Dollar Beers (Redondo Beach ’96) (2006)


This piece—or song, really—was inspired by a young adult novel entitled On My Honor, in which two competitive friends dare each other to go swimming somewhere infamously dangerous, even after promising their parents that they wouldn’t. The entire book takes place within the span of one bright, beautiful, tragic day, in which the cockier of the boys goes through with the dare and drowns. The other boy, terrified and paralyzed by what has happened to his best friend, runs home and hides, pretending it didn’t happen.

This is a story about many days in my own life that almost went horribly, irrevocably wrong. It’s both fiction and memory, exploring various outcomes, emotions, and temporalities within the seemingly simplistic framework of a pop ballad.

Dollar beers
Come on down
To Redondo
I’ll be waiting for you

Don’t look up
Don’t look back
How far can you go
Til I can’t see you

Dollar beers
And half-off shots
Young girls will go missing
The DJ is spinning

I’m spinning
You’re missing it all
You’re missing it all

July 21, 2006 (premiere): Megan Schubert and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival “Ensemble D,” Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (Mass MoCA), North Adams, MA
April 25, 2007: Corey Dargel and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Merkin Concert Hall, NYC
December 10, 2010: Lucy McVeigh and BMOP, Bowdoin College, Maine
December 11, 2010: Lucy McVeigh and BMOP, Wellesley College, MA*
December 12, 2010: Lucy McVeigh and BMOP, Tufts University, MA
November 8, 2012: Jane Peacock and DECIBEL, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
February 23, 2013 (arr. for 4 players): P. Lucy McVeigh, Jenny Tang, David Russell, and Jenny Olivia Johnson, Wellesley College, MA (including 2-channel video by Laura Moran)
September 19-20, 2015: The Great Noise Ensemble, Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC / The War Memorial in Baltimore, MD

*Posted recording is of this performance.