Tuesday night was one of those nights that earns us our place in the Host Parent Hall Of Fame. Seriously.
After meeting with the realtor (we’re planning on ditching our place to move downtown) we headed to downtown Ann Arbor for an amazing night. Ann Arbor native; fifth and sixth grade student of my dear friend, Joyce; founder of Found Magazine, and author of My Heart is an Idiot, Davy Rothbart was back in his hometown for a show at LIVE. Of course we had to go.
If you’re not familiar with Davy and his work, please be sure to check out some of the links in the previous paragraph; you won’t regret it. Basically he’s one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet and when he’s touring we always try to get to a reading in Ann Arbor. After seeing him once you’ll keep going back, too.
Since doors opened at 7:30 and we were done with the realtor around 6:30 we decided to grab dinner at LIVE’s little brother, The Last Word. This basement bar and tapas spot offers some of the best drinks in Ann Arbor and also some delicious snacks. Do not miss the chickpeas. And the cheese plate. Skip the chapa bread. Anyway, we headed to The Last Word and ordered cocktails for Kris and I and a Coke for Tom. Unbeknownst to us The Last Word is 21+ but Joyce had gotten us a pass from the owner (same person who owns Live) to have T on site for the night. At this point T was starting to feel very, very special.
After a snacky dinner (the best kind) we went upstairs at about 7:45 and joined Joyce. We were able to sit with two amazing friends of Joyce’s who are retired Ann Arbor schoolteachers. Jim had been Davy’s art teacher. We started a tab for beer and Cokes and said hi to Hal, Davy’s dad. He and I chatted about “the neighborhood” (Brooklyn) and then things started so he went back to his table. The talented Mikah had some great tunes going as he DJed for a bit before Davy took the stage. Lots of good old school hip hop and rap at the perfect volume for getting in the mood for a great night with great people. I love that Ann Arbor has such a hugely random population who all turn out for cool stuff like this – from the retirees, to the college kids to the young professionals to the one Dutch teenager looking around like, “Um, yeah… this is pretty cool,”.
Davy began by reading some new found items and some older favorites. Everyone was laughing at the pure comedy that is middle school love letters, passive aggressive laundry room bulletin board warfare, bizarre missives, cryptic to do lists and more. After this Davy introduced the awesome Brett Laudermill who is a sword swallower. Because, you know, it wouldn’t be a night in Ann Arbor without some sort of performance art. Brett was not only a talented sword swallower but really engaged with the audience – the crowd loved him. He ended his show by swallowing a really long balloon. No one knows what happened to it. Yeah. Go to a show.
Davy came back up and read an essay from his recently published My Heart Is An Idiot and since you need to go, I won’t give anything away except to say that it tied so many things together beautifully that there were many an “aaaaaaw”. And of course many laughs.
After some college finds, and favorite classic finds (like my all time favorite find), Davy headed to the bar to talk to people, sign the book and drink with the crowd before heading to the after party. We had one last beer, said our goodnights to Joyce and then T went to find Davy to see if he would sign his book. T was thrilled to talk to Davy (he really loved the show) and get his book signed and we all had fun talking for a bit before finally heading home.
Because, you know, why not take your 17-year-old to 21+ venues on a random Tuesday night for a reading, good music and a dash of sword swallowing? Thanks to Joyce, the owners, and of course, Davy, for giving T a night to remember!