Barack Obama’s week-old victory has since revealed much else about the country. An astounding 46% voted for John McCain, proving once again the extent to which conservatism continues to rule this nation. Post-ideology appointment of Obama staff seems to have thrown both the decrying Left and the decrying Right into arrant confusion. More importantly, though, the country remains afflicted with tight-ass’d people who won’t let the soon-to-be President make Nancy Reagan seance jokes; while I’m at it, John Stewart’s Bill Ayers joke was funny—come on, what are we going to do with you freaking downers? In short, don’t be mistaken, annoying times lie ahead! But for now, we look back to that joyous night: we asked a few folks from the music world and the literary world, “What were you doing when the election result was announced?”
“I had a bottle of wine for the stress… and then I either got pretty drunk or the news station I was watching was beaming in holographic correspondents to tell me my prayers had been answered…” Download Cory’s cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”
Darcy James Argue
“On Nov. 4, I dragged my ass out of bed early, hopped on a bus to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and spent the day canvassing on the South Side. The energy and organization were incredible, the people I talked to were all very excited about voting, and by the end of the day I was feeling guardedly optimistic. On the bus back to NYC, we learned that Obama had won Pennsylvania and there was much rejoicing–McCain had gambled everything on pulling off an upset in PA and we’d done our bit to make sure that didn’t happen. The bus dropped us off in front of a midtown bar and my fellow canvassers and I set to drinking. Bourbon never tasted so good.” mp3
“You know, I had the weirdest experience when the election results were announced. I didn’t even know it happened, but I had a feeling something happened. I was listening to a song I was working on in a studio, and looking at a composer’s score that was sitting right in front of me. And when I walked out onto Broadway 5 minutes later I realized something had happened. That Obama had won.” mp3 | Luke’s playing a show at the lovely Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, November 11. Members of Antony and the Johnsons will join him. Get tickets.
Eric of The Secret Life of Sofia
“We had just recently finished up at our rehearsal space… Kyle went out to a bar to watch the results. I was at home eating leftover candy corn in front of the tv. Fraser and Chris were getting a ride home from Steve, who was trying his best not to run people over as they were screaming on the streets.” mp3
Todd Zuniga of Opium Magazine
“I was at Stephen Pierson’s (of Canteen Magazine), soused on wine, and eager for champagne. I was butterfly-stomached and nervous, reticent to believe. Then it happened, and wild cheering broke out, hugs. I called my mom, who sounded so happy. I loved that part of it, the most important woman of my life so hopeful and thrilled.”
Lucian of Fiasco
“It’s actually kind of lame. I was on facebook and my mom called me and said “MCCAIN CONCEDED!” and I ran downstairs and freaked. Then I called Julian and I confirmed for him that McCain conceded.” mp3
Brad and Jessica of This Frontier Needs Heroes
“We were recently at the South Carolina State fair while on tour, and we actually got the chance to meet Obama. He was very interesting and answered all our questions. We were very sad to hear that South Carolina didn’t go to Obama, but we played a really awesome show at the Whig in Columbia a really super cool underground bar underneath the television station right across the street from the statehouse!” mp3
Karl of Loudest Boom Bah Yea
“Unfortunately, Loudest Boom Bah Yea was divided by the mighty Pacific Ocean on election night. Chris is on an Asian tour with +/- (plus/minus), and I was blowing my nose at home in my jammies watching the results with a sinus infection. Officially, we are ecstatic!!! And for more than just the obvious reasons… We know that Obama likes double drumset bands, and even talked about forming his own with Nancy Pelosi. I guess he’s trying to give Bill Clinton a run for his money with his Sax playing. ‘Change we can believe in,’ Obama said. I’m sure he was referring to the double drumset band idea.” mp3
Amanda Stern, author, and organizer/host of Happy Ending Reading Series
I was with friends watching at my friend Laurie’s in our neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn and then we took to the streets with hundreds of other people and danced and greeted incoming cars in front of Moe’s on Lafayette Avenue and then in front of Madiba on Dekalb Avenue.
Zach Glass of Bugs in the Dark
“Bugs in the Dark was chillin’ at our producers’ spot in Brooklyn with some wine and pregnant ladies! We were SO excited – so were the pregnant ladies!” mp3 | The band’s playing at the Delancey on December 13th.
“On election night, I was at my good friend Johnny Gandelsman’s house. We celebrated the Obama victory into the night. Everyone was all smiles. The pictures really say it all…” mp3
Björn Sonnenberg of Locas In Love (Cologne, Germany)
“I woke up at around 4 am in the morning (which would be 10 pm in NY) and checked the score on several websites; it was looking good for Mr. Obama and I went back to bed. When I woke up again 40 minutes later, McCain had scored more points, so I kept hitting the renew-button in the browser many, many times because I found the thought too unsettling to go back to sleep that McCain might win after all. This went on and on and I opened new websites constantly, hoping to find the one that would deliver the information quicker than all the others. And preferably the information that I craved to see. Suddenly Obama had 287 points and it seemed that he had won. I rushed to the other room, turned on the TV and switched channels all the time settling on CNN where it was declared that Mr Obama just had been elected. I immediately called Peter in Brideport, CT and asked: Peter, is it true what I just saw on TV? And with so much relief in his voice he said: yes, Bjorn, it’s over. It’s done. This is a good day, we have done it. And I said: I am so happy for you personally, I know it would have broken your heart if this again wouldn’t have worked out. And he said: yes, my head would have exploded.
Then I saw the speeches McCain and Obama gave and was touched by everything, but that happens when I am very tired and excited at the same time, I get emotional. I sent emails to all our friends in America who all replied very excitedly and relieved. I woke up Stefanie and told her that Mr Obama had won, that it wasn’t close at all, how happy Peter is and how overwhelming the moment was. I feel it was most appropriate that Mr Obama mentioned the fall of the Berlin wall in his speech: I recall this as a defining moment in the part of history that I have witnessed, too, being a 9 year old child in Germany. The excitement of the moment, the feeling that things can change and the hope that they might even change for better. I didn’t think so much about how this would affect the world or me but I knew that this is an important moment for our friends in America, a cleansing moment and that made me so happy that now, after two days I still get all sentimental thinking about it. It’s as if young Boris Becker returned and won Wimbledon again but 20 times as big: maybe the world won’t change so much, maybe idiots will stay idiots – but there is a lovely potential in clinging to the thought of for once not having been defeated by the powers that be, the backwards, evil, conservative forces, the bad guys that almost always win.
And if welcoming Mr Obama makes me and my friends here in Germany and in the USA Socialists and terrorists, then so be it and I welcome my comrade Mr President with my fist clenched in the air!”
Posted is a song about “starting anew”, according to the band. Download it here.
Thom of Bon Savants
“I planned to be at the North Miami Obama campaign headquarters where I’d been volunteering November 1 – 3 to get-out-the-vote. But by election night I found myself unexpectedly in Salem, Oregon at the Marion County Democrats party, a few blocks from the hospital where my grandmother was spending her final days. The entertainment for the evening was a handful of lip-syncing performances by burly cross-dressers, and when that finished my youngest sister and I kept glued to the only working television in our corner of the room. After the west coast polls closed and the election was called we sprinted back to the hospital to listen to the acceptance speech with our grandmother, father, and 4 other siblings. I missed the electric exuberance of the celebration in Miami, but it meant much more to share the moment with family.” mp3
“I was in a cab on my way to a bar called Soda Bar in Fort Greene. When we got out of the cab we heard a huge roar coming from the corner of the street. Then, I saw a mass of people running towards me in PURE ELATION. Then I heard roars from other parts of the street. Then someone started blaring Aretha Franklin’s ‘RESPECT’ from their house stereo. Then people started dancing and drinking in the streets. It felt like there were no rules for a short period of time. LAWLESS. As the party was happening, a cop car came by. To everyone’s surprise, the car honked, as if they approved of the LAWLESSNESS. Awesome! It felt like a sports event, which felt a little weird at times, because of the sensationalism of it. But the fact was it WAS sensational, and emotional and deeply moving. I did shed a tear and the spirit of Love did appear.” mp3
“On election night I was stuck serving drinks to dispirited americans. I stayed glued to the television from seven until eight forty-five when I had to hop in a cab and head to the bar where I make my living. When Obama was announced I sat in a kitchen in a dark basement in the west village tuning in to 77.something AM with the few co-workers of mine with voting privileges. I had some tequila to celebrate and defended Obama against the mild dampening cynicism that seemed to be the staff consensus. The big crazy profitable election celebration party we were hoping for never really showed up and I spent the night wishing I was at the campaign party in PA with my ecstatic boyfriend, one of Obama’s volunteers. The night was sprinkled with some toasts to Obama, some excited text messages, some stories of celebrations in the streets, some blue and red pins, dancing, alcohol, and I went home with some tax free cash in my pocket, dreaming of healthcare and peace.” mp3
Jon Alvarez of the Loom
“On Election Night, [wife] Nancy and I hosted a Keg-Lection Party at our house. We wanted to be around as many people as possible, and have as much alcohol on hand as possible – we figured both would serve us well in either victory or defeat. We invited 30 people. By 8 or 9pm, there were almost 40 people in the house, our living room was packed, the music was getting louder, and people were getting drunker. We watched our tiny TV with bunny ear antenna, and everytime a state was called, we would either cheer or boo, and then we posted results on a giant homemade US map hanging on our living room wall (we put a picture of obama or mccain on each state they would win). When they called Ohio for Obama, we went crazy. We knew it was close, but we were still anxious as hell. Pretty soon people were standing on chairs to see the TV. We turned up the music. Then they called Virginia, and we all screamed louder. It was really going to happen, wasn’t it? At this point, isn’t it math? Nail-bitingly close. Agh, just keep watching! Then it happened. They called the whole election. We went completely freaking insane. Everyone yelling. It was that kind of yell that produced a volume that couldn’t possibly get any louder, like the whole room was filled up with sound. We stood on tables, chairs, couches, jumping up and down, dancing, hugging, laughing, crying. Nancy said she yelped like a winner of a game show – 5 successive screams with all those crazy jerky body movements to go with it. We all just lost it. It was an awesome moment. We played Dan’s iPod “election mix” with songs like “The final countdown”. The party spilled into the streets and people started skateboarding down the block on China’s Ninja Turtle Pizza Thrower. Dan and I skated all the way down the hill to the end of our block, then to the next block, all the way screaming Obamaaaaaaaaaaaaa! A wonderful night.” mp3
Todd Goldstein of Arms