Archive for June, 2011

John Tilbury

Flyer for a John Tilbury solo performance in Vancouver

For the longest time I relentlessly saved all manners of ephemera – ticket stubs, theater bills, promotional flyers, concert programs and the like. I amassed piles of these papers which for a time I organized in hanging files, then folders then just stacks of paper. Periodically some of it would get sorted and discarded.  I held onto these items because they were aide memoirs – physical manifestations of memories. I found myself burdened by all this material and became highly selective of what I kept and a lot more merciless in my discards. But there was a bunch of material from what I think was kind of a golden age of music in Seattle.

Critters Buggin

Critters Buggin Concert flyer

In the late 90s though the early aughts there was what I thought at the time an actual creative development in jazz.  It was a sort of post-downtown movement brought about by the relocation of Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell interacting with local luminaries who had been raised on electronica, hip-hop and grunge. They played out music with a dance beat, or with hard rocking energy or unexpected world music influences. This all faded away by around 2005 or so with a number of the principles moving to NYC, LA and other places and through a number of others getting sucked into Jam-Band-ish fusions, dumbing down the music to simpler rhythms, less out passages and instead of the unexpected became all too predictable.

Mad Tea Party

The Mad Tea Party weekly event

For a while though it was a musical renaissance where I was seeing shows 2-3 nights a week and were even the most regular events were constantly dosed with the unanticipated as Skerik might drop in at 1am or Reggie Watts might join in for some vocal freestylin as an unannounced guest. By the time this scene had fizzled out my interest had shifted to forms of improvisation that was driven by experimentation but also my drive for the collection of ephemera was waning. So I’ve scanned and uploaded my archive of concert flyers that I’ve held onto and there is a good sampling from that short creative period in Seattle and then a number of more random things.

The whole archive, which I’ll add to if anymore turns up can be found on Flickr here:
Concert Ephemera

Seattle Public Art - 11

I recently spent a couple of weeks on Jury Duty at the King County Courthouse which brought me to downtown Seattle every day for the duration.  There was a decent amount of downtime and a long lunch so I spent a lot of time walking around the city.  Seattle is known for its public art (though the program has not near been as well funded nor as risk taking as it used to be) and there is lots to find in and around the city.  My primary digital camera that I’ve been using for the last number of years had broken and I wasn’t quite prepared to replace it just yet. However I like keep a small point and shoot camera on my bicycle and I’d been shopping eBay looking for a good deal on one of those. I found one and so for the last couple of days of Jury Duty brought the camera.

Isuamu Noguchi Landscape in Time (1975) - 08

Isamu Noguchi Landscape in Time (1975)


Black SunStumbling across Isamu Noguchi’s Landscape in Time in front of the Federal Building was the imputus to bring in the camera instead of just using my cameraphone. A collection of carved (and cast perhaps) rocks strewn across the brick courtyard of the federal building, it is a difficult piece to photograph.  After I took a picture of the plague with the piece information on a suit who’d just exited the building stopped and read the plaque – perhaps a long time employee who’d stopped seeing this art. This is one of several great Noguchi sculptures in the PNW the most famous of course being Black Sun (pictured at right) but my favorite is his Skyviewing Sculpture at Western Washington University.


Seattle Public Art - 13

There are also a number of pieces that I stumbled across that had no identifying plaque and seemed more temporary. The above piece is an example of this, for even though it seems to have been there a while it doesn’t seem embedded in the ground and there was no information about it.  Other works, like the one at the top of this page, weren’t created as “public art” but  is an old piece of commercial art that time and circumstance has transformed into art.

Anyway there is tons of public art all over Seattle and I have many more photos to upload. So take a look at my Seattle Public Art Set on Flickr and watch for updates.