Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THE ONLY BROWN KID IN THE TRAILER PARK

Saw this Sunday night with my teenager cause he knows my friend Dion Flynn, the man who wrote and performs this one man show about his life. And what a life. You might know Dion from his appearances on Jimmy Fallon playing President Obama (and various other characters), but my son knows him from when we first moved back to Jersey over a decade ago when Dion sometimes took part in a monthly variety show in a coffee house here. Mostly he sang, and very well. But he also was a very funny guy, and turned out he did comedy improv.

We saw him do this show at The People's Improv where he's done other shows and performances. But THE ONLY BROWN KID IN THE TRAILER PARK is a much bigger deal than anything I've seen him do before. Because it's so personal and unique. I mean, he was the only brown kid in the trailer park he grew up in in Maryland. His mother and the man he called father were both white, which created some interesting challenges and trauma and drama.

But there's a whole lot more to his story than what the title of this show makes clear, and it's all entertaining as well as engaging, raw at times, polished at others, brutally honest and subtly, and not so subtly, insightful and humorous, but ultimately triumphant. Like most great stories it's a tale of redemption (if not exactly revenge, though there's a bit of that too) and would be worth your while to go and see if it turns up anywhere near where you live.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE TOWN

The Cafe La Mama event I was part of tonight—reading a few old poems and a few new ones in a mix of other's readings that I unfortunately had to slip out of early to make it back to Jersey—was an opportunity to see some old friends and meet some new ones.

Since I didn't get a chance to catch everyone I won't comment except to say I did become an instant fan of Emily Skillings's poetry and look forward to hearing and reading more. Sorry to those I missed, but as I explained to the audience, back in the 1970s I did a reading with William Burroughs and a few others and Burroughs read before me and then exited, hurting my feelings which in those days I wouldn't even have been able to articulate except as anger and rejection of the old coot for missing my great work. But now I realize—as I have become an old coot myself—he was just an old dude who needed to either be elsewhere, even if it was just back in bed, or just didn't have the stamina, etc.

Anyway, it certainly is a pleasure to get to experience talented people whose work is new to me, and man there is just so many creatively gifted folks in the world, any world. Keep it coming.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

IF YOU'RE AROUND NYC TOMORROW EVENING

Poet and friend Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is hosting a celebration of the latest issue of his LIVE MAG!—what he's calling a Monster Word Mash—tomorrow evening from 8 to 10PM at La Mama (74A East 4th Street) with musicians and poets performing, including me reading some of my poems (though I'm not in this issue of the mag). If you can make it, I'll see you there.

JACK BRUCE R.I.P.

Jack Bruce is best known as the bass player and vocalist for CREAM, one of the greatest bands in any genre ever, in terms of musicianship and virtuosity (Ginger Baker on drums and Eric Clapton on guitar) despite the fact they were only together for a couple of years.

Here's an obit with the vitals. But what that obit misses is how many other great music projects Bruce was involved with. I'll mention only one, which was one of my favorite records (there was actually more than one disc) from one of my favorite jazz innovators, Carla Bley, called ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL.

That lengthy recording (done if I remember correctly over a few years time) was at the time (early '70s) one of the most original, difficult, crazy, impactful and radical records ever. It, like him, was one of a kind, which is kind of a cliche, especially since in truth each of us is ultimately one-of-a-kind, but where many of us share a lot of similarities with others, Bruce, like Ginger Baker for that matter, was sui generis if anyone was.