Monday, May 30, 2005

I will persist until I succeed

Warning: Spoilers ahead.
If you're waiting for the John Gordon wedding celebration report, it might be worthwhile to wait until someone tells you in person. Some of what's below comes across best face-to-face.


It's been a crazy weekend. Saturday morning I got up early and took a car (together with Rob) to the airport so we could fly to North Carolina. We met Marina at the Raleigh-Durham airport and rented a car to drive to John Gordon's (parents') house, where he was celebrating his August marriage in Beijing (where he lives) to Catherine/Liu Lan.

First of all, John's parents house is unbelievably amazing. It's got more rooms than I could count (and I never even made it upstairs); the yard is gigantic and perfectly landscaped; the ceilings in the entranceway and living room are probably 40 feet high; oh, and it's built around a caboose. Yep, a former actual train car is just next to the kitchen. Plus, in front of the house (and I didn't count this in the 'yard'), is a field that's easily longer and wider than a football field.

Apparently his parents are moving soon, to a house they've got about 30 minutes away; Rob, Marina and I thought we should put in an offer.

We got to the house and John and Liu Lan were off somewhere making photocopies, but we met his mother and father, and his brother Will put us to work helping set up. When John and Liu Lan came back I finally met her and saw John in person for the first time in literally 3 years.

I pretty much hung out with Marina and Rob all day, which was nice because I don't see enough of either one. We also ate without stopping from around 2 until maybe midnight. There was sooo much food and it was all so good. Even when I was full I couldn't stop myself from grabbing another spinach mini-quiche, bite of bruschetta, or piece of key lime pie or wedding cake.

John and Liu Lan just bought an apartment in Beijing; she works for an American university's program there, and John is Vice-President of a new English school. There's this amazing poster that they had up in various buses/etc in Beijing with John on it. The poster's entirely in Chinese except for the slogan printed across the top: "I will persist until I succeed." Spectacular.

The real highlight, though was finding out that John performed on a sort of Chinese version of StarSearch, singing a song in Chinese. On this show, the audience votes who wins between 4 contestants. John won!! The competition was tough, too, especially a hula hooping set of twins that threw hoops to each other across the stage and caught them mid-spin. John refused to show us the video because he was too embarrassed, but we felt confident that by the end of the night we could wear him down.

I can't even begin to express how impressed I was by his performance. The show purports to follow the contestants for 6 days as they train, but actually they script the training vignettes. John's practicing in the apartment with Liu Lan was very funny, and his singing trainer was as well, but what made it all come together was the passion and energy he had on stage. I definitely can't sum it up for you here, so until I find the link online (doubtful since I can't read Chinese), or John sends out copies on DVD, you'll just have to trust me. Oh my god it was amazing. Also amazing: that one of the people who recognized him from the show said to him "I've never met a real pop star before!" Neither had I.

We stayed up altogether too late, each got an 'I will persist' poster, woke up altogether too early, and flew back to our homes (sleeping pretty much from takeoff to landing). Rob and I had a breakfast together in Brooklyn, and I intended to take a 20 minute nap and then go enjoy the gorgeous day in Prospect Park. Except I woke up at 7:30. So the day was a wash and going out was out of the question. I couldn't even motivate enough to walk the two blocks to Music Matters to buy the Antony & the Johnsons record I Am A Bird Now, which is amazingamazingamazing (got it this morning). I had intended to pick up the new Sufjan Stevens, and I stopped in on the way home to do so, but apparently it isn't out until July. With Antony as a backup plan I have no complaints.

on an unrelated note, the Pernice Brothers decided it would be a good idea to have a version of MTV Cribs for indie musicians/actors called MTV2 Cribs. the page ends with the lines "For any of you producer types who are having a difficult time visualizing my idea, I took it upon myself to shoot a short pilot. And now I ask that you please sit back and enjoy the show." and I did (thanks Stereogum).

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

good to hear about the trip. i need a copy of that poster. pernice bros home movie was excellent. they need to make more short films.

dave said...

who's this?

the posters are in high demand, but (in the US at least) relatively short supply. you should really see one, though. it's impressive in person.

Mikelus said...

Reasons #3,042 and #3,043 why I wish I was John Gordon instead of myself.

Then again, I'm still waaaay better than him at NBA HangTime so we'll call it a push.