The Critical Mass of Yes

You know how some days are loaded with sequences of interesting events where each one is seemingly set up by the action of a previous one? Once in a blue moon I’ll experience a fully loaded day where unexpected things feel so hyper-precise and arithmetical that sitting quietly the pleasant exhaustion, I feel like I should be able to quantify the chain of events as something – something end-user and macro algorithmic. Thursday was one of those days.

After work we decided to try a cozy, dark little vegetarian restaurant in the East Village charmingly named Caravan of Dreams. Erin had covered 5th and 6th streets on foot while doing some street photography earlier and knew how to get there. I didn’t realize that Caravan was a vegan restaurant until we arrived, which worked out in my favor because

A.) Vegan is not a usual food-thing I would choose

B.) The food was delicious. Really.

I wish I could remember what we ordered – something with citrus, basil and fennel, and something with avocado, olives, mango and pine nuts. Whatever – it was all very good. I would not have said yes to this place had I known it was vegan.

June 15th, 1904

Caravan of Dreams

Anyway, we nearly missed our reservation time at Caravan of Dreams due to the discovery of (yet another) New York historical marker. This one concerned the 1904 fire on the passenger steamboat General Slocum which killed 1,021 congregants of a lower east side Lutheran church. The recent Costa Concordia disaster came to mind while reading how Slocum’s captain mishandled an already atrocious situation. There’s no need to ask why the remaining congregants chose to move their church uptown. Grateful for my life after reading about the Slocum, we headed to dinner and I savored every morsel and counted my blessings – twice.

What Cheer? Brigade at the Balkan Zlatne Uste Golden FestivalOn the way back we took a look at the former church building and discovered that it was now a local synagogue. There was a small flyer taped to the side door announcing an Avram Pengas concert that evening; the same Avram Pengas I had a chance to perform with at last month’s Zlatne Uste Golden Festival.   Back in January my friend Gal called me late in the afternoon asking if I’d like to sit in with Avram & The Noga Group.

Playing with Avram Pengas & the Noga Group © oresti tsonopoulos / flickr

This was an invite just for fun – not a paid gig. For that reason I could have declined, but instead I said yes and wound up having a spectacular time. Again, here was another chance to say yes and head inside to the concert. I’m certain our vegan meal was a contributing reason why our energy level was way above average at this time of night.  We stepped inside the former-church/present temple. Gal was crisp on the drums and halfway through the concert Pengas called me up from the audience to play. This was wonderful honor! It gave me a chance to make up for the fact that I had wandered in past the doorman without paying admission. Since my trombone wasn’t handy I did my super-nerdy-yet-killer Zamfir thing. I am a master of the Flam-flute. Find out if you must, by clicking here.

Here are some pictures from the event, enjoy!

 Bouzouki virtuoso Avram Pengas with guitarist Nick MandoukasThis is what I do when my trombone isn't handyMust remind the management to invest in a few mic standsAvaram's Bouzouki is al dente!Nick, Gal, Avram, Kol and SteveBouzouki virtuoso Avram Pengas

 


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