A large crowd cued up in the Marshfield/Pembroke Burger King anticipating the beginning of Opening Night for the Marshfield Fair ("New England's largest and oldest fair"). A more antique Bohemian flavor than your usual fast food chain. Steven Tyler mingles and greets people, Steve Correll brings guests unusual food and drink. ST come up and talks to us in anticipation of arrival of featured reader & main event at fair first night - Allen G! There is a swirl of unusual, artistic, old world peoples, elaborate animal clothes, foreign languages & accents. We talk w/ ST when Allen's entourage enters - he is frailer, w/ a much bigger beard than usual. There is a great rush for him but he navigates with ease & comes right over to us, - informal introductions, - he has heard of us through the Naropa circles. We are all pleased & conversate like old friends tho soon time to go & the great rollicking energy of the place is let out when Allen leaves. We agree to meet after the reading - a great party being thrown by an old Russian restauranteur.
We stop at liquor store Rte. 139, a great buzz & crowd of townies in parking lot, many I used to go to high school with. They know nothing of Allen or the great reading, but are planning to visit the Demolition Derby at the fair that nite. We turn them on & soon everyone's excited to go; the entourage doubles. The line around fairgrounds entrance seems endless, but we pass right through into this large barn with a grandstand; tiered medieval looking room lit with huge warlording candled chandeliers. Crowd, raucous as before - barbarian furs, eastern Euro- roughstock, accented, bearded, elaborate evening dress, men & women hard to tell apart. A friendly man I recognize from around town approaches w/ large suitcase - he's been put in charge of what Allen should read tonight and what do we think? He opens suitcase to find all of Allen's books, bound in elaborate, 18th C. type leather, gold calligraphied handwriting on spines, etc. We ponder set list like excited music fans - old farovites chosen - "Howl", "Green Valentine", etc. - I want to suggest "Wichita Vortex Sutra" but we somehow mutually agree on one of his more obscure favorites called "The Beginning." (Later, awake, I check: Allen has no poem called this.)
Allen reads, all a great success, we rush off to restaurant - again, a dark, unusual other occult country feel - old friends are met again at an overflowing bar - talk abounds again with Allen, & other poets.
I end up in conversation with the owner who ushers me away into separate seating area where other non-reading attendees are dining in black tie & dress. There is a large table set for the reading guests that have arrived, tho nobody interested in sitting to eat or casual conversation. The owner - old, eastern European accent, kind dark eyes' penetrating gaze - makes me sit at a table for two with his mother (or ancient wife?). He pulls up a chair & together they take food from her plate & waiters & waitresses continuously bring & feed me the most unusual elaborate & delicious appetizers I have ever tasted ...
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