Dead Club House

Dead Club House
Haunted House in Cambridge

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Feeling thankful that:
  • I'm sentient -- I wake up with a brain and know that I have a brain
  • it rains here and there's oxygen and gravity
  • I hear music in the SC Performing Arts Theater
  • I program arts
  • my parents are alive
  • we will eat well today
  • we all have homes and I can do laundry inside mine and there's running water and electricity
  • we use language and it pours out of me
  • I lived once with my great grandmother
  • I can sing and walk
  • I have awesome friends -- see
  • I stand up
  • I express
  • I vote
  • I can drive to Pennsylvania and don't need a passport -- I am free to move about the country
  • I am published
  • I don't have the flu

I'm sure there's more . . .

Night Mirror

After I read a section of Dredging the Choptank to UB honor students, I asked the group about their ghost experiences.  Adjunct Christina Ralls told a story of seeing a man in her bathroom mirror at night when she was a child.  She’s been afraid to look in the night mirror since then. 
Two nights ago, I was surprised in my darkened bedroom by a pale blue triangle of light that was centered on the altar between the window and the vanity.  The light had no obvious source.  I stood in front of the oval vanity mirror, rooted, puzzled. No beams slanted in from the dim backyard.  The altar seemed lit from underneath by a gentle indigo light.  Then I noticed my own image in front of me.  I was me but the room and its furniture were not behind me.  Surrounding my image was black, black, black velvety darkness.  My image was brightly lit, again with no obvious source, and that white light didn’t bleed into the blackness around it.
Startled, I moved aside.  I couldn’t look again.
When I was five, when we moved into the house in Lutherville, I had a game with the mirror on the back of my parents’ bedroom door.  I told my mother that the girl in the mirror was a different girl than me.  I think the girl in the mirror broke away and moved differently than my body at least once.  It’s blurry.
One of the rules of Feng shui is don’t position your bed so you can see yourself sleep.  The house at night can be scary and mirrors are portals.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mystery of the Flip

I've been filming the Y-Art interviews with three Flip video cameras.  They're easy to manipulate and interviewees are not intimidated by their slight handheld case but they suffer from a paucity of consistency.  One new one is driven by double A batteries; one by triple A.  Supposed to hold an hour of video, after I emptied my HD Flip of its first interviews its status read:  18 minutes left.  And during the next interview it flashed low battery and shut down, not saving the video shot up to that point.  The older Flip imports AVI files to my PC at home but won't at the Mac in lab.  My newer HD Flip only imported audio files on my home PC so I can only access those at the lab. 
I need a flow chart.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

!?Y-Art?! is Up!

My final project/blog focusing on the justification of art is up, and I posted 4 interviews so far:  Jimi Kinstle, Gregg Wilhelm, Kendra Kopelke and Peter Toran.  Three more to edit:  Simon Fong, Joe Dennison and Todd Mion.  Interviewing and filming nine more on Friday:  Joan Weber, Marianne Angelella, Lisa Mion, Christine Demuth, Anthony Scimonelli, Raine Bode, John Wilson and Robert Hitz.  Phew.

Take a look !?Y-Art?! and discuss.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jimi of all Trades

It took a half an hour to upload and the quality might be grainy but here's the Jimi Kinstle !?Y-Art?! interview.  Jimi is the artistic director of Pumpkin Theatre, the president of the Baltimore Theatre Alliance, an actor, director, dancer, choreographer, founding member of the Flying Tongues improv group, the list goes on . . .

Technical challenges

Are we not learning in grad school that mistakes are part of the process and the learning experience?

Tried to upload the Jimi Kinstle interview on this blog yesterday and received an error message.  It's a 6:43 minute interview in M4V format.  I created that file in iMovies from the Flip AVI re-formatted in mp4.  Could it be a format issue?  A PC (at home) vs. Mac issue? 
My Flipcam imports differently with PC than with Mac.  In PC land, it'll only transfer audio files.  In Mac, a whole different screen comes up and I can grab the video files but they're harder to name.  Argh.
Will try today to upload Jimi interview from Mac.
Might also be a size issue.  Is 6:43 minutes too long for the web anyway?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haunted Cable

From Dredging the Choptank:
I was working tech theatre at Essex Community College in Baltimore and standing at the fly rail backstage during a performance of Camelot. A thick, black, lighting cable had slipped and hung in a long heavy loop, blocking the offstage exit of one of the castle units. The tech crew waited in the wings to roll the castle units offstage in a complicated scene change, and Beck, our beloved production manager, stood beside me.
“Go tell Eric that we’re going to have dress that cable before we can clear the castle,” he said. Then he slowly put his hand on my arm. ”No, wait, you don’t have to.”
Rumor in the tech staff was that Beck was a warlock; maybe because he sported a long ponytail and could rip through lumber like butter. I don’t know about his religious leanings, but he saw the darkness coming before I did, a moving darkness darker than offstage, gathering around the cable, not really lifting it, but pushing it up, up over the edge of the castle. All the crew techs saw it, and shook their heads, as if their eyes would work better after the shaking.

“There could be a logical explanation,” said Joe.
“Maybe, but what?” I asked. “No one was up in the fly area. We all saw the darkness lift the cable up. What could that be?”
“Precisely,” he said finally. “I said could.”
“Maybe we want to believe the illogical because we want to believe the illogical,” I rambled. “But all of us together, having a group halluncination?”
“Isn’t there a hospital right next to Essex?” Joe asked.

Essex Community College is adjacent to Franklin Square Hospital, and some of its theatre department folklore recounts the recently hospitalized dead visiting the stage. A good percentage of the theatrical family believes in ghosts. We’re open to that sort of thing. In one theory, that belief is the reason that ghosts reveal themselves to us.

Gustave Dore's illustration of Lord Alfred Tennyson's Idylls of the King, 1868

Thanks for all the Fish

Tomorrow I adopt a betta fish that’s been in the Earth Project art installation since September.  This fish’s other option is the Patapsco.  I’m oddly looking forward to its silent, circling company.  I might call it Aggie after Agatha Christie since the art installation was a little like her Ten Little Indians.
I’m an omnivore.  Can I still eat swordfish in the house with a betta swimming in the living room?
There’re betta blogs where betta art is posted.  How far am I from that?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/1/10 Freewriting on What do you express?

What comes out of us as art?  Is it emotion somehow transferred, memory, ideas, projections?
I wrote a screenplay for Simon in exchange for his website work and software loading help.  He had filmed footage of two friends walking through Mount Royal.  He told me what he had filmed and the key words that he had in mind for the male voiceover.  Then we watched the footage as I wrote on a pad.  I couldn’t hear Simon although he sat right behind me.  He seemed far away.  He stopped talking.  I typed up my notes, printed it and watched the footage with it, speaking it.  I made one more revision the following day but basically it was done.  I felt dizzied as if I had returned from a great distance.
“It was just, like, bleh,” Simon said, making a barfing motion.  “That just flowed out of you.”
It did.  It was unstoppable.

?!Y-Art?! Blog Content Thoughts

I’ll interview six super art friends on Tuesday and one on Wednesday.  I’ve been wondering if I should ask them to sign a release that states:  the interview will be posted on YouTube and on a blog.  I asked super art friend Todd that question and he reminded me that I write contracts for friends who are designing or directing at UB. 
Once I have some video content, I can create the blog.
I’ll definitely use a different blogspot template than this one.  Maybe the one Kari used. 
Maybe one of the Baltimore City murals should be the header photo but I’d have to give artist credit and find their name.
I have to compose the introduction:  something, like, Jenny made me do this or grad school is a great excuse for crazy projects with one’s super art friends.
I suppose I could migrate some freewriting posts from this blog to the ?!Y-Art?! blog.
I’m going to post video on the blog so I thought I’d test below.  I shot this video of a kid dancing in front of the Penn Station sculpture on a windy day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Phantom phone

In June of this year, I was trimming the bushes by the garage with the garage door open and the phone rang.  I had removed the old rotary phone from the garage to put it in inside the house in the upstairs hall when the old one there had broke. 
I stood next to the shelf, staring at the telephone wire, hearing the absent old phone ring its ancient clang.  It wasn’t physically possible what I was experiencing.  Focused and straining to listen, I tried to place the sound.  It seemed to be coming from the connector box but there’s no bell in that little box and certainly not a ringer that sounds like a rotary phone.
Was the ringing leftover energy?  Does the beginning have no end?  Is old dead Tom the previous owner who installed the line giving me a call?  How do I answer?