So… what is it with people? To steal from Chris Rock- I LOVE Ukraine, but I hate Ukrainians. Let me back up…
New Years Eve the funk band was booked to play a wedding. Now, this is our second New Years Eve wedding in as many years, and they usually are a lot of fun. The couple that booked us for this job HAPPENED to be Ukrainian. Both bride and groom were as nice as could be, and while they were looking for a band for their event, they realized that both Andy K. and I are Ukes, and that there was a possibility that we could do some Ukrainian repertoire. (I think they googled FUNK / BAND / WEDDING / UKRAINIAN and were sent to the PFA site. Cool!) Anyway- Upon FURTHER discussion, we realized that my father and Andy's father (both of whom formed the Uki band TEMPO in 1955) played the bride's parents wedding 31 years ago. Let me say that again- My Dad's band played the bride's parent's wedding 31 years ago, and NOW here we were all this time later, with a Hrab and a Kowal (or actually G. Hrab and A. Kowal) playing at a wedding for the very same family. GREAT. (I announced this bit o' trivia at the start of the night and got a very nice audible response. I thought it was quite cool.)
ANYWAY- PFA OBVIOUSLY doesn't specialize in Ukrainian material; I just happened to put a book together of a few tunes, so that there would be a small sample of some Uki "classics" that we could intersperse throughout the night. The guys in the band did a really great job playing these uncharacteristic songs (how many bands can play a waltz, a tango and then Rick James with equal authority?...) and we were having a really great night.
NOW- During the course of the evening, people who know me, or know my Dad (essentially all Ukrainians know each other you realize…) would approach me or Andy and say "hi" and "Happy New Year" and "you sound like your Dad when you sing in Ukrainian" and "what a great party" etc. It was close to the end of the night and we were on our last break, before preparing for the Midnight countdown and the final hour of partying. A guy approached me and I realized that he was a camp counselor of mine from YEARS ago. (I think I was 8 or 9 ). I remember him as being a putz- a real power hungry ass who didn't know the FIRST thing about dealing with kids. Just a real zero. So of course upon seeing him I said "Hey! Great to see you .. wow it's been a while!" Yech. Anyway- he makes a bit of small talk saying that he always knew I'd be a musician or at least an entertainer blah blah. Then he introduces his wife.
Here's the part where I'm embarrassed by my genetic heritage.
This broad is an obvious O.T.B. (a fond little nickname we diasporadic snobs call "Off The Boater") who possesses all of the clichés associated with new Easter European immigrants. FIRST- She's obviously with this zero of a guy to get into the country. SECOND she's dressed as if she's' auditioning for round 1 of Zagreb Idol. THIRD she has a pair of glasses on that both Kissenger and Adrian from the 1st Rocky movie would say look "too dorky". FOURTH she speaks Ukrainian with a Russian accent that just ANNOYS the piss out of me (I know that 70 years of Soviet cultural diffusion had a tremendous influence on the vowel shifting in non-diasporadic Ukrainian but I don't care, to me it still sound like fucking Russian…) and FIFTH and ABSOLUTE WORST OF ALL BUT SO GODDAM TYPICAL- she proceeds to start talking to me as if I've known her all my life. She goes off on a tear talking about how she's heard my Dad's band (Tempo) and how much better we are and that they need to get new material and that they had no "beat" and how they're getting old and…
NOW- These things may or may not be true about my Dad's band but, bitch- WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? The guy joins in and says "not to disparage your Dad's band but…" and then proceeds to disparage my Dad's band. These vodka douches think that they're being complimentary by saying that PFA sounds good, but they're doing it at the complete expense of my Dad's band. Double yetch. My attitude quickly changed and I said that I need to go find a chart and run to the bathroom before we start again. Just as I finish saying this the chick says (SAYS, not ASKS mind you) "You'll play more Ukrainian songs, yes…" I said probably not seeing as it's dance and party time 'till the end of the night. "Oh yes you will" she says in again A TYPICAL ASSUMING fashion of all of these types of shneds. (I heard a friend of mine call OTBs "shneds" once. I have no idea what that means but I think it's so freaking funny. Ha. Shned.)
We finished out the night, and things could not have gone better. The crowd loved us, the couple was as happy as could be, and all went well.
AS I WAS LOADING MY GEAR in to my car (it's about 2:30 am by this point) who should walk out in front of the loading area but Mrs. Shned herself in a BATHROBE smoking a CIGARETTE. She proceeds to BERATE me for not ending the night with a Ukrainian song.
"It's a Ukrainian wedding, how could you not end with a Ukrainian song? Surely you could have done one more…"
I said "…it may have been a Uke wedding but we're not a Ukrainian band. We're a funk band that happens to be able to play a few Uke tunes"
"Well next time you'll end with a Ukrainian tune… how could you not?"
THEN this potato gash proceeds to argue with me about whether I should drive home or stay. Again in a TYPICAL far-too-familiar-listen-chick-I'm-not-your-friend-so-stop-talking-to-me-as-if-you-can-say-whatever-the-fuck-you-want-in-a-way-too-comfortable-tone: "how can you drive- you should stay.. what are you thinking?...don't be crazy…"
Yeah- who the fuck are you again?
Now- you would think that this kind of behavior is anomalous. But whenever I deal with OTBs, this kind of shit happens again and again and again. Feh.
So- I love my culture, and my heritage, but boy do I hate Ukrainians.