Tuesday, January 22, 2008

on procrastination

i had budgeted this time to writing the MAP grant. i did work on it yesterday. but now i find myself blogging instead. writing this grant is terrifying. but i can't fail this year. i've enlisted the help of three collaborators whose work i admire greatly. part of me enlisted their help because i just need it. this opera will kick my ass even if i manage to have a whole broadway crew behind me. i'm beginning to accept that i just cannot do certain things alone.

but part of me enlisted their help just so that i would not flake out on the fund raising. it's still amazing that i need to have someone else help me finish things. or maybe it's just the tedium of the grant. since, well, i AM actually MAKING things. which is the revolution of the decade for me.

two of the collaborators are loved friends from college. corey dargel is a musician/composer/performer who is dead serious about humor and playfully brazen about serious music. even in college, we knew he was one of the most talented composers in the program. we were right. he's now making his way as a singer/songwriter as well as a concert singer/performer and a member of laboratory theater. i love corey very much. it seems a bit trite to write that here. i get the distinct feeling that he doesn't read this blog, so at least i don't have to feel embarrassed. his success as an artist has been slowly increasing. and while i might have felt jealous of him once, no longer. i just smile and think, it's good the world sees how stunningly talented he is. and now he's agreed to be a part of my project. it is intensely meaningful.

yvan greenberg is my other collaborator friend from college. i lived in the same house with him for a semester. we were in the same program, but somehow our paths crossed in multiple other ways. he is deceptively quiet. one of those people who might sit in a corner and most folks won't notice until he says something that makes all movement stop. or until he begins performing a tick or mannerism to the point of virtuosity. yvan taught me a lot about listening and seeing. he was never didactic or pedagogical, he just had stuff--in his room, in his head. he also has this thing for the absurd, and in college he was never shy about bringing the absurd to reality. i have so many memories about yvan that are wordless, but involve meaningful glances or a hug so vulnerable you might just melt into the ground. now yvan is the director and founder of laboratory theater. and i've asked him to direct my opera. i know that his eye and ear will somehow show me something about myself and my piece that i would never see on my own.

yvan, corey and i were part of an experimental music ensemble called "les moutons" with jim altieri and bill stevens (for a full score pdf of the music that inspired our name, go here). les moutons kept me alive for a semester. it was my life force. we would stage impromptu performances in lounges, in wilder bowl, almost anywhere. we performed a week-long piece. we took pieces from the "experimental music canon" and actually performed them. our work was playful, political, awkward, charismatic. and in hindsight, my relationship with "les moutons" managed to keep me from completely hating (white) men and becoming some type of lesbian separatist.

and now i listen to robert ashley's "dust," a piece i wouldn't even consider listening to if i didn't spend that time as part of les moutons. my opera will include a section much like ashley's "spoken" opera. i suppose it's a more modern version of sprechtstimme. jeez, i think i managed not to totally misspell that. (see pierrot lunaire.)

and i've managed to write through this morning's grant writing time. i have to go to rehearsal in an hour. so that gives me either time to shower, or i can poke at the grant for about 15 minutes. dear readers. please kick my ass about this. the grant is due feb 1. and when i think about it, it sends me back to memories and future memories. but now i must be pragmatic.

as an accountability measure, i will blog about the grant again within two days. if you don't hear from me. holler.

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