Thanks so much to Silas Durocher of The Get Right Band for inviting me to be part of this Creativity Conversation series.
Category Archives: Writing
Home School online, May 7
Revolve is offering a series of online talks including this one on Thursday, May 7, 8 p.m. Stu Helm will interview Chef Melissa Gray of Rosabees Restaurant and Cakes by Gray; I will join photographer Sebastian Collett in conversation about his project, Ghost Man.
Registration by donation here.
The Great Reset podcast
I recently spoke with Tommy Calloway and Shawndra Russell for their podcast, “The Great Reset,” which explores reinvention in the time of COVID-19. We discussed Asheville’s art scene, my own work, being laid off from my longtime job as an arts writer and editor, and next steps.
VIDEO PREMIERE! “Night Time”
Inspired by the life and music of Margie Hendrix and the “Wake” installation by Mel Chin. This is my first video in which I produced and edited all the components, and I’m so thrilled to share it!
Video premiere on Friday!
Save the date:
Like many other creatives, I’m trying to spend my COVID-19 quarantine learning new skills, working on projects that feed my soul, and making badass art. I’m offering daily creativity prompts (Monday through Friday) on Instagram — please join me, tell your friends, share the 1-minute video series as you like.
The prompts are intended to foster some deep thought, new perspectives and (most importantly) fun. No prior artistic experience required. No judgement, no agenda, no wrong answers.
VIDEO PREMIERE: “Regeneration”
This video was created in collaboration with filmmaker A.D. Weighs. The spoken word piece was written during a previous spring when the world felt uncertain in a different way. But the idea of regeneration feels apropos to this moment, too.
Online workshop: Ekphrastic Poetry, May 5
Taught through the Flatiron Writers Room. This class meets online via Zoom videoconferencing on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 6-8:30 p.m.
Ekphrastic art is work made in response to another piece of artwork. It can be a story jump-started by a painting, a song inspired by a sculpture or — to paraphrase a cliche — a dance about architecture. In this workshop, we’ll focus on poetry as our medium and, while writers may use any poetic form to which they feel called, those new to poetry and/or ekphrastic work are encouraged to use freeform or prose poetry.
The workshop will include a discussion of ekphrastic art and examples of it from our own bodies of work (it’s likely we’ve all made ekphrastic art, even if unintentionally). We’ll also talk about ekphrastic art as a means of collaboration with a knowing or unknowing fellow artist. And we’ll work on outlining and/or writing poems in response to several artistic works of various mediums.
Workshop participants should have two pieces of art in mind, with an image handy.
1) One they’ve long been inspired by or to which they’ve felt called to respond.
2) One they’ve recently discovered.
These artworks can be in any medium, from literary or visual (painting, drawing, photography, etc.) to dramatic or cinematic, to performative or musical.
The workshop will include time for questions as well as tips and prompts for creating future ekphrastic poems, and resources, such as a number of museum collections and exhibitions that are online for free, virtual tours.
$40-$45. Register here.
VIDEO PREMIERE: “Last Days of the Holocene”
REVIEW: ‘Lexington Avington Bravington’ by Hello Hugo
The opening phrases to Lexington Avington Bravington, from Hello Hugo, are bracing and engaging. There’s a brief flurry of voices (remember parties? It seems so long ago), a steady gallup of percussion (the click and din of sticks on metal) and then a build of swirling guitar tones. The atmosphere is crisp, the vantage is wide, the layered sounds carry a promise that needn’t really be delivered. These days, promise is enough. All hope is precious; all beats are danceable.
Weird thing, Bandcamp sent me this note today: “Hello Hugo just released Lexington Avington Bravington.” The Asheville based experimental instrumental collective (Nick Prather, Rosser Douglas, Reid Weigner and Justin Holt) is now a decade into its tenure, but this six-song collection came out in 2013. At the time, it was the band’s second release. This is no new offering. And yet it’s a collection for now; the album we need to rock in unsteady times.
Lexington Avington Bravington by Hello Hugo
“Death By Current Event Overanalysis” was written most a decade prior to the arrival of COVID-19 on the shores of our collective consciousness. But the truth of the title — who among us isn’t suffering from anxious newsfeeds? — is eloquently relayed through feedback, static, tart pops of percussion, a flourish of cymbals that sends shockwaves through the system. Beats lag, synths hum, the sonic scape is one of devolving machinery and the uptick in nature’s vernal buzz, suddenly decipherable in the death of traffic noise.
“Sponges Never Have Bad Days,” too, tells a story in its artfully envisioned title. The band eschews lyrics, instead drawing texture and meaning from atonal meanderings and the points where instruments and grooves lock in, tight and determined. This track is neither spongey nor oceanic. It verges on industrial, pushing into spaces of caffeinated tempos and lithe, rhythmic guitar motifs. It pops and drives, organizes thoughts, barks marching orders, takes care of business.
Following track “Noise” is, perhaps ironically, more watery: A lapping pulse, a fluidly rolling melody, a dark shimmer conjuring a night swim.
Final track “Double Animal” — the album’s sixth song — brings the collection full circle with a brief vocal intro. The sample isn’t quite audible, and neither does it suggest a party vibe. This is solo listening material, a venture into the mind’s backrooms and unlit paths. But there’s joy in that exploration, from resonate high notes to the corralling of guitars and percussion, pressing ever forward.
It says keep on. It says be bold. It says accept the offered invitation. It says trust in dreams, in visions, in every inkling of inspiration.
Is Lexington Avington Bravington a gift from the past to a future/present that so needs a soundtrack in which to rest our weary nervous systems? Perhaps. Music is of the ephemeral, the ineffable, the nonlinear flow of time where we all find ourselves, however unwillingly, at this moment. So let’s listen to this as the “new release” Bandcamp claims it to be. Let’s accept that gift from the strangeness of reality. Let’s dance, in this moment, like sponges who never have bad days.