About three years ago, I walked around my old childhood neighborhood in Denver. I saw my grammar school, Temple Emanuel, Robinson Park (where we used to sled and smoke weak pot), and Hill Jr. High - yes, the awful Hill Jr. High that is the setting for my musical, "F*ck 7th Grade." I got to my block and decided to knock on the door of my old house. I wanted to see if, by chance, they still had the avocado-colored shag carpeting in the dining room. I was hoping the current owner wouldn't think I was a crazy person. I did have on an outfit that could either be seen as fashion or homeless. Well, surprisingly, the woman knew who I was right away. She had heard that I had once lived in the house. She was welcoming and fab.
Three years later: I just played two sold-out house concerts in my old living room! I'd say about half the audience lived or had lived in the neighborhood at one time or another. There were a lot of Hill Jr. High survivors, including a couple girls in my class who I thought hated me, or thought I was just too weird. They shared stories that I had totally forgotten about or didn't know. Like Mr Higday, our 5'2" big mustached science teacher, slept with a classmate. Awful. I learned the prettiest girl in our school is right now serving a seven year sentence for "theft from an at-risk adult." I learned the first person that I ever kissed (a boy) is now a Jewish Republican for Trump. I also learned I wasn't alone in my Jr. High misery. I wish I would have known. That would have been a great comfort somehow.
The original owner of the house came. She was 98 years old, and sharp as a tack. Her daughter, Cathy, flew in from NYC to see the house concert. I had met Cathy a few years ago randomly at a green room at a club in Brooklyn. We started talking. She asked me where I was from. I said Denver. She was from Denver, too! Then it was, "What part of town?," "What school?," "What street?," and finally, "What address?." Guess what? We lived in the same house and slept in the same bedroom. I think my family moved in as soon as Cathy's moved out. What are the chances? That's so crazy!
I'm still processing the weekend -how strange and wondrous it all was. Here I was playing in front of the people, the very same people, who I was afraid, back in Jr. High, would find out who I really was -would discover my awful secrets. And now, decades later? I'm singing and celebrating those same secrets in front of them all. And they paid a $20 ticket to hear!
Cathy, Grace and me. Three gals who had the same bedroom. By the way, the Avocado colored shag carpeting was gone, sadly. Thanks to Doug at fivepointslive.com for arranging the whole shebang. More later.