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Thanks for visiting our blog. Please bear with us while we restructure our various sites and pages. We'll be posting stuff as regularly as possible while we continue to work on it.

You've stumbled upon my blog which is the companion to my website Ishah 'El. This site is intended to track my progress in starting a new multi-cultural theatre arts company and bring updates to devoted supporters and curious by standers. Check here regularly for posts on what I’m up to and how it all is faring, and you can join me by posting comments & encouragement. With that I invite you to become friends and enter into my world of art, faith, life & passion. Shalom.

P.s.- This is actually 4 blogs rolled into 1... why? I don't really know. Some sort of strange urge to make it multi-dimensional caused me to lay it out this way, yet people seem to never realize that there is an index at the right which will take you to other interconnected pages. Feel free to explore and share with others!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

of monks & kings

It's spring in more ways than finally being warm and sunny. The annual breaking of the winter's long hold over activity seems to thrust us forward with a flurry of creativity, almost as if to say "I'm still here and I'm still alert", and to assert ourselves over the cold lingering slumber. Just like nature. For Easter this year we've offered up a couple of projects to share with the community: the third edition of our zine, "The Gregarious Monk", which is a humble showcase of talent from our funky, eclectic church, the northampton vineyard, proffering a variety of articles on topics from candy to fitness, featuring crafting and book reviews and so much more. Recipes, photographs, random thoughts, poetry, short stories and personal reflections all laid out with spiffy graphics. Our community is rather savvy, diverse and prolific bunch with a wide range of interests collectively and individually. There will be more in the months to come, including an online version of it sometime soon.

Also for Easter several of us did a short excerpt of a radio play by Dorothy L. Sayers on the life of Jesus. We were allotted ten minutes tops, so we extracted a crucial section from the resurrection from the tomb, enacted it, recorded it (with sound effects) and added some pictures to accompany it. It had a few glitches but over all came off well, and we had a lot of fun doing it. You can listen to it here: Easter radio play audio or view it here: Easter radio play video.

This will be the first of several radio plays I'm planning to put together. I've been figuring out how to do podcasting and it seems like a fun direction to go toward creatively & experimentally.

Friday, April 20, 2007

blissfully bewildered

Wednesday evening a small group of us got together to make some noise. That was our intention and we were successful. I arrived at the church office a little before 7:00 pm to find Rachel, our worship leader, there. What are you doing here?, I asked her. Working, she replied; why are you here? We're here to make some noise. She probably didn't think I was serious.

Five of us showed up with choice materials to explore and share with one another. Bobby brought a small metal cup and something that looked like a midget version of the Pillsbury dough boy, except it had some sort of spray nozzle top hat affixed to it and you could shake it like a baby maraca. Jeff brought an amplifier and a microphone with a volume pedal and a small delay effect box. Chip brought a guitar, an amp and several odd glasses which he filled withe different levels of water. I was going to bring some copper tubing I have, which you could blow into or bang about, but it turned out to be about eight feet in length and too long to put in the car. I brought some metal rods, 3/16 x 36", which are fun to place on a table, pull back and release while you change their length. I looked about the office for some objects and found a drum, a couple of vases with fake marble like rocks in them, and a couple plastic pitchers. Joel showed us all up. Joel has the most toys of us all and came with an untuned guitar and amp, a tenor saxophone, several glass beakers, a small drum, a set of tuned wind chimes he had made, a set of tuning forks, a marching band glockenspiel, some screwdrivers, a brass bowl for gonging, several pvc pipes cut to different pitch lengths, a cardboard tube 5' in length and about 8" in diameter, a car brake and a car tire. Probably several other objects which evade my memory at the moment.

The idea to do this came after an arts meeting we had about a month ago. The topic moved to music and it turned out that several of us listen to experimental music and were interested getting together to see what we could come up with. We had one guiding rule- that we shouldn't stick with any instrument that we naturally know how to play. Not too difficult since we mostly had things which had an indeterminate tuning. Other rules applicable were for determining how it might possibly be structured- a sense, a mood, an emotion; a time concept or a poetic construct, like call and response. We ended a piece when it felt like it had reached a finishing point, and in less than two hours had created three distinct and ephemeral pieces. We beat on things, we rattled stuff, we added different rhythms over other rhythms, hit things with random pitches, ran sounds through the microphone and manipulated them, squawked with reeds and pieces of paper, chanted and yelled, rustled bags and gamboled about in junk and noise and discovery and reverie. It was like men going into the forest to beat on drums and bond. Well, not really. It was more like young kids, left alone and unsupervised, finding out about sound and creativity. Worship music from the church of the blissfully bewildered.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I'm changing the lay out of my blog so you may find it a little difficult to find things for the time being. I decided that I no longer care for the dark back ground and I'm going to try something lighter. Maybe it's an artistic development- like a need for some bright spring sun & warmth.