Sunday, August 4, 2013

Naive Melody (The Less We Say about It the Better)

A picture of a tree in Sayler Park Bill took last night.

Last night Bill, Emily and I went to Sayler Park, this little town skirting the Ohio River, about ten miles from downtown Cincinnati.  Matt, his wife Jen, and their son Matt Jr. invited us, and Bob and Angie came too.  There was a music festival in the park at the center of town that we went to, and then went back to Jen and Matt's house as Matt had hung up a white tarp near their garage, turning their back yard into a makeshift drive-in movie theater.  Bill brought Stop Making Sense, the Jonathan Demme Talking Heads concert movie from 1984 with us to show.

Jen and Emily showing off Bill's painting inside Matt and Jen's house.
The Parkland Movie Theater, a little neighbor movie joint down the street from Matt and Jen's house in Sayler Park.  Tickets are 3 bucks a pop.  They had the best movie poster I've ever seen:  Star Trek into Darkness in a scratchy Bic-pen font on wrinkled paper.   Below:  flowers Matt makes from glassware he finds at thrift-stores.  Their garage is overflowing with all of Matt's finds, which he plans on putting to use in a variety of art-related and not-art-related projects.

Bill, Emily, Matt, Jen, Matt Jr., Bob, Angie, and I are all connected to Thunder-Sky, Inc. in a myriad of ways, and this Saylor Park experience was like a retreat, or as Emily pointed out, a board meeting for the Island of Misfit Toys, which is kind of what Thunder-Sky, Inc. is, a gathering-place/art-gallery/studio/whatever-else for people who don't/can't/won't fit in anywhere else.  As Thunder-Sky, Inc. has evolved (since we started it in 2009) it has become what it is supposed to be, whatever the hell that is, and that is the way I like it.  It's a non-profit enterprise, so we have to have some kind of organizational structure, but at the end of the day I never want "organizational structure" to be in the foreground of anything we try to accomplish because once you go there you are stuck, and you start trying to figure out how to make "structure" count, when it reality "structure" is just something you pull in as you need it.  We do art-shows mainly, but also once a week an art workshop happens for whomever wants to show up, and sometimes we'll do art shows outside of the space, host meetings inside the space, offer up the gallery for poetry readings etc.  We don't really seek out partnerships or whatever -- they just happen if they need to happen.  I know this sounds hippie/spooky, a little too nonchalant, but I've discovered through doing a lot of non-profit-type activities that you have to let most of the "doing" lead you to what has to happen.  If you impose "structure," in other words, "structure" becomes the only point, until the tail starts wagging the dog and you wind up at non-profit workshops where non-profit professionals tell you how to go for the Big Ask, and you get lessons on how to polish up your elevator speech for that one encounter you just might have with a P&G exec someday.  Fingers crossed!

Raymond Thunder-Sky provides enough structure for what we're trying to figure out.  He gave us 2200+ drawings to archive and investigate, and a life of weirdness and productivity to contemplate and adore and iconize.  That's enough. 

So last night I kind of consider as a board meeting for Thunder-Sky, Inc.  All of us are board members of this makeshift non-profit, doing whatever we can to keep things going.  Basically we ate drank a few beers, ate strawberry cake, and listened to great music and watched David Byrne act like a beautiful fool, all of it splashed all over a white tarp in Matt and Jen's backyard.  Stop Making Sense, and what it represents, also kind of gets at what we're trying to figure out and do:  musicians of all creeds and colors coming together and seriously losing it, finding a sort for redemption in funk and colored lights and the lyrical nonsense of a band that truly tried to find meaning by escaping it.  It is truly an ecstatic sight, witnessing that stage evolve from Byrne doing his "Psycho Killer" solo to Tina Weymouth sneaking in on bass, and then Chris Frantz on drums, and Jerry Harrison on guitar, and then Alex Weir from the Brothers Johnson and Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic come out on keyboards and percussion, followed by Edna Holt and Lynne Mabry, finishing up Utopia as perfect backup singers, in sync with Byrne's delirium, and always on key.

Jonathan Demme creates a vision of heaven on earth in that movie, and we celebrated it last night.  And that's the direction we're stumbling toward I guess, off-kilter, meaningful celebrations of heaven on earth.  "Naïve Melody,"one of my favorite songs in the movie, is the best way to explain what I'm getting at I guess.  Here goes:

The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong . . nothing

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up say goodnight . . . say goodnight.