Last weekend was the big old celebrations for Joe's Pub's Tenth Anniversary.
There was a fancy dinner over at Chinatown Brasserie and a gala concert, honoring Judy Collins and an after party honoring alcohol and its effects on the human body. And then, after all of that, Joe's Pub offered up ten free shows over the course of the weekend that featured Alan Toussaint, Kristen Schaal, John Cameron Mitchell, Adam Duritz, Jill Sobule, John Wesley Harding, Stew, Raoul Midon and a host of other amazing and talented folks that Joe's Pub presents as a matter of routine almost every night of the year.
I could say a whole bunch of stuff about how great the night was, but what happens at a gala stays at a gala (except for the part that ended up in a small planter in front of the Church of Latter-Day Saints on Court Street). But, I think I'm just going to point out that the people who work at Joe's Pub are the greatest collection of generous and genuine music fans you are likely to find anywhere and the fact that they are also the best actual people--folks you want to be friends with because they're nice and funny and quirky and warm and supportive--makes it all the better.
And the gala was a lot of fun, but Shanta, Sara, Jenny, Jo, Alex, Kevin A, Kevin H, KB and everyone else from the managers to the servers of Joe's Pub produce over 600 shows a year and each show has the more-often-than-not realized potential for greatness, so what would you expect? They are tireless (even when they are exhausted), they are committed (and underpaid to prove it), and totally dedicated to the artists that they present (and I include myself as one of these fortunate people).
Last year, Bill and I started talking about what a poster for the Pub might look like. Because of the incredible variety of acts that appear regularly on the stage, no one artist or look really seems to suit the place as an icon. When he left the Pub and went up to Lincoln Center, I made Bill a collage poster featuring many of the acts I had drawn over my first year at Joe's Pub as a goodbye gift. It was one solution.
But, the image above (which I drew during the load-in for Amy Winehouse's American debut at Joe's) is another solution to the challenge. I like the idea of the potential, of the empty stage waiting to become home to something special. We have made 100 prints of this image and I signed and numbered them and you can purchase them through the Pub. And I think they're headed for a T-Shirt as well.
I remember how, in his enthusiasm for Joe's Pub, John described the place as the very special club where everyone would be singing at the end of the world. That moment and that description has been in the DNA of my work there ever since. It's the place, that rarest of places, you want to be; it's a genuine home.