Anjali and I are back in NYC. She has been here a couple times since I have. My last trip was August of last year. I would hate to visit any less often than once a year. All it takes is flipping open the Time Out once I get here, and I remember just how much amazing cultural activity is happening here all the time, but especially in Summer, when every day brings a host of different free concerts at many parks throughout the city. We started off our trip by blowing off a GlobeSonic night, and Turntables on the Hudson with Maga Bo as a special guest, in order to hang out with our fabulous host JD.
I’m obsessed with finding out everything going on in town once I arrive, only to blow off just about everything when it actually comes time to do it. At night the thought of catching a bus, transferring several subways, staying out all night, and then repeating in reverse order rarely sounds appealing when I have already had a full day exploring the city. By the end of an NYC trip I usually have a list of amazing experiences, not ones I have had, but ones I have blown off due to a lack of energy and motivation. Since there are usually multiple enticing things going on in any given evening, and I won’t be able to do all of them, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to do none of them. Anjali and I slept for a portion of the early evening, thinking we were going to go out later, only to realize that a lot of the outdoor concerts we were thinking about going to ended early. Oh, we’ve already missed five activities? Let’s cancel the sixth and seventh as well. Of course when the alternative is spending a quiet evening in with friends, just what am I missing out on really?
Anjali and I are far from careerist when we plan our trips. We usually decide on our itinerary far too late to get any gigs, as club schedules fill up months in advance, and we are rarely booking our trips months in advance. The amazing Joro Boro was kind enough to invite us to join him in DJing the Boban Markovic Orkestar after-party at Drom on Wednesday, so we ended up with a gig after all. The funny thing is that rather than being excited, my initial response was one of dread. I usually bring far too much music to my gigs, which isn’t possible when I’m traveling, and I have carry-on restrictions and checked baggage item and weight limits. Every time I fly to a gig I am up until 4:30am-6:30am the night before desperately trying to pare down the music I am bringing, even after having already devoted several days to working on the process. This time I was only up until 3:30am, so I am improving slightly. Being a laptop DJ would make this a non-issue, but I am still resistant to going the computer DJ route.
While I am spending days of stress and anxiety trying to minimize the music I am packing for a gig, I am also aware of my curse, which will probably make it all a waste of time anyway. My curse is that the more time I put into stressing about a gig and preparing, the more likely it is that I will hardly play, if at all. As an example, Anjali and I were flown out to Nebraska to DJ a half-Indian/half-American wedding a few months ago, and I had to bring a mix of Indian and American music, which meant my job was extra-tough, as I had an enormous amount of music to choose from that needed to be reduced to what I could take on the flight. I spent days on the process, and didn’t get any sleep the night before the flight. When we arrived at the wedding we learned that a third DJ was going to be joining us, and I ended up only DJing a half-hour at the end of the night. Recently we were hired to play the Extra Golden show at Atlas, before, between and after bands. E3 played, Anjali played, and things got so off-schedule, there was no time for a closing set, so I never played, even after I had spent days preparing a special set of African music. This sort of thing is not unusual at all, so even as I spend all night trying to select a set for a gig abroad, part of me knows that all the work is entirely unnecessary. I can never just let go, however, because it would be unthinkable for me to not put some real effort into preparing to play the best set I can. We shall see what happens after the Boban Markovic concert.