[Picture of a man and a woman sitting side by side on a wooden bench. Both sit bolt upright with their hands on their sides. He wears a black wool coat and a white shirt buttoned to the top button; his hair is short and parted at the side. She wears a functional, brown housedress, a gray beret, and horn-rimmed glasses; her lipstick is thickly applied. Both stare straight ahead, unsmiling. Their expressions are severe and seem distracted by a loud noise. Behind them sits a square building with tall windows along one side. A single barren tree cuts an irregular line parallel to the horizon across the background’s further gray. The invitation is printed on undyed matte card stock. Translated from German, the block print reads:]

 

you are invited to the joining ceremony of

friedhold werner and ulrike schulthiess.

staatliches bauhaus, dessau

wednesday june 15, 1931

friedhold’s brother, gunther, will perform a series of tone poems in commemoration.

after, tea and borscht.

if you cannot attend, fold this invitation in half and send it back

unmarked in the enclosed self-addressed envelope.

indicate your attendance by doing nothing.

It’s hot here in Seattle. A scorcher. So my friend Lester decided to have a pool party. Does he have a pool? Of course not. He has a hose. With a special nozzle. Everyone was assigned a job. Potato salad, tongs, thongs, booze. I was asked to bring the music. Normally, I hate this request. Not because I don’t like picking tunes. I do. It’s just that, no matter what, someone is always pissed. You play Steely Dan? Too obvious, too boring. You don’t play Steely Dan? You’re an elitist ass. The night before, Lester called me up.

“Yeah, I don’t think so, man.”

“What? Why not?”

“I dunno. It’s too divisive. Everyone gets pissed when I don’t bring my Indigo Girls remixes.”

He laughed. I’ve been collecting vinyl since I was 15. It’s one of the reasons my friends tolerate me.