Archive for September, 2011

Well Worn

Scene from the Invisible Dog. September 12, 2011.

Scene from the Invisible Dog. September 12, 2011.

I snapped this photo with my phone last night.  What you can see is Chris McElroen’s Yankees hat and his and Julia Watt’s copy of the JLP book.  Every author should be so lucky as to have their work pored over like this.

-S.S.

Comments (3)

Excavating a Life, Pt. 2

Roland Kelts, Sam Stephenson. Yoyogi, Tokyo. March 2011. Photo by Lisa Kato.

Roland Kelts, Sam Stephenson. Yoyogi, Tokyo. March 2011. Photo by Lisa Kato.

Brigid Hughes and A Public Space have posted two pieces this week in advance of Chaos Manor. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it was Brigid’s original idea to produce a “staged reading” of the JLP book in July of 2010, an event that was canceled due to 104 degree temps, an event that grew into Chaos Manor.

Excavating a Life Pt. 2 is a recent conversation between me and Japanese-American writer Roland Kelts concerning trip to Japan earlier this year.

-S.S.

Comments off

Chaos Manor Update

Sunday was 9 hours grinding out the story boards visually, working with video designer Alex Koch.  Yesterday was the same thing from the sonic perspective, working with saxophonist and bandleader Levon Henry and sound designer Dominic Mekky.  For the rest of the week we’ll try to synch the two, and add actors.  It’s a free workshop, an experiment, so it can’t go too far wrong.  Director Chris McElroen likes to quote John Waters, who said that “success” is when you work with good, kind people.  Mission accomplished.  Longtime JLP Research Associate and chief tape cataloger Dan Partridge joins the fray today.

Brigid Hughes and A Public Space posted a thoughtful note about the event this morning, Excavating a Life.

-S.S.

Comments off

Model Interlude

photo-8

Yesterday director Chris McElroen took an afternoon break from Chaos Manor to work with his longtime collaborator Troy Hourie on the stage sets for the first-ever adaption of Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, which premiers in Chicago in January, directed by Chris.  They were working in the restaurant/bar, Local 61, on Bergen St. in Brooklyn, a couple doors down from the Invisible Dog.  I stopped by a couple of times to look over their shoulders.  I was an Economics major in college but I think the best grade I ever made was in a Drama course called “stage craft.”  At the time it didn’t seem significant but looking back, maybe I missed my calling.

I made the photo above with my phone.  Pictured is Troy’s model of the Chicago stage with their set.  Chris and Troy went through the Invisible Man script page by page and moved pieces on the model to depict what would be happening on-stage at every moment.  They made photographs of each momentary change.  It was a remarkable show of precision, something like medical surgery, I thought.

We don’t know if Chaos Manor will grow into a full-blown theater production.  But it would be fun to have a model of 821 Sixth Avenue and be moving tiny figures around the space.

-S.S.

Comments off

Brooklyn Book Festival

2011 BBF Bookend Logo

The second Chaos Manor performance, 9/17, is the one billed on the BBF schedule.  This gives us a night to get some kinks out, or revamp the whole thing.

Comments off

Chaos Manor: Inching toward 9/16

Greetings from Brooklyn.  The final Chaos Manor workshops began last night at the Invisible Dog.  We’ll be working each day and night until the first performance on Friday 9/16.  Before I go further, we just heard from drummer and former 821 Sixth Avenue resident Frank Amoss who will be coming to Brooklyn from California for the weekend performances 9/16 and 9/17, with a stop in his hometown of Baltimore on the way.  He’ll be bringing his grandson Anthony who recently graduated from film school at San Francisco State.  Readers of the JLP book will remember Frank from the section that I called Chaos Manor, which involved Sonny Clark, Lin Halliday, and Gin McEwan (Wald) in the loft stairwell in the wee hours.  That night Smith played records of Emily Dickinson’s and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry while he was packing for Japan.  The following day Frank gave Gene Smith a ride to Idlewild Airport for Smith’s trip to Tokyo.  When I left for a month to follow Smith’s footsteps in Japan last February Frank called me from his home in California and said, “Do you need a ride to the airport?”

Back to Chaos Manor at Invisible Dog.  There are a multitude of decisions to make over the next 9 days.  Too many to name here.  There are some issues beyond our control, too.  But whatever happens the “experiment” will be a success; it already has been.  Below are a couple of pictures I made with my phone last night.  The first shows the workshop group in a discussion.  The second shows saxophonist, Levon Henry, not very discernible in this snapshot, playing a ballad in the 3rd floor window of the building.  His un-amplified sound reverberated up and down the street despite a driving rain.

3rd Floor, Invisible Dog, September 6, 2011.

3rd Floor, Invisible Dog, September 6, 2011.

Invisible Dog. September 6, 2011. 9:30pm.

Invisible Dog. September 6, 2011. 9:30pm.

-S.S.

Comments off

Chaos Manor Trailer

By Jason Goodman. Performances September 16-17 at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn.

Chaos Manor / the Stage Adaptation of the Jazz Loft Project / Trailer from Jason Goodman on Vimeo.

Comments (2)