A Fortuitous Meet

When a journalist attempts to tell a person’s story, they take on an immense responsibility to their subject. There is not only a duty to impart the subject’s story truthfully, but to do it well. Any good profile captures one’s “-ness,” illuminates the person in way that no one else has and makes their idiosyncrasies sing.

This task becomes more difficult with a Bostonite such as Rick Berlin — a 67-year old musician/artist/writer/playwright/photographer/creator — who defies any easy  categorization.

Shit, my shoulders are feeling heavy right now.

Within the first couple weeks of moving here, I attended the Jamaica Plain Music Festival, where I spoke with several of the musicians and volunteers involved in putting it together. Rick was mentioned by almost all of them. All roads — particularly in the Jamaica Plain music scene — lead to Berlin.

As the months went on I followed Berlin via social media. I sporadically listened to his music streaming from his website and Spotify. His unusual voice lingered. But we hadn’t yet met.

In December, Berlin invited me to live band karaoke at the Midway Cafe with a suggestion to dress up.  I was one of the only attendees to do so – certainly the only skeleton Slash/Gene Simmons amalgamation in a leather miniskirt – and hence, Skellerella was born. But more importantly, I met Rick.

Soon thereafter, the opportunity arose to do a multi-media project about any subject I desired in Boston. I immediately thought of Rick.

In an interview with Charles McNerney, Berlin describes himself: “I’m not ever going to be somebody’s young, cute, hot star.  I’m an out-to-pasture former minor local rock star who is lucky enough to keep doing music that’s relevant.”

This is going to be fun.

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About Melissa Tabeek

Melissa Tabeek is a freelance journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon. She reports on politics, culture and social issues in the Middle East. On her website, you can also find her blog, where she writes about her work and daily life in Lebanon. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.
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