Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poetry Scores talks business with Lola van Ella

I had lunch today with the one and only Lola van Ella. The hardest working girl in St. Louis burlesque is collaborating with Poetry Scores to add a showgirl dimension to our 2010 score, Jack Ruby's America.

The subject of David Clewell's poem, Jack Ruby, owned a Dallas nightclub at the time he shot Lee Harvey Oswald dead in 1963. His nightclub, The Carousel, featured showgirls - it was a burlesque club; in the language of Clewell's poem, a "burleyque".

Since Clewell is local and St. Louis has a thriving burlesque scene with an intelligent and collaborative character like Lola in it, I hit upon the idea of performing our score live with the poet, a jazz trio, and Lola's burlesque act.

I sent Lola a link to videos of burlesque at The Carousel back in the early 1960s, and that caught her attention. Over lunch today at Mangia, we more or less sealed the deal, with only dates and details to be finalized.

The idea is for Lola to work out a routine to the musical interlude that will follow the movement of Clewell's poem that relates most directly to the showgirls at the burleyque, "Jack Ruby talks business with the new girl: November 21, 1963". Today Lola was telling me that burlesque in Dallas back in the day was "very bump and grind," so we can expect from Lola something very bump and grind, which is sure to disappoint no one.

On the CD to the score, we will follow Clewell's reading of "Jack Ruby talks business with the new girl" with a fragment from a tune by The Kennebunkport Jazz Workshop, which will be titled, on the score, "You twisting in the wind" (a verbatim quote from the part of the poem that precedes it; this is a formal rule for titles of instrumentals on poetry scores).

When we perform the score live, Lola will materialize on stage as Clewell sounds the title of his reading, "Jack Ruby talks business with the new girl". She will interact with the poetry, not the poet, while Clewell is reading. Then, the band - The Dave Stone Trio - will hit; and Lola van Ella will bump and grind.


"Jack Ruby talks business with the new girl: November 21, 1963"
David Clewell
(Recorded by Roy Kasten)

"You twisting in the wind"
The Kennebunkport Jazz Workshop
(Recorded by Lij)


Photo of Lola van Ella from her Facebook page, by Michelle.

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