Monday, December 31, 2007

Music In the The Year

This year, my life has been all about music and I am OK with that.

So I decided that for this last post of the year I would make a playlist that can be downloaded and stuck into an I-Pod, collecting a bunch of the songs that left their mark on me in 2007. It includes the work of friends and bands that I've enjoyed and music that inspired me this year and music that came back to me after years of being away or music that made me smile for whatever reason; it includes artists I didn't know a year ago and artists I feel like I've listened to all my life.

Now, I was going to write something about each of the 33 songs in the playlist, but I'm gonna just let that be because I have to run over to the Pub now to watch some Flamenco dance and then bring in the New Year with Nellie McKay, because that's how I roll this New Year's Eve.

If you'd like to download the music and then drop it into a playlist, I hosted it over at Mega-upload. You can click here and it will take you there and then all you have to do is follow the easy directions and you'll have it in a couple of easy minutes.


Enjoy and happy New Year, everyone . . .

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

I didn't get a card out this year, which is sort of a testament to what the last month or so has been like. Anyway, Happy Happy to you all, thanks for dropping in like you do and I'll see you after X-mas . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Into The Next

Last night we shut the place down and toasted Bill as he moves on from running Joe's Pub to run Public Programming at Lincoln Center.

Last weekend I ran into David backstage and he pointed out that it had been almost exactly a year since we had last seen each other. I knew that because the last time I saw him was the night at Comix that Charles told me I had to draw Leslie's show which I did and then blogged about and then John emailed me and then my life got all different and wonderful because I wandered into Bill Bragin's world.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chill Cello

Trevor Exter at Rockwood Music Hall last night.

His new website is up and includes six free downloads until January 28th. (The links aren't working at the moment, but I bet they'll be fixed right soon . . . ) (Update: Yep, they're fixed now.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

This Just In

Here's a big drawing I did of Balthrop, Alabama earlier this year, that week their album came out. I finally figured out how to scan it in sections and put it back together which is, for me, a discovery similar to the time when rocks were banged together and it got warm all of a sudden.

Also, in the News today, Yahoo! News and Reuters have a head line up right now that says, "Castro Hints He Will Not Cling To Power."

It's funny on so many levels.


Lucy Wainwright Roche showed up last night at Joe's to celebrate her 26th birthday and she brought the family and some friends.

Father Loudon, Aunt Sloan, Dave Hill, Martha Plimpton and David Rakoff were on hand for the festivities.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Monday, December 10, 2007

Maybe I'm Amazed

Jo says she's not really that familiar with Paul McCartney's music, but Jo is dead to me now.

This weekend, Loser's Lounge pulled in for a three-day celebration of McCartney-Hold-The-Lennon and I know you all wanna dismiss the oeuvre, but you're missing out on some mighty good stuff. A couple of years ago at Thanksgiving, Cousin Jimmy sent us all out to watch Paul McCartney from the 7th row. My face is still warm from the explosions during Live and Let Die and I'd wager that the experience is genetically encoded in Elizabeth Grace.

Friday night was the most fun I've had with the Macca songbook since then--and I sat through a sound-check and two shows, so I can state the case with authority.

I think David Driver put it best during his first-set introduction to My Love when he said that Paul McCartney writes songs with feelings that people actually have; and then in the second set, despite having a different intro, Driver sang the song in a way that left Tina and I just a little bit devastated thinking about absent friends and loss. At one point, the night before, Sara (who was watching the show alone) had texted me a message that simply said, "Linda was a lucky woman." Friday night, when I heard David Driver sing, I knew which song Sara was listening to when she wrote me.

(Photo by Bernie DeChant.)

Friday, December 07, 2007


Then we all wandered over to Atlantic Avenue in the cold to catch Rocketship Park and Balthrop, Alabama play at Magnetic Field. Sara was gonna come, but she wanted to listen to some McCartney cover songs in the city.

Chris and Bernie are right, that bartender over at Magnetic Field has a way of making bad things happen in a way that feels so right it can't be wrong. But, there's no complaining when everyone in the neighborhood gets together to sing along and socialize on a Thursday night at the end of a week that's been hard.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some Stars, They Burn Their Brightest . . .

I got a call two days ago that made me very sad.

It reminded me that I'm part of an extended family and that whatever happens to that family happens to me. My heart is aching at the moment and Kevin's description of "unbearable sadness" seems as accurate a summation as there can be.

When I first started drawing the dancers of American Ballet Theatre, I was at the end of a long period of loss and my drawings were a way of working through the sadness which was, at the time, elemental to me. I also wrote The Star Play then, a play strongly informed by my experiences traveling with the dancers and staff of ABT.

It's not a connection that's easy to see, but that part of my life made it into the fantasy that is The Star Play through discussions, relationships, and hours, days and months spent watching fantastic stories of magic and tragic love, delivered in dance and music.

One morning, Tina and I were sitting around the apartment on 82nd street, right after I had written the following section of the play in a sudden fit of progress. I remember reading it to her just after I had finished and feeling like whatever it was I was trying to say in the play had just about come as close to appearing as I was likely to get.

And it offered me some comfort.

I hadn't meant to write a poem, but the first section of the dialogue in this scene appeared as a dialogue in poetry, spoken by two characters standing before a tree . . .

(Arlen and Paco, two sprites--beings of magic and wonder who wander the edges of the here and now--are found, watching as the years go flying by before them like a movie; Paco sad beyond measure and Arlen optimistic, but gradually overwhelmed . . . )

Arlen: Paco, look how quickly the leaves grow again!

Paco: And look at how quickly they fall.

Arlen: Look how the rains kiss the trees and the flowers!

Paco: Look how it freezes and breaks the young branches.

Arlen: Look how much taller that tree grows. It's growing.

Paco: It's bending. It's falling. It crumbles. It dies.

Arlen: But there, in the wreckage, eight other trees grow!

Paco: And like that, they wither and none are recalled.

Arlen: Look how the snows are a thing of great beauty.

Paco: Ephemeral nothing. A nuisance. Mere slush.

Arlen: Summer days, they're like heaven. And the nights splendid cool.

Paco: Occasions for mishaps, mistakes made by fools.

Arlen: Oh Paco, the years are like bushels of flowers.

Paco: Once maybe, but now they're no more than decay.

Arlen: And Paco, the days are the sweet work of hours.

Paco: Time passing slowly, just endless delay.

Arlen: But surely you see that it's just a beginning, each moment, each gesture, each tear and each trial.

Paco: Beginnings? No, Arlen; Conclusion, adendum, postscript and post-mortem, post-laugh and post-smile.

(As the years continue to fly by before them, the two sit, cold and alone.)

Paco: There have been times when I sat and watched the process repeat a hundred hundred times.

Arlen: It's a good thing to do when sad--It numbs the pain into dull ache.

Paco: No, pain doesn't die with the falling of leaves, nor with the changing of seasons. Pain just waits for use to be made of it. It's a source, not an end.

Arlen: To do what?

Paco: I don't know. I'm not human.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Radio, Radio

What better way is there to spend a lazy Sunday than to sit around listening to the radio?

On Sunday we all woke up early, piled in to the rental van and drove over the snow-covered Brooklyn Bridge to the village of Greenwich on the magic island of Manhattan. Balthrop, Alabama was playing live to tape for the Kitten of the Keys and Blair as they gave a trial run for their new radio shows. No one seems to know for sure where this program is going to end up, but it sure was pleasant to sit around, sip some gin and listen to nice music and stories. People kept coming and going through the front door like we were sitting in the lobby of the Manhattan Theatre Source or something; but, that only makes sense because we were and that might have confused everyone who didn't know they were walking in live on the air.

Bernie was there too, shooting pics and making art like he will. I always say that nothing goes together better than photography, line-drawing and radio.

After the taping we headed back to Carroll Gardens and made a little pasta salad, ate some barbecue, watched Wilco on TV and then went back in to Manhattan to see Lauren's second solo debut at Piano's. Seems she likes debuting so much, she's gonna keep doing it until someone tells her what "debut" means.

(Photo by Bernie DeChant.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Train Rides

Jazz Passengers at Joe's Pub, last night.