Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Bob's Ball Of Worms
Surely never before has a man losing a testicle brought such an amazing array of beauty. Baltimore, DC, Philly and parts other be sent out their poetic, musical and visual arts power to generate some green for WORMS host and editor, poet, musician and good guy Bob O'Brien to fight or reason with his cancer.
As sad and frightening as it was on hearing the news of Bob's illness - more bad news for a Baltimore poet in a period where two had died - it felt good to be honoring and helping a poet friend still alive.
Dear Leader Chris Mason summoned his organizing powers and put the call out that Bob needed some financial help. Not since Chris staged an all ferret production of "Our Town" when first dealing with "empty nest syndrome" and a Moxie soda habit have I seen him so tenaciously hone his vision and energies into one goal.
Each day he would call me two or three times to hammer out event details, often telling me "I need to hang up now so that I can call you back." It was near midnight of this successful and love filled fundraiser, when Chris had put a few adult beverages down, that he announced "I myself have enough balls to fill a golf bag".
Above - Mel Nichols googling herself with piHole
Stephanie Barber, author of Night Moves and member of Bobbie Donnie.
Poet, musician and Bob O'Brien frequent tourmate Lesser Gonzalez.
The Tinklers demonstrate a full range of arm movement and run through some of the classics like "Cheesewolf".
Joseph Young, a word parser, not one to clutter.
Christophe Casamassima, poet and editor of Furniture Press.
Lauren Bender, poet, performance artist and "Tron" enthusiast.
Rod Smith, poet, author of In Memory of My Theories, Protective Immediacy, Music or Honesty and others, publisher of EDGE books and curator of the Bridge Street Books poetry reading series.
Philly poet Ryan Eckes, author of Old News on Furniture Press.
Sea Couch and Erik Boat Water discussing a Derrida like deconstruction of the Spice Girls movie.
The Mole Suit Choir was honored to be part of the proceedings and put together a musical arrangement of Bob's haunting poem "Increasingly Virtual Worlds". The set was a blast and went well once the soundman helped me set up a truly annoying new musiv stand with a spring action neck. After our set Wheatie asked to borrow it and she, Dan Dorsey of Sea Couch and I could not get the flimsy legs to stand up. It's called something like a "touring stand", for the musician on the road who needs that one last nagging hitch to drive them over the edge.
After the Mole Suit set it was bliss to kick back in the front row and absorb the soothing and inspiring powers of Wheatie Mattiasich. I worried that maybe we had placed her too late in the lineup for what was turning into a long action packed night, but the slightly restless fueled up crowd immediately fell into a hush when her sacred warble unfurled. Steve of Thank You, Ghostlife and More Dogs joined her on stage for a few pieces on keyboard, including "Little Black Star", the title song for her new album she's finishing.
The grand finale of the night was Bob's brother Ben doing standup. And though the idea of comedy at a cancer fundraiser, particularly by the brother of the ailing human, may seem to hold large opportunities for awkwardness, such was not the case here. Ben didn't get too hardcore with the illness details or spiral out of control emotionally, he delivered a strong funny set that reflected his love for his brother and that hit that fine balance of the night - quality thoughtful entertainment delivered with passionate concern.
Sadly I neglected to get any pictures of all the great art that was also donated. It filled three or four tables and got snapped up by the end of the night. I somehow lucked into two pieces as gifts. A Thai "curry western" movie poster from Katie Brennan for my birthday and a beautiful painting of a mechanic's lot from Jamie and Margaret for Everly and my wedding. Coincidentally, Jamie and Margaret then got hitched a few weeks later. They will not be receiving the painting back.
It was a nice ending to the night to see The Chesapeake House Restaurant open again. I never got the chance to eat there in my youth when it was first open, but I have fond memories of peering in there after seeing "Polyester" when it first opened at The Charles.