The show was somehow more phenomenal than expected, and expectations were already high. It could be argued that I am biased but the friends that came along felt the same way about it. I can say with total confidence that Storm Large is one of the finest performers I have ever seen in my life. It was also an emotional show for me as it’s been a while since I’ve seen her perform in person, and many of the songs are so personal that I could not help to connect their lyrics and feeling to the writer that I love and the history that I know.
At one point she said, “One of my best friends is in the audience. We used to do our weight in drugs back in the day, it’s a miracle we look as good as we do.” I clapped and waved my arms and then had to think for a minute… Did we really do that? It seems impossible now, but I know we did.
Storm, more than any other friend in my life, is the one that I truly plumbed the depths with. We didn’t drag each other down, we were good to one another and talked constantly about how we wanted to be better people. But we were both unconsciously determined to see how far we could take it. Storm and I have seen each other at our most raw, most fucked up, most vulnerable. We were young and wild and beautiful and full of self-loathing.
Storm didn’t have money to get new boots so when the heel broke off of one she pulled the other heel off too and tiptoed around the East Village for weeks. She told some confused kids on the street that they were her “panther boots”. I had to duct tape a garbage bag to my smashed-out window after someone threw out all of my belongings without bothering to open it first. Storm helped me clean up the rubble and almost got shot by my psycho neighbor when she climbed a wall to look for my jewelry. It was all just part of the day.
So now we are adults and she is performing in a beautiful space for civilized people. And I am sitting with a glass of wine, watching while surrounded by people who love me and would never dream of throwing my stuff out of a window. Storm has the money for nice shoes. And she sings beautifully and honestly and I felt so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all, that we made it here somehow. We’re still alive and no one is sobbing into a phone or tweaking out in a stranger’s burned-out apartment with no electricity. We’re actually fairly happy people.
I could see so clearly that for all of the sadness that many of us have at not finding that perfect romantic soulmate, we have soulmates in some of our friends, we just don’t pay attention sometimes. It doesn’t always fill our hearts in the same exciting way, but it carries us for years, sometimes for our entire lives if we’re lucky. I felt so inspired and happy to see my friend shine so brightly last night, and so grateful that we got to this point. It put everything in perspective for me–how tiny I still make things for myself sometimes when they are meant be grand, and how truly magical our lives really are. I know it’s only going to get better.
7 thoughts on “Panther Boots”
What a lovely post! So true, my friend.
I've heard this sort of story before from another of Storm's friends who made it through to a happy, well adjusted adult life. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your view of things.
Regards – James (Portland, OR)
I am a Storm fan that was there for the show. In fact I was standing with Storm when you came backstage. Well, actually, more like UNTIL you came backstage.
I really enjoyed and was moved by your post. As the woman said, “If you can't be a good example, at least you can be a good cautionary tale”.
“I could see so clearly that for all of the sadness that many of us have at not finding that perfect romantic soulmate, we have soulmates in some of our friends, we just don't pay attention sometimes.” This is so true!! How often we fixate on our sig other's flaws and inadequacies, forgetting how our wonderful friends fill those gaps in our lives. This post made me take a moment to appreciate all my friends who complete my life. Thank you!
I was at the 11:30 show and Storm brought down the house. Actually, you and I met in the bathroom afterwords. You may recall I was admiring your ink and took your picture. I can send you a copy as well as some video footage at took from that night if you would like. Just shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Her performance had it all – and I'm so glad to have joined such a wonderful crew.
Getting negative texts toward set's end kind of lead to a deep funk – but I've been thinking about the frank stories, lyrics and powerful deliveries of the set.