Sunday, November 06, 2005

UPDATE (11.6.05)—Good Times Bad Times, Open Mic Take 2, Wander Monthly

SUNDAY QUIET, SAD SUNDAY. How are you doing? “I read the news today, oh boy! –J Lennon’s `A Day in The Life’.”
A deadly tornado ripped through Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky—and their immediate vicinity—22 perished, 200 more are injured. [An ex-girlfriend’s (Grace White) family lives in Peru town, and I think Bonfires friend/guest performer Kimberly Summer Pollock’s family lives around the periphery of Evansville. I pray that they’re all safe and that casualty count stops at 22]
A continent away, urban violence rages for the 10th night in France. Former constant companion and Indie contributor Anne Chenault lives in Lyon. I am awaiting communication from a number of friends in Lille, Cannes, and Marseille—according to media reports, violence has spread there. There was a time before I “crashlanded” in Asheville four or five years ago (from New York City) that I actually considered moving to France.
Anyway, Rome-based Indie writer Gaither Stewart is currently in Paris. I am sure he’s going to write a different, enlightening angle of the “racial” unrest. Most recent internet feeds report, “From an outburst of anger in suburban Paris housing projects, the violence has fanned out into a nationwide show of disdain for French authority from youths and minorities, most French-born children of Arab and black Africans angered by years of unequal opportunities.” A first-hand or on-spot/site report/observation is always preferred. We hope to have that report/insight from Gaither for The Indie’s Dec issue.
Meantime, a week or days ago—while I was still shaking the funk ushered by the “tune in, turn on, drop out” fiasco in Mars Hill—more than 300 mostly college students were arrested in Madison WI following a musicfest that went boozefest. This is what Don McLean foresaw 30 years ago, as “The day the music died.”

It’s almost 9pm, temp outside The Indie Crib is 61F but it’s disturbingly chilly in here. Hangovers of more bad news? I’m here still trying to make sense of a miscue/mismanagement hassle that ensued after a Bonfires show in Manila last Oct 14. The past weeks or month were just weird and crazy. A young woman who handled the Bonfires/Third World Asheville concert fund last Oct 14, simply “disappeared,” and left a trail of unanswered questions and unliquidated/undocumented financial disbursements/advances. On that same week, the spirit of the bonfire was caught in synthetic/claustrophobic haze in Mars Hill – almost like what transpired in Madison (only, we had no arrests, whatsoever). The immediate aftermath—I cut an entire band out of the Bonfires roster, including their spot as main feature in a number of shows in Asheville. I got annoying heat from that one, but what else is new, right?
Two nights ago, I had to move, in haste (as in, within two hours), two previously arranged/booked Bonfires shows (Nov 17, Dec 2) at Fred’s Speakeasy to French Broad Coop’s Movement & Learning Center—because I felt I was being pressured to assure the club manager The Bonfires’ singer-songwriters (all females) should either gather a decent crowd (hence, profit) and/or come up with an awesome show. Incidentally, the manager is also a female singer-songwriter (who’s also apparently wanting a piece of this whole blaring/demanding/ruthless “rock avenue” spotlight). Tsk.

More bad-vibed Aquarian Moon/good-vibed Blue Sky conjectures and regroupings? A month ago, I dropped out of a weekly open mic deal at Bearly Edible due to complications that emanated from the Mars Hill fiasco. Last night, on cue from new Bonfires spirit, Heather Duncan, I cut a deal with Courtyard Gallery, a new downtown art gallery, performance space, and ad agency for a weekly Bonfires open mic, regular filmshows/discussions/readings, occasional Bonfires fundraisers. No rent, no bar fine in exchange for a page of The Indie each month. [There is no “bar” because we will be running the bar. After the fateful Mars Hill hassle, I’d like to handle that bar this time.]
Few weeks ago, a West Asheville advertiser pulled out of a signed contract due to reasons that is more wavelengths-not-connecting-rightly than anything else. Few days after, three downtown restaurants (Vincenzo’s, Noi’s, Mayfel’s) signed up one-year placements, plus donations, c/o Marta The Nicer Osbourne’s persuasive aggressiveness.
Remember, Mayfel’s was the restaurant, fronting Pritchard Park, that complained of the “noise” from one of our Bonfires for Peace concerts last year. I guess, “peace pipes” worked this time. Remember the restaurant owner who almost pulled out the plug, literally, of the band Avisit’s (from Raleigh) PA/amps because their super high-decibel “metal rock” simply blew downtown’s ears away that afternoon? That day also almost cost us $500 in APD fine and cancellation of our park permit? On the sides, Chris Malz (of Hippie Shitzu and Stephanie Morgan of Stephanie’s Id irked each other, and I almost got thrown out to a police car after I said “unfriendly words” on the mic—as a result of contrasting views emanating from that fateful “Bonfires” day. But that was a year ago, we all learn, shook hands and hugged each other again, and we move on. Mayfel’s owner (name, Loretta) expressed pleasure with The Indie and our past Bonfires at the park shows this year, APD has been pretty good with us (from downtown details Liz Bowen to Wade Wood to Chief Hogan), Chris watches Stephanie perform in awe and admiration, but then, I am still brandishing my filthy little motor mouth but not anymore on the mic. Aha! (Jarrett, Kapila, Agent Mulder have nicer auras, I guess, so let `em rock the microphone. Don’t shoot me, I’m only the Bonfires madman. Don’t think twice, I’m allright.)
More downsides? Marta lost her day job. Did I already say that? At this juncture, I’m still waiting for The Blue Sky God/dess to usher her new 30-hr/week work at least, in the next few days. Meantime, she has a 10hr/week office job few floors atop The Indie Crib. (Funny aside. Her prospective boss, Philip Benesi, dropped by The Crib one night and acc. to Marta, told his wife, “They have a really cool office down there, you gotta see it. Inside, it’s like a cave, colorful yarns hanging all over the pipes, and this Indian guy just kept typing away in one corner, in the dark!”]

Now, the details of the Updates. [Wait – listen to Neil Young’s “Looking Forward” and CSN’s “Stand and Be Counted,” and try some guilty pleasures like The Carpenters’ “Only Yesterday” and “Close To You.” Yo, peace activists – Fairfax VA-based friend Ken Meyercord (remember “Songs of Significance”?) sent me a DVD copy of choice footages from the last peace rally in Washington DC. Yes, Jessica Lange is on it. I’m not loaning it out, for now, but I might show it in one of the Wander readings/filmshow at the Courtyard Gallery this late Nov or Dec.]

[ ] The Indie Crib’s door is still open to anyone who might wanna chill a bit and watch movies like “The Exorcist, The Prequel,” “Fidel Castro,” “Luther,” or “White Chicks” over Sho Chiku Bai sake and organic chips from Greenlife – but we are moving Wander Weekends or Whatever Winter Weekdays gatherings at the Courtyard Gallery starting, most likely, Nov 24. Courtyard is located at the basement of that building at Walnut St. where Gypsy Moon is. The gallery’s “official” area extends toward the courtyards of Café Bouche (ex-Café Soleil) on Carolina Lane and the avowed/loved courtyard of the demised Vincent’s Ear on Lexington Av side. So apart from the indoor confines of the gallery/agency, we can also use both courtyards for our Bonfires shows and whatever.

So what are we doing there? We will be “resurrecting” the Beanstreets Thursday open mic spirit, we will have Friday or Saturday Wander Readings (in re Wander Monthly lit journal), and multicultural (as well as “silly”) filmshows. What’s the deal with “silly” filmshows? Think “Barbarella,” Ed Wood b&w trashbags, Beavis&Butthead, Madonna movies like “Swept Away,” grainy Silver Factory (Warhol, Malanga, Velvet Underground etc) shorts etc. But, of course, we’ll have heavy stuff like awesome docus from Indie/Bonfires connects across the coasts and beyond the Atlantic and Pacific—that’s a given, isn’t it? But that doesn’t mean we wont have fun on the sides. But, nah, no “In The Realm of The Senses” (Nagisa Oshima) or Linda Lovelace/Tracy Lords/Marilyn Chambers classics… not quite. Go to The Crib, I’ll show those stuff out.
But seriously, I will be showing – on donation-basis at the door – the Sundance-winning documentary, “Imelda,” one of these weeks or months. A friend during my street-theater/Brechtian/Boal madness in Manila, Ramona “Monina” Diaz, is the director/producer. The film’s distribution rights, however, is already acquired (but, of course!) by a major Hollywood outfit. We cant show it on commercial theaters, that’s what I mean, unless I go through the tedious, nerve-wracking, expensive process of acquiring a public exhibition license. The film isn’t just about Imelda Marcos’ 2,000 shoes, I assure you—she’s a piece of work, man. Imeldific!

[Meantime, I am meeting with Jarrett Leone (last Bean emcee) this Tues (8th), 9:30pm, at The Crib to discuss the Courtyard open mic and French BC gatherings, among others.] By the way, the dude (Carlos) who owns Courtyard is into filmshows—he’s got projectors and PA, the works, and even extra rooms for artists-on-residence. He has his own madness up for spring – the Twin Rivers Media Festival – Check that one out. He also has some glossy/color publications, website work, poster/graphics needs – that he’s farming out. So those who are currently hit by Aquarian Moon Joblessness, call the office, then we’ll hook you up.

[ ] Cancellations, anyone? San Francisco’s Mica Lee Williams wont be able to make it to Asheville. Hippie Shitzu takes over her slot at the Grey Eagle on Nov 18. The other Nov Bonfires visitors, Deborah Crooks of Frisco and SJ Tucker of Florida, will be joined by Ash Devine, and other Bonfires friends at French Broad Coop’s The Movement & Learning Center on Nov 17. On Dec 2 (same venue), we welcome Patty Keough (from Boston). Pending my meeting with Jarrett and other local connects this Tuesday, we are also inviting Asheville open mic-kers (Joshua Watson, Michael Farr, John Haney etc) and local dirge wizards to both FBC “intimate” events. Tips go to the visitors, food and wine/beers are donated by downtown friends and Indie advertisers, cool behaved kids get gifts, whiners will be thrown out of the venue by the Shitzus. The time—9pm to 12midnight.

Slam/spoken word luminaries Carrie Gerstmann and Glenis Redmond complete the lineup for the Dec 3 Grey Eagle event. Carrie is emceeing the event (Kapila Ushana hosts Nov 18). Courtyard Gallery will most likely enliven the events with a painting exhibition of choice works from several places/states/countries. We will be raffling or giving out gifts, as well. Bring the kids, we have something for them, too.

Marta is trying to hook up a paying gig for Martha’s Trouble AKA Jen and Ron Slocomb (on tour from Canada), with Kimberly Summer, either at Vincenzo’s or Zambra’s for Dec 4, Sunday. Let’s support our visitors.

[ ] INDIE NEWBIES AND RETURN ENGAGEMENTS. (1) Following my meeting with Debbie Metcalf and Barbara Barnes and a few NOW-Asheville staff few weeks ago, I invited them to write/advocate organizational views and standpoints in The Indie, starting the Dec issue. (2) Brace yourself—Coven Oldenwilde’s Lady Passion and *Diuvei will be starting a column this Dec. (Thanks, Jason K, for the idea). I have also invited a Christian/Catholic/Baptist columnist to balance the vibe. I’m thrilled about this. (3) Bunk Nesbit – AKA Murray The Cop, The Skipping Class, The Foolish – will be back with his indie music column, “Universal Language, this Dec. (4) Perennial deadline-beater Mike Hopping tries his hand at food writing with a feature on Noi’s Thai Restaurant. (5) I am profiling Emoke B’Racz of Malaprops and Vanessa Boyd, reviewing CDs by Divine Maggees, Martha’s Trouble, and hopefully, Brianna Lane and SJ Tucker, for Dec and Jan Indies. I actually have loads of local and Bonfires friends (from elsewhere) CDs to review – all lounging in The Crib. I may give some to Bunk and Vanessa. Erstwhile music reviewer Dale Allen Hoffman opted to concentrate on a spiritual column, starting Jan.

Yes, indeed, The Indie is now clogged with stuff—that’s why we are spreading/expanding to new publications. Glynnis Trauff, the 9-year-old daughter of a friend (Helene Brunsweiller) in Manhattan dared me to publish a children’s monthly tabloid? When I told her that I don’t have money for that anymore, Glynnis quipped, “I read that you’re pretty good at asking money from The Blue Sky God/dess, why cant she give you more money for us kids too? We don’t want just a small portion in The Indie, we want an entire magazine.” (I hope her Mom cut on Weightwatchers/Atkins visits in Chelsea and donate the dough to The Indie, right?)

[ ] THANKS DEPARTMENT. Local activist Charlie Thomas donated $20, and PARC $100 for the last (Oct 29) “Bonfires for Peace” event at Pritchard Park. Katie Kasben might accommodate visitor Deborah Crooks in her apartment, in case Vanessa Boyd’s house in Greenville TN proved to far (and yes, too gasoline-friendly for our meager budget). Rachelle Arrowood gave me more lemon ginger tea and green peppers, and just drove from her house in Sweeten Creek to give Marta a ride to Ingles for this night’s dinner. Sweet women, indeed!

[ ] My brother Sonny Pascua who manages and co-owns an export processing company in the north of the Philippines will be donating accessories and clothes to Bonfires/Indie performers, friends, supporters, advertisers – starting Jan 2006. To help augment The Indie/The Bonfires fund generation, we will try out this business channel—oh yes, don’t you know I used to design exotic apparel, house implements, and inexpensive jewelries? We used to do that kind of hip/cool entrepreneurship in Manila 15 years ago. Two autumns ago, during my long Thanksgiving ride and visit to NYC with Agent Mulder, we discussed the marketing/packaging of this side of the madness. This one project is slowly but surely shaping up. It’s just a few ramen noodles starvation diet away, I reckon.

[ ] Again, The Bonfires will be helping another young dreamer, singer-songwriter Natalie Gelman, in re her spring “rollerblade” tour from Miami to New York City. I booked Natalie one time at the C-Note in downtown Manhattan; she’s a friend of another Bonfires friend, Sarah Blackman of Ophir Drive. I might join her tour, in relation to my up-north “noise” tour for the Wander Open Mag (among others), but not sure yet. Anybody wants to plan out a spring to summer 2006 tour? We can coordinate, pool resources and share links/connects, what do you think? Meantime, Natalie is offering $500 (month’s work) to anyone who’s interested to drive her car, amongst other assist-work, while she—YES—rollerblades for a cause. (Natalie is currently in Miami taking masteral degree on Opera, but she’s NYC born-and-bred. Her email addy --

[ ] Our partner monthly literary monthly, Wander St., Asheville, is due out Jan 2006. First submissions – “Ben and The Immaculate Conception” by Michael Hopping, and “A Perfect Jewel” by Gaither Stewart. For submissions details, go to my other email (Thanks, Mike, for preparing it). We also enjoin comics, photographs, artworks.

[ ] RIDES SITUATION FOR THE NOV 10 interview with WNCW radio in Spindale NC. Chris Malz will be joining and I think he still has room in his van. I will be riding with Vanessa Boyd. Ash Devine and Kimberly Summer, as well as some members of Dashvara, also said they’re going.

[ ] The pre-planned Nov event of The Traveling Bonfires in Manila is stalled, pending closure of some kinks from the last (Oct 14) show at Mayric’s. I have hired an accountant in Manila (longtime high school friend, Arnel Salva) to handle/fix, with Donna Pascua, the miscues/mishaps of the rookie line producer that I hooked up with for the said event. The Bonfires isn’t going to legal actions, though, no. I just want the concerned youth to face up to her responsibilities and make an apology to all concerned. [I just want to go past all these recent hassles (Manila/Mayrics and Mars Hill NC) fast and sure, these trajectories that both happened on almost the same week, so that we can move on with inner peace and hopeful vibe. As the usual case with the “rock journey and sublime madness,” one or two miscues mean fifteen new brainstorms awaiting implementation, right here right now. My obvious solution to a lost/losing project is to give birth to more projects. Sulking over funk is boring, depression makes one impotent or frigid, don’t you agree?]

Okay, that’s it for now. I am starving. I am listening to The Stones’ “Like a Rolling Stone” (by Dylan), live, from “Stripped.” Next, some olde Irish gems by Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, then Filipino soul maverick Rico J Puno. I am about to finish a Richard Linklater 3-actor movie, “Tape,” starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Robert Sean Leonard.

Ciao! Salut! Beaux reves! Magandang gabi! Gracias! Toksa ake!

8:50pm. The Indie Crib
Asheville NC


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