Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beautiful Limbo

A week ago I performed as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, presenting a 90 minute solo piano work called Red Wave.

A handful of friends very kindly turned out to cheer me on and we even had one or two strangers purchase seats to the exhibition, which is pretty good for a Fringe show as I understand it.

We rented a very beautiful space downtown with great acoustics and a recently tuned piano. The piece itself grew partly out of the general despair I’d been experiencing this year and addressed itself towards finding the possibility of hope.

As is generally the case with these things, the results were a mixed bag: there were things I wanted to do that succeeded, there were things that failed, and things that turned out much better in the doing than they were in the planning.

To my mind, those are the best parts of all.

I’ve found that Time takes on some interesting properties when I do these long shows. There are sections that seem long to me but haven’t been long at all, and I’m wondering where the next hour is going to come from. But mostly the whole thing goes by in a wink. It’s a beautiful limbo and I would recommend that people try to lose themselves in something similar if only to experience that weightless feeling.

As for my introductory remarks (“Welcome to the last event in Philly Loves Rocky Week!”), I keep forgetting that I’m a lot funnier in my head than I am when addressing an audience. Sorry about that.

One thing I did mention before the show was how much it felt like a homecoming, as if I were coming full-circle, in a way. Sitting there in the middle of a city where I had spent so much time and experienced so much, within walking distance of so many of the places where I had planned, dreamed, and even played before, only added to the sense that the afternoon would be something of a bookend to many of the adventures you’ve possibly read here.

If you’ve ever visited here on any sort of regular basis, you have no doubt noticed that the narration of those adventures has slowed up considerably. Part of this is due to my own ambivalence about whether or not to keep this shingle out. At the moment, it exists mostly as a comfortable online living room where I can quickly check my favorite sites. Whether or not I can make it more than this has yet to be decided.

Similarly, this performance was something of a last hurrah, insofar as I’m uncertain of where I’m going from here. I’m calling off the public performances for now, but am still entertaining ideas concerning writing and recording music. And, of course, we’ll release the show for the handful of interested parties whose CD collections would otherwise be lacking that certain je ne sais wha…?

When this one was all over, though, the wife said something that made me see the entire piece in a different light.

It could well be that the piece achieved its end before I even touched a key on the piano. For if I was searching for hope, the sight of so many friends wishing me well and declaring their faith in me accomplished that without my contributing a note on the keyboard.

So now I'm left wondering what the real performance was. It may well be that I was the audience and the folks in the seats were the featured attraction.

Which is pretty cool when you consider that they paid me.


Anonymous Uncle Cleetus said...

Keep it up Robert- your music, your blog, your humor (Philly Loves Rocky Week...I love it!).

Where would we be without our creativity/art? It keeps us feeling vital and alive.

Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Don't encourage me!


Monday, September 25, 2006 2:06:00 AM  

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