ANGELES JANUARY 2007
dung mummy at Il Corral
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I’m 85% recovered. So let us get on writing the trip/performances up!
Ah, well, right after I typed the above, the power went out and stayed out for hours. Let’s try again!
After a three hour nap early Friday morning, Linda, Mikee, Erika, and I headed off to Hollywood. It’s about a 6-hour drive. But our tradition is to stop half way at Harris (cattle) Ranch for a big meal which takes around 3 hours. After a late dinner, we went to Theatre of Note to meet Richie Werner, his sexy girlfriend in a wheelchair, and Michelle Hilyard. The theatre turns out to be an amazing small black box stage which is the focus of an extremely vital creative community. A couple of months ago Richie emailed me, inviting us to be in their 12th Annual Hollywood Performance Marathon...their annual fund raiser. Who am I to say no?...even though we hadn’t recovered financially from our September L.A. tour! But when we were at the note, I was glad that we just followed! It felt like home. Richie said he found me on the web and had explored our site intensively. During our email exchange before the trip, he said my act could be messy. He seemed disappointed when I told him my piece would be “clean”…which I took as a good sign! When I was getting the band together for this gig, I asked Carl Off of The Refrigerator Mothers to be in the band. Unfortunately he couldn’t do it because they were doing their monthly “dung mummy” event the same night at Il Corral. In fact Carl invited us to come there to do a jam after our set at the note! I ran this by Richie. He had no problem with our leaving after our set. But he told us he would be the last act of The Marathon, going on at about 4am. Naturally I wanted to see his act. We were going to die!
So we went back to our hotel and tried to sleep. But the room’s heat plunged every hour and we had to get up to reset it.
So after eating brunch, we headed to The Note. The Marathon had been going on since 1pm. Daryl Hanah was coming out of the theater as we were going in. It was an amazing show…the ultimate variety show…with no bombs! Hula dancers, stand-up comics, moving mini-plays, bands, over-the-edge art attacks, and so on kept appearing on-stage in a smooth, laid-back creative stream…which in itself was quite impressive. When we had to go backstage later in the night to get ready, I felt I was missing some great pieces!
The time limit of our set was 20 minutes. Our jams usually are at least an hour long. So it was a challenge to get all of the dimensions into 20 minutes! To give insight to this challenge, here are my directions to an actress who in the end couldn’t be in the performance:
“I'm looking forward to dancing/playing with you. It is shaping up to be a great band. For example, Steve E. and I go back together to college in the late 60s in San Bernardino, then were housemates in Santa Fe. We got back together last year and we have been jamming together. Also it looks like one of my sons will be in L.A. and may be in the band.
This may be the time to give you more directions. 20 minutes is not much time to generate intimacy. So everything needs to be as direct, focused, and simple as possible. You should wear clothes that are straight looking but are easy for you to take off. You start as an audience member who becomes entranced into an uninhibited altered state and joins our dance. This altered state comes over you in the audience during the 3 minutes that i'm singing alone on stage. You start unbuttoning your clothes during this phase, but you do not take them off. When nude Linda and Erika join me, you nervously come up onto the stage, letting your clothes slip off (this should NOT be a strip tease, just a shedding)...this shedding calms the nerves. You join Linda, Erika, and I dancing/rubbing together. Focus on me, not on the band or the audience. The dance/rubbing will be soft, warm, slow, deep, intimate, arousing...and it will probably feel like we have just started when our time is over. Remember, there is no RIGHT WAY...just focus intimately on me.”
It turned out that family issues prevented the actress from doing the gig. (I’m looking forward to working with her in my next L.A. piece.) So that connecting element of a planted actress in the audience wasn’t there. Ah, such is the uncontrolled reality of performance art. Hey, Tomek unexpectedly showed up to play accordion, clarinet and woodblocks. He just happened to be in L.A…so!
Anyway, it felt like we were blasting the packed house into an altered state rather than sliding into a traveling trance with them. Looking later at the tape, it didn’t come off as a blast, but as a rich, complex experience. But as we were doing it, it felt like a high speed blast [which isn’t bad, just different]. Right from when they rolled me nude on stage after a minimal introduction [per my request] by the Guest celeb hostess Alison Arngrim (Nellie Olsen from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE), There were a series of bits that I had to fit in to the twenty minutes…my solo chanting, my duet with Stephen Emanuel on the guitar…naked Linda and Erika joining the vocal/visual/erotic stew…then the music exploded deep with Tomek, Vinnie Santino on drums, Steve Davis on bass, Eddie on the keyboard, and Mikee moving around in his sexy costume videoing…but things had to move on, propelled by the music…rubbing skin on skin, rocking into each other, Linda and Erika tickling each other…all intimate fun…but no time to enter the tunnel of aroused exploring…time for Linda and Erika to “get” first the band and the very willing audience as I wailed. Then it was time to exit to thundering applause…which is a good thing in theater.
Then, with the exceptions of Steve Davis and Eddie, we all headed to Il Corral to continue what we had started. On the drive there, we wolfed down sandwiches.
There, we added a toy instruments’ section with The Refrigerator Mothers’ (or were they hop-frog's drum jester devotional that night?) Carl F. Off, Jeremy Morelock (a.k.a. e.loi), Denise Owens (a.k.a. Volcanosis). This jam was really part two of what we had started at The Note. It had the same structure. But it lasted over 40 minutes…time enough to go into the tunnels of arousal opened up at The Note, time enough to press into wet grooves, exploring erotic intimate dark small quiet places, getting caught up into Vinnie’s driving heart beating, enjoying Steve’s hot licks, getting lost in Tomek’s passion squeezings, etc. In reality that night we did an hour jam not limited by space or time! Very satisfying!
So then we 4 jumped back into the Luver Mobile, dropped our performance gear at the hotel, and ignored the call of our beds, and headed back to The Note. We got into the theater…still packed!...at 3:55am. Any doubt that we had made a mistake by not just calling it a night was erased when Richie hit the stage…actually when the dude who Richie obviously paid off to give Richie a glowing (?) intro hit the stage. Richie’s piece was extremely powerful, personal, funny, intense…hey, our fatigue left! Now that alone is the ultimate thumbs-up! His work, to me, harkens back to the great Ernie Kovacs. Some of the elements he juggled in the state of performance, avoiding dropping into shallow cleverness, were props and puppets he made out of things like paper plates and cardboard boxes. (In my studio I now have two beautiful painted paper plates from his piece.) The acid test of a performer is when something goes “wrong” during a piece. Well, the voice of a cardboard box puppet Richie was talking to was on a cd. In the middle of the dialog, the cd fucked up. They had to start the cd/dialog over FROM THE BEGINNING at least 4 times! Each time through the context had changed (even though the puppet was saying the same things). Richie responded to these changes, so things kept taking on deeper and deeper meanings.
To say we crashed when we got back to the hotel (really when we got in the car) is an understatement. We slept Sunday, getting up only for a big meal, then back to bed! Monday we drove back home. I was doing fine! I felt some ragged edges after our Harris Ranch meal…but still o.k. But when I hit my recliner at home, I bombed out and bombed out for days! Vinnie’s jazz group was flying up from L.A. Thursday to do the Ramen show. That show originally had 6 bands. But 4 of the bands were part-timers luckily and had canceled. But I’m no part-timer. I wanted to be there to host, if not to jam. But I wasn’t getting better. So right before the show we were at my doctor’s. After he said I had pneumonia and put me on antibiotics, I said, “but can I do the show tonight?” He has been my doctor for over 20 years. So he laughed, shook his head, and gave me his o.k. The band was hot that night. And I survived!
The 12th Annual Hollywood Performance MarathonSaturday, January 20, 2007
dung mummy at Il Corral
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