"An interesting musical opportunity... "An interesting musical opportunity...

Posted by tkemp on 2006.10.06 @ 23:01

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…is in your near future.”
    — fortune cookie from tonight’s dinner.

Near indeed.

The fortune I discovered in my wallet yesterday — “We are here to create / not merely survive” — was inspiring. This one was just scary.

We have a little over a week before we’re performing in Boston [more...]

Purity! Contagion! Acrylic Glass! Purity! Contagion! Acrylic Glass!

Posted by tkemp on 2006.09.23 @ 22:25

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It’s been about three weeks since we heard that we will be going to Boston to do a performance and installation at PURE.

Our proposal included an acrylic glass plinko machine (a la The Price is Right) and three hanging fabric cocoons. There will be a performer in each cocoon and a fourth performer dropping ping pong balls into the plinko machine. As the balls come out the three holes in the bottom of the machine, they will trigger the performers to change an ongoing soundscape in some way. Eventually, the person dropping the ping pong balls will replace himself with an automated device, the automated device will run out of balls, and the performers in the cocoons will leave behind the soundscape controllers for the audience to play with. [more...]

i wanna be a popstar, etape deux i wanna be a popstar, etape deux

Posted by tkemp on 2006.06.12 @ 15:50

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The latest parlor game among friends and family when I’m in their presence has been, “What are you doing with your life, Tina?” I thought that, rather than responding with the standard “I’m dropping out of grad school. And then I don’t know! I just don’t know! Please don’t ask me again because I’m going to explode if you do!” line, I’d mix things up for a change.

So I’ve been saying instead, “Oh, you know. I’m going to move to a bigger city and be a performance artist and work on the side to pay the rent.”

I’ve been getting some interesting responses.

There’s the concerned parent always looking out for her daughter’s well-being: “You could marry some rich doctor or lawyer. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about working. Or you could work for airport security. Or, this friend of mine’s daughter got this job somewhere in New Albany, and the HR manager brings in decorations for holidays — or, when things are slow, she brings in balloons, tapes them to the wall, and all the employees get to throw darts at them! Now, doesn’t that sound like a fun place to work?”

The ex-boyfriend who never understood my existential crises: “Oh. Well…. Well. Wow. I mean, my aunt was a film producer and had to work some odd jobs to cover that - at least until she started getting government grants. She and her husband never had enough money to raise a family… I mean, maybe they could have if they really wanted to. Well, they seem to be the happiest couple in our family. But they just never had much money. Well… Wow.”

The random English grad student acquaintances: “Oh. That’s cool. I wonder how you report a pound of cheesefries on your tax return?”

The college drinking buddy, whom I thought knew me better than he actually did: “I don’t know what’s more shocking: that, or the fact that you seriously contemplated the rich-old-doctor-or-lawyer thing as an option.”

The one person so far who has actually responded positively: “Cool! So we can all say someday, ‘yup, we knew Tina back when she was nothing but a horribly lazy grad student and borderline alcoholic.’ ”

interpretations of dream. interpretations of dream.

Posted by tkemp on 2006.06.07 @ 14:37

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So the other day, I had this dream that I was flying back to Columbus, Ohio, to perform some sort of musical drama. The performance was, like, going to be in two weeks and it was like, not going to be performed in Columbus, but rather in Philadelphia, and the script was still incomplete, and we hadn’t, like, finished writing the music or practiced at all or anything.

So, when I arrived at Steve’s condo, Ashley and Ryan were, like, building some animal out of plastic and, like, filming it. Or something. This went on for a couple of days, except they were always filming different things, like Cheerios and Floam creatures and sea-urchins-that-look-nothing-like-sea-urchins. Made out of pipe cleaners.

So. We were going along, filming weird things and writing weird things — oh, and I think we might have been, like, keeping a blog of all this or something — when the guy who was going to play keyboard said he wasn’t coming, and we had to rewrite everything for four people instead of five — which we might have had to do anyway, cause, like, we were trying to maintain correspondence with the number of tines on a typical dinner fork.

Then we started having these rehearsals. And I think one night during one of these rehearsals, I was going to, like, chant some lyrics or something, and then Steve started waving his hands above his head, which I recognized as the universal signal for “dance like a robot,” so I started, you know, dancing like a robot. And then the music stopped and Steve was like, “What are you doing?! That was your cue to come in!!”

Anyway, one day Steve and I went to the airport, where Beth was, and it was weird because I knew immediately who she was even though I had never met her in person before. Then we picked up Aaron at his house in Newark, and he started driving and then we realized that we were going west, and for some reason, we, like, didn’t want to be going in that direction, so we turned around.

So we were, like, driving somewhere at night and it was dark, you know, because it was night, and all of a sudden, we were in, like, this dark tunnel and Ace of Base started playing really loudly and the car windows rolled down. Then the sun came up and we like found this hotel in Philadelphia, and it had a toaster that didn’t really toast things, so I brought the untoasted bread to our room and fell asleep on the floor for two hours.

Then we were, like, at this old house that was called an “arts center” and this guy who called himself Dr. T was, like, projecting some really crazy fractals and Hindu gods on this screen, and I almost became hypnotized and, like, had to go out and get some fresh air.

And then, we, like, did the show, you know, and there were people watching and clapping once in a while, and afterward, someone came up and told us that it was “fun.”

Well, you know, even though that was over, we were still kind of trapped in Philadelphia, so we wandered around in Chinatown and bought some fake fruit to keep the projectors company, took a trip to New Jersey, and ate at the Great American Diner Pub.

The next day, we were back at the arts center and had to do some visuals for some other musicians who were there, so we were, like, putting some postmodern evil flashing teapots up on the screen, and after that, we went outside. While we were standing there, I was suddenly having a panic attack from all the mind torture, so I bummed a cigarette off of this guy, and you know, it was just like being in Germany, because I was standing there smoking with other people who were smoking.

We were almost ready to get out of there, but then the van started clicking, and it turned out that, like, besides trying to communicate with us from the Twilight Zone, the van’s battery was dead. So we had to jump it, which was difficult because it was dark, you know, and we couldn’t see. But Michael Victor lent us a flashlight and we got things working, and we left to go to Perkins. Except that it wasn’t Perkins, it was just an overly-airconditioned diner where old men go to talk about killing their wives.

Well, finally, we escaped and were driving back to Columbus, stopping along the way to pick up a Christian selfhelp book about how eugenics is good and how identifying your complicated, unpredictable, genetically-inherited temperament will help you find your vocation and marry a beautiful wife.

Then in the end, the whole thing turned out to be some sort of moralstory about why you should never leave your whale in the desert because, you know, it’s kinda useless there.

lorem. ipsum. lorem. ipsum.

Posted by tkemp on 2006.05.30 @ 12:09

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Integer convallis porta est. Maecenas mi enim, interdum lobortis, lobortis ac, sodales ac, enim. Nunc quis massa in massa tincidunt hendrerit. In velit justo, lobortis vitae, auctor ac, pretium eu, ipsum. Suspendisse potenti. Vestibulum lacus metus, accumsan a, euismod nec, iaculis et, sem. Sed lacinia consectetuer sem. Nam et purus ut augue tempor ultricies. Phasellus viverra nisi sit amet velit. Proin condimentum. Mauris egestas dui ac metus. Morbi faucibus aliquet lacus. Donec adipiscing dignissim libero. Integer pellentesque nisl in urna. Fusce vulputate nisl at lacus.

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Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Nunc porta. Praesent purus sem, placerat quis, porttitor ac, vehicula in, mi. Sed sem enim, luctus non, sollicitudin ac, aliquam sit amet, tortor. Etiam tempus nulla luctus nunc pretium egestas. Pellentesque ultrices orci in nisl. Quisque tincidunt commodo pede. Quisque sit amet velit eu sem scelerisque laoreet. Cras quis sapien. Fusce nunc.

i wanna be a popstar when i grow up. i wanna be a popstar when i grow up.

Posted by tkemp on 2006.05.30 @ 12:06

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We spent a fair amount of time last night rehearsing Ashley and Steve’s “Disney on acid” arrangement of Drinking Song. People have asked me before how I feel about writing lyrics and then handing them off to other people to arrange. “How do you know that it’s going to sound how you think it’s going to sound? What if they get it wrong?”

When I wrote this piece of text, I wasn’t hearing trippy music. I didn’t envision pipecleaner fish and an octopus swimming around behind me. I wouldn’t have known if clarinet and ethereal piano sounds were the right instrumentation. Did they get it wrong?

If one bothers to put some thoughts on paper, perhaps one is just hoping to remember what one meant when one comes back to it later. And if one manages to slip those words onto someone else, perhaps she is just hoping that it will have some kind of meaning for them. Any kind of meaning.

The danger, then, is not that the composers will get it wrong, but that they will get it right. I’m not sure that I can hold onto the amplified meaning that this piece now contains for me.

But given that I actually have to sing this — in front of strangers. Who are musically inclined. And sober — I had better hold on tight.

reduce. reduce.

Posted by tkemp on 2006.05.28 @ 12:35

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After Emilio del Rosario’s newest student informed us yesterday that his piano practice was going to interfere with his plans to perform with us, I knew had assumed too soon that the script was finished. Didn’t some poet say that you have to revise as long as you’re living? (or something like that — I’m not a quoteperson.)

I drove home in some sort of blind rage, singing along full volume to Green Day and almost hitting several cars while changing lanes. Once making it home without killing anyone, I had a beer and called my current flame, who calmed me down with his summary of The Idiots Guide to the Crusades. I went to bed, got up and went to church and came home to work on today’s Columbus Dispatch sudoku puzzle, which ironically was five interlocking sudoku puzzles. Go figure.

Then I attacked the script. I wish I could say like a fourteenth century crusader, but that would sound too courageous, and I don’t like war metaphors anyway. It was more of a rabid raccoon attack: hack this, cut that, combine these three lines into one, froth at the mouth…

I’m starting to view preparation for this performance as some twisted form of budget therapy. Like yesterday, I got over my fear of singing in front of people and today I’m getting over my dislike for the revision phase of the writing process. I’m also learning to channel my stress in productive ways — such as road rage and sudoku.

Disclaimer: Steve, I’m not blaming you in any way, shape, or form for anything. Especially not the sudoku.

neue rollen. neue rollen.

Posted by tkemp on 2006.05.27 @ 15:41

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I was asked (or rather commanded: “write blog!”) to add something here. My exploits at the condo and various custard shops have been adequately detailed by Ryan, so I will not belabor these further.

As I write this, Steve’s musical rendering of Couscous is pulsing through my headphones, blocking out the sound of my brother and mom stomping around the house. Hopefully I’ll be able to commit the notes and subtle rhythms to memory soon enough to not embarrass myself in front of the real musicians on Monday. Steve has been generous in referring to me as a “vocalist” and “actress” when introducing me to friends and collaborators on this project, even though he knows as well as I do that most of my stage experience has been through school performances and karaoke.

The first two large-scale collaborations I worked on — Tuesday Afternoon and last year’s Electro — focused a lot more on ridiculousness in other people and, ironically, I was also detatched from the performance and implementation of them. It’s therefore fitting that when I try to use my writing to take on my own ridiculousness, I get swept up in portraying it, too.