Tuesday, March 14, 2006

UPDATE (03.14.06)--More PC headaches, Swati Khurana, Imelda

EVERYBODY TALKS about funk and blues a lot that the only "joyful" gig left is -- when you chill out over bourbon or vodka and puke laughing. And then when you wake up in the morning, you try to focus on abstract things that'll probably make you escape, really escape from something awry that keeps on nagging you (although you cant seem to pinpoint that "disease"). You'd imagine sauntering by the beach just like what that Corona ad suggests... if only, if only you could actually live far from your laptop and inbox for at least one whole week. It's really sad, it's synthetic. I miss the sea, the endless rain, and the open/wet market.
I miss those days--when back rents and ragged shoes dont matter. When all that matters is a Wednesday night hangin' out with my rowdy friends over vinegar-soaked deer meat and Cerveza, Sunday afternoons with my brothers sweating it out, backyard basketball games, goofing around, and Monday mornings at work is like a new day.
So what do we do these days?
How could we ever hope to be on that "Corona beach" when what you hear/watch/read are plane crashes--in Santa Monica Beach, in New Jersey. So you go to Blockbuster to "escape" via Hollywood pills. I just watched two "plane" movies -- "Red Eye" and "Flightplan," two movies that simply slap you in the face with the purpose of numbing your sense of logic (or common sense) and just enjoy. (How could a skinny, frail young lady overcome a professional assassin/terrorist? How come an entire crew of a posh airline missed out on one passenger? Hollywood is making us believe that it's that easy to let "security" slip and still so easy to overcome terrorists?) Ah! I enjoyed "40 Year Old Virgin" better (I instantly fell in love with Catherine Keener, forget that she has no hips at all).
So what can we do? But stare at the boob tube, try out the DVD player, read internet news, grab a New York Times and USA Today. Good news is always the bad news--Gaither had "good material" about student unrest in Paris. Weird, that instantly made me miss my militant student days in Manila.
Meantime, let me rant about my messed zip drive. As of this writing, no sure remedy yet about my zip drive problem. It costs around $113. (It's good that I already got Wander #3 done before this latest comp problem came.)
A zip drive is an external drive that is hooked up by USB cord to (usually) a PC computer. It holds huge memory--particularly pagemaker (magazine) files that I use for The Indie and Wander etc. Problem is, with the crazy surge of new techno baubles these days which Mac/Apple leads the way, not many people use zip drives these days.
With Mac, I can save files on CD disc but I will have to convert my pagemaker file to a Mac-readable version. I have Macs but I will have to relearn all these re-programs. I essentially work on PCs. Technology didnt actually speed up work -- it is very convenient to big business but not to ordinary people. All these new programs make us all confused, work more complicated, and business unfairly very competitive (but leaned towards those who can afford the hi-tech gizmo).
Computer gizmos--from palm pilots to zip drives to inkjet printers to laptops--is like they are actually programmed to conk out after a certain span of time. At which time, these computer companies have already sent out 15 new albeit more expensive programs and baubles to sell us. I was reading Kurt Vonnegut's 1997 book, "Timequake" to sort of find surreal solace from this insane hi-techno consumerism.
I actually need a bit of breathing space up in the wilderness soon. I start to burn out a bit--not because of physical workload--but because of frustrations from other things. I might go up Grok Mountain soon on invite from Jim Cox, or chill a bit in Chapel Hill... Can I bring my laptop? (Uhh, isnt it crazy? We cant leave our techno partners like we're married to them?)
Now, the Updates...

[ ] The Twin Rivers film festival happens on these following dates/venues--(1) April 29, Courtyard, (2) May 4, Fine Arts Theater, (3) May 5, UNCA Alumni Hall. The concert event that is set on April 29 at the Courtyard is not yet final FINAL. I mean, the concert event will definitely happen but the Traveling Bonfires may not participate, pending mutually-agreed decisions on some organizational/business matters. The Bonfires helped hook up both Fine Arts and UNCA filmshows but we may not participate in the event...

[ ] Also, the Traveling Bonfires isnt involved with the Thursday Open Mic at the Courtyard anymore. We figure, Jarrett Leone handles it pretty well... We are trying to minimize "collaborative/volunteer" work, and maximize "internal/organizational" work, that is why. Me and Marta The Nicer feels that we should concentrate more on our own spring and summer events--esp. the N a Sonje/Haiti show (UNCA, April 14) and the "Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park" events. And yes, we ought to find ads to the publications, asap--we havent had a paid ad in three months time now. We however are still involved with the Wed Twin Rivers judging and Friday "Classics from Around the World" Filmshows. (We also host Robert Kelley's Tuesday writers workshop, with the Courtyard Gallery...)

[ ] Walter Dinteman and Matthew Mulder join me in a poetry reading gig at Malaprops on April 19, 6:30 to 8:30pm. We are still inviting other poets to come join us...

[ ] The Traveling Bonfires and Courtyard Gallery host Swati Khurana (videographer, spoken word artists, print artist) of New York Univ on April 25, Saturday. She will show her videos and short films at the Courtyard on that night. She will also have a poetry reading gig at Malaprop's on April 27, Monday, on Glenis Redmond's booking initiative. For more info about her, go to http://bonfiresideprojects.blogspot.com/

[ ] I may have a special "donations-only" screening of "Imelda, The Documentary" at Lord Auditorium of downtown's Pack Library late this month or early April. "Imelda" is also scheduled at the Courtyard on March 31, as part of the Friday Classics event.

[ ] We welcome good friend Katie Kasben to table in all of the Traveling Bonfires' events this spring and summer, for free--as a mutual gesture of solidarity and support. She has been helping us out in the last few years. She is promoting her project, "48 Hour Film Project."

[ ] We might have a "Loud & Peaceful" rock concert at Joli Rouge on May 6. And another Third World Asheville/all-women's concert in April.

That's it, for now. I am about to watch "The Constant Gardener." I read John LeCarre's book... Oh by the way, we need book reviewers. The books that I have at this junctire are--local novelist Lewis W. Green's novels and books of fiction, and one by Victor M. Depta (c/o agency). I also would like to let agents and friends of bluesman Cyril Lance and singer-songwriter Madelyn Lavender that my review of their CDs are coming this next (April) issue of The Indie.

Thanks to Glenis Redmond for committing to donate money to the N a Sonje/Haiti project, Robert Kelley and Katie Kasben for helping me out with my zip drive problem, AKA Johnny R of Kinko's for being always so accommodating to our aftermidnight visits, to Karen Helman for agreeing to do the interview/story of Asheville Community Theater, to Laura Blackley for making us feel that she's a part of the Bonfires community, to Dashvara and Hippie Shitzu for being always there when we need them, to Jarrett Leone for being consistently nice and reliable, to Ty Hallock for the website work, to Chris Johnson for the Touch Samadhi blessings and the Bonfires April 15 poster--to Matt Mulder, Mike Hopping, Gaither Stewart, Jim Cox, Walter Dinteman, Laura Hope Gill, Debbie Metcalf, Onca O'Leary, Lady Passion/Diuvei (Dixie Deerman, Steve Rasmussen), Kelly Lee Phipps, Al Fazio, Carlos Steward--for the deadline adherence and respect. And, to Marta The Nicer for my chocolate muffins supply, and the other half of the energy...

Gracias to the Blue Sky God/dess!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MORE UPDATES (03.08.06)--Wed Film Judging, Twin Rivers Concert, Peace Rally

SPRING WHISPERS, and Bonfires start to burn--slowly but surely. Updates in regards upcoming activities, programs and projects come flowing...
Meantime, tonight--each and everyone, including students, are invited to help us judge entries to the 12th TWIN RIVERS MEDIA & FILM FESTIVAL. Short features, animation, MTVs, and documentaries come from all over the US and other countries, including Belgium, Mexico, and Ireland. This is our way of enjoining the participation and involvement of the community in judging a supposedly reserved for thick-browed film critics and intellectuals film festival. Votes and comments of those who attend and participate will be annotated and accounted in the final judging. For more info, call Carlos Steward at 273 3332 or go to www.twinriversmediafestival.com
Here's the latest Updates--

[ ] The lineup (subject to final confirmation) for the concert/event to signal the opening of the Twin Rivers Filmfest on April 29, Saturday, are: Pure Energy, Hank Jones, Hippie Shitzu, Dashvara, and The Laura Blackley Band. Sound equipment and management/supervision c/o Buddha John. Music shall start rockin' as early as 2pm.

Apart from screenings at The Courtyard, Twin Rivers filmshows will also be held at the Fine Arts Theater, Lord Auditorium of downtown's Pack Library, and UNCA's Alumni Hall (May 5). Updates and full schedule of screenings will be announced and published as this week (or weeks) of community film extravaganza nears. Filmshows happens from the last week of April to first week of May--on selected days/evenings.

[ ] The Traveling Bonfires & Loved by the Buffalo (The Indie, Wander etc) will be tabling at the Peace Rally (organized by WNC Peace Coalition) on March 19, Sunday. We will begin set up by 1pm. Those interested to join me and Marta The Nicer Osbourne hand out flyers, Indie/Wander/Blue Sky copies, flyers/postcards etc as very much welcome.

[ ] The full lineup of Trance DJs/Touch Samadhi performers that are scheduled to play (or spin records) for the kickoff event of the "Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park" on April 15 are: Shapestatic, Kri, Oso, Medisin, and Blue Spectral Monkey. Tabling is welcome and enjoined on donation-basis (minimum of $20).

[ ] Pure Energy, Jarrett Leone's didj group, will open for Haiti's N a Sonje's performance at UNCA's Highsmith Hall on April 14. Buddha John is also doing the sound. So thanks a lot to The Buddha.

[ ] Early submissions to The Indie April: Mike Hopping's book review of "A Question Of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From The Cold War To The War On Terror" by Alfred W. McCoy; Debbie Metcalf's "A Voice for Women" column; and Cruella DeVille's "advice column" to the turtured soul; Arthur Winfield Knight's (Yerington NV) short profile of the late comedian Stan Laurel.

Wander's 3rd issue for Winter 2006 (or March) is lookin' good. New names: Joan Winslow of Boston ("Pi of Pie," serialized novel); Orlando Sentmanat Ofarrill of Puerto Rico (poem); Reinaldo Pol of Puerto Rico (short prose poetry); with local poets Laura Hope Gill, Dave Rowe, Kapila Ushana, and John Winfield of Waynesville; Anna Lynn C Sibal of Manila, Philippines ("Waiting for the Rain," fiction); and more fiction/essay/poetry etc from Walter Dinteman, Matthew Mulder, Cyn Los (Mexico), and Jorge Potter (Puerto Rico).

AS USUAL, we have lots of errands to do on this cold but cool Wednesday. See you tonight!

Monday, March 06, 2006

UPDATE (03.06.06)--Hop in Jump out the Train, Haiti at UNCA, Free Fest Tix

SPRING’S SWEET SMELL STARTS to seep through summertime’s last spell of cold. Aquarian Moon Rising’s bad vibes should have dwindled as mid-March approaches. It’s all very positive—time to weed out derelict grass and plant new seeds and nurture rosebuds…
As a fresh season of hope nears, I’d also like to refresh and renew commitments and principles that have long guided and moved these “rock journeys and sublime madnesses” – oftentimes amidst stormy, scraggly roads and unwavering, physical barriers. The Traveling Bonfires & The Indie—plus new brainstorms under “Loved by the Buffalo Publications”—stick to the faith, no matter how I come out oblique, enigmatic and “weird” to most.
“Marta, you have a new bestfriend.” That’s what I tell Marta The Nicer each time we’ve, wittingly and unwittingly, courted new detractors or critics or “enemies.” I am not really bothered by the number of people who slip out or give up or curse me as we tread this road less traveled; the number of new people and fresh possibilities upstage the bad breaks, as ever. This is not a one-time thing, this is a continuum—we can only improve and better ourselves than sulk in a corner for a miscue or mishap.
No matter how things flow and emanate or slide in and out – the Traveling Bonfires Family, from Manila to New York City to Asheville, is COMMUNITY. Under a community aura, everybody helps everybody – individual opportunism and subtle manipulation don’t have any room. There is no rock star or prima donna superstar within this madness—no special treatment or indispensable personalities. I will continue to cut and frustrate people who think that they can easily gain a free ride and disrespect what this sweet lunacy is all about.

THE BONFIRES IS COMMUNITY. Each soul contribute his/her own little, humble way – from setting up chairs on an event, load in/load out, rendering free ride to West Asheville, beating Indie deadlines for a well-research/written article to making efforts at networking people to the shows (than criticizing how we promote them), handing and posting flyers and posters in visible areas, sharing food at an event, hanging out to laugh and have fun…
I don’t take this vocation lightly – we drive to Kinko’s at past midnight to get better/cheaper work condition, we deliver papers till 11pm, we diligently beat deadlines – rain or snow. My work ethic is still translated via, “If you don’t have anything to do, don’t do it here.”
I thank Mark Anderson, Chris Malz, Mikey Burton and Hippie Shitzu for always being there when we need them, whether we book them or not; Rena Wright for continually, untirelessly, commitedly brings people to our events like she also “owns” this beautiful preoccupation; Matt Mulder, Gaither Stewart, and Mike Hopping for being the most “longtime” contributors to The Bonfires/The Indie (apart from their respect for the word, deadline); Dale Hoffman for the friendly gestures and unwavering support even in the midst of his busy work and family life; to Katie Kasben for consistently being in touch (not counting material/physical help, ie handheld cam and accommodations to visitors)… Renrick Pascual, Kate O’Haley and Greer Kupka in New Jersey and New York City; Daniel Stuelpnagel, Karla Mancero, Tim/Joyce Wheeler, Marco Galsim, and Gino Inocentes in Baltimore; Shahid Buttar, Laurie Blair in Washington DC; new friends/project collaborators like Carlos Steward; those who “silently” support us – Emoke B’Racz, Linda Knopp, and the Malaprops family, Ann Dunn of Fletcher Dance School and Asheville Ballet, Rosetta Rzany of Rosetta’s Kitchen, Mellow Mushroom management, legal consultant Bruce Elmore, peace activists Jim Brown, Charlie Thomas, Tim Pluta, Clare Hanrahan, and Cicada Brokaw, Stephanie Morgan, Jenny Greer, Molly Kummerle, NOW Asheville, Greg Lucas and Media Arts Project; and the many others in other states and countries—who have stayed with us for more than three or four years, at least.
This year is the 3rd year of the “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park;” we are bringing the first “foreign” act (N a Sonje from Haiti) to Asheville via a first event at UNCA on April 14; we are showing (with Twin Rivers) a first film project at Fine Arts Theater on the first week of May… “Loved by the Buffalo Publications” gives birth to three more magazines.
Meantime, the best acceptance blurb in last night’s Oscar came from best picture (“Crash”) director Paul Haggis, who delivered inspirational words to peace-loving souls out there. This year’s Academy Awards should be one of the best for its sheer courage, resiliency and sensitivity, and upfront politics – from the gender grit of “Brokeback Mountain” and “Transamerica” to character depth of “Capote” and “Walk The Line” to political commentary of “Syriana,” “The Constant Gardener” and “Good Night, and Good Luck” to anti-racism snide of “Crash” to historical sensitivity of “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “A New World” to the social potshots of “Hustle & Flow” to revenge vs terror darkness of “Munich.”

So here’s the Update.

[ ] We are back at Malaprop’s on April 19, Wednesday. But it’s poetry. The bookstore/café isn’t doing any amplified musical gigs anymore. Anybody interested to join me in this what I call Wander Readings, email me please.

[ ] List of community friends who extend help to Bonfires visitors from Haiti, Carla Bluntschli, Harry “Ari” Nicolas, and Djaloki Dessables AKA N a Sonje – Glenis Redmond (accommodation, food), Shannon Warwick (accommodation), Jackie Bowman (accommodation, transportation, food), and a phone call from Monica (transportation, accommodation, food). Repeat: N a Sonje will be performing at UNCA’s Highsmith Hall on April 14, Friday. Rental fee is $50 an hour, that’s relatively cheaper (because we aren’t charging cover fees). Other venues charge a minimum of $250 for three hours.

[ ] The “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” events for 2006 are listed in WNC Peace Coalition’s website. We might table at their March 19 peace rally—if we get it for free in exchange to Indie coverage.

[ ] We are getting free passes to Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, set from April 20 to 23, at Silk Hope NC – in exchange for Loved by the Buffalo ad placements. The festival features, among others, The Avett Brothers, Donna The Buffalo, Keith Secola & Wild Band of Indians, Corey Harris.

[ ] Bonfires visitors Adrienne Nightingale and Malcolm Rollick are booked at The Root Bar on May 3, possibly at The New French Bar on May 4, and “Bonfires for Peace” at Pritch Park on May 6. We have also booked May 6 for a special after-“Bonfires for Peace” event at Joli Rouge, as a friendly gesture to our visitors (Adrienne and Malcolm, and possibly Blue Number Nine from New Jersey).

[ ] Update of contributors to the first issue of Blue Sky Asheville (due, March 21): Dixie (“Lady Passion”) Deerman, Candice Morgan (from Wales), Onca (“Baraka Mundi”) O’Leary, Kelly Lee Phipps. Awaiting submissions: Dale Allen Hoffman, Matthew Mulder, Accem Scott.

[ ] The opening date of the Twin Rivers Media & Film Festival on April 29 features bands and acts performing at The Courtyard from 1pm to 10pm. We are extending invites. The Wednesday (7pm) “special Twin Rivers” screenings are still open to interested film enthusiasts who might want to help us judge the entries.

[ ] Mellow Mushroom donates $100 worth of gift certificates – each month – in exchange for ads to The Epicurean. The Indie already gets $100 every-other-month, apart from a one-year advertisement contract that expires this summer.

[ ] Ty Hallock of Top Floor Studios (compound neighbor) is doing the long-awaited Indie/Bonfires website. Ty is also a friend of Bonfires friends Katie Kasben and Jenny Greer. He is also working on business-related hook-ups with Carlos Steward.

Now, to answer some nagging queries and silence some suspicions, Mr Carlos Steward of Courtyard Gallery & Agency isn’t financing the Traveling Bonfires, Loved by the Buffalo, or myself or Marta. NOT AT ALL. Our relationship with him is pretty much parallel with other Indie/Bonfires collaborations – no contract, no money movements, no complications. It’s – again – all about COMMUNITY. The rent isn’t a freebie, the business operation isn’t funded, and we have equal numbers of computers in the shared middle-room office. The van isn’t a hand-out either—we are paying it on work-related/installment basis. Carlos, however, gives paying deskwork jobs to Marta that aren’t related to Indie/Bonfires or Courtyard.
In the past few weeks, there are some good-natured individuals who thought otherwise and bugged Carlos with pestering/non-business phone calls (“please open the gate”) and even a request to crash at the gallery. (If you want to crash, please let me know—don’t go to Carlos, that unwanted gesture is embarrassing). There were also instances when unwanted “visitors” strode straight to the apartment space, without even asking my permission. This is my and Marta’s shared private living quarters, not a community center – NOT a part of Courtyard Gallery or Mr Steward’s house—only those that I invite to come in, get in. All my writing/work implements are “scattered” all over my space, I don’t want anyone to be touching them, esp. when I am on deadline.
Moreover, I am also responsible with whatever might get lost in the gallery area… These areas aren’t extensions of the rainbow gathering, please.
Last but not the least, PLEASE DO OBSERVE DEADLINES. Most longtime Indie writers – ie Mike Hopping, Gaither Stewart, Matt Mulder – beat their deadlines like true professionals. When they couldn’t, they make it a point to email me what’s going on (eg Carlos Steward, Benjamin Bernstein, Lady Passion, Rena Wright etc). Recently, a “new” writer submitted her article a day before I submitted the final proofs to Iwanna, which was Feb 27 (deadline is the 17th, I repeat that many times each month). She didn’t give me any notice, any request for extension at all. She simply emailed her story with a one-word notice/blurb, “March.” When I turned it down and rejected her article, she responded by retrieving her booking presskits from us.
I don’t tolerate this brattiness and arrogance. I am still very upset with this show of utter disrespect. This is the time and situation when I don’t regret being branded “eccentric” or “difficult.” These words have become my virtues.

With that, SALUT!