As you already know from Sylvie’s picture post, we, along with fellow Glastonburian Mike, were fortunate enough to attend one of Manhattan’s most prestigious galas a few weeks back. Its official title? Ukulele Mansion II. It was an interesting blend of class and quirk, what with the wine, marble staircases, wrap around balcony, and Hawaiian button-downs.
These are the only functions, or at least the only ones I’m aware of, where it is not only appropriate, but expected to carry around one’s uke. And while it might seem an odd custom, it’s actually quite brilliant. Think about it. At so many cocktail parties, guests wander around awkwardly, forcing small talk in an attempt to establish some deeper connection that will eventually go beyond “so how about that wintry mix they predicted…” or “what does a ‘wintry mix’ actually mean?” At ukulele parties, you can skip all the weather talk because the real substantive matter is already in your hands. What’s a more perfect opening line than “Hey, can I check out your ukulele?” Or a point at the uke in question, and the query, “What’s her name?”
Wandering around the upper east side appartement de luxe, I found small groups of guests huddled in the corners of the library and the study. Had we been playing “Clue,” I don’t doubt they would have been in the conservatory as well. At other events, these groups might have been discussing intimate matters, such as romance, or the stock market. But here, the business was not in love connections, but in tuning one’s ukulele.
Speaking of business, Ukulele Mansion II revealed that the ukulele business is really all about hospitality. Uke people are good people and they know other good people. Case in point: My new friend Anthony. We bonded over a shared inability to play the celebrated instrument as well as an interest in climbing rooftop ladders.
I obviously joined the NY Ukulele facebook group immediately upon returning to my apartment that evening. If there is a gathering of ukulele-loving individuals in a drool-worthy piece of Manhattan real estate, an impressive collection of wine, and an opportunity to end up on YouTube, I’m going to need to be there.