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"Where Are You, Jessica Lange?"
posted December 13, 2012 @6:25p
 
Jessica Lange took a picture of me.

It was the fall of 2005, in late September. For years, I had been describing myself as an "undiscovered rockstar," recording original material and belting out songs with my guitar in hand everywhere I could. Although it's nice to get paid, my performance preference had always been busking. "Busking" is just a fancy way of describing the act of finding a public spot - preferably with good acoustics - and playing for passers by. If people enjoy it, they can stop and listen; otherwise, there's no pressure, and they can be on their way.

It was on this autumn day in 2005 that I got the bug to play Washington Square Park in New York City. That's a pretty far drive from the hills of East TN; so I grabbed my guitar, a pair of boxers and a box of Hot Tamales candy, and then hopped a plane to LaGuardia. It was a Friday morning, and I had an awesome time playing (with a team of vagrants... which is an entirely different story of its own, followed by an unexpected reunion with the head of the team five years later) all afternoon and into the evening. I had so much fun, in fact, that I went back the next morning for more.

On that Saturday, the park was different. Sure - during other visits - there were at least a few instruments around. But this time, there were instruments everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Guitars, bass fiddles, banjos... it was incredible.

After talking to an elderly friend I'd made the night before (who had live in the neighborhood all her life, and recalled the time when Bob Dylan played there... where he got his start), I learned that I had accidentally crashed a reunion of musicians that gathered in the park in the 60s to play bluegrass (the movement was called "Jewgrass").

Everywhere I looked, groups were forming and playing. Somehow - and I have no idea how - a group formed that included John Sebastian (of the band The Lovin' Spoonful and the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme), Maria Muldaur, Bob Gurland... and ME.

To be performing with the likes of John Sebastian and company was just ridiculous. But as if the situation weren't surreal enough, a familiar face appeared in the crowd to listen: Jessica Lange. She was walking in the park with her son, and she stopped to take in the performance.

So here I am performing in the park, and Jessica Lange is watching. And not only watching - but taking photographs (she's a talented photographer with a published book).

I had just recently seen her in "Broken Flowers", and I really wanted to give her a verbal thumbs-up; but I decided that may be annoying, and opted to leave her alone.

The trip was on a whim... and the only proof that it even happened was on Jessica Lange's camera.

I've been trying to find her ever since that day. I've sent letters. I've talked to people in her hometown. And this past week - after paying for a membership with IMDB to get some contact informatoin - I sent emails to her publicists.

This is the first time I've sent an email to her camp. We'll see what happens!

 
 


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