June 30th is the last day of the academic school year. Although classes for students are over on different days, the contract year ends on the 30th. A new school year begins on July 1st. What that means to many teachers is that on June 30th you must pack up your things and put them away, or if you're like me and are leaving the school, you must pack everything up and take it home. After twenty years of teaching, packing up is no small task. I spent all day sorting through things, throwing away lesson plans that I'd developed over the years, keeping only the most essential things. It was difficult physically as well as emotionally.
In the evening, my good friend Kristian Hoffman held a record release party for The Mumps new CD anthology, "How I Saved the World". The Mumps were a very early punk band that boasted well crafted songs and the charismatic Lance Loud on vocals. Because the CD has been released after Lance's death, Kristian asked various L.A. musicians to guest star on vocal duties, including me. I turned down the opportunity because I expected to be moving out of my classroom and into my new condo on the 30th. Unfortunately, due to extremely inept flooring installation, courtesy of Ikea, we are about a week and a half behind schedule and cannot move into our place yet. Anyway, that's a different story.
Let me get back to The Mumps release party. The band was absolutely brilliant. Kristian is not just a talented keyboardist/songwriter/singer; he is a witty and charming frontperson. He ushered his numerous guests up on the stage and they were all top-notch. Stand out performances for me were Lisa Jenio and Mink Stole.
I was sitting, lady-like, sipping on a Mandarin tonic when Kristian asked for volunteers to go up and play the cow bell. A young man went up and played and won a Mumps poster as a reward, but Kristian was not satisfied. "Another volunteer!" he demanded, so before I could stop myself I was up on the stage. I grabbed the cow bell and tried to walk on top of the tables while keeping a steady beat. HA!! Did you know that bar tables don't have 4 legs? The ones at Tangier have one center stand that would not support 150 pounds on platform shoes. So I fell.
Everyone gasped. Of course I'm made of rubber, so I got back up and tried to pretend that it was all part of a well rehearsed act. I got my Mumps poster and the chump award too!