Feb 192015
 

Dave Cloud beard 15022008

Nashville punk/lounge legend, Gospel of Power singer, actor in Gummo and Trash Humpers, Murakami of pickup artists, force of nature, and king of karaoke night at the Springwater Supper Club Dave Cloud passed away last night due to complications from cancer. Sources close to him say he passed calmly surrounded by friends and family. He was 58 years old.

Dave appeared on two episodes of Theatre Intangible, two of our best: the episode that got us banned permanently from WRVU and the Fourth Annual Halloween Extravaganza. Whenever I ran into Dave after that final WRVU episode, he told me he felt terrible and guilty about getting my show banned. And then I would reassure him that it was not his fault. He was very careful to avoid the FCC dirty words and to replace anything objectionable with surrealistic placeholders. The objectionable material came from the callers, who we monitored (unsatisfactorily, apparently) with a three-second delay. I would then tell Dave that were it not for Theatre Intangible getting banned from WRVU, I would never have started the website and podcast version. I guess I owe all that to Dave and everyone involved with the episode Get It On with Dave Cloud.

Then he would ask me to buy him a beer, and I would. Dave was a drinker and a chain-smoker. While we were taping Get It On, he would excuse himself for “quick” smoke breaks that ended up lasting 20 minutes. The other performers just kept improvising music until Dave returned. When it was time to record the Halloween Extravaganza, I had learned my lesson. At this point, I was recording the episodes in my basement, and when Dave asked to take a smoke break, I told him he could smoke while performing. Before long, other performers were lighting up, and my house smelled like cigarette smoke for two weeks. But the recording is better for it.

I didn’t know Dave very well, and I don’t feel qualified to write a eulogy for him. We only had a handful of conversations at the Springwater and Betty’s, and, of course, we had the live tapings. One thing that I do know is that Dave possessed a rare magnetism that made his performances (and pickup lines, rants, boasts) hypnotic. And that has me thinking about the parallels between Dave and other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston, Frank Sidebottom, and Wesley Willis. Magnetism such as Dave’s often comes with depression and mental illness, and I wonder if we enabled Dave with our attention and admiration. We were always willing to buy him a beer in exchange for a song. Jon Ronson writes about the magnetism / mental illness duality beautifully in Frank: The True Story That Inspired the Movie. In an interview with the The Wire about his time performing with the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, Ronson writes,

… it just interested me so much, that kind of beautiful naïveté when you’re young and see the tortured artist as being fabulous, and then when you’re faced with the reality of being with a tortured person and it’s not at all fabulous. It’s not fabulous to the person and it’s not fabulous to the people around the person. I’ve known that from my own life, and also this brilliant documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston talks about that too, about how awful it is to be Daniel Johnston’s parents, the hand they’ve been dealt. It’s heartbreaking, and there’s nothing romanticizing about mental illness in that documentary.

Dave lived with his parents for most of his adult life, and right now I’m thinking about them. I am sorry for their loss. I will never know Dave, in all his unvarnished glory, the way they did. I will never know the struggles Dave and his family faced. I only know the Dave behind the microphone. But that is enough.

Feb 062015
 

I’m really happy to announce Modular Art Pods happening Saturday, February 7th during Arts & Music @ Wedgewood/Houston 6-10 p.m. at abrasiveMedia inside Houston Station (438 Houston Street, Nashville, TN). MAPs is the open-source community art tunnel that I’ve been working on for over a year, and it features 30 individually-curated pods. None of this could have happened without the hard work and creativity of the participating artists, which include:

  • Adrienne Newman
  • Alison Rinner and Becky Matthews
  • Andee Rudloff
  • Andri Alexandrou
  • Arthur Kirkby
  • Ava Marie Puckett
  • Beth Reitmeyer
  • Brandon Donahue
  • Brandon Greer
  • Brian Somerville
  • Courtney Adair Johnson
  • Dig Deep Light Show
  • Dylan Ethier and Molly Lahym
  • Emily Holt
  • Evelyn Walker
  • Gordon Roqué
  • Joe Clemons
  • Kayla Saito
  • Kyle Baker
  • Kyle Numann
  • Lauren Kussro
  • Luke Rainey
  • Matt Fox and Ben Clark
  • Matthew Jernigan
  • Megan Kelley and Stephen Zerne
  • Morgan Higby-Flowers
  • Patrick Stefaniak
  • Sarah McDonald and Tyler Blankenship
  • Secret Friends
  • Tony Youngblood

Modular Art Pods will be unlike other art exhibitions you’ve attended. You could call it an “art haunted house,” and like haunted houses, you will have to wait in line to get in. So allow time for waiting. And wear comfortable clothes for crawling. If you are unable to crawl through, we also have a backlot walking tour that lets you peer in on the crawlers and see the behind-the-scenes magic.

MAPs isn’t the only show happening in the Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood Saturday night. Also check out Tom Shinness, Tony Gerber and Kirby Shelstad performing at Noteable Blends (also inside Houston Station) at 8p.m. and lots of other gallery openings, including Andrew O’Brien’s Talking Talking House at Seed Space, Fort Houston’s 3rd Birthday Bonanza, Ariel Lavery at The Packing Plant, the opening of Cumberland Gallery in Track One, and lots more. Also, MAPs participant Kayla Saito has a solo show at the WAG Gallery in the Arcade downtown. Joe Nolan has the details on these events and more at the Nashville Scene’s Crawl Guide.

Find out more about Modular Art Pods here.

Check out some pictures and videos of the pods in progress!

Sarah McDonald and Tyler Blankenship

Sarah McDonald and Tyler Blankenship

Sarah McDonald and Tyler Blankenship

Sarah McDonald and Tyler Blankenship

AlisonRinner & Becky Fox Matthews

Alison Rinner & Becky Fox Matthews

Andee Rudloff

Andee Rudloff

Kyle Numann

Kyle Numann

Courtney Adair Johnson

Courtney Adair Johnson

Courtney Adair Johnson

Courtney Adair Johnson

Joe Clemons

Joe Clemons

Lauren Kussro

Lauren Kussro

Lauren Kussro

Lauren Kussro

Matt Fox & Ben Clark

Matt Fox & Ben Clark

Brian Somerville

Brian Somerville

Brian Somerville

Gordon Roque

Gordon Roque

Jan 312015
 

1406753102BattleTrance5

What happens when you assemble a quartet of tenor saxophone free improvisers? Battle Trance happens. As record label NNA Tapes describes it, Travis LaPlante woke up one morning with the vision that he needed to start a group with three other tenor saxophone players: Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner.

They all agreed and Battle Trance was born. For the composition Palace of Wind, which they will play in its entirety Sunday, February 1st at Emma Bistro, “the rehearsals were much like martial arts training.” More from NNA Tapes:

Intricate sounds were rigorously copied and repeated by the ensemble members until they perfected the techniques. Many hours were spent building the sheer strength required to sustain continuous circular breathing for extended periods. Likewise, a steady focus on physicality was required to repeat rapid note patterns for long periods without sacrificing speed. Palace of Wind is such a demanding composition that there is a high risk of physically burning out before the piece concludes, as once it begins there is no opportunity for rest or even a quick drink of water. There was also extensive training in dissolving the distinct individual identities of the players into the greater collective sound: The band did various long-tone exercises, similar to group meditation, the purpose being to blend together into one sound, so that the origin of the collective sound’s components is completely impossible to discern – even by the members of the ensemble.

Palace of Wind does embrace both the cerebral nature of composition and the visceral act of performance, but immediately locates itself, the musicians and the audience in a purely spiritual space. It is a new kind of music and therefore modern, and yet it’s absolutely primordial, the transformative act of human beings blowing air through tubes and producing something timeless

Travis LaPlante played Noa Noa house a few years ago (in the living room), and I’m including a video of that performance below. Also be sure to check out the Theatre Intangible improv he did with Peter Evans, Craig Schenker, and Jamison Sevits.

The Sunday show is presented by FMRL Arts, the experimental arts company of Chris Davis and Tate Eskew. Also performing are jazz keyboardist Matt Endahl and euphoniumist Cody Carter. More info on the Facebook event page.

FMRL presents Battle Trance, Matt Endahl, and Cody Carter
Sunday, February 1st, 9 p.m., $12
@ Emma Bistro, 11 Lea Avenue, Nashville, TN

Jan 292015
 
Mu live at Hive 13, Cincinnati, OH, 2011

Douglas Lucas live at Hive 13, Cincinnati, OH, 2011

 

I’ve been letting a few great shows slip through the cracks, not as intentional slights but because I’m finding it difficult to keep up with everything under my current day job. Most notably, Mike Kluge hosted another successful Future Night at Queen Arts Collective. Stephen Trageser attended and has a review over at the Nashville Scene.

Tonight, Louisvillian Douglas Lucas (of Mu and the founder of Louisville Experimental Festival) will be back in town to deinstall his amazing art exhibition at Fort Houston. While here, he’s performing again at Betty’s, this time with Brady Sharp, Spirit Iron Knife, and Satan Pubes. If you missed him at the beginning of this month, don’t miss him tonight!

More info on the Facebook event page.

Douglas Lucas, Brady Sharp, Spirit Iron Knife, Satan Pubes
January 29th, 9:30 p.m., $5
@ Betty’s Grill 407 49th Ave N, Nashville, Tennessee 37209