"new music dressed up like a party,
a social event disguised as art.
on thumbnails above to view full size images
digital photos courtesy of Jack Gould.)
Please come to my: Fake Party!
Imagine what a time youll have... In the walls, under stars, brushing elbows, youve never looked lovelier, dear. We all love art and music and fun and parties where anything goes, and seeing old friends and drawing people close, while others come a bit too near. This one has promise, youve got to come over. Every time we get together, its something to behold. Its all very normal, life is always like this: fantastic, provocative, rare and romantic with free booze and snacks, and some charming little twists.
remember Carol Citrone? She can
always go-go-go. Jeanette Raite
is coming, discussion, percussion. Nels Cline
cant wait to say, hello. Youll find
Geoff Brandin somewhere.
Hell be sounding off in the halls. Erica
Rawlings wants to tell you some things.
Dave Stone spinning out, rumbling walls. Ethan
Holtzman, a musician. Thats something to be today.
Me, Ive been dying to see you and sing. I think everyones
going to play.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
CARLA'S ORIGINAL PLAN, MOST OF WHICH ACTUALLY HAPPENED
This is the basic idea of how the Fake Party was supposed to work. Although there were about 20 of us working on the project (all for free!) for anywhere from 6 weeks to a few days, we still didn't have time to really be ready. We were only allowed a short time to prepare at the Schindler House. We didn't finish setting up all the lights and everything — let alone perform a real rehearsal — before the guests started arriving. The people from the house itself let in way more people than the capacity, making some of what follows impossible to pull off. As people were coming in, I was crouched in the kitchen trying not to be heard while I sang the abstract melodies on cassette tape that ended up being worn by the Tape Coat Guy a little while later. To the wire as they say. On a project where even if everything goes perfectly it's still split-second timing; it's terrific if you even get in the ballpark. What did happen was exciting and great. I'd like to do this again sometime. I wish we could do it at the Schindler House again now that we've had a taste of how it'd work, only it really didn't seem like something the Schindler House ended up appreciating at all. Honestly, for the weeks I prepared the party, they threw up brick wall after brick wall. I'm fairly certain that Rudolph Schindler didn't care much for bricks, himself, but there you have it. No sense of humor at all. I think of various buildings around LA that intrigue me, but without some kind of grant, it's not possible. There have to be free drinks and stuff like at real parties. Also, I need a lighting budget. And I have to pay the people that work. I pulled in every favor I had in the world to do it last time. They were fantastic and punk as hell. Next time they get paid.
7:00 through 7:45: — Guests arrive. The long walkway leading to the house is festively lit by Chinese lanterns (though it won't be dark yet, this will be especially nice when they leave. A large neon arrow points to the door. They approach the house. The porch needs to be warm and inviting. A sign will read, "PLEASE KNOCK." Nels lets them in. The entryway is tiny. If there are a lot of people, he only lets in four or five at a time. Otherwise his voice and other things going on will not carry over. He's lip-synching greetings and salutations. The sound of his voice is coming out of a tape recorder in his pocket or strapped to his head, face, or neck. He's 6' 3." The ceiling height in the doorway is maybe 6 feet. Nels will be wearing platform shoes and tall hair. With excruciating posture but a swell demeanor, his tape recorded voice and moving lips will inform everyone that I (Carla) am running a bit late, gesturing to my voice from the shower where I'm singing (pre-recorded playing on a boom box) happily as I "bathe." He asks them into the next room, where there will be food (real and fake) and drink. The larger main room will be plain but with an appeal as a place to stop and hang for a bit. A stereo is playing some classic party music. My singing is still trailing in a little cuz the bathroom is close by. When he is in this room, Nels' tape recorder will be saying "Have some champagne! You're cup is empty!" or whatever. He'll be trying to fill peoples' glasses with cheap champagne. Back to the door, Nels can be heard letting more guests in with the recorder playing exactly the same prefab greeting.
7:10: Carol Cetrone, a mischievous party gal, begins helping people outside to the performance area. As they mingle in the room with the treats, she kinda appears and pulls one or two through a door, closes the door which triggers an insane and loud sound, but no sooner is one door in the tiny space closed than another door on the other side is opened and Carol nudges them out into the yard in the back where others are enjoying the dusk and glamor and specialness. This takes place in approximately three seconds.
7:10: Outside, the courtyard is decorated with Xmas lights and lanterns. There are picnic blankets laid out on the grass. Accordion player Ethan Holtzman is setting a mood. He's sitting on a bar stool at the corner between Dave and Carol's room (Mr. Schindler's studio) and the middle room (Ms. Schindler's studio). He can roam anywhere he likes. The accordion music starts off being based on — or resembling — regular songs: waltzes or pop, an improvised piece, whatever, but fun, for the most part. It can be approached many ways, but I want it to be somewhat free from the start. During the first fifteen minutes there will be times when something very dark and troubling oozes through, but only for a second before Ethan gets it under control and stifles the urge to drop completely into existential despair . He does not have to look upset. Just the music tells it.
7:25: The straight accordion songs are getting less and less audible. They're being overcome by dark, unnerving, weird (sometimes abstract) accordion that may or may not be festive. He'll be improvising all of this. The music begins to accelerate to erratic surreal. After awhile, Ethan moves through the guests, slowly making his way to the front of the patio.
7:45: The music returns to a more subtle vibe as the accordionist goes through the doors and round the corner. You hear him trail off. Just when he takes off, Bob sets out a small platform in front of Ms. Schindler's studio. The sliding doors to the studio are closed. When Ethan disappears, I jump up on the platform. It's not gonna be very dark yet, so we'll have to come up with something with the lights that still can manage to thrill. I'll be lip-synching and exaggerating my gestures, greeting the guests thanking them for coming and regretting how long it's been since I've seen many of them. Then I'll launch into (lip-synching) the words to old, instrumental pop records hacked together and sounding rough over the PA. The pre-recorded voice is my own. (Carla: The songs ended up being "Lullaby Of Birdland" and "Get Outta Town"). By the time I'm reaching the end of the song section, distant obscure lightening will have begun flashing behind me inside Ms. Schindler's studio. I finish, lip-synching my gratitude for the applause. I will probably be absentmindedly kissing my own long-gloved hands as I do it. I say something about my house guests. "They're in a world of their own. Very lovable.." and I finish my bubbly talk. Any lights that are on me at this time will cut off or fade down immediately. I duck out. Bob removes the platform to the right against the windows.
8:00: Ms. Schindler's studio is still flashing sparsely. The room to my left (Schindler's studio) has been very dark the entire time. No one has even noticed it, but just after I say my last word, lightening strikes visually and sonically (Dave's thunder sheet) from both rooms. At that same moment, someone opens the doors to Ms. Schindler's studio. Nels is behind the door and bellowing thunder from a massive bass drum. Lights flash. A fire's started in the fireplace by Mark. Light dark, light dark, people inside the rooms are hard to make out. A low frequency sound is building all around. The roaring drum rises in intensity, mixing together with the oscillator and the thunder sheet. The room becomes illuminated in gold light. The drum is menacing. This all lasts only about 2 minutes, then Blam! — Nels' room goes dark. Wacky fun, disco lights and Dave playing upbeat music pretty loud on one or two turntables. I might have someone there to take the records and break them when Dave is finished with them, Mark? If he hits a downer song, he rips it off the turntable and puts it right. The records are ridiculously scratched and he switches during songs sometimes. Anything goes. DJ Rinky-Dink. He's having a very good time with record covers flying and just ... music is so ... cool! At the same time, Carol Cetrone is dancing and walking or stopping, tipsy with a beautiful lamp shade on her head that actually looks good on her and with her lovely outfit. She's dressed like you would picture a party guest at Holly Golightly's apartment in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". She has a lot of slow interplay with the walls. The music is swingin' and falling apart only to swing some more...
8:10: Meanwhile, Dave, leaving something with a lot of crazy burlesque stripper horns on the turntable, has switched focus to his oscillators. A low rumble with very little tonality is filling the walls and the floor. He's some kind of vibration freak. As it builds, the record will skip and get drowned out by the hum and eventually faded out. The drum plays a very minimal, subtle, puffy, abstract beat with large random space playing a huge part. People will be encouraged to pass in front of or through this room. The house and grounds will be vibrating slightly, but in the last minutes the excitement sucks into itself. Dave is bringing everything to a more lulling sound. Carol will be slowing down and becoming more introverted, eventually landing in a pose. Hopefully we can have her lying on a 5 or so foot high platform in the window, very carefully lit, occasionally moving, lay down party girl. This is the cue to let go of the pretensions and go into a very focused zone, setting ourselves up to try some stuff and hopefully get to a very intimate musical chemistry. Subtlety will be crucial. Stretch out, shake it off, do whatever you have to do.
8:15: The sound has become uniform in a very low rumble with a few slightly higher overtones (Dave). Lights are introduced into Jeanette Raite's loft patio above the house. She is illuminated by strand after strand of small white Xmas lights which she could trigger by flicking on a power strip, gentle percussive sounds like tiny bells, singing bowls, gongs and other metallic percussion will be played by Jeanette from the loft. The sounds tell a story. They seem to talk. The feeling of the whole event will by this time have transformed into a more atmospheric and introspective feel. The grass will be covered with blankets. The guests will be encouraged (by Mark, Bob, anyone willing) to rest on them or quietly mill about. The soft metal sounds will mix with Dave's oscillator. Nels occasionally plays his bass drum. He and Dave are almost subliminally supporting Jeanette's solo, but with large empty spaces and the wind of a sky that only just then will be getting completely dark.
8:20: I join in, finding an extremely low-key way to do so, while still remaining visible. I want a ladder to sit on. I'm singing for real, no amplification. My costume and makeup are gone, replaced with a simple black outfit. I'm as real as the day is long. I'll be improvising with the percussion and Dave and the sky. I am near the back and the fireplace is burning. It's mournful and unacceptably real. The sun is going lower in the sky.
8:25: Nels joins in on bass recorder, and his bass drum is always an option.
8:30: Something is stirring way at the back of the garden where no one can go, beyond the sunken part of the yard. In between the big paper lanterns hanging over this area comes a shape. It looks like a large, spotted cone with a blue, flashing light on top. You can hear it vaguely as it comes closer making it's way around the weird white light eggs in that part of the yard. It turns out to be a person in a tape recorder coat. Attached to his very long coat are 10 or fifteen small tape players. Most or all of them contain various recordings of my voice, many of them in the same key and basic, mournful style which I'll already be singing in at this time. Geoff Brandon (tape coat guy) has been turning them on and off from the distance since he appeared. He will be becoming more audible as he approaches, improvising carefully with everyone else, volume knobs playing a part. It will take him a few minutes to reach the people and musicians on the patio. By the time Geoff has reached the courtyard, I'm hoping we all have gotten very calm and fine-tuned to each other and the space, etc. Listening and reacting off each other is the goal. Leaving empty space when you hear something that would sound better stripped down will work charms. After the tape coat guy has made his way through and around the guests, I exit the patio area with him, leaving a tape recorder here and there with the audience, giving them a little instructional note at the same time. The percussion, bass recorder and oscillators are left alone with a few scattered tape recorders. Everyone can do what they like, improvising an end to what was the most important part of the night, musically speaking.
8:35: The scene (lights-wise) changes dramatically back to the "fake" vibe. I am back in my gown and returned to my little stage. I say a couple things. I'm lip-synching again, I do one more song. Light, yet expressing a heavy sentiment. Heart-strings, drama, but still breezy. A poignant ballad that says it all about how human we are, acting hard and glamorous and all, when we're really just trying to fan away our farts like everyone else. (I ended up using Kurt Weill's song, "Lost In The Stars.") I'll continue lip-synching with an intimate good-bye, and I'm gone. Someone (Mark?) turns up the party music in the middle room. The guests can hang out and mingle a bit, check out the bathrooms. The front bathroom will have a sign on it marked, "BATHROOM". Erica Rawlings' voice piece is speaking clearly and mechanically about the power and appeal of her own voice. Upon entering the bathroom and closing the door, the setting shifts from anywhere else in the house. The light sources will be only a large, blue, pulsing light and 10 or so mostly fiber optic, light up objects. Very simple and tasteful. Combined with Erica's attractive voice and a faint low hum, I don't think anyone could get lonely here. The back Chase studio will, for the whole evening be kept dark except for the light from the TV set on which will be playing Orson Welles' "F Is For Fake". We'll need a curtain to put in the doorway. I'd like to furnish this room to be reminiscent of a family room, but I don't think the money will be available. Anyway this will obviously be a nice place to stop by.
9:30: Time to go home. Nels'll be roaming around with a "good-night, etc." tape loop.
Bob, Mark, Jeff, Ronny and Rebecca (video), and Jack Gould (photos) should all have outfits that match as much as they can. As close as everyone can get to black tuxedo jackets, black pants and whatever color shirt Mynka chooses.
THE SCHINDLER HOUSE:
Built in 1921-1922 by Modernist master Rudolf M. Schindler, the Schindler House was both architecturally and socially innovative and served as a nexus for artistic creativity for decades. Artists, eccentrics, socialists and musicians largely made up the guests at infamous parties known for unfettered activities of the more decadent ilk. Among its famed residents was renowned artist and sound experimentalist, John Cage.
PEOPLE AND CREW:
Bozulich writer, director, self
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