Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Blasterthon, Night Two

(Above - Lauren Ross portraying The Ling Master. Photos throughout, except the one of Francis Poole at bottom, are by Catherine Bennett)

There has been a well-oiled revolving door to the Beyond in Baltimore this year and the most recent to exit was slugger Blaster Al Ackerman. Every moment spent with him was a revelatory gift - other than when he was busting on some of my favorite grooves like Curtis Mayfield and Brigitte Fontaine, of course. I could leave Normal's for only ten minutes to make a bank deposit and sure enough I'd get back to ELO on the turntable.

But so many of my favorite books (including most everything by him), obscure movies and strange folklore I found out about through him. And his daily example of each day no matter what creating something new and " messing with the concept of time", pranking to create reality shifts, deflating the pompous or vampiric, will inspire me until I forget how to slip my hairy legs into trousers.

(Above - Blaster's most beloved and long running collaborator, editor of Lost and Found Times, John M. Bennett blowing Batworth's mind before the show).

Now that Blaster's gone I kick my gluey third eye for not running a tape recorder on at least a few of the days we worked together at Normal's, often hungover from an epic four hour Wig Night at Madame Drogoul's legendary 14 Karat Cabaret where Blaster would entrance the wild-eyed crowd with incredible output of new stories and poems. And Blaster was generally a pretty happy, fun loving guy - especially, of course, before the health woes that kicked in near the beginning of the new Millenium, but he was never happier than when he emerged from the back computer room of the store with a finished draft of a new story. Sweat, glowing skin, golden aura, the whole new poppa bit.

(Above - the set of Lauren and Gerald Ross' Ling Master playlet)

With Blaster dying when he did, though, right after two other close, beloved friends and the memorials and tribute nights that followed, my miserablist heart began to sag and I momentarily thought "Is another show a way to grieve? Shouldn't I just construct a large Shirker's Nest in Blaster's honor and eat only snackcakes and lose the resolve to defecate in receptacles?"

(Above - Eric Franklin performing with The Dirty Dozen)

Luckily, the thoughts and plans of a Miserablist are quickly scattered by the movement of life itself and with John Berndt doing most of the heavy lifting the Blasterthon was formed. In fact night two was my tiny contribution, organizationally speaking, JB did the rest.

(Above - The Dirty Dozen: Neil Feather, Bob Wagner, Eric Franklin and Dan Breen)

And through the acts of the great folks channeling Blaster and his work, once again it was made clear how fantastic, clear and distinctive his voice was, because it rang out chillingly and unmistakably like the creepy intro to the old Shadow radio show through John Eaton, Batworth, Megan McShea reading the gut busting recommendation Blaster had written for her to gain entry into a writer's retreat ("I wouldn't want to go anywhere where they didn't get Blaster," said Megan), Francis Poole, ex-Baltimorean and former Normal's star Courtney McCullough, who was the one who found Blaster post-stroke and convinced doctor hating Blaster to go to the hospital, singing George Jones' "The King is Gone"Catherine Bennett, John M. Bennett, Lauren and Gerald Ross' Ling Master play (wherein Gerald nailed the Ling Master's deranged nerdy secret master voice so well that I still belly laugh just thinking of it), The Dirty Dozen's new Orleans' style funeral march by way of Martian Harry Partch textured sound glory that built in exhilarating manic daffiness and then closed with a quiet spinning wheel of an energy that had to come to a halt and by Laure Drogoul's enchanting olfactory Blaster seance. Who that knew him doesn't have strong smell associations? Newly cracked beer can foam, tin of slightly impertinent tuna, musk of scalp oil basted bop cap. -

Blaster never went anywhere of course, other than to be everywhere still in the rich unforgettable voice of his large body of work. The Blasterthon brought him right up to the thin membrane of now for us to gaze once more with love on all he did for us and left us.

I will sign off with a beautiful email I received from Francis Poole, another beloved collaborator of Blaster's - in fact, I think their book Break Up My Water was Blaster's last printed book of his lifetime - after the soul salving Blasterthon.

"Every reading and performance flowed together seamlessly into one great celebration of Blaster Al's creative genius. While much of his work was playfully subversive it also had the power to reveal the sense of absurdity that lurks beneath the surface of much of what passes for reality and normalcy. The love and regard for Al and his works by those who read him or knew him is proof that his life and gifted imagination made a positive contribution to this crazy world. And ironically in sharing his vision he was able to show others that it's ok to give in to the undertow of one's own wacky universe. Blaster Al was an artist, a therapist, and a great guy. And like a mischievous ringmaster his spirit was there at the Blasterthon to keep the groove going. And it worked beautifully." - Francis Poole

(Below - Francis Poole)

Okay, actually I will wrap this with the lyrics to the Fitting George Jones tune that Courtney belted out for Blaster:

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar
I cleared us off a place on that
One little table that you left us
And pulled me up a big ole piece of floor

I pulled the head off Elvis
Filled Fred up to his pelvis
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

'Round about ten we all got to talking
'Bout Graceland, Bedrock and such
The conversation finally turned to women
But they said they didn't get around too much
Elvis said, "Find 'em young"
And Fred said "Old Fashioned girls are fun"
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Later on it finally hit me
That you wouldn't be 'a comin' home no more
'Cause this time I know you won't forgive me
Like all of them other times before
Then I broke Elvis's nose
Pouring the last drop from his toes
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strum und Twang - Music - Baltimore City Paper

Strum und Twang - Music - Baltimore City Paper

The Moles are burrowing on fire!  We just finished recording our first album, " Campfire Spacesuit", and our about to hand it over to the Ehse Empire for replication and propagandizing.  This is our first little sweet slice of press.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Very Kind Plug From Comrade Sirois The Kidnapper

From Baltimore's B magazine. Sir Sirois is hitting the bigtime with So Say The Waiters. Let us hope that Jeremy Piven is nowhere near the television version.

Bob's Ball of Worms

Over the last year or so Baltimore has lost two major poets, Chris Toll and Blaster Al Ackerman. And one poetic musician night scholar Pope Croke. Now one of our young brightly burning stars has cancer. He's going to live, but will have to suffer through chemo and paying bills with no insurance. So Baltimore is throwing him a fundraising party to show him our love and our green.

Bob's Ball of Worms, a fundraiser for Bob O'Brien.
Bob O’Brien, curator of the WORMS poetry series and a great poet and performer, not to mention a stellar loving and giving human, has testicular cancer and no health insurance, so the following artists will be performing at Metro Gallery on July 26th at 8 pm to raise money for his treatments. If you can't make the event because you're going to be out of town or because you find poets to be a lifeform even lower than jugglers or mimes, here is a website where you can donate funds:
The Tinklers Wheatie Mattiasich The Mole Suit Choir
Ben O'Brien
Poets from out of town:
Rod Smith Mel Nichols Ryan Eckes Eric Paul
And shimmering local poets:
Lauren Bender, Alicia Puglionese, Stephanie Barber, Alejandro Venture, Lesser Gonzalez, Megan McShea, Joseph Young and Michael Kimball.
There will also be an art auction to benefit Bob. Artists donating work include:
Lesser Gonzalez Kevin Sherry Dina Kelberman Liz Downing Rupert Wondolowski Jimmy Joe Roche Ginevra Shay Ryan Syrell Dale Beran Brett Price Dani Leventha;
Admission is $10 or $20, depending on what you can afford. Please come out and show some love to a valuable and giving member of the Baltimore arts community.
Metro Gallery 1700 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201 View Map · Get Directions