Bulletin Board, excerpt

The Joy of Juxtaposition

From (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, Oct. 20, 2005

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The joy of juxtaposition

Writes Poet X of PDX: "The CD collection I amassed while working 10-hour shifts of data entry (I left there almost a year ago) has come in handy at the survival job I've held since then.

"The clientele at the drag cabaret lounge is a great mix of ages, genders, races. And so is my music collection. To fill the air before the show starts, I put together a few collections of perky music that cover several eras of music, from Billie Holiday and Vera Lynn to disco to Scissor Sisters and Maroon Five. A cast member once characterized my song selection as 'time travel,' a description I really enjoyed.

"It has to be heard to be believed that the following mix has a flow that isn't jarring: 'Live Wire' (Martha & the Vandellas/'60s), 'Vehicle' (Ides of March/'70s), 'Streetcorner Symphony' (Rob Thomas/'05), 'Irresistible You' (Bobby Darin/'60s), 'The House That Jack Built' (Aretha Franklin/'60s), 'Brazil' (Xavier Cugat/'40s), 'Wild, Wild West' (Escape Club/'80s), 'It Would Take a Strong, Strong Man' (Rick Astley/'90s), 'No Stopping Us' (Jason Mraz/'00s), 'Over You' (Gary Puckett & the Union Gap/'70s), 'Tramp' (Otis [Redding] and Carla/'50s?), 'Paper Doll' (The Mills Brothers/'40s), 'France' (Keb Mo'/'00s), 'Eli's Coming' (Three Dog Night/'70s), 'Drown in My Own Tears' (Ray Charles/'60s), 'Firefly' (The Shore/'00s), 'King of the Road' (Roger Miller/'60s), 'Harder to Breathe' (Maroon Five/'00s), 'Tighten Up' (Archie Bell & the Drells/'60s), 'Blue Savannah' (Erasure/'90s), 'This Magic Moment' (Jay & the Americans/'60s).

"But what I was getting to is an evening two weeks ago. Instead of the usual eclectic crowd when I arrived, there was a large table with 12 or 14 senior citizens. Instead of playing the CDs as I created them, I intentionally was skipping anything newer than '60s music, playing Sam Cooke, Judy Garland, Bobby Darin, etc. I noticed only one of the ladies tapping her hand to the music, appreciative. It was enough to make me feel I'd done a good job. (My bosses noticed as well and commended me on the music selection.)

"The 'old music' choices were exhausted about the same time they finished dinner and the house began to fill with the usual eclectic crowd. I put in a CD of disco versions of Cher songs. The lady who had been tapping along to the 'older' music began to tap even more enthusiastically. Oh, well, I'd tried."

Band Name of the Day:

12 or 14 Senior Citizens