Monday, November 28, 2005

UPDATE (11.28.05)—Quiet Thanksgiving, URTV Bonfires, Courtyard Weekend

CLARENCE “Gatemouth” Brown’s “Strollin’ With Bones” after watching “Rosemary’s Baby” (Mia Farrow under Roman Polanski’s direction) isn’t really a cool mix, right? But that’s okay. I always enjoy a mismatch.

I hope y’all had a cool Thanksgiving Weekend. It’s raining outside—nice moment to cuddle up with your significant-other/s but, oh well, you gotta go back to workin’, I know. I started working at around 4am—but I could easily crash on my big red couch whenever I feel like it—so I am, I guess, more blessed than the average proletariat at this point in time.
More projects, more madnesses.

Years ago, when I was about 25 years old, I was crazier. Three or four “day jobs,” intense/consistent flow of creative work (poems, fiction etc), and I still had time to join street theaters and organize shows, travel to countrysides and, yes, help mount activist/protest rallies. Those were the days. But then, I realize—after two near-fatal “tours-of-duty” (Manila, New York) inside ER within ten years time—I have lost considerable amount of physical energy… but the thing is, my spirit hasn’t really stopped or mellowed down. I am still giving birth to “rock journeys and sublime madnesses” and waking up at around 3am with a beautiful brainstorm or two in my head.

Come to think of it—how come certified junkies like Jack Kerouac and Mikey Pinero, alcoholics like Edgar Allan Poe and Ernest Hemingway were able to produce huge bodies of admirable work in their lifetime – why cant we? I don’t think I’m drug-dependent (I don’t even take in Tylenols), a stoner/smoker, alcoholic (well, a few sake and PBRs) but why is it—I couldn’t even finish my first novel and regain creative push to paint and write music again? How many frames did Vince Van G finish before he cut his ears off and sold one? Did he ever sell one painting in his lifetime? How many drafts of “Rocky” did ex-porno actor Sly Stallone write before it broke him through? [Nah, I don’t think I’d qualify to moonlight as a triple-x stud on these my starvation days to pay Leslie&Associates The Indie’s back-rents…]

These people simply went to work on their art and craft like it’s all that matters. I wish I could focus and be consistent like them… Last week, a friend of mine, a college contemporary, who’s still living in midtown Manhattan, emailed me with a cool news, “My second book might be chosen as Barnes&Noble’s ten best new novels this year,” I feel kinda insecure and jealous.

What’s keeping me? I don’t have kids in America that need quality time and care, I don’t have a relationship that demands consistent emotional and physical attention, I don’t have an 8hr day job 6 days a week like most… So I am a slacker, basically. Last time I left Manila, I was publishing/editing (almost) seven magazines and journals—so when Kate O’Haley admonishes me, “You are publishing a new magazine next month? Do you ever sleep?” I feel really weird. What, sleep? I oversleep every day, I begin to hate a dream, it’s so distracting.

OK, here goes the Update… (I have already shared some of the Updates in my other posting, though)

[ ] I am attending/joining URTV’s producers/production workshop on Dec 3, 10, and 17. This leads to, not sure, maybe a monthly cable TV show under The Bonfires vision/madness. I know I’ve already accumulated reels of Bonfires footages and stills in the past few years… although I still need more, I think I have enough rolls to start editing and piecing things together. I just asked Kurt Mann (URTV) and Alison Watson (Media Arts Project) for technical help, in re the Grey Eagle show this Saturday, Dec 3.
I don’t know. I’m thinking of something different (apart from Bonfires stuff)—like maybe, I’d interview a Pritchard Park homeless homey, or Peter The Sax Dude, or Dave My Favorite Greyhound Dispatcher, or maybe I’ll have Shitzu bassist Mark Anderson talk and mumble and ramble while he’s romancing bourbons before a College St Pub gig. Spontaneous stuff, cool stuff. If you have any ideas, let me know.

[ ] The Bonfires last nonpaying booking initiative this year is with Miami-based Shenandoah Community Players who are visiting Asheville from Dec 15 to 18. Next year, we will be working on tour-level booking entrepreneurship, sort of… I mean, we will be asking certain fees/honorarium for the effort/s. Of course, there will always be case-to-case basis but it’ll generally be one of The Bonfires’ income fallbacks, starting Jan 06. For more details, email me offlist—because I’ve already started working on couple of booking leads up north.

[ ] The “Courtyard Bonfires” events officially start on Thurs, Dec 1, with the Thursdays open mics. Jarrett Leone is emceeing this, but relievers are also welcome. Please check things out with Jarrett. We are allowed to fundraise via food and drinks (not alcohol) sales—so you are also welcome to sell foodstuff for profit. Although gallery owner Carlos Steward provides PA/sound, we’d like to give additional attention to this technical exigency in Bonfires shows. I am meeting with John (don’t know his last name) a few hours from now to discuss/talk about Bonfires sound management. He used to provide the sound/PA at Indigenous Teahouse’s Monday open mics… I also welcome ideas/suggestions what/which films to show in the weekly filmshows, same venue. I will be meeting with Carlos this week to make a monthly listing.

[ ] Meantime, the Wander Readings start January. Unexpectedly, I get good, vibrant response in re the coming of the Wander literary monthly. In fact, I already accumulated enough materials to fill up two consecutive issues—that’s including early submissions from Mike Hopping and Gaither Stewart, plus those coming from Philadelphia (poetry/journals, Rebekka Konieczka), Manila (illustrated novella/fiction, Duane Lucas Pascua), Minnesota (poetry, oh yes from Holly Day), and Dublin (fiction, Siobhan Clarke). Gaither offers to help me screen/select materials, or read through submissions, although he still is still isn’t sold with the name, Wander.

So why is it Wander? Coincidentally, the m ain character/storyteller in Mike Hopping’s book, “Crystal Ball” is Whitman Wander—but my choice of the name doesn’t have anything to do with that, although Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” sort of inspires my life’s “wanderings.” I think the name is self-explanatory. It could be Stone, Frog, Latte, Tomato… it could be my own name, but then, I’d be accused of megalomania and old those self-focused “manias” if I do that (as if I haven’t been accused). Although I like how Stephanie Morgan named her band, Stephanie’s Id or Jason Savage called his band The Savage Project, or how Nina Utne named her magazine, Utne. Nah, I’m not gonna call my new magazine, Pasckie. Let it be Wander.

[Those who also submitted work are Karen Nilsen, Al Fazio, Callie Day (not related to Holly), and Rena Wright just emailed that she’s submitting one.]

[ ] MORE INDIE. Aside from what I already mentioned in the Journals… finally, Kapila Ushana starts his “Bread&Brew” column this Jan, with an article on Mellow Mushroom hops, malts, ales, beers. The bread, I don’t where is it—maybe, we’ll try Well Bread Bakeshop in Weaverville. Vanessa Boyd also contributes an article (Grey Eagle) for the Dec issue. And I just received three emails asking about Lady Passion’s column in The Indie—all positive, they actually are excited about it.

[ ] Debbie Metcalf and Teresa Christenbury of NOW-Asheville offer to help do Indie/Bonfires errands. Olive Obina, ex-assistant in Manila ten years ago, comes on board for Bonfires Manila. Mariko Shimada, a friend based in Japan, mentioned that she’ll be willing to organize a Bonfires in Tokyo.

[ ] On a sad note, Café Mawonaj—a like-minded soul bro venue in Washington DC, owned and managed by the very amiable Concei Civela da Silva – burned down, under “mysterious” circumstances last Nov 20. (We did shows at Café Mawonaj last spring.) In case, you’d like to get in touch with Concei – his email addy is and phone number, 202.460.5929.

OK, that’s it for now. Don’t forget, this Thursday—we got two shows, Malaprops (6:30pm to 8:30pm) and Courtyard Café open mic (8pm to 11pm). But, of course, I’ll bug you again before that day happens.

Buenas tardes!



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