Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joe Freeman and I hatch a plan to score Bradley Bowers

Looks like Joe Freeman and I really will be embarking on a poetry scores project devoted to the work of St. Louis artist Bradley Bowers.

The idea is to score one or more texts from Bradley's exquisite 2003 book head injuries: vessels and words, published by The William and Joseph Press.

Bradley crafts these uncanny, sui generis sculpted vessels that he paints and inscribes with his own poems and prose poems. This book pairs images of the artwork with the poetic texts printed on facing pages.

Putting aside K. Curtis Lyle, I'm not familiar with a better book by a living St. Louis artist in any medium.

Joe Freeman, frontman of the equally uncanny and sui generis Pat Sajak Assassins, shares my admiration for Bradley and his book. We had talked about doing something with the book but, being two dads with day jobs and other artistic commitments, had left the idea hanging.

I called Joe from Eric Hall's bar at CBGB on Monday night, and he said he would walk over to talk shop after he finished playing superdad. While I waited at the bar with John Eiler, who should walk in the door but Bradley himself, accompanied by Allison Trombley.

James Blackwood also appeared at some point, temporarily freed from the clutches of his temporary dog, one Charlie.

A Monday night at Eric Hall's bar is not the time to systematically take apart a book, looking for just the right texts to score, but Joe brought Bradley's book, and he and I did devote a fair amount of time to one piece in it, "i had a plan".

By the time Joe and I had a text in front of us, James had told us he has a trained voice. So I included him in the shop talk by asking him to read Bradley's prose poem.

"i had a plan"

I had a plan. There are drawings and maps dating back from the age of four. Notebooks filled with failed experiments and revisions. I suffered many illnesses and broken bones. It would take many years to get it right. It involved flowers, music, sunsets, sunrises, maybe a car chase. There were many jobs, long journeys, battles ... It was a very elaborate plan, but that's love.

At some point I would get lung cancer or maybe skin cancer. There would be an affair, mine or possibly my wife's. I would lose some of my hair and gain weight. A house fire would destroy many of our belongings. Our daughter would suffer a concussion from a head-on collision. Regardless of all of life's tragedies, one morning we would wake and realize we had recovered and thrived.

I've had to revise my plan. It's simpler, less painful; at least that's what I tell myself. I sort of removed the order and purpose part of the plan and ended up walking down a dark alley. There I found a broken chair and a lamp, but I didn't want them. I'll save a lot on paper cost. I don't need any charts, outlines, or mission statements. There's nothing to calculate. I just have to live another day and eat lots of candy.

That would be really, really fun to sing! And say. And score.

Joe and I talked it through and over and around, but that got into the method and philosophy of a poetry score, a set of concepts that demand their own elaboration.

Next time.


Image of "Composure" from Bradley Bowers' website.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Portrait of Oliver Cromwell, by Elizabeth Peyton (a fantasy)

The Poetry Scores annual Art Invitational has managed to attract many local artists here in St. Louis that could qualify as celebrities in our backwaters art scene, not that I give a hoot about art world celebrities or feel the need to attract any kind of artist to our shows other than the people we have been fortunate to work with in the past.

But it's my blog and I can fantasize if I wanna. So I am going to fantasize that for the Art Invitational to Les Murray's poem The Sydney Highrise Varations, we could attract a celebrity painter of celebrities: Elizabeth Peyton.

Which celebrity would she paint? The rules for the Invitational require that the piece be titled after a verbatim piece of language from the poem, so her subject would almost have to be name-checked in the poem. That leaves us with only one option - a celebrity from British history.

The Nineteenth Century. The Twentieth Century.
There were never any others. No centuries before these.
Dante was not hailed in his time as an Authentic
Fourteenth Century Voice. Nor did Cromwell thunder, After all,
in the bowels of Christ, this is the Seventeenth Century
"Cromwell" in this passage is Oliver Cromwell. He was a country gentleman (as The National Portrait Gallery in London tells us) who

became a soldier, statesman, and finally lord protector of Great Britain. As member of Parliament for Huntingdon and then Cambridge, he was an outspoken critic of King Charles I [...]. Cromwell's military skills and God-fearing tenacity were decisive factors in the Parliamentarian victory in the British civil wars, and he was prominent among those who first negotiated with, and then executed, the King in 1649. He achieved military success in Ireland in 1649—but carried out brutal massacres—and he led the New Model Army to victory against the Scots and Charles II in 1651. Emerging as a head of state when he and the army dissolved the “Rump” Parliament in 1653, Cromwell was created lord protector. He refused the crown in 1657, and died the following year.
Peyton, whose retrospective Live Forever is currently making its way around the world, paints from photographs. Since Cromwell died 168 years before the first known photograph was taken (in 1825), Peyton would have to work from another painting. I have posted Robert Walker's portrait of Cromwell (ca. 1649) from The National Portrait Gallery, London, for a reference point.

I don't really think we can entice Peyton to contribute work to an unknown arts org in St. Louis with a mission of translating poetry into other media, though she might appreciate our method. She has told an interviewer that a book of paintings she was working on was "inspired by a Shakespeare poem - one of those sonnets." That's a poetry score.

Peyton came to my attention, not through her traveling show Live Forever, but through an investigative book about the death of Kurt Cobain. Max Wallace and Ian Halperin report that when Cobain jumped the fence at the rehab center in Marina Del Rey just days before his death, he called his wife, Courtney Love, though she claimed not to know where he was and, in fact, hired a private investigator (Tom Grant) to find him.

Grant knows this from Love's phone records, which her lawyer, Rosemary Carroll, found in a backpack that Love left at her place. Love had noted a call from "Husband" less than an hour after he jumped the fence at Exodus giving a phone number where he could be reached with "Elizabeth". Wallace and Halperin note that

Elizabeth in the message almost certainly refers to the American painter Elizabeth Peyton, who spescializes in portraits of pop culture icons. Peyton, who was apparently staying in Los Angeles at the time of Kurt's disappearance, had become close friends with both Kurt and Courtney and later painted several striking portraits of Kurt after his death.
Indeed, her first show - which included paintings of the dead Cobain - was held in a room at The Chelsea Hotel in New York, where Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen. Cobain used to use Vicious' given name ("Simon Ritchie") as an alias when checking into hotels, and Love often has been accused of being on a Nancy Spungen trip.

No, I don't think we will entice Elizabeth Peyton to be in our show, but if we do, and if she comes, I'll be sure to ask her what she was doing on the evening of April 1, 1994!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Crossing America with Dave Stone and Leo Connellan

Last night I enjoyed a bit of Dave Stone's trio at Mangia. Dave sounded as fluent and soulful as ever. Kyle Honeycutt provided able support on drums as always, and a bassist I don't know (Bill something?) really burned.

It reminded me that I had told RJ Matson, the political cartoonist and jazz buff, that I would post up some of the jazz we have produced for Poetry Scores. I'll start with all of Dave Stone's great work on the first poetry score Lij and I produced, Crossing America by Leo Connellan.

Our approach to this score was always to present the poet's readings unaccompanied, but then follow each section of the poem with a musical restatement of that part of the poem, or commentary upon it.

Befitting that approach, before each of Dave's performances I will post the part of the poem that precedes it and which inspired his piece.

Free mp3s

"Crossing America, VI"
Leo Connellan
"Do not be a fool, be aware"
Dave Stone Trio

"Crossing America, VII"
Leo Connellan
"Liquor's got your lust"
Dave Stone Trio with Seth Timbs

"Crossing America, XVIII"
Leo Connellan
"Wet dust of his bones"
Dave Stone & Billy Teague

"Crossing America, XXVII"
Leo Connellan
"What legs my lady has"
Dave Stone

All poetry by Leo Connellan.

Bass by Eric Markowitz.

Kyle Honeycutt plays drums on the trio stuff.
Billy Teague plays drums on the duet piece.

Dave plays clarinet on "Wet dust of his bones".

"What legs my lady has" was recorded on the side of the road outside of Pops Farrar's house on the outskirts of Belleville, Illinois.

Sketch of Dave Stone live at Mangia many years ago is by me.

Crossing America is in print and is available at independent shops in St. Louis and via us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Behle, Corley, Goetz, Hoeing, Type are OPAQUE

A bunch of artists who have worked with Poetry Scores in one capacity or another are in the show at Thomas Jefferson School that opens this evening, Friday, April 24, from 6-8 p.m., in a gallery space at the near South County prep school, 4100 S. Lindbergh Blvd. just south of I-44.

Kind of a schlep for city dwellers, but the list of artist showing out there is top-flight: Michael Behle, Heather Corley, Robert Goetz, Jason Hoeing, and Tim "Type" Jordan.

All highly accomplished artists. Other than Corley, who has agreed to this year's Poetry Scores Art Invitational, and Hoeing, who makes these marvelous micropaintings, all have contributed in one or more ways to past projects of ours.

As has Greg Edmondson, who teaches at TJ, and whose students curated the show (this helps to explain their access to some of the best artists in town). Here is the announcement language for the show, themed OPAQUE, crafted by the students.

Articulation. Connection. Correspondence. Declaration.

From the dawn of civilized man, these words have defined humanity. Be it the primitive alphabets of Mesopotamia or the new age cyber talk that characterizes today’s modern generation, language has always been the essential quality that separates us from the world’s unimaginably large collection of wildlife. Without this most crucial ability, there could be no love or friendship, in fact, no relationships at all—the same bonds that make us human. However, the very device that unites humanity can also, with only the slightest of miscommunications, tear us apart.

Such is the quandary of human interaction. What some of us take as adulation, others view as insult. Every word or phrase that we convey carries a distinct and unique connotation for each individual eye it touches or ear it penetrates, often creating unforeseen incongruities amongst the parties involved. Our correspondence, so often an attempt to unite, becomes a divisive force between humans, as we lead on, confuse, and often times hurt those very people we are trying to grow nearer to. In this fashion, lovers hurl insults at one another in times of passion, while friends speak too freely, tearing down the confidence of those they hold dear, never fully understanding the power that each remark carries with it. Thus, allies become enemies, confidants grow into outsiders, and peaceful marriages mutate into wars, both on a global scale and in the home. Each piece of art in this show strives to demonstrate both the importance of human interaction as well as the frustration and heartache that so often accompany it.

As humans, we may advise, divulge, disseminate, proclaim, and spread. But no matter what, communication will always be OPAQUE.
This just goes to show that even the smartest high school students in the world resort to the "from the dawn of time" lead sentence. When I used to teach freshman composition at Washington University - the worst job I ever had, worse than delivering pizzas or washing dishes at the Chinese restuarant - I spend the entire semester trying (and failing) to kill the "from the dawn of time" lead sentence habit.

Still, these kids picked some great artists, some of my personal favorites as well. I will have to get Greg and/or Corley to take me out and show me the work some other time, however - and I even have a rare Friday night out in the works.

I made a new friend on the plane home from Seattle on Sunday. He has been in town all week training with Wachovia, with tonight his last night here. I promised to show him the town tonight, to repay in some small way Seattle's many kindnesses to me when I was out there, and out of a field of options that included this show and the Cory Spinks/Deandre Lattimore fight, he chose homemeade barbeque and live music.


Images are of Heather Corley's piece in the show, "A Year of Disappointment," and a detail from it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thollem, Obama and all that outside Cherokee jazz!

Touched down for a hot minute today with some of my favorite people on this good green earth, Brett Lars Underwood, John Eiler and Thollem McDonas (and friends), all sprawled in the sun on Brett's backporch, drinking absurdly delicious Chimay and plotting a move to Eiler's for wild salmon off the grill.

Thollem is in town with a double bassist (Joel Peterson) and saxophonist (Skeeter Shelton) from Detroit. They play as a trio Friday night at the Tap Room (8 p.m. start) in a split bill with K. Curtis Lyle, Zimbabwe Nkenya and David A.N. Jackson opening. Booked by Brett. See why you can get people to tip him for a beer he didn't pour them in St. Louis while he is running with the Lindys in Madrid?

Getting a grasp of Thollem in St. Louis - in full knowledge I'd get to see him play amid a bill with enough talent and even genius to last you for ages in a couple of days - put me in mind to track down an update Brett sent around on 11-11-08 (nice numbers) that should be in the public domain with hyperlinks.

This is Thollem on Thollem. Not bragging, just accounting for himself.

Since the beginning of this year (2008) I have been back and forth to Europe four times, recorded several new albums and released several new albums.

A little more than a month ago I gave a concert on the only piano Claude Debussy owned the last 14 years of his life. This piano is housed in Musee Labenche in Brive-La-Gaillarde, France. The piano was found by the director of the museum (Claire Moser) in an antique shop. She did some research on the piano and found it had belonged to one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.

When Debussy died in 1918 the piano was adopted by his step-son, then by the step-son's daughter, and then by the family doctor. In WWII the doctor fled the Nazi occupation of Paris and left the piano behind. For 60 years no one knew the significance of the piano.

While on a 6 week tour of Ireland, France, and Switzerland earlier this year, I was invited to compose and perform on this piano and make the first ever recording of it. In turn I invited Stefano Scodanibbio to join me to play comprovisations of mine that I wrote specifically for the occasion as a 21st century homage to Debussy.

Some of my music has recently been used for short films.

One by Tuia Cherici who is also making a documentary of the Debussy project that will include interviews with me, Stefano, Claire Moser, Joan Jeanrenaud from Kronos
Quartet, and the american composer Terry Riley. Tuia set my music to one of her films (this is not part of the Debussy documentary).

NY filmmaker Martha Colburn has been using my music of late. I joined her in NY at the grand opening of the NY Museum of Art and Design a couple of weeks ago for a night of her films.

I have also been working with a dancer named Germaul Barnes. We call our performance "Bitahkiz Ayeli," which means "Between Between" in Navajo and Cherokee languages, respectively (Germaul is part Navajo, and I am part Cherokee[*]). We had a performance at Teatro do Campo Alegre in Porto, Portugal last June.

I had a mini-tour of Northern Italy with Waristerror Terroriswar to promote our first album The Brutal Reality Of Modern Brutality. We also recorded a second album in the midst of this tour. This album will be dedicated to Marcella Sali Grace Eiler, who was recently murdered in Mexico while working on justice issues. A remarkably inspired/inspiring young woman. She touched MANY people in her short life! I had a profound experience staying at her families house in St. Louis last week.

New Thollem projects, as of then:

1. A duo piano live concert with Nicola Guazzaloca in Bologna, Italy. Will be released on AmariniRecords early next year.

2. A second Waristerror Terroriswar album in Nipozzano, Italy.

3. A concert on Debussy's piano with Stefano Scodanibbio in Brive, France.

4. A duo album with saxophonist Rent Romus in San Francisco, CA.

Released in 2008 or coming:

1. Somuchheaven Somuchhell, a solo piano album of compositions (Saravah, France).

2. Intuition, Science, and Sex, a duo album with Arrington deDionyso on Bass Clarinet along with Indian drone machines (EdgetoneRecords, SF).

3. The Brutal Reality Of Modern Brutality, the first Waristerror Terroriswar
album (EdgetoneRecords, SF).

4. Prismatic Season with Bloom Project (EdgetoneRecords, SF)

5. A trio album with Enzo Franchini, and Valerio Cosi (PorterRecords, FL).

It seems fitting to this dude here that Thollem ends this missive with: "Finally, congratulations to Barack Hussein Obama and the millions of people for thousands of years that have worked for justice and equality in this world ..."

Why fitting?

Because, of all people on Earth, Thollem McDonas is the one who was crossing Delmar Boulevard with me when the U.S. presidential election was called for Barack Obama and the SEIU activists came BUSTING out of Pi!

We were precisely in the middle of this North/South, Black/White boundary road when the call was made. You can't make this stuff up! Well, you can, but if I did it wouldn't be quite so obvious ... but that is how it happened.


The sketch of Thollem, signed by Thollem, is mine, from earlier on election night, when we were watching the election returns at the Eiler home and Thollem was urging me to stop gnawing on my fist and get out of the house, go!


[*] I note in this message for the first time that Thollem is "part Cherokee". The same is true of me, according to the geneology completed by my mother, who grew up with a very Indian father I never met. I lay low on this, however, having been mainstreamed all my life and certainly having suffered no discrimination by race for my Indian blood. But it makes sense regarding Thollem and Obama and all that outside jazz!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On "Private Eyes," poetry scores and gay marriage

Hall & Oates turned up tonight on a rerun of the TV show Will & Grace. They were hired to play an acoustic set at a courtesy immigration wedding between Will's new Canadian boyfriend and his best friend Grace. I was on the edge of my seat on the couch until they played a snatch of "Private Eyes," and sure enough they finally did.

Why would I care? Because through my buddy Lij, I know a nice man in Nashville named Warren Pash who has a songwriting credit on the song, which is credited to the four-headed monster of "Daryl Hall/Warren Pash/Sara Allen/Joanna Allen".

As one often hears in music industry towns, always with envy, Lij has said that on a good month "Private Eyes" pays a goodly bite of Warren's mortgage. Warren is a courtly and talented man who has only been generous to me and to Poetry Scores, so I am happy any time I hear this song played in a media setting where royalties are paid out. That is the sound of a nice guy's mortgage getting paid.

I first got to know Warren when Lij recruited him to play bass on the comeback record Lij and I produced for the great Rosco Gordon, No Dark in America. This was a transformative experience for Warren, to play alongside a living legend like Rosco, and giving him that opportunity earned Lij and me a friend for life.

When we were wrapping up the poetry score to Blind Cat Black (by Ece Ayhan, translated from the Turkish by Murat Nemet-Nejat), and were looking for another voice to add to the mix, Lij thought of Warren, who lives right down the street from him in Nashville. A quick call, and here Warren came down the block, ready to read some Turkish poetry for us.

He read a fragment of the poem titled "The horse with two wheel". I had already set aside a musical bed performed by St. Louis musician Tom Hall, performed with flair on his National steel guitar. It worked!

Free mp3

"The horse with two wheels"
(Ece Ayhan, Tom Hall, Murat Nemet-Nejat)
Tom Hall and Warren Pash
From Blind Cat Black

* p.s. *

The previous episode of Will & Grace, which I overheard from the kitchen last night, is one that will never be forgotten in our little family.

On that episode, apparently Will kissed his boyfriend. I started paying attention when our 6 year old said, "That means they're gay."

"What do you know about gay?" her mother asked.

Without missing a beat, Leyla responded, "They kissed, that means they love each other and they want to get married. They're gay."

That gave me some hope for the future.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why gay couples don't deserve the same rights and protections (and legally binding hassles) as straight couples. And, no, it's not like you're thinking, despite those rampant '80s rumors and some ambiguous makeup jobs, this post-script is not intended to comment back on Hall & Oates.


Image from what seems to be a Hall & Oates forum.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I have joined Pandi's team, it seems

Pandi & The Sunnyside, one of the bands I liked so much the other night on my Poetry Scores scouting mission in Seattle, has posted up a video of their performance that night at Conor Byrne Pub.

It's posted on Pandi's personal MySpace page. If you want to see what you missed, just pause the music player that pops up when the page loads and play the top video loaded in the "Band Members" field. (The one where Pandi is wearing a dress that looks like gorgeous Victorian drapes.) The song is titled "Camera," which makes sense for a band that calls to mind Camera Obscura.

I don't believe you can see me, sitting contentedly, drinking delicious local beer in the company of the brain trust of the Asian American Journalists Association. Pandi, I was told, teaches kindergarten to the child of the national treasurer of said association, who did not herself appear to be Asian American.

Nor, at this unfortunate time in our profession, is she a working journalist. She had been breaking news editor for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which bit the dust in its print version almost exactly one month ago.

The breaking news editor with whom I enjoyed the show, Candace Heckman, added color to the paper's own report on the end of the print road.

The Seattle P-I's staff has been in limbo for two months. After the closure announcement, breaking news editor Candace Heckman pulled bottles of Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey, Wild Turkey bourbon and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky out of a bag and set them out at her desk.

"I'd been saving that for a while," she said. She'd just sent a "farewell" e-mail to the staff that said, "Come by the city desk for a drink: bring your own glass."
I sat with a number of P-I veterans that night. I noticed they tended to say they had been "laid off" rather than had their jobs vanish into thin air out from under them. I can't blame them. After all, they did work for an 146-year old newspaper that was Seattle's oldest business.

Speaking of business, Pandi is on it. Having read my blogpost about the show that night, she reached out to me and asked me to join her "team" in asking the programming director of Folklife 2009 to get Pandi and her band off the waiting list and onto the gig.

"THIS IS MY YEAR to play," Pandi urged. That sounded determined. So I did my bit to help the team, writing the following note to The Folklife Man:

Hi. This past weekend I saw Pandi & The Sunnyside at Conor Byrne Pub. I liked them along with the whole bill and did a blogpost on the night.

Pandi herself was working to get her band into Folklife 2009. So though I do not live in Seattle (I live in St. Louis) and I don't have a detailed sense of your local scene, I have been playing and writing about music for twenty years (my band Eleanor Roosevelt has received a modest amount of exposure in the folk rock vein) and The Sunnyside certainly seem like a band worth showcasing.

Certainly, if they were in the festival, it would be added incentive for me to return to your beautiful city for the event. Either way, please add me to your mailing list for future announcements. Maybe I'll see you in Seattle.

Sketch of Pandi from her MySpace page. "Some guy drew this of me on a napkin," she notes ... "kinda creepy, kinda cool."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A house, a boat and a love song from Judd

I brought some copies of Poetry Scores projects for people in Seattle we might want to work with or involve in some day down the road.

I grabbed some copies of records we happen to have the most copies of in stock: Leo Connellan's Crossing America, the first poetry score proper, and Walker With His Head Down by Eleanor Roosevelt, which has many song settings of poetic texts.

At a really pleasant local gig on Thursday night, I gave a copy of each to Lino from the band Bandolier, who I'd like to have contribute some songwriting if I can interest him and find the right text.

I gave a copy of Walker With His Head Down to Rachel Jacobson-Larson, the fiddler for the band Forget Me Nots, since that record has quite a bit of fiddling (and because our band Eleanor Roosevelt has a longstanding policy of giving our records away to pretty girls).

I gave a copy of Crossing America to Forget Me Nots' drummer, Brad Gibson, because his ridiculously tasteful, dynamic and imaginative playing reminded me so much of Billy Teague, whose playing is scattered all over that record.

This left out bassist Nigel Goss, who I'd like to come back to in another context, and frontman and songwriter Judd Wasserman. Judd obviously is the motive force behind the band, but I had these other important reasons (physical beauty, the Billy Teague thing) to give away records to the other players.

I wanted to make sure Judd knew about the handoffs, though, and had a chance to hear our records, so I stopped him, thanked him for his music, and passed on the info. He said, "Did anyone give you one of our records?" No one had, so he did. Nice man, as he had seemed from the stage.

I contacted him yesterday and asked if I could post a few mp3s to spread the word, and he said sure. So, here you go. Hoepfully one day he will apply this great songwriting gift to a Poetry Scores project.

Free mp3s

(Judd Wasserman)
Forget Me Nots

"This Boat"
(Judd Wasserman)
Forget Me Nots

(Judd Wasserman)
Forget Me Nots

Judd's FaceBook page says he is in a relationship with Rachel, who sings with him on this song. Poetic license would suggest that he also wrote this beautiful love song for her. Hope so.

More music, videos and information at their MySpace page.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Local Seattle, I will forget you not

Last night I had a really blessed time on the Seattle music scene.

My host, a friend of a friend named Athima Chansanchai, assured me I was having a genuinely local experience at Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard, and it certainly did seem that way. It was a cozy venue with friendly, unpretentious people and a soundwoman who looked much like Tina Fey and managed to keep the mix at a volume that was easy on the eardrums.

It helped that she had a manifestly respectful trio of bands to work with, none of which relied on monstrous abrasive guitar tones to get their message across. It was as much fun as I have had kicking back, drinking beer and listening to live music in as long as I can remember.

This excursion started with an effort to recruit a creative local musician to write songs with me while I was in town for a health care journalism conference. Amanda Doyle put me onto Athima who put me onto her high school friend and former colleague Lino, who wasn't up for writing songs together sight unseen but did happen to have this gig on the books with his band Bandolier.

We walked in with The Sunnyside already on stage. This is a tight, mostly female folk combo characterized by acoustic textures, tasteful piano playing (got to love an upright piano in a local bar and a band that modulates its sound so you can hear it played) and pleasing harmony vocals.

They gave way to Forget Me Nots, which in fact was an unforgettable band. First, the look: two tall Norwegian types as bookends on the stage, a man on bass and a woman on fiddle, both towering and blond. Behind them, an expressive and wickedly talented drummer. Up front on guitar and vocal, a Jesus-haired man with sweet vocals and intricate guitar playing that left space for the other players, including the violin, which is so easily crushed by an amplified guitar.

Musically, they moved in several directions which didn't really connect, but the approach was so unpretentious and the music so effective and pleasing that it didn't matter. They did multifaceted instrumentals, ambitious rocks songs with several moving parts, blues, and covers of massively popular songs like Pink Floyd's "Money" and Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean".

Bandolier finished the night with wistful guitar pop, nicely colored by keyboard flourishes. Lino's songwriting is strong, in the vein of Camera Obscura or Belle and Sebastian, and his vocals were wonderfully complemented and offset by a female singer who shared the leads. This woman, listed on the site as Ann, has a pixieish physical beauty, and a quality that you can't teach and would kill to have in a band: she evidently likes to be looked at while she is up onstage. If the right opportunity presents itself, she could command any stage and any degree of pop stardom.

I scattered copies of our work around to these various bands, and hope to recruit them in our future projects. However that turns out, I am very grateful to have reconnected with the spirit of live music and to have had a taste of local Seattle. It was delicious.


Image is of Forget Me Nots.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lola Van Ella was our incentive

The Poetry Scores board agreed with my suggestion that we pay for a KDHX Community Media membership and give our money through Literature for the Halibut, the radio station's poetry show.

We had to join as an individual member, so Stefene Russell made out like it was from me. That meant the incentive for joining came to my house. It was two tickets to Midwest Mayhem on Thursday, May 14 at the City Museum.

Don't know which two of us will get to go (it probably won't be me), but there is a real incentive in this membership incentive: Lola Van Ella is on the bill!


Photo of Lola from More Drews than you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Research mission at Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard

I don't think this calls for organizational travel subsidy, but it looks like I will sneak in a little Poetry Scores talent scouting this week while I am in Seattle to attend a journalism conference.

It started when I asked my FaceBook friends if anyone knew of a creative musician in Seattle who might be willing to write songs with me at night after my conference sessions come to an end.

Amanda Doyle put me in touch with her high school friend Athima Chansanchai, a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She in turn thought of her friend Lino, but he declined, saying he didn't really jam.

Neither do I and that's not what I was looking for, but third-person conversations handled via social networking sites by people who don't know one another have their limititations.

However, Athima reported, Lino's band Bandolier had a gig on Thursday night at a pub in Ballard that she planned to check out. I invited myself along, and she said sure, she would swing by and pick me up.

Looking into this gig, I discovered a really interesting triple bill. Listening through the songs posted on their MySpace pages, I see not one but three candidates for future collaborations on Poetry Scores:


I especially love that band name, "Bandolier". It's so Subcomandante Marcos!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rick Hawkins captures a Tennessee kiln

I find a lot of poetry in this photograph by my buddy Rick Hawkins from his blog. It's a picture of a friend's kiln.

Rick contributed to the Art Invitational for Blind Cat Black and would probably keep contributing, if we only remembered to ask him. Rick lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, so we don't always remember him when compiling lists of artists.

Rick has been associated with our project from its prehistory in the field recording project Hoobellatoo. He met the first poet we scored, Leo Connellan, on an early Hoobellatoo field recording trip. The first poetry score CD, Leo's Crossing America, bears Rick's moving photograph of Leo on the back.

Rick also hosted us in the 'Boro for the one and only Poetry Scores tour. He packed his house on our behalf and we sold quite a bit of stuff.

A final connection: Rick's home recording project Jackson Pollock Microphone often borrows the poetry score technique by doing settings of texts. His current tracklist on MySpace includes "boss of the duplex planet," which must be a tribute to David Greenberger, an ancestor of our project.

Kindred spirit, for sure.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Darth Vader of modern poetry is from St. Louis

A well done New York Times Magazine profile this weekend alerted me to the existence of the poet Frederick Seidel and the fact that he is from St. Louis.

The story, by Wyatt Mason, made me feel as if I should have known all about Seidel by now, especially since his reputation is said to precede him - a reputation that includes a rap for being "the Darth Vader of contemporary poetry."

I like that image!

I also like Seidel's poetry, as quoted in Mason's piece and as discovered through a little desultory web searching this morning before I left the hotel. It's not hard to see the things about him that drive some people crazy, but for whatever reason they don't put me off.

Of course, doing what I do, I immediately start to fantasize about scoring one of his poems. I plan to pick up some of his books and look for a candidate, though a piece reprinted on The New Yorker site already strikes me as a really strong poetry score candidate.

Poem by the Bridge at Ten-shin
by Frederick Seidel

This jungle poem is going to be my last.
This space walk is.
Racing in a cab through springtime Central Park,
I kept my nose outside the window like a dog.
The stars above my bed at night are vast.
I think it is uncool to call young women Ms.
My darling is a platform I see stars from in the dark,
And all the dogs begin to bark.
My grunting gun brings down her charging warthog,
And she is frying on white water, clinging to a log,
And all the foam and fevers shiver.
And drink has made chopped liver of my liver!
Between my legs it’s Baudelaire.
He wrote about her Central Park of hair.

I look for the minuterie as if I were in France,
In darkness, in the downstairs entrance, looking for the light.
I’m on a timer that will give me time
To see the way and up the stairs before the lights go out.
The so delicious Busby Berkeley dancers dance
A movie musical extravaganza on the staircase with me every night.
Such fun! We dance. We climb. We slip in slime.
We’re squirting squeezes like a wedge of lime!
It’s like a shout.
It’s what minuterie is all about.
Just getting to the landing through the dark
That has been interrupted for a minute is a lark.
And she’s so happy. It is grand!
I put my mobile in her ampersand.

The fireworks are a fleeting puff of sadness.
The flowers when they reach the stars are tears.
I don’t remember poems I write.
I turn around and they are gone.
I do remember poor King Richard Nixon’s madness.
Pierre Leval, we loved those years!
We knocked back shots of single malt all night.
Beer chasers gave dos caballeros double vision, second sight—
Twin putti pissing out the hotel window on the Scottish dawn.
A crocodile has fallen for a fawn.
I live flap copy for a children’s book.
He wants to lick. He wants to look.
A tiny goldfinch is his Cupid.
Love of cuntry makes men stupid.

It makes men miss Saddam Hussein!
Democracy in Baghdad makes men think
Monstrosity was not so bad.
I followed Gandhi barefoot to
Remind me there is something else till it began to rain.
The hurricane undressing of democracy in Baghdad starts to sink
The shrunken page size of the New York Times, and yet we had
A newspaper that mattered once, and that is sad,
But that was when it mattered. Do
I matter? That is true.
I don’t matter but I do. I lust for fame,
And after never finding it I never was the same.
I roared into the heavens and I soared,
And landed where I started on a flexing diving board.

I knew a beauty named Dawn Green.
I used to wake at the crack of Dawn.
I wish I were about to land on Plymouth Rock,
And had a chance to do it all again but do it right.
It was green dawn in pre-America. I mean
Great scented forests all along the shore, which now are gone.
I’ve had advantages in life and I pronounce Iraq “Irrock.”
The right schools taught me how to tock.
I’m tocking Turkey to the Kurds but with no end in sight.
These peace tocks are my last. Goodbye, Iran. Iran, good night.
They burned the undergrowth so they could see the game they hunt.
That made the forest a cathedral clear as crystal like a cunt.
Their arrows entered red meat in the glory
Streaming down from the clerestory.

Carine Rueff, I was obsessed—I was possessed! I liked your name.
I liked the fact Marie Christine Carine Rue F was Jewish.
It emphasized your elegance in Paris and in Florence.
You were so blond in Rue de l’Université!
The dazzling daughter of de Gaulle’s adviser Jacques Rueff was game
For anything. I’m lolling here in Mayfair under bluish
Clouds above a bench in Mount Street Gardens, thinking torrents.
Purdey used to make a gun for shooting elephants.
One cannot be the way one was back then today.
It went away.
I go from Claridge’s to Brands Hatch racing circuit and come back
To Claridge’s, and out and eat and drink and bed, and fade to black.
The elephants were old enough to die but were aghast.
The stars above this jungle poem are vast.

To Ninety-second Street and Broadway I have come.
Outside the windows is New York.
I came here from St. Louis in a covered wagon overland
Behind the matchless prancing pair of Eliot and Ezra Pound.
And countless moist oases took me in along the way, and some
I still remember when I lift my knife and fork.
The Earth keeps turning, night and day, spit-roasting all the tanned
Tired icebergs and the polar bears, which makes white almost contraband.
The biosphere on a rotisserie emits a certain sound
That tells the stars that Earth was moaning pleasure while it drowned.
The amorous white icebergs flash their brown teeth, hissing.
They’re watching old porn videos of melting icebergs pissing.
The icebergs still in panty hose are lesbians and kissing.
The rotting ocean swallows the bombed airliner that’s missing.
Though they are very different poems by very different poets, this piece appeals to me as Stefene Russell's poem Go South for Animal Index appealed to me: as a long poem that is just dying to be a lyric sheet for a record of melodic rock music. Guided by Voices type deal. Guided by the voice of the Darth Vader of contemporary poetry ...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meriwether Lewis, heartily tired of the Shoshone hug

When I was stranded in New York for six years, far from all of my songwriting partners, I spent a lot of time crafting songs by combing though guitar tapes that had been mailed to me and matching potential song fragments with texts that I wanted to put to music.

Among many other projects, I started a record of songs that score verbatim quotes from The Journals of Lewis and Clark. (Actually, this continues an effort we started in the mid-'90s with the band Eleanor Roosevelt - our song "Espoontoon," which appeared in the soundtrack of a movie and on a seminal twang compilation, has lyrics by Meriwether Lewis.)

My friend Kevin Belford showed me how to make mp3s from cassettes using Audiograbber, so these song sketches now exist in a form that can be shared. Since it tends to take us years to turn song sketches into full-blooded songs and then actually release them, I'll start throwing these raggedy little sketches up here for fun.

This one scores Meriwether Lewis' description of a highly historic moment - when he stumbles upon some Shoshone, just inside what is now Idaho, near Salmon. Some clumsy nonverbal communication brings them together, and Captain Lewis gets rather more of an affectionate welcome than he bargained for:
these men then advanced and embraced me very affectionately in their way which is by puting their left arm over you wright sholder clasping your back, while they apply their left cheek to yours and frequently vociforate the word âh-hi'-e, âh-hi'-e that is, I am much pleased, I am much rejoiced. bothe parties now advanced and we wer all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug.
The date was Tuesday, August 13, 1805. The meeting was historic, because the Corps of Discovery was traveling with Sacajewea, and when these friendly Shoshone took Lewis back to their village, it turned out their chief was her brother!

Free mp3

"Heartily tired of the national hug"
(Chris King, Meriwether Lewis, Lij)
Three Fried Men

Please keep in mind this is me playing a guitar (and whistling!) tape roughly recorded by Lij on a jambox, then singing my vocal over his part, and roughly recording the result on a handheld tape recorded. Tape speed issues make me sound about eight years old.

A website for a restaurant in the Bitteroot Valley, near where this meeting occured, offers a good summery of the context surrounding it:

On August 11, 1805, Lewis saw an Indian on horseback but due to lack of communication with his own men the Indian fled in fear. The next day Lewis drank from a spring, which he declared "the most distant fountain" of the Missouri and his men stood with one foot on each side of the "Mighty Missouri". It certainly would have been a "Kodak Moment" had Kodak been born yet! He then predicted that by that evening he would also be able to taste the waters of the Columbia - and he did!

They passed over the continental divide, "which I found much steeper than the opposite side, to a bold running creek of cold clear water. There I first tasted the water of the great Columbia River." We call it the Lemhi River today but it's waters do flow into the Columbia. You can re-experience this same location on Lemhi Pass southeast of Salmon Idaho and drink from the same spots today!

The next day (Aug. 13) Lewis again saw some Indians, this time with some dogs. The Indians were afraid but the dogs were not so much and he almost got close enough to one to tie a handkerchief around it's neck with some beads. He was anxious to let these Indians know he meant them no harm. One problem was that Lewis and his men did not look very "white" having been in the sun all this time!

A mile further Lewis came upon three women- "a young women immediately took to flight, an elderly woman and a girl about 12 years old remained." They were sure they were to die but he took them by the hand and "strip up my shirt sleve to sew her my skin; to prove to her the truth of the ascertion that I was a white man". This all happened just southeast of what is now Salmon Idaho, directly South of us here in the Bitterroot.

These two women took them to their camp where: "bothe parties now advanced and we wer all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug". I like that! "tired of the national hug"! It turned out that Ca-me-ah-wait, the chief, was Sahcargarweah's brother! It must have been quite a
Carolyn Gilman has given an expert reading of the dance of nonverbal cues in this exchange.

A page on the website for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in my own town of St. Louis suggests this incident from the journal is included in a photo mural at the site. Guess I should visit and find out.


The doll is of Sacajawea's husband, from a blog devoted to historical dolls.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Geoffrey Seitz, our go-to oldtime fiddler

Geoffrey Seitz, a longtime contributing musician to Poetry Scores, is the subject of a beautiful photoessay and multimedia package by Erik Lunsford of The Post-Dispatch. Geoff is an oldtime fiddler and traditional violinmaker - one of the best in either business.

He was brought to my attention in the early 1990s, when I was writing for the Ray Hartmann-era Riverfront Times. Geoff had just won the most prestigious oldtime fiddle competition, held every year in Virginia. A friend of his (who owned a flower shop) knew Geoff wouldn't mess with promoting himself, so she called me out of the blue and told me I should write a story about him.

I did, and we have been together ever since - as friends and, eventually, bandmates. I was extremely blessed to have him play with me in Three Fried Men, and he has never said no when I asked him to play on a recording. I have kept writing about him, too, most recently in St. Louis Magazine.

Here is a brief sampling of Geoff's fiddle work on Poetry Scores project. So far, so good - he has been on every one!

Free mp3s

From Crossing America

"Rain and the sea"
(Trad.; adapted from "Napoleon Crossing the Rhine")
"Horror is easy"
(Trad; adapted from "Indian et a woodchuck")
With Dave Landreth on banjo

From Blind Cat Black

"Black Coal"
(Ece Ayhan, Chris King, Murat Nemet-Nejat)
With Three Fried Men

From Go South for Animal Index

"The old moon sleeps in the new moon's arms"
(Matt, Fuller, Chris King, Stefene Russell)
With Three Fried Men


Visit Geoff at his violin shop, 4171 Loughborough Avenue.

Photo by Erik Lunsford.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A death confection, here we go

Poetry Scores' friend and contributor Andy Torch tells me he is still languishing over Stefene Russell's great poem Go South for Animal Index, which we scored.

This reminded me that I haven't posted up most of our score. So, here we go. Here is one bit. First, the fragment of the poem and the poet's footnotes.

The fragment of the poem:

O Pitchblende [12] and Bismuth [13], here we go—
piles of rock squeezed to one glowing seed,
A złoty [14] dusted in radium, a death confection,
Her black hats
Trussed up with astral flowers,
The beaker that started all of this,
Glowing on the white table.
The poet's footnotes:

[12] A major uranium ore. Marie and Pierre Curie refined in their laboratory, eventually extracting radioactive polonium. The primary European source was in Bohemia; pitchblende miners routinely developed what was called “mountain disease”; we know it as lung cancer.

[13] Marie and Pierre Curie noted that this radioactive element signaled the presence of polonium in a batch of pitchblende ore.

[14] A unit of Polish currency; literally translated, it means “golden.” Marie Curie, born Maria Skłodowska, was from Warsaw.
The song we got out of it:

Free mp3

"A Death Confection"
(Matt Fuller, Chris King, Stefene Russell)
Three Fried Men

Mixed and mastered by Adam Long

I know, I know, I know, I didn't know how to pronounce "pitchblende". I don't care. "If it doesn't have your mistakes, it's got none of you." - Miles Davis


Design for death confection product box by me. Yes, I am keeping the day job.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Surrealist, contemplating and languishing

Andrew Torch sends this detail of one of the pieces in his one-man show at PSTL Gallery, 3842 Washington Blvd. , that opens on Friday, 6-9 p.m.

"Although she doesn't know it yet, Stefene Russell's poem, Go South for Animal Index, indirectly inspired another work of art from me that I have been contemplating and languishing over for almost a year," Andy writes in an email.

"It is loosely based on the WWII, top-secret, Tesla-inspired projects of space-time compression."

The piece is titled Montauk '43 (look it up - the links I find are all too far out to send you to), and this image represents the lower 1/4 of the work.

Andy's news belongs on the Poetry Scores blog because he is a faithful contributor to our Art Invitationals. As he suggests, Montauk '43 is an outgrowth of his work on the Art Invitational to Go South for Animal Index (2007).

I had every intention of bringing my child to see Andy's show on Friday, but now I am told we are taking the girl to Branson so she can do kid's stuff in celebration of her birthday.

Me in Branson, at this point in my life ... I'll be a candidate for "space-time compression." Might even be a little "contemplating and languishing" going on.

Joe Freeman, The Guy from The Pat Sajak Assassins

I would hate to think I would give another human being the brush off, especially at a beloved local bar - full of people who had pinched a buck out of their wallet to stimulate the finances of a tireless local gig booker and bartender who is currently depleting his savings at a bullfight in Madrid.

But I think I gave him the brush off. I guess I just didn't think that he was The Guy.

He said he was with The Pat Sajak Assassins. I love The Pat Sajak Assassins. I want to work with The Pat Sajak Assassins.

However, fairly or unfairly, on the testimony of mutual friends, I take The Pat Sajak Assassins to be a band who has a The Guy - a bandleader and primary songwriter, a ghost in the machine. This may be unfair, but this is my impression.

And this did not look like The Guy.

Then I asked this guy to sign the Brett Underwood Stimulus Package Baseball. He seemed to sign it as a "Joe". The Guy in question is indeed a Joe, a Joe Freeman. Then the guy introduced himself as Joe Freeman. Shit! This guy is The Guy!

I became visibly more interested in this guy, now that I knew that he was The Guy. Before you knew it he was calling my cell phone and we were locking down one another's number into our phones.

I realized, then, why at first I didn't think he was The Guy. A great album cover for his band has a boy superhero in flight. I guess I was looking for a boy superhero in flight, not a slim hipster man with a cool black beard. Pretty silly.

Glad to know you, Joe Freeman, The Guy from The Pat Sajak Assassins.

And now for the good news: Joe said something like, "I'm not too good with words." Shazam! That's where I come in! I have been blessed to make music for half of my life for one reason and one reason only - because there are creative musicians in the world who are not too good with words!

I moved in pretty quick on Joe and explained the Poetry Scores project, the putting to music of other people's poems, treating published poems like lyric sheets. And that is when The Guy reached for his cell phone and called me up so we could lock each other's number in.


It all goes to show: When you throw together a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser for a tireless bartender who got his bicycle wheels stolen just before he left on a Spanish vacation, good things happen to you.


Photo of Joe Freeman by Eric Fogleman from the Pat Sajak Assassins My Space page.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Overdub assignments for Christopher Y. Voelker

Here is something we haven't tried before: blog post as overdub assignment. Here is what I am asking Christopher Y. Voelker to work on for the score to The Sydney Highrise Variations.

"Also, it's a space probe"
(Matt Fuller, Chris King, Les Murray)

On this one, my coproducer Matt Fuller and I decided to go with the rough sketch we recorded in Coldwater Canyon outside L.A. I like the tentativeness of his acoustic guitar part. We both wanted some atmosphere of our raggedy songwriting process to make its way onto the final recording. I also think there is a nice inversion to having a recording made in a natural low point (a canyon) on this record about manmade high points (highrises).

Chris' task will be to work with the sketchy tonality of the recording and its open spaces to add a little more texture and ear candy, but not too much.

"In ambiguous battle at length"
(Frank Heyer, Les Murray)

On this piece, Matt and I were sorely tempted to leave what we have as is, as a duet between Frank Heyer's fretless guitar and the poet Les Murray's bizarre mouth music. I am still tempted. But this is a long piece, with a lot of open space, and on repeat listening the ear will probably want to hear a little more going on. Also, Chris did such a fabulous job on the more experimental pieces on our score to Go South for Animal Index that he is probably stuck working on pieces like this with us from now on.

“Breath of catching up”
(Chris King, Lij, Les Murray)

Matt and I didn't suggest Chris for this one, but it wouldn't hurt for him to try to come up with some simple, beautiful violin line that doesn't compete with the whistle at the end.

We still have to track a number of songs from scratch in Nashville, so Chris may have more work than this to do, but this looks like one good long night in the studio with Adam Long.


Still from the movie to Blind Cat Black has Chris Voelker in the window at CBGB as a zombie sailor songster. Rather than this prop accordion, he will play viola and violin on our score.

Kangaroo Court brings unhinged moods to the table

My journey through the Richard Derrick archive continues, every time I have to drive somewhere. I always have a large stack of unreleased music Richard edited riding shotgun with me, ready to divulge its secrets.

We have been using recordings from his band Middle Sleep (early 1980s, Los Angeles) for years now, with several tracks incorporated into Blind Black Cat and Go South for Animal Index, and more in the works for this year's score, The Sydney Highrise Variations.

Sydney also will mark our first use of Another Umbrella, his duo with Crane. Since Richard sent me thirty-nine archival discs of Another Umbrella, I can confidently predict we will be hearing much more of them over the years, if Antartica doesn't slide completely into the ocean or if we are not all killed senselessly by people who lost their jobs and have been picked on by jerks.

This past week, moving deeper into the stack of CDs Richard sent me, I hit upon a new vein. Though the principals are once again Richard and Crane, this material appears under a different artist name, Kangaroo Court.

Like so much else of what these guys do, it happens to fit perfectly into the imaginative world of a guy who likes to set long poems to music and needs a wide range of atmospheric music to get from here to there any number of times per score.

Here are a few early Kangaroo Court favorites, with Richard's track notes and my thoughts for imagined uses.

Free mp3s

"Carnival Thing" (0:36)

Richard Derrick * keyboards
Recorded at home (San Pedro), 25 October 1986

A carnival thing! You never know when you will need a carnival thing - a squib of 0:36 seconds that makes it seem like we suddenly have been whiskey away to a carnival and then been returned to ordinary life before we knew it.

"Desert Pilgrims" (3.19)

Crane * rhythm guitars, right-channel solo guitar
Richard Derrick * left-channel solo guitar
Recorded at Crane's and Art Asylum, September 1986

The journal I am keeping on Richard's archive has a lot of "frenetic guitar" jottings. Here is another. It so happens I have a hearty appetite for frenetic guitar. Next year we are scoring David Clewell's long poem about Jack Ruby, the guy who killed Lee Harvey Oswald. There is a long, breathless section that follows Ruby's movements throughout that fatal day. It will need a lot of snippets of frenetic guitar. I will have lots and lots to choose from.

"'Til The Cows Come Home" (2.39)
Crane * guitars, rhythm
Recorded at Crane's, September 1986

An aggressive, slightly unhinged mood setter. Since we have plans to score poems about the guy who shot Oswald, the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis, an activist girl who was raped and killed in Mexico, and the international banking hustle, we have plenty of aggressive, slightly unhinged moods to set ahead of us.

"Could Have Been" (3.24)

Crane * keyboard
Richard Derrick * guitar, second keyboard
Keyboard recorded at Crane's, September 1986
Guitar and second keyboard recorded at home, 12 December 1986

What can I say? This would work for just about any thing. The title they picked for the instrumental track, "Could Have Been," nicely fits its wistful atmosphere. There is a lot of need for wistful atmosphere in the poetry scores game.


Image from

Friday, April 3, 2009

Radical acts of pro-active beauty with Lyndsey Scott

The great Lyndsey Scott and Holly Renee are opening The Flow Show tomorrow (Saturday, April 4 from 4-6 p.m. at Dana Smith's lovely shop City Art Supply, 3215 Cherokee St.

Lyndsey sets the scene in a vivid email. We are to expect: "Holla Otter dressed as water and me a Murmur ....... a painting show and swirly installation setting for a soiree of little mermaids."

Earlier in the day, our Lyndsey will be mixing political process with her art for all ages in helping to create "a colorful display of joy, whimsy, and community support to draw attention to our goal" of a Plaza for the People at the intersection of Cherokee and Texas streets.

In name magic alone, that has to be one powerful intersection. Lyndsey reports aldermanic resistance to the project and appeals to the public to get educated and, perhaps, involved. She says,

Our friends the community gardeners are planning to wheelbarrow down a special load of rich earth as a ceremonial offering. We'll be distributing homemade seedbombs inscribed "The Greening of Cherokee" to encite radical acts of pro-active beauty.
The mix of art and grass-roots politics is where our girl is at, she says. "This is how I balanced my time last month -- alternating between stiff neighborhood meetings and political process, & then escaping to a very imaginary land where balance - surrender - pleasure are the name of the game ...."

Dana's shop (314-771-5375) will be open from noon tomorrow. New items just arrived, he says: Universal Ink, Black Magic Ink, new screens for screen printing and Fabric Ink in a variety of colors. I have been drawing pictures at the Symphony on my most recent purchase from City Art Supply.

Lyndsey and Dana are both regular contributors to Poetry Scores projects. Lyndsey's name came up again at the most recent board meeting as a contributor to the Art Invitational, and Dana's contribution of having your band painted was a major highlight of Experiential Auction 2009.

Tomorrow when I stop by with my little family, perhaps I can enlist one or both of them to participate in one or both of our events this year, scheduled for September 13 (Experiential Auction) and November 13 (Art Invitational). Mark your calendars!

Images by Dana Smith from the City Art Supply show and its setup from the Asbestos Sister Photobucket.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Poetry Scores picks 13s for 2009 event dates

Last night at our board meeting, held at lovely but noisy Sasha's on Shaw, we set dates for our two big annual events this year.

For the Experiential Auction, we will shoot for Sunday evening, September 13. Atomic Cowboy already has volunteered its courtyard.

We brainstormed about experiences we will try to offer this year. John Eiler had a good idea for a wrecking and demolition experience, for one. As we confirm donations, I will start to list the experiences on auction. Matt Fernandes has established a Poetry Scores PayPal account, and we intend to research how to start the auction online this year.

For the Art Invitational devoted to The Sydney Highrise Variations, we are shooting for Friday, November 13 (which also becomes the deadline to have the score finished and printed to CD). The venue is up in the air at this point.

The last couple of years we had a great experience working with Hoffman LaChance, but their new space probably just isn't big enough. (We came up with a list of forty artists to invite on the spot last night; Michael and Alicia's new space is perfect for an intimate four-person show.)

Stephen Lindsley, new to the board, runs the Art Patrol blog and really knows the scene. He has suggested Belas Artes. Looking at its calendar right now, there seems to be hole right around November 13, so we need to get right on that project.

Both the Experiential Auction and Art Invitational have an added advantage this year, in that treasurer Serra Bording-Jones and volunteer lawyer Mathew Poetry worked with the IRS to get our tax-exempt non-profit status approved. We plan to get a succinct statement from Mathew Poetry on who can write off what on their taxes when they donate experiences or art to us; or, God bless the people, when they spend their money on us.

The only other public project we discussed for 2009 would be to co-sponsor K. Curtis Lyle's upcoming performance in Los Angeles, where he would promote the publication Poetry Scores did for him, his beautiful two-faced book, Nailed Seraphim b/w The Epileptic Camel Driver Speaks to a Refugee Death: Elegy for Fakin' Floyd Raintree - still in print and available through us and at most independent shops in St. Louis.

Speaking of "in print," Stephen Lindsley volunteered to look into reprints of Blind Cat Black and Go South for Animal Index, which are basically sold out (or given out), and Charlois Lumpkin has shouldered the burden of managing our various consignment deals, once I dig up the various receipts and take her around to meet people.

Finally, we decided that Poetry Scores should become a member of KDHX Community Media, now in the throes of a spring fundraising drive. I was walking up to the meeting when that piece of business was transacted, but I vote we join through the radio station's one poetry show, Literature for the Halibut.


Logo by former board president Robert Goetz.