Law of nature: the more one complains about something they’ve been talked into is directly proportional to the satisfaction they later derive from said event. Last Labor Day, for instance, at the Long Center’s Soundtrack Series, returning tonight and tomorrow, 8pm, I winged a 10-minute monologue on Country Joe & the Fish’s Woodstock anthem.
Mind you, when I arrived backstage and saw that a couple of the other four speakers had printed out their stories about a song pivotal to their lives, I relived all those grade school nightmares about getting to class without the speech/presentation you’re giving that day. I spent the next 45 minutes nervously mind mapping the beginning, middle, and end of my childhood corruption tale involving the Vietnam war-baiting “The ‘Fish’ Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag.”
A 5-year-old clapping and cheering along to a once-in-a-generation anti-war cry that begins with 350,000 chanting an expletive turned into an almost 50-year-old basically rapping the verses to an auditorium of kids, parents, and grandparents. I try to gloss over that part in my recall of the night, but I’m still electrified by the experience of tying your life to its soundtrack. All the ‘performance art’ that night was riveting – funny, original, revealing.
I knew the series’ host, New Yorker Dana Rossi, was onto something when one of our Music staff shared his own affecting story here prior to the Labor Day installment. People connect to music one song at a time, so it stands to reason you’d bond to your fellow men and woman one extended anecdote at a time. Impossible to experience this night of tall tales without a burning desire to share your own.
When Rossi sent me the list of raconteurs this weekend, the name Carrie Clark obviously stood out. The Sixteen Deluxe frontwoman has electrified Austin audiences for going on two decades now, so the singer-guitarist riffing on one of her band’s local mentors, Ed Hall – the song “Blue Poland” – will surely catch air. The Soundtrack Series wrangler sent me short descriptions of the other storytellers, all local.
The Soundtrack Series returns April 11-12.
Holly Lorka, “Dueling Banjos” (Eric Weissberg)
“Holly Lorka is a storyteller and retired comic. She did Soundtrack Series back in September in Austin as well.”
Chris Apollo Lynn, “Heartbeats” (The Knife)
“Chris Apollo Lynn is founder and editor of Republic of Austin, a three-time Best of Austin award-winning blog on life, music, and people in Austin. An electronic music producer, you can catch him on the Eastside DJing global house music under the name Apollo Zeitgeist.”
Jay Byrd, “I’m Coming Out” (Diana Ross)
“Jay Byrd is an actor and performer who, among many fun things, wrote a play called My Pet Homo that once starred RuPaul and ran in a Methodist Church basement. He (along with his partner) was named Most Unusual Band in the MTV Best Unsigned Band Contest, 1994.”
Julie Gillis, “I Believe” (R.E.M.)
“Julie Gillis is a writer and activist focused on social justice, sex, and spirituality. She is a founder, producer, and performer with Austin's BedPost Confessions, a monthly storytelling series about sexuality.”
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