Thursday, July 16, 2009

Riding the wave

On Saturday I went to see a dance performance at Lincoln Center's recently reopened and simply beautiful Alice Tully Hall. Shen Wei Dance Arts performed a three-movement piece entitled, "Re-" that has me continuing to think about it, even now. The following evening, I had the chance to hear once again a segment of music used for one of the movements, only this time in the subterranean music venue, Le Poisson Rouge. Todd Reynolds, the violinist, introduced the piece he was about to play and explained that during the creative and rehearsal process it had taken on the name, "Killer." As I listened to the powerful and terrifying piece for violin and electronics in the dramatically dark club with its starkly lit stage, I could literally see the choreography from the night before. Actually, it was more like a kinesthetic inner compulsion fighting to emerge through my own body. I wanted to dance it. It struck me then: this music was such a perfect fit with that particular physical movement that the two had become inseparable in my mind.

I think music is meant to move us. Not only emotionally, but often literally. Some of my most cherished memories of music making are when body, breath and sound are riding on the same wave, the same impulse, moving as one. Try singing a line from a favorite song, investing it with the intention and the emotion the song calls for, without moving anything below your head. Completely unnatural, right? It hurts just thinking about it! But sometimes, I get so caught up in the technical challenges of trying to play or sing something that my body gets out of sync with my mind. In a recent practice session with other improvising vocalists, I was soloing over a delicious sonic bed my compadres had laid down when I felt compelled to step and gesture while I sang. I decided to go with it, and you know what? It all felt like one perfect thing.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Walking in "The Land of I Don't Know"

It can be scary to put aside one's assumptions that things operate according to, well, one's assumptions about the way things work. I'm going to try this for a little while: instead of relying on my trusty "go-to guy" up there in the left hemisphere, I am going to try encountering everything today in the spirit of "Wow. What is that?" and see what I notice.

I expect it won't be easy, if a recent dream is any indication. In the dream an ex-boyfriend, whom I think of as a philosopher and psychiatrist, is fighting his employer's judgment against him. He's about to be fired or fined, and he is trying to gather facts to make his case. The dreaming-I still feels attracted to him and does not trust that I wouldn't act on it (which would tempt disaster). Substitute "left, analyst brain" for "ex-boyfriend" and it seems that my analytical and practical side doesn't want to be fired. The truth is I like my left brain, I'm used to it, and it has served me quite well, thank you. Or has it? Lefty is also a stubborn bully who wants to set up an armed border patrol [see Margin Release]. So my experiment is to tip the scales in the other direction for a change. Just for now, Lefty. Just for a little while. ::wink, wink::

photo credit:

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I've typically been a sensible person so I often have trouble dreaming, but I'm giving it a try and trust it'll get easier with practice. Let's just say I'm learning to kick caution to the curb and to give the other side of my brain a chance to stretch. The biggest surprise so far has been what happened when the pieces fell into their glued positions. Surprising relationships of ideas and images emerged. Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Margin Release

It caught my attention at the flea market. Something about that repurposing of an obsolete machine spoke to me. As time marches on, fewer and fewer of us can count ourselves among those who have used a manual typewriter and know its particular quirks. I searched through the trays of jewelry, all embedded with recycled typewriter keys, wanting to find something that told a story. No, a simple letter wouldn't do. Who would know where that nugget came from? It would have to be @ and ¢ stacked, or 1/2 and 1/4.

And then I saw it. I've declared it my talisman. As I begin exploring the world of blogging, of following my inner creative urges, it urges me on. To color outside the lines. To let go of the bounds of old patterns. To be free.