Volunteer's Collective

I've spoken highly of the Red Room (which is now Klein Blue) in the past, and I'll continue to sing its praises. I've just heard from D.I.Y. Mummy that there is a new collective forming which I will certainly be participating in. I suspect that John Berndt must be behind this. Here's the info:


After much preparation, The Red Room and High Zero Foundation are excitedly relaunching their monthly workshop for freely improvised experimental music (previously "The Crap Shoot") at a new time, with a new name, and a new attitude.

Now called VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE, it will be running the first Sunday of each month, at 6PM at The Red Room (Normals Books and Records). Although the Crap Shoot workshop (which had approximately 140 sessions since it began in 1996) had been an integral part of the growth of the experimental improvised music scene in Baltimore, for some time we have been feeling it needed revitalization on a deep level.

Essentially, we want this event to be a more powerful tool for the community of improvisers in Baltimore to hone their art, network and form collaborations, and stretch themselves musically in unfamiliar and inspiring situations.

This means a new approach, and frankly, a more critical attitude.

First, the new VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE workshop will be structured featuring well-known local improvisers who will attend sessions to provide a backbone of seasoned players to "seed" each workshop. This will create a more attractive and stimulating workshop situation for newcomers and seasoned players alike.

Second, the workshop will also involve more critical cross-discussion about the music actually played. Conversation, debate, and reflection are vital components on the way to honing skills in improvisation and the VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE will provide that forum.

Third, the workshop will be open to anyone of any level of skill with a strong interest in getting into improvisation and experimentation in an open-ended but thoughtful and disciplined way. This is about reaching beyond and using improvisation collaboratively to guide us into new areas of music and thinking. We are particularly interested in players who want to develop new, unique, but flexible approaches to playing.

There is a catch.

In this new approach, we are asking that only those players who have a strong intention to develop their music and their free improvisation skills attend the workshop. We would like to focus on active musicians who are interested in pushing their playing to a higher level in a specifically experimental, non-idiomatic direction.

Although the workshop will be open to all, we will request that ongoing participation be paralleled by a serious interest in one's own artistic development.

We hope that folks will respect this, and that, as a result of these changes, the overall experience will be substantially more stimulating and thought-provoking than ever.

And, of course, if these changes don't suit some players, we encourage them to create their own collective contexts for improvised music that are more aligned with their interests.

The first VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE will be Sunday, August 1st 6-8PM and will include "seed" improvisers John Berndt, John Dierker, Liz Meredith, and Will Redman. We hope to see you there!

My Life?

So, I attempted to participate in "Life in a Day" (no really, I did!) but honestly the only thing it proved to me was that I am a person who is meant to be behind the camera and not in front of it. I filmed throughout the day, trying to capture the mundane and the exciting (everything from my nightly yoga routine to installing art at the inner harbor) but I couldn't capture anything the way I'd envisioned. Lack of pre-production, lack of an actual video camera (I used my digital point and shoot which features a simple video option), and my embarrassing tendency to stutter on camera all got together and wrecked my footage.

Under normal circumstances, I love shooting documentary, I just don't want to be the subject. But, maybe, this is a new challenge for me to face. I could feed off this massive video blog culture and attempt to document my life on a similar, grander scale. I haven't heard of anyone writing their memoirs to film- I could give it a go.

The trouble with film is that it simply cannot lie. When the Lumiere brothers invented the first film camera, it is said that they discovered the fountain of youth. For the first time a person could truly be immortalized; not just their smile in a photo, but every element of them that makes them familiar- their walk, their hands, their expressions, all captured for the public to study.

That is a microscope which I am not prepared to live under, though many people have embraced their immortalization via YouTube and reality shows and such (a quick digression- if you haven't seen We Live in Public yet, please, do. Currently on Netflix instant). I am realizing that much of my life is led in secret. I love spending time alone, sorting through ideas in my mind that end up as songs and sculptures and prose. I just don't feel comfortable confessing my thoughts, my loves, my fears, to an anonymous camera to be forever written into the memory banks of the internet. I'm not strong enough to be so vividly vulnerable.

Maybe that's why I should try.

But, in any case, here are some small samplings of the larger body of footage I captured over the course of the day, for your entertainment, for Kevin Macdonald's judgement, but mostly for my memories.

Life in a Day

Here is a project that has incredible potential to be beautiful and moving. It is a collaborative effort involving every single person with access to a video camera and YouTube. Yeah, that means you. Ridley Scott is producing "Life in a Day" for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in January, which will be completely user generated content.

According to the Director, Kevin Macdonald, "I want you to chronicle your world, your life, your neighborhood on a single day. You could shoot the journey you take to work, the visit you make to your son, your mother, your grandmother. My aim is to make a film that is a snapshot of life on Earth during one 24-hour period. I will have to find the links between your videos. Those links could be thematic (fears about the future, love for a baby), or temporal (breakfast time, the journey to work, a sunrise happens in Rio and London and Namibia). Ultimately, this is a unique experiment in social filmmaking, and a time capsule that will forever tell future generations what it was like to be alive on July 24th, 2010."

Tomorrow, July 24th, thousands of people around the world will be capturing their lives. All the mundane moments between here and Dubai, all the intimate moments shared across race and culture, all the thrilling events people will experience on this standard Saturday; if this film succeeds, it will be a display of unadulterated solidarity across the globe.

This is what is asked of you:
-Video record your day, whatever you find interesting or boring (it'll all be fascinating in 50 years anyway People brushed their teeth with TOOTHPASTE back then?? What the hell was that?).
-Use whatever is available to you at the highest quality possible. Cell phone, MacBook, digital camera, etc.
-If you do have access to a good camera, please use 1080p (or best available) with 24fps
-Do NOT edit the footage in ANY way. No captions, no time stamps, no dissolves and fades, no audio tweaking.
-Do as many videos as you want
-Try to keep them under 10mins; you'll need to upload them to YouTube for submission.

Answer these questions:
What do I fear the most?
What do I love?
What makes me laugh?
What is in my pockets?

Record these isolated sounds on video for the soundtrack (no editing!):
A hand clap
A sustained note (deep breath, hum a note as long as you can)
A deep breath in and out
Your favorite sound

On the filming day:
(click to view full size)

Do's and Don'ts
(click to view full size)

Please participate. This is a good idea, and I'm so excited to see how it turns out.
For more information, go to:

Artscape 2010

The Young Forgotten

A quick bit of creative writing:

How is it that you have so thoroughly forgotten yourself? The convictions of your youth are obscured by adult preoccupations and sufferings. Lost is the peacefulness that once silenced your racing heart. Lost are the noble ideals of an imperfect childhood and the courageous ramblings of an over-educated adolescence. They were virgin sacrifices to an unruly God who spread naught but confusion and ignorance among the once wise. Your integrity has dissolved into opportunity and the fear of having missed some vital mistake in this past blur of delayed pubescence. Your chest, once swelled with honor, now churns beneath the pressure of an undisciplined life.

Remember the secret passions of your misplaced innocence. You were born among the snow dusted peaks of Denver in March. You once found solace in the rolling blue mountains of New England. You were at peace alone under the stars in the vast Texan prairie. Years ago, these green things were clear-cut to make way for the construction of the new you, a stranger to your past. Having peeled back your own history like snakeskin, you have destroyed the only foundation you were ever given. How ungratefully foolish of you.

And now, still a child, you stand in the shoes of an adult under a roof you've paid for yourself. You look at your street in the neighborhood you have selected for yourself and you wonder what home is. You catch yourself stumbling on the crumbled edge of a fathomless precipice as you are wrenched back by the collar of your shirt into the arms of a younger, wiser version of yourself. Remember her. Trust her. Hold yourself accountable to her. Make her proud of the woman you have grown into. And remember to be proud yourself.

Artscape 2010

Ah yes, the biggest event of the year to strike the art scene in Baltimore the East Coast America. This is the nation's largest free arts festival, and it gathers crowds of over 300,000 annually. Sure, to the average Mount Vernon local, the festival is a massive headache of constant music, clogged streets, funnel cakes, and hipsters, but step back for a moment and examine what this means for Baltimore. We are on the cusp of national recognition for being the most productive incubator for musicians, artists, performers and film makers. Smalltimore is like a cultural organism; all genres feeding off one another, spurring others on to progress. Look at venues like the Wind Up Space and Joe Squared, typical watering holes that have become a venue for experimental, electronic, and jazz, and they also curate regular exhibitions. We have communal style art factories like the Copy Cat and the H&H. We've got one of the most recognized art institutes in the country. Artscape is our chance to share these gems with the outside world (who, incidentally, will be pouring their money into our economy as they gobble up $9 corn dogs. Think about it when you complain about opera house parking this weekend. 300,000 tourist dollars. Think of the potholes we could fill! Think of the subsidizing! The gift cards for the mayor!)

If you live within two hours of Baltimore, I HIGHLY suggest you go to this event. You might even run into John Waters! Or Joan Jett! Or me!

Oh, did I mention, it's TOTALLY FREE. Jump on the lightrail, and don't worry about parking.

Click the map to view larger. Print it out, mark it up.

There is a plethora of events and activities to experience this year- far too many to describe here. So, here’s the short list:

Art Cars -Charles Street
Exotic Hypnotic -Experimental Music BU Student Center
DIY Artscape -Crafters unite! Get every your every desire knitted, printed, and sewn!
Sondheim Semifinalist show -MICA Fox Building
Maryland Film Festival "Shorts" -The Charles Theatre
McFadden Art Glass -Booth 57!! Glassblowing!!! (shameless self plug)

Friday 7/16:
*2:00pm-9:00pm Exotic Hypnotic -University of Baltimore Student Center
*4:00pm Nana Projects Parade -Charles Street
*6:30pm Maysa -Wachovia Stage
*7:00pm-1:00am Open house at McFadden Art Glass -6802 Eastern Ave
*8:30pm Musiq Soulchild -Wachovia Stage
*9:00pm+ Go to Station North Arts. Anything at Joe2, Windup Space, Load of Fun, and Metro Gallery will be good. Many places are open till 4. (mostly 21+)
Saturday 7/17:
*2:00pm-9:00pm Exotic Hypnotic -University of Baltimore Student Center
*4:00pm Billie Holiday Tribute Concert -Meyerhoff Hall
*6:00pm Nana Projects Parade -Charles Street
*6:30pm Cold War Kids -Wachovia Stage
*7:30pm Fashion Design Competition -UB Plaza
*8:00pm Gov't Mule (Allman Brothers side project) -Wachovia Stage
*8:00pm LOL@Artscape -The LOF/t
*9:00pm Mambo Combo -Festival Stage
*9:00pm+ Station North!! Windup Space!! Joe2!! Metro!!
Sunday 7/18
This is the best day to bring kids. There are puppet shows, street theatre, magicians, and parades all day long! Check the official list for more
*A note for you out-of-towners:
If you order a "Boh," you will get a cheap, delicious, (kinda)local beer.
If you see an abandoned hula hoop, you're basically required to twirl it.
If you see men in pink beehive wigs, do not be alarmed. Take their picture!
If you see a large group of hipsters, you're probably very near to Dan Deacon.
You are much safer than you think you are, but...
If you end up in Druid Hill, RUN back the way you came.

Galactic Series: Andromeda

more/better pictures coming soon

Artist Compound


6804 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
This Saturday, I am a featured artist at the second Artist Compound. We're trying to bring artists and events into East Baltimore via The Glass Grill, and hopefully this will become a regular kinda thing. The glassblowing studio is still open and free this Friday to come and watch live demos. 

  • $8 at the door, all ages
  • FREE DRINKS 7pm-9pm, meet the artists
  • 2D artworks on display in the bar, 3D artworks in the garden and patio
  • Live glassblowing demonstrations all night
  • Make your own blown glass workshops (prices vary)
  • Specials on wings and Bohs
  • Live music and DJs playing 9pm-2am
  • Snowball/pit beef stand "Fire and Ice"
How could you resist?




Edible Glass

Bring sugar and water and tartar to a boil, to 300*. Pour into a pan. Figure out the timing so it doesn't turn yellow. Voila, a pane of glass. It's much more brittle than I expected. I've got a few ideas for performances involving the breaking of this glass. A few more experiments left to do...