Archive for June, 2011

Friday Odds and Ins

We got official word this week that Chaos Manor will be a “Bookend” feature in the Brooklyn Book Festival in September.  More on this good news later.

HERE is a clip of Roy Haynes appearing on the David Letterman show this week at age 85.  Here is piece I wrote on Haynes for Smithsonian in 2003.  A book on him is not out of the question.  His extended family story is quite intriguing, with among other things his brother Reverend Michael Haynes being a legendary minister and former state legislator from Roxbury, MA.

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo talk about their favorite duos in jazz.

Speaking of Roy Haynes, this picture by Bob Parent kills me.  If I could get into a Delorean and drive 88mph and have the flux capacitor send me back in time to one particular night in jazz history, it might be this one.  (Roy Haynes has a Delorean, for real).

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L-R Mingus, Haynes, Monk, Bird

-Sam Stephenson

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A Public Space Grant for New Writing

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Good news from our friends at A Public Space, a new grant from Amazon.com to commission new writing.  It’s heartening to hear that Amazon.com would use some of their resources in this manner.

-S.S.

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The Solace of Leaving Early

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Recently I was reading Haven Kimmel‘s 2002 novel, The Solace of Leaving Early, set in a small town in southern Indiana.  I came across this conversation between two characters, pastor Amos Townsend and local citizen AnnaLee Braverman, and enjoyed it. The discussion of The Kitchen Band is, I think, pertinent to some angles of the Jazz Loft Project and documentary work in general.

“I’ve been thinking something tonight, Anna.  Do you ever feel like you’re home?  Because I never have that feeling, which led me to wonder about place, the pull of a particular geography or lifestyle, do you know what I mean?  Like Haddington, for instance.  There must be a million people, maybe a few million people right this minute, living in cities, or in those wretched, isolated suburbs, who dream of a place like this, these streets and alleys, the way we wander around so freely and know each other and can get from place to place without a car.  And the county fair – the parade – all that, the fresh produce and honey all summer.  They think they would love to live in this town.”

“And?  But?”

“But, But you can’t ever live in this place you dream about, the town you long for.  You can’t go there, and I don’t mean like Thomas Wolfe or whatever, I mean the moment you become conscious of your desire, and then fulfill it, it evaporates.  Like think of the bluegrass band that plays at the fair every year.”

“The Kitchen Band.”

“Now someone from outside would look at that, at those rustic people, some of them playing washboards or brooms, I don’t understand what they’re doing, plunked down in the middle of a county fair, and they’d see something wonderful, something to be devoutly wished for.  But if they moved here and were part of this community, they’d begin to see that band ironically, because there’s really no other way to see it, right?”

“Irony is our best hope, yes.”

“And the moment you see something ironically, you’re neither in it nor is it in you.  You don’t belong to the town and nothing in the town belongs to you.  One is either perfectly present and entirely innocent of one’s own contentment (which is remarkably like not being content) or one is aware, and thus distanced, and no longer at home or happy.  Am I wrong?”

“I’ll have to think about it.  But you’ll stay, right?  You’re not going to flee because your vision is ironic?  Because I can see you moving from place to place, each one more isolated and bizarre than the last, in some desperate attempt to meet what is ultimately more real than your ability to perceive it.”

Amos opened the door for her, smiling his closed-mouth smile.

P. 57-58.  The Solace of Leaving Early. by Haven Kimmel.

-Sam Stephenson

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