Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Peeps Are Bustin' Out All Over

It's June, 'nuff said.

Here are some characters we've met this season.

"Chivas Guy"

We're playing a simcha in the Five Towns and are set up next to the bar. There's no bar service at this event, but the host has set up a nice selection of scotch and bourbon on the bar for people to enjoy. The selection consisted of Glenrothes Select Reserve and Glenrothes '91, Tomintoul 16 Year, Talisker, Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve Distillers Select and more. Not exactly a low-budget selection. We were quite surprised to notice one fellow sidle up to the bar, peruse the selection, and then surreptitiously slip a hip flask out of his pocket and pour himself one. We made eye contact when he looked up to see if anyone had noticed this. So, he came over and explained: "I'm from Brooklyn! We don't know from this single malt stuff. Chivas! That's the good stuff!" Then "Chivas Guy" walked off carrying his drink.

"Business Card Lady"
"Business Card lady is a piece of work. A shadchan, she's having a conversation with a potential client right in front of us. She soon realizes she'll need to take some information down. Her first question to us, "Do you have a card?", is immediately followed up with "Do you have a pen?" Classy. Get your scrap paper elsewhere, lady!

"Podium Cellphone Guy"
This is the guy who needs to be on his cell phone throughout the entire simcha he's attending. Naturally, the best place to do this is leaning on the podium in the front of the room so everyone can notice he's so busy.

"Hat Lady"
In the summertime, you'll run into the "Hat Lady" at various brunch events. A regular at all the proper ladies social events, she's a true woman of mystery. No one knows what she looks like, because you'll never see her face.

"The Poetess"
"The Poetess" is the event MC who must deliver all of her remarks in rhyme. Think BY yearbook or Dr. Suess on a really bad day. Did we mention that there were thirty speakers (1-2 minutes each) all of whom needed to be introduced?

"The Shul Choir"
"The Shul Choir" performs at the shul dinner. It's apparently the only time they get to perform outside of services. A reasonably talented bunch, they have no clue about programming. Guys, the third song was overkill. The fourth was beating a dead horse. We won't even talk about the "encore". Special programming tip: when choosing repertoire for your own shul dinner, you might try something other that the "Adon Olam" and "Etz Chayim" you regularly perform in shul.

"The Polka Dancer"
This guy polka dances to everything, even "Walk This Way". Note to his long-suffering spouse: Truly, we feel for you!

"Harmonica and Spoons Player"
"I brought my harmonica. I'm going to grab a quick bite and then I'll come sit in with you." Words that strike fear in a bandleader's heart. Unless spoken by Howard Levy or perhaps Jason Rosenblatt. Did we mention he plays spoons too? We found that out when we switched keys to a scale he couldn't reach on any of his three harmonicas.

The "Masticating Dance Leader"
This fine specimen spends her entire gig as dance leader chewing gum. She adds a very classy touch to your upscale affair.

"Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator"
The scene: a Bat Mitzvah in an undisclosed restaurant.
The parents of the Bat Mitzvah were hosting their first big event and they needed handholding throughout the event. They hired the "Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator" to run their event. They needed her to run everything. If the schedule said speeches were to be at 1:20, then they needed her to come over and tell them it was OK to start the speeches, even though everyone was seated and they could have just gotten up and started them. If a dance set had just ended and the next course was scheduled, they needed her to tell them it's time to move to the next course. The fact that the reastaurant manager or bandleader had said this wasn't good enough. They needed to hear it personally from the party coordinator.

In light of this, we were a bit surprised when the party coordinator stepped out in middle of the event, telling us that "if anyone is looking for me, I'll be next door." We assumed she was stopping in to chat with a friend for a few. Soon enough, the restaurant manager came over looking for her. There were speeches on the program and the clients needed her to tell them they could begin. They needed to speak to her personally and were getting progreesively more nervous as it was now ten minues after speeches should have begun. So, we went next door... to the nail salon, it turned out... where the "Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator" was sitting getting her nails done! Only on Long Island, folks!