This collection of posts is intended to document my experience of Accidental Initiations. Mostly, it’s about The Kabbalistic Tree of Olympia but it’s also about what happens to me when I reveal it. I’ve called this the third act of the film; the part that brings everything together, and it can only do so after everything falls apart; the hero’s best friend is killed, the couple we’re rooting for breaks up, the rag-tag band of rebels appear to be overwhelmed by whatever evil force they are confronting. Faced with impossible odds, our protagonists must find an inner reserve of strength and inspiration to overcome whatever stands between them and their goal.
If this is the third act of Accidental Initiations, then the initiating incident was the release of the book, the unveiling of the magickal item which is The Kabbalistic Tree Of Olympia, and my “naming names” at KAOS, The Olympia Film Society, The Olympia Food Co-Op & Works In Progress.
So, what has happened? For once, let’s start with the positive, shall we?
As we often find in traditional third acts, unlikely allies arise. Characters who were barely visible on the periphery of the story suddenly join the fray and shift the fortunes of the seemingly doomed protagonist. In my case, one Jabi Shriki, chief organizer of the first annual Oly Music Awards. I became marginally aware of Jabi this winter when I was accompanying Scott Taylor and my old friend Shmushkin to open mikes around Olympia (It Can’t get No Worse). When Scott and Elizabeth broke up, he moved his heartbroken ass in with Jabi. While I appreciated this man for coming to my friend’s aid, I was too wrapped up in finishing my book to pay much attention to new acquaintances.
China Starr (who has already made several unnamed appearances in this sequel blog) initially told me about The Oly Music Awards when she was asked to host. She said I should submit my stuff but I was skeptical. This town is notoriously cliquey and bitchy when it comes to its music scenes, and I had no reason to trust that this event would be produced with significantly more integrity than any of the other manipulated popularity contests this town likes to pretend are participatory community projects. More often than not the people who succeed in our music scene are cultivated amateurs who dress like rock stars and turn their noses up at the nerds who actually care about their instruments. They remind me of high school jocks making fun of the kids who read for fun. This is what came up for me when China initially mentioned it but, as she explained the lengths to which the organizers were going to ensure that the Oly Music Awards would be inclusive and respectful, I began to get intrigued, first about the event, but also… who were these organizers?
The Oly Music Awards were scheduled for May 5th, 2012 at The Capitol Theater. That’s 5-5-5 for all you numerologists out there. I’d been experiencing some interesting syncs with the number 5 (Eat My Shorts) and, inspired by this, I thought it might be cool to submit The Radio8Ball Show as an experimental singer-songwriter showcase. I saw the coincidence of my book’s release and the voting for inclusion in the event as an opportunity worth pursuing. I talked the voting link up on a couple of podcasts on which I was interviewed about AI (Thanks 42 Minutes & Type 1 Radio!) and posted about it here. This inspired people from all over the world; fans of my music, or my movies, or Radio8Ball, to take time and vote for us online. (Thanks fans!)
A few of my music fans encouraged me to submit myself as a solo performer as well and, as an afterthought I did. I liked the way Jabi was conducting the review process. Yes, there were fan votes (in other words, a popularity contest) but they were also doing blind reviews with judges from all over the region. Judges would receive a demo with no name attached to it and review from there. I also like that judges only voted on categories they felt fluent in. I was curious if my music would make the cut if no one knew who I was, so I submitted two songs, “Mystery Behind” and “Politics Will Get You Gigs”. Both from before my divorce in 2003, when making and performing music was the all and everything of my existence. Between 1989 and 2003, I put out five CD’s with my band, The Previous, four solo, and wrote hundreds of songs, the demos of which currently fill up a hard drive in my apartment. When my marriage ended, it felt like the part of me that cared about getting up on stage and singing my muse for those rare and enthusiastic followers who dared brave the shitty establishments I mostly played in, just gave out. I kept writing and playing in my room but I was happier not sharing this part of myself with the fans who I kind of doubted existed anyway.
When the voting results came out I turned out to be a big winner. Radio8Ball was a top vote-getter and we were scheduled to appear at the awards show at The Capitol Theater on May 5th. I also ended up winning as a solo performer, and was invited to appear at the solo showcase at The Northern on May 4th (the same night as my Q & A about AI at Kitzel’s Deli). When I spoke with Jabi I told him I didn’t want to overwhelm the event and didn’t need to perform at the solo showcase, but he was having none of it.
“Your song, Mystery Behind was one of the best submissions and the judges really liked it… I really want you to do this as a solo performer AND as the host of Radio8Ball.”
He explained that I wasn’t the only performer appearing on both nights, pointing to Kendl Winter, who will be performing solo, and as part of The Blackberry Bushes. Interestingly, I’ve been having some crazy syncs with Kendl the last few months; running into each other in the strangest places, and of course, my being asked to join The Blackberry Bushes onstage at The Olympia Ballroom to release my book. This, and Jabi’s enthusiasm for me as an artist convinced me to say, “fuck it, let’s put on a show” and not worry that some people are going to be mad at me for being there at all, let alone all over the fucking bill. Yee-haw!
I’ve been working out a set of mostly new material for May 4th at The Northern, and gathering some great musicians, celebrities, visionaries and sacred ushers for The Radio8Ball Show at The Capitol Theater on May 5th. I’m glad to have something creative to focus on that’s positive, because every day since the book came out I seem to be engaged in some controversial wrangling or another with people who don’t like Accidental Initiations because of things I say, and in some cases don’t say, about them in it. The most interesting (to me at least) controversies are recounted in my last couple of posts. And as much as I’m trying to have fun with it, these encounters are a drain on me and on those with whom I am deeply connected. The sacred whore and I had our first argument in a while, the day after I posted “A Narcissistic Misogynist With A Persecution Complex”, because she couldn’t support my “dharma” (her word). My conflicts, and the energies they evoke, have never set well with her. Much as I love this woman, she is with another man now, and I have my own poetic battles to meet with gusto and verve. I can’t curb my enthusiasm to meet her energetic needs, any more than she can always be there for me the way I’d like. If all I’ve learned from this whole process is that, it’s probably worth it.
That was three long weeks ago. (I have no sense of time anymore.) The sacred whore came up again this week, though not in the flesh or on the phone, just in written memory; as part of the background of my recent conflict with the editors at Reality Sandwich who agreed, and then declined, to run an excerpt from Accidental Initiations on their site. Posting my piece about this conflict (Own Your Lips Girl) felt like the energetic nadir of this whole affair. I stick by what I wrote but it didn’t feel good to put it out there, knowing that if it had any effect it would be negative at first, before turning potentially positive in the future. As I told my editor, Alan Abbadessa-Green, “I think this medicine is good but it tastes like medicine.”
Last night I got a call from Jabi. It seems that, as I intuited, some people don’t like my inclusion in the Oly Music Awards as a performer, or as the host of Radio8Ball, and he’s been having to deal with flack about me. I was afraid he was going to say, as have the representatives of plenty of other Olympian organizations, that they can’t work with me because of the difficulties I create for those vocal individuals who simply don’t like me. Luckily, Jabi isn’t a coward or a wanna-be insider, and I think he just genuinely digs my music. I can relate to this. Many’s the time I brought musicians to town who raised the ire of Olympia’s prudish snobs. The intense reactions these artists evoked only made me support them that much more enthusiastically. I used to be surprised when other promoters didn’t feel the same sense of duty to the artists they presented, but I learned to accept that those who care as I do about the music and the musicians are not the norm but the outliers. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself the beneficiary of Jabi’s artistic fortitude and integrity in supporting me. I’m sure he’s getting it from all sides in this town, populated as it is by a loudly whispering minority of boring haters. And not just on my account, but because he is trying to do something awesome. Intolerable!
As I look around I’m noticing more friends and allies coming into focus. Among the nasty shouting and name-calling a few honorable men and women who are inspired by the potential of our shared awesomeness despite, but not apart from, the boring haters, have emerged into view. Will Morgan, who created “Dream Sequence” at the top of this post? I didn’t know him in 2011 and he’s probably put in at least fifty, maybe a hundred hours watching and then editing the films and TV shows I’ve been in, to create what he claims is only the first of series of sync films exploring my work. Alan Abbadessa-Green seems like a friend from high school and I’ve only known him since August. And what about those almost too sexy for bluegrass Blackberry Bushes, who seem to have synchronistically swept me up into their good energy whenever I’ve been relaxed enough to let them? Oh, and I’m not just talking about Jes and Kendl. That whole band looks like they were cast for TV. Pretty, pretty people, who can also play the shit out of their own, and each other’s, instruments. As I begin these appreciations, the list just grows and grows. That fierce mama cat Erin Riordan from Sweet Lily Salon in Seattle, who tends my mane and keeps believing in me to the tune of free $50 haircuts every six weeks for years now. I’m not even talking about my Hollywood allies who are trying to help me make good on the possibility of Radio8Ball for the whole wide world; Balaban. Wisely. Blau. And the fans. Shit, I actually have fans. I am a fan, so I can relate to that. I want to be awesome for all ya’ll.
On the phone last night Jabi seemed to be keeping his spirits high and his intentions true. He inspires me to rise to the occasion. I intend to honor this man as he has honored me. Get ready for some BIG magick the first weekend in May! I’d say, “don’t miss it” but if the magick is as big as I intend, missing it won’t be an option.