Welcome to the Muck
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Three of the four members of The Married Men: L to R Leah Crosby, Sophia Arnall, + yours truly.
The image above was taken this past weekend during a photo shoot, in the middle of which I fell into a dumpster. The goal had been to "cat-woman" on top of it like my bandmate, but instead the lid caved in and I landed butt-first in a pile of wet, stinky, unidentifiable goop.
I wanted this photo at the top of this letter because this is the first time I've written in a very long time, and it felt like a pretty representative photo for where I've been and what I've been up to over the past few years.
By that I don't mean the past two years were garbage. But they were about falling down into the full muck of life right when I was trying to clamber above it. That muck has included a cross-country move, running a marathon, two funerals, several weddings, two stunning road trips, deep depression, a lot of singing with friends, a broken jaw, a maniacal-racist-sex-predator-president, learning two new instruments, adopting a dog, two new jobs, and my first solo camping trip, to name some bits and bobs. Sorting through all of this, I really didn't know what I had it in me to offer as an artist. The world seemed to be regurgitating some of its ugliest content for me to contend with as a human and a member of my family and society first. That work (on myself, on my country and culture, on my family and my friendships) continues to be vital. But after mucking around in it rather clumsily for a while now, this past summer I feel I've started to re-emerge with some new projects in hand that I'm very excited to share:
1) I'm in a band. We're called The Married Men, and we cover songs by the Roches. That's three (of four) of us above, hanging about the dumpster. As it turns out, it is astoundingly fun to sing and play in a band. Especially with these folks. Why it took me so long, I can write about another time. But we just headlined our first show here in Seattle, and will be playing at Tacoma Brewing September 13 and at Velocity Dance Center on September 21. (If you've never listened to the Roches, please golisten to them right now, and then call me so we can talk about it.)
Dancers/artists Kaitlin McCarthy & Tiffany Bierly in rehearsal at Open Flight.
2) I'm working on a new performance project, currently called Typical Spectra, based on the research and work of the Harvard Computers. I just wrapped a beautiful, deep, two-month residency at Open Flight Studio here in Seattle, where I got to work every week with two gamesome, open, and generous dancers (Kaitlin McCarthy and Tiffany Bierly, seen above). With them, I'm getting to work with the body, dance, score, and text in ways that feel both very new and like a place I've been trying to get to in my work for a long time. I've been so captivated in rehearsals that this is the only photo I've managed to take of us working. I'll be rehearsing periodically throughout the next year, with the aim to premiere the piece as a larger multimedia project some time in 2020. So stay tuned for more on that as it develops.
3) I'm working on recording an EP of my own music this winter. I'm really excited to do this, and definitely a little nervous. I'm not sure I'm ready to say much more than that, but one of the big takeaways from the dumpster dive of the past two years is that music and sound are a very integral part of my life. It feels very good to be spending so much more time working in those realms. You can expect a couple soundcloud snippets and experiments in the next letter!
4) I've been writing. A lot. Most of it I don't consider fit for the public, but some of it I really would like to share. That, in addition to having a way to stay connected with friends and collaborators far and wide, is where these Dumpster Diaries come in. Kind of like the past two years, they're not called Dumpster Diaries because I intend to send you garbage. They're called Dumpster Diaries because whenever I drop down into the gnarliest and dankest parts of my own inner life, I inevitably pop back up refreshed and humbled, and excited to talk about it. So if you'd like to keep reading as I write my way through a life in art and life in general, this newsletter's the place to get your bimonthly dose. It's also a way for me to document my journey getting to know the Pacific Northwest again after 20 years of living elsewhere. So expect some interviews with local folks, reviews of local shows, and a perennial mention of an awesome hike with my dog.
All that said, please feel free to unsubscribe now or at any moment when this isn't what you need or want in your inbox. No hard feelings!
Until next time,