John Santos Machete VS Willow Teller shot pot

This is a red herring in that John Santos Group at Mitchell Park El Palo Alto room not likely featuring a vocalist, yet it is alluding to my 1998 jazz series that was called Quantum Decoherence o fJazz shows in that when you walk into a room like Cub or Mitch and do hear music of this high quality it seems somewhat random or chaotic or not predictable; likewise we don’t know which 5 band members John might bring two months from two nights ago and still call it his band.

I passed through the plastic arts show yesterday afternoon just long enough to meet, in the courtyard of the Art Center, near the Oliveira bronze lady, Willow Teller, a young ceramicist from Palo Alto.
I had noticed her work, a holey pot, not in the sense of sacred but indeeed profound enough. Responding to a prompt from her instructor, she created an artwork that was in reaction to the seeming epidemic of gun violence here. The pot looked shot thru by bullets, with blood seeping from the wound, and pooling on the interior.

She also wore a t-shirt that depicted, I think, a ceramics zombie moving instinctually (?) towards his or her wheel or kiln. Must..make..pottery.

Do we have free will or are we the products of our environments?

She said her teacher, Jordan King, had a booth on the lawn along Embarcadero. I hope to make it back today to take another look at the student work from the Gunn art lab, and take a gander at the storied Paly glass posse. Jan Schacter of Portola Valley, a former board member of the art center, said that Paly was among only a half dozen schools in the country that have a glass program.

As my headline indicates, and is my wont in Plastic Alto — named for a jazz legend’s acrylic axe and not for the yearly Glass and Ceramics show — I am producing a John Santos jazz show. I met up with John Friday, at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, appearing he was as a special guest with Erik Jekabson, along with Dave Ellis, Dave McNab, David Flores and John Wittala.

Santos and I shook on the terms of his upcoming appearance Friday, September 13 at The Mitch — he has amazing hands. They have been the source of his livelihood — as a percussionist, especially the conga – for 40 years. He is also, of course, a good talker, and Terry and I (TMW — Terry My Wife, the artist Terry Acebo Davis) viewed or at least listened to a string of John Santos lectures on the internet. Lectures and demonstrations. (Hey, I wonder if he has any ceramic instruments? I remember that in 1996 July, almost certainly 23 years ago, when Medeski Martin and Wood shook the Cubberley, towards the end of the evening there was a layer of ceramic dust from something Billy M aka Illy B was shaking. Yet I digress, dig?)

I told Ms. Schacter, which she probably already knew, that Pueblo Potters like Jody Naranjo and Christina McHorse and Susan Folwell dig their own clay, and were taught matrilineally by their Grammy’s.
Santos meanwhile says he was influenced by his Puerto Riqueno Grammy and also sold a cd that touted him on its face as a Grammy nominee or winner. (He also famously objected when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciencs streamlined their awards from 135 categories to about 50).

So, getting back to the main thrust of my post, I am putting onsale, like in the next half hour, if you are reading this in “real time” on a warm Sunday, Bastille Day. The John Santos Show — and I’m not sure yet, nor likely is he, weather this will be called John Santos Sextet or Machete Ensemble — joins a list of options for dear listener that includes:

John Santos Sextet, Friday, September 13;
Sun Kiln Moon, Friday, September 27;
Amendola/Dunn/Greenware, October 11;
Tom Harrell Four (at PAC –FOR FREE!!!), Thursday, October 24;
And I also, in between taking in as a “kelper” first JRAD at Frost and then THE ROLLING STONES at Levi’s, a special jazz quartet event featuring arguably the most interesting young sax player in the land; I’m being oddly dramatic and coy to have concealed his identity because he is not at all appearing anywhere else in the next week or so, nearby.

But I do remember seeing Peter Apfelbaum at a local show about 15 years ago – -and in fact I interviewed Peter for my show-within-a-show at KZSU with Raya and Sarah — during his “It Is Written” days — and in the program notes to the event he said his two favorite musicians under 30 were Ambrose Akinmusire – -who recently was picked by Downbeat Critics as the best trumpet in the land — and this heretofore obscured young fresh fellow.

I am putting the yoke before the ox so to speak a bit but I am contemplating having my own sister, Linda Weiss Lipinski Moulding, open the show for John Santos Machete or Not Ensemble, on bullwhip. She could do about 5 minutes talking about the history of the instrument and how she came to develop a bit of prowess therein. She also is a kit drummer, a percussionist –she took the Santos music class at College of San Mateo — a juggler and a Mom; her son took studio skills at CSM from my fellow Dartmouthian Krys Bobrowski — I always bogart that name. French horn, studied with Christian Wolfe, Vorticella. I will at least ask Lin and then John, about this bit of nepotism contemplated.

Oh, and excuse the digression but I just learned that my nephew ATL shares a birthday with the reedsman Ben Goldberg (clarinet — he appeared with Allison Miller at the first of my 10 show run at Mitch or PAC).

Back to the young potter:

I also had op – -I’m not shy — to say once or twice or thrice the story of Jessica Yu and I — and the Packard Foundation — raising $30,000 for the Gunn Art department after a fire. Ron Cooper said that he would put a plaque on one of the kilns noting such.

Okay, I am skating on thin ice so to speak but I noticed via EventBrite that one of the first people to purchase tickets to Mark Kozelek pka Sun Kil Moon (the actual name) is a Korean or Korean American. It reminds me of the time that a black guy called to complain about my producing a show with: Cake, The Negro Problem and New EZ Devils. This guy literally ran around town tearing down my posters, which were a masterful creation of Lane Wurster and Mac MacCaughan.

Although I am taking Duffy for a spa day, in Foster City (oh my dog!), I hope to hit the Halliwell one-star Gina Lollobrigida flick “Something about Bread” at the Packard Stanford Theatre but not Roman Holiday with Peck and Hep — which I saw recently at same site. By the way, a dude named Bernstein once booked Sonny Terry and Brownie McG into that space, and I saw Greater Tuna there.

On ceramics per se, there is also a wall piece at the entrance to PAC Aud — did I mention I’m doing a free Tom Harrell show there on October  24


and1: She explains: The teapot is smooth sculpture clay and I used a deep firebrick glaze. I also had a saggar vase there that I fired with seaweed, salt, and sawdust (see below)

andand but not anand pothadwaran: I have photos of Willow Teller and her shot pot but my phone died so I cannot upload them just now, which reminds me that about 6 pm on July 6 a man was returning a book and I said to him, stay for the blues show I’m producing here in about 2 hours with Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Jimmy Vivino and a special relativity orbital quantum leap by Mitch Woods and he said he didn’t have time for music or art because we need to get into space before the sun expires. Andrew Marvell call your literary executor.

I have a contrived coinage early on that references Brian Oldfield, who died recently, but I recall an article that placed him near us, at Zotts. By way of Noname the rapper, whose couplet, “track…field/I shot, you put…” I’m saying “shot put” but I say “shot pot“. Willow Teller was asked to make a tea pot with a social message and she pocked it with mock bullet holes and a blood red glaze inside the lid. I also started to lecture her on the fact that when Bruce Beasley was at Dartmouth he told his deans he was transferring to Cal to work with Peter Voulkos, and college president John Sloane Dickey himself offerered to build Bruce a better smelt.

Also I would be remiss as an all-seeing eyeball to not mention Willow’s classmate Chloe Cheng who has a piece out of a Thiebaud painting, despite the spelling error, and a depiction of Vincent Van Gogh under a pine tree on a starry starry night.

I’ve tinkered with this a couple times and am not thrilled with it but stand by it, or am sinking in it, stoically. But I have to add this picture of the blues drummer Francis Clay, just for his name (in a post bridging ceramics with percussion — it came to mind sorting thru the emails from Bob Margolin and Nancy Wright recently, in that she asked about Bob or Jimmy Vivino playing with Francis Clay.

edit to add: I spoke to Mateo Romero, after a columnist for Albuquerque paper Joline GK mentioned it, a young artist in Taos likely killed by her own partner, but then Mateo also mentioned the passing of the very influential Christina McHorse. She is in my parents’ collection, either at the Crocker or the DeYoung.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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