Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trio in the Snow ~

Joee & Bob were brave and came on to play in spite of the winter storm warning. They arrived just as the snow started falling yesterday & left today through the thick of it. Our session was wonderful. Fueled by Shiva's Best Cincinnati Chili, (a new recipe, in honor of our missing bass, rehearsing for Spain in NYC.) ~ we played all of the YACB scenes except one & everything sounded great. I feel so lucky to work with such great musicians!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Costume Design for Pete ~

A floor length veil originating from a twisted head-piece, of torn denim with bleached text. (Watercolor on paper)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You hear voices? ~ (who are the yacb songs about)

The lines of ovoid forms represent the YACB songs. I've made 3 rows on this diagram to provide space to notate their connection to what I'm calling the "3 Anchors" of the piece ~ the historical, the mythic, and the personal present. The lines arching out of the ovoids connect to the names of the 3 people who are most often present as subjects in the songs; Pete Dutton (1837 - 1931), Daniel Hoskins Dutton (1861 - 1937), and Sarah Belle (Cundiff) Dutton 1868 - 1954.

Cebah's Gingerbread:

(That's Cebah, beaming, in the center ~)

Yesterday I made Cebah's gingerbread, with both whipped cream & lemon sauce, for Sarah & Betty. The Dutton family recipes, nearly identical, are preserved in "The Caney Fork Homemaker's Club Cookbook" circa 1972. Willie Dutton, Gladiator Gladys Dutton, and Ida Dutton were all members then. At one time, Cebah was the president of the club.

My Best Gingerbread (Aunt Susie Cundiff) ((that was my grandmother's sister))
(via) Willie Dutton:

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sorghum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter and lard, mixed
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp ginger
1 cup hot water
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cloves (this order has no rationale!)

Cream shortening and sugar. Add beaten egg, molasses, and dry
ingredients which have been sifted together. Add hot water last. Beat
until smooth.
Bake in 375 degree oven until light brown, or straw comes out clean.

(Then ~)

Great Grandmother's Gingerbread (via Ida Dutton ~ who this grandmother
might have been is a bit of a guess, but it should be Mary, David
Dutting's wife, the first couple to settle here.)

!/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot water

Cream shortening and sugar. Add beaten egg and molasses. Sift and add
dry ingredients. Add hot water. Beat until smooth. Bake in greased pan
at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 15 servings.

Lemon Sauce: Mix --
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Add 2 cups of water. Cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat.
Stir in: 1/4 cup butter
!/4 cup lemon juice
Add a dash of salt. If plain sauce is desired, leave out the lemon juice.

(Hee! "15 servings" - wonder how you cut that? Cebah used a 7 x 12
pyrex for this.
I used the 375 ~ BUT, would have been smart to set the timer at 25
minutes & checked it then. The bottom overbrowned. (This (new) oven
seems to be hot on the bottom anyway.) Cebah served her gingerbread
warm from the oven with whipped cream. THEN, when it returned room
temp for supper, she made the lemon sauce & poured that over hot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lathe of Heaven: (a working model)

Today I visited Jake Shackleford's woodworking shop to see how The Lathe of Heaven is progressing. Jake is constructing this combination musical lathe/giant hurdy-gurdy for You'll Always Come Back. The wheel will rub against a wire stretched across the performance space to turn the entire room into a resonating chamber. The vibrations from hurdy-gurdys are said to attract fish. If that's true, we can expect leviathans to come crawling out of the Ohio river to invade downtown Louisville, which would fit well with the "nervous breakdown" theme in the last quarter of You'll Always Come Back, to say nothing of the supernatural aspect. Jake has done beautiful work on this, and we're both excited to try it out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cebah's Star ~

My Mom died at about 3:33 (!) in the morning. Just before then, the sky was spangled with stars - just after, the snow clouds moved in and the snow started to fall. That was January 7 ~ the day after Old Christmas. Because the lyrics of The Angel's Part, a song I wrote for her, mention becoming a star, I had wondered if one might catch my eye in the night sky and become identified with her, in the way that constellations can sometimes. But I forgot the magical law of inversion, until I looked DOWN on my way to the mailbox and saw this star growing up out of the earth.

The Angel's Part, from "Love & Time," (Aubrey & Elwood's version, from their new recording "The Weaver's Bonny," is available as an mp3 on the Atwater-Donnelly website. The link's in the dandyland muse sidebar. The song is getting some airplay these days, all around the world, so the star's everywhere.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Prayer for my Mom ~

The singer of part of the beautyway chant in the second half of this little film is my Dine' (Navaho) friend, Delphine Tsinajinnie, one of the great traditional singers of our time. The Dine' language does not translate easily into English, and this well-known prayer says something more than the English translation would suggest. Still, it seems a fitting prayer for my Mom, who loved to take walks. And when you walked with her, you were surrounded by beauty.


In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.

With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, remembering, may I walk.
In beauty, it is completed.
In beauty, it is complete.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter is the Oldest Season ~

Snow is falling.
The hill is still cold,
but softer now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ogun ~

Ogun is the orisa of iron, smithing, and every sort of technology that incorporates metal. Where would we be without knives and hoes? Ogun is the opener of the road.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Great Wheel:

"Open my heart - Let me dance in the great wheel."

Ajala consulted Ifa for the new year, for himself, and for me. Amongst the many things that the Ifa Odu, IDIN-GBE, advised was this:

"Ifa said u should be preparing food down from morning to night for 7days because some of our ancestors is coming to visit u and they need food. After that there is a blessing is coming from it."

So I'm cooking.