In the car this evening, Nina Simone was singing, "I told Jesus it would be alright if he changed my name." Her performance was stop-everything-and-just-listen perfection. I'd never heard this song before and wondered if I were mishearing her, the words were so mysterious, like a koan. What does it mean to have Jesus change your name? Online Christian sites say it's about the totality of the conversion experience. Makes sense, but even that's odd. There are all these Westerners walking around with Hindi or Buddhist or Muslim new-names, but I'm not familiar with Christians doing this. I was raised fundamentalist, and being "saved" was a big deal. I still remember the words: "Do you accept Jesus Christ as your one and only lord and savior?" I'm taking mainstream Bible-thumpers, not Martha Marcy May Marlene-type cults. I don't want a rational explanation for "If He Changed My Name." Simone's vocalizations and the enigmatic narrative create a visceral response that analysis adds nothing to, dilutes even.
Here's some pictures from Kevin's birthday party. This is my favorite, which I post guiltily, as people don't look particularly good in it. Note the green-sweatered person on the far left, who's bending backwards or levitating. That's Margaret Tedesco, I believe. She looks like she's pretending to be full-body baptized in a huge pool of water, like the Baptists in my town did.
David Brazil looking wonderfully perverse, with his hand on Sara Larsen's ass.
I deleted what I wrote about Marie Calloway, not because I don't like what I wrote, but because I don't want to be part of that conversation.