A few years ago, one of my proudest professional moments, I was part of a series of many performances, starting with a week-long stint at the Poetry Foundation, and then an east coast tour, of my poems from Fjords by a Chicago-based shadow puppet company called Manual Cinema, a composer, Kyle Vegter, and a string quartet, Chicago Q Ensemble. If you missed those performances, you can watch a 15 minute excerpt of it here (the entire performance was over an hour), and get a pretty good idea of how things went down.
Kyle Vegter is my friend, a talented Chicago-based musician and multi-media artist, and one of the brilliant minds behind Manual Cinema, the shadow-puppetry troupe that put on all those performances of Fjords last year. He and I are working together on a little project where I overhear someone talking on a bluetooth device and text him some of the snippets from that conversation, and then he has to immediately write those snippets down on whatever paper is available to him and compose something musically, right then and there, using that exact text. We’ll perform these compositions in Chicago at Constellation on July 19 along with other musicians, yet to be announced, during my poetry book tour with Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Mathias Svalina this summer.
These are four of the texts so far. Also, I took this photo of him.
Manual Cinema, the cinematic shadow puppetry company from Chicago who performed Fjords this spring, is now presenting their newest and most technically-sophisticated feature-length work to date: Lula del Ray, in a limited engagement at the Den Theater in Chicago’s Wicker Park from November 29th to December 16th. If you live in Chicago, please go and please tell them I miss them.
I’m making a little film about the Fjords tour with Manual Cinema and I have a lot of outtakes. Here’s a little something that won’t make it in, but it is a reminder of pure joy from a few months ago. Here’s the recipe: Janaka Stucky, my van, Will Oldham, a dirty sock, a book, late March sun, and Mississippi back roads.
If you didn’t get enough of my Fjords tour photos on this blog, the Julia Miller, of Manual Cinema fame, has been cooking up her own Fjords tour photos over on her blog. And if you can’t get enough of that, I’m cooking up a tiny little Fjords tour documentary. So, hold tight. Hold tight.
Manual Cinema and I have landed in NYC and we’ll be camping out here for the week. Come see Fjords tonight at The Tank, or at Labrynth Books in Princeton tomorrow, or at the WRtRLtWRtW series Thursday night, or at the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church Friday night. Ok? Ok. Now I’m going to take a quick nap.
This is the trailer for the Manual Cinema and Chicago Q Ensemble performance of Fjords that will take place at the Poetry Foundation February 23-26. A version of this performance will also happen Friday night during the AWP conference.
This is a demo version of the score to “After Taking Out the Garbage for the First Time,” a poem from Fjords, for the live shadow puppetry performances in Chicago this February. This demo is written and performed by Kyle Vegter of Manual Cinema.
For four nights in Chicago on February 23-26, Manual Cinema and Q Ensemble are together performing a live-scored cinematic shadow puppet show based on some poems in my forthcoming book, FJORDS (Black Ocean). But first the project needs to raise some funds. Watch this video to see what it is all about, to find out what is needed, and then help us out by donating and by spreading the word to others who may be into it.