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The monumental ‘Beastie Boys Book’ and the first time I met Adam Yauch

I am still floating on a Beastie Boys cloud after seeing Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz speak at The Nourse Theater last night.

The show was part of their limited run engagement to promote the Beastie Boys Book – and it did not disappoint. With Mix Master Mike on the turntables and Mike D and Ad-Rock in rare form, the group proceeded to act out the book. I’m talking the entire history of the band, starting when they were little punk rock kids who met at a Bad Brains show on the Lower East Side. They covered everything.

Their first major tour was as an opening act for Madonna, which was also the first time I ever saw or heard of them. I was 8 years old and my dad took my best friend and me to see Madonna. We had no idea who these guys were. My dad was utterly confused by the three of them jumping around on stage doing what he called “loud Jerry Lewis impersonations.” The giant blow up phallus didn’t help matters.

After the show, we went backstage hoping to meet Madonna, who never came out of her dressing room. The Beastie Boys, however, were at their best. Maybe it was their maturity level or the fact that they didn’t want to be talking to uptight record label execs or Madonna’s stuck-up crowd, but they spent the entire time talking to me and my friend. We talked about everything that’s awesome and relevant to 8-year-olds: egging houses, butts, farts, poop, etc. I have the clearest memory of Adam Yauch showing us how to chew our food and then squeeze it back out of our mouths from our cheeks. It was brilliant.

I went to that show as a Madonna fan and left as B-Girl for life. Getting to see them all these years later, even though it wasn’t an actual concert, and even though MCA is no longer with us, was something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

Adam Yauch was there in spirit through the memory of his talent, hilarious pranks, and true desire to help people through the stories we’re still telling today.

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Adam Horovitz acknowledged their lame and regretful treatment of girls in the 80’s and how they isolated themselves from the people they truly cared about. Knowing that he’s now married to one of the most badass feminists alive, I hold no grudges.

I’ve grown up with the Beastie Boys and changed right along with them. We all have. The B-Boys and their hard-to-find samples are the reason for my extensive personal record collection of obscure, before-my-time artists who I wouldn’t have been privy to without them.

I almost cried when the show ended last night. Luckily, I have this epic book to read now, so it’s not over yet.

Thank you, Beastie Boys.

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