The Ceilidhs

January 11, 2009

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Ask anyone in the know about the céilidhs we held in 1996 and 1998 and they get a dreamy look in their eyes. 

The céilidhs are hard to categorize. They were based on “authentic” céilidhs I’d attended in Scotland. Our version was like a mini-Lotus, only focused entirely on local talent. The explanation we gave was “world music, poetry, dance, and storytelling.”

My role was organizer, producer, marketer, creative director, vocalist, and more. I participated in the collective planning/producing brain with the outstanding Daniel McDeavitt and Denise Travers. I believe Hanna McDeavitt helped produce the ’98 one.

The 1996 edition was focused on audience participation, so we saw a lot of artists breaking the fourth wall. Many of our acts performed in the audience space rather than onstage. 

In 1998, artists focused more on collaborating with each other, so we ended up with the Trifecta Of Bliss: Vida, Rhythm Quest, and Windfall Dancers all performing together.

All of the artists were outstanding. Planned to last about 3 hours, both céilidhs went overtime but the audience never left. After 4 hours in ’96 and 5 hours in ’97, people still hung out afterwards to soak in the bliss. Alain Barker ended both céilidhs by leading everybody in a group jam with instruments he brought and shared among the crowd.

Somewhere in the CATS vault is a recording of the 1998 céilidh. If you want a real treat, ring them at 812-349-3111 and request that they play it. After more than 10 years, it still holds up!

These “events” were sacred for me and remain dear to my heart. I will always feel bonded to Denise and Daniel for co-manifesting a night to remember.

The line-ups for 1996 and 1998


Five Days In Berlin

November 23, 2008

Circa 1989. Co-wrote, -produced, -directed, and acted in Bryan‘s senior thesis work for Indiana University.

Isn’t that a great title? Bry’s idea. The piece was actually a collection of shorts that had a theme holding them together. It included everything from a documentary on the environment to a “what’s wrong with kids these days” scene that we had our moms do. (When my ma momentarily forgot her line, she ad libbed the now immortal line, “That darn government!”)

I love/d working with Bry because we bring such different things to the table. He tends to think in careful, thorough steps whereas I go leaping and bounding ahead in pursuit of Big Ideas. We complement each other creatively and also have lots in common, such as a healthy dose of sarcasm and a healthy respect for dessert. The work we did together in the late ’80s is just about the only thing I remember from those awful years.


A bunch of stuff with Bryan

November 23, 2008

1986 – 1990s. The joys of living with an aspiring filmmaker (now an Emmy-nominated documentary editor in the L.A. area). We wrote and performed a number of video productions.

I recall an amusing commercial done for a class, a scene I wrote and performed as a send-up of the pretentious artists we knew, a scene he wrote that I performed in that was based loosely on our friends’ lives, and an incredibly pretentious scene I wrote, starred in, and co-directed based on me me ME.

With equipment from CATS, we produced Bryan’s own little bit of college angst, I Am Seventeen, where I was ensconced in a bedroom webbed ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall with cassette tape. At the end I wound myself up in it. It was all Very Deep.

Bryan and our friend J.T. they filmed me doing a totally improvised steam-of-consciousness piece as “Cherry Blossom,” a hippie cooking show host. There were a number of other set pieces, both improvised and written, that I performed in during those years. Shameless.


The Life and Death of Almost Everybody

November 23, 2008

Director, producer, costumer, and just about everything else behind the scenes. A witty play with Deep Meaning by the British playwright David Campton. Highland Theatre Company.


Oliver!

November 23, 2008

Widow Corney. Also choral co-director. I had mono, so much of the production is/was a blur. My favorite performance story of all time: I blanked the lyrics during performance and sang “vas-uh-veh shuh foo luh hang oo ra la” instead. Only the choral director knew the difference. Highland Theatre Company.