WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yes. Most Definitely!

I love reading Josh Marshall. This morning he asks, "Can Trump be this stupid?"  I'm pretty sure we all know the answer. Wonder how this meeting in Mexico will go. Maybe Mexico decides they really will pay for that wall?! Some days you are horrified, and some days greatly entertained. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Am I a Partisan Hack?!

I think of myself as Liberal, open-minded, but I've never voted for a Republican, ever, in my life. I've always voted. I figure I can't complain about anything if I don't vote, so I vote, I vote to feel I have a right to complain, a right to care.

So liberal, yes, open-minded, maybe not.

I come from a long line of dead people. I come from a long line of Democrats. My father, my father's father, my father's father's father were all Democrats. A long line of blue collar, working folks. Pretty much "have-nots," struggling to make ends meet.

My father once told me he did vote for Eisenhower in 1956. He was a soldier in Korea, and Eisenhower promised to end the war and bring the boys home. So that year, he voted, and told everyone back home to vote for Eisenhower, the decorated General, but that was an outlier.

I've voted for some pretty poor candidates in my life; Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis & Rod Blagojevich come to mind, but the alternative GOP candidate always, always seemed worse. 

I wonder this morning, "Am I a partisan hack?" Maybe. I do think that, for me, the GOP has always been the party of the wealthy white establishment. They have never been for "the little guy." They have always used race to divide us, although usually they talk in code, using words like "small government," "balanced budgets," and "welfare reform." They always promote a big military at the expense of social welfare programs. I am all in for well-funded social welfare programs. If I am to pay taxes, I'd like my tax money to be used for the social well-being of us all.

The GOP usually (always?) wants to promote policies that keep the wealthy, privileged, white establishment wealthy, privileged, white and in power. At least that's how it all looks from my little perch. Maybe it's a skewed vision, maybe not. 

But I suppose it's sort of "bred in the bone." A lived political consciousness. Partisan for sure.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Thank God We Out-Number Them!

We had a long, rambling conversation here yesterday (see previous post).  Maybe trying to understand the non-understandable: Trump Land and all those crazy, confused, incomprehensible Trumpsters. 

We concluded that they are at the core Bigots, Racists, White Nationalists. Otherwise no coherence, no guiding philosophy. A Politics of Hate and Resentment.

Or as David Plouffe puts it, "We have a psychopath running for President." And a racist. And there is a devoted core of folks who will gladly vote for the psychopath & racist. And maybe this Trump thing is just a good reminder that Politics in America has always, always been about race.

And what do you do with those folks? Can't talk or reason with them. And once you call someone a Racist the conversation is basically over.

Our conclusion: Ignore them, Work around them, Move them out of the way, Out-Vote Them.

We out-number them. Thank Heavens! Just write them off! We own the big metropolitan cities. We own the territory of multiculturalism, tolerance, liberalism. That is the America we  love and want to live in...

Those red Trump states are just a toxic cultural & political wasteland. Let's just leave them behind!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Bat-Shit Crazy Ones!

Making sense of the "Bat-Shit Crazy." Maybe this profile of Trump supporters helps? Lately, every morning, when I listen to National Public Radio, reporters seem to search out some seriously twisted folks, folks who have twisted themselves into pretzels, explaining why they are voting Trump.

My companion thinks that this is a real disservice, giving voice to the seriously twisted, and maybe by giving them a voice, a soapbox, they are actually empowering others like them. And maybe there  are more people out there like them than we know?

I suppose that's the fear of this election. That there is a "silent majority" that can't wait to vote for the bat-shit crazy guy: the bigot, the racist, the lazy, no-nothing billionaire that promises to magically fix everything for white folks.

I don't buy it. Just don't think there are enough of those seriously twisted folks. I take heart that there really is no coherence. That this fealty to the "Bat-Shit Crazy" has no staying power, no real philosophy, except maybe a disenchantment with progressive government, a deep in the bone resentment of the poor and people of color, and fear that someone else is getting a better deal.

So I listen to these voices and believe that our country is better than that. Maybe the Democrat, the Woman, isn't the perfect candidate, but she is a smart, competent politician - and that's good enough.  More than good enough. And she doesn't need to, and won't, win everyone over - our country is too deeply divided - but I do think she will prevail.

Still, it's instructive and interesting and amazing to watch and listen to American voters who are willing to totally abandon themselves to the Bat-Shit Crazy. Democracy. Right?!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Believe in Stuff!

I believe in...

Mary Worth.
Transubstantiation.
Coffee.
Aliens.
Life after death.
Yoga. 
The Multiplicity of Gods.
Regret.
Vegetarianism.
The Little People.
Contradiction.
Nature.
Laughter.
Guilt.
Meditation.
Magic.
The Dark Side.
Reincarnation.
Unbelieving.
Myths.
The Virgin Birth.
Spirit.
The Black Swan.
Everything is Holy.
Pain.
Yoko.
Forgiveness.
Beatles.
Sorrow.
Good Lies.
Yes.
Improv.
Music.
No. 
Death.
Transcendence. 
Theater.
Maybe.
Resurrection.
Ritual.
Every Little Thing.
Believing.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Believe in Everything!

What to believe in? Maybe the default mode should be to believe in everything? Everything we can imagine. Kind of like in Improv. The default mode is to say "Yes."

So if we believe in everything, every door, every window, every possibility is alive. Of course, this will make us sort of gullible, and susceptible and open to all kinds of crazy ideas, and maybe we need to take some crazy ideas with a "grain of salt."

We can sift through the crazy. Pick and choose what we like.

So we believe, but we keep our eyes open, keep our eyes peeled, and hone a healthy skepticism too. Which of course, if you think of it, is pretty damn contradictory. So yes, why not - live with the contradiction. That's okay.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Crappy, Useless Mojo!

I think it is sort of funny to watch the Right Wing tear itself apart. Trump has trumped them all. And of course he will sell them out at the drop of a hat. That is his modus operandi. Always has been. Leave someone else holding the bag. Stick his name on shit and call it branding.

So the biggest media idiot in the cable world, Sean Hannity, shamelessly shills for the man, and just looks like a hopeless, shit-grin eating, lick-spittle fool. And Ann Coulter, the anti-immigrant harpy is left dangling in the wind on a book tour, parked on that wall that Trump really, really won't build.

Couldn't be happier to see these creeps spinning in the muck. And the Trumpster just carries on, marching to a historic loss in November. Godzilla of the Right Wing, feeding on the White Nationalists, gobbling up anyone dumb enough to believe in his crappy, useless mojo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Degrees of Exhaustion!

Degrees of exhaustion. Tired. Extreme fatigue. Staying up late watching theatrical madness. One show after another show after another show.

If you performed the previous evening, and your own show went well, the state of exhaustion is mingled with a sense of euphoria.

If you performed the previous evening, and your own show didn't go well, the state of exhaustion is mingled with a sense of futility.

I have experienced both of these states. Let me propose the obvious: exhaustion mingled with euphoria is transformative. Much better for the head and soul. Take it from someone who has lived thru both states.

Luckily this weekend the exhaustion/euphoria combo was perfectly proportioned. Deep in the bone tiredness mixed with an all-pervasive sense of accomplishment. Whether it's all just a figment of my imagination or not doesn't seem all that relevant.

And then a day or two passes and the exhaustion is now just a dimly remembered cloud.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Void - It's All OK for Now!

The day after the day after. That's when you feel the void in the pit of your stomach. Let's say you've performed at an event many years in a row (see previous post), and now that fest is no more. It's gone. A memory. Just another thing that now only really exists in your head.

So you carry it with you, which is cool, but not really adequate for the moment, the now, the plans going forward. And you don't really have any plans, or even ideas of plans going forward at the moment. There's just that void. That "empty void." 

And you are not even really ready to fill that void yet. Maybe you will just let it sit in the pit of your stomach for awhile. Let it brew, tenderize, percolate. And maybe you will figure something out, something new or different, because a void cannot hold. It's not acceptable in the long-term. In the short-term? Yes, okay. Let it be. The void - "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, it is not dying, it is not dying..." 

Yeah. It's all ok for now. But then, there will be a "Then What?!" moment and you will want to act on that... yes. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Uncountable!

The Last Abbie Fest. It is done. Complete. Finished. Kaput. In the books. An amazing journey. A wild ride. 28 consecutive festivals. 28 editions x 72 hours of (pretty much) non-stop theatrical madness. How many acts? How many performers? Uncounted. Uncountable.

The power & the glory. The love. The compassion. The selflessness. 

A weird cult. A brother & sister hood. A crazy, creative community. A very odd, unique, strange brew. Everything on stage and off. Everything. Alive. Aware. Now. The constant now. Waves of humanity. Waves of creativity. Waves of experience.

There was total love flowing in the wee hours. Exhaustion. Exhilaration. Ecstasy. Sadness. We carry the dream, in our hearts, our heads... the last fest has come and gone, the dream, the myth carries on, will never die, instead the dream & the myth will grow larger, and more resonant, more powerful as it fades.



Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sloppy Roar of Human Experience!

Years past, I would write a day by day recap of the Abbie Fest, but this year's model is the last one and I feel sort of humbled by the whole "last" thing. I guess it's the finality of it all that is sinking in, and it makes me hesitant to try to sum up or contain my thoughts and feelings about the whole thing.

Safe to say, I will truly miss this festival. There is nothing quite like it. It is irreplaceable, irreducible, uncontainable.

What an exuberant, rollicking, unholy, over-stuffed, 3 day phenomenon. I feel so lucky to have played a small, very small part, in the whole thing. 

Energy. Life. The sloppy roar of human experience. Today is the last of the last. Then it will all be gone. Alive only in our heads, our hearts, our spirits. A fever dream. A hallucination. A prophecy. A promise.

It is a little microcosm of the macrocosm. Here and then gone. That's how it goes...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Play it Loud!

I get to the place. My "job" is to hang with a motley gang of characters. Chill for the afternoon. The place I am at has a classic stereo system: a phonograph, powerful amp, hefty, impressive looking speakers in the living room, and an array of speakers embedded in the ceiling in the kitchen. Let's just say the sound is massively superb.

And on the phonograph, already in place, waiting for a spin? John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album. Maybe, probably, for sure, my favorite all-time record. Dark? Yes! Inspiring? Yes! Brilliant? Absolutely. Lennon stripped bare.

Anyway, a coincidence? Maybe. I don't think so. But who decides?

I followed that great, elemental, essential advice: "Play it loud!" Life-affirming, powerful, transporting. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Losing Yourself in the Moment!

I used to think it as "Flow." I now think of it as "The Timeless Now of the Divine Spirit."  Losing yourself in the moment. Being so aware, so alive, so in the moment, that the self disappears, and the "what you are doing in the moment" is everything.

Time falls away. The rest of the world disappears.

I could sometimes get to that state by long-distance running, sometimes by deep meditation. I could often get there acting in a play or performance piece, and lately, rarely, (usually in rehearsal), I can get there playing music.

It's funny. Many years of performing, many years of losing myself in the flow. That is the kick. That is the secret. That is the glory. Better than accolades, better than awards, better than applause, better than money or fame.

Losing yourself in the moment...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

History in the Making!

I think, in the past year, I was a bit frantic about the 2016 Presidential Election. There was a brief period of uncertainty. And I do know that in some sense any time, any day, "anything can happen."

But I am not frantic now. I am pretty damn certain I do know how it's all gonna shake out in November. We are watching "history in the making." Which, if you think about it is a ridiculous phrase. In one sense isn't every moment, "history in the making?" As soon as the moment passes, it is history.

But in another sense, yes, we all know what that phrase means, something is happening, or is about to happen that is extraordinary, unique, something that might actually make the history books. Do people still print and read history books?

We actually have two pretty unique, extraordinary events about to happen. A woman President, AND, "the worst Presidential Candidate of all time!" Kind of interesting, kind of entertaining.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eventful Day!

Yesterday was an eventful day for my lovely companion and I...

1. Had a wonderful meal at P.S. Bangkok - fire spinach & long-life noodles.
2. Visited the Chicago Music Exchange, a vintage guitar mecca and bought some Martin Retro Acoustic Guitar Strings - "Tony's Choice!" (Who is Tony?)!
3. Ran thru the tech for our show at the Den Theatre - lights, action, sound!
4. Reversed the "Macbeth curse," (see previous post) - yes we went to the old theater building spun around, cursed, spit and knocked! It felt marvelous, I could feel & see that curse just lift off my shoulders!

Not a bad day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Curse of the Scottish Play!

Macbeth is my favorite of all of Shakespeare's plays. All that darkness, blood & revenge; I discovered it in high school and it was right up my alley, a little bit of  Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorsese all mixed up together. 

In retrospect, now that I think of it, I do believe that I am a victim of the "curse of the Scottish play." I actually did speak the name "Macbeth" backstage during the run of our show "Free Henry Goodbar, Telepath," in 2006. I just blundered into the curse. And I didn't remedy the curse, ("he or she is required to leave the theatre building, spin around three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be allowed back in"). Instead, I just laughed it off.

And then, all hell broke out in my life. I lost a dear member of my family (almost exactly one year after I blindly uttered the forbidden name), I lost friends, I lost a job, I lost money, status, self-respect. I spiraled down into a black hole. Yep. It's true.

I hit bottom. I had to re-make my life. Get back to basics. 10 years later, I'm still in the process of rebuilding my life. Funny. I didn't put all of this together until yesterday morning, when I heard on the radio that August 15, 1057 was the anniversary of Macbeth's murder. 

And this morning I have resolved to go back to that old theater building and "reverse the curse." Yes, it's about time, 10 years living under this curse, a long time.  I am well over-due for a full reckoning! I dare say, better late, than never!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Last Abbie Fest!

It actually sort of pains me to write these words, but write them I will... 

The Last Abbie Fest is this coming weekend. The 28th edition of this rollicking mess of a 3 day festival of plays.  Our group Black Forest has performed at something like 16 of these in a row, which is a significant chunk of time. We have lived, and grown, and changed, and aged, right along with the fest.

Let's say our work could be summed up by Sergio Leone - "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly." We have always tried to do our best, but really it's all just a journey, an effort, a "going to," "a searching for..." and that was/is the kick.

Highly, highly recommended.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Everything Falls, Everything Dies!

If things were "forever," everything would be static. It would be like living in some grand, unchanging prison. So, wishing for forever would be like wishing to live in an eternal prison.

Instead we live in a world of transitoriness, change, eternal change. Freedom. Everything falls, everything dies. We should celebrate!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Timeless Now of the Divine Spirit!"

I am reading a sort of dry, weighty, musicological tome. And in the reading, I come across a quote from what I imagine is another dry, weighty musicological tome, written by a guy named John Blacking, "How Musical is Man?"

And then I come across this phrase, "Timeless Now of the Divine Spirit." And I see my life flash before my eyes. I realize this is where all my energy has been directed for many, many years. And whether this state is mythological, or very real; hard to find, or easy to get to; I realize that all of my work in theater and music, all of my creative activity, has been steeped in the search for this special state.

And I know I have glimpsed it. Yes, indeed. In rehearsals, in the working thru, in performance. Not often, but once in a great while all elements conspire and that special state is revealed.  I have experienced a state where "old age, death, grief, thirst, hunger and the other afflictions of this world are seen as transitory events."

This state, this quest for the "Timeless Now of the Divine Spirit," is my guiding light and experiential philosophy. It's very gratifying and enlightening to find answers once in awhile!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Need for Solitude.

Solitude. It is essential. A way to find space. In the world. In yourself. We are always on the move. Sometimes it's essential to sit in one place. And let time roll over you. It will expand and deepen. It's a good thing. An oasis. A hideout. A soft place to land.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kicked "Ass-Mar?!"

It is possible I've kicked asthma? Or as Piggy from "The Lord of the Flies" called it, "Ass-mar." Maybe so. This is a malady that I have suffered with since I was a wee lad of about 13. Many decades of wheezing,  of extreme drowning in my own bodily humors. 

Over the last year or so. Nothing. No wheezing, no coughing, no allergic reactions. No "can't breathe" episodes. In the past, all manner of things could trigger an attack - dogs, cats, extreme heat or cold, stress, pretty much whatever.

And now? Nothing. No problem. No malady. I breathe easy all the time. I was gluten-free for awhile, maybe that helped? I'm not gluten-free now, and still no attacks. Also, and this may have nothing to do with anything, about a year or so ago I started adding lots of cayenne pepper to my food/diet. Maybe that helped? Who knows? I really have no clue. Very weird. 

I have always been a healthy eater, I've always been active, and pretty fit. Nothing changed on that front. It's a mystery. A happy mystery.  But one that I can live with it for sure! Asthma free!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Power of the "A" Hole...

Okay, I admit it, no deep political analysis here... the GOP Nominee for President is clearly, a USDA Choice, Grade A, First-Class Asshole i.e. arrogant, rude, obnoxious, or just a total dickhead.

Yes, no doubt. And even that crude description just doesn't seem to do the man justice.  This 2nd Amendment flap is just the latest example in a string of examples.

Of course, being a Total Asshole doesn't disqualify this man. In fact, many of his followers are following him because he is a loud, no-nothing Asshole. That's just why they intend to vote for him.

For these folks it's not a flaw, it's a feature!

I suppose this man is showing us that being a Total Asshole can actually work in your favor. Nothing ever shames the man. Nothing embarrasses the man. He is never, ever in the wrong. He clearly knows very little, and believes he knows everything.

It is laughable. Every morning you flip on the radio and expect to hear that finally the man has disintegrated, imploded, spontaneously combusted... but I guess, he's too much of a determined Asshole for that to happen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Real World

My long time companion turned to me and said: "We don't do the real world very well."  My response: "Tis true."

Monday, August 08, 2016

Someone Else's Thing!

I'm living in someone else's reality. It's a funny way to make a living. Sleeping in someone else's bed, drinking someone else's coffee, walking someone else's dog. All my usual routines are thrown up in the air and remade in a slightly different configuration.

It's sort of like vacationing in someone else's space. Sort of. I'm still me, doing all the typical "me" things, but the surroundings are all switched around. It's odd. A bit disorienting. And sort of agreeable too.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A Perfect Day!

I have to tell you about our great day, yesterday. If I don't, who will? whitewolfsonicprincess played at the Evanston Lakeshore Arts Fest, and it was one of our best outings for sure. Our leader singer, who is a very tough grader, no curve, gave us a B+. Perfect weather, lots of fans, and ducks. Happy ducks. We also watched & listened to Swing Gitan, incomparable Gyspy Jazz! We sat in the shade and ate vegetarian tamales and they truly hit the spot. And then, thanks to our a very good friend we got to sit at the feet of the great and inspiring Jon Langford performing at the The Wine Goddess. I must say, Jon is my musical hero. I don't know what it is, he just has "it" - the charisma, the passion, the guts, the glory. Totally knocked us out! Yesterday was quite the day, no doubt!


Saturday, August 06, 2016

How Resilient We Can Be!

I think we will see how resilient our democracy in good ole USA can be. And even though it is somewhat horrifying to see how many common folks really can imagine the Short Fingered Vulgarian, fingering the nuclear button, the vast majority of us, are quite horrified by the thought, and well, I do think common sense and reason will win the day. And it's probably nothing to be complacent about, but it is sort of gratifying to see that a very stupid, horrible person can really unite, if not us all, at least very, very many of us!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Who Do You Let in the Room?

Who do you let in the room? I mean this "literally" and "metaphorically." This is of critical importance if you are working on a creative project. Who gets in the room?

We have been experimenting lately with some new players, musicians, for a project. Each individual brings their own world with them into the room. 

And it's all about trust, respect, the ability to listen, the ability to let go, and give it all, to the group. The collective group creates a unique energy. Can those walking into the room leave their egos, their day to day world behind them?

It's not just about musicianship. 

We are always looking for a purity of purpose and intent. The creative circle, I believe, is a sacred place. And one false move, one poor choice, can destroy a very delicate construction.

You know when it's right, and you know when it's wrong. It's always so obvious, although, sometimes it takes time to really understand where you went right, or where you went wrong.

And you have to be open, and giving, and understand a greater vision, bigger than the immediate thing. That's really what we are creating. An amazing entity, built from a collective energy, that transcends any one individual.

When the group is strong, when everyone can trust, respect, listen, when everyone is fully there, the true creative "magic" happens. And there really is nothing like that high.

And when it's right, the circle expands, and the group grows stronger, and can extend into new areas, new ways of being. And when it's wrong, you can't hesitate, you need to identify the problem, and extricate it - or else the circle will disintegrate. Extricating can be painful, but the creative space demands it.

Who do you let in the room? That's the all important question...

Thursday, August 04, 2016

When Will the Horrible Idiot Slink into the Darkness?

I now realize that between now and election day in November, I will wake up, I will turn on the radio, log into the internet, and ask: "What has the GOP Presidential Nominee, that Horrible Idiot, said today?"

It is not the way I'd like to live my life. But there it is. And every time I ask that question, I will wonder if finally my fellow citizens have heard enough. 

And I will hope for, and count the days, before the Horrible Idiot slinks away into the darkness, never to sully our national consciousness ever again! 

Isn't Democracy wonderful?!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

A Life of Coincidence...

You get your insights wherever  you can find them. It could be a great book, a good friend, or while you are binge-watching "Better Call Saul." 

Not sure which character said it, but these words have been kicking around in my head for days and days...

"Maybe all life is just coincidence?" 

Yes, indeed: "a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected..."

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

A Bad Actor, Acting Badly!

"Bad Actor." You know, not a clueless thespian, but an actual "unruly, turbulent, contentious individual."

A shit-stirrer. Sometimes you want to stir the shit, or maybe sometimes it's good for the shit to be stirred. But sometimes not.

Just like anything, it all depends on the time, the place, the circumstances. A bad actor can be a useful, necessary phenomenon, or a very negative, corrosive entity.

Right now we are being inundated with the thoughts and actions of a very, very bad actor. It's a sensitive time for our Democracy. And maybe it's all a lot more fragile than we think.

How bad can things get? I suppose we will find out...

Monday, August 01, 2016

"A Smart Terrible Person" vs. "A Dumb Terrible Person!"

Maybe a terrible man and his candidacy for President can be a national horror-show, and a necessary purgative. Think of the Short Fingered Vulgarian as a "moral enema." Gross. Right?!

Maybe we need a candidate for President to show us the dark underside of America? Maybe we need to see upfront and center all the ugliness, the ignorance, the bold racism, the sexism, the xenophobia?

Maybe we need this guy to help us expel the bad, gross stuff.

No matter how bad you think things could be, this person is much worse, this person embodies all the worst qualities you could imagine, and multiplies them and pumps them up to "11."

And he is shameless, and clueless. And he is so shameless & clueless he actually believes these are admirable qualities, necessary to being a "winner!"

So then, in response, we get lots of soul-searching, and redefining, and scrambling to come up with reasons, and diagnostic explanations for how this man, and his followers, could be so totally clueless and morally suspect. Lots of good writing coming from all corners.

You get think pieces like this one from Josh Marshall.  Drawing the subtle, nuanced, distinction between a "smart terrible person," vs. a "dumb terrible person."

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