Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pix from Jazzbones: Waldorf Event

Thanks to my wonderful friend, Mizu, I have some pictures to share. All pics here are copyright 2008 Mizu Sugimura.....

Here's Mizu and I (photo taken by Mizu's husband, Yaz) after the performance...when my inner thermostat was about 212 degrees! It was a hot night, under even hotter stagelights.

Anna Hart, my colleague, my friend, my daughter.

Two more wonderful friends, Kim and daughter Erin...with some crazy woman!

Lorraine, cooked medium-well!

It was a great night with friends...thank you everyone, for supporting the Tacoma Waldorf School...and thank you to wonderful Waldorfians!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Summer Solstice Secret Garden Party

Ah, the blessed quiet of a Sunday morning with everyone else still abed. Kettle is on for another life-returning silky tea is the sexiest thing I know in the morning...pitiful pekoe punky junkie.

Ooh-la...I'm an old, tired, sore woman today...ah, but it was worth it. The great pie-in-the-sky was kind and shined (mostly) on a day they assured us would rain. A light breeze from the southwest, moist by evening. 'Twas the day of the Summer Solstice Secret Garden Party.

Imagine yourself walking through a metal-sculptured archway, lined on each side with ceramic shells and huge pots filled to spilling with a paintbox of flowers. As you walk through, you look directly at the firepit which is stacked and ready. Just beyond is the cairn that marks the grave of old Mr. Pig, our host's beloved pet. The path veers to the right, around the cedars and to the gazebo, where we were setting up to play amid more flowers, driftwood creatures and brightly-painted mobiles.

This is a garden of "rooms"...beyond the gazebo room, with its incredible flowerbeds and gentle lawn, you could choose to walk through an evergreen tunnel to the house, walk behind the gazebo into the wild woods, walk another pathway by the garage to the pond and rock garden to watch and listen to the waterfall, or you can continue around the back of the house, past P's studio, through more woods full of madronas, evergreens and the garden where the latest huge Mr. Pig lives. Turn and walk up the hill from here and you're back to the open lawn and gazebo, past the gobsmacking flowerbeds.

Our audience here is a very eclectic mix of generations, artists, writers, and passionate volunteers for community and world. A lotta ol' hippies, a touch of Goth to punctuate the Hawaiin Punch shirts, softened by the pastel summer dresses and the familiarity of this gathering. As my bass-player announced, "We've been playing this gig since 1939!"

I love when Anna can sing with me...her dreamy harmonies and being able to follow whether I slide or leap on a song like "Moonglow" make the elders melt. She was so tired and her hand was becoming numb...but she still sang the caboodle outta "The Weight"....oh yeah, my girl taking the lead! Eclectic is our mix aussi. Slipping originals in here and there, we also did a bit of Leonard Cohen (the great Canadian Velvet Growl) some Jimmy Cliff, Ella, Monk, Van Morrison, Tennessee Ernie Ford (Sixteen Tons...uh-huh) Lady Day, and even a little Tim Hardin. The trees danced and let go some leaves in their applause...the snapdragons smiled.

Let me tell you...I work my ass off at gigs...not that it's not cookin' on my spoon...but...if I'm getting up on stage, I'm goin' somewhere and I'm gonna take you with me...with voice, hands, hips...everything I've got. In my dance I conduct the band (sound doing some funny things in gazebos and gardens, so it's important to have a constant) and often leave the stage to get the dancing going. This seems to be done in some trance-like state of bliss that doesn't allow me to feel any pain. As an example, I've done a rehearsal, audition and gig before taking myself to the ER for kidney stones. Lorraine's hardcore...the show must go on! My beautiful daughter is a fruit not far from the tree.

I mean...we have to laugh at ourselves as we collapse back on her (oh how I love the memory foam) bed...each of us making noises somewhere between old-lady and seal-like in tone with each movement. After three hours of singing with an ill-fitting upper denture, I have rubbed my inner cheek raw and bleeding, and my jaw is out of alignment. Both of us have screaming joints and backs...but we're smiling 'cos we had our fix. The afternoon was beautiful, the potluck spread was as incredible as it's always been (since 1939) the breeze kept the skitters to a minimum, and an audience that clap, hollah, hug and make magic with you...what can I say that's big enough for that feeling?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Sestina


I did it. I made it through the April "write-a-poem-a-day" month-long challenge. If you asked me what the hardest day was I'll tell you simply...Day 28...and the Sestina. I'd never heard of the form before and it required a bicycle tire pump to keep my left brain inflated enough to keep track of the formula.

You've got seven stanzas...the first six are six lines long and the seventh is three lines...six words are used to end the lines of the stanza and appear in a rotating math the seventh stanza two words appear in each line.

I know. My eyes were crossed by that point too! Making it through the challenge hinged on this though, so I was determined...grrrr. Many crumpled sheets of paper later I let go and let my mind create a painting. Once I had the visual, I picked six words from that visual and wrote them down in the order of the whole poem. Now I had the frame to hang a story on.

The Tulips

Sleepy morning had only opened one eye of light
while she'd been to market and back. Packages and tulips
litter the table, her hands cooling under running water,
knowing just which vase she wants, curving
through slices of sun, she opens
the cabinet and her hair falls.

Wave upon dark wave crests and falls
like carved mahogany polished with light,
one hand closing pulls it back, one hand opens
to the jar that will hold the tulips
waiting on the table, stems curving
to the sound of promising water.

She washes the vessel and halves it with water,
cuts the stem ends--a broken leaf falls,
behind on the white wall, her shadow curving,
but she doesn't see, eyes closed in the light.
The first time they met he bought her some tulips,
the magic phrase, "before the war," and her memory opens.

He told her he loved when a closed bud opens
and asked her to marry him down by the water,
he had hidden her ring inside one of the tulips.
She pushes him over, laughing he falls.
Remembering, she laughs with her ring in the light
round her finger, curving.

So long since she clung to him in their goodbye, curving
into the scratch of his uniform. Her mouth opens
to taste his promise on afternoon's light,
quenching her thirst with cool, clear water
she stirs the stew, awaiting the sound of his foot-falls,
the table set for two, with tulips.

He promised to come home if she kept tulips.
He had whispered it softly into her ear's curving,
"With two lips home waiting, a man never falls."
At the stroke of sunset the matchbox opens,
she flames the candle's glow on petals, glass and water,
a pleading, calling light.

A stub of candle's light kisses tulips
in a jar of water, abandoned lines curving.
The front door opens. Into his two lips, at last she falls.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Coyote Waltz

As a songwriter, it’s important to me to talk about more than just love in the romantic sense, though it could be argued that everything is about love. I didn’t just want to write about the back and forth, the comings and goings of lovers, which is another reason I left the more commercial business of music back east. I wanted to bite into bigger subjects sometimes. I wanted to talk about life, the universe, and everything; talk about my lifelong walk of spirit…without preaching a path to follow.

I love lyrics that can be understood in layers, for those who care to. As a performer it’s important, first and foremost, to entertain and not weigh down your audience with a lecture of life as you see it, or a sermon. That having been said, we all know of songs that managed to produce books in our minds, inside the slim four minutes they played.

Coyote Waltz can be seen as a nonsense performance piece. I often sing it straight after “Twisted” for a crazy little set-ender, the stand-up bass bringing in the jazz waltz. It can be left to enjoy just like that (I’m not selling anything, honest!) or the words can be heard with a mind to looking for and finding one’s spirit, within indigenous connections and the major religions. In these lyrics and the music sits my four-minute Theosophy Doctorate Thesis. First Nation stories talk of the coyote as a trickster, a teacher, even a creator…so he was perfect for a song…a waltz perfect for the twirling constancy of movement…the dance we are all caught-up in. What do you think it says?

Coyote Waltz copyright 2001 Lorraine Hart

Sometimes I dance with coyote
And fall on my ass…laughing
He’s a wolf
He’s a fox
He’s a dog
Oh my my my!

Sometimes I dance with coyote
And rise on my toes…gasping
He’s the truth in a lie
Such a fool
Ah…but who am I?

The fool is a wise man
And the wise man’s a fool
Our biggest lesson
Is our greatest tool
Every dance documents
The golden rule
That coyote can show me
Oooh…the jewel of cool!

As soon as he says it’s this
Baby…you know it’s that
Three hundred and twelve
All of them under one hat…