To finish my last entry, these other amazing things happened, which led to Saturday, which is what I will close this entry with…but first, a quick look-see over everything since Mike & Ginger’s relaxing event…Next day, we went to Jon & Shannon’s baby shower, and ate good food with great people…in the middle of the celebrations, I had to drive about 2.3 miles over to the Pease Mansion for a private performance I had been auctioned off to give in honor of the Paramount Theater. Wow! I sang under ancient oak trees to about five families sitting on picnic blankets, and it felt like Tara…the yard was at least 2 acres, and plunk in the middle, was a grand white mansion, looking very much like the White House. Everyone was incredibly delightful, singing and dancing along, and then zip! Back to Jon and Shannon’s party….Shannon is DEFINATELY ready to pop! (It’s a boy!) Next morning, talked on the phone with a potential booking agent…met with Anne Schelleng, the artistic director for Tapestry Singers, a soulful choir of 50+ women…I proposed to her an event of universal music that celebrated the heroes in society (those that speak out/give their lives/stand up) that would cross pollinate Strings Attached, Tapestry Singers and AAIM (Austin Area Interreligious Ministries)…and yes! It is a go! And Will (Strings Attached) and the AAIM board have all responded enthusiastically so mark your calendars for November 2008 in which a spell binding, spirit lifting, love filled evening of music will shake the rafters!!! Wednesday we had our annual Halloween party, complete with pinatas, donuts on a string (gotta catch ’em with your mouth only!), ring toss, costume contest and, of course, trick-or-treating! The trophies this year were little skeletons…best scary, best funny and best of the best prizes. Then I had lunch on Thursday with Mike Levy, founder/publisher of Texas Monthly, and that was intellectually stimulating and a fun sharing of favorite artists/lyrics/books/people/tears and chuckles. Home to meet with J-Ro about the Super Pal Universe Zine, our second one to produce. First one, Lily and io did all the drawings, this time we are using drawings a variety of the Super Pal Universe band kids made when we had our zine drawing party…You can check it out at http://www.superpaluniverse.com under “watch”…we filmed the fun.
That night, had a SPU rehearsal and it was extraordinary. We started by sitting in a circle, me and the kids, and discussing the songs, where we’re at, upcoming events…and then the kids performed and I got to give them feedback, along with the parents who stayed to watch and enjoy. I left feeling so high and happy…There is no greater satisfaction in this world (ok, except maybe spending time with my children and finding time to be alone with my husband for a little ta-ta and R & R) then to have ideas and see them come to FRUITION, become reality, have them take on a life and become ALIVE. Carrying unfinished ideas around in my head/heart is a huge, heavy burden. Like NEVER giving birth to a child that roams the hallways of your mind, looking for an exit to play with the other kids who got to leave and flourish…So, I am grateful to these kids for working hard and putting their all into making this concept become REAL. No more Velveteen Rabbit….
Friday night…Went to St. John’s United Methodist to participate in their All Saint’s Day…what a thought filled program…people bring photos/remembrances/precious articles, toys, items, jewelry and a favorite food of their deceased beloved, and display it proudly…so as you walk along the tables to gather yummy delicacies and homemade casseroles, you read about these people who have lived lives and gone on to the great Unknown….it is very moving (and funny, too…one woman made a lovely shrine to her cat, Mr. Kat Kitara, along with an unopened can of cat food!) to witness. Then there is a reading, and we all eat, and afterwards, I got up to sing “It’s Alright” and lead in a prayer…Paul got up to tell about his grandma and what a saint she was to so many, and then we commenced to sing his song, “Always A Saint”….and such joy! I sang a few more songs and then time to head home. Many tears were shed, but all with gratitude. I must share this story with you:
Liz’s grandmother came up to tell me that her husband had died five years past, and that he died on her birthday (which was the next day coming up) and that right before he died, a nurse came in to say, “It’s alright…It’s ok…..” to let him know he could die, that everything would be alright….And, so she was weeping as she told me that it had moved her deeply to hear me sing, “It’s Alright..It’s ok”
the eve before her birthday…as if her husband was there to remind her the very same thing…that all is well, he loves her….It blew my mind! You know I was weeping, too, and holding her and I was grateful to be invited to the church to share the music, to help bring forth the feelings. I had dedicated “It’s Alright” to my friend, Larry, who is dying as I write these words…so hearing her story made me even more emotional…
Now, the perfect day….
Saturday morning….Lance went to get some guitar cables/picks for me cuz I really don’t like going in to music stores…one of the few things I just don’t dig…
So, he started my day off GREAT!
Got to the Texas Book Festival in front of the capital, and Super Pal Universe was just pulling in, too, but we set up quickly on the wooden stage under the giant, white tent…and the place was packed with children, their parents…And I sang a few, brought up SPU, we sang, read from “If You Give a Pig a Pancake”, and had an amazing time…I had asked everyone to try a stripped down, acoustic version since I knew there would be little kids at the event…it was rockin’ and fun to challenge everyone in the band….J-Ro brought out chalk artists and had the bicycle billboard crew with the giant SUPER PAL UNIVERSE billboards…full color photos of the kids!!!…and, after everyone did the Hokey Pokey, we had lots of hugs and kisses, talked to some amazing kids, and packed up to head over to Gibson Showroom…but not before the Book Festival asked to book SPU for their OWN GIG next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was a PROUD MAMASITA, you know it!!!! And I’ll have my own gig, too, so we can BOTH do our own thing…..autonomy ROCKS!!! For them, for me! I was also given the suggestion that they will be hired to come and read/sing to the kids in the summer reading program at the libraries all over Austin. So 2008 is shaping up to be a great year for the SPU band…we’re booking a year out!!!
Got to Gibson…and there were people already there!!! Thanks to Gibson, Clif Bars, Izzie (for the sodas/snacks)….and to Danny for running sound…because MAN IT WAS AN EVENT TO REMEMBER!
First, SPU got up and performed two songs, then we had open mic and about 14 different kids got up to sing or play an instrument…The best part is that I think this could become a monthly “clubhouse” for teens to come and perform, hang out and dance…just like yesterday! I had a blast emceeing, and the Latinistas, a group of teen girls, came and filmed the afternoon for us (so you know we’ll have footage up on the site soon!) So my dream of kids being able to congregate, talk, share their ideas/music/poetry/dance is COMING TRUE! And in turn, it is presented by Super Pal Universe, so the kids get to share what they are working on, too, and sort of be the guides/the reason kids come together….we’re all expanding and growing TOGETHER! Kids making tv/internet
content for other kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They all got on stage and did an acapella foot stomp/singalong of “We Will Rock You” that totally rocked me and the parents! Such a COMPLETE BLAST!!!
We had a free digital video camcorder to give away to one of the kids who had been on stage performing, and it went to Southern, who is 12 and has a voice like a 40 year old man. Just stunning. I cried yesterday and I cried when he auditioned to be on the SPU show, and he WON the camcorder when the name was being drawn…That was a perfect ending for the SPU afternoon……
To end the day…my girls and Lance helped me do something that was the essence of love. Our friend, Larry, was the recepient of a conference call which included almost all of the members of the Cheese, an improv band I was in in the early 90’s in Dallas…..Andy called in from New Zealand; Amy, Kim and Brad from Dallas; Chuck, Marty and me from Austin, and George from Flowermound.
While we were regaling Larry with stories, silliness, songs and improv, each of us was simultaneously filming ourselves, too, so we can edit together a film of what we were doing/wearing/looking like as we were crying/laughing/celebrating Larry’s life…And, let me say, it was all the more amazing because Larry is so open about his impending death (he has a few weeks to live), that it made it easy to ask questions about what he thinks heaven will be like, or what he is scared of…how is he feeling…all the things we humans want to know…So, the sweet part was that Lily and io were coming in with giant drawings of “We love you Larry!” or “Larry ROCKS!” and covering me in pictures as I talked on the phone, and Lance was filming all of it…and then my angel dog, Lucky, came and laid down right by my thigh, and I just felt like my entire family was with me on this crusade to bring the Cheese together in honor of Larry. The girls and Lance helped for 40 minutes, and I’m fed-exing the tape/drawings tomorrow to be edited into the other tapes so that, hopefully, we can get it to Larry as a final Cheesey tribute before he takes off forever. He’s going on to set the table of cheese for all of us….We love you, Larry! God bless you and your dear wife, Cynthia….