Thursday, July 12, 2001
She''s Baaaaackkk... For a couple years, Nina Kelly was one of the most visible music promoters on the Peninsula but then, about a year ago, she disappeared. Kelly, for those with short memories, was the promoter behind the Grass in the Grove series of bluegrass concerts that were presented first in her home, and then at various small venues around town--which town, we''re not saying. That was part of the problem. Bluegrass music doesn''t have a huge audience and Kelly''s home was the ideal size to accommodate the 25 or 30 people who could be relied upon to attend the concerts.
At first, officials in the unnamed city turned a blind eye to the proceedings, but as the concerts became more successful, the officials took a greater interest--and had a dimmer view--of the concerts. Kelly moved the concerts from her living room to other small venues, primarily the Media Room--which is another story with an unhappy ending, due to its own run-ins with the law. Problems finding appropriate venues, coupled with Kelly''s decision to return to school, ultimately meant the payoffs from concert promoting were not worth the pain.
This week, however, Kelly stumbled over a musical duo, Missy Raines and Jim Hurst, that was too good to ignore. Raines is an award-winning bluegrass bassist, and Hurst is a flat- and finger-picking guitarist who''s toured with Trisha Yearwood and Holly Dunn. Last year, they released Two, an album that weaves traditional bluegrass with some influences that range from a jazzy swing to country pop. It''s pretty cool stuff. No wonder Kelly couldn''t resist bringing them to town for a concert. But, for all the aforementioned problems, we can''t tell you where the concert on Saturday is going to be. You''ll have to call Kelly to get the info: 372-5641.
Dance Master... Next Wednesday is a coming out party (of sorts) for Ric Masten, the venerable Big Sur poet/ humorist/minister/songwriter/artist/philosopher/prostate-cancer warrior. On that day, Masten will be reading from and signing, Let It Be a Dance: Words and One-Liners, a collection of old-and-new poems accompanied by his line drawings. Named Carmel''s poet laureate last year, Masten is probably best known as a spoken-word poet, having made many, many appearances around town--and around the country--performing his deceptively simple verse that conveys some pretty heavy truths about humanity.
In early 1999, Masten was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer and he''s been dropping his pants ever since--both literally (for the treatments) and figuratively. He''s written volumes about his treatments, and both the physical and emotional scars. There is a whole section on his Web site (www.ricmasten.com) that serves as a journal of his treatment, chronicling his emotions just as carefully and candidly as he records PSA counts and dosages of medicine.
Let it Be A Dance was conceived as a way to help raise money for Masten''s treatments. More than 500 people have ordered the hardcover, limited-edition of the book that features introductory remarks by people like Bill Moyers, Ossie Davis and Gus Arriola. The booksigning at the Thunderbird Bookshop on Wednesday (7/18), from 4pm to 6pm, marks the release of the softcover version of the book, published by Carmel Publishing Company. More info: 624-1803.
Local Poets: 911 Last year''s West Coast Championship Poetry Slam featured multiple teams from the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. Altogether 11 teams showed up for the two-day event at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur but only one of those teams was from the local area, a pick-up group from Big Sur. Seemed kind of strange given our area''s literary history, and it looks like it''s going to be even stranger this year. So far, no local teams at all have signed up for the July 21-22 event. But there''s still time...
While the Slam''s creator and promoter, Garland Thompson, says it''s really too late for a team to jump through the necessary hoops to compete for a slot in the National Championship, he will accept "straw teams"--teams that are basically competing for fun and a share of the $2,000 prize money, but not to proceed to the national championship.
Each team needs to have four members, each of whom will need to have at least two original poems prepared for performance. Registration is $90 per team. More info? 644-0908 or email@example.com
--Chuck Thurman (firstname.lastname@example.org)