The Bellevue the Library was the last stop of our recent King County Library Systems: A Place at the Table tour, where Bushwick performed original music inspired by Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. KBCS 91.3 FM was on hand to record this event and interview the artists. They put together some fun little 10 minute radio segments of each artist and every day this week at 4:20pm they will be broadcasting a new Bushwick segment. Yay! The schedule is posted below. Read more
We can all agree that spending a few hours in the company of good friends, having a couple drinks while chatting about a book you’ve been reading is time well spent. Now throw in the opportunity to meet some new like-minded people all interested in sharing their own bookish adventures (and a few drinks of course!) – you may have yourself a flawless evening. A gathering such as this is what we call in the book business a “literary mixer” and there just so happens to be one coming up next week that I highly recommend you attend. Read more
A big part of my job is to make sure that everyone and their Mom knows about our incredible book inspired events. So I hope that by now you are fully aware that this Friday night, July 12th at the Royal Room The Bushwick Book Club Seattle is presenting original music inspired by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. ( And if you didn’t know about it but do now because you just read the previous sentence – BIG KUDOS to me!) Well, the fine folks over at WonderAndRisk.com (WAR for short) did in fact know what Bushwick was up to and were kind enough to dream up this show preview, uniquely presented in the form of a script for trailer to a fake film entitled Read and Destroy.
[Opening title: Read and Destroy]
[Second title screen: A trailer for a movie based on bands writing songs inspired by books]
[We open on a cramped café in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a shotgun-shack with pressed tin ceilings, colorfully cluttered walls. A band is set up at the far end of the café, playing a song inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions]
[Cut to: Geoff Larson, seated at one of the round tables along the wall. He’s drinking a Budweiser.]
Geoff: Man, Seattle would just eat this alive.
[Cut to: Geoff sitting on a plane.]
Narrator: [V/O] In a world where books are silent, and nobody reads as much as they used to, one man seeks to bridge the gap between book clubs and bands…
You can read how this film plays out it is entirety over on the WAR website. Or to get the full effect of Read and Destroy, you can come to the show on Friday at the Royal Room and experience it for yourself in person.
Check out what Bushwick Seattle musicians are up to, and eat your vegetables!
Saturday, June 29
Tuesday, July 2
Thursday, July 4
Mozo at the Independence Day Parade (“walkin’ in the parade and playin’ in the park after with our good friend Bobcat Bob Rice,” they tell us) in Cannon Beach, Oregon, 7pm.
Have an upcoming show you’d like to include for next time? Let us know about it!
Geoff Larson here. For those of you who don’t know me (and I sincerely hope by now that most of you do) I am the Creator and Program Director for The Bushwick Book Club Seattle. I have some very important news to share.
The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBig is coming up on Wednesday May 15th, 2013!
This is a one-day, online charitable giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations like The Bushwick Book Club Seattle that make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.
Each donation made to the more than 1,400 nonprofit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 will receive a prorated portion of the matching funds (or “stretch”) pool. The amount of the “stretch” depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day.
What does this mean for The Bushwick Book Club Seattle and you?
It means that Bushwick has an amazing opportunity to accept donations that will grow into even larger donations from Seattle Foundation sponsors. We have a great need of funding to continue with our programs planned for this year and beyond. These projects include:
- Live book inspired musical events
- Children’s programming
- In-School song writing workshops focusing on books in our local school’s curriculum
- Songwriting workshops for The Wounded Warriors Project & The Red Badge Project
- Summer School Songwriting Workshops
- Free in studio recording time for our amazing Bushwick artists
- Podcasts of the live events
- The Bushwick Blog
- and so much more…
Please take some time to visit Bushwick’s donation page. We have grand ambitions and your gifts will enable us to continue contributing to our community. Every dollar donated will grow into even more dollars for Bushwick and the Seattle community!!
GiveBIG to Bushwick on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013!!!
Thanks, everyone! Read on!
Recently I was asked what books I would most like to see inspire The Bushwick Book Club Seattle to write and perform some original songs. So in response I began to rather selfishly list all my favorite books I’ve read over the last ten years. The list was long (too long!), but after some careful thought I managed to refine it down to just five books that, in my opinion, would make for tantalizing Bushwick shows and some amazing original songs. Now, I am not sure if the creation of this list will actually lead to an event inspired by one of my picks (it probably won’t, but my fingers are crossed), but It certainly can’t hurt and I’m all about promoting my picks in the name of great entertainment. Here are my five book selections in no particular order.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (non-fiction)
At first, I was interested in a Bushwick show inspired by Roach’s book about sex, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, but as I read I became less and less inclined to hear songs inspired by dog testicle implants and people who ejaculate pigs for a living (fun stuff!). Just the thought of hearing the Bushwick artists sing songs even vaguely about sex-toy research and development left me a tad on the squeamish side. Instead, I’d rather hear songs about the use of human cadavers by doctors practicing face lifts. Although I do question as to exactly why I find this to be less upsetting. Anyhow, the book details what happens to cadavers when they are donated to science. It’s sometimes gruesome and often funny. Roach excels at making light of a serious and perhaps morbid topic. In addition to the aforementioned plastic surgery practice, there are chapters on ammunition testing, medical school classes and bombing victims. I’m not doing a good job selling Roach’s sense of humor, but she has a knack for sarcasm that successfully transfers to the page.
Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline (fiction)
When I heard this book lovingly referred to as Willy Wonka meets the Matrix, I knew I had to read it. The text is dripping with 1980s pop culture and nerd references that I adore. Much of the book reads as a love letter to favorite parts of my childhood including Pac-Man, Duran Duran and John Hughes movies. There are so many references to pull from and Bushwick performers would have a field day drawing inspiration from the text. The main character Wade Watts is a big nerd and spends most of his day plugged into a virtual world called the Oasis because the real world totally sucks and has been ruined by humanity. The creator of the Oasis left clues upon his death throughout the virtual world to lead someone to his vast fortune. Watts and other competitors both good and nefarious race to solve the puzzle and win the fortune. The book is an action adventure treasure hunt ripe with hundreds of nods to pop culture making a feast for the reader.
I am so in love with this book that it is hard for me to describe it. It’s beautiful. It is one of few books that I read very slowly and savored because I didn’t want it to end. I mourned the ending as it approached. The book is avant-garde and not for everyone, but I can’t help daydreaming about the song Tai Shan in particular could write inspired by this masterpiece. I think she would devour it and pen and sing a song that would make the room explode with awesomeness. I’ll leave you with some lines from an Amazon review because it describes it much better than I could.
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration–“when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded.” Italo Calvino’s novel is in one sense a comedy in which the two protagonists, the Reader and the Other Reader, ultimately end up married, having almost finished If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. In another, it is a tragedy, a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: “Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade.” Alas, after 30 or so pages, he discovers that his copy is corrupted, and consists of nothing but the first section, over and over. Returning to the bookshop, he discovers the volume, which he thought was by Calvino, is actually by the Polish writer Bazakbal. Given the choice between the two, he goes for the Pole, as does the Other Reader, Ludmilla. But this copy turns out to be by yet another writer, as does the next, and the next.
Now I don’t want to hear it. Yes, this is a book about sports. I know a lot of you musician and artsy-fartsy types out there don’t like sports, but here is some advice – Go buy yourself a deck of cards and deal with it! This book is incredible. Before I started reading it, I barely watched basketball and I knew next to nothing about the game’s history. My exposure to the NBA consisted solely of a vast appreciation for David Robinson’s arms. The good news is that you don’t actually need to know anything about basketball to enjoy the book because Simmons weaves such entertaining tales in between facts and statistics. I’d love to attend a March Madness themed show where each Bushwick performer would write a song inspired by one chapter in the book (much like Bushwick’s event last February based around Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States). That way all you whiny artsy types (you know who you are) wouldn’t have to read an entire book about professional basketball and I could enjoy odes to Larry Bird and the invention of the 24-second shot clock.
I heard a rumor that Bushwick might be considering a cookbook for an upcoming show. Although less interested in songs devoted to split-pea soup or various uses for anchovies, I became excited about the possibility of songs inspired by one of my favorite TV chefs, Julia Child. Child led an amazing life, first working for the OSS before starting her culinary career later in life. Powell’s book covers both Child’s intriguing life and her delicious recipes as she attempts to learn more about the chef and cook every recipe from the now classic tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. Originally started as a blog, Julie and Julia’s chapters rotate between the trials and tribulations that Powell faces when attempting to cook Child’s recipes including much angst surrounding the killing of a lobster and passages on Child’s life. This pick would serve especially well as a counterpoint to the current Bushwick picks by Michael Pollan as this book would illustrate how food and cooking has changed since Mastering the Art of French Cooking was first published more than 50 years ago.
Well, there you have it. And Since they’re asking, what books have you been yearning to see Bushwick perform original music inspired by? Let’s see your choices!
One thing I love about songwriting is the added challenge of making one’s stories and ideas fit a particular musical meter. It is, I find, difficult enough to express myself clearly in an engaging manner by simply writing prose; when I put a cap on syllables and insist on ending in rhyme, however, the complications multiply—though what flexibility I lose in available words I can sometimes regain with the alluring power of clever wordplay.
Thing is, not everybody tracks words. And among those of us who do, not everyone tracks them the same way. Some people simply love the groove. Some dig cadence and rhyme over narrative continuity; others vice versa. Or (self-indulgent reference warning!), as I bemoaned in my May 2011 Bushwick Book Club Seattle song inspired by Richard Feynman’s memoir “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character:
“One man’s Mona Lisa is another man’s cartoon.”
But, ah, the thrill of pursuit!
A few Book Clubbers and I were doing a program at Academy Schools in Tukwila recently, and I decided to poll my class of high schoolers regarding What Makes an Interesting Song? Disclosing my belief that there is no one magic list, I opened the floor for discussion (and invite it to remain open in the comments section below). Here’s what came back:
- Conveys emotion: words & music
- Memorable (catchy?)
- Good beat/music
And when I shifted the focus to What Makes Interesting Lyrics?:
Damn! I’ve facilitated college-level discussions that didn’t dig that deep or acknowledge in list form that these qualities are ALL important… and ambiguous. One writer’s confident message may come across as unrelatable pushiness to some readers/listeners; one’s honest, original, tangible story wasted as a derivative or forced exercise on another.
That we are a world full of people who connect in so many diverse ways is a beautiful, and occasionally frustrating, reality to me. I am fascinated by the ways that different authors and songwriters choose to share, by the similarities and discrepancies within and between the two processes, and by the incredible range in responses any one work can receive.
So good luck writing that perfect “all-things-to-all-people” song/poem/novel. But keep trying—I do.