Guitar Army

Last time I was in City Weekly, I unwittingly got drunk next to a reporter and told “rambling stories about [my] cats.” Our local urban rag is famous for its annual Best Of Awards, and the day it came out, FOUR people slapped the mag down in front of me.

“Christie! You got in the paper!” Unnamed, it could have been no one else.

From 2004 – when Penny unexpectedly started my family, joined 2 months later by Cricket – to 2007, I think I talked of nothing else! Our bartender and friend once said to my boyfriend, “I’ve never heard anyone talk about their cats so much, in my life.”

I believe no one ever has.

Twilight Lounge (my Cheers) won Best Assorted Clientele back then. “On any given night,” the writer quipped, “the pickled regulars might be swapping dirty jokes or telling…” said rambling stories. Pickled. Perfect!

****

This incarnation of band life is a mission by my friend, Wild Bill, to sing or play Ode to Joy in every time zone at 7pm Thursdays, so the sun will be greeted by healthy vibrations of happy intention every week, every where, as Earth cycles by. He has mathematical equations worked into the whole theory and, really, it’s the least we can do from our little outpost of the universe.

What I’m loving about it is that, rather than sing a whole set myself, I do a song or 2 between other musicians’ set ups, when I sit down again to actually jam. I’ve never understood what that really is. It goes far beyond the how of it. Coming from musical theatre, I speak rehearsal. What is that that musicians are doing who sit together, unknown? A foreign language, that’s what!

I’m speaking my first faltering words and phrases!

So far, so good, 2018. I’m the freakin’ drummer!
city weekly

 

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Inversion Blues

I feel more strongly than ever that I need to get out of Salt Lake. My time here is done, especially now that I got everything I wanted from local community theatre.

Washington state has been calling my name all my life. As a child, it was Seattle. I quickly remembered that green requires rain, and I’m a desert baby. I get depressed without my sun. (I get depressed with massive sun. Imagine life without it! Oy.) Light lamps, blah blah blah…. The inexpensive ones are ineffective, and that’s not the point. I want to play in hot summer. I don’t want to live in gray, cool drizzle. Plus, who can afford Seattle? (And who wants a huge mechanical eye-sore in the corner? I surround myself with beauty, thank you. I’m a Taurus.)

For years, I’ve dreamed of Spokane. I went there for a choral competition in high school and have never forgotten that beautiful small city. Now I just want some town in northern Idaho or eastern Washington. North Idaho scares me, because even though the Aryan Nation went bankrupt, they’re still there, and the reputation of the area attracts loners, rightwing hatemongers, and since the 90s, retired racist LA cops. Yuck.

(My sister’s husband picked Idaho out of a hat, to escape Mississippi. He didn’t understand that it’s 2 states: Northern beauty and Nazis, southern potatoes and Mormons [with their own history of racism that’s almost more insidious because it’s sublimated and denied. “We made that right. We gave blacks the priesthood.” Boom, done, no more work to be done, end of conversation]. Dan only knew that Idaho was white and he didn’t want to raise future children around black. Grosser still, he found empowerment, position, and status in Mormon priesthood – and a pretty blond girl who thought he was worldly because she’d never left her hometown.) (Never would.)

So… eastern Washington. Someday the market will crash again. Maybe 10 years. By then, I will have been without my cats for some time, traveled freely for a couple of years, and I can buy a home, sans property tax, and get a dog and cat duo!

I can’t breathe. I hate hating Salt Lake. It’s not right. It’s so beautiful here. The soul revolts in air that stinks, and stings the eyes, and pains the throat and lungs. I HAVE AN UNREMITTING HEADACHE LIKE CHINESE WATER TORTURE. Inversion sickens everything in me. I hate hating my beautiful 20-year home.

My goodness, what Salt Lake has been and done for me! It will hurt to leave! I’m a Taurus. I don’t like change. And I do dearly love this city, this beautiful valley. I feel so connected to the earth here, my ancestors, my history, my people. I love the strange cultural dichotomy between the pious and the progressive.

The pendulum swings as far raucous as it does righteous in Salt Lake City. For years, I partied with the wildest. Now, I love the insistent voice that will not be silenced by money or Mormons, and says NO to the bigotry and crime of the Republican regime.

But the fact is, we’re a city in a bowl that experiences a weather phenomenon that traps and compresses smog. And… The wheels of change are too slow to ever make a difference in air quality here. Inversion is never leaving Salt Lake City. So I must.

My cats are so old. Do I drive them through Idaho to rent an apartment in a small city I pick on a map? Do I leave a good unskilled job that will never be matched for freedom and pay (I paint my drums here!), with people I actually like (who can stand me!)? You just don’t find that in the non-committal world of marking time for a check.

I have rare gifts here. The art and dance scene are so accessible and inexpensive here.

But I have few friends. My besties are all gone, have been for years. My chosen family has changed quite a bit with the obsession of one man, which prevents me from enjoying the company of my group. It devastated me to finally give up on the personal friendship I once treasured, because year after year he lies about accepting my boundaries. Eventually, again and again, he returns to sexual harassment and bullying until another screaming match ensues, followed by months of not speaking.

Finally, I told him the truth: I give up. There’s nothing to fight for here. I have to accept your terms, too, and they are that you will not respect mine. It breaks my heart, I told him, that I can’t give you any of my love, because ultimately, always, you demand SEX LOVE. (He said that!) If you’d accept my love as I have it to offer, I went on, I would pour it out onto you! I love you! And being loved by me is really something. But I don’t have sex to offer, so I can’t give you anything. I have to accept.

I took a break from the crew during rehearsal. I was excited for the next gathering, to show him that we can be in shared space and even enjoy one another’s company socially, like we used to before his predatory obsession, but he throws tantrums like a child and ruined the whole party, pissed everyone off.

(He’s a Taurus, too! Day before me. We’ve shared our party for years. He’s a frightening reflection of the weak expression of Taurus, that I recognize. Check yourself.)

He fought everyone, and everyone left. It was a Halloween pre-party and no one went to the main event, because he was such a jerk! He went alone, and bitches about it to this day (from what I hear. I haven’t seen him). If he can’t force a woman into bed, he’s gonna make everyone miserable.

Or so he thinks. We went back to his house, with his wife, who’s always there when he’s chasing me like a rutting bull, and drank in the hot tub. We had a great time.

So sad.

So it’s time. I can get the cats sleeping pills, and drive. I think I’m moving next October!

****

Oh my gosh, I just realized something. I moved here 21 years ago this month. That means if I move next year near this time, I will have lived in Salt Lake for 22 years! And you know how I love my 2-by-222s! Now I have to do it! It’s now. It’s time! I’m going!

Okay. Mind, open. Washington state is a dream, but I’m listening to whatever is right.

Dancing Cranes

I started painting 6 months ago… and I’m now in my favorite store! Marko added me to his stock at Dancing Cranes Imports. This gorgeous world market has a giant koi pond at its center, a vegan cafe, a performance and workshop arena, as well as massage therapists, tarot readers, reiki practicioners, and so on. It’s eye candy for original, artistic, global fare. Here’s my corner!
dancing cranes

One Big Union

one big union.jpg

So excited to see this show today! Joe Hill was a labor activist and musician who was executed 100 years ago for a murder he may or may not have committed. This Plan-B Theatre original play contains Hill’s own songs, recently released to the public domain, and also highlights his work with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who visited him in jail here in Salt Lake, and went on to co-found the ACLU.

rebel-girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for this 1915 battle hymn.

Plan-B is the only theater in the United States that produces entire seasons of original works by local playwrights, with emphasis on socially conscious themes and issues. It’s owned by one of my dearest friends and his husband. http://planbtheatre.org/

It’s a relevant stage experience, following a week that has seen boys at a local football game chanting, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” and a white van trolling Rose Park, a Salt Lake City neighborhood rich with immigrants, screaming, “Trump is President! Build the wall!”

Don’t mourn… ORGANIZE!
joe-hill

*****

It was amazing! Very emotional at times, as they were describing precisely what we’ve been living with this week and for the last 18 months.

I have to go to more shows at Plan-B! I’m so cheap. I always say, “Next time,” and next time never comes. If nothing else, I should be supporting my friends. The real reason, of course, is that theater transforms us! It makes us think, laugh. It gives us a break from everyday and all that that entails, but it can also light the fire of our own creativity. Above all, theater connects us. This was wonderful.organize

My Drums Went To Their First Show!

grateful-goddess markos-and-my-drums

my-first-showNone of mine sold this time, but they will!!!

Even better, here’s my latest and greatest. It’s 13″ on a wood frame – huge difference in sound integrity and just… overall goodness. Plastic/petroleum sucks – and I really nailed the color relationships this time. I love it so much, Marko told me it should be mine. Secretly, I think he just loves me and wants to watch me play and laugh and be happy. It’s something we can share and love together. For 8 years, he’s been begging me to involve myself somehow in his art, by giving me chance after chance to create my place in his studio. I’ve dabbled, but I’m lazy and it didn’t connect until I finally decided to hand-paint mandalas on his drums. Marko advised me not to part with this for less than $200, but I don’t think I’ll let it go at all. It has such beautiful tone and color!latest-and-greatest

Speaking of stepping into my creativity and honoring the opportunities in my life, I’m recommitting here and now to sticking with the didgeridoo until and after I master circular breathing already! (Marko has also given me hundreds of dollars worth of didgeridoos and didge-boxes. Hell, he even paid me for awhile just to ship them, but I didn’t check my emails enough to keep the job!)

The Original Didjbox original-didgeFollow the link to Marko’s online shop, to see his original patented design. He’s the first in 400,000 years to alter the aboriginal instrument, and once he invented the didgebox it was immediately incorporated into designs all over the world, by individual craftsmen and artists, as well as by companies that make a killing off of his design. (A U.S. patent means nothing in the global community, but it still proves Marko’s place in the world of music and innovation.) You can make the most amazing works of art now that are functioning didgeridoos, because of Marko’s invention at their core. If you’re into didge, you know his name.

Here we are at Burning Man in 2008, with one of his hand-crafted leather didgeridoos. marko-and-me

Utah’s Didgeridoo Maker Here’s a link to the online article about Marko that appeared in Utah Stories. Ironically, I’d been pitching the idea for months to the owner of the urban rag mag before he stole my [unrelated] article, printed it verbatim, and didn’t pay me. Our relationship had begun to erode, because as much as I loved the content and angle he presented of my beloved city, the man can’t edit for shit. With his permission, and a pittance of pay, I was doing it. His ego is so big, however, that he continually corrected my corrections, incorrectly. After about 3 months of this, he realized he’d never given me credit in the staff bio as editor. I begged him not to, and finally had to confess why. I tried to be tactful, congratulating him on what he’d created, but reminding him to stick to his strengths and delegate to others what their talents can serve. He was offended and took back the article I was currently writing, then published it completely, unaltered, with one paragraph added, crediting (and presumably paying) the author of that paragraph.

He sent another writer to feature Marko in the very next issue. What a baby! He showed me! But it’s a great article. I like Al Sachrov, who wrote it, and I’m very proud of My Man Marko, Utah’s Didgeridoo Maker.
marko

Halloween Capers

and Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been taking a Community Ed class at East High here in Salt Lake. Quinn decided on a break from teaching djembe [that threatens to be a long-term shift], and I needed focus and music in my life. I’m not terrifically self-directed, so I pulled my old guitar out of the garage and started again with Beginning Beginners. I love it.

My wrist has not complained like it did when I dusted off my rusty, twanging dreams 4 years ago, when my real journey with Fibro began. I definitely feel it, but pain patches and yoga really seem to be taking care of me for now. LARGE BLESSINGS!

My body is my own again!

It’s clear that the janitors come during our class, because every week when I leave, the halls simply sparkle. For some reason [I’m weird], last week I got the idea to leave notes for the cleaners. I giggled and giggled dreaming up my caper and yesterday, I finally played out my little impish frolic. I ducked around a corner every time I heard someone approach, then re-emerged to post another note. No explanation can capture the why of this, or how hard I had myself laughing.

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is my FAVORITE HOLIDAY!

2011

Redhead Costume Idea … FIRE Itself!

second-floor

thank-you

“Excellent Work!” “Wonderful Job!”