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The Boho Dance

UrbandollJoni Mitchell, songwriter extraordinaire, turns 65 today. I first discovered her on the Detroit AM radio station CKLW with "Free Man in Paris" from Court and Spark in 1974 when I was 14. It's been true love ever since. Her musical experiments helped introduce me to jazz and to a far more eclectic range of music than I might have known until far later. She did everything: folk, rock, jazz, country, all of it loaded with off-kilter rhythm and quirky instrumental arrangements. She didn't have Judy Collins' pure, ethereal voice, but she had something just as interesting: a kind of smoky warble that inclined to minor keys.

If there were one song that sums up my fascination with art, with New York, with my motives for moving here and the way I've structured my life, it would be Joni Mitchell's "The Boho Dance." Although it's an ironic look at the hip crowd and their contempt for the squares, it had its own strange sort of mocking appeal that made both the grit and the glamor of New York romantically attractive. Of course, real life is never like our dreams imagine it to be, but I'm happy to say that I've found a bit of my own Boho Dance here without the absolute squalor that often accompanies it. I guess the cleaner's press was in my jeans, too. Happy birthday, Joni. Thanks for the inspiration.


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