Sad news: the Hiltons Virginia home of Rita Forrester (daughter of Janette Carter, and director of the Carter Family Fold) burned this past weekend, and her husband Bob perished in the fire. A fund has been set up for Rita and her two sons. For more information and a link to the fund
Clyde and I have sold a lot of Bibles this fall -- in Chapel Hill, Topsail Beach, Wilmington, Charlotte, and in Jackson MS at the Eudora Welty Centennial celebration at Millsaps College. Al Young, a writer we met at the Welty Centennial, snapped this photo of us in action. Al is the poet emeritus of the state of California. He has a bunch of really warm photos on his site alyoung.org. I am taking part in a memorial concert for Archie Green Nov. 21st at Wilson Library on the UNC-CH campus with banjo player Stephen Wade. The concert caps a day long event entitled "Work's Many Voices: A Memorial to Archie Green". The concert also features Elizabeth LaPrelle and the New North Carolina Ramblers, with Kinney Rorrer and Kirk Sutphin. There is a Facebook page about this event containing all the particulars: Work's Many Voices Facebook FMI.
I've also been music directing a production of KUDZU at Piedmont Players Theatre in Salisbury this fall. (KUDZU is a musicalization of Doug Marlette's comic strip, put together by Doug, Jack Herrick, and Bland Simpson.) FMI. Kudzu features CaLeb Hill, Brenda Julian, Barry Dyson, Graham Carlton, Micah Cottingham, Joseph McGee, Michael Brooks, Alexis Greer, Dennis Welch, Aubrey Barton, Cale Evans, John Stafford, Mike Austin, Melissa Adams, and Brad Gulley. Reid Leonard directed. Jack, Lynn, Skyler and Melinda Marlette came to see the show 11/13. Melinda said Doug would have liked this production.
I've also been recording some of Dennis Rickman's short stories about his coming of age in Albemarle, in the l960's.
"Literary festival ends on a high note with Edgerton and Craver's performance" -- nice review of our 9/14 concert by Lauren Russell from THE DAILY TARHEEL.
"WGAL -- in Cedar Ridge, Arkansas..."
"Low-power noncommercial radio stations, which emerged about 10 years ago in a brief window of eased federal regulation intended to foster competition with the big corporate radio chains, might be soon about to roar, some communications experts say — or at least squeak loudly enough to be heard. A bill now before Congress, and considered by some low-power radio advocates to have a good chance of passage this year, would potentially double the number of licensed, low-power stations from about 800 now to perhaps 1,600 or more." Kirk Johnson, NYTIMES, 9/08/09
North Carolina Literary Festival
Clyde Edgerton and I will be doing our performance/musical reading of his latest novel THE BIBLE SALESMAN Sunday, Sept. 13th, as the final event in the North Carolina Literary Festival. We've been gussying up our presentation, working with Carole Tallent, and adding a few props and costumes. We are looking forward to trying this baby out in a big place like Memorial Hall. If you check out the festival's website, please check out the list of sponsors at the bottom of the page. Very interesting!
We're going to be doing THE BIBLE SALESMAN at the Welty Centennial in Jackson, MS, and also at Thalian Hall in Wilmington in October. FMI
Excerpts from explanatory text that George A. Croffut provided to market John Gast's 1872 lithograph "American Progress" (picutred right).
This rich and wonderful country--the progress of which at the present time, is the wonder of the old world--was until recently, inhabited exclusively by the lurking savage and wild beasts of prey. If the rapid progress of the "Great West" has surprised our people, what will those of other countries think of the "Far West," which was destined at an early day, to be the vast granary [grain producing region], as it is now the treasure chamber of our country?...
In the foreground, the central and principal figure, a beautiful and charming Female, is floating westward through the air bearing on her forehead the "Star of Empire...." On the right of the picture is a city, steamships, manufactories, schools and churches over which beams of light are streaming and filling the air--indicative of civilization. The general tone of the picture on the left declares darkness, waste and confusion. From the city proceed the three great continental lines of railway.... Next to these are the transportation wagons, overland stage, hunters, gold seekers, pony express, pioneer emigrant and the warrior dance of the "noble red man." Fleeing from "Progress"...are Indians, buffaloes, wild horses, bears, and other game, moving Westward, ever Westward, the Indians with their squaws, papooses, and "pony lodges," turn their despairing faces towards, as they flee the wondrous vision. The "Star" is too much for them.
...What home, from the miner's humble cabin to the stately marble mansion of the capitalist, should be without this Great National Picture, which illustrates in the most artistic manner all the gigantic results of American Brains and Hands! Who would not have such a beautiful token to remind them of the country's grandeur and enterprise which have caused the mighty wilderness to blossom like the rose!!!
Rest in Peace, Mike Seeger -- founder of the New Lost City Ramblers, and eminent folklorist and performer.
My friend Jim Watson reports that when Mike Seeger was a child "he and his mother became separated in a Washington DC department store. They were reunited by a woman in the store who was then hired by the Seegers to work in their home. Her name was Elizabeth Cotten, and it was some years before they found out that she played music, but Mike became a booster of hers as the years went on, so his effect on traditional music started when he was a young person."
I didn't know Mike well, but I'd see him around the music circuit from time to time and once he had some encouraging words for me which had a lasting impact on my sense of self confidence and validity.
I seem to be moving backwards in my appreciation of film. Now my favorites are the silents, particularly Buster Keaton and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Keaton is of course without compare, but Arbuckle is pretty wonderful too. It would have been a much happier world if Arbuckle's career hadn't been crucified in William Randolph Heart's newspapers and by extension in the hearts and minds of the American public in l921. Keaton's pure genius was also co-opted by the geniuses at MGM later on.
KINO has another release featuring Buster Keaton in "Seven Chances". Also included are "Neighbors" (featuring Keaton's father Joe) and "The Balloonist", two other excellent Keaton films.
SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN HOMECOMING is making its regional debut at the Taproot Theatre in Seattle this summer. It's initial run was through August 8th, but it has been extended through August 22nd. article in the Examiner It is being directed by Scott Nolte. FMI
The GREAT Mollie Sugden, aka 'Mrs. Slocombe': R.I.P. FMI
One of my favorite cartoonists, Roz Chast, was asked to describe her typical day. She said she rises "somewhere between 9 and 10. My life is so boring that your brains are going to melt and come out of your eyes. I kind of tend to stay up late just about every night, anywhere from 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. I putter. I nurse old grudges. I fold origami while nursing old grudges. I think about the past. I wonder if there’s any grudges I should start."
New York based cabaret singer Perry Payne will be featuring "Dear Mister Gershwin" from RADIO GALS in her new cabaret act at the Metropolitan Room . With Michael Rice and his Travelling Three. Directed by Evan Pappas. Showtimes are July 1, 2, and 10 at 7:30, and July 11th at 9:45. Other featured music includes compositions by Adair, Wallowich, Rodgers and Hammerstein, A.C. Jobim, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Rice, Steve Randoy, Ethel Waters, Mancini, Sting and Pink.