Original Cyn is over.
For over six years, it said Yes to life, in letters the height of a worn bar and a steel pole, in one of the most gloriously divey bars in Brooklyn. For the last three and a half of those years, it was my privilege to be there, to learn to do the same.
I'm not the first to compare OC with going to church, but I suspect that he meant it less literally than I do. In it, I found community. Music. Ritual. The passing of the collection plate. Since the introduction of the Body Shot, there was a Eucharist. And, when Apathy Angel gogoed, visions of God*.
There I met people more amazing than I'd imagined ever knowing -- the insanely brilliant, and the brilliantly insane; lovely bodies, lovely hearts, lovely minds (and usually combinations thereof). Notably Miss Mary Cyn, who started the show (and for whom it was named, and of whom it was an extension). Joe the Shark, who produced it with her for most of the past five years. Nelson Lugo. Schaffer the Darklord. Bea B Heart. Peter Aguero. Juliet Jeske. Bombazeen Bean. I could go on listing names for an hour and still come back the next day with a list of those I'd somehow forgotten. Some of these have honored me with their friendship, while the rest at least politely tolerated me (and I'm grateful for either consideration).
Since Miss Cyn has a goldfish memory for how significantly she touches the lives of those around her, she likely doesn't believe how much her show meant, or to how many. For once, she and I stand in disagreement**. What she created was a bizarre gathering place where the mostly normal and the mostly not could come stand united*** as Cynners beneath a banner of art and sex and booze and irony and the evidence before us that there's more to life than the way we spend most of it.
(About a month and a half ago, the thought struck me that OC was a lot like the Island of Misfit Toys. Though I was secure in this, I still had it confirmed at the very next show, when I overheard Ms. Cyn opine to another patron, "Are you kidding? This is the Bar of Misfit Toys!")
The announcement that it was all ending was well timed -- right after the penultimate show, so it didn't cast a pall over that, while giving as much time as possible for people to free themselves up for the finale. I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt it as a blow. Certainly not to judge by the crowd at the last show.
If you weren't there, the details are irrelevant. It was everything OC had ever been, many times over. Multiple hosts, favorite acts, every person there hungry for every second they could get until the final bow. Then The End of the World played and the afterparty began, with more dancers lining up for their turn on the pole than I'd ever seen. And then, hours later, there were hugs, and tears, and it was done.
None of the tears were mine, though; I have no business mourning. For three and half years, OC was exactly what I needed it to be, and more.
Michael Stipe notwithstanding, the sun rose on a new day, to set into a night changed only by the absence of one tiny, bright star. My privilege now is to be one of those who can look at the place where it no longer shines, and know its name. I have my CBGB's now: my experience of a magic spark that will never be quite duplicated. I've become a regular at Joe Shark's carny/burly Sharkbite Sideshow, and Dottie Dynamo's Bare Necessitease Burlesque has something of the bright and hungry, seat-of-the-pants energy that Miss Cyn describes in the early days of OC. Both are amazing, but neither will ever be OC (nor are they trying, nor should they).
It only now occurs to me that the story of the misfit toys didn't really begin until it was time for them to leave the island. For years, OC was a reef in the open sea, a safe and stable place where colorful things could gather and feed off of one another's scraps in a weird ecosystem of friendship, kinship and creativity. Where they could grow into... whatever they wanted and could, but maybe couldn't without a place to call home. The thing about the reef is, not everything that lives there stays there. Some -- the big fish, usually -- are passing just through. Others start there, but have to hit the ocean to grow up, and make something of their own.
Had it not been for Original Cyn, I wouldn't be all I am now. And while what I am now might not be very impressive, it's a damn sight better than what I was before -- at least I have an I, now. I gained a name (and I'm still not sure how much of that blame I can claim for myself). I gained art to appreciate, and art to create. I gained friends, and people to admire, and ambitions to follow.
And I gained an understanding of saying Yes to life. Enough to know that it often means saying your goodbyes with a smile.
* Or *dess, as you prefer.
** Twice if you count Sucker Punch, but I'm still open to persuasion on that one.
*** Because there was never enough seating.