Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ellyn Maybe CD Review by The Canadian Review Of Literature In Performance

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Canadian Review Of Literature In Performance – Ellyn Maybe – Rodeo For The Sheepish

By Fortner Anderson

Every few years there is a producer or entrepreneur who wants to prove reality wrong, who wants to do the impossible and make a business bringing  small beautiful productions of poetry to the people. I’m thinking of Harvey Kubernik in Los Angeles who produced poetry compilations on Freeway records and later on New Alliance, where he recorded the best of the Los Angeles poetry scene, bringing us the recordings of  Wanda Coleman,  Exene Cervenka, Michael C. Ford and dozens more. There was also Gang of Four with its releases of Spalding Grey, Linda Barry and Andrei Codrescu. On the East coast there was Bob Holman and Mouth Almighty Records, a short-lived imprint on Mercury records.

Ellyn Maybe’s latest disc Rodeo for the Sheepish comes from a similar adventure. Put out in 2010 on the Hen House Studios label,  it was produced by Harlan Steinberger, who also did the music for the disc (along with Tommy Jordan, who provided back-up vocals). Hen House has put out a number of poetry discs including a new DVD tribute to Kenneth Rexroth entitled The Signature of All Things, and a recent compilation of baseball themed poems entitled The Los Angeles Bards – Live In Pasadena (CD).

Ellyn Maybe, as the story goes, got her moniker from the sign-up sheets at open mics. Always unsure, she’d sign up as Ellyn with a  “(maybe)” added to indicate that she might not read when the time came. The name stuck and Ellen Maybe is now one of the premier performance poets in Los Angeles.  Her work is praised by Henry Rollins, Jackson Browne and Greil Marcus. Her band will be performing at the prestigious Glastonbury Festival in June 2011.

Rodeo for the Sheepish is strikingly well produced and recorded.  The delicious choral work of Tommy Jordan and musical arrangements of Steinberger rival the best. Each of Maybe’s readings is held within its own music frame, sometimes pop influenced, sometimes rythym and blues, sometimes motown. The music doesn’t overwhelm but melds with the work, providing a smooth rendering of the affective landscape and nice ornament to the texts.

It’s evident that Ellyn is very smart. She has seen every film at the Los Angeles Cinématheque  from Rhapsody in Blue to 400 Blows and the director’s cut of Heaven’s Gate.  She has studied art history from the renaissance to the moderns.  She knows the lyrics of the hits of Barry Manilow, ABBA and the GoGo’s. She sends her shout-outs to Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Heinrich Ibsen, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Vincent Van Gogh, George Harrison, and dozens others.

For the persona in these poems,  art is a life bouy.  It is the difference between overcoming and succumbing,  the difference between life and death.  Like she describes in the final poem on the disc, “Parallel Universe”,

Sometimes I wonder if there are one million people

listening at the same time

to the same Leonard Cohen song

the one that keeps people from killing themselves

I got the feeling Maybe’s persona has listened to that record many many times.

There’s no indication of Maybe’s birth name on the disc nor is there a current picture of her, but on the cover and on the inside fold there is a photo of a young girl perhaps six or seven years old. Persumably this is Maybe in her childhood home. The girl looks as though she’s walked off the set of Mad Men, with her tortise shell glasses and kneehigh socks, standing in front of the fire place in the living room of a suburban home somewhere in the arid heart of America. This child is the master of her realm, at ease in her child’s designer dress staring into the camera.

As she says,  in the poem “I heard what sounded like a song”:

I was a girl who played hopscotch

I was a girl who picked berries and had little girl crushes

I was a little girl

But something happened in the intervening years.  The poems in “Rodeo for the Sheepish” describe a trail of tears that led from the security of that surburban home to the streets of Venice, California.

In her strong reading of “City Streets” Maybe’s persona recalls the souvenirs of an adolecence,  where she is slowly crushed by constant humiliation and its banal and everpresent emotional violence.  This violence turns her against her own body image.

She was the one people laughed at like she was Chaplin. Like there were silent movies on her body …

The young people are kissing each other. Their faces full of ice cream and calm. She passes a mirror and gives it a finger. Her face didn’t look like that. …

Maybe’s  voice still resonates with fear and vulnerability, we feel it as we listen to the disc.  But she has also transformed this humiliation and suffering into gleaming sword and shield. She has confronted her demons, faced them head-on,  and now she can tell us the story of how she slew her dragons.

Maybe’s capacity to use art as a means to save herself and overcome her attackers is seen  in the poem  “Picasso”. She tells us she has found a year that likes her body, 1921. In Picasso’s painting she has found a parallel universe where:

Nobody was screaming fat chick at the frame

In her other universe, the one we live and work in, other people scream “fat chick” incessantly.  They rip people off emotionally, financially and spiritually and they walk away to do the same to a hundred others. Justice in Maybe’s world comes after, when the verses of Plath or the repartee of Oscar Levant are handed down to those few who keep their flames alive. That is what Maybe is doing on this disc,  she is keeping it alive.

Check it out at www.henhousestudios.com

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Presents “The Ellyn Maybe Band Fundraiser For Glastonbury”

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
EllynCOLOR_small.jpgGet Ellyn Maybe & Her Band to The Glastonbury Festival – The Ellyn Maybe Band has been accepted into the Glastonbury Festival in England, the world’s largest music festival! A great honor to be sure, but an expensive endeavor.

Place: Beyond Baroque Literary Center681 Venice Blvd. CA 90291 (310) 822-3006

Date: Saturday, May 28th

Time: Party Starts at 5 PM until midnight

Admission: $10

At 9:00 pm the renowned monthly Ellyn Maybe Band Poetry Rodeo, in which the 6 piece Ellyn Maybe Band improvises behind both Ellyn and volunteer poets, will occur.

Complete Schedule:

5:00 pm – Chloe Pappas

5:30 pm – Jen Hirsh

6:00 pm – (DJ) M Train

7:00 pm – Readings by Elena Karina Byrne and Amy Schroeder.

9:00 pm – Ellyn Maybe Band’s Poetry Rodeo

10:30 pm – Robbie Fitzsimmons

11:15 pm – DJ set by Nelson Marquez and Tsehaie a.k.a. Liquid Fire Sound System

DON’T MISS IT!!!

The Ellyn Maybe Band’s unique brand of pop poetry has garnered praise from such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Henry Rollins and Greil Marcus.Their critically acclaimed poetry/music album, Rodeo for the Sheepish, was released by Hen House Studios. Band members include Ellyn Maybe, Harlan Steinberger, Robbie Fitzsimmons, Danny Moynahan, Tommy Jordan and Paul Bushnell.

Recent Press -
“Local Band Working Toward Glastonbury Festival” by Lynne Bronstein

Jackson Browne’s note to Ellyn Maybe at the time of her CD release “Rodeo For The Sheepish” – “I have started to write something about you for your site several times, and each time I am struck by my inability to describe what you do in terms beautiful enough, original enough to do you justice. But it’s always been this way. Who has ever been able to say in other words what a song says? Maybe it’s why I like your poems so much, they say what can only be said in exactly the way you say it. The best way of turning someone on to you is to play you for them.”

www.ellynmaybe.com

www.HenHouseStudios.com

The Ellyn Maybe Band Fundraiser For Glastonbury

Local Band Working Toward Glastonbury Festival

Friday, May 20th, 2011

http://www.smmirror.com/?ajax#mode=single&view=32250

POSTED MAY. 19, 2011, 3:41:00 PM
LYNNE BRONSTEIN

The coffeehouses of Venice are a long way from the Glastonbury Festival in Scotland. But local poet Ellyn Maybe and her musical backup band are hoping to jump over the pond by raising enough money to pay their way to the festival, where they are booked to open one of the many stage shows during the five day event in late June.

“It’s a real honor,” Maybe said of the invitation to appear at Glastonbury. With a history dating back to 1970, this year’s event has more than a dozen stages, a lineup of artists that includes Paul Simon, B.B. King, The Chemical Brothers, Queens of the Stone Age, Morrissey, Beyonce, and U2, with an expected attendance of 250,000.

The catch, Maybe says, is that the stipend for the gig won’t pay for air fare and lodging for the entire band. Since they accepted the invitation, they’ve been raising funds for the trip via donations and benefit concerts.

Ellyn Maybe has long been familiar to followers of the Los Angeles poetry scene for her readings at coffeehouses and at Venice’s Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center. Her career received a boost when she teamed up two years ago with her cousin Harlan Steinberger and a team of musicians for the CD “Rodeo for the Sheepish.” Combining Maybe’s poems recitations with musical background on the synthesizer, percussion, horns, and background vocals, the album was praised by Greil Marcus on his Real Life Top Ten blog. Last summer, the band did a residency at Santa Monica’s 212 Pier Café and were visited by Jackson Browne, who soon became an avid fan.

The band’s evolution was “sort of an accident,” according to Santa Monica resident Steinberger. A veteran musician, producer, and composer, he and Maybe had met back in their home town of Milwaukee as teens but had not seen each other for years, even though Maybe lived in nearby Marina del Rey and performed frequently in Venice.

One evening in the spring of 2009, Maybe planned to go to a film screening at Beyond Baroque but felt too ill to attend. She later learned from an employee that Steinberger, as producer of the film being shown, had come to the screening and had bought a Beyond Baroque membership.

When the two got in touch, Steinberger who owns the Hen House recording studio and record label in Venice, invited Maybe to come to the studio to record a few tracks of her poems.

“After she recorded some poems it occurred to me that I should score them,” Steinberger said. “I put vocals on one song-then Ellyn said we should have vocals on all of them.”

The result was what Greil Marcus has characterized as “pop poetry.”

“It’s very verse-chorus driven,” Steinberger explained. “Ellyn is like the singer who recites her poems-they’re the verses-and then the chorus comes in.”

Musicians who have sat in at the band’s gigs have varied, but the current lineup includes Steinberger on percussion; Robbie Fitzsimmons on keyboards; Danny Moynahan on sax, flute, and musical saw; Tommy Jordan on rhythm instruments; and Paul Bushnell on bass. All provide the chorus vocals while Ellyn Maybe recites her image-filled, humorous, and poignant poems.

While the band (who toyed with several names but has settled on the Ellyn Maybe Band) has played all over the Los Angeles area and has toured other cities. Glastonbury is a huge step forward in making them more visible. For the sake of the exposure, the band members are “taking a risk” according to Steinberger, by pre-paying their travel expenses and planning scenarios.

When an attempt to raise funds through the Kickstarter website fell through, because not enough money had been pledged, Maybe reached out to individual donors and collected money from some of them.

Steinberger said the community has also reached out, citing an offer by Diana Rodgers of the Mar Vista Farmers Market to have the band play at the market to raise money for their trip.

Beyond Baroque has turned the Ellyn Maybe Band’s May 28 “Poetry Rodeo “into a fundraiser. Beginning at 5 p.m., the evening will feature guest poets, raffles, silent auctions, barbeque and refreshments, DJ sets, an open mic segment, and Ellyn Maybe and the band. Admission is $10 and all proceeds will go toward the Glastonbury gig. Beyond Baroque is located at 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, 310.822.3006.

The Ellyn Maybe Band’s “Rodeo for the Sheepish” is available from henhousestudios.com.

The Ellyn Maybe Band Fundraiser For Glastonbury

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

EllynFundraiser

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Presents “The Ellyn Maybe Band Fundraiser For Glastonbury”

Get Ellyn Maybe & Her Band to The Glastonbury Festival - The Ellyn Maybe Band has been accepted into the Glastonbury Festival in England, the world’s largest music festival!  A great honor to be sure, but an expensive endeavor.

Place: Beyond Baroque Literary Center
681 Venice Blvd. CA 90291-4805
(310) 822-3006

Date: Saturday, May 28th

Time: Party Starts at 5 PM until ???

Admission: $10

At 9:00 pm the renowned monthly Ellyn Maybe & Her Band Poetry Rodeo, in which the 6 piece Ellyn Maybe Band improvises behind both Ellyn and volunteer poets, will occur.

8:00 pm – Additional readings by Amy Schroeder and Elena Katrina Byrne.

Also, solo performances by: Robbie Fitzsimmons, Jen Hirsh, Chloe Pappas and Danny Moynahan.

The night will also include raffles, silent auctions, BBQ, refreshments, DJ set by Nelson Marquez and Tsehaie a.k.a. Liquid Fire Sound System, a set by (DJ) M Train and a few surprises.  All funds raised will aid in the effort to get the Ellyn Maybe Band to Glastonbury and beyond!  ’Twill be a wonderfully inspired evening.

DON’T MISS IT!!!

The Ellyn Maybe Band’s unique brand of pop poetry has garnered praise from such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Henry Rollins and Greil Marcus.Their critically acclaimed poetry/music album, Rodeo for the Sheepish, was released by Hen House Studios.  Band members include Ellyn Maybe, Harlan Steinberger, Robbie Fitzsimmons, Danny Moynahan, Tommy Jordan and Paul Bushnell.

The Ellyn Maybe Band Fundraiser For Glastonbury

Ellyn’s Ocean Song at the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Ellyn’s Page on Red Fez

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

redfezlogo_hen_house_ellyn_feature Click the Logo to Check out Ellyn’s Profile and Read a Complete Version of Her Amazing Poem, Myth!!! And Take Your Time Meandering Through Red Fez’s Impressive Collection of Poetry and Literature!

Join Ellyn and the Band Tomorrow for Poetry Rodeo at Beyond Baroque!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

You are welcome to bring your own work and sign up to read with the Ellyn’s band! Show starts at 7:30!

Read more about the event from:

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Rent_Food_broke_logo_Hen_house_event

Venice_Patch_Hen_House_Studios

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Asheville Poetry Review of Rodeo for the Sheepish

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

asheville_poetry_ellyn_review_hen_house_studiosEllyn Maybe. Rodeo for the Sheepish. Hen House Studios, 2010. $15. By J. W. Bonner

Rodeo for the Sheepish takes this listener back to the heady delights of the caffeinated conversations of grad school, referencing midnight movies and sharing passages from dog-eared paperbacks. The woman declaiming these poems with a defiant and radiant lilt takes all of life’s insults and disappointments and transforms them into songs which turn life on its head, creating a world that allows for possibilities belied by facts.

The music on the cd has a lite hip hop, r&b, jazzy beat. The background singers and music (keyboards, percussion, saxophone, trombone) weave in and around Maybe’s spoken words/lyrics. The voice and chorus and music sound fully integrated. Maybe’s lyrics are filled with longings for connections: with art, books, movies, people. Sexual yearning lies underneath many of the pieces, but above the body and sexual persona exists the artistic persona. One song/poem, “Being an Artist,” has one of the most emphatic rhythmic percussive breaks in any of the songs, something along the lines of African drumming, and the lines near the end of the poem suggest that the artist is inhabited by the Muse, her soul thieved as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers: “Being an artist / is an active verb / a noun / a consonant / an adjective in a world full of chaotic life sentences.” The pun of the last line makes clear that only the artist is truly free in this world; the rest are incarcerated in the routines of mass life.

Wry, emotional honesty underlies these poems. Whether spoofing with female sexual identity as defined by women (as opposed to definitions imposed by society) or playing with the dualities of mind and body, Maybe does not hold back on truths. One song acknowledges that “it’s not easy being a woman who knows the difference between / Gene Kelly and Gene Krupa. Miles Davis and Miles Traveled. / I know how men make women wear armor of all kinds.” Here’s the cat-call from the city street, a man yelling (still) at the 40-year-old, “Hey Mars Girl, get off the Earth.” There’s humor in the phrase, but there’s a sting in the phrasing.

Ellyn Maybe gives any number of shout-outs to influences and pleasures. She’s a fan of the Go-Go’s, Peggy Lee, the Supremes, B-52s, Henry Miller, Kubrick, Truffaut, Leonard Cohen, and others. How many times does one find Truffaut rhymed with 400 Blows? Leonard Cohen, in fact, is mentioned in two of the poem/songs. One poem is titled “Sylvia Plath”; another, “Picasso.” These references populate each song, serving as check points for the audience—a hipster gauge. Music, film, books evoke personal identity, as when Annie Ernaux writes in Simple Passion, “the cultural standards governing emotion which have influenced me since childhood (Gone with the Wind, Phedre or the songs of Edith Piaf) are just as decisive as the Oedipus complex.

“ Music’s got the power, in Maybe’s pantheon, and reverting to the origins of poem and music potentially doubles the poetic weight with the listener. (Others are pushing into these waters: Jeffery Beam and Asheville Poetry Review’s own Keith Flynn, among many.) Maybe corrals those made sheepish by the masses of society, lassoes the insults, and rides the herd, unable to be bucked by life, “as if she had a fly paper ass.”

J. W. Bonner reviews regularly for Asheville Poetry Review. He is working on a manuscript about the Sixties, examining more specifically the #1 AM radio hits of 1969. He teaches in the Humanities Department at Asheville School.

Ellyn Maybe Live at Beyond Baroque – City Streets

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Last Month Hen House Curated a Night of Poetry and Music at Beyond Baroque…Watch Ellyn’s Performance and Subscribe to Hen House’s Youtube Channel here!

More Vancouver Dates for Ellyn!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

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