Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
by Robin Scott Peters
The Bridge Concert:My buddy Larry is a Technical Director of Theater at a California college. He is a professional Light Designer and has a deep history in Rock & Roll concert lighting. He also has attended more concerts than anyone I know. This past few months alone he consumed the Stones, Robert Plant, Stephan Stills and...he will chastise me because I know I have missed a slew of others. I should pay more attention. And for close to two decades Larry has asked me to go to this supposed "amazing" event called The Bridge School Benefit Concert. This year's Bridge School Benefit Concert (27th Annual) will be Larry's 17th in 18 years. For most of those 17 years Larry has asked me to attend the concert with him. Trying to coordinate my life to see this supposed "amazing" event proved to never move up the "Things To Do" list. Until last October, 2012.
Finally, the Bridge School Benefit Concert actually made it to the top of my "Things To Do" list. How it got there is a script good enough for a Hollywood Tell-All. What's important is I actually got there. A good thing too. My first time, in 2012, was a whirl for me. My experience of the whole "event" was so powerful and overwhelming it took me quite some time to realize exactly what I experienced. I needed to do it again to make sure what occurred was actual. The outdoor atmosphere of the Shoreline Amphitheater during October, the twenty-two thousand committed fans, and ten-plus hours of stellar music with a fantasy line-up, bopped me on my head. Dizzied, on the way home -- a 3.5 hour drive -- we planned for next year's concert (The 27th Annual). The highlight of the drive was the discussion how "The Muse" infused each performer/performance and whom was taken into that tantric frenzy when performance meets the ideal.
We started preparing for the 27th Annual event weeks before: Who's driving? What food? Where we lodge? What not to bring per Shoreline rules (important to know these!). We are on the road early. Our fearless-leader and taskmaster, Larry, is adamant that we stay strictly on schedule every lost minute means we can't get prime lawn real estate--perfect concert view location. As we pile into the vehicle, reviewing our "mental" checklist, yup, got that, and that, cool. Doors slam, seat belts on, tunes cranked and on our way. A collective sigh of release permeates the car and we settle in all prepared for the journey. An in perfect harmony our Leader Larry proclaims "Peets Coffee." Not a question but a statement of fact for at least a decade All part of the tradition. Sitting back, relaxed. The music in perfect sync swaying with mountain roads. Pondering, I think, "what is it that makes people come to this event?" Why, someone like me, a Rookie, with a rip-roaring 2 years under his belt now is totally committed to stringing along multiple years, and a bit of "cash-o-la," towards the cause. Ah yes, there is a cause. One that most of us can buy into fully: "serving children with severe physical and speech impairments." Is there anything quite as immediate, anything quite as powerful and effective in communicating than the art of Music? Music as Healer. Music as Facilitator. Music as link to the modes of learning. Or as The Bridge School proclaims so eloquently: "...we have taken a leadership role in developing and sharing effective teaching strategies for children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)..." Music as a Bridge. Yes, simple, eloquent and exact.
If you read my blog regularly you know ARTING About...? focus is on Art and its relationship to the Public. Art's efficacy: to instruct, entertain, heal? Practical. Trans-formative. Art as Endgame. I dare say this is the reason the fans come again and again year after year to the Bridge Concert. They proudly pronounce how many years they have notched on their belt. How many years in a row is the higher crown. People coming for a decade plus.
The Shoreline really has the organizational side of things dialed in. I point this out because the way in which the public is handled is spectacular. It is at this basic level that the power of The Bridge Concert can flourish. It is the "crowd" that eventually creates the success of the event. I mean, yes, you need the performer. But any performer will tell you that it sure is good to have an audience, especially one that is full, appreciative and connected. Fans don't like it when things don't go smooth or don't make sense. It directly affects the quality of the show. When three quarters of the audience is residing on the grass in a first come first serve capacity things can get a little out of control. Not here. Even during the height of the concert where walking area was at a premium and people had to walk around, close by, almost nearly over you but there seemed to be a chorus of "excuse me, so sorry, Oh no problem," A genuine caring among the crowd about the well being and comfort of "others." A higher cause. A reason to be less about ourselves and more about a community focused on sharing and achieving lofty goals set by Pegi and Neil. Does that sound really hammy? I know it does. But that's what I felt the first concert in 2012. And now again at this 27th Annual "amazing" event. That's why I came back again to make sure my eggs weren't scrambled all over my hammy! YIKES....
Larry found us the perfect spot. We spread out our blankets claiming our territory. An important thing because again this year the event was sold out and just about every spot available was staked out. The picnic baskets were broke open and a cavalcade of yummy delights continued to pour forth for the duration of the evening.
|Our Gang. A Ghoulish Halloween Weekend at The Bridge School Benefit Concert.|
My people watching proclivities popped and I gobbled up the human fodder for review. All types. All ages. Eclectic group grooving to energy, pulsating, anticipating the first of nearly a dozen performers set for the Sunday line-up. For the record: "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Tom Waits; Queen Of The Stone Age; My Morning Jacket; Elvis Costello; Diana Krall; Fun; Jenny Lewis; Heart. I know and it was just as good as it looks in print.
Jenny Lewis opened the afternoon festivities. Pink lipstick, her red head of flowing hair with straight cut bangs accentuating her lovely visage. Upstaged only by her incredible voice. A mixture of country silky smooth with splash and dash of rock and blues overtones. She plied us with 7 different tunes. The lyrics jumped out in Carpet Baggers with "...steal your nose from right under your eyes..." and "...with a little bit of magic everybody has it..." cranked up the growing crowd and set the bar high for all of the following performances.
The ladies of Heart came on stage and I have to say their performance seemed to rock the fans more than any that evening. By the end of their oh too short set the crowd was on its feet tossed into frenzied pitch leading us into the setting sun and a beautiful evening. Nancy and Ann sounded as if they were singing back in the 80's. I was shocked on how solid and true. They hit every "Heart" note with confidence. It was for that reason the audience responded. "Neo-Vintage" Heart. No question about it. If you missed this performance, you certainly missed the Muse at work indeed.
Fun was up next. This group was an interesting amalgamation of sounds: Queen, Yes, ELO meandering through my head. Larry's beautiful daughter was with us. She, being of that age, knows all the contemporary groups and was my on-site "Wikipedia." "Who are these guys?" I asked her. And blam...all the 411 I could need. Fun whipped out a bevy of songs "Stars," "Carry On," The Gambler," and a cover of the Queen classic "Somebody to Love." The lead singer stepped into a bit of a controversy (well, it definitely sent a shudder across the older of us in the crowd) when he proclaimed that Queen should know that "Somebody to Love" was now going to be known as "our" song--that being FUN's song. Yikes, now that takes some serious balls. The young man and the full band certainly did a great rendition of the song. But, truly, not even close to Freddie. Can anyone really sing it better than he? NO. PS to FUN....may want to rewrite that opening. No sense pissing off the old folks, we buy music too!
Diana Krall with her raspy vocals and resonating keyboard artistry pulled us all back together. Neil Young joined her when she began to do a cover of "Harvest Moon." Neil's presence and demeanor permeated the stage. And then the announcement: Lou Reed died. We were all stunned. Elvis Costello came out and with his wonderful wife serenaded the audience with a set exclusive of any of his Top-40 hits. It seemed so apropos these two giants in the music entertainment industry should take us into the moment of mourning Lou. I know he was tapping his foot and rocking his head with the set.
After the set, a great discussion broke forth among the audience folk sitting around our group. It was postulated that Elvis should play his "hits." He disappointed the crowd. The juxtaposition of that hypothesis was Elvis has always been his own "Man/musician" and his choice certainly was not outside his personality. Obviously he left that part of his career where it needs to be. He was centered and comfortable playing music much more important to him NOW. An artist should be able to do his/her art as one pleases, right? It was a wonderful experience listening to Elvis and Diana as the sun set--Aloha Lou. The mood was palpable as the anticipation built for the evenings crowning performances.
Queens Of The Stone Age and My Morning Jacket rocked the crowd. The musicianship and far reaching styles highlighted for me the wonderful collection of musical artistry. For me it was great to hear talent, musical talent, for a contemporary group. Thoughtfulness and complexity filled the arena as these two bands took us deep into the night and set the stage for Tom Waits.
I first saw Tom Waits back in 1982 at UC Davis Coffee House venue. There, Tom performed in a room of about 200 people. Air thick with Marlboro, Maryjane and hops. I worked for a music store, The Record Factory, at the time. That performance rings clear in my memory and I could write a whole article on Tom's "Performance Artistry." Tom's charisma. But I have to say watching Tom perform this night just instilled to me Mr. Waits' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame destiny (see my previous blog on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). Watching Tom taken-over by some manifest spirit that spit forth dazzling lyrics and manipulated his body, grabbed hold of his out stretched hands, fingers twitching, telling its own story syncopated to the rhythm--accentuating the image bathed in colors dancing before our eyes. I was stunned into silence. No longer clapping my hands to the music, whooping and hollering we love you!! No, I sat in my rented $5.00 lawn chair, I sat knowing I was watching a part of ethereal musical history. What a master of Applied Musical Arts. This energized "character" switched to the man "Tom." Giving us a glimpse of himself, the odd humor, his particular view of life on this earth. And again, this character would reappear and around and again. I was exhausted after his performance. Following music, lyrics, drama, a cornucopia of art. I feasted at the artistry plate, no, feasted at the table! Mr. Waits. Full and content. Could it be any better?
Oddly enough somehow the Chef's (Pegi and Neil) were able to top the main course. CSNY. After Tom's charismatic dramatic musical interlude the only way to top it was to take four amazing charismatic dramatic musicians to spotlight their own superior independence AND to also lift up to heavenly levels what it sounds like to hear angels sing in harmony. David, Stephan, Graham and Neil each got an opportunity to sing one of their "own" pieces as the others backed them up flawlessly. I wonder if anyone noticed Neil during the set. He has such an unusual groove. While he plays he moves about the stage almost in a trance. His movement incorporates a Native American dance/chant with an offbeat swagger. I wish I could describe it better. Neil bobbed and stepped in an about his mates. Not one unnerved by his floating. And then CSNY did what they do best. I closed my eyes for what seemed 30 minutes as song after song of the deepest and best of their catalog washed over the audience. Exquisite harmonies. Exuberant musical interludes. I know the heavens stopped and listened.
You may wonder what happened to Larry and our merry band of 8. Imagine, if you will, a group of 8 in slow motion. Large smiles, high-five's, hips gyrating, arms flailing, cold beers sipped, great food shared, huge laughs with people you don't know, but are best of friends tonight as the music creates a wonderful Bridge where we all can come together, as a community, for a brief moment behind a cause so much bigger than ourselves.
Hope to see you there in 2014. Come find out for yourself. The 28th Annual....look for me!
Please visit: Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART. LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/robinscottpeters for complete resume & work history. Smashwords.com and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available. YouTube: Youtube.com/user/robinpeters for all my video work.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
by Robin Scott Peters
|Life Changing Experience?|
Yet, that mattered not. When I walked out of that theater two plus hours later, my life had been-- and still is-- altered permanently. Art is potent. It can change lives.
The Crocker Art Museum held an event, 5pm to 9pm, this past-Thursday, August 1, 2013 called "The Takeover: An Art Jam By & for Youth." And that is exactly what happened.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Dear Friends on July 22, 2013 I shot the following amazing lightning show during the full moon, or Thunder Moon as it is called. Enjoy the show!!
Please visit:Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART.LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/robinscottpeters for complete resume & work history.Smashwords.com and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available.YouTube: Youtube.com/user/robinscottpeters for all my video work.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
ARTING About...? The Art of Business - MAXIMIZE YOUR VALUABLE TIME --Lynda.com major tool for success.
by Robin Scott Peters
MAXIMIZE YOUR VALUABLE Time -- Lynda.com
Maximizing Your Time -- You got to give some to get some!
I need to find a way to polish my skills. I want to maximize the potential of the programs I use in my day to day business. I need something that respects the time I am giving to it; because time is money and time is precious. I look for ways to pinpoint the information I need. Not spend endless minutes --which feel like hours when you have a dead line and you are busy trying to solve a problem, or figure out advanced keystrokes to apply serious professional quality to your work product. I demand quality instruction, depth of examination, variety of instructors--certified professionals and a way to certify that my investment of time is of significance.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
ARTING About...? The National Gallery, London, England: ART is: Charing Cross, Michael Landy and Earl Grey!!!
From Kilburn to Sainthood – Exploring London’s creative side
A persistent shade of blue is tearing apart London’s notoriously grey skies and beckoning me out. A native Californian, even in London I never go out without sunglasses. This garners me a welcome collection of smiles from curious unshaded onlookers. A friendly “that’s all right dear,” from a friendly passerby as I click photos of my neighborhood, a Britishism applicable most anytime, forces me to respond with my own charmed smile. And leads me to reflect on one of the reasons I love England so.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
ARTING About...? Kansas City 18th & Vine, here I come: The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum
by ROBIN SCOTT PETERS
Me and My Canon 550D
I awoke in cool white sheets pillows tossed and a stream of morning splashing west as east. Day two in Kansas City. So much on the agenda--capture the feel of the city with my 550d. Subject: The 18th Street & Vine Museums. I was going to soak up some serious info. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum housed in one location, nirvana right?
1148 was my room number. I faced north from the Westin towards downtown. A spectacular view.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
by Brian Bozanich, MFA
Five Formative Theatre Experiences
I have spent the last few weeks discussing my own work. I wanted to share the moments which spoke to me as an audience member, honor the craft of others, and explain how it shaped my work.
You never forget your first. In July, 1987 I saw Les Miserables in Los Angeles. It was the first professional musical I had ever seen. I knew the complete soundtrack before attending, but it did nothing to lessen the impact of the piece. There were two specific moments: