There’s this thing I hate about live music. while most people enjoy their food, coffee or adult beverage in what seems like a minor state of bliss, My first thought is almost always, “Why is the volume at 11?”
I expect loud, overblown levels at a punk show or DJ set at Burning Man, but even coffee shops seem too loud. Maybe I’m just getting older. I doubt it though.
I’m sitting in the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana, Calif., an eclectic Coffee shop. The blackberry chai latte I’m sipping on is splendid, as is the pumpkin pie (my favorite kind). But that isn’t why I’m here. My girlfriend has a friend who is a poet and actor, and invited us to hear him perform some of this poetry.
In between sets he came over to the table to speak to us. I soon found out how passionate this man, Jaimes Polocio, is about acting and musicals. He wasted no time ruining Les Miserables for me. As he spoke, I thought about how other people, namely my girlfriend’s mother, tell me that I ruin action movies by pointing out things that aren’t consistent with physics, computer science or proper weapons handling. Now I understand how annoying that shit really is, I think to myself as he talks on and on about how Russell Crowe isn’t a good singer.
He also mentioned how the movie looked too “dirty.” The movie is set in early 19th century France. Of course it’s dirty.
When he is back on stage, his piece mentions how he likes Disneyland because it’s clean. I’m starting to notice a pattern here. Even so, he is different and passionate about his art. I like that, and am willing to overlook his strongly held opinions on acting in musicals.
After Mr. Neat Freak sits back down, the band plays another 80′s cover. Again I am acutely aware that the levels are too high. The band plays well enough though. Even as the sounds are almost piercing, the music is enjoyable.
Part of me is resistant to having a good time in Orange County. The Gypsy Den, however, is putting on a pretty good show for a post-rainstorm Friday night in January.
I grew up in south Orange County, a place that shuns art and disorder, favoring Starbucks and clean concrete over real cafes and original artwork. That’s why I moved to Long Beach: l was in search of real people with pulses, not old white Republicans with an overdeveloped sense of superiority, entitlement and homeowner’s association politics.
I think it would behoove me to revisit the place I grew up and try to find characters like Jaimes and jewels like the Den.