Category Archives: personal

Deeply 80th Birthday Abdullah Ibrahim

Advise: click on the start triangle above for your momentary soundtrack. Thank you.

I wrote this fifteen years ago.

For over forty years people all over the world have received and been touched by the artistry and music of Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim. Not to stop there, however; the multitude of musical gifts of the African tradition, and, more generally, the gifts of the deeply abiding traditions of peoples’ musics and arts, are vital harmonizing mediums for the sensitive souls of people. Many people allow the artistry of such providers of joyful nutrition to make an essential, sympathetic impression on their own life and creative work.

Here’s a curious thought. In the past year I have been reflecting upon and gathering impressions having to do with, first, my being subjected to experiential learning, and, secondly, coming to understand how it is framed as a modality of constructive transformation in the West.

What I was subjected to for several years was not Western, but it was presumably outfitted for me, the American. Then, under the tutelage and mentorship of Judith Buerkel (1996,) and soon enough, after gaining some knowledge and understanding of the field, I began to reckon with the overlap between applications, learnings, and the means given by, in effect, Western psychology, to understand what it is for a person to experientially learn.

For example, there is some overlap of western theory with this thought:

“Inspiration is a stream of wonder and bewilderment. Music should be healing, music should uplift the soul, music should inspire. The thought attached to things is a life power. In order to define it, it may be called a vibratory power. There is a thought attached to all things made either by an individual or the multitude, and that thought will give results accordingly. The influence put into things is according to the intensity of the feeling, as a note resounds according to the intensity with which you strike it. So it is according to the medium that you take in striking vibrations that the effect is made. In all things there is God, but the object is the instrument, and man is life itself. Into the object a person puts life. When a certain thing is made, it is at that time that life is put into it which goes on and on like breath in a body.” Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan

At the same time, for me, there is a very large non-overlapping area. Question: what has music meant for you?

Abdullah Ibrahim reached 80 today. One thing hasn’t changed over the years, A.I. remains 241 months older than me per the way the calendar differentiates the distinction. Otherwise, comparably, I am a child. When I think of Ibrahim I think secondly of his music, and, firstly of his several lessons. One lesson: everything is always completely at stake. 

(A sufi once, with nothing on his mind, was – without warning – struck at from behind. He turned and murmured, choking back the tears: “The man you hit has been dead for thirty years. He’s left this world!” The man who’d struck him said: “You talk a lot for someone who is dead! But talk’s not action – while you boast, you stray Further and further from the secret Way, And while a hair of you remains, your heart And Truth are still a hundred worlds apart.” Burn all you have, all that you thought and knew (Even your shroud must go; let that burn too); Then leap into the flames, and as you burn Your pride will falter, you’ll begin to learn. But keep one needle back and you will meet A hundred thieves who force you to retreat Think of that tiny needle which became The negligible cause of Jesus’ shame). As you approach this stage’s final veil, Kingdoms and wealth, substance and water fail; Withdraw into yourself, and one by one Give up the things you own – when this is done, Be still in selflessness and pass beyond All thoughts of good and evil; break this bond, And as it shatters you are worthy of Oblivion, the Nothingness of love.)

Lie down beside the flowing stream
and see Life passing by and know
That of the world’s transient nature
this one sign is enough for us

Hafez, r.a

It’s a very hard lesson.

Over on the nogutsnoglory blog I am celebrating the artistry and ongoing vitality of Abdullah Ibrahim with a series of posts, all of which are restorations of archival posts from the defunct Mantra Modes blog. Should you begin with the first post from today MAGIC EIGHTY and work your way through to the last post, you will end up at the gateway of the opportunity to engage Abdullah Ibrahim’s musical artistry. Of course, this is possible only if you haven’t already engaged his artistry. Everybody with a sensitive soul would do well to engage his artistry.

I’ve provided an initial opportunity at the head of this post. Dr. Ibrahim is arguably among the the deepest musicians that the continent of Africa has so far produced. (The continent of Africa has been producing sonically creative persons for tens of thousands of years. Music was likely born in the Kalahari.) His ongoing international career began in 1964. Happy fiftieth birthday too!

As he told me, in the olden times, in the African village, children of exceptional musical talent became healers.

Ah! Death! Life! Our communication is on a completely different level. See, if we talk about music (Ibrahim plays a few notes on the piano), we are dealing with the unseen. We are fortunate that in Africa we have old people who understand the dynamic of the unseen. We study with them. Music is dealing in the realm of the unseen. It is much deeper as people think when they “see us play some notes”. It is a deeply spiritual practice. But look at jazz musicians now, everything in modern society is misplaced. I mean you are interviewing me with a tape recorder. Now, that is misplaced – not that I want to put you down – but you are supposed to use other means of communication. In some ways this is stupid. It is the same with musicians, we are supposed to be entertainers, but in traditional societies we were priests. In any traditional societiy, anybody that shows musical implanation was immediately drafted into medicine. My great grandfather was a healer. He tought us everything about herbs, plants and flowers and what you are supposed to do wit them. We as musicians living in this modern urban society … All my family were religious practioners. They came from traditional practice and when the white people came they went into the church. I was the first one that became a musician and became muslim. It has all to do with healing and spiritual practices. (interview with Abdullah Ibrahim)

800px-Abdullah_Ibrahim

(2001) Abdullah Ibrahim, born in South Africa in 1934, remembering hearing traditional African songs, religious music and jazz as a child – all of which are reflected in his music. He received his first piano lessons in 1941 and became a professional musician in 1949 (Tuxedo Slickers, Willie Max Big Band). In 1959 he met alto saxophone player Kippi Moeketsi who convinced him to devote his life to music. He meets and soon marries South African jazz vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1965.

In 1962 the Dollar Brand Trio (with Johnny Gertze on bass, Makaya Ntshoko on drums) tours Europe. Duke Ellington listens in at Zurich’s Africana Club and sets a recording session for Reprise Records: Duke Ellington presents the Dollar Brand Trio. 1963/64 sees the trio at major European festivals, including TV shows and radio performances.

In 1965 Dollar Brand plays the Newport Jazz Festival followed by a first tour through the United States. In 1966 he leads the Duke Ellington Orchestra: ›I did five dates substituting for him. It was exciting, but very scary, I could hardly play.‹ Other than six months playing with the Elvin Jones Quartet Abdullah Ibrahim (who changed his name after his conversion to Islam in the late 1960s) has been a band leader ever since. 1968 sees a solo piano tour. From then on he has continuously playing concerts and clubs throughout the US, Europe and Japan with appearances at the major music festivals of the world (e.g. Montreux, North Sea, Berlin, Paris, Montreal etc.). A world traveller since 1962, Ibrahim went back to South Africa in the mid- 1970s but found conditions so oppressive that he went back to New York in 1976.

In 1988 Ibrahim wrote the award-winning sound track for the film ›Chocolat‹ (released on ENJ-50732 ›Mindif‹) which was followed by further endeavors in film music the latest being the sound track to ›No Fear, No Die‹ (TIP-888815 2).

An eloquent spokesman and deeply religious, Abdullah Ibrahim’s beliefs and experiences are reflected in his music. ›The recent changes in South Africa are of course very welcome, it has been so long in coming. We would like a total dismantling of apartheid and the adoption of a democratic non-racist society: it seems to be on the way.‹ In 1990, Ibrahim returned to South Africa to live there but keeps up his New York residence as well. Several tours took him around the globe featuring his groups and also doing much acclaimed solo piano recitals. 1997 saw the beginning of a duet cooperation with the dean of jazz drums, Max Roach.

Later projects (1997 and 1998) are of a large scale nature. Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder arranged Abdullah Ibrahim’s compositions for a 22 piece string orchestra (members of the Youth Orchestra of the European Community) for a CD recording and a Swiss Television SF-DRS production and also for the full size Munich Radio Philharmonic Orchestra again for CD production and for concert performances featuring the Abdullah Ibrahim Trio.

The world premiere of the symphonic piece was at the renowned Herkules Saal in Munich, Germany on January 18th 1998, under the direction of Barbara Yahr and the Zuricher Kammerorchester premiered the string orchestra version at Zurich’s Tonhalle in February 1998. The string orchestra version was released in September 1998 (›African Suite‹, TIP-8888322) and met widest critical acclaim from the worlds of both jazz and classical music. The symphonic version (›African Symphony‹) has been released in 2001 in a double CD set which also features Abdullah Ibrahim with the NDR Big Band giving the full scope of his large format music.

Another highlight was the premiere of ›Cape Town Traveller‹, a multimedia produc- tion at the Leipzig music festival in 1999. A one hour performance featured A.I. and the Ekaya Sextet, a vocal group, filmmaterial from the early days in South Africa and the European years, electronic sounds ranging from impressionism to drum and bass – a great experience. One of the newest albums is ›Revesited‹ (TIP-88888362), recorded live in Cape Town. The piano of A.I. is featured with Marcus McLaurine (b) and Georg Gray (dr) and added is the fiery trumpet of South African Feya Faku on several tracks.

A great honor has been bestowed on Abdullah Ibrahim when the renowned Greham College in London invited him to give several lectures and concerts (beginning in October 2000 at Canary Wharf). Among his predecessors at the famed institution which looks back at a history of 500 years are John Cage, Luciano Berio, Xenakis. (from the press kit for Abdullah Ibrahim, A Struggle for Love, A film by Ciro Cappellari)

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Sixty

Tim Calhoun Cleveland poet

Timothy Carl Calhoun – Cleveland Poet, philosopher, father – September 2, 1954 – February 24, 1993

Sixty_edit

Stephen Crespi Calhoun – still unpeeling the layers

Stephen&Timothy-1958

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,–John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.

(Robert Creeley)

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In the Whole of the River

E Middlebury River

The gash of the East Middlebury River between E. Middlebury and Ripton, Vermont

E. Middlebury River

Roughly, my two favorite swimming holes on the East Middlebury River. There are several good swimming spots by pull-offs from the road, but the best spots are deep in the narrow canyon and involve hiking and scrambling down the river’s boulder fields. The most magical swimming holes are mildly dangerous to get to, and the swimmer has to be smart about risky spots in the river’s course.

At one point on the river, (I recall from twenty-five years ago,) for about 50 yards the canyon narrows to less than twenty feet wide and this causes about a fifty foot high gash, at the beginning of which is a small waterfall, then comes a deep pool, and, then comes a deceptively dynamic breakout into a huge undercut boulder. It’s very dangerous because the pool is beautiful but it channels a lot of volume into a very risky situation.

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Being a Hippie Changes Something

Moby Grape

Moby Grape – my first rock and roll record purchase

Action Schema

This schema comes from a Tumblr blog. I discovered it via a Google image search.

hippie-thoughts-o

I discovered this graphic via Google image search.

Hippie Action Schema

I put them together.

There is no reason to take a schema seriously if its context is a Google image search. I know because of my skillfulness in psychology that color used as a verb won’t cut it as an apt description of the psychological process that underlies intentional action. But, heck, I like the way the hippie graphic can be plugged in to the schema.

So, as hippies sometimes do, I just plug it in.

Old-Hippies

Damn, I am mostly bald forty-seven years after the Summer of Love.

I sometimes answer the question, What is your background? this way:

Being a hippie, and, music.

Many times this response compels a questioner of my age cohort to lean forward and in a near whisper reply:

I used to be a hippie.

Hippies were made fun of back in their heyday, and, old hippies remain low hanging targets. In the late nineties ‘hippie’ became the term on the internet for lumping liberals with progressives. This eventually led to concise formulas such as: Obama becoming President is all the fault of the hippies.

hoon

Hoon and pal Catherine at the Richmond Vermont commune, 1974


Although I moved to Vermont at 19 and spent formative years as a hippie in that most hippie-flavored state, its political blueness is the exception to the longstanding geography that demonstrates clearly that contemporary hippiedom is, quantitatively speaking, almost entirely a cosmopolitan phenomena.

For me, the essential character of my core hippie lesson is: experiment and retain negative capability against the pressure supplied by opportunities for belief.

Or, as John Lilly put it:

My beliefs are unbelievable.

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New URL for Symmetry-Hypotheses

2 Views of Coleridge

Two Views of Coleridge

On July 2 I publicized the new Tumblr site for barely washed results from the symmetry section of the visual lab.

Soon enough I realized the title of the Tumblr blog and the URL were not in alignment. I cast off the old URL and sent all the old addresses into something like intertube purgatory. However, the now congruent site at least reflects its theme in its titling and addressing.

symmetry-hypotheses.tumblr.com

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Typological Shifting

ENTP

I recently did a short version free MBTI. It showed by Feeling function slipping into Thinking by 1%. In addition, my Extroversion was barely captured–so it would seem. However, I am an extroverted feeling type.

The tendency to separate the opposites as much as possible and to strive for singleness of meaning is absolutely necessary for clarity of consciousness, since discrimination is of its essence. But when the separation is carried so far that the complementary opposite is lost sight of, and the blackness of the whiteness, the evil of the good, the depth of the heights, and so on, is no longer seen, the result is one-sidedness, which is then compensated from the unconscious without our help. C.G. Jung Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955). CW 14: 470

The closeness of the E/I and F/T in my typology (close to) paradoxically reflects much greater differentiation of their functions in my psyche. For me the transformation from ENFP to, in actuality, something like XNXP is hard won.

Bonus:

BigFive-July2014

My short version Big Five never changes much; I’ve been more agreeable and less introverted at times. I wish it captured realistic/unrealistic and, in doing so, could gain-say deeper neuroticism.

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Fathers

Crede Calhoun

Stephen, Crede C. Calhoun, cousin Crede Merchant-Prashkar, Crede H. Calhoun

One of the few photographs in existence–with myself and my father in it as adults.

My dad loved to skipper and race Highlander sailboats.

Highlander Crede Calhoun

Ol’ 954

I did not like to do so, and would not after the summer of 1967; the summer I turned 14. On the other hand, the summer before, his strong hand grabbed my arm and plucked me from my spot sleeping in the bow on the spinnaker just as the boat buried its port rails and capsized on a brisk late June racing day. Thanks, man!

I inherited his almost perfect nose. We were about the same size too. And, many have remarked over the years that my dad and I share a ribald sense of humor. I suppose I got some of his very big brain. Among many differences is a singular one: psychology terrified my father in about the same huge portion that it fascinates me.

The photo above was taken at his 75th birthday party in 1999. I learned a lot about my dad’s influence on young lawyers, sailors, and, witnessed his movie star’s charm in action too. It was very moving. After returning in 1992, by 1993 I got to spend quality time with him on occasion. Susan, myself, his third wonderful wife Joanne, and pops, would get together for dinner. Joanne inspired him to really make an effort to reconnect with his sons and my mom in the aftermath of his eldest son’s and our brother Tim’s, death in early 1993. She worked magic. This led to many memorable holiday seasons.

I’m a deep diver, and Crede my dad was a sailor. His comment to me on one face-to-face in his home office in 2000, the year before he drowned in a sailing accident, was, “Hey, as long as you’re happy, and you should be–because Susan is great!”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Poet Tim Calhoun

Tim Calhoun

My fraternal (duh!) twin brother Tim the day of his college graduation in, I think, 1986. He is father to my nephews Jesse and Nathan. He’s the only Calhoun son to graduate from college, which is statistically surprising because our parents reflect a Haverford/Bryn Mawr romance. (I once was told I look like a college professor!) Tim was a poet and he loved his kids with all his might and mighty heart.

Crede my brother, Crede my dad, Jesse my nephew

Crede my brother, Crede my dad, Jesse my nephew

Three generations of Calhoun male folk. My younger brother Crede–yeah, lots of credes–and his wife Carol McMahon Calhoun are parents of daughter Caleigh. She’ll be 14 soon.

Crede Calhoun

Grandfather Crede holding Caleigh, September 2000

Great dad and mom–brother Crede and sister-in-law Carol–and spitfire daughter, make for a fantastic future legacy: my parents had three sons and so Cails has a big job to help individuate the family’s deep feminine future.

Stepfather

Yesterday a stranger in a parking lot told me, “Happy father’s day.”

“Thank you.”

Susan’s son is my step son but I have never ever played the role of surrogate father. He’s got a great dad, and Matt is a terrific man.

I did on one occasion give Matt advice. I told him, and did so trying to frighten him, that “if you fool around too much you’ll end up like me.”

He gave me a horrified look.

advice. . . seemed to have done the trick!

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Surf Forever

One Hour of San Diego Surfing Time Collapsed: San Diego Study #4 from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.

This video was created from one hour of source footage shot from a bluff in San Diego the morning of Jan 21, 2014. I was interested in exploring the manipulation of water and to see how the movements and patterns from surfing interact. For more information about this video please visit cysfilm.com and MOPA.org
Shot on a Canon C100 + Atomos Ninja in CLog, with a Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5 L lens at 24p. The post work was done in After Effects.


Thanks Cy.

The once a summer–posted to the explorations blog–surfing video, posted annually because I was an enthusiastic goofy-footed surfer during the summers of 1968, 1969 and 1970 at, respectively, the breaks of: Oahu, Virginia, South Carolina. Then, crossing it off my bucket list, I soon became a long-haired hippie.

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Goodbye Mr. Trane

Stephen's car

The last photo of my car Coltrane and me, minutes before departing for a Suburu dealer in Wickliffe to trade it in as downpayment on my wife’s new car. I took over her car, now named Booker (after saxophonist Booker Ervin.)

I’ve always named my cars. There has been a bunch of ‘em, even so while including driving Coltrane to just shy of 97,000 miles, and, putting 148,000+ miles on Monk, an 1984 Honda Accord. I’ve owned or co-owned cars names Ella, Betty,Duke, and Miles.

Coltrane, a 2000 Civic, was the first new car I ever owned. The funny Coltrane the car story is about the trouble the sales person had in 2000, finding a new 5 speed Civic with just a radio/cassette player. I told him right from the beginning,

Basically, for me, a car is a sound system that can also go from point A to point B.

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new squareONE: experiential toolmakers web site in progress

BAsic Goal

 

And, the fundamental approach is to intentionally take wrong turns. 

The squareONE web site, my professional web site, is published but will remain for the next several months a kind of swirling work-in-progress.

My hope is to make 2014 the year squareONE finds its beneficial grip on the diffuse, and difficult-to-grab clientele of persons who could benefit from building their ability to explore, discover and transform.

Linked-In experiential toolmakers

from the home page:

SquareONE combines innovative and accessible experiential processes with keen facilitation skills to provide powerful applications for professional and personal development, and, for open-ended collaborative exploration.

squareONE’s goal is to guide learners to remarkable insights using playful exploration and collaborative discovery. Once realized, such discoveries often provide a way to address a wide variety of everyday or unusual human challenges.

Other times, truly intrepid learners may simply enjoin squareONE to capture what arises from unique and creative forms of open-ended experience.

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New Music From Kamelmauz – Apparently

Apparently

My music making alter ego is: Kamelmauz. He does sonic experiments and lets me produce and issue them on Duty Free Records. Finally, these records are issued on Bandcamp, in one of two locations.

Got it? There today exist fourteen different audio productions. Each can be downloaded or auditioned at Bandcamp.

The vein of music I create is variously reduced to categories–experimental/avant-agarde/ambient/industrial/dark ambient–which miss the personal point of my efforts. Oh well. ‘we’ make music for the sake of my enjoyment of the process of making music, and, to actively support my enthusiasm for learning, novelty, and experience.

Full length: Kamelmauz.bandcamp
EP’s and single tracks: Kamelmauz-soundz.bandcamp

As you should know by now, my musical activities and interests are documented on the blog of noguts noglory studios.

no guts no glory

I go meta about my creativity. Meta means: I make stuff and I reflect on making stuff.

There’s a video for the new ep, Apparently There’s More.

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Who Are Your Luminaries?

Reed Song

In my studio, on the wall with the window, I tacked up pictures of ‘mission-critical’ luminaries. The poster-like reminder above–using an original photo collage–tops the construction.

luminaries

I’m well-aware of my own personal pantheon of influential persons. One question I sometimes pitch for the sake of understanding better where a person has been is: who are your luminaries?

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Sweetened

laurie-lou

To our neighbors:
What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.
Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.
Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!
Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.
Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

- Laurie Anderson. his loving wife and eternal friend

Lou Reed remembered by me, but mostly a post recounting how long it took me to find my way to his artistry: The Murshid of the Underground

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Sonny & Steel

Sonny & Steel

 

A member of the Pedal Steel Guitar Forum asked lap steelers to post pictures of his or her herd. I obliged, although Sonny apparently wanted to be in the picture.

 

Sonny

 

Sonny turns two in January. Here’s a pick from the old studio, taken when he was about three months old. Sonny came into our lives because we happened to have an appointment at our vet the day after somebody left a box full of kittens in their parking lot. Sonny, named after Sonny Rollins the jazz saxophonist, was playing in a waste basket of shredded paper when one of the assistants pulled him up and out so Susan and I could see “The kitten nobody has spoken for yet.”

“We will take him off your hands.”

(Incidentally, this was a very good example of serendipity, and, in technical terms, this exemplifies the requisite structure of dependent realized contingencies that interlock (or conjoin,) to construct a ‘fortuity.’)

 

 

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Each a Posit, Each a Tale Unto Itself

Vegies

Each posit being a plant.

Begonia

Tending my very own garden for the very first time was a learning experience. My prior learning and experience helped, but next year will demonstrate a great deal of learning from mistakes.

There were three focal points: first is the gardening set-up left to us by the previous owner; second was a small plot of vegetables and berries I planted; third was a lot of potted flowers we bought or I planted. The first garden–what was already here on the lot of our new house–came in surprising and delightful waves, starting with the five rose plants and right now building to a culmination out of black eyed susans and plants I do not know the names of.

The big successes in a vegetable garden, that turned out in June and July to be a grocery store for squirrels and rabbits, were cherry tomatoes, blackberries, green peppers and salad greens. The potted flowers for the most part did well, although a great deal of newly gained experience will come into play next year as I better tune the potted flowers to the changing rhythm of sunlight.

Front of House

June

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Snow Frond

I took a lot of photos with secondary goals in mind. Photos of flowers lend themselves to being used to create color maps, masks, and I’ll use photos as source material for visual experiments.

Impatiens

Hydrangea; photo repurposed using CIF/FX in OSX.

Summer Blues

Model ship set in garden in April and photographed and then photo-manipulated.

Ship wrecked

Garden Ship Wreck

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Of Cats & Flowers

Cat Thought

Kliban

Sonny Watching

Sonny on top shelf of records

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flower pot

Poem (As the cat) by William Carlos Williams

Blue Petunia

Petunias rock.

Kizzy & Soony

Kizzy & Sonny, hangin’ out

 

 

Fire Lilly

Lillies also evoked some FX-driven visual experiments.

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Sathima Bea Benjamin 1936-2013, African Songbird

Sathima Bea benjamin

After negotiating a very short hallway, Abdullah Ibrahim and Sathima Bea Benjamin‘s suite at the Chelsea Hotel opened up to a living room with a window, and off to the left a small table mediated the entryway to the small kitchen.

Several times, while waiting for Abdullah Ibrahim to return or (other times)  materialize through a doorway on the other side of the main room, I would take tea with Sathima Bea Benjamin at this table. We chatted. I would attempt to inspire her to go on at length about any subject whatsoever because I loved the sound of her lilting, singer’s voice, I loved the way her eyes would sparkle, and, I loved her light and easy consciousness. In a way, those moments constituted some of the most beautiful experiences of waiting I ever experienced.

Sathima Bea Benjamin passed away over night on Tuesday in Cape Town, South Africa. (Article by Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen) (Wikipedia)

I have a handful of diamond-like memories (from 1987-1990,) yet the main thing for me was how deeply magnanimous and optimistic was Sathima. (She once said, after I was recounted some jejune story about crappy characters in the music business, “Remember, they’re God’s Children too.”) She was very warm and welcoming and possessed an unforgettable vibe. Thank you Sathima for those precious moments hanging out.

Another memory etched in my mind is of Sathima and Tsidi, her daughter–today, the gifted storyteller and rapper Jean Grae–getting ready to go shopping. I remember Sathima spelling out the parameters and plan. I also remember everybody getting dressed up and then, with Sathima and her sister in the crowd, everybody going out ‘after hours, African style’ in NYC. Either the drummer Brian Abrahams or family friend Camara told me that evening, ‘Everybody loves Sathima.’

I saw her perform once, at Town Hall in NYC in, I believe, 1989. Town Hall was not an intimate enough space, although the concert was fine. Sathima, no doubt the finest jazz-flavored singer Africa has produced so far, struck me as being very close in vibration to Abby Lincoln, whom I would call her American counterpart. Their outstanding, shared qualities were the tremendous vulnerability and intimacy and unalloyed ‘heartfeltedness’ they achieved in opening up their humanity, and setting in their distinctive ways utterly direct communiques upon honest wings of song.

Sathima’s artistry was completely grounded in Africa at the same time she inhabited the American songbook. Again, She was in complete sympathy with the profound conjunction of words with music. When Sathima sang a standard she transformed it into universal spiritual soul music. Her own music crystalized this integration.

Over at the noguts noglory, I have set down some fantastic resources to help people dip into the deep well of Sathima Bea Benjamin’s music. Fifty years have passed since she made the Paris session with Duke Ellington. The most startling situation was that Sathima was celebrated in Cape Town in a series of performances in mid-July. As Matsuli Matthew Temple writes, this turned out to be her swan song.

Sathima, Peace Be With You (resources and music at noguts noglory blog)

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Nashville

elvis2-nashville

NAshville-Bebos

Susan is in Nashville for work. She said she would send me photos that I might dig. Thanks, honey! These are cool.

Here’s Connie Britton and Charlie Esten performing as themselves in a sweet meta moment touching upon their network, shy-of-a-hit, show, Nashville.

The TV show is an hour long grown-up soap set in Music City. It’s interpersonal dramas touch upon romance and career jostling in the country music business, so it counts as the first prime time drama about the music business. When anybody in its cast sings, all is good. Connie Britton, playing a veteran country super star, Rayna James, turns out to be a serviceable singer and her stage presence is stellar. Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlet O’Connor, is a find. We already knew Hayden Panettiere, who plays a Miranda Lambert type, Juliette Barnes, can sing. The female songbirds are balanced out by handsome crooning male counterparts. When people sing, I dig Nashville.

When almost anything else happens, I’m reminded how needlessly horrible the show is, how ludicrous is its treatment of the music business, and how wasted are its cast members. Britton obviously is one of the most appealing and most charismatic of all current TV stars. The show is well acted even if the scripts are humorless and the pacing is painful. In the new season, I hope the new showrunners give some velocity to much better dialogue. This could make one of prime time’s sexiest and songful hours shoot up the charts.

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The First and Last Surfing Video of This Summer

Theatre of Sport: Bali from SURFING Magazine on Vimeo.

Hey, while surfing Vimeo…

In prior posts. (here and here,) I tell of my very brief surfing moments during the summers of 1968 and 1969.

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Roses

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roses

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Our new neighbor on the south side asked me over the fence why I liked to garden and I told her it’s not appreciably less absorbing than the sonic and visual worlds of creativity I’m devoted to. The new landscape is rough in spots and my vision is rustic, but my big advantage is that the previous owner also loved to garden. Thank you Eleanor.

Her house’s back yard has five rose bushed tucked by the crab apple tree. The one highlighted in these pictures has sixty plus blossoms. In March I cut the roses back just a tiny bit. I don’t know anything about roses. My late mother abandoned rose gardening because it was so hard to figure out how to meet the numerous challenges from blight to bug. Obviously, our rose bushes are healthy. Bless ‘em.

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