Arts Desk

Across the Europeverse: Near Mirandola, Italy

Potential audience member.

For most of the month of October, Arts Desk contributor Justin Moyer and his band, D.C. modern rock quartet Edie Sedgwick, are touring Europe. Here is his latest dispatch.

The Bologna show is canceled—or, more accurately, never booked—so we stay with my friend T. who lives in a farmhouse not far from Mirandola, a small town about one hour north of the city. Via text, T. suggests that we play in the kitchen of his farmhouse and offers to call a few friends to come see us. This strikes me as a disastrous idea—the equivalent to playing an invitation-only show in a suburb of, say, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.—but we leave the possibility open.

On the way to Mirandola, we buy wine for T. at a rest stop. I know nothing about wine, and consult with Drummer J. about the suspiciously low prices of rest-stop alcohol. Does the wine at Autogrill cost three euros per bottle because it is cheap, or because it is local? J. suggests that I not worry about prices or the depth of the indentation at the base of the bottle, but just try to buy a bottle with a vintage. I spend 20 euros on four bottles made in 2010 and 12 euros on highway tolls. When we arrive at T.’s, he is drinking wine from a box.

After T. cooks a pasta dinner and complains about Berlusconi, we walk to a bar a few blocks from T.’s house. I pay two euros for a Coca-Cola. The rest of the band orders drinks. Two policemen—friends of T.?—show up and pay for them. Then a number of T.’s friends show up at the bar—less than 10, but enough a critical mass to compel us to play a show in T.’s kitchen.

We return to the farmhouse, unload our gear and, not for the first time, move a kitchen table aside to set up our equipment. T. plays a few songs to "open" the "concert," and we are on. We bombard the kitchen with our aesthetics. My guitar amplifier is bigger than the oven. The bass cabinet is bigger than the kitchen sink. Still, people seem enthusiastic. I try to give away merchandise, but they insist on paying. We sell about 50 euros worth of stuff, and T. insists on giving me an additional 50 euros. When he plays a show in Mt. Pleasant next year at Haydees, I will give it back to him.

Sleeping on a twin mattress on the second floor of T.’s farmhouse, I dream about an alternative version of The Breakfast Club that, in the dream, is the version that John Hughes really wanted to make that, in the dream, is released on DVD for the first time. James Spader plays John Bender, the “criminal.” Holly Hunter plays Allison, the “basket case.” Brian, “The Brain,” and Andrew, “The Jock,” open up an amusement park that challenges Six Flags for the title “Most Popular Amusement Park in the Nation.” Claire, “The Prom Queen,” doesn’t appear.

Then the dream changes and I have to single-handedly haul a piano up Georgia Avenue, carry it up a flight of stairs, and push it into a townhome. “There’s nothing I can do,” I tell my father. “The piano won’t fit.” My father suggests that I put the piano in my Toyota Matrix. Then I wake up.

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