Lorraine’s last gig

June 26, 2010

Just back from Third Street Park, where Kaia had our last gig with the lovely Lorraine. She was crying after the show and I wish I hadn’t been on my after-show high so that I could cry along with her.

The turnout was a little lower than I expected, but what can you expect in this weather? We were lucky to be in the shade almost the whole time. Poor Lara had a face full of straight-on sun while she was singing Yonda Come Day: “Day done broke / In my soul” should have been “Day done broke / In my eye.” She had to perform with her eyes shut for most of the song.

It was great to see some old friends out in the audience, and to see kids and others dancing. We do a lot of dance tunes but this might have been the first time people actually danced to them.

I don’t know what we’ll do without Lorraine. She has such a versatile voice. She brings a great soul sound to the group. Plus she percusses. Is that a word? To percuss. Sounds good to me. Anyway, she has all this elasticity in her voice so she can do quick trills and such. Her lower range is rich and she has a nice upper range as well, higher than most other altos can manage.

Aside from her voice and her great performance presence, I will miss her. She not only has great music ideas, she has great input when the group is processing anything. She has these fabulous bedroom eyes and a fantastic laugh. We will be diminished without her.

Poor thing, she is moving on after more than four years with us. And she’s moving into a Kaia-less future. Her dad stopped by to visit recently. He’s also a talented musician. When he heard us rehearse, he agreed with Lorraine’s assessment: “You’re not going to find anything like that.” Sadness! One would hope that North Carolina would have something to offer her that’s as fulfilling as Kaia. Of course I’m pissed as hell that she’s being forced to leave because she can’t get out of poverty in Bloomington. She works two jobs, has no health insurance, and is just barely making ends meet. If she could find good work here, she’d take it in a second. Why does Bloomington have to be so good and so bad at the same time? I’m tired of losing people.

Sweet Lorraine, I will miss you.

Gang of 6 update

June 8, 2010

Anyone in Bloomington who’s got a heartbeat knows that conversations regarding the arts are running fast and furious. Tonight there was a follow-up meeting to last month’s “arts summit” at the Waldron.

About 25 people were in attendance & it was finally agreed that we should break into smaller groups. Actually, it was Alain’s idea to start with but I think I was the one to insist on it. I couldn’t help it—the chairs were really hard and I’d been setting down all day.

So there I was, minding my own business, when I suddenly found myself in charge of the performing arts subcommittee. Charrette. Whosis. Whatsis. And so forth.

I am to convene a meeting of as many performing artists/arts groups in town as possible to start visioning what a new arts organization would look like. We also need to examine our wants and needs, as well as what we have to offer.

I got to my car, bewildered at how I’d managed to end up at the front of the charge. “This is what you get when you don’t say no,” I said out loud (unhelpfully) to myself.

So I’m hoping to meet in the next two weeks so we have time for a second meeting if necessary before the next whole-group meeting on the second Tuesday of July. Was that a run-on sentence? Anyway.

The downside is that I’ve just gotten a bunch of work in that I need to crank on tomorrow and my brain is currently buzzing with fantasies of where we’ll have the meeting, how I want to structure it, whether or not I’ll tank it with an attempt at humor that instead offends everyone, or maybe I’ll just burst into a Turet’s-like stream of obscenities from sheer pressure. This is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Joni McGary runs a really good meeting. Maybe I can sucker her—ehm, I mean, ask her to run it instead of me. Oh, but really there’s a part of me that wants to do this. I was just at the BloomingPlays cast party a couple weeks ago, talking about how I wanted to get more involved with the community. Plop! The universe conveniently drops this into my lap.

Ah well, I’m excited at the prospect of shaping Bloomington’s artistic future through grassroots agitation and collaboration. While I can never be a dynamo like the divine Charlotte Zietlow, I can contribute this little piece that might lead to a greater whole.