Friday, August 24, 2007

Update (08.24.07)—The Great Funk Season, DIWATA Womenfest, The Duane Tour, “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park—SNUFFED OUT”

OH WELL, it has been a long time—five months to be exact—since I rambled about stuff and things in my last Update. (The last one was 03-24.) A world, or should I say—a universe—of “stuff and things” have happened, crashlanded, mushroomed and crashed in our midst. In my midst (ie personal life and relations), my son survived a life-and-death situation in a Manila hospital. At the wake of that tragic episode, many truths of my “private life” (that I kept “low-key”) come barging in, till this moment. “What, you have a son?” But you don’t wanna read/hear that, so I digress.
There’re a lot of things to talk about, such as the current/brewing “policing” of Asheville. (Damn, did you read this week’s Mountain Xpress—that fantastic statement from College Street Pub’s owner, in re the last activist unrest in downtown? Ah!)
Another important/significant issue to discuss? The “plugging” of Pritchard Park, should I say—the “unplugging” of “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park.” The originally booked Bonfires (with Touch Samadhi) on Aug 18 didn’t happen. A “moratorium on noise, AKA amplified music” (sic) was handed down at Pritch Park. ONLY at Pritchard Park—which means, you can howl and scream and yell—with your Strats and Pearl and humongous speakers in any other part of downtown like Battery Park or Vance Monument (you can AMPLIFY that, yes), that is okay, that is “legal”—but not at Pritchard Park. NOT at Pritchard Park. The powers-that-be simply hate that poor, pitiful park.

What is this all about? The fifth moon of Mercury on interplanetary traffic retrograde, or something to that effect? Sometimes I start to believe that maybe it’s feasible, it’s true—that all these “unaligned cosmic incursions” into our respective physiological/metaphysical realms before the advent of autumn is making lives go haywire, upside down, or simply messed up. Well, Jen Bowen’s downtown studio got robbed bigtime, Brigham The Gum got mugged in Albuquerque, Marta The Nicer’s son (yes, she has a son!) in Winston-Salem got held up and beaten blue, Beaver The Fever got dumped by her new ex—and the dude ran away with her Beavis & Butthead DVD archives and Pyrex kitchenware (oh man!)... so do you have a bad story to share—you know, till autumn leaves start falling?
“A lot of things are goin’ on with my life right now.” I used to sneer over this tired and drained whine—until I realized I’m having them, too. But, what the heck, I gotta get moving and start solving problems, or should I say, “situations.” The bullheaded fatalism that I grew up with in the islands—rocked and rolled by obligatory typhoons and political strife battering our souls and bodies—are still pretty much a force inside my madness journey, so be it. Let’s rock!

ON THAT NOTE, here is my long overdue Update— (while watching the Little League, in between Coke-and-Seagram’s).
But, good stuff first—one fine email from a Florida dude (name’s Jim Bonnell)—about all this Indie and stuff: “I recently was in Asheville and really enjoyed your paper. What a great place! I am wondering if it's possible to subscribe and have it shipped to Fla. [Yes another Floridian.] I was amazed at the similarities between our areas. The beaches I grew up in have been destroyed by greedy developers. Keep up the fight and don't lose what you have like we did.”

[ ] The Duane Tour, first leg—along with the “road launch” of Gaither Stewart’s new novel, “Asheville.”
A deadly virus got into my 20-year-old son Duane’s system last month. It took injections of five vials of very expensive antibiotics to save his life. He is currently recovering—but I still need to raise more money for his recovery fund (medicines, therapy etc). Hence, “The Duane Tour.” (Nah, it’s not connected to Duane Reade, okay?) Needless to say, the “fundraiser” road tour was already planned months before the aforementioned “mishap”—as part of The Bonfires’ “Vagrant Wind Road Journeys” to solicit and earn something to help tide financing The Indie and other Bonfires projects and programs... It just evolved into a deeply personal “mission.”
The 3 or 4 leg summer-to-fall “road saga” (in the macro) aims to advocate that health care is utmost and should be the focal agenda in any political or governmental program. The Tour also coincides with my “road launch” of Gaither Stewart’s new novel, “Asheville.” Gaither, who is based in Rome (Italy), is one of three longtime senior writers of The Indie—the other two are Michael Hopping and Matthew Mulder. Mike’s WastelandRunes publishes “Asheville,” while our Loved by the Buffalo Publications markets/distributes it. (A portion of “Asheville’s” first-printing’s book sales go to The Indie’s printing/operations fund, as well as the Traveling Bonfires’ community projects.)
“New” Indie/Bonfires volunteer staff Terri “The Terra” Schell will be my travel comrade. Matt signifies joining in one or two legs. (Matt and Sarah Benoit were my separate “co-road comrades” during my road trips to NYC in the fall of 2002.) At this juncture, the First Leg happens on Sept 15, 16, 17, 18.
The Duane Tour/Vagrant Wind `07 will be “silently/officially” launched with a little event called “Poetry in Favor of Peace, Words Against War” reading (and “Asheville,” the novel, launch) at Malaprop’s on Aug 30. Joining me in reading (either “anti-war/pro-peace” poems or excerpts from Gaither’s book, or both) are Michael Hefner (a Bonfires “homey,” and music technology student at UNCA) and some of his college buddies, Mike Hopping, WNC Peace Coalition’s Susan Ohler, and possibly/hopefully two or three students from Aile Shebar’s summer poetry workshop. In case we still have time in this 2-hour (6:30-8:30pm) gig, an Open Mic ensues.
On Sept 15, we plan to hit either Washington DC or Baltimore (Fells Point or Hampden), or Gaithesburg MD or Fairfax VA. (Sorry, for the “or/s” – at this writing, we are in the process of nailing down that tour stop, tba.) On the 16th, Sunday, a “house gig” at my kindred bro Ruben Austria’s apartment in The Bronx happens—this is a “real” show, even more “full-blown” than some Bonfires “intimate events,” since I get a better turnout and “tip-jar earnings” in this kind of gig. Ruben, who has a “family” bossanova band called Mambola (, maintains a drum kit and piano in his pad. Vanessa Boyd (another Bonfires “homey”), who now lives and works in NYC (via Queens), is also playing/attending.
On the 17th, Monday (9 to midnight), we will be at Stain Bar in Brooklyn. I still don’t have the final lineup for this show. My friend and Indie contributing writer Adrienne Nightingale is helping me recruit NY-based singer-songwriters and poets for the show; Mambola might play, by the way. The drive back might find us at either Busboys & Poets or El Tamarindo in DC, but not sure yet. Those venues are teeming with poetry.
In between, we might be attending a Filipino-American rock showcase in DC on the 15th, which will also figure in my organization of a multi-band fundraise in DC or Baltimore on the Second Leg, which will be on the 4th week of Oct. I have already booked a reading/book launch at Mina’s Gallery in Hampden MD (Baltimore) on Oct 27, Saturday. BTW, in case you don’t know, Hampden is John Waters’ neighborhood... (Mr Waters of “Hairspray” and “Serial Mom.”)
MEANTIME, I’d like to thank those who are helping me in hooking up the Tour (as of this Update), namely: Asheville “nerve-center,” Marta The Nicer (as ever); Hendersonville “backup cave,” Terri Schell; Martin Smith, Jonathan Blackwell (Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh); Jojo Valenzuela, Shahid Buttar, Laurie Blair (Washington DC); Leighanne Lombardo (Greenville SC); Daniel Stuelpnagel, Marco Galsim (Baltimore); Jeri Crystal (Philadelphia); Gino Inocentes, Ruben Austria, Maria Lapachet, Adrienne Nightingale (New York City). Crash pads/rooms are offered (confirmed) by Ruben Austria for New York City and Marco Accattatis (of the band Blue Number Nine) for Jersey City.

[ ] Terri Schell, Nancy Rollins, Eira Patnaik.
IT’S LONG overdue, but let us welcome the newest Indie/Bonfires staff/writers-volunteers. Asheville is always a “woman city” (check out Marta The Nicer’s ongoing Indie Q&A feature, “The Women of Asheville”). From the get-go, without women-friends, it’d been impossible to get these projects/programs (ie “brainstorms”) to move or carry on in the past five or six years. These beautiful spirits came in batches, from the not-so-distant past: Greer Kupka and Kate O’Haley; Elizabeth Mason and Jenni Roberts; Rita Knighten and Paige Michaels; Crystal Whatley and Julie Grant; Emily Elders, Susan Williams, Patricia Nichols and Sommer Swanson; Dinna Daproza-Rich, Lally Cenabre, Shiela Higgins, Maria Lapachet, Julie Fisher, Julia Bella Flores, Lacy McAuley, Karen Helman, Kat Magendie, Linda Brown... Thanks to all of you. (And those who are always here, supporting/lending a hand and heart or two whenever they could—Dawn Humphrey, Loretta Hoffman, Rena Wright, Katie Kasben etcetcetc—they know it.)
(a) Terri Schell. She fills up all the vacuums and missing spaces—Indie/Bonfires-related errands and tasks, outlet/volunteer/support networking (Hendersonville, Flat Rock), “back-up” office/chill-out retreat in Hendersonville, and many others not worth words and superlatives. (b) Nancy Rollins. Fills up the editorial/writing (assignment-basis) gaps that have long kept me cramming on d-day. Emcees Bonfires/Third World Asheville shows and gigs—and a lot more in between. (c) Eira Patnaik. New Indie columnist and Bonfires/TWA resource speaker, as well as dance benefit instructor.

[ ] DIWATA Womenfest—and Organicfest, LAAFF, Touch Samadhi’s “Reunion.”
Third World Asheville presents “DIWATA WOMENFEST: A Third World Asheville Gathering,” tomorrow, Aug 25, Saturday (12noon to 11pm) at HandMade in America bldg, located at 125 South Lexington Avenue (corner of Hilliard and Church streets), near downtown Asheville. Featured performers are Baraka Mundi’s World Spirit bellydancing group, singer-songwriters Jenny Arch, Amy Hamilton, Dawn Humphrey, and Jaimee Tomas, and poets Jess Clarke, Audrey Hope Rinehart, and Pat Spaulding. There will also be a screening of the documentary “Imelda,” a Sundance-winning movie by Ramona Diaz. Emcee is Nancy Rollins.
Thanks to: Artisan Restaurant, Asheville Yoga Center, Bella Vista Art, Melanie Castillo, Charlotte Street Grill, Cruley’s, Earth Fare, Eaties Cereal Bar, Dr Mary Elam, Fired up!, The Greenery, Harvest Restaurant, Ingles-Merrimon Avenue, Instant Karma, Jon Leidel Photography, Kinko’s, Mayfel’s, Dorinda Metcalf, Mellow Mushroom, Kim Miller, Matthew Mulder, Papa’s Pizza, Pastabilities, Picnics, Screen Door, Terri Schell & Renee Rutley, Ten Thousand Villages, Toy Box, True Blue, Ultimate Ice Cream, Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro, West End Bakery, and WNC Peace Coalition. Proceeds of the event go to TWA’s start-up administrative fund and ongoing typhoon relief projects in the Philippines.
Your indefatigable, non-tiring spirit—MARTA THE NICER OSBOURNE—the Producer.
MEANTIME, we will also be participating at Organicfest (Sept 8), Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival (Sept 9), and REUNION: Touch Samadhi Festival in Deerfields (Sept 21, 22, 23).


(a) Sept 1, 6:30pm, at Eaties Cereal Bar, 48 Commerce St., downtown Asheville. Start of Traveling Bonfires’ Saturday Filmshows (after so many attempts). Lineup of screenings, tba.
(b) Sept 19, Wednesday, 6:30-8:30pm, at Malaprop’s. Eira Patnaik talks about “Four Generations of Women in India,” plus a women poetry open mic. Hosted by Marta The Nicer.
(c) Sept 22, Saturday, 7pm-9pm, at Osondu Booksellers, Waynesville. Traveling Bonfires’ 3rd-Saturday of the month poetry reading/singer-songwriter unpluggeds.
(d) Oct 13, Saturday, evening, at Asheville Arts Center in Merrimon Avenue. A possible dance demonstration/lessons/fundraise to be facilitated by Eira Patnaik and Jim Curtis.

SO, THAT'S IT—for now... Last but not the least, every first Sunday of the month, starting Sept 2, we will be having potluck/gathering/chill out time at The Bonfires Abode, 61 Dunwell Avenue, West Asheville. This is not a meeting, not a “rally,” not anything—but just to hang out, bring your family and pets (but as ever, no baby anacondas and domesticated pterodactyls, please). And every early Sunday morning (when I can), we—me with Marta The Nicer, or Terri The Terra—sell whatever we could at Smiley’s Flea Market in Fletcher... so keep on donating/contributing whatever “saleable used-to-be throwable treasures” that you may have for us bring/sell at Smiley’s—remember, after all this life’s turbulence or “the fifth moon of Mercury on interplanetary traffic retrograde,” we are still here, because every cent and dollar + load and loads of sublime stubbornness add up.
Live good, love good—and eat only good food!

4:46am. Asheville NC.


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