Monday, October 03, 2005

UPDATE: 09.29.05—The Indie Has Arrived, kimchis, Woodfin phantom, "burlesque"


Picture perfect day. If only the comparatively more pleasant weather in America also equals a comparatively pleasant material/physical/financial life in our respective neck of the woods—then, the US of A is indeed heaven-on-earth. But not even this “ulimate life’s destination” which the world calls, “The Great White Dream,” is spared of the hassle. Just like a Philippine barrio or a Chinese countryside, America also reels in unmitigated turmoil and misery when Mother Nature vents its worse mood.

There is no superpower when Nature strikes, there is no Madman when Reality kicks in. A Buddhist word-of-wisdom says, you achieve enlightenment when everything that you see or around you now becomes fantasy. Because Fantasy is so easy, so accessible and convenient—when everything is like that, then Life and Living is easier to deal with. It means it’s a gift than a payment, it’s something to nurture than waste away.

Have you ever imagined sauntering under a nice late-afternoon drizzle or early-morning sun, by the lake, chillin’ over a Mozart fugue, scribbling a sweet little poem… no worries about bills at the homefront, no worries about credit and mortgages? I want to imagine that—that “Fantasy”—at this very moment. This weekend, I will be a Buddhist rock n roll poet in a Mars Hill woods – the three-day Bearly Edible-organized “Harvest Bash”/Traveling Bonfires benefit/musicfest/camp.

We are all set. I am camping out from Friday morning till Sunday. New Indie/Bonfires soul Heather Duncan and/or Marta The Nicer Osbourne (or both) join me there on Saturday afternoon. Marta will have to work more hours somewhere to help in raising money to cushion the (as-usual) piling bills. So if anyone of you, wonderful spirits, have time to join me in Mars Hill starting tomorrow afternoon, please let me know—I am tasked to handle the festival “box office.” I’m not good at being a bitch at the door/gate/entrance, or I am simply not good at staring people straight in the eyes, and blurt, “Hey, it’s $15, you gotta pay up to get in, no privileges.”

MEANTIME, thanks to Chris Malz (Sunshine’s drummer), and Woody Henkle (Phuncle Sam keyboardist/vocalist) for the tent and implements, rides, and stuff. Thanks also to Heather, for the ride to Iwanna to submit The Indie’s final proofs and two beers hang out at Westville Pub right after. Thanks to the ever-punctual student intern Courtney Allen for the errands assistance yesterday. As usual, Thanks to Matt Mulder and Justin Gostony for the latest set of Bonfires posters… Thanks to Frank Marrero for the great photographs that he took during the Sept 24 anti-war rally/gathering in Washington DC (view his other shots at The Bonfires tent this weekend in Mars Hill). Thanks to the nice girl at Malaprops, I think her name is Rachel, for diligently posting our flyers/posters in their board, I’m very glad she—along with the café/bookstores friends and supporters from owner Emoke B’Racz, Linda Knopp, Gary, Andrew, the wait/counter staff… thanks also to community activist/author Claire Hanrahan for the nice word about my work as I got out of Pack Library yesterday. I know my last column piece about my Mother made many hearts cry and spirits soar—to all of you, your words are part of my healing. There is only One Mother for all of us, make the best of their lives while they are here.

Thanks Mike Hopping for the consistently prompt and efficient Indie work. His last three stories for this little rag of ours have definitely elevated us and/or firmed up our community respectability/acceptance quotient. Remember the days when our printer Iwanna via production manager, Bill Taylor, used to pressure me to “clean up” my language, otherwise, we get chucked? Now, he actually voiced his pleasure about how excellent The Indie has turned out to be. I don’t however expect that Mountain Xpress will even mention us in their “Best of WNC” issue on Oct 6—but we got the kind of community validation and recognition that we need.

Yup, The Indie’s Oct issue is out (a week in advance), so check that out. Oh yeah, I am still crazy after all these years… there is no foremost responsibility in life for me but the duty to get a job done, on time, whether it’s a paying gig or not. Of course, you know what I mean—friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and workmates in Manila, New York, Asheville, and elsewhere could attest to that (“Let’s sleep in the gutters tonight, swallow our salivas for dinner—but we have to carry this mission out, right here right now”). But always there is a Blue Sky blessing that waits by the doorstep—in this case, kimchi and organic foodstuff, and herbal cures (for my virused stomach) from co-building tenant Rachelle Arrowood, and a phone message/snail-mail letter from a Charlotte dude…

Stephen Jordan, who used to work for Citizen Times, sent me a letter, saying how he enjoyed the last issue of The Indie… he actually left a message on our phone last week, saying the same nice words -- “May you be blessed in all your life’s endeavors. You’re doing a fine job as Editor and Publisher…” (I want to hold on to those words, I needed those…)

Oh yeah, we still get books and stuff—from teen-market paperbacks to Catholic books to Rimbaud/Kafka—laying in front of The Indie door and somewhere near it. Some “Phantom in Woodfin Opera” keeps on doing that… but that’s okay. Keep them coming.

ALLRIGHT NOW—The Bonfires Open Mic & Local Acts Showcase starts tonight, Thurs (29th), from 7 to 11pm, at Bearly Edible. I expect soul bro Kapila Ushana there, Rena Wright and friends, Aja Hamden and the Bobby McGees, Agent Mulder, Courtney and Brett, Jarrett Leone, and those who are “orphaned” by the demise of Beanstreets Thursday open mic.

Oh, just one more sidenote—I don’t know if this means anything at all. I am not a fan of so-called beauty contests but I’d like to express (my Filipino) joy upon knowing that a Filipina, Lara Quigaman, just won the Miss International Beauty Pageant in Tokyo… uhh, better than the Finnish and Dominican Rep entries, and a throng of others. Yes, I have a song called “Ode to the Beauty Queen” and I don’t agree that “beauty” is measured by a bathing suit catwalk and “The Best Man in the World for me” histrionics, but I still get the goosebumps when a fellow Kayumanggi gets recognized somewhere…Now, the Updates.

[ ] We have finalized both the lineups for the “Third World Asheville/Bonfires for Peace” benefit events at the Grey Eagle on Nov 18 and Dec 3. The negotiation with bellydancing group Baraka Mundi didn’t pan, not because of talent-fee stalemate or schedule issues, but because we eventually realized that it’d be incongruent or, it’s just kinda off, to justify paying another act while the others don’t get remunerated at all. In some instances, in the past, it worked (ie New York City and Manila Bonfires benefit gigs)—but not this time, in Asheville. (By the way, Woody H is jointly financing, with The Bonfires, the venue-rental fee for both nights. We are preselling tickets, as usual, so get in touch with Marta in regards that.)

The final lineups, Grey Eagle benefit for the “Bonfires for Peace” and Third World Asheville—(a) Nov 18—Phuncle Sam, Dashvara, Sunshine, Crooked Routes, Vanessa Boyd, and guests Deborah Crooks and Mica Lee Williams (from San Francisco); (b) Dec 3—Laura Blackley, Phuncle Sam, Vanessa Boyd, and guests Mississippi Cactus (from Milwaukee) and Patty Keough (from Boston). Poets are invited/enjoined to read in between acts/bands.

At least three local restaurants and cafes (incl West Asheville-based friends/supporters) vowed/committed to feed the performers and Bonfires staff on those two occasions. Woody Henkle donates $50 “ad/airtime PR” for those shows at WNCW-Radio.[ ] We are still working out ways to have Onca and Baraka Mundi in future Bonfires/Third World Asheville benefits, most probably in the after-Pritch Park Halloween party/gig on Oct 29. Also, we are negotiating with Atlanta’s Big City Burlesque—c/o lead dancer, Meredith Greer—for another fundraise possibility. To my readers in Manila (or those who might “misread”)—“burlesque” is not what we work-weary/lonesome-hearted machomen used to ogle at in Grand Inihaws in Manila during the Martial Law saga of my younger years, or those I used to scoot by in a club called “Delilah’s” in south Jersey whenever I get the blues and funk (check out Darryl Hannah, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Tilly in “Dancing at the Blue Iguana” or Paul Simon’s “The Boxer”). This is different, okay? This is different from striptease/lap dancing… this is more rock-ballet (have you seen Stephanie Morgan/Ann Dunn’s “Anna,” you get my drift). [By the way, I need to translate/transfer to DVD a couple of VHS/Hi-8 tapes – Bonfires shows and Big City Burlesque footages – anybody has any equipment or referrals?]

[ ] Vince Junior (mainman of Crooked Routes) contributed a song for the Traveling Bonfires Vol 2 CD compile. (My choice cut from his CD is “Going Home”). I expect to get more contributions from the participating acts in this weekend’s musicfest. [Others who have already donated songs/cuts are Kimberly Summer, Phuncle Sam, Dashvara, and Stephanie Rearick of Madison WI]. By the way, Filipino acts/bands—in Manila or the US—who have already performed in a Bonfires show, are also invited.

(a)Woody Henkle, Gavra Lynn, Pasckie Pascua [Oct 6, Malaprop’s Café, downtown Asheville]
(b)Mambola [Oct 17, The C Note, downtown Manhattan NYC]
(c)Deborah Crooks, Mica Lee Williams [Nov 17, Fred’s Speakeasy, downtown Asheville; Nov 19, Malaprops Café, downtown Asheville, with Pasckie Pascua]
(d)Mississippi Cactus [Dec 3, Fred’s Speakeasy, downtown Asheville]
I expect that before I send out the next Update, that Bonfires gigs/bookings are already sealed at Broadway’s and Town Pump Tavern (Black Mountain).

The Bonfires Open Mic & Local Acts Showcase happens at Bearly Edible (15 Eagle St., downtown Asheville) starting tonight, Sept 29, and every Thursday henceforth. Gifts will be given out courtesy of Bonfires friends and downtown Asheville/business supporters, ie Malaprops, B.e., Old Europe, Cold River Gallery etc. I am emceeing it but you are also invited to host/emcee (those who have somehow signified/insinuated/committed to emcee are Kapila Ushana, Jarrett Leone, and Matt Mulder.) I specifically need someone to emcee in the last two Thursdays of Oct—the time that I’ll be most likely in, Chapel Hill, DC, New York and Atlantic City… otherwise, Marta The Nicer Osbourne, will be forced to emcee the show.

[ ] I have some free Indie/media passes to Highland Repertory’s Oct production, “The Mystery of Irma Vep.” One fun, one serious invite – to party with Heather Maloy’s Terpsicorps Dance Theater and meet up with community peace advocates c/o Tim Pluta of Veterans for Peace. We still have some more invites somewhere. Those interested to check these out, let me know, “first-come, first-served.” And in the case there’s an arts/concert/reading/show or community gathering that you want to see or visit or attend to, just let me know. Of course, I’d be very happy if you also write about them, but that’s not a requisite.

[ ] Warm Winter Wander Writers Weekly Wednesday Workshop (all W’s!) officially starts Nov and ends maybe March 2006. I have redesigned/rearranged the office for this thing. It’s a freestyle/freewheeling but moderated workshop/discussion. I will announce details later. It’s going to be potluck but you can also buy food/drinks at the office. No smoking (you can outside), no alcoholics to minors. Movies are free, and you are welcome to crash for the night.

[ ] Anybody interested with wicca, witchcraft, paganism etc—and would want to review “The Goodly Spellbook (Olde Spells for Modern Problems” by Dixie Deerman (Lady Passion, High Priestess) and Steven Rasmussen (Diuvei, High Priest) of Coven Oldenwilde—I’ll lend you my copy. If you want to write about Lady Passion and Diuvei, we can arrange an interview.

[ ] MORE REMINDERS. Don’t forget (those in Manila), the kickoff of “Bonfires for Peace in Manila” on Oct 14 (Mayric’s). We are also supporting and endorsing the Trump Plaza/Atlantic City concert of US-touring Manila-based pop act, Apo Hiking Society, Filipina diva Joey Albert, and Gino Inocentes’s band Rubberband on Oct 21. Gino’s Goma Soul also produces/organizes another Pinoy rock showcase in downtown Manhattan’s Tribeca Rock Club on Oct 28. I’m sure blues/soul bro Renrick Pascual is helping out…

I am, at this moment, mapping out my third/4th week of Oct trip up-north – Chapel Hill, Richmond, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Atlantic City NJ – so those interested to join in one or more of the shows (café and clubs) that I am organizing, email me, please. Hook up/organizational linkages in Chapel Hill/Durham/Carrboro is Martin Smith of The Blotter, The Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency and/or Concei/Café Mawonaj in DC, various Filipino friends Marco Galsim, Jimmy Almario etc in Maryland and VA, Mike McHugh/New Century Productions in Manhattan, Renrick Pascual of Brown Culture in NYC/Jersey City, Ed Sunico/Rene Sese of Rensun Entertainment in New York and Atlantic City, Greer Kupka in NYU/Columbia etc etc.

ASIDE: Should I rant again? Here’s the story—Marty Smith and Johnny Pence arranged to send their Blotter copies to The Indie (distribution sideproject), via UPS about a month or so ago. The printing press mistakenly sent four boxes (instead of two) to us—then UPS simply dropped the four boxes in front of another Park Place/70 Woodfin Place room (not our frontdoor), without anyone acknowledging the delivery. It took us almost a week to track down the missing shipment (sitting in front of Suite 101, not 01). So we sent out the two boxes back to Marty’s Chapel Hill dude via Greyhound for $68! Okay, I am NOT really compulsive-impulsive nut, but I don’t really trust machines or all these electronic dispatches and stuff, to get things done. If I’m the smartass soul operating the machine, yes, maybe. Refer to “Midnight Express”—“You are like a machine. You will never know if you’re damaged or not, until the operator fixes you up.”

OKAY, ALLRIGHT. Before I close out, our three-event “Sweet Halloween Asheville: Bonfires for Vampires/Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” is on Oct 29. Don’t forget that. I’m about to prepare my stuff for tomorrow’s trip to Mars Hill, and the Bonfires Open Mic at B.e. Sarah Brightman sings beside me, as I’m about to finish a Matt Dillon/Steve Zahn movie, “Employee of the Month.”

I will be off the internet starting tonight—be back maybe Monday. If our phone doesn’t respond, it’s because it’s a machine—it doesn’t have a heart. So ciao! As ever—live good, love good, sleep good, and EAT good!--

Asheville NC


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