Near 500 words: Skeezer

Skeezer was the founder of the Radicals. She was the one who gave the group edge. Always a smile on her face, she had founded the group as an outlet for her creativity. First of all she was a musician. She played the harmonica and she played a mean harp. She would have given Willie Dixon a run for his money if he was still around.

Then there were the songs. Nobody in the city had heard lyrics like hers. She could make up a lyric and have it tied up in a song in less than five minutes. How she got this facility came from reading the dictionary like others read a romance or a mystery. Asked why she loved reading the dictionary, she answered, “It’s the mystery of it all. You never know what word is going to turn up.”

But what she became famous for was The Dance. The Dance was the day she and the four other young women of the Radicals showed up in Central Park and danced modern dance for an hour. That wasn’t unusual. There were groups all the time showing up. But these women showed up in their skimpy dresses on a day when it had just snow and the temp was not above 10.

When they did it for a second year on February 1, the City went crazy. A large crowd showed up. That was the year the video of their dance went viral. Over thirty million peeps on Youtube. Because they posted the video, they made a chunk of change. That was Skeezer’s idea as well. She was one heck of a business woman.

But she resisted going solo. She thought it was rude and she wasn’t about to abandon her Sisters. They were her friends and you just don’t do that to friends.

By the time Skeezer made it into her thirties, the Radicals had their own office and recording studio and rehearsal space downtown. After ten years, many started thinking of the women as Old Skool. Skeezer wasn’t having that. She’d worked too damn hard to lose their image as radicals.

So she invited in five of the best jazz musicians around. She had an idea for an album of tunes that would blow the head off the music scene. The CD did what it was supposed to do. Called “Dirty Words”, there wasn’t a dirty word on any of the songs if you could call them songs. Actually it was an epic poem, telling of the deeds of the Radicals. How they snuck into New York City in a wooden horse. How they faced down the mayor who happened to be named Priam. The final song was a celebration called “Blast”.

The piece de resistance was the performance. The Radicals, now six, performed it in the nude. The second night they were busted for indecency. They called in the news media and protested they were a free speech movement. Then they stripped and yelled, “Oh Fuck.” “Oh Fuck” became a You Tube hit.

Skeezer always knew how to make a ruckus. If she had not been an artist, she might have been a gangster. After all, her hero was John Lennon. Once she discovered his “Instant Karma”, “Gimme Some Truth” and “God” at twelve, she was changed. She knew what she wanted to be. She was going to be a prophet. And her prophecy would be her art.

Skeezer turned forty and left the Radicals. It was time. The group had become an institution. It was time to go to the mountains and seek. So she went off on a pilgrimage to climb the holy mountains around the world.

The last time we heard from Skeezer word was that she was climbing Mount Everest. Some say she died up there, and some say she didn’t. Then there is that small group who have come to believe that Skeezer will be coming down with Jesus in the Rapture. Who knows? All most of us know is we sure miss The Radicalist Radical of Them All.

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