We are all going in different directions. The simplicity of that statement from John Cage disguises how deep it is, how it runs counter to the trends of human experience. We are individuals insofar as we act as such.
The Charles Street Synagogue occupies a narrow, slightly ramshackle brownstone in the West Village. Inside the temple’s low-ceilinged main room, where the Andy Statman Trio has had a monthly gig for the past eighteen years, a long folding table covered with a plastic cloth holds halvah, currants, and macademia nuts, a perfect Jewish tableau completed by a box of Manischewitz marble cake mix.
This spring I had the privilege of hearing Clark Coolidge read from his latest manuscript at Bird and Beckett in San Francisco to a capacity crowd. I was anticipating the usual wild ride—beautifully and thickly laden improvised text special to Coolidge and his language, one of near pure improvisation and music without us needing to immediately seek or “get” its meaning. What I, and the audience got instead, was a taste of what has now emerged as a 320-page book, Poet (Pressed Wafer Press, 2018).
In 1876, a child in Connecticut named George Starr White played with a tin-cans-and-string telephone. It had drum skins for bases, and he tried to sensitize it further by experimenting with moistening the string. On a whim, he asked his friend several yards away to put a cat near one end, but instead of hearing its purr he intuited what he called a “breeze” through the can.
Highly Selective Listings
The Rail’s February Music Listings