Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Rainy Day in Juneau, Alaska

Sept 16 1992

The weather in Juneau was most foul. The mountains were swathed in a dreary blanket of mist and drizzle that chilled me to the bone. I visited Big City books, read most of the in-store Sunday New York Times. So many things going on in New York. I know from living there that one can't possibly take in everything. If one does, one could end up overwrought from the satiation of the senses. I was on overdrive most of the time I was in the Big Apple. Walked around a bit, to the electronic store, to the art shops selling overpriced mediocre Alaskan art (glaciers, bear and mountains) and had coffee with Hank Garcia, resident comedian of the M/V Dawn Princess. He recounted his encounter with Mel Torme and of his dogdays in Manhattan in roach-infested apartments. Spent some time in the library (with its wraparound glass walls through which one could take in the bulk of the Dawn Princess on one side and the towering mountainsides of Mts Juneau and Roberts on the other with their impossibly steep flowing waterfalls. It was a gray monochromatic day, enlivened at times by the flash of an orange raincoat or the haze of houses painted optimistically bright tropical colors, but otherwise lugubrious and depressing in a major way. The M/V Fair Princess, twin of the Dawn, limped unscheduled into Juneau at around 8 PM. It had encountered very rough sea conditions in Skagway, making docking difficult and impossible. Some P&O bigwigs visited for the night on a factfinding mission. They left after the first production show (Broadway Tonight, with its ersatz "Phantom of the Opera"). Later played some of my original tunes for Johnny Stafford, the harmonica player. He wants me to write an original modern piece for the harmonica, something like Stravinsky meets Gershwin. One day, maybe.