For me, the phrase “when the fat lady sings” does not signify anymore. For me, the universal sign that it’s over is now “when the fat guy plays the didgeridoo.” This implies no slight to the aboriginal wind instrument, elegant in it’s simplicity and able to be created from almost any available material, nor towards anyone with the oral and pulmonary dexterity to play one. It’s just the image that I’m stuck on since I saw DJ Polywog and her band at Justice League in San Francisco California. She was the evening’s entertainment at the New Media Underground Festival, which is sort of like a poetry reading, but for computer programmers and web animators where everybody gets to drink beer.
So, after some stimulating demonstrations of what Flash is capable of, including a demonstration by couple of kids who wrote a program to allow raw Midi data (from, in this case, a sampler) to manipulate animations while the music is playing (allowing you to actually see the music, man) and many full sail IPAs, I was in a pleasantly dreamy state of drunkenness, both from the ale and from the possibilities. Plus, I’d heard things about DJ Polywog, or at least I’d seen her picture in Rolling Stone back when I still read Rolling Stone, she was the festival dj for Lollapalooza and a bunch of other bullshit.
But back in that singing fat lady time, I didn’t think much of it when the band started to set up, a couple of turntables, an upright bass, a guitar, and a didgeridoo attached to the aforementioned fat guy but then, the image did not signify. The guy from New York I’d been talking to decided to call it a night.
I was leaning back on the bar next to the cash register, perfect view of the dance floor, if there was anybody dancing, just waiting for things to get started. That’s when I smelled it. Weed. I spun around. The smoker stared back at me. Either this was the Notorious B.I.G. hiding in plain sight after faking his own death, or it was someone with a very striking resemblance and a well defined respect for the deceased rapper’s personal style and attitude, puffing on a blunt the size of a Monte Cristo cigar, blowing out thick clouds of ganja and clearly not giving a shit about anyone who knew it.
Like me, for instance.
I turned back to the stage where the fat guy was blowing a mean, mournful retort from his tube that blended in to the synth track coming from the turntable. Biggie started heading in my direction, but I didn’t look. He stepped up to the bar right next to where I was standing. He ordered a drink from the bartender. I don’t remember the bartender mentioning the uniform non-smoking policy for all restaurants and bars in the state of California, but it could be that it just slipped his mind. I honestly have to say it slipped mine until just now. As the bartender reached into the speed racks for the bottle of Stoli, Biggie turned to me, took another deep draw on the massive blunt, turned in my direction, and blew a cloud of smoke the size of a beach ball right at me, paid for his drink, and returned to his posse. It was then I knew it was time to start the long walk back to my hotel.
As for DJ Polywog, I’d recommend following Biggie Jr.’s implicit advice and get really high before you see her show. There really isn’t that much else to say about it. Just make sure you’re out of there by the time the fat guy plays the didgeridoo.