Tuesday, October 23, 2007
General Strom's March, The Eldridge Street Campaign: Poughkeepsie, New York State.
It’s been a long and grueling week playing the back end of New York State with the Eldridge Street Klezmer Orchestra led by Yale Strom. Epic in scale, really.In a sweeping flank attack not seen since Sherman’s March across Georgia, thirteen brave Klezmer musicians crossed the hostile interior of upstate New York, leaving behind a trail of dried trumpet spit, broken strings, buffalo chicken wing bones, and the echoes of countless D minor chords in their wake. Rations were short. Distances were long. The espresso was crap. Erie County will never be the same.The strategy was to first take Poughkeepsie by surprise, because all Klezmoriim are taught from an early age that he who controls Poughkeepsie controls the entrance to the Gentile regions of New York State… The company set up camp in the Grande Hotel, strategically convenient to our later actions at the elegant Bardavon Theater, America’s oldest continuing entertainment venue.Yale knew that if our forces could take the Bardavon, it would strike fear in the enemies’ hearts and break their spirit, making for an easy campaign later, and possibly shorter sound checks. But first, Paul Brody, the Berlin based trumpeter and composer, was sent out to scout for provisions.His report affirmed what we already suspected – Poughkeepsie had been under occupation by a large and surprisingly friendly Mexican force. Using basic Spanish and coarse animal noises, Brody was able to make them understand our situation and friendly intent. The Mexican larders were surrendered without resistance, at only $4.95 for a plate of three fresh spicy pork tacos.Back at the Bardavon, we found that our Jews had already taken positions backstage and were refusing all offers of pork. Nothing could be done to make them eat it. However, these Jews were armed with clarinet and trombone, so we were in no position to argue. Our Jews steadfastly out-perform all other troops in the sonic production of a virtually inpenetrable "wall of sound"... and we would be ill advised to give them cause for grievance. So no pork.The Jews were identified as Yankl Falk and Rachel Lemish, both followers of the Frum Brigade, and sworn to severe and unwavering kosherity. While ostensibly pious and learned, the Jews nevertheless spit copiously into their instruments and make a fearful din by which the enemy is made to tremble and flee. In answer to all inqueries, their answer remains "It's a living."Our leader, Yale, bravely commanding the forces through a difficult Gminor manoeuver in sirba formation.Provisioner Brody releases air from his "axe", Chief Officer Peter Stan lets loose with an unstoppable barrage of deadly Romanian arpeggios, while tropper Jim Whitney stands guard on bass, ever ready lest a stray critic take a shot at our fearless commander, Yale, seen armed only with a violin. Due to unknown restrictions, however, our men were unable to find a bar open after 9:30 pm. A decision was then made to retreat as swiftly as possible under the cover of dawn to a less dry staging zone. Jean and Hanna, our logistics and intelligence brigade, quickly repositioned to a more defensible staging ground.Manning the videography base, our Mohawk Auxiliary grafitti specialist (First Class) Aram flashes the V for Victory sign (although, honestly, with Aram it could be an old gang signal...) and shows no ill signs of the grueling forced starvation march that carried us across New York's bare tundra to meet fate at.... the Battle of Fredonia!