1. LISTENING: "Somebody to Anybody" by Margaret Glaspy
I love this little demo. It's a sly song that gets under your skin. More people should know about Margaret; I'm doing my part. Enjoy!
2. READING & THINKING ABOUT: The found material of (song) writing -- an interview with author Lydia Davis in the Paris Review
Most of my songs include a piece of "found material" -- phrases I overhear when I am walking down the street, words I read in a book, bits of found poetry I snatch from a sign or a conversation with a friend. Lydia Davis, a master of the shortest short stories, speaks to the nature of found material in a wide-ranging interview in the Paris Review. Here is a short excerpt from the article:
INTERVIEWER: More and more you seem to use found materials in your stories.
DAVIS: Back in the early eighties, I realized that you could write a story that was really just a narration of something that had happened to you, and change it slightly, without having really to fictionalize it. In a way, that’s found material. I think it’s hard to draw the line and say that something isn’t found material. Because if a friend of mine tells me a story or a dream, I guess that’s found material. If I get an e-mail that lends itself to a good story, that’s found material. But then if I notice the cornmeal making little condensations, is that found material? It’s my own, I’m not using text, but I am using a situation that exists. I’m not making it up. I find what happens in reality very interesting and I don’t find a great need to make up things, but I do like retelling stories that are told to me.
3. SEEING -- Ada/Ava in NYC
Someone who knows me very, very well took me to see the shadow puppet/live-music/overhead projector project called Ada/Ava one evening in late June in NYC. All I have to say is: Run! Don't walk to see it if you are anywhere near NYC between now and July 26th (when it closes).
What is it? It is a heart wrenching and mysterious tale about two identical twin sisters, septuagenarians, who live in a lighthouse. It is also about death and mourning, self and other, losing and finding equilibrium.
This ghost-story-ish tale is told -- without words -- through the use of overheard projectors, silhouettes, shadows, actors, live music and live sound effects. Instead of hiding all the mechanics of the storytelling and image-making, everything is on display. Ben Brantley of the NYT describes it perfectly in his review of the show: "This involves, among other things, arranging pieces of paper and transparencies on the projectors, and stepping in front of a white curtain to cast shadows, which are then incorporated into a fluidly cinematic mise-en-scène. This materializes on a screen above the very visible work space, and you can only marvel as you witness this continuing, simultaneous transformation from technical fact to narrative fiction."
In short, it is magic. It is simple and beautiful and fantastical. I've sent four people to see it so far. It's your turn. Go.