Brad Hogg’s Diary – The OCG VII

Date or timeframe: 18-05-2013 / 27-05-2013
City: Royalston, MA
Country: United States
Category(-ies): /

OCG VII – Day (-1) through Day 0

Day (-1) – Busy day of pre-project necessities.  Ieva leaves in the morning, giving me time to finish packing in time for Victor to drop by and pick up my bag, guitar, and items purchased through me for an incoming Crafty.  After this, heading off to meet with Becky and pick up an air mattress.  Catching up over Indian food, and then off to get some hair removed from my head.  A stop by the grocery store for breakfast supplies, and back home.

Some more travel e-mails.  Cleaning.  Chris arrives from Connecticut just as I’m preparing to head to the laundromat for some necessary last minute stuff, and we head over together.  Plenty of discussion about jargon, what this project might be like, and general conversation.

Back to my place; some more organizing, and practicing with Chris until somewhere around midnight, interspersed with phone calls about incoming Crafties.  Victor graciously puts up two more Crafties that have flown in and could not secure a hotel room, which means that no one arriving to this course will have had to remain in the airport overnight.

Some more discussion, and then we head to the airport to pick up Christina, who is flying in at 1:00 am.  Back to my place around 1:45 am, and we all quickly turn in for the night.

Day 0 – 7:00 am:  wake up, shower.  Sitting at 8 am with Christina, Chris, and myself.  Erin arrives to my house as we’re eating breakfast.  Some catching up and visiting over coffee, and then a quick clean-up.  Packing and piling into Chris’s car, and on the road at 10:00 am.

Constant texts and calls.  Part of my job for this course, and par for the course.

Arrival at Camp Caravan, approximately noon.  Dispatching to various rooms, busy work until the first van from the airport arrives.  All arrivals seem generally happy, and lots of good will all around.  I’ve managed to give myself a blister (and subsequently destroy it) in the first fifteen minutes through sweeping.

Lunch at 2:00 pm.  Quiet.

More busy stuff.  Prepared the auditorium.  Some practicing.  Showed John H. and David L. the 16 Bar Exercise, part of Third Relation, and a touch of Where is the Nurse.  A bit of texting back and forth with Ieva, and keeping up to date with various travel issues.  Shooting shit with Tim and Curt.

Dinner at 8:00 pm in the tent we’ve rented for the course, with Erin as head chef.  Eggplant parmesan, which is delicious, and the first appearance on a course (reportedly) of salad dressing squerd, which is also tasty.  As we’re eating, I see Dev scamper off, and then up at the house I can see Victor arrive, which means RF has also arrived—once Bill arrives, my duties as travel coordinator will be half-completed.  House stuff with Alex, and then 90 minutes of dishes.  Some more back and forth with Ieva, paying for strings, diary stuff at 11:20 pm.

Physically uncomfortable.  Gave up pillow to Luigi because we ran out, and my bed to Jon because a top bunk is impossible for him.  Will be sleeping this week on a thin pad with my sitting pillow.  Not ideal, but:  oh, well.

OCG VII – Day 1

Awake multiple times in the night.  Many snoring types.  Also, someone apparently had an interesting nightmare as well.  Aware that my back is going to hate me at the end of this week, though sleeping on my back alleviates this a bit.  Too bad I prefer the side.

9:15 am – Waking at 6:00 am.  I realize on waking that the previous day, when I had cleaned out and moved forty-something chairs to the auditorium, that I had forgotten to arrange the chairs.  Mad dash to the auditorium at 6:50 am, in an attempt to beat the 7:15 am crowd.  Arrived, realized that there was nothing I could do, as people had already begun to arrive.  Long sitting.

Silence during breakfast.

The hot water heater in this cabin says “Never run out of hot water again.”  It lies.

Changing strings.  Inaugural meeting at 11:00 am.

2:20 pm – Good opening meeting.  My own personal comments are that I’ve been brought to the course by the future (in reference to the fact that I’ve been essentially working with a mind towards this course since 2011, before it was even official), and that my personal aims are:  1) to ensure that all arrive at the course safely, 2) to support the Orchestra in whatever mode I am needed, 3) to ensure that all depart the course safely.

RF’s own comments will be replicated on his own diary, but two things stick out:  first, a reference to Tom’s observation in Mexico this past February that “We must bring this [the Procession] into war zones”, and that Boston and New York were in fact that very thing; and a comment about these performances and demonstrations being useful for three generations.

The pre-lunch work being called; “high flyers” are to meet in the auditorium with Curt at 12:15 pm, “middle flyers” at 12:30 pm with Sandra in the Movements Hall, and “low flyers” with Victor at 12:30 pm.  A bit of hesitation on my own part, as I know where I want to be, but with the quality of players around, I’m a bit unsure of whether I can hang.  As we’re all leaving the auditorium, Victor asks me where I plan to go; on seeing my hesitation, he rather directly says, “Go to the high flyers’ meeting”.

Back in the auditorium.  Curt hands the duties of “director” to Fernie, who calls for circulation.  Some interesting stuff–passing of sounds that are post-tonal.  Different keys are called.  Some repertoire:

Eye of the Needle (x2)
Third Relation (this gets some apprehensive looks around the circle)
Driving Force

Discussion in between each piece.

6:25 pm – Tea at 4:00 pm, work with Frank at 5:00 pm.

Running repertoire with some folks at 8:00 pm.

RF giving a pretty serious mind pickler at roughly the same time, but working in 20 minute chunks, so I head over for 8:50 pm.  I’m not able to pick up the exact pattern he’s giving, but I am able to figure out the idea of running variations of the First Primary and First Secondary exercises across the strings of the fretboard.  I watch him give maybe 6 or 7 patterns, and then he rather gleefully puts them all together at the same time, and then adds a skiffle-style bass part, so that there are 5 disparate parts dementedly clashing against each other.  And also a solo break for Fernie.  [As the week progresses, this will actually make a lot of sense in a backward way.]

9:30 pm – An intense opening OCG rehearsal, roughly 40 minutes.  A clear tie to Frank’s work earlier in the day.  Afterward, an announcement for repertoire work “if you see yourself doing this”.

10:30 pm – Late arrivals.  No repertoire run after all (most of the course showed up), but the notion of procession chords is presented, first in A minor, and then shifting to A harmonic minor.  Zithering around.

11:00 pm – Teaching Where is the Nurse bass line to multiple people; this gets somewhat derailed by flighty attention (people wanting to do everything), but gets back on course late in the Movements hall.  Some other repertoire run as well, to check in.

Missing Ieva.  To bed around 1:00 am.

OCG VII – Day 2

Wake at 6:00 am, sitting at 7:00 am.

Breakfast at 8:00 am.  Lots of comments about the OCG rehearsal last night.  “No note choices.”  “I felt safe.”  “Drama.”  “Dervish circle.”

On lunch duty at 10:00 am.  Patricia’s vegetable peelers are a revelation:  well-made tools are a blessing.  A realization that if I could work as smoothly as this peeler, life would be a lot easier.  There is some extra time during lunch prep, and Sandra asks us to please stick to useful talking and staying on the course, just in time for the bell at 12:30 pm.  A good reminder.

Lunch at 1:00 pm.  Not enough bowls.  I end up sitting at the head table, which is strangely not odd.  Robert treats his floral salad with the respect it deserves.

2:30 pm – Repertoire meeting.  My hands are working better than I expected.

4:00 pm – Tea.  Horn Up Your Ass makes an appearance for Patrick G.’s birthday.

Feels very strange that it’s Tuesday.  A week from now, this is all gone forever.  Very clear that I’m in the warped time zone of a course.

5:00 pm – “Authentic rehearsal of the Orchestra” with Frank.  His classic exercise of filling the room and finding the maximum amount of space for one’s self leads to some interesting extrapolations.  At one point, he directs us to follow and mimic a person in the room, and then directs us to switch to a new person.  As I switch and begin to mimic this new person, I notice something very odd:  there is still a clear residue of the first person in my actions.

6:00 pm – Moving things inside the main house for dinner.  Cold, windy, and wet.

6:30 pm – Tai Chi with Luciano.

7:00 pm – Dinner.  Lots of talking, and then deep Silence visits, roughly 12 minutes.  RF talks about the 7 Principles of working in a Guitar Circle, and asks for suggestions for work tonight.

8:20 pm – Personal practice, working with the base concept from the Mind Pickler last night.

9:30 pm – Personal meeting with Robert.  A little anxious, as I have not had one with him before.  A discussion on “chief feature”; an internal struggle with whether I should teach or not (“We can only give away what we have for ourselves”); touching on Beelzebub, the Dramatic Universe.  I’m always mystified when people call him anything other than kind and polite; he’s simply one of the most pleasant persons I’ve ever met.  What’s actually more surprising about the meeting is that there is no pretension in the discussion, no “You are wasting my time” feeling about it.  He is approaching me completely on the level that I am at, with the breadth of experience that he has.  We go a few minutes over schedule, and then he advises me to get moving so that we can make rehearsal on time.

10:00 pm – OCG rehearsal.  Procession whizzing, followed by full-on Orchestrizing.  Leaders constantly changing.  At one point early in the run, Elisa takes a walk outside with a section of the procession–I have no shoes or jacket on, but I swallow my pride and follow anyway.  No fear until I suspect she’ll be walking behind the dorm, where I do not know the terrain.  By the time we come back, the Orchestra has begun to shift into new territory.

Ducking.  Running.  Crowding and everything in between.

Audiences have no idea what they’re in for.

Victor checks in with Chris and I afterward.  He advises us to really work Askesis, Eye of the Needle, and Asturias; Where is the Nurse has been cut.

Long day.  The middle is decidedly here.

OCG VII – Day 3

Almost overslept.  Passed out last night sitting up.  Technically overslept, but awake at 6:40 am, which is time enough for a quick shower.

7:00 am – RF presents the Six Points in the auditorium.  A slightly different flavor that how I received it in the Somerville group, but pretty close.

Breakfast at 8:00 am.

A deep silence during breakfast.  After the meal, small group work with Chris, Glenn, and Rick; starting with right hand work to warm up, a couple runs of the First Primary, and then on to working Asturias and Askesis.

Some confusion about full group work on Askesis.  This is pushed back to later in the afternoon.

Tai Chi at 12:30 pm.  Very necessary for myself.

Lunch at 1:00 pm – A hair late.  Ate too much, and probably going to feel it later.  Another deep silence.

Askesis work at 2:30 pm.  Performance tempo is set at 92 bpm, which is faster than what we usually play it in GCNE (usually around 84ish).  Thank god I can hold on.  And if I stay at it, it won’t be a problem after tonight, or at least tomorrow morning.

Diary work, decision work.  Full repertoire group at 3:30 pm.

5:00 pm – OCG work, primarily for RF to present the exercise that is part of Eye of the Needle.  After this, RF asks “Well, what should we do now?”, which leads to silent procession, and then with chords, and then a full-on improvisation.

A break in the action.  RF asks “Now that there’s a lull, what next?”

After a second, Jaxie runs across the room, trading places with someone.  A few agonizing seconds later, I run across the room and trade with Taylor.  And then the room explodes in activity.  Another improv.

A break, and a return to the circle form.  Another pause, and then I call Askesis, with Fernie’s count.  Then we move to Asturias, and we swirl around during the twinkling chords.  Returning to the circle as the piece ends.  Patrick reads the text to Ives’s Berceuse, and that team plays it.  Whizzing in two circles, inner and outer.  Return to the full circle.

Final words from RF.  It is now raining; we head to our respective places.

Dinner at 7:00 pm.  We are out of the middle.

Cleaning up after dinner.  At one point, I become aware that Chris isn’t wearing shoes in the scullery, and I immediately tell him to go away and put shoes on–a particular kind of authority in my voice that I’m not used to hearing.  Afterward, Christina commends me for the care I show Chris.  He really is kind of like a kid brother.

OCG rehearsal after dinner.  Way too much to describe it all, but extremely active.  A great deal of running around, and some repertoire is also played as well.

At one point, during an intense pause, Chris walks across the circle to me, plays a short chord, and I do not respond.  He begins to walk away, and then I run into the circle, cut him off at the pass, and we begin a playful sort of “fight”.  John tries to join in, but I “bark” at him (fully in character) and he steps back into his place in the circle.  I’m aware that I’m stomping around a bit, and I notice that I’m getting distracted by the sound of my own feet.  Chris and I continue to play back and forth, and then I bring someone else in, and then “tap out” and return to the basic circle.

A bit later, there is a moment where there is a lot of different stuff going on, but the big central form is a circle that includes Mary Beth, Victor, and I; we are whizzing around the circle while also running as fast as we can.  Victor and I are both cracking up.

Phone call with Ieva afterward.  Happy.

OCG VII – Day 4

On waking around 6:00 am, a sense of apprehension about the improvised theatre bit with Chris, last night.  I seriously wonder whether it was a little over the top or not–not that there’s anything I can do about it, but there might be something I can keep in mind for what comes.

7:00 am – Sitting was oddly short.

8:00 am – Breakfast.  Lots of comments, generally pretty good.  I find myself getting a bit annoyed with a couple of them–they have the smack of the “unknowing knowing” about them.  And there are so many of them.

Jaxie’s question is the big one, though:  “How do we know if we should follow an impulse?”  Tony’s response  (as I remember it) seems really good:  knowing that the conditions for himself are good to follow an impulse, namely if he feels like he is able to follow, and if he’s unconcerned with what the outcome will be.

There are many other answers to this question.

Sandra notes the loud stomping that sounds like death and sleep, and leads everyone in an off-the-cuff exercise, emphasizing the lightness of feeling and thought that we feel even when connected to the earth.

Christina has a comment about watching someone try to “correct” behavior, and notes that this is the same as saying “no” in an improv:  it doesn’t work.  Specifically, she was seeing some aggressive playing, and saw something come in with a delicate and cautious tone–it was like watching someone say “no”.

I resist the urge to chime in with a comment of my own–there’s too many of them, and now I’m really unsure about my stompfest with Chris last night, even though I was very consciously playing a role.  As we’re clearing out of the dining hall, I ask Sandra if she has a moment at 10:30 am to meet for a bit.  This ends up not happening (which is fine, as it’s really just me wanting an ego stroke), but as I’m waiting in the conservatory, I spend the time looking at the Enneagram Garden, and get a bit of an insight I hadn’t had before.  Interesting.

11:30 am – Orchestra rehearsal is hard, and not enjoyably so.

1:00 pm – Quiet lunch, with Los Internationales delivering a five-language greeting and request:  first separately, and then all at once.  Very entertaining.  A short nap after lunch, and then off to fix an early dinner.

Dinner prep at 3:00 pm.  We do not have a huge amount of stuff to do, as dinner is a light stand-up affair, but we keep busy.  At somewhere around 4:30 pm, it is very quiet outside and inside the house, and I realize that I am standing in a holy space–the house has become so over the past day or so.

5:00 pm, dinner.  Another recitation by Los Internationales.  Patrick’s hummous has disappeared.  Clean-up, and a bit of practice, followed by preparing for dress rehearsal at 8:00.  It is pouring outside.

OCG VII – Day 5 – Show #1

Day of the first gig.  The short version of last night’s work is that we had dress rehearsal, and that I noted a bit of hesitation on my own part.  One interesting comment from Robert, regarding the “Lord Have Mercy” exercise.  I hope I can remember to apply it.  Also, had an insight about ensemble playing that I know I’ve experienced before, but became newly apparent last night:  light quick playing is necessary in groups of large number, because of the sludge that happens when everyone plays a different version of legato, or even staccato.

Off to the sitting.  A couple of lay-ins in the room.

8:00 am – Breakfast.

11:40 am – Comments about goodwill over breakfast, and a deep silence to match.  RF comments about “putting it in the bank”.  Finally performed Level T.

New strings on the guitar.  Warming up.  Texting back and forth with Ieva to get a small guitar part for Tom. She’ll also be helping with this gig as security and otherwise.

Lunch at 12:00 pm.  The 60 Point Exercise begins at this time.  That certain feeling in the air…

4:30 pm – Now in Cambridge.  Performance space is beautiful.  When we walk in to see the space, it is immediately apparent that we were in a good place.  Silence visits.

We’re to be circled up and ready a few minutes before 5:00 pm.  I check my phone a minute or two prior and see that Ieva’s called me twice and left me several messages:  she doesn’t know specifically what part I’m talking about for Tom, and the sales clerk at Guitar Center is a moron.  I try to fix this, and Sandra sees that it’s taking me too long, takes my phone, and takes over the conversation, sending me into the circle.  Smart move:  I’m already getting pissed at the clerk that I’ll never see.

Procession chords strapped on, and Elisa leads us into the space.  As we walk in and around the space, I have an experience I’ve never had before of actually being able to listen away from my own guitar and hear the resonance of the room.  As a whole, the shimmering and ethereal quality of the Orchestra is beyond anything I’ve ever heard before.

During soundcheck/blocking, I have a very interesting picture of an audience member coming up into the space we’ll be performing in, as we perform.

Procession back out, and just as we leave the space, I look off to my right and see Ieva waiting for me in the hall, and all I can think about, even as I’m concentrating, is getting thirty seconds with her.  Once the circle breaks, I scamper off to see her, get the bridge pins from her, and then have to let her go again as I get the pins to Tom and begin to prepare.

7:00 pm – Quiet time.

7:15 pm – A snafu with the ticketing system has led ticket holders to believe that the performance begins at 7:00 pm, not 8:00 pm; the heavy rain outside makes this unbearable, and I will later find out that at least one person demanded a refund.  Robert comes to the green room and calls for all high flyers to circle up.  My feet immediately bring me to the circle, and even though I’m a little apprehensive, I stick with it.  A group of about 15 or so of us head out to perform as “the opening act”, with Mary Beth leading and Victor directing.  Circulations, some repertoire.  Victor calls THRAK, and counts it off–on the first note, my guitar strap gives out, and I play the entire piece with a cocked leg to support the guitar.  Sounds good, though.  A “when ready, begin“, and Where is the Nurse? to carry us out.  Back into the green room for 7:45 pm.

Robert gifts a ceremonial pick to each of us shortly before 8:00 pm, advising that these are early prototypes, and are probably not good to play with.  Los Internationales out at 5 of 8:00.  Returning shortly after, and we all head out just around 8:00 pm.

8:00 pm – Long procession around the space, leading to a tight spiral on the dais.  And then, we begin to explore the space and the show proceeds from there.

Exploring the space
Repertoire:  Red, Voices of Ancient Children, Berceuse, Askesis
Whizz formation
Encore:  Schizoid Man
Encore:  Asturias/Whizz/Procession

Several moments stand out, for me.  Several points of interaction during the first improvisation, and then “conducting” the Orchestra to close it out (the first cue was missed, but then the Orchestra all picked up on the second).  Holding the moment afterward, and then letting it go, to very happy applause.

Realizing that I was directly on the outside of the horseshoe, in front of everyone.  Watching someone be very angry at another person during Red.

Playing around with Chris and a few others; Sandra comes whooshing through right as we start to fall asleep.  Finding that I was the tail of a snake that was comprised entirely of women, and deciding to go with it anyway.  That same snake moving into slow, Tai Chi-like movements.

Winking at Ieva during the whizz.

Hearing uproarious applause as we left the space, and finding out that Schizoid Man re-entered the house to a big standing ovation.

Returning for Asturias, and as we approached the twinkle section, and it stretched out, we began to zither procession chords around the circle.  These grew quieter and quieter, until they dropped out entirely, and we began to circulate silence.  And then we whizzed silence.  This went on for a while, longer than I could bear, and then RF began to play the bass line to Asturias to bring it back in again.  Back through Asturias, and then breaking into procession chords.  Procession around the space again.  Twinkles that went on, and on, and then too long, and then it was suddenly obvious that they had to go on that long.  Procession into the green room, amid stunned silence from the audience.  And then an eruption of applause that went on for some time.

An unfisting, afterward.

My guitar in the case, and I go out to meet friends; Becky came out, and she’s incredibly grateful for the performance.  She asks me how we did it, and I realize just how wiped out I am as I answer “I have no idea”.  A quick goodbye, and a chat with Mali, who also came to play security for us.  She is also very happy about the performance.

And then Ieva, who also reports that her father was there, but left shortly afterward.  Later, she’ll report that he liked the show quite a bit.  Having her meet a number of my friends.

Back on the bus at 10:10 pm.  Back to Camp Caravan.

In the cabin, a lot of blowing of energy.  I get a little Mr. Crafty about it as I’m catching up in my journal.  The awful smell of wet cloth handled by a bunch of men doesn’t help it either.

To bed, not long after midnight.

OCG VII – Day 6 – Show #2

Slightly easier to get up this morning.  A lot of comments come up during breakfast.  The whizz of silence is a potent topic of discussion.  Another controversy is the nature of whether or not something was “music”; generally, I notice that there is a certain type that laments the place that tonality did not have in the performance last night.  One of the Seattle team–I think it’s either Bill, Curt, or Jaxie, but it turns out to be Tony–makes a pertinent comment that we may need to leave our preconceptions of what “healing music” is at the door.  Personally, I revel in the fact that tonality simply does not matter in this work, or at least in the form that it is taking.

But everyone seems happy, and everyone acknowledges that the audience seemed to love it.

An announcement from the Travel Coordinator to the whole team, advising everyone to watch the board for later this morning.  Also, as the breakfast team disperses after a two-hour meal, I mention the point of seeing from last night to Sandra; it seems to light her up, which makes the idea even harder to resist.  It is a hazardous idea, but it seems potent.  Really potent.

Prepare the departures list for everyone.  This is a clear sign of the beginning of the end, for me.

Some laundry, with a long wait to put it in the dryer in the main house.  Sort out my suitcase, send a message off to Laura requesting some 35mm film if she has a chance.  I’d like to get some practice in before lunch, but Peter is sleeping, and the weather is total shit.  I’ll have to pick it up after lunch.  Sigh.

2:00 pm – Getting grouchy.  Am a little mystified that people are napping right now.  Tonight’s show will probably be a little tough.  One high mark is that I have my own departure for Monday figured out.

Heading into another middle again.

Piling into the buses at 3:00 pm.

Arrival at Hadley around 4:15ish pm.  A chance to warm up, explore the space.  In the circle at shortly before 5:00 pm for blocking, “soundcheck”.

This is a difficult space:  the acoustics are not good for a large group of any sort.  As a soloist, or even a small chamber ensemble of maybe 5 players, I could see this being a great space.  But as a large ensemble member, I find it impossible to hear anything outside of my immediate vicinity, and even then it gets a little tricky.  And there are certain pockets that totally swallow the sound.  This is not to say that it’s not an attractive looking space.  But that’s sort of the crux of it:  there are a lot of things about this church that say “money” on it, and the feel of the building is like a really big toy, to me.  Fancy, pretty, sterile, and new.  The acoustics reflect that:  I get the feeling that I’m hearing the Orchestra through a plug-in, as opposed to the very real and 3-dimensional sound of the Cambridge venue.

The green room is not one room, but is instead two separate rooms.

Generally feel unsettled and restless, and it seems a bit like the rest of the team feels the same way:  there is more idle chatter than the night before.  Frank has observed that the attention of the team is different, and a bit shakier.  Robert brings this up as a matter of practicality.

Doors open at 7:00 pm; at one point, I find myself talking a bit with a member of MREC.  She asks whether everyone got the kitchen enneagram she’d posted to Facebook, and mentions that she would have been available to give a presentation on this, over the course of the week.  This seems like a bit of a sticky wicket, and I duck out of the conversation pretty quickly, though my own feeling is that it would have been a bad idea, and not just because of my own aversion to jargon (though I do feel the enneagram is important, and I personally want to have a better understanding of it as well).

Performance at 8:00 pm.

Los Internationales
Exploring the Space
Repertoire:  Red, Voices of Ancient Children, Berceuse, Askesis
“Triple Vicious Queen Whizz
Encore:  Schizoid Man
Encore:  Asturias

Overall, it’s a hard show, like I had suspected would be the case.  This is not to say that magic doesn’t happen, and there is an improvised whizz that happens at the end of the second improv that is really quite amazing.  But the show itself is tough to work through.

A couple of moments stand out:

During “Enpodulate”, and shortly before it becomes a whizz, there is a funny moment where there is quite a bit of activity going on behind me, and then I find myself in a quartet of circulation that becomes a twinkly little thing.  Then Bill comes over, and doesn’t play a note, but does introduce movement into the moment.  I am not quite sure if he’s come over to lead or if he’s finding himself drawn to this little pod.  And then it dissolves, and we melt into the whizz formation.

Standing next to Jaxie during the TVQW, and being entirely unable to hear the whizz coming from my right.  Feeling like I’m slowing it down.

The final twinkle/procession of Asturias.  As we proceed out of the space into the other large hall, the procession chords fade out, and a zither comes up the chain from the hall back into the space.  It’s really quite something.

After the performance:  film from Laura’s friend!  Greatly appreciated.

Seeing some intentional pissing of energy, frankly alarming in nature:  one of the members of the Orchestra is helping to grab all of our food and snacks to bring them back onto the bus, and snags a cookie, as do a couple of other people.  I see this, and point out that these are supposed to be for everyone; on hearing this, the first person looks at me with defiant aggression on his face and immediately stuffs two more cookies into his mouth.

Also, seeing Frank run.  Back on the bus.

We arrive back at the house close to midnight, with strict instructions to put our stuff back at our cabins and then immediately come back to the main house.  Here, we find out that, since there is no way to have a team to make sandwiches for everyone, and since half the team will be departing after the final meeting tomorrow, we will each be making our own bag lunch (and dinner if it is appropriate).  A bit of shock and whining from the team, but it’s got to get done.  My hand shoots up when Patrick says he needs help getting stuff brought out for this process.

As I’m making my hommous wrap, I notice people piling it on, with apparently no consideration for the fifteen or twenty other people that still need to finish their own food.  So my own becomes a bit smaller than I had originally intended, and it actually looks just fine.

Some very last minute consternation with last-minute travel changes.  As I finally make it back to my cabin, a text from Curt about one person needing to be on a different bus arrives–I’ll have to leave it for the morning.  Decision work, and to bed around 1:25 am, with the realization that my hands really need a rest after this project.

OCG VII – Day 7 – Show #3

Up at 5:00 am, sitting at 6:00 am.  Hard to rise, and a difficult sitting.

Breakfast at 7:00 am, and changing strings just before.  I know plenty of guitarists that advise against changing strings the day of the gig, but I know what I’m doing, and I have no desire to deal with dead strings that break in the middle of the gig after being played to death by sweaty hands.

The sunlight is incredible, and a marked difference from the rain and fog we’ve been dealing with, the past few days.  I really hope the pictures I’ve been taking will come out.  A comment/compliment from Erin on a picture I took of her at Raft Island, in the quiet after everyone else had departed from OCG II.

A brief silence falls on the group shortly before 8:15 am/point 2.

Loading the buses with guitars and luggage (for the people that will remain behind in NYC), and we’re on the road somewhere around 8:30 am or so, with Frank holding the space at Camp Caravan.  Last day of the course, and the last gig of the tour awaits us.

As we travel, I see that Friday’s performance in Cambridge is a clear example of an ending that becomes a beginning.

Napping for an hour or so, maybe a bit longer.

Noodling around with the enneagram, trying to sketch and puzzle out what I’d been thinking about yesterday while waiting for the meeting that did not happen.

A stretch break around 11:00 am or so.  A bit of camera talk with John, Adrian, and Christina.  I have the opportunity to buy some junk food, but realize I’d have to break the $10 in my pocket, and I take this as a sign, walking away from the vending machine.  Back on the road about 20 minutes later.

2:30ish pm – Arrival at the venue:  St. Mark’s in the Bowery, New York City.

We file in with our guitars, and shortly after everyone is in the space, Sandra leads us in a new exercise that I haven’t seen before, and it’s very effective.  The team feels much more tuned.

The facility is a different ballgame than what we’ve had.  It’s not a huge room, but the sound is beautiful:  more of the “old” sound I prefer.  There is a balcony, but that is supposedly closed off.  The green room/sanctuary is sizeable, but more importantly opens to a private courtyard, which is absolutely gorgeous. With the perfect weather we have, this is a great boon.

Blocking relatively quickly.  We explore the space for a few minutes to get the idea of the sound, and then assume the basic large circle.  This also becomes the form for the whizz; with Robert’s suggestion, it becomes a 4-pole VQ whizz.  A bit more tweaking, and it becomes 4 main poles, with 4 less vicious Queens in between.  This makes the Octatonic Vicious Queen Whizz; the music theory geek in me doesn’t catch this joke (4 majors and 4 minors) until the next day.

Into the green room for personal practice, with quiet time at 3:30 pm.

4:00 pm – Show time.

Los Internationales
Explore the Space/Groups
Repertoire:  Red, Voices of Ancient Children, Berceuse, Askesis
“When Ready, Begin”
Octatonic Vicious Queen Whizz:  “Please whizz until the world becomes the place you wish it to be.”
Eye of the Needle
Encore:  Schizoid Man
Encore:  Asturias

Personal notes:
Again, the ability to listen outside the Orchestra and hear the resonance of the space, hear the air of the notes and the shimmer of the trails.

The improvs have been steadily becoming more concise, but this one ends in full circle formation with quite a lot of whizzing.  The “zipper” is born.  More whizzing of Silence.

Fantastic version of Red.  I’m getting pretty exhausted at this point, and I have to let go and just enjoy the music.  When Askesis comes up, it is damn fast.  I know it’s gotten faster, but I’m thinking I’ve just been getting tired, which is why I’m having to ghost some notes so that I can keep up.  Turns out I’m not the only one; several of my circle mates agree, later on, that it was running at least 100 bpm, so it’s a combination of both.

During “When Ready, Begin”, there is a fantastically chaotic moment of interaction between two groups.  I pull out just as it’s starting to gel, and nod to Chris to come with me, as we’re both not terribly involved.  We play “catch”, and at one point I gesture to him to “go long”.  Greg joins us after a bit, and we toss it around for a while.  Someone else joins us–Keith, maybe?–and I eventually lead the little group back into the main action, as I’m starting to become aware that it’s going on too long.  A funny moment:  I try and lead us into the thick of the action and come out the other side, but they apparently  don’t get the message, or head off to do something else, so I find myself on the other side with no attachments.  Funny.

Standing next to Andrea for the OVQW.  This is one of the most incredible whizzes I’ve been part of; there is a moment where we’re thinking as one unit, and it’s shooting around the circle faster than Jaxie can send it, and she starts to flag a bit (or so it seems), and then it suddenly begins to pick up again, like it needed a breath.  Then, she stops it, grabs it, and throws it into the air.

Eye of the Needle.  A very loud “Whoop!” from someone as the last note is echoing, and not well timed. [Ed. Note:  I later find out this is an old-time Crafty, who had been banned from courses several years before.]

A silent procession out.  I am doing my best to not cut corners.

Loud applause as we finally pull out of the room.  Schizoid Man returns, and I can just hear it from the green room.  More applause, and then we head back out.

Asturias, all the way through.  Zithering procession chords around.  Procession back out, with procession chords.  More thunderous applause on our exit.

An unfisting in the room.  The last gig is complete.

Out to the venue, to poke around, get a couple of pictures, and maybe talk to some people.  I recognize Carl’s sister from Facebook, meet Peter’s son, and have a longish conversation with a very nice Krimhead and his son, and a full-on prog casualty.

Cleaning up our stuff in the green room to make room for 68 chairs; Hideyo M. was in the audience, and is sitting in on our final meeting.

Immediately before the meeting begins, Chris asks me if this course has felt experientially long to me, and it hits me that I feel like I’ve been gone from the normal world for a year or two.

Sandra mentions a dissolution of self she experienced while looking at this church several years ago, before she had anything to do with this church.  Martin talks about how this project has been an affirmation of work he’s been taking on for over 25 years.  Chris gives an observation, and is challenged by Robert to make it more concise.  I am formulating my own comments, when it becomes apparent that I won’t be able to give them.  A bit of ego-killing for me, but my thought that “I need to be a more reliable leader” is powerful enough that I have it for myself.

Final remarks from Robert, and from Dev.  There is an OCG tour on the West Coast, focused around Seattle next year.  And the first official mention of a possible long course.

Rushed goodbyes.  Problems with the departure list.

A few final photos, and onto the bus.  All those remaining in NYC wave Tom and Robert goodbye, and we do the same from our bus.  I’m not quite as lumpy-throated as I was last year after the course, but it’s always a little sad.  After all, this is my family, and we are all one.

On the bus, we tear into the food we have available to us.  Lots of discussion.  Some great.  Some not so great.

A longish conversation with Patricia.  I was not aware of her connection to Victor from the early years, or of her participation at Red Lion House, or of the fact that she was connected to this work before Guitar Craft existed.  It’s a little amazing to speak to one of my very favorite singers, and realize that she has the same life issues that anyone else has.  It’s also somewhat gratifying to talk to someone that’s been involved as long as she has and find that she has some of the same issues with the language that I do.

Lots of differing opinions on what the shows were all like.  For me, as a whole, they were entirely their own process, almost separate from the rest of the course.  They also had an element of just how important the aspect of architecture is to a space; the first and last shows had a more attractive sounding space, while the middle show had a very modern and sterile-sounding space.  Needless to say, there is a bit of division on “pro-Hadley” and “not-so-pro-Hadley” among the group on the bus.

Chris reveals yet again just how funny he is.

When we arrive back at Camp Caravan around 11:45 pm at night, we get our stuff put back, and then return to the main house for a meal prepared for us by Frank.  Truly, if love exists on this planet, you will find it among these people, I promise you.

Some conversation, including discussion of the 2014 OCG tour, and some extra dessert, and then off to my cabin.  Some packing going on, and a full-cabin portrait for Jon, and then off to bed.

OCG VII – Day 7+1 – Post-Tour

Monday morning is a bit of a rough starter.  Difficult to rise.  A difficult sitting at 7:00 am, even though it is blessedly in the Conservatory in the main house; I know there is probably 5-7 minutes that are gone to the world of bodily sleep.  As far as I can tell, my body has just decided that the tour is over, so it can let go, now.

Breakfast at 8:00 am, with french toast (!) and lemon ginger honey butter (!!!).  Placemats at the table are tour posters.  The weather is absolutely beautiful, as it should always be in the spring.

A goodbye to some of the crew at 8:45ish am –it’s amazing how the quality of joy infuses these goodbyes.  Some of these people I may not see again for a very long time, but how could I be anything other than joyful at having seen them again?

Logistics meeting at 9:00 am.  Off to clean up the tent area, take care of chairs, and begin to address the Cabin That Smells Like Man and Wet Towel.  Back to the main house at 10:00 am for a check-in, and then showering, finishing packing, and fully cleaning the cabin.  Camp Caravan restoration is declared essentially completed a little before noon.

Sending off the last vans around 12:30 pm, with a bit of disagreement between Dev and I, but this is beside the point, and mostly just because I’m not bothering to raise my voice like I need to.  With this departure, my duties as Travel Coordinator have officially completed.

Alex is still loading up a couple of bits and bobs, and has been an exemplary house manager for this project.  Not that I expected less.  Waving goodbye to the outhouses for the dorm.

In John’s van with Diego and Adrian, and setting off around 1:20ish pm, following last farewells to the remaining team.  A bit of fuzziness with the GPS.  We stop to get some gas, and then again at a convenience store to get some post-course munchies.  I get a very strong feeling of “putting something in the bank”, and I stay satisfied with some lemon tea and a couple of small chocolates.  The bad music in the store is jarring.

Back in the van.  Reviewing the 60 Points with Diego, at his request.  Some idle conversation, and some snoozing on my own part.  Around maybe 2:45 pm, we arrive at Harvard Square, and let Diego back out into the world.  A quick stretch of legs, and then back in the van, helping John to navigate to my place in Jamaica Plain.  A bit of personal pride as I point out key spots on our way, especially passing by my old work neighborhood at Berklee.

Arriving at my apartment around 3:30ish pm, and unloading.  John gives me the chance to try out his Beaudoux GC Pro, which is an opportunity I’ve been looking forward to for years.  A little bummed out by the lack of resonance, though later on I’ll find out that the strings were close to two months old, and we were outside as well; different conditions would certainly yield better results.  Fantastic neck.

John and Adrian depart a few minutes later, and one of my room mates arrives just as I’m getting the last of my stuff inside.  I’ve also been texting back and forth with Ieva since noon, and now she’s on her way.

In for a quick shower, and out of the shower to find her sitting in my room.  Hurrah!

Out the door to go for a walk, which takes us very far out of the way to Brookline (stopping by the Russian grocery store).  On the T, and up into Boston for dinner at Vlora.  Back to JP to Ieva’s house (my first time there), so that she can do some work.  That work doesn’t happen, so back to my place.  Turning in around midnight.

Day 7+2 – Post-Tour

In the morning, a late rise for both of us.  Idle conversation and breakfast.  We missed each other.

In need of something to do, so to the Arboretum.  Lying under a tree for the better part of an hour–typical young-couple stuff.  Plenty more walking around; to the T, and up to the North End for coffee, tiramisu, and the ocean.

Another night of “I’m not going to get any work done”, but we need dinner.  Back to JP and the grocery store; hommous, homefries, falafel, and pitas are constructed.  Beers are consumed.

To bed.

In the morning again.  Still another day off.  Bagels, coffee, and more hommous.  Plus a bit of Martin’s chocolate.  Ieva takes off to finally address some necessary music work around 1:00 pm.  I lollygag around for a bit, and spent part of the day just catching up.  Begin to digitize the journals.  Take a short nap.  Back awake, and more writing.

Squaring away various stuff.  Dealing with post-course whiplash.

Salad for dinner.  Writing in the paper journal to catch up on the journal as a whole, which brings this entire project up to date around 9:00 pm on 5/29/2013.

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