Video by: Jacob Mendel
Posts Tagged ‘Pop Poetry’
— By Michael Mechanic Mon Oct. 18, 2010 4:00 AM PDT
Excerpt from article:
MJ: What about something totally outside your genre?
GM: I like to think there’s no outside; that I can hear whatever has a claim to make, but if you’d asked me if I were interested in poetry set to music, I’d probably say no. When I heard Ellyn Maybe’s “City Streets” on KALX in Berkeley I had no idea what it was, just that I was transfixed. I called up the DJ, went to Amoeba Records, couldn’t find it, wrote away—and after listening to Maybe’s album Rodeo for the Sheepish (Hen House) half a dozen times, I had no idea who the people behind it were—a poet, and a musician/singer who sounds like many of himself, or for that matter her-himself. But there’s a pathos cut with self-lacerating humor that makes this the most surprising and painful music I’ve come across.
Thu., September 30, 7:30pm
By Falling James
In her song-poem “There Were Two Girls Who Looked a Lot the Same,” the local poet Ellyn Maybe celebrates her titular subjects with a profusion of succinct details and a steadily rhythmic accumulation of playful phrases, such as “One wore lipstick/One bit her lip” and “The astronomy was tangible” and “They had eyelashes that looked like a hula skirt made of coal.” When Maybe declared, “They wanted a bite from each world,” she was marveling about how the girls appreciated both Gidget movies and Tennessee Williams plays. However, the L.A. wordsmith could have also been describing the sinuous way she moves between the worlds of poetry and music on her new CD, Rodeo for the Sheepish . Maybe’s homages to Picasso and Sylvia Plath are infused with beat-driven, soulful trip-hop moods from her simpatico band, who’ll not only back her tonight at this monthly event but will also whip up cool grooves for adventurous poets in the audience, who’d like to marry their words with this mysterious thing called music.
Ellyn Maybe & Jamey Hecht + Ellyn’s Band!
Pond Water Society event July 10, 2010
I’ve seen Ellyn Maybe & her band at a number of events and also when they had their residency at 212 in Santa Monica. Every single time, I find myself grinning like a maniac, I just get so excited by the music and the lyrics and the laughter. It’s impossible not to get caught up in it. Ellyn’s band is phenomenal, so talented and fun: Harlan Steinberger from Hen House Studios, Tommy C. Jordan from Geggy Tah and Robbie Fitzsimmons from Rabbits Running (this link is to a free album download that you should really check). Robbie couldn’t be here for the event but it was so cool to have the three artists who collaborated to create the CD “Rodeo for the Sheepish” all here to play it.
I need to admit here that I became a gushing fan the first time I saw them, and immediately asked Ellyn if she would perform here. I do not know where I get the balls for this stuff, I just couldn’t contain myself and I asked. She said “yes! Yay!” and it turned out that the date was her birthday and so we jumped around some and laughed and it was all giddy. Oh my god, what a responsibility! THE Ellyn Maybe is going to be here on her birthday? How am I going to make that great for her?
July 10th was the first time that we had the event outside and it was so nice to be out in the sun and be able to spread out a little. We used the PondWater launching pad, which was once a Tiki Bar until entropy took it’s toll. Everything that you see in this photo is displaced now except for the concrete floor. Todd Kraus and his son, Randy, brought a microphone and amp for Jamey Hecht to use and Randy did a great job with the sound.
Jamey Hecht opened the entertainment by reading 4 sonnets from his book, “Limousine, Midnight Blue“. Honestly, if you haven’t heard of this book then just click on “Jamey Hecht” in the tag cloud over there up and to your right. I have to stop glowing over it, you take over from here. I had specifically asked Jamey if he would read from his translation of Sophocles “Three Theban Plays“. You know, that story of Oedipus is really pretty killer and he tells it so well, I really wanted to see/hear it out in the garden. It was transcendent, so perfect with the birds singing in the background; I could have sworn that I was in Greece and in some other time. I’m going to show you the videos of that here, but you know how that goes; no matter how much I love these videos, they are no replacement for the experience of being in the audience.
So, what to do, what to do, what to do to make Ellyn Maybe’s birthday special and how do you earn Sophocles in your back yard? All I could come up with was the food; make a big cake for Ellyn and some Spanikopita for Sophocles, some carrot-fennel soup, sandwiches, etc. that’s all I got. But you know what did it? Ellyn and the audience made her birthday special. Jamey and Sophocles brought it home. I love so much watching the artists and the audience connect and make the day. At one point during the show the audience broke out with a spontaneous round of “Happy Birthday” and you could feel the warmth and joy between everyone.
Todd was so smart and he suggested to Eddie and I that we bring out the Bass Kalimba that we had all worked on. Eddie gave it to Tommy and he knew just what to do with it. I was so thrilled because that thing has sat here for a very long time and we found the just right person to make use of it; he played it like it was a normal part of their set and it sounded so awesome! Well, now that I think about it, I’ve seen Tommy play table tops and chair legs and make them sound great. I have spent so much time trying to tune that thing and have never been able to do it, hours and hours of frustration. Harlen gave me the best tip ever and informed me that these instruments don’t need to be tuned, they just need to sound good. Who knew that having a musicologist in the house would provide such relief?
Lori McGinn made the most beautiful Mexican Wedding Cake cookies, they were delicious! Everyone brought such wonderful things, it really did feel like such a celebration, and it was! We had so much fun (I’m speaking for everyone, but we did!).
Here are Ellyn’s videos just to prove it:
Ellyn and her band and Jamey Hecht have humbled me to the point where I lost my stream of consciousness and have struggled to tell you about it. You’ll need to trust me that it was all quite divine.
On Saturday, August 14th, the Poets in Distress will be here and The Dull is going to reunite to open the show. I’m not sure what that means, but I suspect that a punk band is going to be in the back yard and a lot of unruly poets. What I know for a fact is that these unruly poets are really good and a lot of fun. Just because they bring chaos with them wherever they go, well, they can’t help that, it’s their lot in life. If you could find your way here to witness this with me, that would pretty much rock.
Video by: Nisey Jay and Riccardo Spinotti
“Fans of spoken word CDs and lovers of slam poetry with a nerd-girl edge should seek this CD out as soon as they finish reading this review, as should anyone curious to see the highs to which this blended art form can aspire. I cannot recommend Rodeo for the Sheepish enough.” – JoSelle Vanderhooft for Pedestal Magazine
///This video was a contribution to Ellyns online zine http://www.rodeowrite.com/ please visit and contribute your own work to the Rodeo!