Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Last night was the ImprovGarage benefit for 21 Grand. 21 Grand is a swell venue with superb organizers. Since the building it's currently in is going to be knocked over and made into condos, it's going to move into a new place in April, over at 25th and Broadway in Oakland near God's Gym.

I was one of 16 performers. There were so many pillars of the community in the ensemble, it's a wonder the building wasn't thrown right off its foundation! I really enjoyed performing with all of them.

If I had to pick a favorite piece that we did last night, it would have to be Suggestion #1 by Theresa Wong. She explained to us at rehearsal that it was based on a memory game, where players turn over cards and get to keep them if they match. Each of us was given a card with a picture on it and we were to play when our card came up. The two "players" were Noah Philips and Jacob Lindsay. Each time they entered the texture, it was our signal to move from one part of the piece to another. I liked how Noah & Jacob's entrances made the piece hang together and how the other music was all duos. Mine was with Jon Raskin and I enjoyed it a lot. The texture was quiet enough I could play tongue stops on the bass flute and have them be heard. Jon was sitting behind me and to my right and he said the bass flute was pointed right at him and he could see almost all the way up it. :)

21 Grand is also an art gallery, and one of the pieces was an installation with 3 video screens. One of the screens played a video of somebody picking a scab and letting it bleed. It was hard to watch because you couldn't look at it without feeling it happen to you (which I'm sure is the point). Some of us were standing around at the break kind of squicking over it and Philip Greenlief and I were inspired to pull up our trouser legs and compare our knee surgery scars. It turns out we both had our knee surgeries as high school seniors, and it was not a football injury for either one of us.

Darren Johnston and Matt Davignon shared their bags of chips with me at the break. Matt told me his new album is about to come out on March 29.I said I was one of 16 performers...I'm pretty sure there were only 10 in the audience. This was disappointing. However, Amoeba Records made a $100 donation, and Philip's mom gave $60. All of the players and the audience bought drinks, and the audience paid to get in, so I really hope Darren and Sarah made a useful amount of money from the event.

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