Thursday, December 22, 2005

UPDATE (12.21.05)—W is The Word, Distribution Sideproject, New Other Studio/Office

“W” WAS THE title of a movie that blew me apart when I was in my early high school. It was directed by (Constantine) Costa-Gavras, a Greek. Remember, “Missing,” the Cannes-winning political drama about civil strife in Chile during the Pinochet/Allende era? This man did that movie, too… “W” was the one letter in the English alphabet that fascinated me the most when I was about two years old. I started scribbling words at that very early age, and actually learned to read at 3. I couldn’t pronounce the letter “W” though (I always said it should be double-vee, not double-you)… W also stands for Woman, Womb, and World -- without these three, there is no humanity at all, and all males are simply categorized below apes, hippo, or amoeba (I’m not kidding).
“W” is the monicker or nickname of the new Indie/Bonfires madness/preoccupation. No, it’s not Wander – it stands for (take your pick) “Wednesday Wander Writers Winter Workshop.” It happens every Wednesday, from 5pm to 9pm, at the new Bonfires/Indie pad, otherwise known as The Courtyard Studio AKA (the secret code)--“W.”
Workshop program concept goes like this – few hours of talks/discussion/deliberations/lecture about “foreign/multicultural” writers, poets, essayists etc; rest of the night is devoted to workshop/discussion of works by participants. We will just be focusing on short work – poetry, short fiction, lyrics, essays etc. [Please don’t confuse this with the twice-a-month Wander Readings, which is geared towards author readings and talks/Q&As. I will sending out PRs, flyers-posters, and online blurbs about it later.]
“W” (or The Courtyard Studio) is entrusted to me by The Blue Sky God/dess via the good heart of Courtyard Gallery & Agency’s head honcho, Carlos Steward. It will be the extended office/pad of The Indie Crib—yes, we are keeping Suite 01 at 70 Woodfin Place, I’m not leaving it. I figured, I had to hold on to The Crib’s gothic, musty, batcave-like feel… but then, I also feel that I have to move my spirit closer to the heart of downtown for more realistically/entrepreneurial/networking purposes. I plan to transform The Crib into a small-project music/recording studio cum (possible) dark room, while maintaining it as my Indie/Wander “bunker/work lab.” The music studio will just be concentrated with demo stuff, or spoken word efforts—no big deal. Until I learn how to work on Mac digitals, get more financial muscle, enjoin more committed co-workers – I’ll probably go higher/deeper, more “competitive” in terms of recording stuff… Bunk Nesbit has expressed interest in hooking up, I remember Dale Hoffman was also in this kind of sideproject before, and John (forgot-his-last-name-again) and Ash, I guess, also mentioned about a studio plan “in the future”… so let’s see.
All in all, I’d like to assess my resources first and see how things flow… In the long run, when the little crafts/products/Traveling Bonfires merch side-entrepreneurship goes full-blast or active, we’ll find an old trailer house somewhere and turn it into a “makeshift cottage/workshop.” But then, you may ask – where do we situate The Bonfires Café within this circuitous, frenzied equation? As a friend often say, I am a chessplayer (not “shrewd,” just careful and calculating). Let’s stack up the pieces first on the board, and start moving some pieces upward, forward, sideways… Let’s see, check them out, make some gambits, sacrifices, then move for the checkmate or, how about a draw? We cannot lose.

SO MEANTIME, I will be spending maybe half of my time at “W,” starting immediately. I’ll start cleaning it up, decorating it, dusting it off, moving some of my stuff from The Indie Crib this weekend, or anytime. Then, when Carlos gets back from his holiday break in Puerto Rico, we will install phonelines, computers, and internet connects—that’ll be around third week of Jan. The place, by the way, also has a bar, kitchen, shower, bedroom—and it’s just behind Café Bouchon (ex-Café Soleil), right where the back porch tables are. So I can cook there, and you can come over, of course--we can always play music and dance (yup, I dance a lot when I work… right now, I’m dancing to Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti”). No parties, though, just dancing “quietly.”
Carlos has some video/film editing machines in there. I helped him moved the equipment to the space this morning – we haven’t checked them out yet but we will definitely be putting up a video/film editing studio there. Since, starting January, I’ll be going around town with a handheld cam – for the purpose of gathering materials/footages for my “Bonfire for the Indies” URTV show – the editing machine there comes very handy. I also expect to kick my auras up and start painting again. More than anything else, I’ll throw myself on a wild and wooly creative euphoria and incessant work mode the rest of Dec – leading to a, hopefully, better 2006.
Also, I’ll be working in close coordination with Carlos – in regards the this multiple Bonfires/Indie/Courtyard/Twin Rivers hook-ups, including the Twin Rivers Film Festival. So expect a lot of beautifully-crazy and gloriously weird stuff coming out of my sweet lunacy starting Jan to spring all the way to kingdom come. There will still be a spring-to-summer Vagrant Wind gig tours – all interconnected/orchestrated with me “managing” Ash Devine, promoting two or three more acts under Rain Bookings & Management, NY/NJ business transactions in re crafts sideproject, Indie/Wander beyond-WNC distribution/networking, more research (Third World Newsreel, NYU) in re multicultural films/videos to be shown at our Friday Filmshows. We will still have “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” on a monthly basis starting March or April (we already communicated with the Parks&Recreation).So what is this about this other paper ditching The Indie right on our, uhh—rack? My mind is too busy with future madnesses and expectations/brainstorms to bother to pick up a streetyard fight. I used to figure in a lot of street brawls and parking lot “skirmishes” when I was 15 to about 26! I was the bad boy on the block who threw bricks at a neighbor’s window and then read Rimbaud and Lorca and ruminated about saving the universe with just a ballpoint pen and a wok! Such enigma, contradictions—that was me! I am aged now…
So—FUCK!—let it be, let them rock their funk and roll their blues, and swallow Tylenols over PBR. But I’m cool, I’m okay. Let’s look ahead. PEACE! (Imagine, they didn’t give me beer at Rosetta’s tonight because I look younger than 21??????? And I forgot to bring my freakin’ ID!)

(BY THE WAY, I intend or plan to video/stills-shoot/document or film all of The Bonfires activities for my URTV show, so if you don’t want to be included in those footages, whatsoever, just let me know. I’ll either edit you out or I’ll turn off the video when you’re there…)
(BTW 2, those who haven’t submitted their articles/columns for the Jan issue of The Indie yet, you still have time. Please email me what’s going on… Interview with new Asheville mayor Terry Bellamy is Jan 5, it’s the headline story for Jan -- so you know what I mean.)
Now, some of the other Updates! (I’m writing this as Phoebe Snow shakes her booty and wiggles my fantasies, over “Shaky Ground”)

[ ] TRAVELING BONFIRES cd compilation, VOLUME 2.
Laura Blackley, Benjammin AKA Benjamin Bernstein, (hopefully) Ash Devine, and Deborah Crooks join the second volume/compilation, tentatively titled, “Hymn.” Ms Crooks has donated “Truth Now” from her “5 Acres” EP. Ms Blackley leaves me the option to choose between two of her songs (“Liquid Courage” or “Helen’s Bridge”). I haven’t chosen a song from Benjammin’s “Shining Through” CD yet, and I haven’t discussed with Ash about her contribution (since I’m managing her, we’ll definitely come up/agree with one). So the Vol 2 lineup – Benjammin, Laura Blackley, Deborah Crooks, Dashvara, Ash Devine, Stephanie Rearick, Kimberly Summer, Vince Junior & Crooked Routes. I need two more cuts/acts to complete the set.

At this writing, Marta The Nicer Osbourne is negotiating with WNC Woman Magazine’s Sandi Tomlin-Sutker for possible distribution sidejob to the NC towns/cities of Saluda, Tryon and Columbus. We are charging $100 for 2000 copies (distribution) around Asheville, so we may have to adjust the rate/s in regards WNC Woman, that is, if we seal a deal with them. At this writing, we have The Blotter, The Organic Shopper, and possibly, Critter. (Critter’s Elaine Lite is also donating some of their racks/stands to The Indie/Wander.) (Nah, we are not distributing AGR, there’s no truth to that rumor at all.)

Jason Baquilod, NY Indie founding member, commits a cool contribution to The Indie’s Jan issue—an excerpt of his radio interview with Gary Van Scyoc, ex-bassist for John Lennon’s post-Beatles band. Jay hosts Pinoy Radio, based in Elizabeth NJ. Jay bro! Where’s the article?

The kickoff gathering/session happens on Jan 11, from 5pm to 9pm. The first half or couple of hours focuses on discussion/lecture about Latin poets/writers and magic realism (think Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, Federico Garcia Lorca, Octavio Paz, Mario Vargas Llosa, Nicolas Guillen, Laura Esquivel). The second part is the workshop proper—participants are enjoined to bring at least seven copies of their work, only poetry and short literature (fiction, essay, lyrics etc).

Marta is definitely doing some external networking efforts starting Jan. She has actually begun last Dec 14 at the Center for Unlimited Possibilities, on invite from Rena Wright. She will also be working on some Bonfires/Indie administrative tasks with Camela Klein… they will be concentrating more on marketing/advertising/Indie Crib-Woodfin office management. Her three or four new ad clients (for The Indie) are Nataraj Gallery, Main, Corner Kitchen, and possibly, Asheville Arts Gallery.

Carlos Steward discusses films (emphasis on the alternative/independent film industry/efforts—or it’s up to him, but it’s not solely about reviews or criticisms). Wally Bowen of Main/WPVM also expressed willingness to contribute work--I met up with him two weeks ago (Main signed up for a 1/6th 1year ad to The Indie, and I am submitting a radio program concept by Jan/Feb). Cynthia Steward is also thinking about a regular column, in re Hispanic immigrants to the US, or something close to that. (Cynthia is a Puerto Rican native.)

With the exception of Ash Devine, we have also started to book and organize (esp.) tour-related gigs with corresponding fee/s. Those who have either hooked up with us or expressed interest are local singer-songwriter Brianna Lane (I’ll be meeting her tomorrow at The Crib), recent Bonfires visitor Deborah Crooks, Brooklyn NY-based Athena Reich, Cheryl Bliss from Austin TX, Kama Linden from NY/NJ, and Boston’s Jessica Yoakum. For those who’re just visiting Asheville and may want a gig or two hooked up by The Bonfires, we’ll just book them as a favor or hospitality gesture. They include, among others, Claire Campbell & Hope for Agoldensummer from Athens GA, Natalie Gelman from Manhattan, Shenandoah Community Players from Miami. Meantime, I’m also assessing/studying a “booking swap” or cross-booking deal with NY/NJ’s Daisy Gambit Management.
Meanwhile, a July or August “breakin’ barriers” bands showcase in downtown Manhattan, either CBGB or The Knitting Factory, is very imminent. Renrick Pascual is awaiting my return to Heights, Jersey City—just across the Hudson River—for a grand gig-organizing planning over chicken adobo and shrimp broth.
I plan to kick a three or four-day Vagrant Wind tour in late March or early April—starting with, possibly, Chapel Hill, then Richmond VA, DC, Baltimore, New York City. I have a personal/family reason why I’m visiting Atlantic City on this same tour… and, yes, Maria Lapachet might hook up with me about a summer all-grrls benefit gig in Long Island.

Mtn Xpress film critic Ken Hanke has begun reviewing films that we show at Courtyard Gallery. Venue owner Carlos S hooked this up. Mr Hanke started with “Pinero” last week—next in line (Jan 13) is “Close-Up” by Abbas Kiorastami of Iran. Discussions follow the screenings, and Carlos punctuates or starts the filmshows with shorts, MTV’s, videos from the winners archives of Twin Rivers Film Festival. Me and Carlos has already lined up films for Jan, Feb, March—including films by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Mexico), Francois Trauffaut (France), Wolfgang Petersen (Germany), Zhang Yimou (China), and Sanyajit Ray (India). This Christmas break, I’m attacking the film catalogues/shelves of Pack Library, Orbit Video, Broadway Video etc—apart from advance orders/research from NY’s Third World Newsreel, NYU, friends from Austin TX, Bonn, Antwerp, Paris, Manila, and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). We need to expand the “multicultural” concept of the filmshows.

Fiction from Mike Hopping, Gaither Stewart (Rome), and Alphonse Fazio; poetry from Holly Day (Mineapolis) and Kate Nilsen; essays from Jim Cox and Pasckie Pascua; journal writings from Rebekka Konieczka (Philadelphia).

[ ] “BONFIRE OF THE INDIES,” URTV cable TV show.
Also known as -- “dialogue/convergence of the independents.” The show is a magazine-format semi/documentary, semi-“talk show,” semi-“stripped-down” concert/community events feature. Subjects for feature/s are individuals and organizations/projects that are categorized as independent artists, entrepreneurs, initiatives/projects. Story angling delves on how they work, how they get a job done on a daily/weekly basis, people they deal with, who they work with, where they gather materials, where they work, how they raise funds—but not entirely in an interview-format but more on having the camera follow them as they do their work everyday. It’s not the coat-and-tie TV news crew setup – the Anchor/Narrator will just be like the subjects, everyday clothes, unmade/raw… and the script/sequence flow is “directed” but spontaneous. There may be talks in a subject’s workshop, bedroom, studio, car, kitchen, dining room. Premium on humor and “easy-flowing” ambiance, like hanging out, conversational feel, almost spontaneous—almost like “Wayne’s World.” [Background music and set design etc are all done/composed by locals.]
Current working staff, Ash Devine (as co-Anchor/associate) and, of course, Marta The Nicer Osbourne always pitching in some administrative help. I’m currently drafting a scenario/treatment (I might devise a storyboard), and begun scouting for a location shoot for the bonfire scene. Yes, I’m definitely looking for sponsors and volunteers that consistently show up, esp. during crunch time. Any ideas? Whatever happens, the project is happening…

I am “slowing down” on Asheville club gigs, for the time being (except the monthly Malaprop’s shows)—to concentrate on the Courtyard activities, and obviously my gazillion of other projects. (I haven’t even talked about my novel, new spoken word CD, short-feature screenplay.) Anyways, for Jan 12, 6 to 8pm (before the Open Mic at Courtyard) at Malaprop’s, it’ll be Bunk Nesbit and Ash Devine.

AGAIN, you might ask—how’ll Pasckie supposed to accomplish all these shit? Well, I don’t usually worry about how many consistently present, periodically committed staff or volunteers I have—I just want to get things done. Somewhere, these madnesses start and end with my madness—so I just build, and hope people will come. I just hope that more people will actually go out there and say, “I’m Bonfire! And I’m proud of it!” I’ll cook Thai salmon stew for you, complete with chardonnay or merlot, whoever/wherever you are…
Right now, Jarrett Leone handles the Thursday Open Mic (a hookup with his Pure Energy group, and Courtyard Gallery). When another madman does an open mic at a homeless-navigated public park, while cold starts to seep through the marrow, because he just wanted to do it—then that’s our man! Carlos Steward officiates the Friday Filmshowings—whether there’s only one soul and 100 spirits sitting there, he’ll definitely turn on that projector and show you some sweet madness on screen. That’s the man, too! And when, a young woman like Ash D, tells me, “I have to trust you my life. Now you are responsible with me!” that’s the woman, the artist spirit that wakes me up at 3am from my perfumed nightmares because she says it straight, as it comes, right there! And when I start pushing away a Marta The Nicer Osbourne out the door because funk & blues simply batter my wearied senses at some point, and still say, “Damnit, I wanna work with you!” Well, I just have to get it going…
Thousands of miles away, across two great oceans, there are more reasons why I should not stop the journey. A slim turnout in a Bonfires show doesn’t make me slow down because the next show, and the next, and the next, is already set… An Indie being trashed doesn’t make me smash someone’s nose (anymore) because a day at the jail messes up my deadline, I’m worried about not having my paper out on the streets as scheduled, than anything else as childishly annoying as that recent conjecture… People showing up now, gone later etc etc doesn’t make me reconsider the programs and activities because I believe it’s the spirit, the projects, the programs that move the world and pursue the dream—not really the physical bodies. As long as the spirit is out there – I’m here, I’m on, The Bonfires will rock forever. So hop in!
Thanks to the emails and good words and advice/suggestions -- Karen Nilsen, Karen Helman, Sharon Whittemore, Jim Cox, Duane Pascua, Siobhan Clarke, Kate O’Haley, Mariko Shimada… Now, I gotta take a break, grab the cheapest beer in town (because I didn’t get one at Rosetta’s) right from inside my fridge, and watch Mike Leigh’s “Naked.”

Te amo! Gracias… hasta la vista, babys!
Asheville NC. 11pm.


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