"being an artist is embarrassing"
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Last night after the performance on larynx and sax at Ken Sanders Rare Books (Alex Caldiero scrolling down Kerouac's "On the Road" with John Flanders fueling the truck as it rolled), I sat on a stool at the Desert Edge next to Trent Harris and heard him say that without Alex, the city would be a wasteland.
I agreed, and added: I've always thought of you and Alex and Scott Carrier as the Holy Trinity.
That would make me the Holy Ghost, he claimed.
This morning, for several reasons, I'd like to revise my assessment.
1. This is no trinity, but a quartet: Ken Sanders is an obvious partner in crime.
2. None of the four is even remotely holy in a trinitarian sense. We'd have to move into a Ginsbergian universe for that epithet to hold true.
3. I can imagine Ken as God the Father and Alex as Sweet Jesus; but Trent as the Holy Ghost? Scott as the peripatetic apostle Paul?
4. Isn't it more fun to think of these four astride immense Percherons pounding across the west desert, headed for the City of the Saints?
Just testing, Alex said at the end of his poem about death, just testing. We all laughed, relieved that this member of the apocalyptic dream team was scheduled for later.
The straight line will take you only to death, Kerouac wrote, and Alex's reading circled around again and again to Kerouac on death, to Kerouac on jazz -- Neal and I went to see Shearing at Birdland in the midst of the long mad weekend. . . . And Shearing began to rock. . . . Folks yelled for him to "Go!" . . . "There he is! That's him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!" . . . Shearing rose from the piano dripping with sweat; these were his great days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Neal pointed to the empty piano seat. "God's empty chair" he said.
And my mind jerked to the last review I wrote for the Salt Lake Observer, the one in which I indicted Shearing for a lackluster performance at his 80th birthday bash in SLC -- after which "Jazz at the Hilton" pulled their advertising from the paper. Wish I had known Kerouac when I wrote it.