Friday, April 12, 2013


(3 emails arrived from rick in quick succession from an undisclosed location.)

hello friends-

there are a lot of things I would like to put on the table right at first... countless things, which... I would like to... leave there... and we could all be still... all be silent... we could let these countless things speak for themselves... for a change... from every conceivable angle... every nook and digital cranny... but I don't want to be reckless or careless about it this time.  this will probably be the first of several preliminary emails overviewing and outlining what and how I see this carnival re-enactment unfolding.

(rick- what the f are you talking about???)

firstly and mainly, thank you thank you thank you.  thank you for giving this piece, me, and yourselves a chance to see what transpires... what this transaction might lead to... what this transition follows...

(did you cross the black sea as intended, old friend?)

I have some fairly clear ideas and suggestions for how this thing might unfold, both in the preparatory stages and then the actual performance on the 15th of march .  however, I want to stress that I am, I think, very permeable, very fluid, very open to your input, in regards to both the general stuff and the specific stuff.  

(is it possible, rick, that there's already too much "stuff" in regards to this project?)

recently I have been hovering in a place I've sometimes been calling "radical honesty."  as a writer/artist, an editor, a friend, a family/community member, whatever- whatever role presents itself, whatever situation presents itself, I've been trying to approach and move thru with as much transparency and clarity as possible.  (but also taking into consideration the various contexts and varying channels of honesty that are     already           up                   and                     running              or                   aren't-          sometimes trying to re-establish or repair or create from scratch new pathways, other        times              waiting                    it   out,                waiting           

for                                  a                      better     or 
               more                        "appropriate"                               

                         context.  when                             I 




            I          don't       mean    shock   tactics or relishing dredging up or poking around in dark corners just for the thrill of it.  I think that "radical honesty" has a time and place when it is helpful, and a time and place when it is not- when silence, patience, acceptance, and the awareness that even "honesty" has its limitations- in the sense of, "I think I'm being honest right now, I think I'm aware of my intentions right now, but actually there are probably other layers of "truth" and intention that are way       way             way 
      way                     way                         way 

                  way                                              way 



    way      way             way w ay w  ayway   wa y  way way waywaywa     y w    ay         w ay   w a y wa y        way   w    ay w  ay        way         w               ay w      ay  

       w    ay w                       ay       w       a 

                 y  wa                  y    w           ay     

       w          ay         w      a y     way way way beyond my scope.  I'm just working with what what's in front of me now- all of that will probably change in an hour, I will probably change in an hour, you'll probably change in an hour, I'll have to be prepared to adjust, you'll have to be prepared to adjust, modify, re-strategize, whatever.  things    are         only               happening            right    now.           in          a   very   real  way I can only account for right now."  

anyways, in regards to collaboration, fluidity, flexibility, compromise- as an artist who has spent the vast majority of his creative energy on solitary projects such as poetry, short stories, photographs, and collages, I am accustomed to being in more or less "total creative control."  this project with you three and maybe other people in the future is a deliberate shift toward synergy...  shared energy, shared inspiration, shared outcomes, etc...

(ok rick... if you say so...)

just about an hour ago ago I came up with the name insect noises incorporated for my performance/ dance/ collaborative undertakings.  not only is this phrase cool sounding on its own, it also points to a certain aesthetic orientation I aspire to sometimes.  

as you are all well aware, at certain times of the year, insect noises are a basic and unavoidable part of reality.  bird noises, machine noises, wind noises, kitchen noises, media noises, roommate noises, neighbor noises, whatever- some variation of this stuff is usually always with us, coming, going, reappearing, maybe a little different, maybe very similar- instead of shutting it out and trying to make and experience art/life in an illusory self-contained and self-generated vacuum (one of my long-standing tendencies),  with certain projects I aspire to incorporate, subtly or overtly, the other presences in the immediate or even distant environment.  this suggests a willingness to cede some control- to allow the other presences inside the process and maybe speak for themselves, if that's possible.  if that's not possible, maybe serve as a translator.  (for example: an early evening performance in the summer here at the cottage could include overt references to the cicada/cricket noises coming in thru the windows.  or if one of us broke our arm and had it in a sling, we could write new material regarding the accident into the script.  or we could reference a media event of the day before.  we could use our realities.  we could use whatever presents itself.  as crazy and scary as that sounds, we could try it.)   

(uh... ... ... ah... ... ... oh... ... ... eh?)

because the four of us have somewhat different backgrounds, somewhat different values, somewhat different areas of interest and emphasis, this remaining "radically open" to our collective but also personal "insect noises" could be sorta complicated.  it could be like too many cooks in the kitchen.  too many voices.  too many influences.  at a certain point we would need to narrow down the possibilities, establish some focus points, and start putting things into place.  whatever is left over, not used, not "relevant" could be mulched into the next piece.  that's one of the benefits of us maybe considering the possibility of a new piece a few months down the road, maybe in september or october.  it could be a process.  an ongoing relationship between the pieces and us.  

anyways, the working title for the piece for march 15th is waking up from a nightmare.  

it starts out with me under a blanket curled up in a recliner, twitching and mumbling in the classic "having a nightmare" fashion.  my cell phone rings, waking me up.  I jolt up in the chair, a bit confused and disoriented, then realize I was just having a bad dream- I'm back in "reality" now, my phone is ringing, I rub my eyes, clear my throat, and answer the call.

it is all three of you on the line.  (you will be outside in the driveway, in a car, so as not to be heard by the audience except thru the phone.  you are all talking at once, a confusion and tangle of voices and shouting, a sense of urgency, sense of worry, sense of some disagreement about how best to proceed-  I become flustered and say "ok, hold on- let me put you on speakerphone."  I then put my phone on speaker mode so that the audience can better hear this confusion and tangle of voices and shouting.  (I have some ideas for this "dialogue" but am open to suggestions.  in a certain way, it doesn't even matter what is being said by the three of you at this point because it is all so jumbled together.)

after a minute of so, I ask you where you are.  again, a jumble and tangle of responses. I ask: "how soon can you get here?"  again, a jumble and tangle.  I start trying to ask some follow up questions and at this point you all barge in thru the front door, all on your own cell phones, all still talking simultaneously, still arguing and responding to each other obliquely.  I slump back in the recliner and let it just play out for a couple of minutes.  whether you three quiet down on your own or need me to intervene remains open.

anyways, I see the three of you as being the representatives/ ambassadors/ mediators of the "nightmare/dream/reality."  not only my own personal nightmare/dream/reality but the larger family, community, ecological, national, international and even cosmic n/d/r.  and I am a component of yours!  at times, each one of you will become the dreamer and another will take your place as the dreamed.  each of you at some point will be in the recliner twitching under the blanket, while the others try to help you and/or make sense of the situation somehow.

maybe four-fifths thru the piece you all disappear out the front door, and I am left in a sort of daze.  again I rub my eyes, clear my throat, drink a glass of water, then proceed to get up, get dressed, pack a few things in a back-pack, put on a jacket, turn off all the lights, and exit out the front door.

I'm guessing the piece will be between 20 and 25 minutes long.  I'm still trying to decide about which music might fit and where, and again am very open to your advice in this matter.

believe it or not, this was originally conceived of as a solo performance, but after thinking it thru further, I realized how much more dynamic and informative it could be with collaborators.  and not just any old collaborators.  I picked the three of you very specifically.  something about the unique mix and range of our four personalities/perspectives/energies strikes me as very promising.   

I guess I see waking up... as a piece that could have multiple variations.  different dreamers, different ambassadors, different types of dream and dream imagery.  maybe we could talk about this stuff.  in fact, I'm not all that invested in being the original dreamer.  if one of you wants to start it out twitching and muttering under a blanket in the recliner, I would be more than happy to join the crew of ambassadors.  we could talk about this stuff.

I'll leave it at that for now.  there's plenty of other little details I could mention, but I want to start with the most basic and then gradually move toward the specific.  besides, I don't want to specify too much in the areas that remain open to collaboration and improvisation.  please please please write me back or call me with any questions, comments, etc. if you email, and if you think your questions/comments would be relevant/helpful to the others, send it as a group email, so we can all sort of be on the same page as we move thru this process.

I know that life is problematic and unpredictable and as much as I'm into the four of us doing this thing together, I know that scheduling can be difficult and sometimes emergencies come up, even on the week or day of a performance.  because I originally envisioned this as a solo piece, I'm prepared to go thru with it even if all three of you come down with pneumonia.  I sincerely hope you do not and can hang in there until the 15th and maybe even beyond, but just know that I know that life is so not under control. 

there might be one or two follow up emails to this later today or tomorrow.

no pressure to respond right away.

rehearsals will probably be commencing next week.  it would be really helpful to find a time when we could all meet together.



hello again-

I've been immersing myself the past couple of days in the music that I have in mind for waking up...  since the time I conceived of the piece about 3 weeks ago until now I've been thru 3 different playlist/sequences, each one quite different from the others.  I feel that the music selection will be a critical determinant of how this piece unfolds and comes to fruition.

this might be the first element regarding which I could use some direct input/feedback.  maybe the first couple rehearsals will be more along the lines of listening sessions.  or, if the spirit moves us, little unofficial charade/dance parties masquerading as rehearsals. 

I think we might all benefit from some kind of informal/ introductory/ investigative movement warm-up exercises so as to get a better feel for each other's movement/ performance styles and the ways that we can most effectively and naturally cohere.  I think seeing some of this up close will help me/us better arrange/sequence the piece.  any ideas/ suggestions?

as far as when and where to rehearse-

personally, I think the fewer distractions/ interruptions the better, but I'm remembering also what I said a few days ago about getting "out of the bubble" and "ceding control" and remaining "open to accidents, ambiance, the environment, etc." 

my place is pretty chilled out for the most part.  fae and shane are both in and out a fair amount, but I think we/they could adjust.

I have stuff going on this coming week on tuesday afternoon and wednesday morning.  what do people think about finding an evening time slot?


ok gang-

I've been playing around with a new variation.  this one more along the lines of a mime/dream sequence.  instead of presenting the situation of a person having and waking up from a dream, we will present the dream imagery itself.  our goal would be to trick the audience into thinking it was already home in bed and having a crazy crazy dream.  because it will be late at night and they will probably be a little tired, drunk, and already mesmerized by the previous acts, I think this is doable.  they'll be like putty in our hands!

I've been zeroing in on 5 songs.  the first is aguirre, a piece taken from popul vuh's soundtrack to the werner herzog film of the same name.

in this opening sequence we are are all together on the "stage."  sort of circling each other, slowly, cautiously, suspiciously.  sorta like animals who don't entirely know or trust each other as yet.  maybe some tentative reaching out, playful swipes, pokes, sniffs, etc, in the sense of "are you real?"   "are you tangible?"   "are you safe?"   "do you understand my way of relating?"   "do we have a common ancestor?"   "do we have interests in common?"

I also have this image of people walking thru a dark forest dense with vines and spanish moss and underbrush and thorny plants, and having to proceed very carefully, slowly, constantly brushing vines and thorns away from the path of "progress"...

anyways, at some point the "main" character, either martin gray (if tomas or me)  or mary gray (if glint or pony) drifts out of the circle, towards a different part of the stage, where there is a recliner and a small nightstand with a small lamp, some books, a cell phone, a pitcher of water, a glass, and a basin.  martin/mary proceeds to get ready for bed.  the others are still circling, interacting, but their movements are becoming slower and dreamier.

mary/martin strips down to some sort of sleeping garb.  underwear, tights, t-shirt- whatever the actor is comfortable with.  m/m does a few stretches, yawns, has a drink of water, checks something on the cell phone, then climbs into the recliner, gets under the blanket, gets in a comfortable position, and falls immediately to sleep.

aguirre (6 minutes) will be ending right around this time.  just as m/m is falling asleep, the others have become completely motionless also, maybe in the gnarled, tangled up positions of trees.

the next song is concrete walls by fever ray.

for about 2 minutes there is absolutely no movement on stage.  m/m is sleeping, the other people are trees.  

around 2 minutes into concrete walls, subtle movement begins.  the tree people start swaying gently like trees do in a breeze.  m/m starts twitching and muttering.  the gentle swaying gradually turns into the trees getting rocked by gale force winds and the twitching and muttering turns into convulsions and screaming.  

this all comes to a sudden end when the song ends, at which point m/m fall out of the recliner and the trees fall to the floor.  everyone is on the floor, sort of waking up, shaking their heads, rubbing their eyes- the trees are asking each other in quiet voices:  you ok?  you ok?  that was a pretty bad storm...  you lost a few branches too?  you sure you're ok?  the trees sort of start to inspect each other for damage, sit up, stand up, brush themselves off, continue talking quietly, supportively, maybe a little laughter.

the third song is europe a prophecy by rio en medio.  this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard in my life.  

the trees look over and notice m/m has fallen back asleep.  they seem concerned and go over to wake him/her up.  doesn't happen. even after shaking m/m, yelling at m/m, pouring some water on m/m's face, doesn't happen.  however, they don't freak out at all.  they're sorta like: "no big deal, this happens all the time- m/m is a really heavy sleeper.  let's try and get him/her back in the recliner."
the trees struggle to get the totally inert m/m back into the recliner, but they do.  they tuck m/m back in under the blanket.  

at this point all three of the tree's cell phone rings.  they all answer and proceed to have conversations.  they can be as chilled out or animated as each individual tree prefers.

these conversations begin about the same time the fourth song begins, pulk/pull revolving doors by radiohead. this is one of the most tripped out songs I've ever heard in my life.

(this video is pretty tripped out as well- just discovered it today)

anyways, this sequence remains open ended.  trees talking on their phones, trees talking to each other, trees dancing, trees embracing, whatever-

the final song is ash in the rainbow by haco + sakamoto.

(this is a video fae uploaded a few years ago.  the actual song is closer to 6 minutes long.)

anyways, this is sort of the fade out/resolution sequence.  the trees leave the stage, one by one, over the course of a couple of minutes.   m/m remains asleep and motionless in the recliner.  after about 45 more seconds of motionlessness, m/m suddenly wakes up with a start- rubs his/her eyes, has a drink of water, checks his/her cell phone for the time, exclaims "holy shit!" and springs up out of the recliner and starts getting dressed in a big hurry.  puts the 
cell phones, the books, and the glass into a backpack, switches off the lamp, and leaves the stage.  there should be another minute or so left of ash in the rainbow .  thus ends the piece, or at least this potential variation of the piece.

any thoughts?


(nothing comes to mind at the moment, friend.)

(but stay on the line... please... give me a second to gather my thoughts...)

(ok... I'm remembering... wait... what does this word mean: "remembering"?... maybe it doesn't mean anything... along the lines of... what we were... taught... do you remember what... we were taught?... here and there... bits and pieces... should we consult our old diaries... do they still even exist?)

they exist.

ok, then. 

at least we have that much to go on.

not a lot... not a little... not a nice mid-range either...
well... how much then?  and how far back do we have to go in deep history?
pretty far, I'm afraid...
no need to be afraid, unnamed person.
oh... ok, then... well... I guess I won't be afraid, then!  if you're telling me there's no need, and since everything you say turns out to be true... well... I may as well start cutting merry capers right here and now!
that's your perogative, unnamed person.
thanks, but I already knew that...

(the truth of the matter was that we were simply unable to wipe out the "past."  as much as we may have wanted to, as much as such a maneuver may have benefited society... the "truth" of the matter became increasingly tangled... even after talking for a very long time on the telephone... even after meeting in person... even after submitting our proposals in writing... the pith of the conflict remained completely intact... there was no getting around it... there was no reliable camouflage...people could see thru our most sophisticated devices with a cursory glance... gosh... should such a thing really surprise us?  didn't we essentially ask to be thrown into the lion's den?  some people answer yes to this question, other people say the simple word "no", but, predictably, 95 percent or more respond with these two words: it depends.)

"depends on what?" we go on to ask them.  and there's no clear answer forthcoming.  some people don't even mind this.  some people actively like this.  this "liking" behavior has filtered all the way down into the social media universe, which is yet another way of re-positioning the few fragments of "truth" that still remain in the data base... there are, of course, a bunch of fantasies still in wide circulation, and yes, those tend to be much more "entertaining"... "engaging" ...and of course, let's not forget "interesting"... fairy tales, for the most part, are operational way way beyond innocent childhood...

ok, then...unnamed person... at least we have that much to go on...
not a whole lot, you were sayin?
not a whole little, either?
(longer pause)
maybe a nice mid-range, maybe?
(longest pause yet)
no, the mid-range is no longer applicable either.
(short pause)
aw, crap!  I held out a lot of hope for the mid-range!
a lot of folks do...
so what are you're saying then?  that they're living in a fantasy world?
I don't know what I'm saying, unnamed person.
maybe you're just filling the time?
there's a chance of that, yes...
hey, don't worry... you're not the only one in that category.
never said that I was.
well... never doesn't know what she's talking about!
she does seem a little unhinged sometimes...
very true.
completely true.
unquestionably and totally true.
I've never come across anything so true in my life!!!