December 22nd, 2005

hairy drumming

You're welcome

I attended the Winter Solstice drum jam and dance at the Cedar Cultural Center last night. It was, as predicted, a gathering of the hippy tribe. All your favorite hippy people were there. Tie-dye, tattoos, piercings and dreadlocks abounded. People danced in that loose-limbed, ecstatic way that only hippies can. As an added bonus, there were several folks whirling about those toys on chains that look vaguely like martial arts weapons. Or would if they didn't terminate in glowing balls that change color as they're whirled about, making kaleidoscopic effects in the darkened room. Also, there was enough incense to satisfy the inner Catholic in all of us.

I found a spot on the edge of the stage and settled in to drum. I realized quickly that between the kettle drums, the bass drums, the doumbeks and all the other drums, that one lonely bodhran was not going to make an impact. I was there for myself, though, so that didn't matter. I realized then what it seemed most did not: Any single individual drummer was lost in the cacophony. Apart from the big kettle drums, it was nearly impossible to hear an individual drummer, certainly not more than a few feet away. The beat of all those drums, though, filled the room. Each little addition added up to a massive presence. So I mostly dispensed with any "performance" and just let myself fall into the beat. (This also served to take it easy on my recently-injured wrist, which was a good thing.) It wasn't about being heard, it was about adding to the whole.

I saw three performances of the fire dancers, all of which were intriguing and effective. Some of the dancers seemed novices, but the more practiced danced with the energy and vigor you might expect from someone who plays with fire often. One woman, in particular, struck me as passionate and practiced. And one man was just this side of crazy. He danced bare-chested, with long hair spilling down his shoulders, whipping sticks and chains tipped with flame about his body as if he half-expected to be set alight and eagerly anticipating the possibility.

One of the fire dancers also appeared to have appointed himself as ambassador of of mystery and delight. He would appear in the circle of dancers at irregular intervals, bringing scarves, flags, bells or other toys to add just a bit of the wondrous to the mix. I half-expected puppets from Heart of the Beast to appear at any moment, bringing allegory and myth fully into the space.

I arrived at about 8:30 and stayed until about 12:30, out-lasting minnehaha by an hour or two. I came home, had something to eat and slept until about 4:00.

The sun rose at 7:49 this morning. I claim full responsibility.
self portrait

Dream record

It seems unsurprising that after the wonder-filled night I had last night, I had a day full of the most interesting dreams today. This entry is an attempt to capture as much of them as I can and, as such, may be edited as I recall more.

The first that pops to memory was of a concert. The band was a strange amalgam of Cats Laughing, The Tim Malloys and Tramps & Hawkers. They had many special guests including fredcritter, fmsv's wife (on accordian), Neil Rest, the other members of Gallowsglas, at least some parts of Riverfolk and others. Lojo was the frontman and had the most amazing presto-chango hair. It could, and did, switch like lightning from her shocking blue spiky do to a stark white pageboy cut with naught but a flick of her head. For this concert, they included a choir of kids. At one point I counted audience members and members of the band. The audience had 45 people. I started by counting the choir of kids, some of whom where in their Cub or Boy Scout uniforms. There were 135 of them. And I hadn't even started with the voluminous band. This caused much hilarity in my dream among those of us in the meager audience.

Another dream had me writing a song for cats. Lots of cats. Like dozens of cats. There was some kind of time pressure in writing this song for without it, something bad would happend to the cats. Of course, when I'd finished, the cats revealed that, now that I had saved them, they would be eating me. I tried to stave this off by offering to write them another song, but they were pretty persistent. I next tried to point out that like Einstein's cats (because I think I couldn't spell Schrodinger in my dream) they didn't really exist until the song was sung, but were trapped in a quantum state of non-being. They didn't buy that either. I woke up before they actually started chewing on me.

In yet another dream, I was hanging out with minnehaha's son, EE. We were in a combination of a hotel and hospital. In a flashback, I saw him at the Solstice drumming thing the night before and we exchanged big hugs. In the dream present, we were looking for the basement. I got on an elevator and EE wandered away. One of the passengers and I struck up a friendly conversation as I punched the basement button. When the doors closed, the elevator, of course, went up. Everyone, including my new friend, got off. As one little boy got off, his older male companion (dad?) held his hand, keeping him from running off. Unfortunately, this resulted in the door closing on the boy's arm. It rebounded, of course, but when the elevator then proceeded to descend to take me to the basement, the door remained open, providing a view of the interior of the elevator shaft. I woke up before we reached the ground floor.