I often take the Long Island Rail Road into New York, particularly if I am going to be in Manhattan, and double particularly if I plan to drink. Inbound night trains are usually spaced out pretty far, but generally on time.
Saturday, the train was late.
I have learned long ago, there is little benefit in losing one’s shit over late trains. So I accepted this reality, standing wallflower-style against an Optimum Online billboard, sipping the remains of my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
A guy who was passing by, but in no hurry, struck up a conversation with me. Brown-skinned, about 5’10″, perhaps in his late 40′s, despite the lack of any grey hairs mingling among his sideburns. We talked. He was upset that he had to work and couldn’t watch the Mayweather-Ortiz fight.
At some point, I asked him what he did.
“I’m an entertainer,” he said.
“Oh!” I’m always interested in entertainers of course. “What kind?” I inquired, thinking how disappointed I was going to be if he said “juggler.”
As it happens, in the past he has been a lead singer with the soul group MSFB. He has worked with The Funk Brothers, George Benson and Freddie Jackson. He produces and performs his own Michael Jackson tribute show that he guarantees is unlike any other. He is working to bring it to large venues, starting with an upcoming New York appearance at Canal Room in November.
He’s no juggler.
No, Michael (ironically) Clark has an interesting background story that includes involvement in the music business and working with legends, even visiting the Jackson family. He is working to stage a bit of a personal comeback mixed with a fulfillment of his musical performance dreams that have been just out of reach for a decade.
The train sounded its horn, finally entering the station, eager to carry me into the underbelly of the Big Apple, a place I was not only visiting that night, but now, a place I will be sure to visit on November 18 when Canal Room hosts what could possibly be the best Michael Jackson tribute around.
Because it’s part of an interesting story.