Sunday, December 24, 2006

Notorious non-percussionist bangs on stuff, film @ 11

There's been a percussion theme to the past few days.

I've been working on "Test Pilot's Lament", one of the songs I'm about to record. In it, percussion on an autoharp will take the place of rhythm guitar. The wooden handle of the autoharp's tuning crank turned out to be great for hitting several strings at a time and I'm practicing this. For a notorious non-percussionist, even a sequence of even eighth notes can be a challenge so I'm working on it with a metronome.

Also last evening I accompanied Celeste to the Musical Nightmare Before Christmas at the Starry Plough, organized by Suki and Lucio (whom I overheard referred to by someone in the crowd who I guess couldn't remember or pronounce his last name, as "Lucio Megatron"). There was lots to listen to including Lumper/Splitter's emergency guitar surgery and a solo set by notorious non-metronome Moe! Staiano. I was close enough that I was hit by flying shrapnel. It was awesome.

The memory of that experience came with me to my classical flute gig this morning, in which I was directed to play finger cymbals and claves in a couple of pieces instead of the flute. During rehearsal I made sure to play them in ways I wasn't supposed to, in honor of Moe!. But I play often enough with those classical people that they now expect me to act out in new music ways and it's hard to shock them anymore.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Year-end madness

Hmmm...exactly when am I going to get everything done I need to do before the end of the year? Or more precisely, before my two big commitments in January? I've got those sessions coming up, to finish "Not Made of Stone", and Womantis is supposed to premiere my piece "Genesis" in January too. So I've got a lot to do, and like Celeste always does in her blog, here it is in no particular order:

get flute and bass flute repaired
rehearsals with John for "Save a Prayer"
coordinate Dan's "Save a Prayer" piano part, editing, MIDI file export
be on the hook for Jim's questions about "Save a Prayer" and "Death & the Maiden"
practice vocals for all the songs
find out what mallets are good for playing percussion on an autoharp...or else see if chopsticks work, or the tuning implement
figure out how to pack everything
worry about if I can get my instruments onto the plane as carryon or not
go with Celeste to new music shows while she is back for the holidays
make elaborate plans for my time in Portland with K
make more elaborate Portland plans with Rich and Daria et. al. (I hope)
do Yule and Christmas things as appropriate with friends & family
play classical holiday gigs
work on "Genesis"
coordinate the Company's travel plans and lodging arrangements in Oregon

I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of things. If you know of any, drop me a line. Thanks muchly. :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Duran Duran's speed seduction manual

Preparations are underway for the final round of recording sessions for our new album, "Not Made of Stone", coming up in January. We'll be recording two originals and one cover, "Save a Prayer" by Duran Duran.

Dan's piano part for "Save a Prayer" is ready and input into Sibelius, and John and I have started rehearsing with it, to create his guitar part and the guitar solo he'll play at the end. Jim is learning the original bass line off the Duran Duran record, and Jeff will be creating his drum part based on the original and a couple of examples I sent him on a CD. I am practicing what's a pretty demanding vocal part and creating a bass flute part.

"Save a Prayer" is arguably the best Duran Duran song. It might be one of the most beautiful ballads ever written. Trying to do it justice is kind of scary but I hope, doable. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's found herself in the situation described in the fact I've been there more than once. To give in to temptation or not to give in?

The originals we will be recording are "Test Pilot's Lament" and "Death and the Maiden". Will Grant created the original sound bites for the "Death and the Maiden" electronica part, and I've created multiple lines out of them, and edited them together and created volume automation. I finalized the lyrics today. There is a lot more work to be done on that one, and on "Test Pilot's Lament", before January. It's a bit daunting but it can be done.

Concurrently with preparing for the sessions, I'm working on my piece, "Genesis", for twelve performers and a conductor. I'm told it will be performed in late January by the Womantis ensemble, an all-female improvising group in Oakland. Their custom is to include one token male musician in each concert, so I created the piece with that in mind. I now have to stop carrying the piece around in my head and write it down.

But even before all this happens, I just found out today that I'll be participating in the Bay Area Flute Fest on December 10th at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. I have a 20-minute slot in which to demonstrate and improvise on the bass flute. That should be fun. I'm looking forward to it especially because I'll get to hear my friend Phil Gelb on the shakuhachi immediately afterwards.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Flip Quartet premiere

The Flip got its first performance last evening!

Here are some stream-of-consciousness highlights:

1. At least 4 of the audience members had never been to a "new music" concert before.
2. Matt Davignon and Phillip Greenlief's Misspelled Duo music.
3. Moe! hurling a superball across the gallery to bounce it off the wall, twice, as part of his South quarter improvisation.
4. A good-sized audience, which Matt D described as "the biggest the LSG has had in 2 months".
5. The performers holding their three-minute timers aloft and flipping them over together, sometimes with a count-off from Moe!.
6. My brother Will doing videography and the look on his face during some parts of the improvisation.
7. The wonderful new gallery lighting rig with faders which allowed us to light up each of the four stations and make them visible.
8. Suki blowing bubbles in those classic 70s old-fashioned glasses.
9. Theresa applying a huge dry branch to the wall of the gallery.
10. Lucio and Theresa playing my Native American flute.
11. Actual door money for the performers.
12. The magnificent array of metal objects in the South quarter.
13. Lucio's leaning tower of shaker blocks.
14. Not a single word of text was spoken. The printouts of poems in the East quarter were crumpled up as sound sources.
15. The jack o'lantern didn't get improvised with. Granted, I forgot to light it. Poor Jack had a lobotomy for nothing. ;)
16. Moe! blowing soap bubbles while Matt D announced the performance.

There will be another performance of the Flip in spring in Oakland. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Forgot to mention

I forgot to blog about the artist who attended the Palais concerts. He was at all the performances on Saturday evening at the 1078 Gallery, and he spent the whole time creating these intricate free-hand pen-and-ink drawings on torn up pieces of cardboard. He would give them to musicians and audience members.

I can't read his signature very well but it looks like "John M..." The drawings are very beautiful and seem to focus on mountains and evergreens drawn different ways. I have three of them. My favorite is, of course, the one he drew during Lucio's and my performance. He entitled it, "Action of Breath and Voice".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Music is life, and life music

This is the first chance I've had to blog about the Palais Ideal event in Chico this past weekend. As Phillip G pointed out, it was kind of like a retreat for the SF Bay Area new music community. There were quite a few of us there and it was just far away enough to feel like we were out of town. I love changes of scenery.

Phillip & I had an uneventful drive up on Saturday but a bit of a struggle with web-based directions once we hit town. Once there everything went smoothly from my perspective. There were people in attendance at every set I saw. I got to hear Marielle Jakobsen's solo work for the first time, which was a treat. It's very tasteful, and thoughtful, and a lot more complicated than perhaps it looks. Phillip's solo performance proved to me that even when he is exhausted, he is still himself, and still owns the venue. Danny Cohen's singer/songwriter set was a lot of fun too, when evening came. It was very dark and evocative, with song titles like "Rigor Mortis on the Ridge".

Austin Space made the trip up from the Bay Area, armed with a weekend pass and collecting CDs from many musicians for the KFJC library. He also came armed with an impressive recording rig and recorded a lucky few of us -- myself and Lucio included, I'm proud to say.

Lucio didn't arrive until Saturday evening, since he had a gig at the looping festival in Santa Cruz that afternoon. He came blazing up the highway and arrived ready to rock.

It was funny -- I must have been giving off a very "Where's Lucio?" vibe because folks kept coming up to me and letting me know whether or not they had seen him. (Austin picked up on this and asked me, "What does Lucio look like?" so he could get in on the Lucio watch.) When he ultimately did arrive, three different people ran up to me to inform me excitedly, "Lucio's here!" I got excited too and ran off to find him.

Our set went pretty well with a really on-the-ball sound engineer named Steve making sure the words could be heard above the instrumentalism.

There was just a lot of positive energy in the event. Organizer Jason Cassidy, who had every right to be stressed out, was nothing but mellow and positive every time I spoke to him, even though he was dealing with headliner cancellations and all kinds of stuff I don't envy. There were lots of volunteers around and audience members who were not all members of the bands. I'm hoping the Palais will become an annual event. I'd do it again in a second.

Next up for me is the San Francisco night of the Duck & Cover tomorrow, and then the Flip Quartet meeting/rehearsal on Saturday and then the Flip itself, on November 2nd. More collaborating with Lucio, which is always good.

Friday, October 13, 2006

On this day in history...

Happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday, dear K...
(tall, artistic, literary, and culinary...the sweetest confection in Portland, and not a Moonstruck chocolate!)
happy birthday to you!

And many MORE...:)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The latest

Lucio is back from Europe. I went to hear him at the Illuminated Corridor event last Friday night. I thought it was too bad it was so overcast in Oakland. It would have been glorious to see the full moon shining down on the crowd and the artists, but I understand overcast is how Suki wanted it, so I guess I should defer to the organizer. Among many other swell performance installations, Daniel Popsicle played a new soundtrack to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" which was projected on the side of a white van on the blocked-off street.

I met up with Lucio again a couple of days later so I could drop off a CD of the vocal parts for "Mansions of the Moon". The parts are spoken, whispered, sung, and manipulated in Digital Performer. The idea of the piece is that the utterance of such ancient words will attract spirits, so the proliferation of vocal parts represents those spirits. Lucio & I sonically represent the magic itself. We have rehearsals set up to get the piece ready for the show on October 21st.

Lucio is also going to be part of The Flip Quartet premiering on November 2nd. The four improvisers and I will be getting together for lunch to go over the piece and make plans for how it's going to go. I expect the four three-minute timers to arrive any day now...I ordered them online and I got a shipping notification.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"The Breeze" now uploaded

My flute quartet, Remove Before Flight, was performed on August 26th at the West Marin Music Festival. There's a recording of the first movement, "The Breeze", now uploaded to my MySpace. Go have a's at the bottom of the list of songs.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mansions of the Moon

Lucio Menegon and I are preparing a duo project for the Palais Ideal festival in Chico. It's starting to come together.

I've chosen the text, which is an English translation of the Mansions of the Moon from the Picatrix, an 11-century grimoire. This text is also called Ghayat al Hakim, or "The Aim of the Wise". It was first written down in Arabic, and then translated into Latin in 1256 for Alfonso the Wise of Castille.

The Mansions of the Moon is meant to teach the different stations the moon will go through as it travels through the zodiac. The grimoire tells you what kind of spells you should do when the moon is in each mansion. There are 28 mansions, and an introductory and conclusionary paragraph.

This weekend I recorded myself speaking all the text. Next I'll edit the spoken sections in Digital Performer and try to fit them all into 30 minutes, which is length of the set Lucio and I have at the Palais Ideal. I'm also going to record them again whispered and maybe sung, depending on how the editing goes. When I'm done I'll have something Lucio and I can improvise over on flute, bass flute, and guitar.

The show is on October 21st. Lucio is in Europe right now but he'll be back in the Bay Area by October 6th, since he's in the Illuminated Corridor show at 21 Grand. Sometime between then and the 21st, we'll get together and figure out how to musically accompany all that astrological magic.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The KFJC experience

Tuesday night was my live mic on KFJC. My first live mic, with Thurston Hunger as my host, was back in 1998 so it was good to be back. The campus has been rearranged a bit since then but I managed to find the studio and my host, Austin Space.

Austin went above and beyond the call of host duty. He'd brought a microphone from his personal collection and a tube preamp for me to play and vocalize through. The engineers, Katie and Eli, were completely on the ball. I felt really welcome and appreciated, which for independent musicians is all too rare an experience.

I played "Plaquemine Brulée" followed by a bass flute improvisation over "1 p.m.", a remix that Joel Krutt has done of sounds from my second album Summerland. The words I used for that one were the Houses of the Moon from the Picatrix, a thirteenth-century grimoire. I am getting ready to write a new piece around those words. It will be called (not surprisingly) "Houses of the Moon".

After that I did "Three Visions" and "Davenport".

The interview with Austin that followed focused on the West Marin event that is coming up. I also got to plug Matt's album a little bit and Austin played a track from it.

At the end of the live mic, I found out that Ophelia Necro, another KFJC host, had been listening from home and had really dug "Sugar Skulls", which is part of "Three Visions". So much so that she made me a sugar skull and brought it down to the studio for me! I was SO pleased and I was really glad when she called, just as I was leaving, so I could thank her.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Publication and premiere

I just sent away the signed contract that confirms that my flute quartet, Remove Before Flight, will be published next spring by ALRY Publications. Turn to them if you want Remove Before Flight sheet music for your own flute quartet!

Also, in case you want to save the date, my new piece, The Flip Quartet, will get its first performance on November 2nd at the Luggage Store Gallery. This piece is in a very different vein than Remove Before Flight, in that where RBF is in the "contemporary classical" style (insofar as these terms really MEAN anything), The Flip Quartet is a structured improvisation with many of the details left up to the performers.

For the first manifestation of The Flip Quartet, those performers are Lucio Menegon, Suki O'Kane, Moe! Staiano and Theresa Wong. I'm stoked anticipating what they'll come up with. The score calls for them to work with four amplified stations at the four cardinal points (north/east/south/west), and explore the four medieval elements (earth/air/fire/water) using objects, instruments, and text.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I got my Matt Davignon CD!

And if you don't have yours yet, you can get your own by clicking here.

I like it a lot.

My mind races a lot when I'm trying to fall asleep, and I have turned to certain albums from time to time on headphones to help calm the mind and get it moving in the direction of the dream realm. For a while, I was listening to "Other Times" by King Chubby for that purpose. Then I was using "Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks" by Brian Eno, especially on long train trips and long flights.

Matt's new album is one of those I might turn to in the future. It is intriguing, and beautiful, and experimental, but also soothing. I can see it getting my mind off my day-to-day obsessions and steering me towards an otherworld inhabited by strange organisms making oozey organic sounds and flopping around.

I have Matt's album "Bwoo" also, and it's good, but "SoftWetFish" is better. It takes me deeper into that otherplace and offers up even more sounds you'd never expect to come out of a drum machine. I think (and I hope) Matt will go down in history as the discoverer of all a drum machine's extended techniques. Because he's nowhere near done yet, as far as I can tell.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Celestvs Avgvstvs, Reine de Berkeley

Celeste is here and although she can't come to cooking class with me, I've gotten to hear her twice, once on laptop and once on the tuba. This is very cool. She played tuba at the Skronkathon, and after her set I got to hang with her and Nicole and her dad (Celeste's dad) Ed and her old old friend Mitch. We sat outside the Mama Buzz Cafe and entrepreneurs attempted to sell us video of the original Temptations lineup and speculate about where exactly Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, in Ethiopia or in Jerusalem.

She is still under the weather and couldn't stay for all the skronking that ensued thereafter. There were some very enjoyable sets and a lot of great food on the grill. I found out that I was the very first customer to order Matt Davignon's new album, SoftWetFish. (Something I recommend you do as well, even if you can't be first.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Celeste is on her way back!

She's en route, in the air somewhere between Paris and the Bay Area. I'm really excited. She has been gone for a year studying at the CCMIX in Paris. I keep up with her blog, which is superb (see link at right), but it's not the same as having her here in person.

She has gigs coming up in the Bay Area, too! On August 3rd, she'll perform her new laptop music at the Luggage Store Gallery. On August 6th, she'll be part of the revolving cast of characters at the Skronkathon, this time improvising on the tuba. I've never actually heard her tuba playing...

She'll be here just for a month, then it's off to Den Haag for the Sonology course. So I guess there's no hope of enticing her back into her bass guitar-playing Company slot. Alas.

Maybe she can go with me to Phil Gelb's next vegan cooking glass, though. That would rock. Phil's first class was a kick. It featured the following:

  • Fresh-squeezed lime-ade
  • Roasted corn salad
  • Sauteed collard greens with kalamata olives, capers, a shallot, garlic, etc.
  • Skillet corn bread
  • Pistachio-crusted tempeh with an amazing Japanese gravy
  • Vegan chocolate mousse

All of it tasted awesome and made me feel like I'd done my body a favor. So maybe Celeste will be able to share the next one with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I love Mercury retrograde!

NOT. ;)

At least I can look forward to it being over on July 29th.

I've been nailed by Mercury today. I just heard from Carol Negro, who directs the West Marin Music Festival, in whose Composers' Showcase "Remove Before Flight" is being performed almost exactly a month from now.

Apparently she was under the impression that I would be playing the first flute part. I was under the impression that I was *not* playing the first flute part (and that somebody else would be hired to play it).

So as of now, I guess I am playing it. With eyes darting furtively around, I sneak off to practice really hard.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Moe!Kestra! show this evening

The Moe!Kestra! show is tonight. We've had two rehearsals. I can say with confidence that when you're done hearing Piece No. 7, you will be ready for battle, with Warbirds filling the sky overhead and taking out alien gun emplacements, and ground troops charging out of heavy transports, ready to massacre the worthy but unlucky enemy. Piece No. 7 sounds like a Klingon opera overture to me...if you're at 12 Galaxies in San Francisco tonight, it will be GLORIOUS!

Friday, July 14, 2006


Please don't believe what you've heard about the division
between soul and substance
between Spirit and the flesh.

The world does not stand in opposition to the spirit.
The world is not a thing; the world is a place.

Souls have a life wish.
They come here not to be imprisoned by the flesh
but to spawn, to molt, to grow.

Life is a mating dance, a courtship of souls;
soul to soul and soul to god.

The world is a womb in which we bive birth to ourselves
However difficult that birth might be, that is why we come here.

To be born fully, is our life's task.

We were called into the flesh to bring Divinity to earth;
to love, understand and create.
Spirit leads us into these things.

In this quest we can find not only friends
and mentors but life partners.

The union of the flesh is but a delightful part
of an even deeper spiritual union
that awaits you if you seek it out -
and the delights when you achieve that are deeper still.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Separated at birth?

I had forgotten how much Brian Kenney Fresno resembles Richard Dean Anderson.
I'm sure they both get that a lot. It's really weird.
I will go watch Stargate DVDs now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Notnoise! Notmusic! Notmichael!

Jeff Davis called me up on July 4th to touch base about finishing up Not Made of Stone, and while we were talking he revealed that Michael Haumesser is back in the Santa Cruz area after some years out on the East Coast. (He engineered and mixed my first album, Taste the Wall.) This is very cool news. Find out all about him at

Speaking of dear friends from way back, I got to hear Rick Walker do his looping thang at the Luggage Store Gallery last night. He looped the sounds of many orange objects, so I guess he has moved on from the Translucent Day-Glo Lime Green Plastic theme (except for a green clarinet). It was really cool to see and hear him. He also improvised on a toy piano which was a gift from Chris.

LX Rudis opened with a solo set on his Matrix-12 analog synth. LX's set attracted a black cat, who prowled back and forth on the ledge outside the gallery windows looking for a way in. When the synth music stopped, the cat took off. So he must have liked the vintage synth sounds.

The evening was very laid back, like we were all hanging out with friends who happened to be making music. After the show John Hanes and Lucio Menegon told me stories about how they knew Rick from way, way back (in John's case even before Tao Chemical). Rick showed John how to drone on his frame drum.

I was telling Lucio about my flute quartet (Remove Before Flight) and he misunderstood me and thought I said "flip quartet". Now I'm wondering if I should write one. First I need to figure out what the "flip" designation actually means; whether it's (a) four people turning flips, (b) four people flipping objects over that will thereby make sounds, or (c) four people flipping each other off. Or the audience. Perhaps it's all three, but that would be a very hard piece.

John and Lucio and I escorted one another to BART after it was all over.

Before the Luggage Store Gallery event I got to hear a concert at the Asian Art Museum. It was the Theater of Yugen featuring many improvising musicians and Noh dancers. It was a very beautiful, powerful, and well-attended event. It started very early in the evening which was so convenient for getting to the LSG afterwards. The walk to the LSG can be a tiny bit daunting sometimes so I was grateful that it was still light out when I made the trip. Even better, I got to see the Theater of Yugen for only $5.00. That cannot be beaten with a stick.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Affair to Remember

I had a dream last night that I visited Dan Magazin's home in Vallejo. I've never actually been there. But in the dream it was spacious with huge purple velvet sectional sofas in the living room -- forming two whole right angles. There was a big heavy wooden door between the front hallway and a small entryway. Stephen was there and so was Stephen's mom, plus two little kids, and boy and a girl, who were staying over. I got the feeling they were relatives.

In the dream I got into a conversation with Dan about the movie An Affair to Remember. I told him about my frustrations with the movie. I've only seen it once, when my mom showed it to me on DVD, so the DVD version may not be the "real" theater version.

But anyway -- I told Dan I thought the first half of the movie was really well-written, and Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant were so smart and sophisticated, and I could relate to the story even though it was taking place in the 50s.

The movie could have ended for me after the ship got back to New York. The second half of the movie stopped being a comedy, and got really preposterous. The characters lost all their intelligence and savvy and became hopeless caricatures. I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to get into the saccharine story that ensued. The characters you met in the first half weren't believable doing the things they did in the second half. It didn't make any sense.

In real life I remember telling my mom as much, as politely as possible since I knew she'd been really looking forward to showing me that movie. (I remember her confessing there were a couple of scenes she could have done without.) Apparently in my dream realm I wanted to reiterate those points to Dan for some reason.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A great weekend of music

My ears are so happy right now. They had a full-spectrum overdose of great sounds that started Friday at Artists' Television Access in San Francisco.

Matt Davignon curated a show all about improvised film soundtracking, with films chosen by Sarah Lockhart, and featuring performers Myrmyr (Agnes Szelag and Marielle Jakobsons), Mr. Marauder & Luz Alibi, and a quintet consisting of Matt, Moe! Staiano, Lance Grabmiller, Konoko Ishii and David Michalak.

The music was amplified but not too loud, and all the players were sensitive and skilled improvisers. Best of all, the event was sold out and some extra folks were standing in the back of the hall, which I'm told is unheard of for gigs there. I really dug the show. Mr. Marauder/Luz Alibi's effort for the film "Vienna Action!" sticks in my mind because of the subject matter of the film (gluttony/animal rights) as well as their great soundtracking effort. The quintet's soundtrack to "Romance Sentimentale" was also a standout. It was very haunting and beautiful.

Sunday night was haunting and beautiful too. I went to the SIMM series concert at the Musicians' Union Hall also in San Francisco to hear the cellist Sue Schlotte, first in a duo with Gino Robair, and then in a trio with Garth Powell and Matthew Goodheart.

After a week of very loud sounds (including Tuesday's FestEvil), it was a cool contrast to hear an acoustic show complete with extremely quiet sounds that had the audience in breathless silence. I had managed to choose a seat right between two air conditioning vents and I was freezing cold, but I didn't dare pick up my jacket and put it on, because I'd have made extraneous sounds -- especially if my wallet chain clanked against something. (Gino told me later that if it had, he would have just taken the chain from me and started improvising with it. :) )

It's hard to describe what a treat it is to put your ears and heart in the hands of people who really know what they're doing, and have them deliver all that and more.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Me and the motorcycle

I had a dream last night that I acquired a BMW motorcycle. I'm pretty sure it was a gift and I didn't buy it for myself.

In real life I've never ridden a motorcycle and in the dream, I was practicing riding it around a parking garage. I succeeded in navigating the spiral ramp down the parking garage levels at a slow speed. I was proud of that.

Then I went to try the freeway, only to find traffic at a standstill. Since I was a beginning rider I decided not to do any white-lining, and just sat there in traffic waiting with everybody else. Other motorists, also stuck in traffic, admired my bike and asked me questions about it. I remember the little kids in passing cars were especially into it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

X-Men 3: Your one-stop shop for female degradation

About a half a dozen people, including me, celebrated Matt Davignon's birthday by going to see X-Men 3 on Friday night. It was a great hang but a sucky movie. I was deeply disappointed because I love the X-Men and I thought the first two movies were kinda fun. But not this one. It just left me depressed and offended. Inasmuch as comic books and comic book movies create modern mythology, you can never tell how big an impact it will have. If it's reflecting the current American view of women, I feel like I should be scared.

Go no further if you don't want to be spoiled.

1. We're informed that the most powerful mutant ever seen on Earth is Jean Grey. Her powers go way beyond anybody else's in the film. But of course, she can't control them. So she can't be allowed to have them. If she is allowed to have them, she will kill everyone. So Professor Xavier (a man -- kindly and idealistic and naive, but a man nonetheless) must set up barriers in her mind to keep her from having those powers, thereby dividing "Jean" from "Phoenix" so she won't kill everyone. When these barriers give way she does indeed start killing everyone -- her lover Cyclops, and Professor Xavier himself. She tries to kill her other aspiring lover Wolverine, and only because he heals so fast, does he escape having the flesh flayed from his bones. He gets up close to her and she begs him to "save" her from the phenomenal power she wields. So tragically he's gotta stab her to death with his claws.

Moral: If powerful women are not taken down, they will kill off a bunch of powerful men. This is inevitable because women are incompetent to control their awesome power. So powerful women must be taken down for the good of Planet Earth.

2. Rogue, who has the power to suck the life force out of regular people and powers out of other mutants, is bummed because she cannot touch anyone. This includes her fella, Iceman. She happens to catch sight of Iceman making an impromptu skating rink out of the school fountain for fellow X-Woman Kitty Pryde so she can skate around with him on it. Instead of sucking the life out of Kitty Pryde and/or Iceman, Rogue decides to take the Mutant Cure so she can hold Iceman's hand.

Moral: Men prefer women with no powers. If you've got inconvenient powers, and you're female, you'd better get rid of them, or your guy will leave you. And no amount of power is worth it if you don't have a MAN!

3. Mystique, a badass mutant shapeshifter, is very scary-looking in her natural form, with deep blue skin. She is also relentlessly murderous and forceful. While being liberated from the clutches of the government, she gets hit with the Mutant Cure. Blue skin and powers disappear to reveal a naked, helpless supermodel. Magneto and his lackeys summarily turn their backs on her and stalk away leaving her there.

Moral: Underneath every powerful woman is a naked, helpless supermodel. Nothing she does, nothing she knows, and nothing she's been through means anything once she has outlived her usefulness to the patriarchy.

The above three points are just what I remember off the top of my head. I remember these things even though they succeeded in distracting me with Professor Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, and other assorted male eye candy.

I won't even go into how divergent this version is events is, compared to the REAL X-Men canon. I just hope y'all won't spend your hard-earned money on it, unless you wanna donate towards a backlash against the women in your lives.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beautiful Portland

This is my first chance to blog about my trip to Portland. Yes -- I am the kind of person who vacations in rainy places on purpose!

K and I had a wonderful time. I got to hear Tim DuRoche and Jason DuMars, pictured above, at the Tugboat Brewing Company. They played very intricate headspacey retro jazz that was really appropriate for the venue. K lent me his PDA to take the photo.

I also got to hang out with Albert, whom I met at Breitenbush Hot Springs, and Rich and Daria who I know from Tribe. I enjoyed great food and great tea and a stroll around the Belmont District. I got to hear Rich's band, the Pleasure Seekers, at Duff's Garage. Their whole set was really good. K especially dug their cover of "King of the Road". I thought Rich's new duo project with singer Jo Alexis showed a lot of promise also. (They were the show's opener.)

It was a great trip. Now I'm back and buckling down to some serious reformatting of "Remove Before Flight" so it can be in shape for publication. The rough draft score and parts need to be tightened up so they aren't so long and fingerings need to be added for the multiphonics.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sethi. I mean, SETI. :)

Paul & I have just returned from hearing astronomer Seth Shostak, astrobiologist Cynthia Phillips, and social scientist Doug Vakoch speak at NASA Ames Research Center. Their topic was what would we do if we found life out there? It was a very funny, populist-yet-brainy event which I enjoyed very much.

However, I was really struck by the experience of the Silicon Valley egregor. I've been living elsewhere for almost three years now, after spending 13 almost-uninterrupted years living in Mountain View, and each time I come back to the South Bay to visit, it's a bit of a culture shock. Sitting in that room at Ames tonight with about 200 denizens of the Valley I'm more than ever convinced that I just don't belong there, and I never did. The cold, hard, unrelenting, single-minded materialism is palpable. You can feel the sense that if a thing is not profitable, it's worthless. There isn't really any foothold for the arts in the Silicon Valley values system, and it makes perfect sense to me now that I was never able to build much of a following for my music there. I'm much better off in the City and the East Bay where intangibles are actually valued.

But I still got a kick out of the SETI presentation. I learned a lot and Seth Shostak is such a hoot!

Afterwards we went to Garden Fresh, a vegan restaurant in Mountain View that we have been going to since it opened in 1995 -- and found that the decor had been completely changed, that new menus had been printed, and that there was no one on staff that we recognized. It was kind of a shock. I looked around for the shrine that's always been there, but it was gone.

All the same things were on these newly-printed menus, but when the dishes arrived, not all of it tasted the same. The spinach won ton soup was the same. But the scallion pancakes didn't have enough sauce on them, and the steamed dumplings had filling that tasted subtly different. The dumplings also weren't piping hot like they have been all these years. And the hot and sour soup that Paul had, according to him, also tasted different. We left feeling kind of strange like we'd found out an old friend had moved away without telling us.

So anyway I sort of feel better knowing that it wasn't just me, or my work; it was Silicon Valley that didn't have a place for what I was trying to accomplish. I wish I had known that at the time, and reached out to the community in the City and the East Bay right from the start instead of wasting my time banging my head against that brick wall.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I won't say 'rest in peace'...

because I don't think that is what
she would want me to say.
Burn brightly in every flame,
blow fiercely in every storm-wind,
laugh joyfully in the throats of all the wolves,
Leigh Ann Hussey,
taken from your loved ones too soon.

I was only a fan.
I never got up the nerve to ask you
if you'd play a guest violin solo
on one of my CDs.

I suppose it makes sense
that a human body could only contain
a spirit like yours for 44 years,
instead of twice as long as can happen with quieter souls.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rock Lotto

I'm just now getting a chance to blog about the Rock Lotto. It was the 3rd annual and it took place this past Saturday night at the Fishtank, a venue which belongs to Aaron Seeman, my old grad school classmate, who's better known these days as Duckmandu!

As soon as the first band (The Salvation Barmy & the Merchants of Death) took the stage, a cat ran full speed across the venue and hid somewhere backstage. She didn't look like she was having a good time with all the noise.

I was in Band #6, and we decided to go with that name, instead of picking a new name like everybody else did. Gino Robair was supposed to be the guitarist in our band, but he had to bow out on account of a procedure done on his back which resulted in doctor's orders not to lift anything or play instruments. So we were bummed about this and decided to dedicate our whole set to Gino. We wrote two songs about him and I wrote one that he suggested the title of, "Sausage Everywhere", which was all about a sausage rocket experiment on MythBusters.

Ferrara was also supposed to be in our band but he bowed out as well. So we were the Incredible Shrinking Band, down from a quintet to a trio. It was me, Michael Guarino, and Michael Mellender.

Gino actually made it to the gig and got to hear his songs. My favorite band of the evening was Myles Boisen, which was not really Myles Boisen at all, but a band that named itself after him. They were really tight. It was later revealed that they had four rehearsals, which is a lot for the Rock Lotto, and so it's no wonder they were really tight. The Sinking Swimmers were very cool too. They did a really groovy reggae song and dressed up in snorkeling masks and flippers. They also did a song about getting your heart broken by a squid. It was very B52's.

I was tickled to hear several homages over the course of the evening to the ascending chromatic riff served up so infuriatingly by Hammer Girth last year. Vicky Grossi, my former Hammer Girth bandmate, shared with me that Suki O'Kane actually played the recording of Hammer Girth doing that on KPFA -- and locked the studio door so nobody could stop it unfolding in all its maddening glory. It's said that people were pounding on the studio door trying to get it to stop. I am so into that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More Company news

Jim Carr is back in the Bay Area, and we're getting ready for our gig at the Art Performance Lab on Friday. We will play a 40-50 minute set containing 9 of my poetic and atmospheric pieces.

Jim's big news is that he is leaving Lexington, Kentucky and moving to Denton, Texas. His wife, Jennifer Lane, has accepted a tenured position at the University of North Texas.

And Jim's other big news is that he is about to order a custom-made Sadowsky bass guitar, to be delivered eight months from now. That's going to be amazing to hear when it arrives.

As for guitar player Jon Moreira, he is kind of paralleling Grant in that he is finishing up his undergrad degree at SF State, and getting ready to start a master's program there in music history. He is also learning Japanese as part of his grad school preparation. Lucky for me, unlike Grant, Jon's grad studies won't require him to leave the area, so we can still play together.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Company Man checks in

I heard from Grant Gardner yesterday, the most recent former guitar player of the Company. He's finishing up his undergraduate degree at Rutgers, and he'll start his master's in Jazz Studies this fall. It's amazing. It seems like he only just left!

But the cool thing is he will be back in the Bay Area for a visit. It will be very cool to see him and catch up and play some tunes.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Madison, WI is home to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and it's known for liberal politics and hard partying. My plane came in towards it by night, and the state capitol building was all lit up. It was a cool way to kick off my time there.

The Madison Flute Club had its third annual festival in a university extension building on campus. Organizers and volunteers worked very hard to make everything go smoothly and make the presenters feel welcome. I had some A/V drama early on, but it got resolved before I gave my workshop. It was fun to see Jim Mildrew's film on a big screen in the lecture hall.

I heard a presentation by Dr. Mihoko Watanabe, the flute professor from Oshkosh. She has interviewed the composer Kazuo Fukushima and found out, contrary to everything the flute community has believed for many years, that his famous piece "Mei" wasn't inspired by the shakuhachi flute after all, but by the noh-kan, a flute used in the orchestra for traditional Noh theater. Mr. Fukushima doesn't even like the sound of the shakuhachi!

I met up with my friend Caen Thomason-Redus and had lots of fun hanging with him and Mihoko too. I roomed with Emily Butterfield, a flutist from Columbus. She gave her presentation on Clement Barone, an eminent piccolo teacher who has recently passed on but who's left a lasting mark.

Speaking of the piccolo, I was amazed and awed by Kate Prestia-Schaub, who gave the piccolo masterclass and performed the first movement of the Lowell Lieberman concerto in the Gala Recital. Kate is a rock star -- there are no two ways about it. The piccolo is the easiest instrument in the world to play badly. I have heard a lot of bad piccolo playing (most notably coming out of ME. I suck at the piccolo). Sunday night was the first time I really truly HEARD the Lieberman concerto and its beauty, because Kate has a mastery and sensitivity far above anyone else I've heard. Not even at the piccolo masterclass at the NFA convention (in which I didn't play, mind you--I was the door monitor) have I heard the picc played so well.

The Gala Recital was really cool because half the pieces on the bill were by living composers. My performance of "Three Visions" went really well. Iwona Glinka played a piece by a Greek composer that was full of extended techniques, and Kim Dorr played Ian Clarke's "Zoom Tube". I was impressed that there was so much good challenging material in the recital.

On the plane back they showed "Chronicles of Narnia". I hadn't seen it before, and it's beautifully done, and it seems very faithful to the book. Unfortunately, this means that there is only one powerful female character in the film, and she's evil. In this day and age it's super annoying to watch all the female characters on the "good guy" side end up in jeopardy all the time. This is, alas, the way C.S. Lewis wrote it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vinny Golia: Music for Large Ensemble

That was the official title of the concert I was a part of last night. There was an official list of 47 of us, although I didn't count everyone last night, and I noticed at least one person missing.

A quartet consisting of Philip Greenlief, Jon Raskin, Chris Brown, and Tim Perkis opened the show, with the first two on saxophones and the second two on electronics. My taste in improvised music runs to the introspective, subtle, and atmospheric -- not so much the high-volume technical displays -- so there was a lot to like about their set. It was great to be able to hear each individual part clearly, and to hear such well-chosen sounds weave together. The four players were a nice energy combination too. Even the Glenn Campbell sample seemed to fit.

The large ensemble started setting up immediately afterward. Vinny Golia had brought his own instruments which he arranged around his conducting area. He has a Kingma bass flute, which he invited me to try, and I was tempted, but I didn't feel very good about leaving my own instruments unattended while such a big crowd of musicians and audience was milling around. I worried they'd be knocked over.

The show was well attended, which was awfully gratifying. There were some good introspective moments in the Large Ensemble set, too, in between the high-volume technical displays. I particularly enjoyed the efforts of the flute section: David Slusser, Maryclare Brzytwa, Philip Gelb, Tom Bickley, and me. Tom had a two-measure soprano recorder solo which, I was happy to find out, was still audible even with 47 people improvising. Or maybe it was audible because I was sitting right in front of him. ;) Phil played a beautiful shakuhachi solo.

Matt was there chatting up string players for his own Conduction gig on Sunday. I would be part of that if I weren't already committed out of town. I will be getting on a plane tomorrow morning to present at the Madison Area Flute Festival. I'm looking forward to seeing Caen Thomason-Redus and catching him up on everything, including the Fling piece I created with Shiloh.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gig dream

I had a dream last night that I was part of a big environmental improvisation project performance in some kind of big-box retail store, a huge place with endless aisles full of products. Many people from the new music community were there. I saw Philip Greenlief and Jon Raskin and Thomas DiMuzio and Matt Davignon and lots of other folks I know.

We all got there early and the show was supposed to start at 6:00. In the dream I fell asleep and when I woke up, it was 6:10. I was worried because I was supposed to perform first, but everyone else seemed unconcerned. I took my flute and my bass flute over to the place where I was supposed to play, but nobody was there yet.

I then noticed that the area of the store where I was supposed to be playing had a floor made of ice. It was then revealed that the show had an opening act. It was a woman figure skater dressed in a hot pink costume, and she skated around in the area where I was supposed to improvise on the flute right after her. There was no room for her to do any jumps or spins, so she did the same footwork pattern over and over. The song she skated to was "Waiting Forever" by Hot Rod. It was very David Lynch.

Alas, I woke up before I could do my improv set.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Just for the record, I am not naked.

In the photos Daniel took of me, that is, which are on my web site and in my Tribe profile.

(I'm sure some of you smart-alecs and smart-alexas are responding to my subject line either with "Damn!" or "Thank God!")

I'm having to ramble on about this because of the owner of the Luggage Store Gallery, Laurie Lazer. She was there when I arrived at the LSG last night to have dinner with Matt Davignon and help with the concert. I came in the front door and saw her and she asked me, "What were you wearing in the photos on your web site?" And I said, "Pieces of fabric!"

Matt told me as we were headed for the Vietnamese place around the corner that when he told Laurie I was coming over, Laurie said, "Oh, is she the naked one? Will she be wearing clothes this time?"

So I offer congratulations to Daniel Malone. It looks like his photos made a big impression.

I normally work with the following definitions:
1. naked = wearing nothing
2. nude = wearing nothing for artistic or naturist purposes.
3. skyclad = wearing nothing for ritual purposes.
4. nekkid = wearing nothing, AND you're up to something. :)

I'm left to amuse myself with a new definition of "naked" though. I guess Laurie thinks it means, "not wearing clothes", and pieces of fabric, like Daniel gave me to cover myself with, don't count as clothes, and therefore she considers me naked, even though I'm covered up?

It seems like skin really is a blank canvas and pretty much anything can be projected on it. Even showing just a certain amount of skin creates a place where the viewer can read something into what is being shown.

I'm not complaining about Laurie's remarks at all -- I think they're fascinating. It's almost as though, with Daniel's photographs, I've succeeded in doing with my body what I consciously try to do with my lyrics, which is make them abstract enough for the listener to project themselves and their experiences into them.

Perhaps even before any given person has a chance to hear one of my recordings or come to one of my shows, they're already a part of my performance art.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night...

...but people still came out to hear an unusual music concert at an art gallery in a gritty part of San Francisco. This was very gratifying for the performers! Ferrara started things off with his haunting , evocative, and menacing ambient music. My set with Jon and Jim went very well. We had no technical difficulties with my headset mic (at last!) and the new instrumentation for the older material went over really well.

Paul was our able road manager and sound engineer. He is always so on top of things, so motivated, and so together. I have been spoiled for going on ten years having him in my corner at performances.

All you other musicians out there -- if you got him to help you with road management and sound, you would reduce your stress level immensely.

I got to meet and talk to Jim Ryan, who is the presenter of the Art Performance Lab series. We have a spot on this series coming up on May 12. Jim and I talked a bit about my planned set, the Subjects of Desire set, and how we might put together an intersecting piece for in between them. It should be a really interesting show.

Jim Carr has flown back to Kentucky but he will be back for our gig on May 12. It was really great to see him and work with him and hear stories of his busy musical life.

In other news, the piece I co-created for the Fling exhibit -- called "Sex, Love, & Expectations" -- has made the cut for a long-term exhibition of pieces from the show, at 180 Capp Street in San Francisco. I'll post more details when I know them.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A section of a poem by Galway Kinnell

I read many blogs and on one of them, its author posted a very moving poem she liked. I thought I would do the same with a different poem. It's meant a lot to me. I first read it posted on the wall at Escape from New York Pizza in the Financial District in San Francisco.

If one day it happens
you find yourself with someone you love
in a café at one end
of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar
where white wine stands in upward opening glasses,

and if you commit then, as we did, the error
of thinking,
one day all this will only be memory,

as you stand
at this end of the bridge which arcs,
from love, you think, into enduring love,
learn to reach deeper
into the sorrows
to come – to touch
the almost imaginary bones
under the face, to hear under the laughter
the wind crying across the black stones. Kiss
the mouth
which tells you, here,
here is the world. This mouth. This laughter. These temple bones.

The still undanced cadence of vanishing.

-- Galway Kinnell

Monday, March 06, 2006

ACF Encore grant!

Today I received my copy of an award letter that went out to the Cayenne Flute Quartet, in residence at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

The grant is from the American Composers Forum Encore Program, which supports repeat performances of new music. The quartet is planning to play my piece, Remove Before Flight, three times this April, and the grant will cover some associated costs.

What would we do without the American Composers Forum? I would rather not think too hard about that one.

Check them out:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

60 x 60 - what's it really like?

The 60 x 60 Project had its West Coast premiere this evening at Mills College. I made my way over there and found a parking space and a seat in the Ensemble Room. Agnes Szelak, one of the contributors, was hosting it and she had an analog clock with a sweep second hand projected on the wall by means of a digital camera and a projector. The clock was awfully cute. It involved the anime character Pucca.

I met my fellow 60 x 60 contributor Katrina Wreede. She'd brought with her three of the smallest and best-behaved audience members ever -- Chan, Anh, and Hoa. All of whom are aspiring violinists! So it was appropriate that the show opened up with "Study" by Travis Ellrott which sounded like stringed instruments drag racing.

Eight pieces in, the digital camera started in with a self-test menu with text and graphics that obscured the Pucca clock. So Agnes turned it off and we listened to the show in darkness.

I think Rob Voisey has done a great job selecting the pieces. I say this naturally not just because he selected one of mine. The pieces are grouped by vibe and instrumentation and it is a really diverse set. There were instrumental pieces to start with, including a menacing cello drone and a clarinet and flute piece. Rene Veron's "I'm Not" seemed to depict a dreamlike struggle to speak and it ushered in a set of pieces all involving text. There was even a piece with somebody speaking French that mentioned the name Celeste!

A lot of the pieces were playful and fun and groovy and had me neck-working and chair-dancing. Others were haunting, which is one of my favorite qualities to hear in contemporary music. I got to hear a piece by Alex Shapiro whom I met at Composers Inc. It sounded like a jazzy seductive Los Angeles underbelly song. Harlem Lullaby gone wrong type thing. There were some pieces for piano and harpsichord whose common adjective would have to be "thunderous". Later on there was a set of love pieces. My piece, "Cold Blood", has been moved to #59 in the lineup. It was paired with another anti-war piece in the #60 slot. I really liked that.

I think you'll like 60 x 60 if it comes to your town. There's a wide range of styles and quite a lot of humor in it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wonderful weekend at PantheaCon.

Every great once in a while, I need to stop spending every weekend working so damn hard. :) Every year, an opportunity presents itself over the long Presidents' Day weekend, and it's called PantheaCon.

I had a wonderful time. It was my ninth PantheaCon and here are some of the highlights...

- Don Frew, Anna Korn, and Glenn Turner's presentation "Hekate in Turkey: Past Meets Present". The festival of Hekatesia has been revived at her oldest known temple at Lagina, Turkey, and it was exciting to hear all about it.
- Sabina Magliocco's presentation "In Search of the Roots of Stregheria".
- Squadrons of handsome men wearing Utilikilts. :)
- My shopping mission accomplished in the dealer room.
- Sarah Winter's presentation "Hellenismos".
- Hugs from and re-connections with old friends.
- Todd Jackson's presentation "Apollo: The God and his Cultus".
- Dromena ho Asklepios (the Asclepius healing ritual).
- Don Frew, Anna Korn, and Glenn Turner's presentation "Recent Discoveries in Pagan Mesopotamia". WOW. The oldest known ritual center (11,000 B.C.E.) has been found at Navel Hill in Turkey. And this is just one of the great finds these explorers got to visit on their trip to Turkey.
- Philip Heselton's "Gardnerian History". It's wonderful to hear about historical research done by someone who doesn't have an anti-Gardnerian axe to grind. :)

It was all completely fabulous. Now, I can get back to work, rejuvenated and re-centered.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Update on the Fling

My project with Shiloh Burton is starting to take shape. We have figured out the form it's going to take. Over the weekend Shiloh took some photographs and I will be creating a text-sound-poetry-with-musical-sounds piece featuring her voice.

What we're planning is to display the photographs in a space with a chair in it where the listener can put headphones on and listen to the piece.

It will be a very private experience for each individual listener -- no standing around hearing a soundtrack with other observers nearby. This is the way we're hoping to share what was a very private experience for me, which was hearing Shiloh describe how she sees me.

The Fling will happen on March 11 at the SomArts Bay Gallery in San Francisco.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Forms of Things Unknown

I'm grinning while typing this. Forms of Things Unknown (the swell project of my friend Ferrara Brain Pan) will be sharing the bill with me and the Company at our March 16th gig at the Luggage Store Gallery. I really like his music. Check him out:

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Composers Inc.

Last night Composers Inc. hosted its first concert of 2006 in the Green Room on the second floor of the Veterans' Building, across the street from San Francisco City Hall. Paul and I went and we had a bite to eat at Delessio's beforehand, and even had the last piece of their chocolate cake with the lemon buttercream frosting, which I'm sure kept me even more alert than usual through the evening.

While not quite green (hardly any green rooms are), this Green Room is kind of turquoise. It has high ceilings, huge chandeliers, and beautiful decor. It's a great place to hear new chamber music. I'm actually used to hearing new music in more gritty surroundings with metal folding chairs instead of cushioned ones, no name tags on the presenters, no refreshments, and less reliable climate control so this was pretty upscale.

A good crowd had turned out to hear the show, which featured the Los Angeles Flute Quartet. There was six pieces on the program by living American composers. All of them were different from each other, and all of them were fairly short. They said what they had to say, and then they were finished -- my favorite quality in a piece of new music.

It was my first experience with the Los Angeles Flute Quartet and they are extremely fine players. They all switched off on flute, piccolo, alto flute, and bass flute depending on what the piece called for. They played three pieces -- "Up in the Air" by Jeffrey Miller, "Chovihano (Gypsy Healer)" by Christopher Caliendo, and "Bioplasm" by Alex Shapiro.

Sarah Cahill played one of the pieces, "Self" by Daniel David Feinsmith, which was made for piano and spoken word. I do a lot of spoken word and I'd never thought of piano and spoken word together before. I'm not entirely sure it worked, but I always like being taken to a new conceptual place.

The California Quartet played "Dances and Nocturnes" by Stephen Gryc. The piece was made for violin, viola, cello, and piano and it was really beautiful. I talked to the composer at intermission and he was wearing a pin on his shirt that was a replica of the number 7 that's painted on the number 7 subway in NYC.

"Sleepless Night" by Martin Rokeach was for flute, violin, cello, and guitar. Kay Stern, the violinist from the California Quartet, played in this piece as well. She was a rock star. Her playing was fabulous in both the Gryc piece and this one.

The best piece by far of the whole night was "Bioplasm" by Alex Shapiro. I love hearing flutists other than myself play extended techniques, and I'm lucky if I hear one other person do them, but hearing FOUR people play them at once, and play them well, was a wonderful treat. Key percussion, air-timbre effects, and singing and playing were all integral to Alex's piece. I had never heard four people sing and play at the same time before, making eight-part harmony. It was really great to hear. The piece got a great audience response which was even better. It means new music's "polite society" can handle it.

I got to talk to Alex a little bit after the show. She is the chapter director of the ACF in Los Angeles. I got to talk to Lisa-Maree and Peter from the LAFQ and I enjoyed that very much also. Peter has one of those Kotato bass flutes everyone has been raving about and which are $10,000. He says the low register is really really responsive, among other fabulous qualities. He says the mechanism *does* go out of adjustment a little bit though when he does all the key percussion that Alex's piece demands.

So a great evening all around.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Date, time, and place for the Fling

I've been notified of where and when you all can see what Shiloh and I create. The Fling will take place at the SomArts Bay Gallery at 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco between 8th and 9th Streets, on the evening of March 11th. When I know the exact time of the opening it will be updated on the web site.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Shiloh Burton is a woman. :)

It's fascinating how the mind works, and what baggage and pre-existing mental pathways we're all equipped with. In a previous post I talked about Shiloh Burton, a photographer I've been assigned to as part of the Fling. I assumed, because I'd requested a male partner, that Shiloh was a man; but it turns out that's not the case. Shiloh is in fact a woman!

So now I'm about to have my mind expanded. It's uncharted territory for me to contemplate a relationship with a woman. I've had a few days to think about it and there are already all kinds of questions and musings in my mind that could be made into art.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Getting it on for art...

...that's the slogan of the Fling. :)

I've been accepted to be part of the Fling. It's a collaborative art show. Artists from all genres and media submitted applications, and were paired by the organizers with one another to have a Relationship.

According to the Fling FAQ, "Fling isn't simply about the final product. It's about the process of creating a relationship...the art begins with first contact. The inspiration from this designed and imagined relationship will inform final art, which may take a completely new form in the process...the Fling was born to explore how expansive, explosive, and diverse modern romantic relationships are, from the eye of the artistic lens. Fling relationships will draw upon other elements, including the intellectual, spiritual, philosophical, and more."

When I applied I got to indicate what gender of a partner I preferred. :)

I got my notification this morning (or rather late last night, but I didn't check my email until this morning). I have been paired with a photographer named Shiloh Burton. I also had an email from Shiloh waiting for me. It's so exciting. I had a look at his web site, and it's full of his photography...but there are no pictures of him.

I'm at such a disadvantage. My web site is full of pictures of me, and I don't know what he looks like!

The opening will be on or around March 10. Shiloh and I have until then to have our Relationship. Maybe I should call him tonight. Or should I wait for him to call me? Should I go to Oakland to meet him? Or should he meet me in the City? I'm giddy as a teenager. :)

Let the art begin!!!

Monday, January 16, 2006

An evening with the Long String Instrument

Last night Paul and I went to Casaninja in Berkeley to hear a concert. It was the first in a series featuring the Long String Instrument. It was my first time hearing it. I had seen it before a couple of times, since it's been in residence at Casaninja.

The Long String Instrument was invented by composer Ellen Fullman, who also performs on it. The instrument takes up the whole length of the ground floor space at Casaninja. It has two sets of strings, 22 on one side and 20 on the other side (if I counted right). There is a space between the sets of strings for Ellen to walk while she plays the strings with her fingers. The strings are so long that an extension had to be built on Casaninja to hold the whole instrument.

The room is long and narrow so the two rows of audience seats were very close to the instrument. I was no more than a foot and a half away in my front row seat. There was a small stage behind the strings where trombonist Monique Buzzarte stood and improvised along with Ellen.

The Long String Instrument sounds like...a string quartet playing in close harmony and/or dissonance; a sitar; and an accordion recorded and played back in reverse. It's got a wide dynamic range from whispery to very loud. It gets so loud you would think it's amplified, but it isn't. All the sound comes from the wooden resonance chambers at one end of the instrument.

Monique Buzzarte, based in New York, was a sensitive improviser who contributed mournful long notes, low growls, and rushing air effects. The long, droning accompaniment could have been meditative but it didn't trance me out at all, since the sight of Ellen playing was so riveting. She plays with a slow burning relentless intensity.

I spoke to Monique after the concert and she said that she had seen the Long String Instrument played in another venue where it was nearly twice as long. She said in that concert she heard a lot more low frequencies than at Casaninja.

Here's a web site where you can learn more:

I enjoyed being back at Casaninja. It belongs to my friend Celeste and even when she's not around, you can still feel her energy.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hitting the ground running in 2006

Happy New Year, everyone!

There's a lot on the calendar already for me in 2006, so I'm hard at work, not wasting a moment, preparing for all of it.

On March 11, I will be a member of the judges' panel for the Flock of Flutes competition which will take place in Walnut Creek, CA. Student flutists will be competing for cash prizes in two age divisions.

On March 16, I have my next live gig with the Company at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco. There will be a mostly-new band lineup.

On April 22, I will give my performance art workshop at the Madison Flute Club's 3rd Annual Flute Fair. I'll also perform in the Gala Recital and sit on the judges' panel for their Young Artist Competition.

In June I'm planning to go back into the studio to finish up my fourth album, "Not Made of Stone". After it's done, I'll spend the rest of 2006 preparing it for release in early 2007.

Other things are in the pipeline, too, with regard to the flute quartet I wrote last year, "Remove Before Flight". The LA Flute Quartet is reading it, and I expect to hear a verdict from them by the end of this month about whether they'll perform it. Also, ALRY Publications is considering adding it to their catalog for 2007. I should hear something about that by the end of this month, also.