Sunday, August 17, 2008

From out of nowhere, Art Bergmann

So I dreamed about Art Bergmann last night. We'd been on a plane (or maybe a ferry) together. The power was out in Vancouver, but no one told us; we were brought to the terminal and all the passengers were told we had to leave, even if the city was dark (it was somehow a big deal). Art was wandering around and I said hello to him, asking him why he had come back; didn't he want to retire? "The fans won't let me," he growled. We went to a table and sat down, talking a bit until some female fan recognized him and was being quite rude, teasing him about his "comeback." Art muttered something and wandered away. I went out - I briefly wandered around the terminal looking for something to drink (or maybe an Art Bergmann LP). I had made arrangements to sleep over at my friend Michael's house - he was living with his mother (who in real life lives in Ontario) and another houseguest, someone who had nowhere to go because of the blackout. Coming outside, I saw Art lying on the wet pavement in the parking lot. His legs were crossed in a vaguely yogic pose, but he was obviously in some deep despair. Michael and this other person who had joined us were watching from the car. "He says he just wants to be left alone," they called to me, but I squatted down - Art had shrunk to a tiny size as he lay, legs crossed, on his back - and convinced him that he should get up and join us. Art sighed and sat up, then he rose to his feet, growing taller as he did so until he grew back to his full height. "Art sure is tall," I thought, as we walked to the car.

The reality is somewhat stranger. Art Bergmann - while not that tall, since in my dream he was a veritable giant - is, in fact, in Vancouver tonight (I should imagine he's still here). He introduced the Pointed Sticks at the Summer of Love yesterday with a spoken word poem of a sort that ended in the words, directed at the audience, "I wish you all death" (or maybe it was just, "I wish you death.") He apparently had been screaming "die" earlier at the Doors tribute band that preceded the Pointed Sticks onstage. While this may seem negative to some of you, I am delighted and cheered to see Art being so grouchy, since it seems to indicate that the fires are still burning in him; if he had just been a polite gracious guy it would have been quite depressing, but "I wish you all death" was, in context, some cool shit for him to say... Through the Pointed Sticks set - dominated by several new songs and Nick Jones' announcement that there will be a new Pointed Sticks album, "to close the circle" - Art wandered around backstage, talking with people who knew him. Afterwards, I decided to come over - I happened to be in full zombie attire, from Zombiewalk - and say hi. "You once came into a video store where I was working in Maple Ridge and signed a copy of Highway 61," I told him, somewhat lamely. "It's great to see you up and around." He got my name, and the fact that I know a couple people who have been involved with him in recent days, and after establishing that I was just being an effusive fan and wanted nothing, muttered, "Misty. Play Misty for me," referring to a 1970's movie in which a radio personality is stalked by an obsessive fan. I took my leave quickly after that, but Art - who was far more motile than I expected, given recent reports of him, though walking with a cane - continued to chat with people. Bev Davies invited me to pose with her for a "zombie attack" photo and I obliged, with Nick Jones reacting in the background...

I also got zombie pics taken with Jon Card, Tim Ray, Tony Bardach (I think), and Danny Shmanny of my favourite neglected Vancouver punk band the Spores. It's funny what being a zombie does to me - I become much more gregarious. Plus I've never had so many strangers ask to pose with me (because several people - from Australian and Asian tourists to a big old guy with a beerbelly who asked me to strangle him on camera - came up); really, I should just walk around in zombie gear all the time. There are too many tales to tell for the moment, and the undead must not upstage the living, but if you see a Leatherface-looking giant on Flickr or Facebook or such, it's probably me. I'm still itchy from all the makeup.

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