A documentarian walks into a bar . . .

Documentarian Joe Angio writes to us about seeing Eleventh Dream Day at Hanukkah 2004. And though by the time that anniversary rolls around, this daybook will be down for the count, the story’s too good not to share.  As it happens we also played with Eleventh Dream Day 14 years ago today at the Bowery Ballroom, and that’s good enough for me.  (I am particularly pleased with this anecdote because of its passing similarity to a joke that I have an inexplicable fondness for, one that is probably being excised from your finer joke books even as we speak.)  Here goes:

Eleventh Dream Day was opening during that year’s Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s.  This was especially good news because they were my all-time favorite band from Chicago, my hometown.  In the late 80s-early 90s, I would have bet (and, sadly, lost) every last dollar that they would be the band to really put Chicago on the map.  While we had a burgeoning post-punk/indie scene, it was quite local and generally unknown nationally.  It used to insult my sense of civic pride that there were these great music scenes in Boston, Minneapolis—even Athens, GA!—though Chicago was still basically known as the home of Styx.  I just KNEW Eleventh Dream Day would change all that.

Back then, I lived a block from the Rainbo Club, which became my living room for a few years; one of the bartenders was EDD’s Rick Rizzo.  Even though Rainbo couldn’t be more laid-back and welcoming, I was always a bit starstruck in his presence, and my interactions with him never amounted to anything more than your typical bartender-customer relationship.

Cut to: Dec. 11, 2004 at Maxwell’s.  Eleventh Dream Day has finished their set and returned to the back room to watch that night’s comedian (Todd Barry?).  [Nope, Marc Maron.]  I go up to Rick and introduce myself, telling him, “You probably don’t remember me but you served me many drinks at the Rainbo back in the day.”  Rick shakes my hand and starts sizing me up.  I could just see the wheels spinning in his head as he tried to place this long-ago face.  Finally, he nods and says, “Jameson on the rocks, splash of water, right?”  Which, of course, is exactly what I ordered every single time in the Rainbo.  I’m not sure if this reflects more on Rick’s stellar bartending skills or my drinking habits but, either way, I was duly impressed!

Then Yo La Tengo came on and killed, sending me home with ringing ears yet again.

End of story.

Before we go–still loosely on the topic of Hanukkah–we’d like to wish a happy 7th birthday to Ronnie O’Brien of Weehawken.  It’s too much to hope that she’s as well dressed now as she was a baby.