True story! Every word of it. I found out about the ersatz event just a couple of days earlier, through someone I know who’s involved with the Mint Museum in some way. “How in the world does no one know about this?” I asked naively, but I did indeed check the website; although unfortunately didn’t read very far past “Educator and performing artist Nick Cave has gained an international reputation for his innovative and provocative work…” That’s my guy, I thought.
It was not my guy. But before we found that out, I wish someone had been filming us. Dylan’s not a very smug person, but I certainly can be, and I was brimming with it when we showed up at 10 in the morning, to find a little room filled with maybe 40 art patrons, the youngest of which were maybe in their upper 30′s. Lots of moms, women in floral prints, people who needed help with stairs, etc. Not a single person that we knew–not that that’s so uncommon, but Charlotte is a small town culturally, and we’ve both been Nick Cave fans since high school.
The best moment was when one of the events directors at the Mint inexplicably singled Dylan and I–who until then had been standing alone peering around trying to figure out what the heck was going on–out and introduced herself. She seemed surprised to see us: “How did you hear about the event?” I wanted to tell her to fire her public relations firm, but held my tongue, flattered that she seemed so excited to welcome us. Turns out it was just a rarity to see strangers (especially males in their 30′s) at one of these events.
But the BEST part was when Dylan and I decided to go “grab some primo seats”, as almost no one had sat down in the small theatre where the lecture was going to occur. Fools! We grabbed two front row seats, almost within an arm’s reach of the lectern. Amazing!! Dylan unpacked his sweet medium-format camera and fretted a little about how close we were, in case the shutter and winder were too loud. He even took a couple of test pictures from different parts of the room, although it was such a small room that you could hear the “click” from everywhere.
But even BESTER was when the woman politely asked us to move back a row, because we were in Nick Cave’s seats! In our new position, I could have, without even bending forward, given Mr. Cave a neck massage, or brush his long hair for him, or whatever. But it was at this point when I started noticing a lot of attention being paid to a bemused looking black man, who hovered suspiciously around this “Nick Cave”-designated seat, and was addressed numerous times as “Nick.” But THIS is what MY Nick Cave looks like:
He seemed like a nice enough guy; don’t get me wrong. But I did catch him numerous times looking at us as if wondering what the hell we were doing there. At this point I was wondering too; then I realized that I was holding a copy of Nick Cave’s 1989 novel “And The Ass Saw The Angel,” which I had brought in case I got a chance to meet Mr. Cave (although if we’d stayed I almost certainly would have had this newer, less-Australian Cave sign it just for fun).
When I explained all this to Dylan, he pointed out that either we left BEFORE things got started, or we’d have to sit through the whole thing out of politeness’ sake. He made it clear that he had no interest in anything called a “Sound Suit” (this Cave’s claim to fame) if it wasn’t by OUR Nick Cave. So off we went. But now that we were all showered and breakfasted and ready for Saturday morning, it seemed a shape to waste the drizzly misty morning, so we repaired to the Common Market‘s back porch, where I enjoyed a delicious Schneider Weisse. Just look at that label!
You can see the cartoon bigger on my Flickr page, where there is also lots of other stuff.