Monday, November 02, 2009

Meeting Steve... at last

Sunday, November 1, we caught Steve Martin's banjo and bluegrass tour in Eugene. A couple of cast members, Richie and Sara, from last year's production of Steve's play Picasso at the Lapin Agile came along too. We all got to spend a little time with Steve and his wife Anne both before and after the show. Richie said it best after the concert when he told Steve, "I like bluegrass even better after tonight." I couldn't have said it any better myself, so I've been repeating Richie's line ever since.

Steve and his very talented band, The Steep Canyon Rangers,
put on a terrific show composed almost entirely of original material contained on their new cd The Crow. I can't imagine who else could furnish an audience with such a combination of jaw droppingly good bluegrass and endearingly, unremittingly funny asides from this classy comedian.

The house swelled alternately with great music and belly laughs. It was an evening good for the heart and soul. As I watch and listen to Steve perform, the thought takes hold of me that here is a man who has not pissed away his time on this earth; rather, he has tried and done a great many things. Despite hardly knowing him, I feel happy for him and for his wife, Anne, who we hear several times during the show laughing from her seat directly behind us. Good and decent people, both of them disarmingly approachable.

Ajter the show and at the end of our visit with Steve, having a shared backstage a glass of wine and some small talk about last year's Picasso affair, we say our goodbyes. Steve takes my hand enthusiastically, looks me in the eye and says with that almost wacky smile, "Isn't it funny how things work out?"

It sounds like something I wanted to say to him, and it endears him to me that he too has experienced a sense of wonder about what has transpired involving us.

Later on as I turn his comment over in my mind, I'm struck by how companionable the words "funny" and "work" are and how emblematic they are of Steve. He's worked his ass off, and in spite of all that (or perhaps because of it) he has acquired an exquisitely comic sense of the absurd. I imagine it has something to do with recognizing the futility of best laid plans. We try our hardest to work things out, but things have a way of working the way they will.
You either laugh or cry in the face of that. Tonight it's all about laughing.
Funny, isn't it?


Blogger Ginny said...

What an awesome little coda! Glad you were able to catch his show, I'd heard great things about it.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

I'm so glad you finally got to meet him! What a great way to spend time with someone you've such history with. He really is cool. So are you, Dad! ♥

6:37 AM  

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