Tuesday afternoon I rang the bell at Bernice’s and was buzzed in. The bar’s closed on Tuesdays but I was there to paint a portrait of Steve, the guy who runs the place. I’ve only been coming to the place a little over a year but it feels like a regular part of the routine. Steve and I developed an easy rapport pretty quickly. That’s not what usually happens when I meet people. Maybe it’s his many years behind the bar or perhaps the fact he’s been making his own art for decades. In any case, I’m not in a position to take any friendship lightly these days.
After the painting was finished, his mom, Bernice, came out from the back to take a look. She stared at it a minute, then said, “You found the secret Steve…” I took that as a good thing.
Saturday my friend Bill put me on the guest-list for his gig at Lincoln Hall. Him and his friend Ryley were opening for a couple touring bands. I stuck around for a song or two of the band which followed them but it was the kind of thing where you can tell from the band members’ haircuts what their music would sound like. I was happy to’ve heard my friends play at a larger venue anyhow.
p.s. I wrote a review of Alex Abramovich’s Bullies. An entertaining account of how he tracked down the kid who tormented him in school, who went on to found an Oakland motorcycle club.