Busking and Blogging

Masquers and Mummers
Mimes with few Jugglers
All manner of Buskers
Art Squatters
and _________ers.
Drum Circles
Pyrotopia
Theatrical Graffiti
Guerilla Improv
de dah
and Flash Mobs
….

and where else but in San Francisco would you have the Professional Street Performers Assn
the ASCAP for the street performer

or as one member put it when they went down to City Council to express the sentiment that we all have the “right to commit Mozart in public” or Coltrane
or fly like a plane

Interesting Places to Study

AllLearn – Alliance for Lifelong Learning
http://www.alllearn.org/
the blurb: {snip}
AllLearn, an online learning consortium among Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities, was formed in September 2000 to provide the highest quality, college level online courses and educational offerings. Our students are from all over the world and have diverse backgrounds, representing over 30 countries and all age groups. By October 2002, AllLearn offered over 50 online courses, 20 academic directories, and 40 learning guides. Classes repeat year round and range from 90-minute faculty forums to 10-week courses – and a lot more in between.

Courses have been developed by faculty from Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities. Online forums feature faculty members from the three institutions as well as faculty members from affiliate institutions. Day-to-day course activities are led by Online Instructors, experienced subject-matter experts, who facilitate online discussions and the overall course experience.
{end snip}


Empire State College

Part of the SUNY network – it has very interesting online course offerings especially ones in myth concepts
http://www.esc.edu/esconline/online2.nsf/eschome?openform
from their blurb: {snip}
With Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning (CDL), you can earn your entire degree online. We recognize that you have many obligations competing for your time – your job, family and community. You need flexibility and an educational plan that works with your schedule and responsibilities. At Empire State College, online learning integrates flexibility with vital interaction with faculty and peers, so that you are never alone. Empire State College’s pioneering online learning program blends the professional global environment of an online classroom with attention to the personal goals of each learner.
{end snip}

Courses I am interested in:
Empire State College
Dance Across World Cultures

and
AllLearn Alliance
eClavdia: Women in Ancient Rome

Pompeii!
Jul. 20 – Aug. 9, 2005
Course Length: 3 Weeks
Tuition: $139.00
Materials: $18.95

Thriving and Staying Alive in the Dead Zone

Polly’s rebuttal was actually published in the October issue of Out and About …
and now a lot of PR about activities at 4W5 is about thriving or being alive in “the Dead zone”.
The Dead Zone is a moniker hung on a portion of the city of Wilmington that died after it was “malled to death” in the early 70s and has resisted most efforts at city renewal.

I got news for folks in Wilm DE in general – this is the only place in town for after hours life on an ongoing basis. It seems even when you attend the theater at the Grand Opera House and the Baby Grand theater, events and city organizers seem to want to funnel people in and out of the theater to their cars in the parking areas as quickly and efficiently as possible. When my Dad I went to see Bob Newhart’s show, it was almost like they had “valet walking” from the two major areas to make sure no one got lost in the 1.5 blocks they had to go to either major parking garage. After the show the crowd was funneled right back to the garages ….

Admittedly there has been one bad incident in last few years about a patron to a downtown bar being shot fatally on the way to her car…

{going to insert Polly’s story here }
Linda Cripps 26/10/04 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

A Fully Loaded Life

A Fully Loaded Life – Program Manual
in about this book it says
Just read the book – it costs only about 7 bucks
so do I go to Half.com and see if I can find it for 2 bucks?

http://www.cafepress.com/cp/browse/N-1203+860_pv-otemerchandise.8362122_Ne-6_bt-1

been browsing in Cafe Press – which utilizes print-on-demand technology for self-publishing & marketing your book …

http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/sell/books.aspx

Passing Muster and Meeting the Bar Harbor Guy

An informal drum circle had begun about a month ago on Monday nights at the Cafe 4W5. Have drum will play. Or even, have no drum, come and play. I have gone every week, although I have not drummed each time. One week I had to make a proposal for the calligraphy class which I had the opportunity to teach. On the 11th of October, the Green Willow organization had sponsored a concert in the open space, which I chose to listen to rather than play in the drum circle, which had been relocated around the corner. Next week another concert is being sponsored by Green Willow, and the drummer will probably be dislocated again.

I have been coming regardless, to maintain some continuity of support to keeping the Cafe open on Monday nights. Polly [the cafe’s owner] has successfully grown in this last year a weekly “jamming” of bluegrass and blues musicians who come on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. It is a venue where if you bring your instrument, the musicians either take a turn on the small stage in the open room, or you may find little jam sessions in corners of the adjacent cafe or out on the sidewalk. This fall was the debut of the drum circle. It seemed a tiny bit fated. Here I was – fresh on my return from Missoula and an apprenticeship in West African drumming. How unlikely I thought it – to return to the beginning of a new drum circle just when I got back to Delaware. It must be something I was meant to do. Or at least try.

This last Monday night, it was an interesting experience. It was the beginning of the truly cold weather, and rain was threatening. We did have to quickly move inside after a short time. It is truly an informal event, and although 7:30 pm is the “official” start time, folks show up and sometimes fool around “early”, and sometimes or leader designate, Roldan West, isn’t always ready to begin on time. The drum circle truly operates on a flamenco-sense of time in the universe. There are a lot of people who show up regularly, and every week there are folks who hear us on the street and stop by to investigate. It is interesting to watch the self-consciousness of some of the young boys who have “dropped in” for a bit. They are unwilling to show how much they like it – or how “right” it feels. They laugh at themselves, and each other. They do not stay too long usually.

This evening the drum circle attracted the attention of a gentlemen waiting for the train at the Amtrak station a few blocks down the street. He dropped in and jammed the whole night until the last train to Boston left for the night. It turns out he is from Bar Harbor, Maine and had brought his boat south to winter on the Chesapeake Bay, in Chestertown Maryland. He was returning via the train to Boston and home. He had heard the drumming while we were still outside on the sidewalk, and had come up to investigate. He truly wished there was something like it in Bar Harbor, and I could identify. Until a few weeks ago, there was nothing like it in Delaware either.

Roldan and Duane own most of the drums that are brought each week. There are a lot of fine instruments, and one that Roldan, a painter, has also turned into a work of art. There also is one that has been built in true Carribbean fashion from an oil drum. It is our “bass” drum. It has only a few voices, but even so, it always seems an essential part of the ensemble. It seems also that it is a somewhat a fashion to own a small African type of drum. Somehow, I missed this article in the NY Times style section. There is quite a parade of young women over the weeks who stop in for an hour or so with their little drum. There also is another older woman who owns a fabulous djembe drum. Then there is Claire (I think it is her name) who is a talented musician and singer. She can play rhythm on anything, and a few times has tried to get us to sing a little harmony. Neither of these “regulars” was there night before last, although that doesn’t mean anything. They probably will be back.

However, the core of the group seems to be Roldan, Duane, and Anthony. It is probable that these were the guys that proposed the idea to Polly. I am one of the few others who has been a “regular”, though there are always at some point in time at least 10 players. After the rain started on this last Monday, we had to move inside to the open space adjacent to the cafe. We set up on the little stage. When I looked up after I had gotten myself and my entourage (my dog) settled, I noticed that we had lost most of the others than the “regulars” and the Bar Harbor guy. We played on.

It was a new experience for me to play drums on a resonant stage. For the first time, the experience of the rhythm was completely kinetic as well as auditory. The sound reverberates through your feet and the whole body as well as resounding through your ears and hands. For the first time, I was getting confident enough to release myself from finding a basic rhythm and sticking with it. Up until now, I had like the security of fitting in on the oilcan drum. Now I was playing a tall djembe (if that is even its name) standing up with it strung on my body with its strap – just like it is played in processions in Africa. I was free of the chair – free to move and drum at the same time. It seemed a natural for me. Part of me would respond physically to the rhythms of the other players, while fitting in my part on the drum. I seemed to suddenly “hear” better as well. All seemed to make sense – alternatives and variations on the rhythms seemed completely obvious, suggesting themselves directly out of my musical intelligence directly to my hands, completely without hindrance from any analytical thought.

I was no longer thinking – “gee this is structured more in the tangos-tientos type family so what goes with this might be ……” The music was talking to me and I was talking back. It was as Rollo May tries to describe in Courage to Create – an experience so far beyond the ordinary definition of “joy” that it is hard to describe. I will spare the reader of my attempts to verbalize it. Dorothy Ling comes close. I was truly happy and calm and at peace. I had found a home of sorts.

This was

Mumbling about May and Metaphysics

Have been perusing Courage to Create over time – reading isn’t the proper word, as at times, I want to zoom over the printed page faster until the author, Rollo May starts saying something that doesn’t seem so obvious.

In beginning of book, he seems to be taking all the time he needs to identify all the notions of creativity that readers might have prior to reading the book, and clarify exactly where in the continuum of concepts-misconceptions, his position is. He even to care to distiguish between the conventional sense of the word “myth” as in “urban myth” or “urban legend” – of something that is not true versus the more cultural sociological sense which he defines as:
“a dramatic presentation of the moral wisom of the race” and something that utilizes the “totality of the senses rather than just the intellect”.

What is interesting in May’s clarification of the components of creativity is largely being borne out by the last decade of research in creativity done by Mihaly Czemitchi…..(long polish name I can never spell without having it in front of me). The iteration of research findings I reviewed a year ago are perhaps more detailed than May’s perspective published for the first time in 1975, but in terms of attempting to identify what it exactly means to activate “creativity” or participate in a creative act, but the fundamental essences seem to be the same.

One correlation is that creativity is simultaneously an act that involves spontenaiety, impulse, and a degree of subconscious thought, but also requires to be objectively and analytically engaged as well. A common misconception is that creativity is the opposite of analysis, or that being creative is to be lost in some sort of spontaneous reverie. It is not. My experience is identical to what May describes, that: “Reason works better when emotions are present” or that the more fully I am connected with my creative center, the more fluently I can utilize my objective analytical processes to further the work in progress.

I also recognise the difficulty in actually describing this experience, as the words “joy” and “ecstasy” may be useful, but are equally applicable to other experiences in the human condition that are not really similar. May defines “joy” to describe an emotion that correlates with a heightened sense of consciousness, the “mood that accompanies the experiences of actualizing one’s own potentialities”. Chinese Buddhist philosophers and scholars have given this human condition its own name “engaku” when describing the various human life conditions. It is one of the “higher” life conditions. Hell, hunger, animality, anger, tranquility, and rapture are the ordinary conditions of life that we experience, depending upon our inner life condition and external influence, without much effort. The higher life conditions require effort to achieve, these being knowledge – the seeking of learning, engaku, bodhisattva, and enlightenment. The life condition of bodhisattva is one when the focus of one’s purpose in life is directed toward the betterment of humanity as a whole, versus only oneself, and enlightenment is the attainment of the understanding of the true nature of life throughout past present and future.

The state of engaku is also sometimes described as partial enlightenment, or the reaching of a moment that is similar to enlightenment, but relates to only a miniscule part of living. One of the effects of five weeks of compressed continual study during the Creative Pulse residence courses, is that one can enter the engaku state and actually live there for an extended period of time. All the classes are interrelated, so even though the student progresses from one activity to another, she isn’t distracted as if in another type of curriculum of moving from geology to philosophy, although those courses do have connections, too. My experience at the Pulse for my first year, was that after a short period of time, I was immersed in it, and although I never “named” it, the engaku, or engaged creative state became predominant, even during the time I was not in class.

I experienced such satisfaction at a deep level, that I have had inner spiritual “tantrums” when now the majority of time in my week seems to demand that I spend it relating in the more ordinary spheres of humanity. I didn’t expect as much need to pursue my drum circle activities or practicing of calligraphy as I did. However, it seems that these two activities are my only connections to my engaku state that I can squeeze in to my more prosaic experience.

Hurricane Jeanne flooded my basement and combined with the damage done last year by Isobel, I am spending most of my time outside of work just in working on my house. I don’t want to be puttying cracks in my basement, I want to be working on my art books, on my sculpture – you name it. My two hours a week at my drum circle and brief bits of time here and there with calligraphy alphabets are the only “food” that I can feed this very hungry part of my soul right now.

In the last month, I have felt almost suffocated, like a crewmember of the Enterprise when encountering the SKin of Evil has become completed encased in a inhibiting constricting shroud. It is not a menacing experience like in the analogy, but the usurpation of one’s life into the potentially endless bog of the necessary minutiae of everyday existence.

Emancipation and Proclamations

The exhibit American Originals traveled to Delaware Art museum, and for four days only the original Emancipation Proclamation was exhibited. To be exactly precise, 2 out of the 5 pages displayed were the original pages. – the other four were facsimiles.
Like many of the other documents displayed, this proclamation showed the effects of time. The true meaning of “archival quality” was given tangible context – inks were fading, paper was changing in color and character.

The exhibit strived to surmount the challenge of exhibiting essentially a bunch of dry, old, hard to read pieces of paper. Each exhibit was given context, to both historical events and the author – with contemporary (to the document) photographs or illustrations when possible. As a compact traveling exhibition, it was good. However, there was too little to engage a non-verbal visitor, or short ones for that matter. All of the exhibits were at the minimum level for ADAAG access, which is too high for the average elementary school student or younger. The exhibit began with a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, and continued through US History, including the document that signed, sealed, and delivered the Louisiana Purchase (in the original) through contemporary times, including a draft of a speech for Nixon to decline to resign – which of course was not the version used. I got the sense that many of the visitors that came were motivated, as I was, by the information in the PR for the exhibit, that the Emancipation Proclamation is going to be retired from continuous exhibit when it returns to the National Archive. It was possible that would be the last opportunity in my lifetime to see it in the original.

The penmanship of Clara Barton was impeccable, whereas Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys wrote irregularly, whith the shape and size of letters suffering from blottiness. I am sure the particular conditions are some of the explanation for the difference. Ms Barton undoubted had access to refined writing tools and ink, and possible more advanced pens than the rudimentary quill, even though she was writing at the end of the war to report on the conditions of Andersenville prison encampment. Mr. Allen’s letter was written immediately upon his release from incarceration by the British, in the frontier areas of northen New York, and in terms of access to paper, ink, and other writing amentities was quite probably very limited. Ergo, speaking from calligraphic experience – if your ink is not good, and your pen is problematic, avoiding a blotty bit of writing is very difficult. So let us not be too harsh in judging Mr. Allen categorically.

That said, the true import of the exhibit was not so much the documents themselves although it was a bit exciting to see the actual piece of paper that was the first to ratify the US Constitution in 1787 – that of my home state Delaware (this borrowed from the Del. State Archives). This was suffering the most from deterioration, undoubted as it has not had the TLC from the professionals on the National Archives staff. …”For and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully, freely, and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify, and confirm, the said Constitution” is one of the most unequivocal statements in support of a venture ever given.

This is quite in opposition to the evolution of the Emancipation Proclamation, whose premise even Lincoln himself debated constantly from the inception of the War between the States. The sense of place in which the Proclamation evolved is quite interesting. It seems that Lincoln was in the habit of leaving the White House and going the the War Departmeht telegraph office. Lincoln visited there at least three times a day to keep up on the dispatches arriving about the civil war battles. And he was in the habit of just staying there, among the ordinary telegraph operators and the ubiquitous clicking rhythms, to sit and think. I am ignorant at this time about what, if anything, Lincoln himself wrote about his motivations for gravitating to this space, rather than many others. Undoubtedly it was an escape – from all those seeking him at his official quarters, and from Mrs. Lincoln. However, in thinking about environments ideally conducive to creative thought – the telegraph office has many of the characteristics. Lacking an I-Pod, or a victrola, the telegraph keys played a music of their own which can assist maintaining deep thought for long periods of time. It was also a space in which Lincoln could be comfortable yet completely unattached, not too much different than myself at Borders or any of my truly favorite coffee shops. A quiet place to be in the moment, but not of the moment.

It was in this environment that Lincoln composed over a period of time, first the preliminary and then the final document of the Emancipation Proclamation. He would bring his paper, think and write. When he had to return, he would leave the draft in a safe in the War Department.

Illustration
http://www.picturehistory.com/find/p/13141/mcms.html
( I would post the picture – but they have to give me a special quotation for the licensing )

The exhibition had both portions of the draft and the final Emancipation proclamation. It required a great deal of stamina, patience, and excellent eyeglasses to make comparisons between the two. Dr. Bolton would probably have liked this exhibit, because, for a lot of the more contemporary documents displayed, the writer’s drafts were exhibited. We are very familiar with the final result, such as the Inaugural speech of JFK. What we haven’t seen are the intial thoughts collecting on the page, with the XXXX-ing out and rewriting.

One ponders as deeply as Lincoln about emancipation and proclamations. What is true emancipation? A guarantee of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” not abridged by any dinstinction of race, religion or gender is one sense. However, upon possession of a guarantee of the liberty of one’s person – is that the only criteria for true emancipation? What about the bondage we inherit emotionally and culturally from our families and communities? What about the limitations we impose upon ourselves? If one is theoretically free – how does one truly feel free?

I have been thinking about this a lot – as my dreams are continually reminding myself of my fears. I had anticipated difficulty in living back in my usual context upon my return from Pulsification. I had never thought it would be so difficult, so nearly unbearable as it has proven to be.

{more on this – later when I have another minute}

Rocky Bottom Feeding

I have felt that I have been fighting it for a long time, the external momentums that want to push me away from the direction I seek to pursure, the feeling of sinking in a bog.

I dream in some fashion about the Creative Pulse all the time. Since I finished my undergraduate degree, I have a recurring dream about math classes. I recognize this as my “anxiety” dream, when I dream I have been registered for a math course and either have a) not taken any exams or b) never gone and all of a sudden realize this. What is significant is the emotion, the fear of being involved in something that I have been too late in comprehending my involvement in it. It usually isn’t too hard to figure out what it is exactly in life that I am truly worried about after having one of these dreams.

In the week I traveled to Montana, I had a variation of my math anxiety dream. It was the night I spent in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which was just about the halfway point of the trip. I dreamed that I had been registered for not one but TWO math classes, it was past mid-term and I had never even gone to class at all. I took this as a measure of the degree of anxiety I was feeling upon embarking on a committment to the Creative Pulse program.

Now I dream more specifically about being back in Missoula at the Creative Pulse, probably in an effort to relive what I was feeling while I was there. However, last night I had a significant dream …

In short, I dreamed I was involved in a theater production and during the performance the theater caught fire. I was one of the few inside that was aware of this, and was simultaneously trying warn others and find a way of escape for myself. What was unique about this dream was the realism and the sensations. I have never dreamed about being in a fire when I have felt the heat of the flames so vividly, and felt the sense of impending suffocation from the smoke so realistically. I made my way with a group of people toward the lobby of the theater, but because I had held back to help others, I had waited until too late to be able to escape from this route myself. Many had gotten out, but quickly the path of escape had been blocked by flames. It was my intimate knowledge of the interior of a theater that helped me act quickly to seek another way out. I turned and raced toward the production areas – the shops. I ran inside. It was the oddest theater shop I had ever seen, but that is not vitally relevant to this narrative I think. There were a few people working singly in isolated spots inisde this strange multilevel shop. I was not able to convince them at all of the impending danger. The fire exploded through the shop door. It was that split second of decision – either I acted to save myself, or if I hesitated even a moment for one last attempt to save the others as well, we would all perish. Hesitation IS fatal, at times.

I acted. They perished. I jumped up through the levels of the shop toward a door at the top, which I knew led outside. I sat up in bed, startled awake, just as I had reached the door and the sensation of the fire was searingly impressed on my consciousness.

I interpret this as an accurate perception of the danger I have been feeling about the side of myself that I rediscovered this summer in the Pulse, “perishing” in the fire of ordinary life. I truly would rather die than be forced back by circumstance to my life as I knew it before.

yes the cost has been high, and in a sense it is irrevocable. The bell can never be unrung. There is no support or succor. All seems to be contrived to force me to abandon this new road.