Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shattered Wig Night Will Smash You - 11/20/09

Gaze into the furtive eyes of Michael Kimball pictured here introducing the film "I Will Smash You" at the November 20th Shattered Wig Night, rabidly active writer and promoter of Baltimore literary arts. What dark secrets cause him to be so healthy and productive, to be so supportive of other writers? Do we need to wait until the corpses are uncovered in his Charles Village house or do we apprehend him now knowing full well that nothing is as it appears.

If any other evidence is needed of his subterranean other self it was the nervous pace at which his wife unwrapped and chewed various taffies tumbled from the splattered pirate pinata at the end of Sweatpants' set - she was afraid of leaving her tongue idle for fear it would speak truth, some possible horrible truth of the crushing fear she is forced to live with on a daily basis.

But aside from these speculations it was a great night of strong performances. Newcomer to the Shattered Wig stage, Ingrid Burrington,, who is also a conceptual artist, read some short shorts that telegraphed well with the lively audience. Blaster Al put a meta spin on his usual cleanup position in the reading post by reading so called unpublished and unused pieces from his notebook. As someone said: "I don't see Blaster owning a notebook."

After the break and a tense two or three minutes of wondering if the dvd projector would work Michael Kimball and Luca DiPierro's "I Will Smash You" was shown. For this viewer the Adam Robinson segment where he confronts his grandfather's religion through singing a hymn he associated with him was a highlight that sat perhaps a bit alone in its level of transcendence until Kimball himself got in the picture and bashed the shit out of an office environment.

Sweatpants, a rock band that is squarely and furiously in the rock realm, yet in a genre there all by itself, brought its usual vigor and full on joy. The set included an unusual sparse cover of The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry", many shouted recitations of the word "Sweatpants" and an inspiring truncated version of "Love Hurts". The show was ended by the fore mentioned Adam Robinson, who also happens to be the lead singer of Sweatpants, cracking and splattering a pirate pinata which spit out vodka miniatures and taffy. Somehow Adam, the drummer and the drumkit then ended up splayed on the stage in woodpile fashion and a good time was had.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Matt Kraft Video of "The Art of Disappearing"

This here new video by Matt Kraft set to the words of poet Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "The Art of Disappearing" spoken by Blaster Al Ackerman truly hits my sweet spot. Aching melancholy with a healthy dose of absurdity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Shorts

Something Like Childhood

He speaks well through wire-enforced glass. Keeps strict law among star-faced moles while I stay at home lit by a pair of crystal hurricane lamps. Enthralled by stereo, moon shots and color tv. Nat King Cole sweaters carry the sun down. A misery lands electric like dancing. John Kennedy dead.


Late afternoon sun creates golden flecks on her arms as the Canadian uke man jumps about like Jiminy Cricket, giving his audience of six heartfelt atomic razzle dazzle. Her hand on mine, the sense of everyone's gathered breath, the blast of coffee - I've waited over a decade for this: drop the feeling into a river and watch it spread in far reaching ripples.


Monday, November 9, 2009

All Souls Day Party and Performance

Having grown old and cranky, without the crutch of the faux fuel of alcohol to temporarily waylay the cares and gravity of the body so that the brain can be coerced into going to parties, it's fairly rare that I make it to one and actually have fun. Usually I prefer groups of four or less or one on one with my beloved on The Good Ship Lollipop, reading poetry or a novel beside her as she reads tales of apocalypse or grim testimonies of the Holocaust, all the while wearing a smile of gentle kindness (perhaps on a little sideways from bootleg Spanish wine), two fat orange tabbies flanking her.

But Senor Peyton and his intergalactic Venusian healer Usana held a beautiful party on All Souls Day that also happened to have low key but soulful quality performances. Liz Downing, pictured here for the unitiated, graced us with an old traditional song plus one of her own based on The Odyssey. She had the audience entranced and her spectral, clear vocals surely crossed the membrane which is so thin between the spirit worlds on All Souls Day. She, along with Chris Mason and Laure Drogoul I will always consider the Holy Trinity of Baltimore artists, having had my mind blown by them within the first few months of moving here in 1984. They all deserve monster grants, with money preferably taken away from bankers, lawyers or stock traders, so that they can devote all their time to wandering their brains and imaginations. They have taken their lumps in the workaday world plus the ones large enough to grace Curly and Shemp's heads. They will always be prole art threats.

I caught and enjoyed a poet I'd never heard before, Cliff Lynn, heard the always inspiring Jenny Keith (who had to compete a bit with Don and Usana's large elderly dog Moses) and Batworth and watched my beloved Everly get dragged inexorably into the Italian Futurist web of Barbara DeCesare's debauched playwriting. Everly, along with Tinklers and Old Songs member Chris Mason, played one of "Three French Girl Singers" in DeCesare's "Doug Gets Kicked Out of Denny's A Lot". The play features a Denny's waitress with a gift for machine gun fire cursing and a group/audience sing-along finale of the treacly "Endless Love". DeCesare leered from the shadows off to the side watching her flesh puppets carry out her sick vision.

Party co-host Don joined Skizz Cyzyk in their ukulele stand-up bass duo The Lefties. Skizz sang his classic song of performance existentialism "Why Are All You People Staring At Me" (or something along those lines) pondering the obsessive need to perform even if there is paltry or non-existent pay and the act causes pain to the performer.

During one song Don displayed his musical and acrobatic prowess by falling onto his back with his stand-up bass and playing upside down. It was perhaps this fall that caused him to forget to sing their memorable cover of "Going Back to Eden" from one of the old classic Star Trek episodes. A song that Daniel Higgs does his own visionary take on also.

Sadly, the poet/friend who thought up the idea for the party and got Don and Usana going on it, Chris Toll, was somehow not aware it was taking place so he wasn't in attendance. But that leaves a good excuse to force our unwashed way back into the peaceful home of our hosts at some later date. They talked about doing another one featuring Freebo and Daniel Higgs.

One Time Journey Inside

the flesh of Kim Jong Il
for Halloween purposes only
never to return to
thoughts of
our dear leader

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Shoebox Versus a Church Versus a Swimming Pool

Shadows dump the
voices of frustrated
pay phone calls into
the shoebox, along with
an unimpeded box car
moustache that once
rode above lips tossed
with indigestion.

The church is filled
with hushed marching and
a brocaded cushion
feels boundless yearning
for the swinging
incense cannister.

A swimming pool can
be baptismal, so
blue and rippling and topped
with shifting light
triangles, but it can
also be a fondue
bowl of greasy bodies
doing things that
humans do in what
some may call their
mortal weakness.

For the disgruntled
onlookers things are
at a maddening crawl
as they yell for
blue suede shoes
reflected in Cadillac
chrome, Germanic angels
lifted from Deutsche
Grammophon covers
aloft in trees,
roaring stadiums or
at least wrinkle free collars.

There is a slow
closeup pan on
a heavily veined hand
lifting a photo of
Uncle Divshek from
the still crisp shoebox,
its corners not yet
blunted or kicked around,
which indicates that
there might still be
hope, that someone has
bought new sneakers
or wingtips for
a fresh school year
or job interview.

After surviving the
Battle of Bastogne
Uncle Divshek refused
to fly unless the
pop band The Beatles
were also on
the plane, reasoning that
no god would take
them down while they
were so beloved.
Which is not saying much
for Buddy Holly or Patsy Cline.

In this photo
Uncle Divshek has his
arm around his
parish priest by
the side of the
neighborhood pool.
A few days after
it was taken
two altar boys were
found floating dead
on the pool's surface
and Ringo Starr
was killed in a hunting
accident by the
Vice President of
the United States.