Friday, December 31, 2010

"Alcohol and used Father Peyote" with Mike Burgett

["Peyote Healing" by J. Myztico Campo , rights reserved by artist.]

We're scoring the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle, and we have been rummaging for music in the key of Black Indian Cowboy Silent Western -- however you want to multiply construe any of those concepts.

Now comes along one Mike Burgett multiply construing concepts, with two blips of music for our consideration. Hours more like it from Mike, as I well know.

audio files

"Alcohol and used Father Peyote" *
(Mike Burgett)
Mike Burgett

"Dream burned butter" *
(Mike Burgett)
Mike Burgett

* I have given these songs provisional new titles taken verbatim from Curtis' poem. That is one of the ways to score a line of poem in a poetry score, to bestow it as a title onto an instrumental. Who knows how, where or if these pieces will actually find their way into the completed piece.


O sadness over rage O rage over sadness
By K. Curtis Lyle


The image is "Peyote Healing" by J. Myztico Campo, an artist we should try to involve in this project.



From car jam to lost rock bands to Black Indian Cowboy poem
Barbara Harbach string quintet for Black Indian Cowboy score
Spaghetti Western music for O sadness over rage O rage over sadness

Thursday, December 30, 2010

From car jam to lost rock bands to Black Indian Cowboy poem

Good old 2010, a year that is justly maligned by so many, was really good for me. One of the good things that happened was my car stereo CD player gave out again. At approximately the same time, my car stereo cassette player kicked back in again, and I was suddenly thrown back upon the resources of my cassette collection.

This got me back into the groove of my college rock band cassette collection, the early recordings of the campus bands at Wash. U. in the later 1980s that I looked up to (really, idolized). I expect for this getting back into the groove with my campus band idols experience to be Bootblogged in extensive detail once I come up with the right way to go from old cassette to new media with a rich sound.

For now I have snagged very rough digital transfers of a few instrumental nuggets. The "digital transfer" process was homely indeed. I blasted the cassette from either my car stereo in the car, or my jambox in the bathroom, and recorded the "room" sound with a handheld reporter's gizmo that converts readily to a mono WAV sound file.

I grabbed rough snapshots of these three tracks because I thought they might find a new home in our score to the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle. We have been asking after and looking for music in the key of Black Indian Cowboy Silent Western, multiply construed.

The only and one K. Curtis Lyle has been scoring his own poetry pretty much exactly as long as I have been alive on Earth, so by inviting him to coproduce the score I knew I was contending with a mature and strong point of view for how to do such things. I have my work cut out for me, but I'll enjoy trying to convince Curtis that some of the lost college rock bands of my youth has a home in his poetry.


"I stopped and looked into your eyes" *
(Joe Z. Armin)
The Skinnies

"He walked all the way from Montana" *
(Benjamin Herzon)
Butt of Jokes

"Across phantom prairie" *
(Benjamin Herzon)
Butt of Jokes

* Just for fun, I have given these songs provisional new titles taken verbatim from Curtis' poem. That is one of the ways to score a line of poem in a score, to bestow it as a title onto an instrumental.

While I think these make apt titles, who knows how, where or if these pieces will actually find their way into the completed score. They are all also candidates for sung text, for attaching some words from the poem as a lyric to sing.

Interestingly, I am in touch with the principal musicians from The Skinnies and Butt of Jokes (they even overlap on one guy, my cowriter and coproducer Matt Fuller). There is the chance I could write melodies to any of these and then get the original songwriter to record the new vocal over his old track!


Drawing of the dashboard of my car by Leyla Fern King and me.



Spaghetti Western music for O sadness over rage O rage over sadness


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paul Casey is all over the internet, including right here

The actor in this fragment of a scene, Paul Casey, does not use email or social media or the internet or metal utensils - it's just hunt, with blunt objects, and then gather, with bare hand, for Casey.

So posting this video here on the blog where I can find it is pretty much the only foolproof way I know to make sure I can find it the next time I am at a public house with Casey and one of these 21st century characters with the internet on their phones who can dial it up for him.

This is footage we shot for our movie Go South for Animal Index. This is only some of the footage we shot from this scene, and only taken from one of the three cameras on the shoot. (Not sure whose, but Laurent Torno III, V "Elly" Smith, Dawn Majors and Murphy Mark Shaw all shot that day.)

Lead editor Aaron AuBuchon slapped the edit together over some music from the score, just to shut up people like me who have been clamoring to see some footage.

We are divided, intenally, over the wisdom of showing rough cuts of raw footage like this, but Casey has been buttonholing me at public houses saying there is video of him "all over the internet"; and I feel it is incumbent upon me to document said footage in such a way that Casey, himself, the Luddite, might see it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A trail of sheet music & 'Good Whiskey Blues'

The next show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is Dreamscapes. I pointed this out to my friends and asked to see their work in whatever media that deals with dreams.

I figured I would hear back from my friend Andrew Torch - he is a card-carrying member of the International Surrealist Group that traces lineage back to Breton; he almost only paints from dreams - and sure enough, Andy posted this image to me.

"'Good Whiskey Blues' was based on a dream..." Andy wrote.

"[Expletive] great!" I responded. "Want to write about the dream too?"

"I generally let my artwork speak for me," Andy wrote back. "This was a series of dreams over about a one year period, the trail of sheet-music actually morphed several times in various dreams from a large fabric and paper Chinese dragon (where about 6 people hold it up with poles and zig-zag it through a parade) to sheet-music and then back to a dragon..."

He added: "the Chinese-dragon version of this painting is scheduled to get painted some time this year."


Dreamscapes, organized by Francesca Herndon-Consagra, senior curator at the Pulitzer, opens with a public reception on Friday, February 11 from 5–9 p.m. and is open through August 13. The Pulitzer (3716 Washington Blvd.) is open and free to the public Wednesdays 125 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Barbara Harbach string quintet for Black Indian Cowboy score

Poetry Scores has embarked on a score to the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle.

On this one, we started with the idea for a movie: we want to make a silent Western. So, we needed to find a poem that would yield a score that would yield an Indian and Cowboy picture, so I asked K. Curtis Lyle , our resident Black Indian Cowboy.

I put out a call for source recordings to consider for the score, and my buddy from northern Italy Andrea Van Cleef coughed up some new authentic Spaghetti Western guitar workouts.

Then I heard from the composer Barbara Harbach. Got to love a composer who responds as fast as the scruffy rockers of northern Italy!
Here is an mp3 of the first movement from my Freedom Suite for String Orchestra, "I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman". It has a mid-19th century sound that has folk-like melodies that might fit your cowboy theme. It will be recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in March. The other two movements might work also. No problem if it does not fit…

Barbara is unique.

I begged the other two movements from her as well, with permission to post them up. So here they are. These are Barbara's compositions on the computer software she uses; just imagine what the orchestral versions will sound like when we get to hear them!


Freedom Suite for String Quintet

By Barbara Harbach

I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman

II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!

III. Freedom



Freedom Suite for String Quintet

By Barbara Harbach

Harbach wrote Freedom Suite for String Quintet in the summer of 2010, inspired by the life of Harriet Scott, her husband Dred Scott and their two daughters, Eliza and Lizzie. The premiere will be January 17, 2011 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis at 10 a.m.

"I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman" is inspired by Harriet’s memories as a child in Minnesota and St. Louis. She would have heard spirituals and dance music as an adult, and they, hopefully, would have reminded her of the good memories she had as a child and a young woman.

A brief introduction ushers in "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me," a new spiritual based on the traditions of the 18th and 19th century American spirituals. Dance reels follow, in imitation of the Virginia Reels that were popular in the 19th century and in St. Louis. The poignant spiritual "Don’t You Weep When I’m Gone," composed by Harry (Henry) Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949), has the melody in the cello that so wonderfully portrays the rich somberness of Burleigh’s melody. The dance tunes and "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me" return and rush exuberantly toward the close.
When I’m gone, gone, when I’m gone, gone, gone, O mother; don’t you weep when I am gone. For I’m goin’ to heav’n above, Going to the God of Love, O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. O, mother meet me there, mother, meet me in de air, O mother don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O Mother, don’t you weep when I am gone.
"II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!"
The second movement is based on two spirituals – "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and "Go Down, Moses". The movement opens with seemingly random pitches in long notes, but is built on the circle-of-fifths utilizing the notes in the chromatic scale. The first section features "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" in G Minor with a triple canon among the two violins and viola. An interlude of the opening material then precedes a combination of the two melodies in F-sharp Minor although the melody "Go Down, Moses" predominates. The final section combines as well as alternates between the two melodies.

"III. Freedom" opens with a rising and ecstatic fanfare. A joyous four-voice fugue begins. Even amid the celebration of freedom is the ache of memories from the past – "Many Thousands Gone" – a new melody inspired by the words of the 19th century spiritual of the same name. The fugue melody is then combined with "Many Thousands Gone". With each return of the fanfare, excitement builds …but always touched by the memories of the many that have gone … until the feeling of freedom is wholly embraced.


Freedom Suite for String Quintet
is published and copyrighted by Barbara Harbach with Vivace Press, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010.


Picture is of Barbara Harbach in Romania.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Belly of the beast, mind of the first Missouri poet laureate

Poetry Scores received this enchanting letter in the mail today, the actual physical mail, from one Walter Bargen.

December 22, 2010:

Dear Poetry Scores:

I just finished listening to David Clewell's Jack Ruby's America for the second time. It's a wonderful and moving work by both the poet and musicians. As I sat back in my chair to savor the experience, the idea came to mind that you might be interested in continuing the project, that is, of recording Missouri Poet Laureates (I'm the first one). I thought what work of mine might fit with the structure found on Jack Ruby's America CD, and the prose poem sequence, Belly of the Beast, in the book The Feast came to mind. The Feast won the William Rockhill Nelson Award in 2005 and Belly of the Beast won the Quarter After Eight Prize in 1996.

Belly of the Beast is a retelling of the Jonah and fish story in the Old Testament but this Jonah is a modern day character who is standing in a cashier's line at Wal-Mart with a plastic bag filled with water and fish or sitting at an office desk, all the while contemplating "where the ribs curve up into studded stars, sparkling with the remnants of the last backwash of cosmic debris, up the many rickety ladders, frayed ropes and tow-rope-thick varicose veins, along greasy precipitous ledges, that all led to his bone-roofed hermitage." I call the form of Belly of the Beast a povella (A word that I coined.), which is a series of prose poems that have a luminal narrative thrust that may focus on a character, an image, an experience, or something else. In this sequence, Jonah flounders upon Jessabelle, his future wife, on a North Miami nude beach when he is expelled from his fish. Jonah and Jessabelle are characters in six of the eight povellas found in The Feast.

If you're not familiar with the prose poem, it reads with all the rhythm and music of a versed poem. Charles Baudelaire describes the intention of the prose poem in the following way:
Which of us, in his ambitious moments, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose -- musical, but without (conventional) rhythm and rhyme, and supple enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the promptings of the unconscious?
I've enclosed a copy of The Feast and Belly of the Beast is the first povella. If greater length is needed, I think sections of other povellas that involve Jonah and Jesse could be added.


Walter Bargen


Thank you, Walter Bargen! We will certainly read Belly of the Beast and the rest of The Feast and let you know what we think!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The antique x-ray movie prop donation letters

So it all started when an old rock & roll buddy, now in the medical field, offered us an antique x-ray machine as a prop for the silent movie we are making, Go South for Animal Index, which is a fable of Los Alamos, of the making of the first atomic bomb. The good doctor asked me what did I think.

I wrote back
I think I love you.YES!YES!YES!
The good doctor responded,

can't wait for you guys to get the stuff. you will love it. i found some really old x-ray tubes...straight from a classic frankenstein b & w.
also, i can let you guys borrow a few old x-ray light boxes and a few old x-rays to lighten up in the background if you are interested.

very cool.
I agreed, very cool; and wondered what was the next movie. The good doctor had a plan.
so here is the deal...

we need to set up a time where you can come over here (with some help) and have some fun.
you will need a truck or decent sized trunk to fit stuff in.
so we don't die in the process, we need to find someone who is familiar with electricity, better yet radiology.

i will make a few calls regarding the dismantling of it, but i am pretty sure that it will only take disconnecting the fuse and chopping some wires.
I told the story of the donation in a blog post and sent a link to the doctor with a note.
The fricking ridiculous thing is, our zombie wrangler is a radiologist who lives on the East Side. He is copied.
We make silent movies with zombies. This requires a zombie wrangler. Ours happens to have a degree in radiology. I know, this is weird, because in this movie the zombies are uranium-poisoned uranium miners and millers. The zombie wrangler /  radiologist played spoiler about the antique x-ray machine thing, though.
Well, I'm going to be a spoiler. Those exam tables weigh tonage. And everything else is just cabinets. Lotsa weight there. The face of the control panel would be very cool. Inside the cabinet, the generator usually looks like a telephone pole transformer kinda. The problem with all of this stuff is that it has cooling oil in parts of it that is likely full of PCBs,especially inside the exam head where the x-ray rotor is. So I'd be careful about dragging it around and where you put it. You might wind up with a Superfund site in the back of your pickup.

If this is a functioning machine, has he checked into donating to any schools?
I sent this to the good doctor, with a defeated note.
Maybe light bulb going off during lunar eclipse about tearing apart radiological devices is dangerous.
The good doctor was not convinced, however.
I agree about the table but there are other things that are only electrical but look cool that I am sure we can piece out. We will not be touching anything that has PCBs in it for sure. It is not worth getting poisoned for a silent film in my opinion. Great idea about the schools but no one wants to deal with the table even though it is functioning unit. It is a shame but I have tried for 2 years and the table is just too big and heavy. I almost had it shipped off to Africa, but that too fell through.

Still interested in the non PCB stuff?

I said something like ... I ... think ... so, now ... being a little spooked. This really was a light bulb about radiation that went off during the lunar eclipse.

The good doctor went out and got his own expert opinion from one of his previous radiology professors. Professor said:
I think the concern about the "box" (actually I think they are talking about the transformer) is due to the type of insulating oil found inside. If the unit is old, and I think a Westinghouse single phase fits that category, there is a real possibility that the oil is PCB (polychlorobiphenyl) which is toxic. If that's true then that same oil was probably also used in the tube head. I suppose you could have it tested although I don't know who does that kind of testing in this area.

There is no radioactivity to consider here. However, when you remove the federal terminal cables you might get some oil leakage. Thus the nature of that oil is important.

It may be that there was an elective "oil change" sometime in the past and the PCB oil was replaced by mineral oil. If that's the case then there is no toxic hazard.

As far as dismantling, I've always left that up to the professionals. If you choose to try, just be careful as some parts are quite heavy. I had a former classmate who tried to move his x-ray unit and ended up breaking his arm as the tubehead went flying when he removed the counterweights!
So we won't be poisoned, but we might snap off an arm. No, said the doctor.
i don't think we will break any arms since we will not be messing with anything heavy, we're just gonna strip the cool looking stuff.

let it roll.
Okay, let it roll.


Image from One Letter Words.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Antique x-ray machine donated to Poetry Scores prop shop

These photographs popped up in the email today, sent by a dear friend I met through rock & roll as a manchild many years ago.

He has since gone into the health care field as a primary care practitioner, but he follows our weird doings. So he knows we are making a silent movie about the making of the atomic bomb.

The good doctor writes,

holy shit, i can't believe i just thought of this.

after 2 years of trying to donate my antiquated x-ray machine to a country in need, i am in the process of junking it. what a better place to junk it to than as a prop in a los alamos lab scene.

you interested? it would nearly be impossible for you to take the whole unit, however, i am sure you could rip some pieces off of the unit that just look cool.

Holy shit! We are interested. If it is impossible to take the whole unit, we will just rip some pieces off of the unit that just look cool.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"The sailors playing all birds fly"

And yet one more scrap of Molly Bloom's monologue from James Joyce's Ulysses that wants to be a song.

"The sailors playing all birds fly"

he asked me to say yes
and I wouldn't answer first
only looked out over the sea and the sky

I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of
Mr Stanhope and Hester
and father and old Captain Groves
the sailors playing all birds fly

and I say stoop and washing up dishes
they called it on the pier
and the sentry in front of the governors house
with the thing round his white helmet

poor devil half roasted
and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls
and their tall combs
and the auctions in the morning

the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs
and the devil knows who else
from all the ends of Europe and Duke street
and the fowl market all clucking outside

Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping
half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks
asleep in the shade on the steps
and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls

and the old castle
thousands of years old

I hear this as a story song, bit of Pogues perhaps, with the verse from which I chose the title recycled as a chorus from time to time.

Well, this is the last scrap of the great novel I set aside for poetry-scoring when I finally finished reading the damn thing last year. I now have a catalogue of 27 songs-to-be -- with one of them already in the can.

If you are a songwriter and want to play along, then get to clicking below, pick your poem, and email brodog [@] to talk shop.


The complete "Songs from Ulysses" series

"The sailors playing all birds fly"
"And the sun shines for you today"
"Half the ships of the world"
"He rests"
"Less reprehensible"
"Restless. Solitary."
"I'm tired of all them rocks in the sea"

Pretty pretty petticoats"
"Music without Words, pray for us"

"SIGNOR MAFFEI: (With a sinister smile)"

"Sad music"

"Monkey puzzle"

"What kind of a present to give"

"Fires in the houses of poor people"

"Christfox in leather trews"

"All future plunges to the past"

"She was humming"

"Silly billies:"

"Happy Happy"

"A sugarsticky girl"

"Everybody eating everyone else"

"Blood not mine"

"Sell your soul for that"

"Over the motley slush"

"My childhood bends"

"Don't you play the giddy ox with me!"


Image from sunnybuick's Flickr.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And the sun shines for you today; maybe you, Fred Friction & Maureen

And yet more Molly Bloom monologue from James Joyce's Ulysses that wants to be a song, I think.

"And the sun shines for you today"

he said I was a flower of the mountain
so we are
flowers all a womans body
yes that was one true thing
he said in his life
and the sun shines for you today
that was why I liked him

The vocal I imagine is like Maureen Sullivan from the Red-Headed Strangers. I am thinking of the great singing Maureen did on "Bottle-a-Day" on the impeccable Fred Friction record, Jesus Drank Wine.

In fact, this would work just fine as a Fred Friction song, and his junk yard angel rock band concept would be just right for it. Looks like I will be buttering up Freddy (again).

The complete "Songs from Ulysses" series

"The sailors playing all birds fly"
"And the sun shines for you today"
"Half the ships of the world"
"He rests"
"Less reprehensible"
"Restless. Solitary."
"I'm tired of all them rocks in the sea"

Pretty pretty petticoats"
"Music without Words, pray for us"

"SIGNOR MAFFEI: (With a sinister smile)"

"Sad music"

"Monkey puzzle"

"What kind of a present to give"

"Fires in the houses of poor people"

"Christfox in leather trews"

"All future plunges to the past"

"She was humming"

"Silly billies:"

"Happy Happy"

"A sugarsticky girl"

"Everybody eating everyone else"

"Blood not mine"

"Sell your soul for that"

"Over the motley slush"

"My childhood bends"

"Don't you play the giddy ox with me!"


Fred Friction working his basement bar from the Flickr of Roy Francis Kasten. The sun may shine for Fred, but seldom on him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spaghetti Western music for O sadness over rage O rage over sadness

Poetry Scores has embarked on a new score called O sadness over rage O rage over sadness. We are scoring a text by K. Curtis Lyle, though this is a little different for us.

Rather than starting with a completed poem, we started with the idea for a movie. The idea was pretty simple: we want to make a silent Western! So, I started casting about for a poem of the right length with themes that lend themselves to making a Western.

From the beginning, I was saying we should be thinking about making an Indian and Cowboy picture, with the script flipped and the emphasis on the Indian. This made me think of K. Curtis Lyle and all the poems he has written that deal with American Indian themes.

Curtis is an African American with Choctaw blood. He also hails from California and is something of a cowboy. He is something of a Black Indian Cowboy. I figured we could work something out with him.

And, indeed, I believe we have. Curtis sent me a batch of poems, and I made a selection and suggested a sequence. He raised some objections, so I re-ordered the sequence, which he approved of. The title of the composite poem is drawn from one of the constituent pieces, O sadness over rage O rage over sadness.

I put out a call for source recordings to consider for the score, and heard right back from my friend Andrea Van Cleef in northern Italy. "I got a bunch of old songs that could fit your needs!" he wrote. "You know, we invented Spaghetti Western."

Here are three. The titles listed here are the ones Andrea gave them. They will be retitled as they are intergrated into the score, using language from the poem. There are opportunities for sung text here too, with the attractive idea of writing melodies to Andrea's music for Curtis' poetry and then flipping it back to Andrea to sing in Italy. Who knows?


"Bring me the head of Christopher Walken"
(Andrea Van Cleef)
Andrea Van Cleef

"Three baby steps"
(Andrea Van Cleef)
Andrea Van Cleef

"Kernunnos' dream"
(Andrea Van Cleef)
Andrea Van Cleef


O sadness over rage O rage over sadness
By K. Curtis Lyle


The photo is of Andrea Van Cleef.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two Adam Long projects nominated for Grammy Awards

We've brilliant news to report about one of our own.

Adam Long, who mixes and masters our poetry scores, once again has two projects he mixed/mastered this year being nominated for a Grammy Award. It is the third year running the boy genius has had two projects advance to "the envelope, please" in the same year.

In the Origial Broadway Cast Recording category, Fela! was nominated. Adam Long mixed and mastered it with Robert Sher producing. This is the third year a Sher/Long recording has been nominated in this category.

Lecrae, Rehab was nominated in the Best Rap or Rock Gospel category, the third year a project Adam mixed/mastered was nominated in this category.

All of Adam's projects are mixed and mastered in his St. Louis studio. He does recording for the Broadway projects in New York. Adam's collaboration with Sher has resulted in a Broadway recording producer shifting to dual residene status with a foot on the ground in St. Louis.

For the record, none of Adam's previous nominations has ended in the big enchilada. It's hard to avoid thinking Fela! has a good chance this year. We will be celebrating with him either way it goes.

Adam Long discography with Poetry Scores

Jack Ruby's America (2010), mastered
The Sydney Highrise Variations (2009), mastered, co-mixed
Go South for Animal Index (2008), mastered, co-mixed, co-recorded
Blind Cat Black (2007), mastered, co-mixed, co-recorded

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On the prowl to recognize what Lyndsey Scott is worth

In search of lost texts, I did a major league email archaeology project this fall, tunneling all the way back to June 2008, deleting and archiving one personal email at a time.

You find a lot of things doing something like that. One of the things you find is that you have lost a lot of things. I found that I had lost touch with the artist Lyndsey Scott. I was struck by the level of personal engagements in the emails we used to trade that we don't trade anymore.

I wrote to her about this, and she responded as one would want the old friend to respond in that situation, with the assurance that we were always connected, even when we didn't have time to act like it.

Given all this, I was pleased to receive the other day from Lyndsey a message that shows her going through a similar process, and thinking of me in the midst of it.
I am totally enjoying the scrupulous bellybutton-gazing process of recollecting and remembering pieces of that which I've scattered to the wind for the past 3+ years in STL....  I am on the prowl to live what I'm worth, part of that is recognizing it -- which for me means a bit of backtracking since I typically didn't see it, record it, or embody it fully when it came through the first time. To that aim, I'm creating a website that helps me archive and process my work so far, in this juncture of "What next"..........

My computer ate the images of late 2008 --- so I don't have a good shot of "The house of God is also a black hole" - which I believe you own. Would you be willing to snap a fresh one and send it my way?    
Lyndsey has been a regular contributor to the annual Poetry Scores art invitational, when we invite a mad pack of artsists to make work in response to the poem we are scoring that year, then title the work after a verbatim quote from the poem. "The house of God is also a black hole" was Lyndsey's contribution to our invitational for Nailed Seraphim by the great K. Curtis Lyle.

I do indeed own that piece, and I have indeed photographed it.

And a detail:

Tried shooting a detail with the flash:

 Here is a slightly closer look at the eponymous "black hole":

I think it is fair to see some intimate contours of the feminine anatomy in this detail.

In that connection, any girl-crazy person would recall that Lyndsey (who is strikingly beautiful, apart from her many talents) really dolled up for this show. I would swear she was wearing eyelashes from the same set of material as she used for this intimate detail on the work of art I now own.

Back to our girl herself, from her "archive and process" email.
Also - I can't remember or find the title of the 2006 image?? I know that's asking a lot of archiving precision, but if anybody has that you do!
The 2006 image? That is asking for a lot of archiving precision. I thought it might be the goliath installation she made for the Go South for Animal Index invitational, but a little imprecise researching places that show in 2007.

That means 2006 had to be the invitational for Blind Cat Black, and how could I ever forget her piece for that show? It walked out in the arms of a man named Chad Ivins. It was while I was talking to this tall, craggy-faced man that I was told he was a filmmaker, and it was out of that chance meeting that Poetry Scores came to make a movie to Blind Cat Black and the name of Chad Ivins, aka Chizmo, came to appear in Turkish media about its screening in Istanbul.

We flat burned out old Chizmo in the process of making that movie, but I will circle around now and try to find him to ask him about Lyndsey's piece from 2006. I hope he still has it.

I don't have far to seek to find Lyndsey's contribution to the 2009 Poetry Scores art invitational, for The Sydney Highrise Variations by the great Les Murray. For that piece Lyndsey did an exquisite drawing exquisitely titled "They answer something in us," which also is my collection now.

You can't tire of digging into its details.

Good luck there, Lyndsey Scott, on your prowl to recognize what you are worth, and to live it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Starring as Lost Almost intake site: Donny's dilapidated ranch house

The silent movie we are making, Go South for Animal Index, is a fable of Los Alamos, the secret military site where the nucleur bomb was invented and first tested. The actual Los Alamos had an intake site (in Santa Fe, actually, rather than Los Alamos proper) where all personnel reported first and received their identification. This site was ruled by the executive assistant of Los Alamos, a woman nicknamed The Atomic Lady. She regularly burned secret documents to destroy them, an irresistible piece of stage business in a silent movie. So one sine qua non for our Lost Almost intake site is a stove where we can burn documents.

And here you have our stove. It is in a dilapidated ranch building on some property owned by the family of Donny Blake in St. Clair, Missouri. We have permission to shoot there.

Here is a bit more of the room. We will put the Atomic Lady's desk just in front of the stove, so she can turn around from her desk and burn documents. In addition to the intake scenes,we will shoot solos of The Atomic Lady here, typing documents and burning others. She also will be visited by the lonely, desperate scientist wives for a moonshine klatch here.

This is the room facing off to one side of it. We probably don't want this in our shot and will have to do something to block it off. Some filing cabinets and soldiers seem in order.

Here is the room on the other side. We want it in the shot even less. (Though we could put a bed against that wall to the right and shoot bedroom scenes here.) We will probably have to create a very limited little range of motion for our camera and actors when we shoot the intake scenes. It's not bad at all if the intake scenes have a slightly claustrophobic feel. After all, people are losing their liberty when they enter here.

Our stove from behind. I love this stove. The pipe going outside means we can't move it though.

After the stove and the bare ruined nature of the place, the next benefit is this: a good clean exit. This scene is all about our scientist characters entering a new world, and we need to shoot exits after they have been fingerprinted and officially identified. This door is so much better than the other one, so we will probably use it for entrance and exit. I am pretty sure the actual intake site at Los Alamos was like that, though we are telling a fable and fact need not be our guide.

The front of the ranch building is workable. It will be a relief to have the interior and the exterior be the same physical location. That is becoming a rarity in this production, since we need things to look bare and either period (mid-1940s) or timeless. It's hard to find exteriors and interiors, let alone in the same place.

Another look at front. We can shoot a nice long walk-along the wall if we need one.

The ranch building sits up a on hill, which makes for nice shots. Here is a look up the hill.

Another look up the hill. Other than battling the cold, for many reasons it would be better to shoot these scenes when the trees are bare. The intake scenes are at the beginning of the movie. Also at the beginning is a funeral scene. We have shot one of the scenes right after the funeral. I need to see that footage. It's an interior scene, and if there is no green in it outside the window, then I think we should shoot the intake scenes this winter when the trees are bare.

Those steps down with the railing are a big plus. We need to shoot a transition scene where the scientists, carrying hunks of the lab, and their wives, carrying luggage, move from intake to lab and lodgings. This will be great for that. 

Another limitation: we can't shoot down the steps very freely. We don't want to see that house or the lake in any Lost Almost shot. We will use the lake extensively for a completely different storyline, the People of Peace, and it is essential that these worlds - Lost Almost and the People of Peace - are distinct geographically.

Those steps end at this car port, which we will use for the nuclear physics lab (without the cars). So we can shoot pretty much in real space and time when moving from intake to lab set-up.

It will be easy to clean this space out and turn it into a mad scientist's lab.

We will be able to shoot wide without anything else in the shot but the warped world of the lab -- and have natural light from one side.

Pretty good sightlines shooting both ways, side to side, inside the shed.

We also can establish the relationship of the lab to the footpaths people will use to navigate the world of the movie. The other side of the road, though, is the house and lake and can't be in any lab shot.

Usefully, there is a stack of those wooden gates that can be used as false walls.

I love the butt ugly side of the shed / lab. We need a place for the zombie uranium couriers to drop off uranium to the nuclear lab. I pictured a nasty wall for General Graves and solider to stand against and take delivery. This will do until something better comes along.

The ranch and shed have plenty of junk lying around that will look good in our lab. Like this.

And this.

The intake scenes will be a bear to shoot. We need General Graves (Ray Brewer), Opje (Michael R. Allen), the Atomic Lady (Suzanne Roussin) for all of the intake scenes. In installments, we also would need the first lab scientist (Richard Skubish) and his family (Stefene Russell, Claire Eiler), the second lab scientist (John Eiler) and his wife (Natalie Partenheimer), the first bomb scientist (Neal Alster) and his wife (Barbara Manzara), the second bomb scientist (Paul Casey), the Feign Man scientist (Tory Z. Starbuck) and all the soldiers we can get our hands on (John Parker, Thomas Crone, Tim McAvin, Thom Fletcher).

That might have to be two days of shooting, rather than one. It would be frustrating to set up the scene and light it two separate times, but perhaps I can get the crew to shoot in St.Clar two days in a row. They have not liked the idea of shooting at our other great location in Cuba two days in a row, but St. Clair is an hour away from St. Louis rather than 90 minutes. A bit easier to accept as a day trip.

Hopefully we can block off a weekend and spend one day shooting  intake at the ranch house, and the next day shooting exits and walk-downs to the path and lab, followed by some initial lab set-up scenes.

This is tricky stuff!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If you want to know the truth, don't lose Alexa Hoyer's piece

When Poetry Scores first began hosting art invitationals, the artist Robert Goetz was on our board. Robert is a brilliant, versatile, experienced artist, and at the time he also made a living preparing installations at the world-class Laumeier Sculpture Park. He brought a professionalism to the project that was in direct conflict with my amateur approach.

Any number of things that seemed fine by me were a violation of a professional code that Robert held dear. I still remember one that I have thought a lot about lately.

When you have a large number of local artists making work for a show, it is quite a trick to get it all in time. As Robert worked out art drop-off at the gallery for our first art invitational, I blithely suggested people also could just get their work to me when it was finished, and I could drop it off when the time was right. Right?

Wrong. Robert said something like, "So, is Poetry Scores getting into art storage now? Art moving?" He didn't like it at all. There are professional standards for storing, moving, and handling somebody else's art. It wasn't something you just jumped into.

Robert moved on from Poetry Scores after a few invitationals, having professionalized our curatorial techniques dramatically for the better. Some time after Robert moved on, I went back to collecting art early for the annual invitational and holding onto it untilofficial drop-off time. For the Jack Ruby's America Art Invitational this Friday, Nov. 12 at Mad Art Gallery, for example, I accepted an early mailing of Alexa Hoyer's submission, "But if you want to know the truth, all you have to do is ask".

Alexa is an artist of European nativity currently based in New York, who spent some time here in St. Louis and left some vivid, positive impressions here. Another former Poetry Scores board member, the artist Jenna Bauer, brought Alexa into our fols, and last year at the Sydney Highrise Variations Art Invitational, I spent all night accounting to people who asked about her what little I knew.

So, Alexa is in. Cool. That's one piece I don't have to worry about now, I thought, when I received it at work. And then I put it ...

I put it ...

On my desk? ... No.

On the counter at home? ... No.

In The Skuntry Museum, Archive & Prop Shop (my basement)? ... No.

Left it in my VW's hatchback? ... No.

Where the hell was it? It was time to hang the show!

Sure it wasn't on my desk? On the counter at home? In the museum in my basement? Buried in my hatchback?

No, no, no, no.

I was depressed. Really depressed. It was a print she could have duplicated, but at hassle and expense, especially with short-notice mail fees. And I was anyway a rat to have lost it. The spectre of Robert Goetz haunted me.

"So, is Poetry Scores doing art storage now?" Goetz's spectre said. "Art moving?"

I moped around, a demoralized curator.

Then, I was moving stuff around in my hatchback to make room for the art I had taken in early that I had not lost and there it was, the package Alexa Hoyer had thoughtfully sent early from New York, nested in the papers buried in my hatchback, where I guess it always had been (despite the fact that I had sifted through those exact papers looking for it 749 times).

Tonight, as we prepare for the show tomorrow, "But if you want to know the truth, all you have to do is ask" by Alexa Hoyer is displayed on the wall at Mad Art Gallery. Her title is from the part of David Clewell's poem Jack Ruby's America with perhaps the biggest WOW factor, "Jack Ruby Talks Business with the New Girl," where Clewell ventriloquizes Ruby laying down the rules of engagement to a dancer who was new to his burlesque club.

In a Poetry Scores art invitational, 50 (or so) artists make work to the same poem we are scoring, they title their work after a verbatim piece of language from the poem, and then we hang the work depending on where in the flow of the poem the language used for the title appears.

It so happens Alexa's piece hangs next to a real novelty item. Back in September, Poetry Scores produced a live jazz burlesque score of Clewell's poem that features Lola van Ella dancing a burlesque routine to the Dave Stone Trio, immediately following Clewell's performance of "Jack Ruby Talks Business to the New Girl". (John Eiler videotaped the reading and the burlesque act and has edited them both into a slightly bowlderized version.)

For her routine, Lola choregraphed a cowgirl act in homage to Candy Barr, who worked the burlesque scene in the Dallas of Ruby's era and knew the man. Lola worked with Becky Simmons, who does her costumes, to craft a cow-girl get-up, with the understanding that they would later title it after a piece of Clewell's poem and let us auction off the costume at the art invitational.

And, thus, due to the flow of the poem and the titles these women chose for their work, Alexa Hoyer's print hangs beside a dress form adorned with a work of costume art titled "And you dance. With class." At our urging, Lola did not launder the costume after taking it off in her act. The piece even includes the gold star pasties that obscured her nipples during her act, because when she tore them off and threw them into the crowd, they landed at my feet and I kept them for the show!


Image is "But if you want to know the truth, all you have to do is ask" by Alexa Hoyer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Art Invitational to "Jack Ruby's America" Friday, Nov. 12 at Mad Art Gallery

Poetry Scores will host an Art Invitational to "Jack Ruby's America" by Missouri poet laureate David Clewell on Friday, Nov. 12 at Mad Art Gallery (2727 So. 12th St. in Soulard). Some 50 visual artists are making work in response to Clewell's poem. All work will be on sale on silent auction and will go home with buyers that night.

The silent art auction will start promptly at 7 p.m., and we will start to close bids at 9 p.m. The cash bar and delicious food catered by John Eiler should occupy us until 10 p.m. All proceeds from art sales will be divided evenly between artist, venue, and Poetry Scores - an arts organization devoted to translating poetry into other media.

The Friday, Nov. 12 Art Invitational also is the occasion for the release of our new poetry score to "Jack Ruby's America," featuring music by Yid Vicious (Madison, WI), Another Umbrella (San Pedro, CA), Kennebunkport Jazz Workshop (Nashville, TN), and Frank Heyer (St. Louis, MO).

The CD costs $10. There is no admission to the event. Opening bids start low at Poetry Scores art invitationals - often $50 or lower - and for work by some of our most beloved local artists. (See list, below.)

Each piece of art that responds to “Jack Ruby's America” will be named by the artist after a verbatim scrap of language from the poem. The work will be displayed and positioned around the gallery space, according to where in the poem the language chosen for the title of the artwork appears. So, in a sense, it is the poem itself that hangs the show.

We expect a mix of types of work you can hang on the wall - paintings, drawings, photographs, mixed media. Every year Eric Woods of Firecracker Press letter-presses bookmarks with a quote from the poem live at the event. Robert van Dillen makes a poem-inspired hat every year.

As a special treat this year, we will display and auction off the sexy outfit Becky Simmons made for Lola van Ella to wear (and take off) in her jazz burlesque of “Jack Ruby's America” performed earlier this year with the poet and the Dave Stone trio. We will auction off the outfit as worn by Lola (and not since laundered), all the way down to the gold star pasties!

For information, email Poetry Scores creative director Chris King at Poetry Scores is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Missouri corporation.

Confirmed for the Nov. 12 show:

Gena Brady Allen
Gina Alvarez
Andrea Avery
Jay Babcock
Michael Behle
Kevin Belford
Keith Buchholz
Ron Buechele
Deanna Chafin
Heather Corley
Thom Fletcher
Trent Harris
Paul Hartman
Sue Hartman
Emily Hemeyer
Michael Hoffman
Alexa Hoyer
Claire Medol Hyman
Angela Khan
Alicia La Chance
Robert Longyear
Dianna Lucas
Dawn Majors
Julie Malone
Tim McAvin
John Minkoff
Michael Paradise
Melanie Persch
Hap Phillips
Jeremy Rabus
Tony Renner
Kim Richardson
Martha Rose
Cindy Royal
Stefene Russell
Janiece Senn
Becky Simmons / Lola van Ella
Dana Smith
Robin Street-Morris
Andrew Torch
Nita Turnage
Robert Van Dillen
Amy VanDonsel
Eric Woods / Firecracker Press


Watercolor of Jack Ruby by Kevin Belford, from the cover art to the Poetry Scores CD Jack Ruby's America, to be released at the Nov. 12 event.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Free semi-private screening of "Blind Cat Black" at the BW

There can't be all that many people of whom the following is true, but maybe it is you:

1. You want to see the Poetry Scores movie Blind Cat Black
2. You will be in or near St. Louis County this Thursday, Oct. 7
3. You will have an hour or so free that day starting at 11 a.m.

If this is you, then feel free to join Angela Khan and myself at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Ave., in Maplewood), more affectionately known as the BW or the B-Dub, at 11 a.m. We will screen the movie in the back room, I think it is called The Crown Room, where they do the Strange Brew screenings, sometime shortly after 11 a.m.

This screening is intended for cast and crew who have signed up to work on the second Poetry Scores movie, Go South for Animal Index. That is where Khan comes in.

In plugging prop needs over the last several months, I have resorted to social media, among other avenues of beggary; and, consistently, someone I had agreed was a Friend but whom I didn't quite know kept coming through for me: with a vintage iron, with a box of 1940s ladies hats, with the most perfect old-fashioned radio at absolutely the last minute before the first day of shooting. This was Khan.

The Khan radio
In the bantering that ensued from my repeatedly driving to her house, which kept shifting locations, she said she liked to act and even had experience acting in a silent movie. We make silent movies. Khan has ann interesting look, as the image up above amply testifies. I said I would try to find a role for her.

The tarty look above, in fact, would have worked just fine for Blind Cat Black. That movie follows our score to the poem of the same name by the Turkish poet Ece Ayhan, which tells the tale of an Istanbul streetwalker. Had we known Khan three years ago when we made this picture, and had she looked like that then, then she would have looked perfect in the dark, dank streetlife of that movie.

Go South for Animal Index is an altogether different can of crickets. It's a fable about the invention and testing of the first atomic bomb, which actually happened in 1945 and explains the string of requests for ye olde props. Our casting needs for Go South are altogether different, but then Angela Khan is a changeling, this much I have gathered from a distance, from a box-strewn living room where I am being handed a box of hats or an ancient iron by a generous person.

It is my gut feeling she would look just fine as one of the People of the Peace, one of the people of the land living along a river when the bomb shop moves in and the mad scientists start to build kinky new weapons of death from the uranium being mined from the Earth by zombies.

We will see. And, maybe, we will see you Thursday at the B-Dub.