Monday, December 05, 2005

Five Hundred Six Hundred and Twenty-five Minutes

That's Ben's version of it, anyway. Saw Rent on Friday with Megan and had never seen it on stage but loved loved loved it. Cried during most of the big songs (oh, those harmonies kill me! I will forever be trying to figure out a way to sing all the parts at once - in spite of the fact that my experience with the Tonight medley from WSS hasn't panned out thus far) and sobbed at the end. Tormented Ben with the CD when I got home. Wished I had been a good-looking hipster junkie performance artist in the eighties squatting in a four-thousand square foot loft in the East Village with no electricity and no money for “last year’s rent” instead of a Gap-clad depressed Upper West Side waitress in the eighties living in a duplex with a fireplace and a roof garden and no money for last year’s rent. Also it took me back to when I was absolutely sure I’d grow up to be a Broadway star, and although that didn’t pan out, I still sometimes have pangs that I didn’t do anything with my music. I’m not sure the movie was intended to leave one with the many layers of feelings that it left me with – yes, it’s a sad movie, about AIDS and violence and addiction and gentrification, but it’s also about love and art and friendship and family – but I’m pretty sure that Jonathan Larson wasn’t thinking about little Betsy Crane when he based it on La Boheme, or that the three chords he uses from the opera would send me into weepy convulsions thinking about my mom, who sang both female leads at different times, and my own childhood singing in La Boheme, which is about as Rent of a childhood as it gets, really, both literally and metaphorically and literametaphorically, although we had electricity – barely. There was a brief almost-evicted panic the summer of 69, if I have my years right. The funny thing is that my life now is more Rent than ever, minus the heroin and plus the rent paid on time and plus the living my life as fully as I know how. For whatever reason, as much that I couldn’t afford the rent as anything else, I couldn’t get my true bohemia on in New York. Ok, so I’m a little tired past ten these days, and don’t have much of an urge to light up the night. So I try to light up the day. Anyway, it’s about connecting, and living your life in the moment, and best of all it’s completely earnest, which rocks my world these days. How do you measure the life of a man? How about love?

7 comments:

teo said...

Wow. Really nice post today, Bets. Thanks.

Betsy said...

Well thank you!

B said...

I'm glad you got to see it...I just think it was beautiful...mimi and joanne and everyone...

Great post.

DAM said...

Yes, by love.

I went to a party at your West Side place. I thought it was great. You did a BBQ.

On another note. Somber. I profiled a woman who has an org. in memory of her artist cousin who died of cancer in her teens. The org. showcases the art of children and teens with chronic illnesses. Each show ends with the song from "Rent." How do you measure the life of a man? Definitely love. (I'm crying right now.)

Betsy said...

Debra, I'd be crying too! That's intense.
I forgot you'd been to that apartment. We did a lot of BBQs over there.

Donny B said...

I just Rent over the weekend, too. Although I didn't love love love it, some of those songs are so moving they're almost brutal. No day but today...that message never gets old.

smussyolay said...

this post is exactly how i WANTED to feel about rent. but i didn't. at all. i left thinking, "maybe i *don't* like musicals."

which is NOT what i wanted to think at all.

now, i never saw it on the stage. i haven't really seen any musicals on the stage, to my recollection. not any real broadway full-blown stage-y ones.

but, yeah. i saw this and was saddened that i didn't like it like i wanted to.

glad you could articulate what it was that i hoped would happen.