Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What lies beneath

Snow like this is a guilt remover. It's quiet (except for the snowblowers) and soft (except for the four-wheelers) and peaceful (except for the salt trucks) and everything sleeps (except for me).

December 2008 holiday celebration at The Vault

Last week's live NPR interview with Andrew Bird was an exercise in patience. It took me too long to realize that the majority of questions posed to Mr. Bird were taken from the rapidly scrolling chat room view window. Even more maddening was that chat room participants were more interested in talking among themselves rather than to the musician being interviewed. Common sense says you close the window to obliterate this immense distraction and just listen to the very grounded but profoundly interesting Andrew Bird talk about his music and the process of creating.

But around 1:35 pm I finally enter the chat because I really want my questions answered, as the Comments section where I originally posted them has been long forgotten. And at 1:45 and 1:46 I give up and comment on the song that is playing, Not a Robot but a Ghost, the one I relate to most and was most intrigued to hear the story behind. One of the moderators actually responds to my blip. And suddenly I get why these chats work -- addictively clicking "post" is a maniacal maneuver to get instant feedback no matter how idiotic your typed contribution.

"Ask him about his favorite snack!" the chat room screamed.


This of course means that I just need to see him in person to get my questions answered.

Andrew's latest blog post at the NY Times "Measure for Measure" and this very recent NY Times article reveal much about the man. And again, here you can hear the entire album, and here the accompanying instrumental album. Listening to musician interviews solidifies a lot of my own thoughts about music and what I want to create.

I also went to see Azur & Asmar at the Wexner this weekend. It's been out for a few years but an English version finally arrived in the States. The phenomenal animation employed three different techniques; flat color for bodies as typical of most cartoons, incredibly detailed shading and depth in character faces, and computer graphics for a lot of the light play. Steeped in beauty and intense symbology, and accompanied by a Gabriel Yared soundtrack, it touched on many massive issues our world faces today.

Movies like that stir the creatrix within. Now if only I would put together the art room that last week I tore apart.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Wrap it up

My way of coping with news of the current economic situation was to plow through more than twenty gigs in December, only three of which I managed to get photos. YES, that purple spotlight (!) remained on the harp for the duration of my playing for a holiday celebration at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North (formerly Columbus Marriott -- wish they had changed the sign prior to my sliding past on that slippery, snowy night).

This was my busiest December ever, averaging four to six gigs per week in addition to a full teaching schedule and all the best-intentioned holiday obligations. How perfect that the harp sounds like a brand new instrument and I now have an extremely trustworthy source for repair if something goes terribly awry.

Looking back on 2008 I see that I've met both named and subconscious goals, many in the last month of the year. There is something to intentional goal-setting, but the only way I can stomach the process is to use symbolic descriptive phrases and visuals.

So, last year is faded crushed blood-red velvet, heavy careless folds disguising slight hard-labor stench and disfigurement. This new year is pale blue silk, simple clean lines revealing natural curves and undulations... soft, supple and forgiving.

Listening to: Andrew Bird's new release Noble Beast streaming on NPR -- specifically "Not a Robot, but a Ghost."