Saturday, August 13, 2011

la vie boheme

i want pockets full of firecrackers. i will, however, settle for the sounds of a strummed guitar in the midsummer night air. last week i played with anchoress at local 269, a bar on east houston frequented mostly by jazz groups and rock bands. it was our debut show, and the bunch that stuck around till 11 pm to hear us play were true troopers! it's a bit weird, focusing that late at night, but ultimately we - that is, lisa dowling, bass, charlie rauh, guitar, and me on flute - are about listening. i made it through despite a pounding headache.

i've recently spent some time at the office for which i used to work full time; the pace of the day and the tight-knit community are quite different than the arts world. in a way, creative relationships are founded on an immediate and steadfast respect. in the corporate world, it takes more time to establish those connections, but the strength of the ties is the same.

i've been working towards a two-woman show with lydia love in november; i over-intellectualize everything about my art. i blame my psycho-analyst mother. does that imply a freudian affiliation? mental health professional. so i'm trying to get into a place where i can be true, safe, and vulnerable. does such a place exist for everyone, accessibly?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


as the summer wears on, my life has begun to take shape. of late, i've been involved with the institute and festival for contemporary performance at mannes (concert details on my site here), where freelance contemporary musicians gather to work intensively for 10 days. while in the building, one has the sense of new music limbo, a plane that is rarely interrupted by outsiders. i've been on the prowl for work; i've come to the realization that i need something flexible to accommodate my various projects, be it curating chamber performances with guitarist jordan dodson and conductor/percussionist kyle ritenauer, developing concepts with composer/dancer anne goldberg, improvising on tunes of hildegard von bingen with bassist lisa dowling and electric guitarist charlie rauh, or ruminating on solo recital ideas for the winter.

running on fumes, underslept and underpaid, this is the life i have chosen for myself. a sage friend recently articulated the philosophy that we should do what we're passionate about. in the city that never sleeps, there are endless creative possibilities and ever-expanding artistic communities; the challenge is to negotiate a distinctive and committed identity - a bright light that shines through the fray.
kandinsky, color study of squares

Thursday, June 16, 2011

sleeping to dream

i checked out the brooklyn-based sleeping giants show the other night at littlefield; bits of it were entertaining but not earth-shattering. i could have had less of ted hearne screaming mixed up pop lyrics with live electronics and more of violinist tema watstein providing echoes of italian cathedrals.

but really, folks, these days i sleep deeply, idly dreaming of scenes i can't have in the city. here are a few more by elizabeth bishop.

Elizabeth Bishop, "Summer's Dream"

To the sagging wharf
few ships could come.
The population numbered
two giants, an idiot, a dwarf,

a gentle storekeeper
asleep behind his counter,
and our kind landlady—
the dwarf was her dressmaker.

The idiot could be beguiled
by picking blackberries,
but then threw them away.
The shrunken seamstress smiled.

By the sea, lying
blue as a mackerel,
our boarding house was streaked
as though it had been crying.

Extraordinary geraniums
crowded the front windows,
the floors glittered with
assorted linoleums.

Every night we listened
for a horned owl.
In the horned lamp flame,
the wallpaper glistened.

The giant with the stammer
was the landlady’s son,
grumbling on the stairs
over an old grammar.

He was morose,
but she was cheerful.
The bedroom was cold,
the feather bed close.

We were awakened in the dark by
the somnambulist brook
nearing the sea,
still dreaming audibly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


yesterday i attended a first tuesday cma seminar on group identity. this will be useful in articulating the mission of our collective, which debuted in may. it's interesting to think of chamber music as a family - in collaborative musical relationships, as in friendships, there here has to be a kind of tensile synergy that encourages dialogue. successful projects are ones that convey that energy in a meaningful and accessible way. i suppose this is a *no duh* moment for many of us, but it's something to which every ensemble - ou bien, relationship - should strive.

the days wear long and hot-i find evenings better times to get a lot accomplished.

looking forward to my bandmates' performance of messiaen's quatuor pour la fin du temps at brooklyn conservatory this evening; should be transcendent.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


last night i attended a double cd release at the gershwin hotel (contagious sounds series) - andy akiho, a steel panner who graduated with the first class of msm's cpp now on innova, and vicky chow, pianist of bang on a can, on zorn's tzadik label. it was packed (no surprise)-i was particularly taken with the quality of musicianship. andy's band played like a jazz group that has gigged weekly for decades, and vicky ripped through ryan francis's roaringly difficult piano etudes as if hanging a sweater out to dry on a windy day. the film that showed between sets, of andy and cellist mariel roberts, was incredible. the director had an eerie way of spinning the angles (outside, on some rooftop that looked like the bronx on a grey semi-spring sunday) like a wizard. i missed the end of it, but it will be posted next week sometime on andy's website. his music took me to a beach where polyrhythms were mixed into the tequila shots and complex timbres were the salt rimming the margarita glasses. really guys, impressive.

i'm trying to balance my life these days - alternating between downtown shows and quiet brooklyn evenings; my sleep schedule, ever since the cornelia st. gig with neoLIT has been bizarre. i need to get back to this time zone somehow by sunday...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

hopelessly devoted

all is not lost, mes amants. marteau en entier will go up in november; now we must decide on a few solid companion pieces. i recently went to an art performance at 12th and avenue a and was assaulted by pennies. i like the ghettoblaster portrait up at ad projects this week a bit better. i am not of that world, so i struggle; somehow the violence of the performance fell flat-a waste of a lord of the flies foghorn, if you ask me.

this city makes you feel like you always have something to prove, no matter what the context; i was idly thinking of paris this afternoon, as i do, and recalled lazy sunday family lunches that seemed to make time stand still - pâté followed by salad dripping in balsamic vinaigrette, to be lapped up by crusty baguette, then a fish or poultry course lightly prepared; cheese course; coffee in the salon.

and so i defended my line of whimsical collaboration following a trail of archetypal conservatory training as we strolled towards essex last night and thought: where do we draw the line? when is it this not that? these types of curatorial decisions are what define us in the artistic community, and yet we are not schooled to be tastemakers. perhaps in the end we should nab some decent speakers and listen together to hours of music to find out what makes us tick, so to speak, to calibrate our collaborative clocks.

for me, most times, it's jessye norman's third last song by strauss, where she literally transcends the symphony orchestra, ian bostridge's bach cantatas, hilliard's take on pérotin's viderunt omnes...take home lesson is that we all have different palates. when collaborating it is not only important to recognize the palate of another but also to complement (and consciously defy) it.

parting thought:

elizabeth bishop, "insomnia"

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


i've been out of commission...ish. riding the wave of my first year at manhattan school of music's contemporary performance program, now knee-deep in planning for the summer. i need a jumpstart.

when it comes to culture in new york city, who do people trust? i go directly to the venue websites, full stop. i don't trust all curators, all the time, nor do i the taste of timeout, new yorker, or the discretion of those choosing who to list on the WQXR Q2 concert listing.

i've learned, hard and fast, that i can make things go. i dream of creating something à la monday evening concerts in LA. they've been going strong since the late '30s-and have access to deep pockets.

since getting out of the full-time work game and stumbling purposefully into the freelance new york music scene, i have been working on meaningful projects but fail to fully grasp the flow.

in other news, i need a new laptop. my keyboard is fritzing.