Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tax time

Yesterday I prepared myself to do taxes. And, today I tackled them. I think they're almost done and it wasn't too bad. My system gets better every year. And, every year Bill and I fight less and less. I think we avoid doing taxes because we know we're going to have a big brouhaha (yes, that's a real word). Now, we're more mature (read : OLD), and we know each other's sore points. So, we try to avoid them and just concentrate on getting the work done.  All in all it was not too taxing. HA!

The smoothness of our efforts might be due to the fact that we heard jazz guitarist Al DiMeola last night. He played at Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State College. If you haven't heard Al, please check him out. He's a virtuoso guitarist and an inventive songwriter. I really enjoyed his 5 piece band -  they had  a lot of momentum and the music they created was rich and deep, soothing and electrifying at the same time. It was a good soul cleansing for me.

The best part was that Al (I feel that I can call him Al since Rockwell Hall has such an intimate feel) spoke to the audience before he began. He introduced everyone in the band, gave a little background, talked about how he couldn't remember the last time he'd been to Buffalo (while about 10 people were yelling from the audience" Artpark" or "the Tralf") and was completely human. It was so refreshing. It really bugs me when "artists" walk onto the stage, play a set, say "GOODNIGHT BUFFALO" and then leave. What is the point? I need to have that little piece of them just to make the concert more meaningful, more memorable and more personal.

It's one of the reasons I like to hear authors when they come to speak. I'm always curious about what they are really like. In the last few years we've had a number of authors come to speak in Buffalo - and I've tried to hear as many as I could. I've formed an opinion about all of them - not based on their writings, but on their stage presence.

My all time favorite author, Ann Patchett, spoke at the Montante Center a couple of years ago. After addressing the crowd for about an hour, I determined that she and I could be best friends. Margaret Atwood? As much as I wanted to love, love, love her (she's Canadian and I've read her since I was a kid), she came across as aloof and slightly pissed off at the audience. Ha Jin had a great sense of humor, despite the fact that his book "Waiting" was one of the most depressing books I've every laid my hands on. Salman Rushdie was hilarious and a little obnoxious and vain (but, my GOD! Padma Lakshmi married him  - he should be full of himself). 

I wonder about those big celebrities and their crazy lifestyles. Do they sit down with their spouses to figure out their taxes in March? I can't imagine them looking at their records and trying to remember what that $65.00 bill at Office Max was for or who they entertained at the Seafood place in May. Maybe tax time is what finally split up Padma and Salman? It could happen. And poor Al can't even remember what city he's played for heaven's sake. I hope he has a business manager who understands him as well as Bill and I understand each other.

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