Monday, August 01, 2005

07.29.05: Third World Asheville, Rome Indie, Bell Chere Guilty Pleasures

THE RAIN always feels good, looks good. After almost two weeks of annoying heat, while we (with Marta The Nicer Osbourne and Queen Elizabeth IX) circled all over Asheville—dropping off advertising/marketing kits and Indie copies, pasting up gig posters—rain finally wafted like an Erik Satie and Enya pre-dawn gig up here in Candler. Hey, Bell Chere starts today (Fri, July 29). The Appalachians’ seductive 3-day mountain feast tempts like strawberry ice cream on jagermeister, it’s an almost unavoidable proposition although you damn pretty well know it’s gonna mess up your system (read, anti-corporate/consumerism spirit) later on.

Me, I may just stay in The Indie Crib, finalizing the Aug issue of The Indie—but it’s not because I’m boycotting Bell Chere, not that. (Good friends Stephanie Morgan/Stephanie’s Id and Jenny Greer/Jen&TheJuice are playing, and Kim Summer & Phuncle Sam are at Bearly Edible.) You see, I may just stride downtown and soak on my usual guilty pleasures (like people-watching, beautiful women on multicolored gypsy get-ups and fascinating dreadlocks). Queen Beth may buy me another set of earrings, in exchange for my cosmic/oriental culinary magic (she just bought me seven pairs in three days!) Also, I may position my skinny ass across Renaissance Hotel on Woodfin Street, beyond the $15 fence, and savor the Blues Traveler and Derek Trucks’ rock n blues—that is, if APD allows me to. I reckon many other impoverished Asheville souls like me are planning the same smart mischief. Come on… let’s do it—I’ll open my office building’s door for the bathroom use. It’s just a block away. You can also park there, just tell Bell Chere’s parking dude that you’re with The Indie/The Bonfires (otherwise, they’ll charge you).

Meantime, I have been working, writing, reading/responding to emails, reading, cooking, sleeping (more hours), watching cable TV, DVDs, listening to library CDs up here in Candler in the last few days. I feel a quiet sense of pleasure--when I cook, the traditional way, working my fingers on chopping boards, improvising on marinades (white wine, chili powders, garlic, onions, salt/sugar, curry etc), experimenting chicken-on green mango broth and desserts (tater hallea, heard of that one?), grilling catfish and salmon on butter and lemon drops, deep-frying asparagus, spinach, carrot sticks on flour/milk/chardonnay/black pepper (works well with beer). Chill out time.

The thing is, I still have a whole lot of plans in my mind—but it seems weird to be putting them down on paper (or online), it might confuse/flabbergast people. Even before we unwind a project or two, my head is already working on the next ten or so. If half of the ten didn’t work out, I rest them (I don’t usually treat them as “failures,” I don’t believe in failures)—meanwhile, I focus on the ensuing five. So if you read some negotiations/projects/programs/plans here and suddenly I don’t ramble about them, that means, it’s just temporarily “saved,” “rested,” or "frozen” (waiting to be thawed out again later). I pretty much treat Indie/Bonfires brainstorms/ideas in the same way that I treat my writings/work—after scribbling a few words and paragraphs, notes and chord progressions etc etc, when I feel that it’s not coming through, I put them in my closet/backburner, and then work on new ones or revisit/thaw out the ones that I previously set aside. So there!

(Needless to say, that’s how I deal with Marta The Nicer Osbourne. Whenever I ask her to work on things or follow up negotiations, I always remind her that even before she picks up the phone, think and believe that the deal is already sealed. If the deal doesn’t work out today, it’ll work out tomorrow… I am sure of that. She just did an interview with the young lovely owners of Terra Diva, Helen Miller and Alcora Gardner, plus assuring herself of an ad… By the way, thanks Chris Malz for the “birthday song” on the phone…)

Now, the Updates (I’m scribbling these notes from inside Natalie Merchant’s wine glass).

[ ]The August issue of The Indie re-welcomes longtime/past writer-contributors – Gaither Stewart (from Rome, Italy) and Maria Lapachet (from Long Island NY). Gaither contributes an interview with Natalia Ginzburg. (Next in line, interviews with Umberto Eco, Alberto Moravia, Czeslaw Milosz etc. The Indie will also serialize his novel about Asheville starting the Sept issue.) Meantime, Maria resurrects her Spanish-language column for The Indie, “Seccion Hispana”… I have also added two regular sections—“Ashevellian Soul” (random shots of downtown Asheville’s fascinating souls) and “How’re you doing?” (random brief Q&As with everyday people about everyday issues). These may come out though starting the Sept issue.

Meanwhile, wait up for Mike Hopping’s story on Asheville Police Chief Bill Hogan (Aug issue). The article is based on Mike’s and Marta’s separate (exclusive) interviews. In this piece, Hogan talks about the Taser controversy, handling of anti-war rallies, among others. Thanks to APD Lt Wade Wood for the help in brokering the interview (he also visited the last “Bonfires” event at the park, last July 16, as we loaded out).

[ ]Washington DC’s Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (or The Rhythm Insurgency) might, after all, be able to make it to the Aug 6 “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park (Event 3).” A “pick up” workshop on street poetry and hand-drumming is also being worked out, in the case they indeed get here. I am in close communication with The Insurgency’s Shahid Buttar and Laurie Blair… The lineup (with or w/out the DC visitors) are: Dashvara, Sunshine, Large Lewis, and Phuncle Sam. Since the current park-rental fee standard exists, and we are still raising enough dough to cover that up. We will be starting the show at 3 or 4pm, instead of noontime or 2pm.

Food for performers, volunteers/staff, and kids are donated by Asheville Take-Out, Boston Pizza, Bearly Edible, and Burgermeister (30 burgers—10 veges, 20 non-veges). Drinking water shall be provided by The Blue Sky God/dess (or those with a kind heart, please bring water-on-jugs to the park), soda and juice still-figuring-it-out.

Those who are interested to join the next park Bonfires: UNCA’s Alice Stegmann aka June Bugg, Asheville’s Jaimee Tomas Band, and a visiting singer-songwriter (from the Midwest) Patty Keough. (Another act from the West Coast, Mica Williams might join.) We are trying to hook up Sept 24 for Event 4. This might be a Third World Asheville-fronted event, which means, it might be an all-female/woman concert.

[ ]We are tabling at the (1st week of) September “Lexington Avenue Arts Festival.” The Indie might run a banner story on LAAF and its community vision-mission for the Sept issue. Arts2People’s Coleman Smith said he has a writer (I think the name is BJ Snow) doing the story (the article shall also discuss gentrification of Lex Av, among other sensitive downtown community concerns).

[ ]A Pinoy/Filipinos-in-America version of The Indie is slowly but surely shaping up. However, my prospective investors/financiers prefer to keep a low profile—so there! This is a sure way—or another way—for The Indie to expand advertising feasibilities and marketing network (ethnic market). (Aligned entrepreneurship brainstorms loom or should be more realizable—in the advent of a Pinoy Indie. I have been wrecking my head in the past few weeks trying mighty hard to draw a surefire—at least a 70-30 return of investment—marketing strategy to keep these madnesses above neck-deep misery. We have to find more ways and means, alternatives and fallbacks…) The co-partner of the concert-promoting tandem (based in NYC and Atlantic City) that I am referring to--also voiced interest in coproducing a Civic Center-level event in Asheville...

[ ]The Traveling Bonfires is supporting Katie Kasben’s “Hair Project” (playdates, Sept 19, 20). [Katie, just let me know when you’re ready for the Q&A. I am doing it myself. We have free beer from French Broad Brewery on the first week of Sept-- so, how’s the joint fundraise?]

[ ]Matthew Mulder’s various/selected poster designs for The Traveling Bonfires will be up for sale. The poster would be printed full-color, full-bleed on 100lb. gloss cover stock with UV coating. Those interested, link up with Matt -- His website is Once I some moolah, I’d print majority of the posters and collate them on a scrapbook or something—or post them online, so you can view them.

[ ]Marta Osborne, The Bonfires’ associate producer and project coordinator, invites like-minded/vision-paralleled women’s organizations (and individuals) to informal tete-a-tete, soiree, coffeeshop chats in regards possible projects under the newly-conceived Third World Asheville. Debbie Metcalf of NOW Asheville said she’s fine with giving Marta valuable advice, ideas, and stuff in regards the present and future of the program. I have done prelims communication with a number of women acts, artists, performers, activists—to wit, Deborah Crooks, Mica Williams, Patty Keough, Chris Falon – who might be willing to perform for this project. [Of course, most or almost 95% of The Indie/The Bonfires connects, associates, benefactors, agents, supporters in and beyond Asheville are women—that means, the Third World Asheville is long-time-coming.]

The pre-booked Bonfires shows at the Grey Eagle/Asheville is a twin project that primarily advocates/publicizes 3rdWAsheville. Dale Hoffman is coproducing the Dec 3 show (let me know, Dale, when we need to share details of this event)—which will feature a local act that is very popular among women’s groups in Asheville and WNC, plus a visiting blues-rock act. This could be our biggest club gig in Asheville, so far. Asheville-based Bonfires friends Vanessa Boyd, Kimberly Summer, Alice Stegmann also signified interest in being part of said women-fronted projects. [Remember Willow Branwyn? Marta just located her—I’ll convince her to join one or two gigs.]

Meanwhile, The Bonfires in Manila is also being handled, primarily by young women--Jaja Campos, Donna Pascua, Demi Pascua, with valuable advice from Cynthia Diaz and Olive Obina. Another longtime friend in Manila, club co-owner Helen Reyes also sounded a possible collaboration (so with still-yet-to-be-finalized dealings with Sazi Cosino of Mayric’s in downtown Manila) . I hope 2006 ushers parallel “Bonfires for Peace/3rdWAsheville” events in Belgium (Chris Vanherck), Dublin (Siobhan Clarke), and elsewhere. I dream but I am hopeful.

[ ]Current/upcoming gigs: Aug 11, Malaprops (Asheville)—Vanessa Boyd, Kimberly Summer, Matthew Mulder, Pasckie Pascua; Aug 20, a Bonfires benefit at Bearly Edible (Asheville) with Phuncle Sam; Aug 29, C-Note (New York City)—Half Light, Mambola, Pascal, Deborah Crooks; Sept 8, Malaprops—most likely June Bugg (Alice Stegmann) & Phuncle Sam. (I am also trying to hook up gigs for Deborah Crooks in DC and Baltimore, once she gets sure gigs in Manhattan on the last week of Aug to 1st week of Sept. She’s flying from the West Coast. Same goes with the touring Mica Williams and Chris Falon.)

[ ]I decided to move the kick off gig of “Loud&Peaceful” to a later date. Should have been started at “315” in Salisbury NC. I couldn’t get a connecting club gig in Winston-Salem or Raleigh. The dates that are being offered come far in between. Meanwhile, those who are interested to perform (esp. poets and singer-songwriters) for The Bonfires in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, let me know. Our hook ups are The Blotter Magazine/Martin Smith and SURGE, a UNC-Chapel Hill based environmental activist organization. Matt Mulder and Patty Keough voiced willingness. [Also, for August, we have ex-deal in re banner ads with The Blotter and Chris Falon’s website.]

So that’s it, for now. Congratulations to Jason and Camella for their wedding (should this week or next week) in New Jersey. Honeymoon in Washington DC (of all places, c’mon!) But sad hugs to those who just broke up—at least, three female friends of mine broke up—not with me, so that’s okay, I guess (I don’t even know if I have/had a recent girlfriend, whatsoever, so when they stopped seeing me, I guess they already broke up with me, am I right?) Oh well, I just watched Samantha Morton in an indie film, “Morvern Callar,” and Marta is seriously watching “Mystic River,” Beth enjoyed a silly movie on sci-fi channel, “Prince of Darkness.” I am having Bud Light on this weird-looking, elongated fancy-lager glass…Ciao!

Wherever you are, love the one you’re with but don’t forget those who are forever in your hearts, love isn’t enough to compensate the absence. Peace, and please—those who are going to Bell Chere, bring drinking water with you, don’t overdrink beer and soda. Love good, live good, eat good!

Candler NC
3:30am. A Friday.


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