Disco Dancing with David

If I had known I was going to spend the better part of my Sunday evening dancing and sweating all over David Byrne, I wouldn’t have worn a wool sweater.

I was leaving New York the next day to return home to Chicago. My brother Patrick and I had been ambling around downtown Manhattan, pretending to be appalled at the chain stores all over SoHo. The day was warm but damp so I spent my day twisting my hair into a knot off my neck, wrapping and unwrapping my wool coat around my waist, ordering hot chocolate then letting it cool before drinking it up.

We were feeling restless, killing time because we had nothing but time to spend. Patrick is rather frugal and I was worried I’d already spent too much money on my short vacation in the city. I don’t remember who suggested we swing by the Public Theater to see if there was any chance of scoring tickets to the last performance of “Here Lies Love”.

But I wasn’t trying to buy full price tickets for a sold out disco musical about Imelda Marcos that we’d already seen twice. Shouldn’t we head uptown to see that Sting musical, or maybe this “Newsies” show the kids on the internet keep going on about?

If my life were a television show this is where we’d smash cut to the two of us clutching our tickets, squealing in the elevator as it brought us up to the third floor space where the musical is staged. We made it in just as the show got started, finding spots together on the crowded dance floor.

Once the show got going, I was either singing, dancing, jumping, squealing, or some combination of all four actions. I tried not to pay attention to David Byrne, one of the show’s composers, because I am super cool and I know better than that. But it’s hard not to notice him because:

  1. David Byrne has bright white hair that is very big.
  2. David Byrne was wearing a bright red jumpsuit.
  3. David Byrne is David Byrne.

This probably would have been the time to remind myself that as a not-born-but-legit-bred New Yorker, famous people turning up at a show they wrote, or sitting behind you at a coffee shop, is not an actual big deal so stop freaking out Jasmine you big dummy. But if I can’t freak out anymore over seeing Lou Reed (RIP) talking to his dog walker in the West Villege while wearing the biggest pair of white geriatric sneakers I’d ever seen, or catching Luke Perry (I KNOW) slinking around the corner from St. Mark’s Place onto First Avenue, then who can I squeal over? A Kardashian?

But this wasn’t the time to saunter over and casually say “You know, Mr. Byrne, I just wanted to tell you that I really like that you biked over here.” What I really wanted to do was get him to line-dance with me like we were doing the cha-cha slide at my favorite cousin’s wedding while we sang “Here Lies Love”, his song, to each other:

I know that when my number’s up
When I am called by God above
Don’t have my name inscribed into the stone
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—

And then of course we’d collapse crying in each other’s arms and go out for pancakes after the show.

Patrick mentioned later that being so close to the show’s composer made him wonder if he needed to up his dance game. I slyly admitted that maybe the exact same thought had crossed my mind but I was too busy channeling the spirit of disco Imelda Marcos, swiveling my hips seductively (read: leaping in the air like I caught the spirit) and patting my imaginary lacquered pompadour (read: headbanging) to care.


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