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!


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