilitate, Lufthansa brought a fabulous guy named Sotos. Sotos grabbed José and me off the plane and speed drove us like a G. He personally walked us through restricted parts of the airport, got us through some secret passport control and then drove us right up to our plane.
He was bubbly and had tiny black sunglasses that barely covered his eyes. Sotos played a radio station that alternated between 80s music and German pop and sang along to every song. Neither José or I slept last night, so it felt like we were in some sort of hilarious fever dream. I wish I had taken a photo of him for you, but I hope you can imagine him with me and thank him for getting us to Romania on time.
(Cluj Napoca, specifically.)
We play tonight in Cluj and then head swiftly back to Amsterdam tomorrow. Save for the whole moving our entire apartment out of storage and one appointment to convert our US vaccinations to EU green passes, I am looking at three whole ass weeks of off days/sleep (!!) until our next show. I don’t know how to tell you how excited I am about that.
Because a bish is sleepy. We started the week, for example, in Trento. Arrived on the major red eye into Milan a week ago today and slept the entire three hour drive there. At some point I woke up in the mountains and they were so beautiful I impulsively shouted, “HOLY SHIT!!”
It scared our driver. I promptly went back to sleep.
Can you blame me though? Look at this noise. This is just a bad photo I bleary eyed snapped on the way to dinner.
The only thing better than the Trento view was the Trento food, and the only thing better than the Trento food was the Trento audience.
We played in a wild situation that’ll likely never happen again post COVID. To maintain safety, the ingenious Trento-ans (Trentians? Trentarians? Trento-ers?) took their old theater and used its backstage as an outdoor venue.
This meant that we were playing a backwards stage, with a gorgeous old amphitheater behind us. Sometimes they lit the majestic seats up for dramatic and/or comedic effect. It was absurd and creepy and fabulous. There is simply no way to explain it further, so hopefully this photo helps.
For a lot of the show when I wasn’t playing I sat in that theater, by the way, by myself. I walked around it because little t was into it. Talked to a few ghosts, yknow?
Next morning we had a 6 am lobby call into Paris. Paris clearly was not gonna be outdone by Trento. Though it had no backward stages to offer, Paris gave me my favorite show yet this year.
Paris. Paris, Paris, Paris.
Here’s how it went at our show in Paris. Everyone at Jazz a La Villette needed to show vaccination or a test (aka proof they were citizens thinking about other citizens) within the past 24 hours. They were equally strict with the artists, a rule with which we delightedly complied. The show was the first in the festival and was majorly sold out. Thousands of people in the audience. And it was spectacular.
Despite a year of returning to shows, this finally felt like the first real show back. There was an ease to the audience and stage that was just palpable. On top of the rigorous safety measures, the entire audience was masked. Nobody was an asshole about it. Everyone was just delighted to see live music. You could feel it. It fed my soul.
Afterwards we got chocolate mousse at a brasserie across the street (where we had to show proof that we were citizens thinking about other citizens even while sitting outside). We met up with treasured old and new friends.
And the next day we had a whole magnificent few hours to just wander Paris. An entire city enforcing safety measures for the greater good. This meant I could finally, finally, just… feel like a human again. For the first time in two years.
Walk the Seine.
Visit Shakespeare and Company. (comment on this post if you want a postcard [pls don’t dm about it because i’m terrible at dms!])
Eat ice cream shaped like a flower.
And just settle and love José and stuff.
We returned back to our perfect little Amsterdam apartment late that night. I wish we could have had some time, but I went the next day on a train up to Groningen.
No complaints there, though. Because it was magnificent. I recorded a new project with the Noordpool Orchestra and many other artists who just knocked my socks off. I want to save that one for when there’s a real video, because it’s … beyond special. Suffice it to say, I was not prepared for it even one bit. In the best sort of way.
And now we’re in Romania. With a light at the end of this tunnel. A stunning, musical and sometimes Parisian light.
More next week.
With love from Cluj
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