One of the great things about having adult children is that, well, they are adults! Adults who are also fabulous hosts. Our son Ben recently moved into his first roommate-less apartment. And he has a sofa bed, a really comfortable one. So on this visit, we stayed at his place in Brooklyn.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon. A professional trumpet player, Ben needed to finish his warm-ups for a gig that night. He sent us off to the nearby subway station with instructions for how to get to an interesting shopping district.
We checked out the shops and waited for Ben to join us at a local cafe. Dinner was at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant.
That night, we heard Ben play with Sxip Shirey. Wild, crazy music that makes people get up and dance. There are no videos on Youtube of this particular evening, but the one below gives you the idea. (Warning: language!)
I’ll bet you’ve never heard anyone make music with a megaphone and a siren before! Paul and I were also impressed by Xavier, the group’s vocalist. Xavier sang some sexually nasty-in-a-good-way lyrics with the voice of an angel while maintaining a look of wide-eyed innocence.
For example, he sang this one by Minnie Riperton, reminding us that her repertoire was much bigger than her well-known hit, “Loving You.”
I love it when young musicians turn music from my generation into their own. One day I’ll find a video of Xavier singing this. When I do, I promise to share it with you. In the meantime, here’s a clip of Xavier that Ben just sent me. Given my previous simile, the song is appropriately entitled, “Angel.”
A couple of nights later, we heard Ben play at the annual Balkan Shout-Out with Raya Brass Band. You can view the video below to get a taste of their music and what it’s like to attend a performance, but definitely take some time to listen to clips from their new album.
We have seen this group play many times — two of those times were in our own back yard. It has been a lot of fun watching Ben develop his skills in this genre, which has unusual rhythms, and allows for improvisation. As you see in the video, it also involves a lot of dancing.
There were some quieter moments as well. Not only did Ben provide us with a place to stay, he treated us to a mouth-watering and memorable dinner at Flatbush Farm in Park Slope. The three of us talked and joked — I am so grateful that both my sons are willing to let us witness and experience the people and things in their lives that are important to them.
We also took a walk through the Brooklyn Museum. I wanted to see the Keith Haring exhibit, but I was most impressed by a section of the museum called “visible storage.”
Items not currently on display are housed behind glass in a darkish area. Here I am wandering through.
A cool bike with raccoon tails — familiar accessories to those of us of a certain age—has its own case.
You’ll have to forgive the quality of these photos. They were taken with my phone and, as I mentioned, it was kind of dark in there.
Each encased item had a corresponding number. You can learn more about a particular object by entering its number into one of the iPads attached to pedestals throughout the area.
Something about this space reminds me of green design. Perhaps because every inch is used in the most engaging and educational way.
Parents Weekend ended with brunch on Sunday morning. I’m not sure when the next one will be, but I’m thinking maybe once a quarter would be nice. Often enough, but not so often that we wear out our welcome.
Martha Nichols said:
This was a delightful post because I love the way you make connections between your obvious love for your son and his music to your observations of the club scene and the art museum. Thanks, J.
Thanks M., It’s a very different scene from the way we live now – And I forgot to mention one of the best things of all — these musicians are a real community. They all support each other’s work. It’s a beautiful thing.
Your post left me pondering role reversals and looking forward to them. What a treat to be treated to the open and welcoming door of your adult children!
Nice story. Enjoyed the pictures and hearing about the bands.