Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rocking the Block

In our third summer at Humphrey House, we finally made it to our first neighborhood block party a few weeks ago. In the past, we've either been out of town or had other plans, so it was nice to finally attend and get to meet so many of our neighbors and foster a greater sense of community. I grew up in suburbs that never had a regular block party, and after this I can see what I missed out on.

Although thunderstorms showed up around noon, it was a fantastic day. There were games for kids and adults. As our block party organizer put it: "Baggo, biking, beads, basketball, balloons, bouncing, bubbles, balls, and brownies. Mix in lots of rain, some ice cream, music and face painting, and you've got the makings of a great block party!"

Jen and I collected unwanted e-waste and ran it to a local recycling event that happened to be going on that day. And to help with the block party, we setup a beanbag toss tournament, where people paired up with their neighbors and chose a team name with the goal of advancing to a championship where the grand prize was a $25 Fuego Loco gift card. Armed with good bracketology principles, the games went off quite quickly. We even had a separate area for kids to play alongside the adults.

I was fortunate enough to be paired with our neighbor Phil, who was a self-proclaimed rookie. Others began to question that though as he started sinking hole after hole. Since Phil is a trombone player, and I sometimes play fretless bass, we naturally named our team "Unequal Tempered," giving a nod to the infinite number of notes available on these instruments. While our team did advance to the final round, we ended up losing to other musicians, Phil's wife Melanie and our neighbor, Jay.

With all these musicians on the block, it was happily inevitable we would jam. Our neighbor Jay (henceforth called "The Other Jay" to avoid confusion) is a great guitarist, and he led the charge in getting together an impromptu band for the evening. So before dinner, a few of us joined Jen and I in our basement to see what songs we all knew and had in common.

Surprisingly, after there was a lot of songs we all knew and we were able to hash together a pretty good set list. And even better, we found we could all easily play together. With just a couple hours jam time, "Jackson Humphrey and the Twilights" was born.

After a tasty potluck and grill-fest dinner, our block band played (sans Jackson Humphrey, who we all decided was in rehab) in front of Humphrey House, complete with amps, mics, a drum kit, and some candles to set the "stage." At one point, we even had a fantastic line of backup dancers, shaking what their mama gave them. Our set ranged all over the place and included covers of songs by John Prine, Stevie Ray Vauhgn, the Pretenders, Prince, and Jane's Addiction. I was playing bass, "The Other Jay" played guitar and sang, Jen sang and played the only instrument she's comfortable with in public (a tambourine), our new neighbor Mike played guitar, Deonte was rocking the drums, and Phil even brought out his trombone. Later in the night, Melanie even showed off her drumming skills. It was pretty awesome.

The whole experience was a great way to bond as a block, hang out with the neighbors, and find out who these people all are. Best of all, we set the date for closing the street again for another neighborhood block party: October 31.

1 comment:

PowderLover said...

Sounds great. I've never been to a block party either. I'll have to set one up to get to know the neighborhood a little better.