Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: Jozi (Page 2 of 3)

Why last week’s 3 Springsteen concert splurge changed my life forever

There are many ways I could tell you about why I went to see Bruce Springsteen 3 times in one week. The minute I heard he was coming to SA I knew I would have to see him. He is my guy. He is the one I would never miss. I have been waiting for him since I saw him in Harare in 1988.

I waited in line on line and only managed to get the shittest seats for what was then the first concert in Cape Town. I knew that wasn’t going to be good enough so I made my friend in Joburg buy me a golden circle standing ticket there too. And then he added an extra concert in here in Cape Town. More and more the notion of him starting his world tour right here, where I live, took hold and I found myself buying the most expensive ticket I could for the very first, added concert too. So last week I saw Bruce Springsteen 3 times; twice in Cape Town and once in Jozi. There were hard-core fans who saw all four, and did roll call to be in the pit, and had their requests played. But I went 3 times and my life will never be the same.

There were a couple of really joyous highlights for each concert that made them special and unique. On the first I met a woman who had been there in Harare in 1988. I sat next to a couple from Madagascar who had come to Cape Town especially to see him. On the second I went with Big Friendly, who witnessed and shared my love. On the third concert in Jozi we were blessed by a special 3 song matinee for those of us early enough to be there and I wept and shook with special happiness.

Of course there were things that frustrated me and made me sad. The almost 100% white, middle aged audience had come to see what they thought was Bruce Springsteen. Dancing in the Dark and Born in the USA. They didn’t understand why he didn’t play more of his hits (from that album I guess).  There were those who were irritated that he started late in Cape Town and left during his hour long encore. There were fist fights by drunks right next to me in the Jozi crowd. The support act in Jozi made me skaam.

But. But. But. The reason I will never be the same is because of the outpouring of love and respect from that most awesome man. He loved us. He thanked us. He saluted us. He played (for hours, and in the rain) for us. I have never seen or experienced a more generous, magnificent, loving man to his band, and to his audiences, all three that I was part of. I walk away with the best lesson. How to love my audience and my fellow players. Thank you Bruce Springsteen. I love you.

Improving Everything

It is the crack of dawn on Sunday 26 January. I am almost out of bed, to walk dogs and then to prepare lunch for friends-like-family. But after all that I am going to see Bruce Springsteen this evening. I am going alone. It is first concert of this tour, and it is here in Cape Town, and even though I have tickets for Tuesday night with all my friends I am still going tonight. Big Friendly bought me this most expensive ticket. That isn’t all. Next Saturday I fly to Jozi in the morning and go with my Jozi friends and family to the FNB stadium to see him a third time. Because he is the one. He is my guy. And I am making it happen because I love him.

In between Bruce Springsteen concerts we are starting our 2nd ever improv fest. I think this is huge, and awesome. On Wednesday we kick off with one of my favourite genres, Western, and I am so excited to get all dark and dangerous. Thursday nights (in our 2 week fest) are Crime nights, where a made up crime will be dissected and discovered, made up in front of the audience. Friday nights see the return of Family Musical, and Saturday is dedicated to Superscene, both extremely popular with our audiences last year.

The bonus cherry on the top special amazing end to this coming week is that I will be seeing my magnificent new love, my then two week old niece, Leeya. Oh the joy.

Jewish

Most of you know, I’m jewish by accident of birth, and proximity to and love of family (to whom it may or may not mean a little or lot more), but personally, I can take it or leave it. Mostly I am not proud of the special antics of visible Jewish behaviour and am definitely the other side of Zionism (which is a whole ‘nother story and can be found on this blog in better and more serious detail here and here).

I am often in mood swings with the Jewish stuff; I love making and eating kneidlach, which I do generally very well. I have some fond memories of Jewish occasions and traditions, kept in a bastardised kind of way by my grand parents, and I love Kletzmer music with a deep and abiding soul connection. I will speak out against all forms of anti-Semitism in the same way as I do with racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia – I despise discrimination and hate those that practice it. But the truth is, I am often embarrassed by the way Jews behave!

So, what happens? I fall in love with, and marry, a perfectly un-Jewish gentile (his 6ft4 frame stands like a lamp post amongst my very Jewish family of bedside cabinets), who is delighted, entertained and fascinated by all things Jewish. Big Friendly has three ‘yarmies’. He asked for and received a Channukiya for a wedding gift. He indulges in an Afrikaans-ised Yiddish that is as hilarious as it is corrupt. He loves Shabbash (Shabbat, with our friends the Noodles). He geshvitzes and shloofs. He gets toegedreidt (instead of tsudreit (sp)) and he loves all Jewish references in movies and books. Go figure.

When my cousin decided to come to Jozi from Australia to hold a rolling four day barmitzvah for her son I realised that is was going to be a series of firsts for Brenton. And it was brilliant.

Day 1 was a drive through a sleepy public-holiday-Jozi city centre to get to the Lion’s Shul. All Jozi Jews of a certain age remember this shul near the old Alhambra Theatre because of the two lion statues on either side of the doors. It was Big Friendly’s first time at any shul. He was a little unnerved that men and women would sit separately and so I sent him in with my brother, and I went upstairs to the opposite balcony so that we could at least see each other and pull faces. The shul is cute, old and gorgeous, with lots to look at. Imagine Big Friendly’s total surprise when some of the men, with giant prayer shawls in place, hauled two little leather strapped boxes out of bags and started putting them on heads and arms. His eyes nearly popped out of his skull.

After the service, and his horror at the kids pelting the barmy boy with sweets (Big Friendly’s second fave things, next to chocolates), his amazement at the Brocha spread, and his fascination at how, throughout the service everyone kept up a constant chatter, he asked me why one of the men was a ninja. He felt very sorry that this guy, the ninja, had been asked to leave for a section of the service. He in fact was a Cohen, who had to leave so the family could get preference for coming up to the bimah (you try and explain that!).

That night, at the party, I watched Big Friendly as the barmy boy was hoisted high above heads on a chair and shaken about in celebration. I watched as the look of confusion spread when he took in the barmy singer, singing along to the remix track of “Simeltov u Mazeltov” and his amazement at the food and the Jewish love of it.

Then there was the Friday night supper. Brenton loves the Kiddush wine. I had to give him my glass as well. He still laughs every time he hears that there will be benching, and he forgets every time that it means grace after meals.

Then there was the actual service and main reading at the Glenhazel shul on the Saturday morning. It was a long one, in a giant, modern shul. I don’t remember why, but Brenton absolutely loved it. Maybe because he got given another special yarmie. My fave moment was when a wooden walking stick suddenly went horizontal among the seated men, and I watched as ancient Hymie tried to poke my cousin with it; he needed help to go to the bathroom.

Saturday lunch in an old Joburg garden was when Big Friendly attached to Frank the French bulldog. And when we drank pink gin and watched kids versus adults play the most vicious, dangerous and hard-core game of soccer.

It was intense.

Being home is a lot less Jewish.

Heather Mac I love you.

Today is my birthday. There is a cup cake surrounded by silver hearts outside my door. I am lying in bed, in my boet and sister-in-law’s place in Jozi, surrounded by double the stuff I brought with, to pack and take home. Big Friendly is the coffee maker. And I am generally delighted.

Last night though, last night was a celebration. One of those accidentally serendipitous, magical bests. Heather Mac, Mark Harris and Amber Parr (Heather’s glorious daughter) just happened to be in Jozi, performing a gig at Old Mutual Theatre on The Square as a fundraiser for Assitej. I invited a small posse of Jozi friends and family to join us to watch and listen, and it was truly, totally amazing.

Heather is an exquisite and deeply moving performer, with a heart voice connection and a presence on stage that literally brings me to sudden tears, and that is how I stay, from first note to last. Mark Harris is delicious on stage as guitar man and Amber Parr is the most generous and gorgeous back up singer to her mom. It also helped that the best sound guy in SA, Heather’s brother John Mac was there to do the best ever sound. It was an awesome gig and a total treat to have been in Jozi to witness it. I thank my closest, who I dragged there, but who loved it as much as I did. My only wish was that more people had known about it. Assitej deserve the money, and I know for sure Heather has many, many old fans (just like me and my friends) from and in Jozi, who will hear about this gig today and literally kick themselves for not knowing about it sooner.

I am lucky. I have access to Heather and get to see her a lot more in Slaap Stad. And I will always be there. Crying along. Thank you, my great friend and inspiration, Leather Sac.

The Line is Coming

 

This amazing piece of work is coming to Cape Town and will be at The Baxter for 5 shows only. Gina Shmukler’s The Line deals with a subject close to my heart, xenophobia. Do not miss it.

Fully Committed – Great news from afar

There is nothing quite as lovely as creating work, sending it out into the universe and then kicking back, far away, and relaxing as it does brilliantly. That is exactly what is happening with the delicious little play I directed called Fully Committed, starring the incredibly talented and versatile Pieter Bosch Botha. It is currently on at The Old Mutual Theatre On The Square in Sandton, Jozi, and to be honest, I have not received such universally brilliant praise, both on twitter and facebum, an officially in the reviews, in a very long time.

It is so cool reading about all the really good stuff, and we both feel so validated for the creative choices we made, funny great ideas we had, and hard work we put in. Yes, we both feel a little bit brilliant I think.

But check it out yourself. Here is a list of links to the reviews.

1. The Tonight (my favourite)

2. The Citizen

3. The Daily Maverick

4. Artslink

I will update the list when the others come out, but right now I couldn’t be prouder. If you are in Jozi, go and check it out.

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