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The Bear and the Quakerman

The Irishman premieres on Netflix tonight. I had the good fortune of seeing it several weeks back at a first-class venue — Skywalker Ranch. My buddy Tom Myers invited me up for the screening. It was a great low-key atmosphere and we shuffled into the top-flight screening facility just feet from Tom’s office door after a glass of bourbon. There is no luxury in life quite so compelling as circumventing the general public. Sure, Netflix offers this; but this is a film meant to be viewed on the big screen. It didn’t disappoint, but enough has been said of this already. Very rewarding seeing something from my generation transcend to the present and proof that there is some hope in growing older. Magnificent, dialed-down performances all around. Joe Pesci is superb. Was with Tom again a few nights ago for a brief sojourn to Lake Tahoe and a Dwight Yoakam show. I’m nothing if not predictably repetitious, and this is the second time I’ve seen Dwight in Sparks, Nevada over the last few years. All tolled it’s at least the seventh time I’ve seen him since August of 2017. That I’ve apparently lost count speaks for itself. My travel and life was restricted for a while there and most of my away time was spent stalking the music and film icon. The way I figure it, once Willie Nelson and Billy Joe Shaver go, Dwight Yoakam will be just about all that’s left. But that’s just my figuring and is open to argument. If you want to have at it, be prepared to segue into the follow-up debate: there is no better place to see a man performing with a guitar and cowboy hat than the Nugget Casino in Sparks.

In the spirit of circumventing the general public, we headed up Interstate 80 late Thursday night with a brief stopover to eat in Auburn. The place we chose was wrapping up an open-mic music night with the kind of talent you’d expect from second-tier Auburn performers. Tom commented on how long it was taking the last act to set up before realizing that his date was sitting at the table next to us. He made up for the gaffe in fine Quaker form with vigorous applause and whistling as the guy hacked through his poorly-mixed ten minute set. Then it was back on the road for the last leg of the drive before arriving at the cabin, where a dim light was on in the kitchen. This was the first troubling sign of a few that would be coming in rapid succession. Peering in with flashlight, the dim illumination was from the open fridge and the place appeared torn apart. Things got worse around the back where a large opening had been smashed through the door. For the second time in as many years (and offering none of the same rewards as a Dwight Yoakam show) a bear (or bears) had broken into the place. Fortunately Tom is no slouch in the rolling up one’s sleeves department and we dug into tackling the obscene mess after making sure the beds were empty and it wasn’t some real-life Goldilocks scenario. Two hours later the place was again reasonably inhabitable (save the huge hole torn in the back door which I would secure with plywood the following day.) Like Scorsese working with DeNiro and Pesci, there is something to be said for knowing the company one keeps. Additionally, there is something to be said for now knowing the proper response to the old adage “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Yes, of course he does, but this doesn’t stop him from utilizing Rick’s cabin for said purpose, or just about anywhere else he damn-well pleases.

(And after further consideration the Dwight show count is eight; ten if you count a no-show for each of us in Saratoga and Stockton.)

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One Comment

  1. Thomas Myers wrote:

    your buddy sounds like a real tool

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

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