Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You Know You're Old When

This is a photo of me with my friends Tom and Eric at the Black and White Ball last June. Are we not cute? Tom was my date. I have no idea where Eric's date was at that moment; maybe she snapped the picture. Why I am writing about an event 7 months ago? Well, I didn't have this blog back then... so open your mind and pretend it's still 2005.

Anyway, the Black and White Ball is a bi-annual fundraiser for the San Francisco Symphony. The Symphony plays under the rotunda at City Hall, and there are lots of live bands. Well, the headliner at last year's ball was the Violent Femmes.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Violent Femmes at a Symphony fundraiser.

On one hand, it was really cool. On the other, seeing a band that was part of my formative years at such an event made me realize something: I have entered the demographic targeted by the organizers of these sorts of fundraisers. In other words, I'm officially old (and apparently am supposed to have money). As I was watching the influential Femmes perform while we audience members donned tuxedos and cocktail dresses, I realized we were just like the people who would go to Herman's Hermits reunion tours 20 years ago. Now, I go see bands from my youth all the time. The Go-Go's tour every year, and I'm always there. I've seen Dave Wakeling from the English Beat and General Public about 10 times in the last five years. And I'm going to see X later this month. But something about the Black and White Ball - Violent Femmes combination made me feel very middle aged, despite the fact that I'm only in my mid-30's.

I so was affected by this experience that when I got home from the Ball I turned on my computer to email my older brother Peter, a rock star who lives in Germany (literally... okay, the phrase rock star might be slightly overstating the point, but he is a musician). Peter introduced me to the Femmes in 1983 when he pointed my attention to the video for "Gone Daddy Gone," and in my opinion, he needed to know this band was now doing the symphony fundraiser circuit. So I composed a short note and hit send, feeling satisfied that I was spreading the evidence of our advanced age. He would be stunned, shocked and incensed.

Peter never responded. Maybe it was because he turned 40 last September and, even though still a rock star, already felt old enough. Or maybe he just didn't care.

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