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.