Week Two with the Youngers of Zion

As I mentioned earlier, we get out of the camps relatively unscathed, and I am now to be the guest of Mr. Sapoznik in his Upstate Hillbilly compound. Hank is the consummate host and an ace chef to boot. Once again, I am more than well fed.

The chef at work

Grilled Lamb, veggies, the Sapoznik Family recipe bulbes all served with the National drink of Texas.

A few days later, and several more home cooked meals and we’re off to the East Hampton to meet back up with Steve and Cookie, but with this time Cookie’s BF Josh Horowitz in tow. Hank got a speaking gig at the Reform schul there and he talked them into booking the whole Klez Kamp Roadshow to do a foreshortened version for the weekend.

On the way over there from Hank’s place, we decide to stop in and check on the old Klez Kamp location, the Paramount Hotel. Whoa. What a mess. You could see old place under where it burned down a bot and then the new building project that was basically abandoned in mid construction. It was more than eerie and we were glad to put our backs to it.

The drive to the Hamptons was amazing. 6 hours total and the last hour and a half were speant on the last 30 miles, traffic was so bad. We’re being housed in a fine old Victorian house conveniently located right next door to the synagogue. Our first service is to be part of their Kabbalat Shabbat, which was held right on the beach, not but 3/4 of a mile from the house. Not knowing how to dress for such, we are decked out in stage wear while the congregants are in “beach casual.”

They introduce us and we play a few dance numbers, out on the sands, with little kids running all around. Wild!

Afterwards and back at the big house, we cook up some leftovers found in the fridge from the Kosher cooking classes, drink a few of Steve’s signature martini’s and then sit down to pick a few tunes. Cookie and I work out a couple of really great Beregovsky collected tunes for a duet, though I usually play the string bass. Now I have to transpose to 3 string cello (tuned in 5th) and you all get to hear my thought process as we play down the number.

Shabbes tomorrow will be spent by us resting and by Hank lecturing. Steve, Susan and I make the Saturday morning service, chow on the fine bagels and schmear afterwards and then head off on foot to the beach. This is a rare occurrence for me. I haven’t frolicked in the surf in over a decade and that was the gentle beach of Galveston Bay. This is a beach of another type altogether and until I figure the breaks, I get battered by the crashing waves worse than I have ever experienced. It was, in a word, a solid blast. After a few hours we walk back to the house to nap and be prepared for our post Havdala performance.

Hunger and the need for treyf gets the best of us and we take off down the road in search of a new BBQ joint that just opened up. I had a real hard time being understood at the counter as the prices listed looked like by the pound where I hail from, but they only go by the plate (silly Yankees.) My inquiry about the sausage made the owner nervous, but he swore up and down it was his own version of Elgin (TX) style. Whatever. I order for the team getting ribs, chicken, fatty slices and even burnt ends, all served with taters, pickles and slaw on butcher paper (a technique that well heeled locals seemed to not be able to abide.) The house sauces were disappointing to put it charitably, but the meat was happening and the burnt ends a hit. For rich, disaffected East Coasters, it was just this side of alright However, it's the most I've ever spent on cooked meat in my life. And that was no part of Elgin sausage, btw.

Back at the Schul, they are expecting a big crowd as this band packed the place just 2 years ago. But for reasons unknown they’re staying away in droves tonight. No matter however, the expanded Youngers with PJ’s accordion sounds wonderful and Susan Leviton was great as usual, so the small audience was treated to a very intimate experience in a great sounding room.

The dance classes set for the next afternoon are similarly light, which only 7 or so folks showing up. We set up in a corner of the old schul there and Steve gives them everything he’s got, as if there were 100 of them. Our little quartet does the same, playing over these little gems of tunes from German Goldenshteyn and others. Really, can you beat playing for dancers, no matter how few?

Susan, Jerry, Cookie and PJ all head off for thier respective homes right after the show, leaving me with Hank and Steve. In the morning we find a diner on the way out, Hank hands me off to Steve who will be taking me back into the city. From there, I will catch a flight back to Austin, to languish 4 days at my violin shop.

Then it's back on a plane, this time to London to join the staff of Klezfest UK for a week. Then a stop over in NYC to play dates with Andy Statman. I'll be lucky if I recall half of what actually happened. What I do recall, I'll share with you soon.