Flooded Festival

Crowded Hoboken Stage
Crowded Hoboken Stage

Twice a year, Hoboken hosts a fantastic street fair, the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival.  I look forward to these things all year!  There’s a vast array of artists and their work, fun jewelry, ridiculous Jersey paraphernalia and all the food on a stick you could possibly want.

Despite the rain, the town decided not to cancel the day.  ThomTheBaptist was still too hung over from Friday night to drag his ass to Hoboken, so I decided to go it alone.   No frickin’ way was I missing out on my Mozzarepa.  I strapped on my new zippy zapatos and headed downtown.  I threw an umbrella in my bag but elected not to use it as it was such a gentle drizzle and the temperature was comfortable.

As I worked my way into the crowd, the rain started coming down a bit harder.  I walked the length of the fair, pausing at the more interesting booths.  I spent the majority of the time guarding my retinas from the pointy ends of my fellow fair-attendants’ umbrellas.  It’s all arts and music ’til somebody gets their eyes poked out.  Holy mother of mauling, Batman.

By the time I hit the bottom of the fair, the rain was coming down pretty steadily.  My hat and sweatshirt kept me feeling dry and warm, however.  I worked my way back towards the top of the fair, stopping to pick up my local honey (and maybe a bag of deep fried Oreos which I’ll probably purge as soon as I get this published).

At the tip top beginning of the festival, a band was playing a Springsteen cover.  (In Jersey.  Imagine that.  Hmm.)  By now the rain was pouring.  I bobbed and weaved through the sea of umbrellas to get a peek at the stage.  Holy shit there were thirteen people on that tiny little mobile stage.  Six people in the horn section alone.  Yes folks, there was a horn SECTION.  Giggling madly I decided to wait and see if they were strictly E Street covers or if there might be some Bon Jovi in the mix.

In addition to the horn SECTION (one player for every fifty pounds of Clarence Clemons), there was a drummer, a bass player, three guitarists, a keyboard player, and the lead singer.  All were clearly Stevens frat boys (with the exception of the single gal on horn – fortunately not french – the horn not the girl) wearing the standard uniform of un-tucked plaid button-down shirt over a white t-shirt and jeans.

Surprisingly they segued into Black Magic Woman.  That’s when the diminutive, long haired guitarist exploded.  Every other member of the band had at least a foot of height on this guy.  His napoleonic complex was clearly the motivation for the excessive shimmying, swaggering and swishing.  And I loved him.  For the thirty soggy spectators (that’s two audience members for each band member in case you’re keeping count) he collapsed to his knees for the opening riff and got uncomfortably intimate with his guitar.  The old lady next to me actually gasped and looked at him with awe.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

As we moved through “Play That Funky Music” and “Saturday in the Park” we were treated to high kicks, James Brown-esque shuffles, and more hair flipping than Ozzfest.  I caught several other audience members giggling in response to particularly theatrical moves.  I wondered where he practiced these moves.  I mean, he couldn’t possibly have the space in his dorm room to do repeated roundhouse kicks with his guitar strapped on and plugged into his amp.  I guess it’s a good thing he’s on the short side.  At least it’s a smaller kicking radius to keep obstacle free.

I could have watched him endlessly…but the water finally made it through my sweatshirt, then shirt, and was starting to pool in my bra.  Suddenly I realized I was freezing.  Rather than catching swine flu and having Rocco worry his ulcer into a bleeding frenzy, I (and my soggy sneakers) boogied back home.