Friday, April 07, 2006

04.07.06—Warmest Day, Bonfires at Dunwell, BlueNumberNine

THE WARMEST DAY so far. We brought our cute, yellow birds and parakeets at the front door to enjoy the warm West Asheville breeze—facing the relatively quiet street. Me and Marta The Nicer planned to mow the lawn but The Indie’s April issue had to be picked up... Danzig Jr and Kelly The Younger Osbourne painted the entire living room, cream green—which is fine.
Indeed, each coming of The Indie, or any of these “tabloid soundboards” that I opt to shelter my oft-bloodied truths, is like a new lease on life. The feeling is so cool , it’s like having a new baby—straight from the womb of glory, moist and fresh and hopeful.
61 Dunwell Avenue—the “madness’” new abode is lookin’ good! I slowly but surely starts to feel the peace-and-quiet vibe again. I cleaned up the basement, dusted the ceilings, stuck a good number of Bonfires posters on the walls, situated wooden chairs on the porch. My office is also ready to rock—my first “office” visitors were Diuvei/Steve Rasmussen and Kevin Innes (and Nina Collins, briefly).
Financial distractions (that go with moving to a new residence), as usual, pose temp hassles but that is okay. I just cooked marinated chicken-on-garlic/onion on margarine over lo mein cum ramens, and Peter Paul & Mary are singing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” at this moment while I sip pineapple juice on Jose Cuervo, so damn! Life is still a gift.

MOST OF OUR days these past few weeks were mostly spent on doing errands (+ raising last-ditch money) for the forthcoming Asheville visit/performance of Haiti’s N a Sonje on April 14 (UNCA/Highsmith Union). As usual, Bonfires/Indie friends made sure that they contribute a big chunk of their beautiful hearts and a piece out of the bank-account to this sweet lunacy – Charlie Thomas, Bob Brown, Susan Sertain (Costume Shoppe), Karen Pierre (Cold River Gallery), Gerry Mahon (Mellow Mushroom), Monika (of Jubilee), Kevin Innes, Jim of True Blue, plus commitments/pledges from Greg Lucas (MAP), Tim Pluta (Veterans for Peace), Deirdre Wiggins (UNCA’s Cultural Diversity Dept), Cicada Brokaw (Peace Coalition), and a number of friends from out of town/state.
Never to forget those who donated creative energy, equipment, efforts – Matt Mulder for the awesome poster, John Staversky for the sound/PA provision, Monika for food and other intangibles/tangibles, Jackie Bowman/Nina Collins for poster dissemination...
The good GOOD news in the last two days (in re this particular project) is the confirmation of the co-sponsorship of UNCA’s Student Government Association (SGA) of the event. This means that apart from having instant “resident” promotions and publicity and volunteer staff on event day, our rental is waived. A cool high five to Marta The Nicer for the indefatigable spirit, and to the young man at UNCA’s Reservations Dept (name is Will).
Meantime, Wally Bowen (MAIN/WPVM head honcho) helps us find a film crew to document the event. Kevin Innes provides the film projector. Megan Hislop anchors/emcees the event, I will give a welcoming address. All the other production needs are procured by our current house (big mirror, cassette recorder, other props) but we may need some more (big pillows, white screen etc)... There are still last-minute chores, eg radio coverage/interview assurance (I should link up with Virato of Revolution Radio and WPVM by Monday).
At this moment, The Blue Sky God/dess smiles at me via a cool moonlight. Things will be great.
The “Bonfires for Peace” at Pritchard Park the following day (April 15) is pretty much taken cared of by Chris Johnson and the Touch Samadhi family. One of the reasons why we are booking the DJs on this weekend – our heads/bodies will be occupied by the N a Sonje project to worry a lot about the physical/technical preparation for the April 15 park event. Besides, the trance DJs do gather a lot of people at the park, a fitting start of the third year of the Bonfires for Peace outdoor events in Asheville.
Mellow Mushroom and/or Burgermeister provide/s food to the performers and staff; pastry and bread to kids from West End Bakery.

AS A THANK-YOU gesture to UNCA’s Highsmith Union (for the N a Sonje event), we will have a special FREE intimate singer-songwriter gig/poetry reading at the same venue on May 5—as a warm sendoff to the students’ summer vacation. Featured acts are John Staversky & Jenny Arch and Vanessa Boyd, plus poets Pasckie Pascua and Megan Hislop.
Meanwhile, UNCA student Hannah Seng designs/executes posters/flyers to upcoming Bonfires events this spring and summer. Check out the May 6 Bonfires for Peace poster... (NOTE: Hannah, after meeting her for the first time in person, isn’t Chinese as I previously suspected. “Seng” is German, she told me.)

BEFORE the May 5 show at UNCA/Highsmith – don’t forget, me and Walter Dinteman (of the Tues Writers Group), Matt Mulder and Megan Hislop will be reading poems at Malaprop’s on April 19, as part of the Poetry Month. On May 4, we welcome Brooklyn NY visitors Adrienne Nightingale and Malcolm Rollick via a gig at the New French Bar on Biltmore Ave – with Dashvara.
That weekend (May 4, 5, 6, 7) will also be a big Bonfires week. Apart from Adrienne and Malcolm, we will also welcome Marco Accattattis and the NJ-based funk/R&B band, BlueNumberNine, to Bonfires events. Joining them at the park are Vanessa Boyd & The Yes Men and Laura Blackley & Lovehandles. Awesome day in downtown Asheville! Don’t forget, that’s also Bob Dylan/Merle Haggard concert night at The Orange Peel. Parking will be a major issue... (then walk.)
We will also host BlueNumberNine in our Dunwell Avenue Abode. We might have a house-party/concert the following day, Sunday, featuring the band (three women, three men). We may have a garage sale, family barbecue, and neighborhood fun. Mark that in your calendars, and come out!

AS I PREVIOUSLY mentioned, 61 Dunwell Avenue is looking good. By late April, we will be starting the Fridays and/or Saturdays Film Nights—featuring rock documentaries, Hollywood classics, amateur shorts, and (like Martin Smith/Blotter) “silly movies.” The basement is pretty accessible and comfy. Kevin The K will provide the film projector. Some of our advertisers take care of food and drinks.
This activity will be punctuated by weekly/weekend garage sales. Please bring your old valuable-throwables/shareables, donate or sell them for profit for yourself. If you have some stuff that you may want to donate, let us know, we will pick them up. Patrons could rummage through the stuff for sale—then read books at the basement or watch a movie.
I am actually thinking of making this event as the launch date for “Blue Sky Asheville.” But I am not sure yet... Meantime, on May 11, we will screen for donations basis, the documentary “Imelda” about my kababayan who loves shoes. We might screen this in two other venues.
We still have some ongoing projects somewhere, but I am getting tired (yes, I do) so I may have to take a nap now or finish watching “The Constant Gardener.”

WHAT ELSE? Oh, okay—new Wander contributor from nowhere. Michael H Brownstein from Chicago (short fiction and couple of poems). So Wander is actually wandering beyond Asheville. Snail contributions just arrive...
My apologies to those who are awaiting their copies of Wander/Indie (esp. Gaither Stewart in Rome). It has been very crazy here but it’s not anymore. Mails will be sent out tomorrow and Monday.
So that’s it, for now... I think, I’ll go outside and watch the sky. Then start/continue doing the layouts for Wander #4 and Blue Sky #1.
Gracias et amore!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Quick, Short Update

The only unchangeable/unchanging things in our life are our projects. Again, an update of the April and May Bonfires events--

[1] Three Innocents & A Spirit, featuring N a Sonje from Haiti
April 14, Fri, 8pm. Highsmith Union Hall, UNC at Asheville
$2 donation

[2] Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park (Year 3, Event 1)
April 15, Sat, 3-10pm. Downtown Asheville
Featuring Touch Samadhi Family, with Shapestatic, Kri, Oso, Medisin and Blue Spectral Monkey

[3] The Traveling Bonfires at Malaprop's Cafe & Bookshop.
April 19, Wed, 6:30-8:30pm. Featuring poets Walter Dinteman, Megan Hislop (unconfirmed), Matthew Mulder, and Pasckie Pascua
Haywood St., downtown Asheville

[4] The Traveling Bonfires presents Dashvara and guests, Adrienne Nightingale & Malcolm Rollick (from Brooklyn NY)
May 4, Thurs, 9pm to 2am.
New French Bar, Biltmore Ave., downtown Asheville

[5] The Traveling Bonfires at UNC Asheville (special show)
May 5, Fri, 7pm to 9pm. Highsmith Union Hall
Featuring Vanessa Boyd, Megan Hislop, John Staversky & Jenny Arch, and guest Sally Spring (unconfirmed)

[6] Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park (Event 2)
May 6, Sat, 3-10pm. Downtown Asheville
Featuring Laura Blackley & Lovehandles, Vanessa Boyd & The Yes Men, and guests Adrienne Nightingale & Malcolm Rollick and BlueNumberNine (from NJ, unconfirmed)

[7] A Bonfires Filmshow, featuring "Imelda, The Documentary"
May 11, Thurs, 6pm.Lord Auditorium/Pack Library
Downtown Asheville
$2 donation

[ ]Deadlines for The Indie and Wander remain. Blue Sky Asheville comes out third week of April.
(The Indie is due out Tues, April 4; Wander, April 15.)

03.26.06--61 Dunwell Av and “Looking Forward"

HERE WE GO... Now the Updates.

The first of issue of “Blue Sky Asheville” comes out third week of April. It’s not only because I wasn’t able to work on my desk in the past two weeks—due to obvious reasons—but also because I had to prioritize press/deskwork in relation to the current/existing printing schedules of the two other magazines (The Indie and Wander). The Indie comes out first week of the month, Wander the second week, and Blue Sky the third week—which means, printing schedules of the first two magazines should come out on sked, as expected this April. (Deadlines remain.)
To those awaiting the supposed coming-out of Blue Sky last week, my apologies… You can revise or update your articles/stories to fit the 1st half of April-1st half of May timeframe. Send in the modified articles by April 8, please. Since The Epicurean (food and art) is more of the grizzly bear’s brainchild—and I still don’t have the technical know-how and extra financial capability to do a color magazine with 5,000 printrun—we aren’t doing that “food/art” concept, for the time being. We have, however, the right/correct photoshop/quark/indesign/PDF programs in our Mac computer… Anybody who might wanna use that iMac desktop, feel free to visit us. I still basically use the PCs for The Indie, Wander and Blue Sky.
Gaither Stewart (The Indie’s Rome/European senior writer) suggests that we do a twice-a-month Indie, instead of pushing for my previous 7-magazine “Loved by the Buffalo” blueprint. A more frequent Indie opens up a more prestigious community publication and, perhaps, more ad/marketing possibilities but my main problem is additional consistent, reliable, competent writers. Gaither referred two writers—I think, one is from Australia, the other is based in France (pls correct me if I’m wrong, Gaither). As ever, my “madness blueprint” calls for expansion of free community (spread “global”) projects than business/profit-oriented/but lesser (in number) programs… which means, we still don’t have the capability to pay writers. (Don’t be worried though—profit is in my head, we will get there…)
I also plan to dissociate the rock/music/arts articles out of The Indie and do a separate magazine for that sole purpose—to pave way for a twice-a-month Indie. This will make The Indie more focused to what Mike Hopping, Gaither Stewart, and Matt Mulder (our three longtime writers) usually write—articles that could spread out to other cities beyond Asheville and countries beyond America.
The arts/music magazine shall be called “Misty Mountain Hop,” or something like that. Yes, that’s a Led Zep song. I’m still thinking of a food magazine that links up cultures but I am still brainstorming how am I supposed to deal with the color pages. I don’t know… So do you have any ideas?
Steve Shanafelt of Mountain Xpress, who’s starting an arts column, asked/emailed me about Loved by the Buffalo’s publishing plans, aside from the magazines. Our current book project is Gaither’s novella “Russia is Far Away” but because of these current, pestering distractions, I haven’t really fully concentrated on this one. (I am sorry, Gaither.) This project could be pre-sold, advanced orders and stuff. Since I plan to go to New York City by early summer, I will also check on other printing options, marketing etc etc.
I also plan to publish or copublish my friend, NY-based Maria Lapachet’s book (yes, Maria, I’d like to discuss that with you when I get there)—something about lesbian and gay liberalism or something, or an erotica book of fiction. I am also interested in publishing a poetry book by an Asheville-based woman-poet, plus a photography book from a wide array of multicultural photojournalist friends that I worked with in the past… (Of course, apart from my own books. First things first. We’ll get Gaither ‘s book out soon.

There is no change to this program. This remains as The Bonfires’ annual centerpiece project. The kickoff on April 15 features the Touch Samadhi family of trance goa DJs. (Thanks Chris Johnson for the poster, and Aaron/Oso for distributing/posting them all over town.) The other dates (May 6, June 10, July 1, Aug 5, Sept 2) are all reserved with the Parks&Recreation Department. Please check our Events blogs for details, in re performers.
Vanessa Boyd and her new band The Yes Men join the May 6 event; Raleigh-based Sally Spring and her band join the June 10 concert. A Filipino world music artist, Grace Nono, who will be on US Tour this summer might join the August event… plus a number of acts that I’ll sure meet and book in Baltimore/DC/NYC when I resume the Vagrant Wind tour by late May. Ms Nono did the music score for the Sundance-winning documentary, “Imelda.” I might produce/help-produce Grace’s east coast tour this summer… which may also converge in Long Island/NY in August with a joint Bonfires fundraise concert that I’m working out with Maria. This series also features poetry readings and art exhibitions – which may also tie up with, most probably, another project collaboration with Swati Khurana.
NYU-based Swati—who is a videographer, spoken word artist, and print artist—is currently in town. She’ll be performing with Glenis Redmond at Malaprop’s tomorrow (Monday, the 27th) night. I will be meeting up with her hours before her show—to talk/discuss about a hook-up project. Offhand, I’m looking at a multicultural women series of Bonfires summertime shows – Filipino Grace Nono, Indian Swati Khurana, and Spanish Maria Lapachet. I’d like to invite Glenis Redmond (Afro-American) and a white American poet-singer songwriter but I haven’t mentioned that plan to them yet, until this posting.

(1) The April 14 show by N a Sonje of Haiti at UNCA’s Highsmith Hall is looking good. We have common friends (Jackie, Monika, Shannon, Susanne etc) who already committed to accommodation, transportation, and other volunteer work. A group that is affiliated with Jubilee also pledged to do a potluck/fundraise for the visitors on either April 13 or 15. The GOOD news – The Bonfires’ rental fee at Highsmith might be waived after our meeting three days ago with Deirdre (last name I forgot), head of UNCA’s Multicultural Programs Department. She expressed appreciation/admiration for our initiative to bring other cultures to Asheville, and that, these should be supported. Thanks as well, to those who emailed me nice, warm words in re this particular project. (There will definitely be a dinner-get together with our Haitian friends—probably in Monika’s cabin retreat but I’ll announce the final plans later. You are all welcome.)
(2) College band and perennial Bonfires performer, Dashvara and visitors Adrienne Nightingale and Malcolm Rollick (from Brooklyn NY) play for The Bonfires at New French Bar, downtown Asheville on May 4, Thursday. John Staversky provides the sound; Vanessa Boyd, poet Megan Hislop, John Staversky and Jenny Arch, plus TBA acts play for a special campus Traveling Bonfires gig at UNCA’s Highsmith Hall on May 5. (Adrienne and Malcolm might join them.)
We are hosting Adrienne and Malcolm (it’s a girl’s name, OK?) on a probably “bonfires” dinner/get together in our new house on May 3—please do join us, potluck but I am also cooking…
(3) We will have a special benefit/donations-only screening of the documentary, “Imelda,” at Pack Library’s Lord Auditorium, UNCA’s Alumni Hall and/or BeBe Theater from April 29 to first week of May; along with possibly a short feature from an Asheville-based filmmaker and another one from NYC (maybe Swati’s and Irish friend Siobhan Clarke).
(4) Ongoing talks. <>”Loud and Peaceful” goth/metal acts convergence at Joli Rouge (current sign-ups are Avow from Boone and Chop Top from Salisbury). <>NJ’s BlueNumberNine at either Magnolia’s or Vincenzo’s on May 6.
(5) We will do a Fridays “Classics Around The World” Filmshows in our new place – at the basement – as soon as I get the space ready.

I have, in a way, mentioned about the resumption of this road project. Friends such as Shodekeh (Baltimore) and my Pinoy homeys in NY and MD have emailed me about updates. The “tour” will obviously happen in between the Bonfires events at Pritchard Park, and also meant to invite performers/acts from other cities/countries to “Bonfires for Peace.” I have many business/personal/organizational reasons why I should hit the road—leading to NYC—this summer, including small bookstores deals (distribution, agency pitches) with Loved by the Buffalo Publications, acquisition of films for NC exhibitions, supervision of fundraise concert showcases, facilitation of Asia/Philippines-made crafts and products (as part of help-profit remedies), etc etc.
This means that there will (also) be road gigs in Chapel Hill (with Martin Smith’s The Blotter), The Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency/Laurie Blair/Shahid Buttar in VA and DC, and the Baltimore (Hampden, Fells Point) friends. There are a number of acts who will/might be joining the tour with me (eg New Yorker Natalie Gelman, Boston-based Gail Maxwell, Queens’ The Dirt Road Squirrels), but all these will be posted later…

The “Bonfires of the Independents”/URTV show is, apparently, on hold. This is the particular project that is directly hit by the cutting of ties with Courtyard/Twin Rivers—since the grizzly bear owns the editing machine. I had all the footages saved though. I will have a better grasp of the project in a few days or weeks. I am currently looking for a secondhand handheld, and a friend who just moved from LA, might fill in with the editing chores.

Meantime, that’s what it is, for now… Tuesday writers group’s Robert Kelley has an invite-only potluck/soiree in his house on April 1… We might do a garage sale here in our new shelter when it gets warmer, to sort of bless our new abode… New contributors to Blue Sky—Fred Hansen, Aile Shebar, Ashley of the Christian band Inner Voice, and Molly McMillan—all from Asheville… Thanks David Hollie for the nice words about Wander and the $21 donation (we met him at the Peace Rally at Pack Square last March 19)…
Thanks Rena Wright, Clay Jensen, Linda Brown, Clare Hanrahan for the warm words and encouragements… Thanks Dale and Loretta Hoffman for always being there when we need your heart and hands… Thanks John S for the commitment to provide free sound to our acoustic/semi-unplugged shows this spring and summer… Karen Helman for the ACT (Asheville Community Theater) interview with Jenny Bunn… Thanks Heather Duncan, Nina Collins, Kapila Ushana for still being around… Thanks to my family.
Now, I have to wash the dishes, fix me some eggplant omelet and chicken adobo, put more logs on the fireplace, and sit back and watch Villanova vs Florida.

Gracias et emore!
West Asheville