Daily Archives: June 30, 2015

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS (You Must Listen to the Serial Dater Podcast)

Every so often, I will Google “best podcasts [of 2015]” and see what comes up. My latest foray into finding new podcasts took me to cupofjo.com to an article about podcasts she recommends. I’ve learned that there are always gems in the comments as well, so I read through most of them. This one caught my eye:

KM SAYS…

My friend Charlie – recent creative writing MFA grad and soon-to-be fullbright scholar in the UK has a hilarious podcast called serial dater that he sort of started on a whim but is really cute and funny (and you can feel good about yourself by supporting an up-and-coming NY-based writer while listening!)

KM had me at “My friend Charlie.” Then he/she added hilarious, on a whim, cute, funny, feel good about yourself. Sounded great to me, so I downloaded all six episodes, departing from my normal policy of downloading a max of two episodes to figure out if I like it before I truly commit. I love listening to podcasts, and I have one on whenever I am in the car by myself. As I sped to and from Chicago over the past 36 hours, (U2 concert. Read about it here.) I took advantage of my 10 hours in the car to try out some new podcasts.

Charlie Beckerman is a talented writer who has an MFA from Florida State University. Serial Dater is about a series of 5 first dates Charlie had with quite a variety of guys in a single week shortly before he left New York to begin his MFA. Each episode is a humorous look at one of the dates. The final episode — well, I won’t say anything about that, because I didn’t see it coming, and I want you to be surprised.

One thing that bugs me about some podcasts is the poor sound quality, but this does NOT apply to Serial Dater. From the music to the voices to the transitions, this is one of the best produced podcasts I have listened to. Music is by Prom Date. You can hear one of their songs here! (genre: synthpop).

Charlie wrote these stories in a writer’s workshop he did during his MFA application process.  A couple years later, he took it a step further by creating the podcast and dramatizing parts of the story. Wait until you hear the voice(s) of his dates. I just loved it.

(A little caveat here:   I have no idea what percentage of LGBTQ folks would be accepting of my halting attempts to understand, to empathize, and to work through old beliefs and ideas in order to make room for a new understanding, but I am trying and I’ve come a long way, baby.)

Serial Dater is an excellent podcast to add to your listening, or to take the first step into listening to podcasts. The entire series is 6 episodes; the first five hover around the 30 minute mark, which is a good length for listening; and you will love it.

Besides the excellence of the writing in the podcast and the overall quality of the production, what I loved about this podcast is it gave me a glimpse into the heart and mind of a gay man, and I ended up much closer to what Bono said at the end of the concert. “There is no them; there is only us.” I felt a solidarity and connection with this man, Charlie Beckerman, and I am so grateful for that.

Where the Streets Have No Name; U2, Chicago, 6/28/2015

The year was 1986. I had yet to shed even the first bit of fear and shame which had been instilled early in my life. I was taking a class in the theater department from a beloved prof who was challenging some of my dearly-held beliefs.

As part of the experience of my learnings, Greg and I lined up at 6am outside the then Rosemont Horizon to buy tickets for the U2 concert which would be in a few weeks. This was a huge deal for me. I hadn’t gone too many concerts (fear! shame!) outside the Christian contemporary genre, so this was  pretty far outside my comfort zone. (Imagine that, kiddies. We went to the actual venue to buy our tickets and we paid the face value of the ticket. No TicketMaster fees! No printing at home! No scanning anything! No cell phones then!)

U2’s venues back then were rather smaller and the extravaganzas that happened in later tours had not yet begun. On a simple stage, unadorned beyond lights and some smoke, with the Horizon’s lights completely extinguished on April 29, 1987, the concert began with those unforgettable organ chords of “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

Greg had introduced me to the band soon after we meet in 1982. I wasn’t too sure about that “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” song, which, if I’m remembering right, was their first big hit. (Blood! Fear! Shame!) But I did love the Joshua Tree album, and it was the first leg of the Joshua Tree tour in April, 1987 when we first saw them.

Last night, at a different Chicago venue, was my 7th time to see them; this time during the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour.

IMG_2657a cool pic of Edge I took accidentally

U2 are quite the band, having stuck together for over 30 years as mates, partners, and band members. In this day and age, I think that is a major accomplishment. Major. Besides staying friends and partners for all these years, each of them also has a long-term marriage, with Bono having married Ali while they were still in their teens. Ali was in the house last night, and he sang a couple of songs dedicated to her, (Song for Someone), and All I Want is You). Also major.

My ears are still ringing. There were three locations where the band sang, with the main stage to our left.

Valerie and I were standing along the rail between the i and the e stages. We could see the band great when they were on the walkway between stages, and we could see them pretty well on the e stage, but we were pretty far back from the i stage. When I turned my head to see them on the main stage, the sound pierced my right ear, so I had to actually cover my ears for parts of it! I don’t think it was any louder than a normal concert, but something about the location of the sound and the condition of my fine ears combined to make the sound too loud.

Fortunately, they also performed directly in front of me, and on the stage to the right. My ears did much better when they were in those locations.

If you’re not a U2 fan, I’ll just tell you that there are many people, including myself, who have been following the band for 30 years. The guy behind us in line had multiple U2 tattoos and was jubilant as he explained how he had gotten Bono’s attention by quoting the full text of the partial quote he had on the underside of his bicep. Maybe it’s like this with other bands — I don’t know — but the people who love U2 loooooooove U2.

I found the setlist online at tours.atu2.com.

Main Set

  1. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
  2. GloriaGloria (Van Morrison) (snippet)
  3. Vertigo
  4. I Will Follow
  5. Iris (Hold Me Close)
  6. Cedarwood Road
  7. Song For Someone
  8. Sunday Bloody SundayWhen Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet)
  9. Raised By Wolves
  10. Until The End Of The WorldShe’s A Rainbow (snippet)

Second Set

  1. Invisible
  2. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  3. Mysterious WaysYoung Americans (snippet)
  4. DesireLa Bamba (snippet), Julia (snippet)
  5. Lucifer’s Hands
  6. Every Breaking Wave
  7. Bullet The Blue Sky19 (snippet)
  8. The Hands That Built America (snippet), Pride
  9. Beautiful DayTwo Hearts Beat As One (snippet)
  10. All I Want Is You
  11. With Or Without YouLove Will Tear Us Apart (snippet)

Encore

  1. City Of Blinding Lights
  2. Mother And Child Reunion (snippet), Where The Streets Have No NameCalifornia (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
  3. OneInvisible (snippet)

I noted that the second to last encore last night was the very first song I’d ever heard them play in concert, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Last night, when those opening chords began, the crowd roared with a deeply felt love of not only the song, but also memories associated with that song, the band, the individual players, their musicianship, the influence they have used for the good. For me, it kinda felt like a complete circle.

The final encore was their brilliant song, One, which just felt like the dot on the i, the cross of the t, the last (final?) flourish on my U2 concert experiences. With the 360 tour (2009-2010), after one taste, I HAD to go again and ended up going to four different locations on that tour. I suppose it’s possible they will do more tours after this one, but it has got to be hard on their families to be apart for so long and they’ve been doing it for a long time. Last night may have been my last U2 concert. I don’t know. We’ll see. But I’ll always love them.