Monday, September 23, 2013

Wild in the streets

As a youngster I used to use my cousins baptismal certificate as my “proof” to get into bars and clubs. I was hanging out in bars and clubs at thirteen, not to drink so much as to be where the action was and to see bands. If anyone bothered to proof the tiny skinny thirteen year old I would pull out a torn and frayed photoless piece of paper that said I was 19. It was not a birth certificate even, but a baptismal, a certificate that said my birthday and the day I was baptized into the catholic church. Not me, but my cousin. Sometimes a smart aleck would try to test my knowledge and see if this person listed on the certificate was really me. They would grill me: what year were you born, how old are you know, when is your birthday? I would always answer with the exact information on the certificate. This was my passage into the forbidden world of adults, how could I not have it memorized, did I look stupid? On occasion the door person would think they caught me in a lie, would say my answer was wrong and I would say, no, the date your are looking at is my baptism date, my birthday is below that, and then the heavy set grown up man would humbly look again and see that I was right and let me enter. No one ever turned me away. A few laughed at me, but I rolled my eyes and they let me in. Man we got away with some real bullshit back in the day.
It is funny that anyone even knew what a baptismal certificate was. Could you imagine trying to get on a plane with one? But back then in my beloved working class NYC they were down with it.
I am obsessed with this beautiful video which reminds me of the nyc I grew up in, integrated and sexy, soulful and smart, gritty and beautiful, wild and free. Cultural capital of the world. Parts still are, thank god. Let it loose. 
Wild in the Streets 1973 by legend garland Jeffreys, who just turned 70 and has a new album out. This 45" was probably on the jukebox of the clubs i would use my baptism to get into... God bless new york!

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