I don’t know if the 20 second video that Tommy Jordan sent me of the last bit of what was a 25-minute performance today at Lytton Plaza will upload properly to this wordpress substrate. The bit is me reading the dateline of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, it says “San Francisco 1956-1957” and I improvise by adding “Palo Alto” just as I previously substituted “Lytton Plaza” for “Union Square” as was written — and I also switched sound effects for choice “blue language” like as in “mother finally ******” maybe three times — there is a code among street performers not to use explicit language, at least according to what seems to be a healthily vetted article on wikipedia — and I added “2011 and two thousand twelve” all the while I was trying to sing the lines to the melody and intonation of “Star Spangled Banner” — I am off but in defense of my lameness Tommy and the other two musicians were probably playing a different key. I think I did a bit of “America The Beautiful” directly above this moment. I was thinking of Rene Marie doing “Lift Every Voice” to melody of “Star Spangled Banner” in Denver — N.C. was in Denver, right?.
Most of the reading was just a straight read. I used, for the very first time in about five or six performances, a talk mike. Street bluesman Dave Hidie was doing his normal bit, with a percussionist named Mike, who said he was a Cubberley grad, and agreed to yield for 25 minutes then even better, after he met Tommy, agreed to let us use his rig then ended up joining in. Tommy said it was the best “Howl” reading he had ever seen. He also said he just got back from Glastonbury backing a performance poet whose name I did not catch. I told him about the Casti grad at Duke who is a Francophile and International Studies major I met at Keeble and Schuchat and is looking into careers in music. He made a note. We also talked about Patti Smith “Just Kids” and the Ginsburg cameo. He buys her a sandwich and then laments out loud that she is a chick. The word “chick” here is probably my wording but I am thinking of posting or just did actually the scene from “Portlandia” where Carrie Brownstein as I guess Nance and Fred Amisen are ordering chicken and get briefed on the lifestyle of the little guy or chick who committed to their enjoyment, as the old saw goes. (“the difference between ‘committed’ and ‘involved’ is like the ham and eggs breakfast where the pig is committed and the chicken is involved”) Tommy liked my little mic check ad lib and said I should try writing poetry someday. When I said I have posted 219 times on my blog he was surprised that I had abandoned so much of my Ludditism. I said I still don’t own a computer but use the library and my lady’s rig. Thinking back, it was probably Tommy who said “Dude, you’d be the sick blogger type” back when I was hardcore straightedge X to blogging. The dude Michael from Cubberley said that he too worried during those years that they would drop the bomb on us, like I was describing the context of “Howl” to those gathered, the musicians and a lady with midriff showing, who knew Hydie.
I texted about 40 people about this rather impromptu gig and got about five responses.
nope. not permitted.
I will bump to Tommy and Greg Kertsin doing their big hit and then to Rene Marie bit, although I should also give props to bumcello.