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"cinderpiggy" And The Writers' Guild...


A new person at the Writers’ Guild meeting Thursday night—a poet. Got to talk some about what makes poetry marketable, and how (or where) poetry and song are related. (They blend at the Oral Tradition: poetry like the old epics, or cowboy poetry, that’s meant to be recited rather than read. All the Oral Tradition stuff can be set to music—and I have done some of that. Played ‘em “The Strange Saga of Quoth, the Parrot,” which is a talking blues—actually a talking two-step—deliberately emulating Edgar Allan Poe’s rhythm and writing style.)

I still feel like I’m teaching rather than learning—but I was the Presenter Thursday night, so I guess I was supposed to be teaching. (Good practice, again, for the Willamette Writers Group performance July 28.) Went through “Wreck of the Old 97,” one of my favorite examples of bad writing, and showed how Johnny Cash and I had improved the song, he by adding a verse and me by changing one. (“Johnny Cash and I” has such a nice ring to it.) The group’s “homework” is to take something similar—like one of those one-verse-no-chorus songs from the 1920s—and improve it, keeping to the same writing style as the original. We’ll see how they (we) did next Thursday night.

The Writers’ Guild probably can’t keep up an every-week schedule, but I don’t mind doing it for a while—it helps people get to know each other. Once we’re no longer strangers, it’ll be easier to work together.

The "Cinderpiggy" videos are up, finally. The show is in two parts to comply with YouTube’s 15-minute limit (I’ll remember that next time, and make sure the show, with titlkes and credits, is less than 15 minutes long. “Cinderpiggy” was just under 20 minutes.) PART 1 is

and PART 2 is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMQXuoRcLUM.

I think I like doing the puppet shows because it is something completely different—but it’s still working in a tightly-defined “box.” It will be a fairy tale—but our actors are both Star Wars characters and pigs. It must have parts for all six of them: Darth, Princess Leah, Luke, Hansolo, Yoda, and Chewy the Wookie (that’s three puppeteers, by the way, using two hands each), and the parts have to accommodate the “personalities” they seem to have developed over the course of four plays. There will always be a moral—these are Morality Plays, after all—though the six characters will inevitably have different ideas what that moral is. And we will close with a 60-to-90-second song written for the occasion and performed by the cast as a band.

What’s next for the puppet troupe? We will need to do another performance—around end-summer, I’d guess—but I don’t know what fairy tale to twist next.

Some vignettes… One of the responses to “Blue Krishna” was, “Joe! Where’s the dead animals?” (It’s nice to be famous for something.) One of the other bands at the Wheeler Summerfest would like me to sit in with them. (It’d be nice to assume that’s because of my guitar-playing ability, but I somehow doubt it.) The suggestion was made that Deathgrass march in the Garibaldi Days parade playing kazoos. (I don’t know if the suggestion was serious, but the answer is no.) The Garibaldi Museum would like to hire us to play the Crab Races next spring. (Answer to that one is yes.) Hearts of Country Radio is now playing seven of my songs. (They also did an interview.)

Practice with 45 Degrees North Sunday afternoon, Arts Center board meeting Monday, practice with Deathgrass Tuesday afternoon. Maybe I’ll be able to put the new strings on the guitar after that. I’ll need them for the Summerfest gigs.



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