Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘NJ’

Kooky Kyle takes the cake on the last UCB of the quarter with the topic “lightning”.  Him and I were actually discussing this topic while cruising around the streets of NYC on my most recent jaunt back east (see blog: A Trip Back East for those deatails). Out of all of my friends he was the only one to come see my performance in the East Village and for that I was rather stoked.  He had never heard me play before and I think was left a bit awestruck good or bad I do not know.  He gets one point for his efforts.  Sorry Kooky no double points for you.

I have two interesting stories to tell about lightning and although rather far fetched I can vouch for both and actually have witnesses for both.  When it comes to something as crazy as lightning anything is possible.  A fellow psychotic die hard surfer gave me some wise advice when I was a teen “There are two things you should never mess with, sharks and lightning”.  I have yet to heed his warning.  I fuck with both.  Surfing in some of the most shark infested water to surfing through full on lightning storms.  That brings us to our first story.

The Flaming Barrel

 About seven years ago or so I was out surfing in front of the Lost Castle (nickname given to my run down beach bungalow I lived in on 2nd Ave, Manasquan, NJ.  Currently we call my abode in Santa Barbara the Lisanti Palace although it is far from a palace and more like a run down crack house.).  It was mid August and the surf had been down for nearly two weeks.  We finally got an inkling of a tropical swell with a very short window.  I am talking hours here.

Conditions were trash with heavy onshore winds thanks to the extremely hot weather.  In the summer NJ on such days as a result of all the humidity is garnished with intense thunderstorms.  The storms bring a good deal of thunder and lightning. They also bring offshore winds with them.  The catch is the offshore winds usually only last while the storm is hitting.  This makes for perfect yet dangerous surfing conditions.

We like to call these surf sessions, electric sessions for obvious reasons.  My buddy Sorbo and I had paddled out at Sea Watch beach and were making the most of the crowded chest high blown to shit conditions.  As we are sitting out there we noticed the ominous black clouds on the horizon, which could only mean one thing, bad weather.  As always when adverse weather arrives on the beach there is a mass exodus of fleeing beach goers to escape the rain and lightning.

The storm cleared the line up and the wind began to pick up turning absolute garbage into perfect little cylinders.  Immediately we found ourselves getting shacked off our ass.  Then it started to rain, torrential down pour.  It was raining so hard it made it hard to see.  Still using my surf senses I was grabbing good tube after good tube.  The lightning started and we could tell this was not going to be one of these thunderstorms where the lightning stayed up in the clouds or hit far away.

Sorbo and I could see it hitting all around us and at one point even felt the heat from the strokes.  At this point we thought of leaving, but my justification for staying out was that it was most likely more dangerous to get out and run up the beach for cover.  Lightning loves to get people on the beach. Sorbo was a tough sale, but I told him I read it somewhere.  Rule of thumb when attempting to convince a person on anything tell them “you read it somewhere or saw it on the news”.  Nine times out of ten they will take your word for it.

Right after we made the decision to stay and surf I ended up snagging a solid head high bowl and backed doored the thing.  While in the barrel all I could see was yellow and orange and it was hot in there.  Then I came out and there was a huge crash of thunder.  I was all disoriented and Sorbo was sitting on the shoulder with a crazed look in his eyes.  According to his account a bolt of lightning hit the wave as I pulled in and all he saw was a bright flash of light and then me coming out of the barrel.

I believe that because I was in the tube the voltage went all around me with the water but never touched me.  I came out griming with no idea what happened or how close I had come to be fried.  Shortly after the storm cleared, the wind went back onshore and the crowd showed back up.  By far it was one of the strangest surfing experiences I have ever had.

The Circle of Death

It was the summer of 2002, mid August. Like I said that is peak thunderstorm season.  A group of my close friends, including my old roommate Cory, Mookie, CH, Brian M. and a few others were helping out with this free one day surf clinic at Manasquan Inlet courtesy of Quicksilver.  This was before all the surf camp mambo jumbo of today.  I was working at Ocean Hut Surf Shop at the time and was let out early to go represent the shop as another instructor.  I got there just as the thunderstorm was beginning to roll in and everyone scurrying off the beach for their lives.

I was standing under this cabana type thing they have up on the ocean walk there (Manasquan does not have a board walk, but an asphalt paved walk way along its beach front) slyly filling my pockets with Quicksilver promo gear.  I heard one of the loudest crashes of thunder I have ever auscultated in my entire life.  Upon looking up I saw all of my friends lying on their backs on the beach.

I wanted to go running to their aid, but then checked myself.   The lightning was not letting up and if they got hit they were probably dead anyway and I was not nearly qualified to give the kind of aid they would have needed for survival anyhow.  I stood there momentarily horrified.  Then one by one they began to get up and stagger back to the cabana.  As it turns out a bolt of lightning struck the sand directly in front of them and the whole group was brought down by the excess shock. Cory claims it was one of the scariest moments of his life.  All I can say is it was nuts to witness.

Read Full Post »

Where have I been you ask?  I really hope no one is posing this question.  There was a time when my life could have been like one of those “Where’s Waldo” books.  These days I am rather happily complacent (complacent is a stretch) at my quaint Santa Barbara home.  To be honest I am rather happy, at least the happiest version of Chris Lisanti I have yet to know.

For the last seven days I have been running amuck back in my old stomping grounds Manasquan, NJ and the East Village, NYC.  Life is funny, five months ago if you told me I would be sitting in an airport terminal at Newark, NJ in August writing a recap blog I would have made some strange PHSSSSST type sound effect and cruised.  Here I am.

Proximity

How did I get here?  It all started with a night of depression drinking followed by a series of parties.  That’s right every now and again my reckless lifestyle puts forth an opportunity.  I met this incredibly nice guy, Ken at a party of a mutual friend.  We got to talking and next thing I know he was calling me to work on some music with him for this original play he was looking to put on over the summer.

At first I was hesitant, but I read the script and fell in love with the play, well I think it is the last few lines that always get me all choked up being a hopeless romantic despite my cavalier façade of a womanizer.  Then Ken played me some of the music and I was sold.  He had written one of the most fun contemporary scores I have ever heard for a show.  Being rather burnt out on doing any work what so ever for musical theatre this was saying a great deal.  I signed on not quite knowing what I was getting myself into.

I showed up to this potluck dinner at this ridiculous mansion up in the hills of Montecito, immediately thinking I was in the wrong place.  As usual I arrived about a half hour late.  I find it easier to walk into a party with everyone already there so I can case out the situation and make a stealthy escape if I find the scenario to be one of agitation.  Upon walking in the door I found myself being hugged by eight different people.

That was almost enough to send me running for the hills, but they seemed harmless enough and they were after all theatre people.  It was an amazing evening and the passion these young people had for their craft was mesmerizing to me.  They ended up sucking me in to their “family”, the Proximity family.  Being on my own again for the first time in two years it felt nice to belong to a group so full of goodness and love.

We delved into work and next thing I knew I found myself learning dance steps for a music video, on the beach dressed in all black running through the ocean like a banshee, playing saxophone at a benefit event in a group who’s style was deemed “electro-pop-funk” where I took the stage for the first time in eight years.  Then there were exhaustingly frustrating eight-hour rehearsals, tantrums, disagreements and finally the formation of a remarkable piece of work.

We ran three shows in Santa Barbara for a packed house and were well received.  I had friends in the audience who never even knew I played the sax and were blown away.  From Santa Barbara we were rushed out to NYC to do the show all over again in the East Village, the first time I would play in the city in ten years.  Life can be amazing at times.

NJ

 I took full advantage to of the opportunity.  I usually only get to see my family once a year at Christmas time.  The last time I was at the Jersey shore in the summer time was when I lived there four years prior.  I decided to build a few extra days in before the show to go spend some quality time with my folks and sister.  Truth be told I had been feeling a little bit home sick the last few months and wanted to remind myself why I left.

All I can say is that NJ is a hellhole.  Its hot and sticky even at 2am in the summer and then in the winter you freeze your ass off.  No thank you, I will take the predictable moderate climate of Santa Barbara any day.  The surf was flat the entire time yet some how I managed to break my toe while fucking around in knee high surf finless.   If you want to know more about my Jersey surf sessions visit the surflog.

It rained nonstop for two whole days and was deemed by the weather service a record rain fall for that time of year.  Seriously?  Last time I was home for Christmas I got dumped on by five feet of snow and was stuck inside for three days.  The last time I surfed in NJ before this trip I cut my foot open requiring eight mattress stitches and severed a tendon that never really healed correctly.  That is what you get when you don’t have medical insurance boys and girls.  I am telling you New Jersey hates me.

I did have a grand old time on the party scene, getting to pre game with my boys Kiefer and Greg P at his pad in Asbury, met up with my old roommate and downtown SB partner in crime Cory Kisiel, which lead to a black out, old habits die hard.  Kooky Kyle brought me by the Porch to catch up with none other then Bojangles and Scotty B.  My friend Micheala took me to some fun bar in Asbury that had plastic sand pails full of rum (that was a mistake).  Kooky, Val and I went to some bar in Avon that had tiny little 8oz beers for a $1 where I ended up getting absolutely sloshed for $13.

Kooky and I hit on some random girls just to show my sister what a lurk was all about.  I pretended to be from California, but it went horribly wrong.  As it turned out they knew me from when I lived in NJ and call me out. “Your name is Chris Lisanti right? Weren’t you a pro surfer?”  We slunked away defeated into the corner and had a laugh and half about it.  They were ugly anyway and lucky I even talked to them.  It was only to entertain Val who was nice enough to be my designated driver.  I have a woman I am seeing back in Santa Barbara right now who as far as I am concerned is far better looking, intelligent and straight up more amazing then anything Jersey could even try and temp me with.

I even ran into former Jerseyite Beth Anne, now living in Laguna, but was in town visiting her family as well.  As usual we exchanged the same words “I hate this place, can’t wait to go back to California”.  I bumped into former Lisanti Land character Jiggles, who I barely recognized thanks to a major weight loss.  I guess we should not call him Jiggles anymore.

Catching up with my family was as good as it ever could be.  Besides a few tiny scuffles my mother and I got on famously.  We had some quality walks on the beach, I cooked a few scrumptious dinners, and breakfasts, including banana fosters waffles.  I think everyone gained a few extra pounds on my stay.  My parents and I played a round off golf at the course I used to be the assistant greens keeper at (I asked if the same horse’s ass owned it and I could immediately tell by the look in the girl’s eyes who took our fare that it was, look for an odd jobs on that job one of theses days).  Apparently they have been practicing cause they stomped my ass.  I was easily fifteen strokes behind.  I think it is just that I play better high and the chronic in NJ sucks, on top of being highly illegal.

On my last day I even got to catch up with my good old friend and one of my very first minions, Sorbo.  If you remember back to the myspace.com days he was almost killed in a horrific motorcycle accident.  Since then I guess he has been just floundering trying to figure out his next step in life.  We ended up bombing some hills in the Brielle Cemetery together.  I had not skated that since I was in high school.  I gave him a passport to Lisanti Land and an open invitation.  I really hope he takes me up on it.  A little time out in my world I think will do him a bit of good.

NYC

The last time I was in New York City was also four years ago and my time and a good deal of my money was spent at these gnarly ultra private clubs in the meatpacking district.  I am talking about places with no sign that look like an abandoned building, but then were super luxurious inside.  This time I was there on business to help tell the story of Shandy Wilkes through the melodic prowess of my soprano saxophone.

The show ran from Thursday the 18th to Saturday the 20th at the Robert Moss Theatre in the Village.  Initially I was far from impressed by the capacity of the small sound stage.  As soon as I pulled out my horn and began to blow I fell in love with the room.  By far one of the best sounding spaces I have played in.

Taking the train in everyday was quite the three-hour adventure, driving from my parents’ home in Manasquan to Metro Park, 45 minutes.  Taking the train from Metro Park to Penn Station another 45 minutes, then finally walking from 32nd street to 4th street in the village around another thirty minutes or so.  It was fun for the three days I had to do it.  If I had to commute into the city every day like most workers do I would kill myself.

Friday night’s show went down in front of a packed house, standing room only at times.  I felt in my opinion it was the best I had seen the actors perform the show.  I was blown away and that is saying a lot for me.  Saturday I went into the city with my parents, where we met up with my aunt and ejoyed a nice Italian dinner before heading over to theatre.  It was the first time my parents have heard me play live in ten years.  They really enjoyed the show, although no comment was made about my personal playing either way.  From my mother that means it must have sounded good cause although not apt to give a complement she is the first to criticize.

All in all I would have to say it was one of the more enjoyable trips I have had back to my childhood home.  Still it is very nice to be back in California, which really feels like home to me. One thing I will say and maybe this is me getting sentimental in my old age is that I felt a bit sad to be leaving my family behind for another six months till Christmas.

A special thanks goes out to Micheala for filling Nick the Kook’s shoes in his absence, being in Chile, driving me to surf, lending me a board and helping me stay in the party.  Sorbo gets a salutation for helping me pack and ship some new threads I bought. For those of you who don’t know him, Sorbo is a master at the art of packing and shipping.  Kooky Kyle and Cory Kiesel for buying me one two many drinks and my folks for being decent to me.   And my boy Ryan back in California for holding down the fort.  Thanks everyone, with out you Lisanti Land would be not half as fun.

Here are some really terrible photos I took with my cell phone.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »