Wednesday, September 22, 2010
September's Words & Music: Lana Hechtman Ayers and David Wilcox
As beautiful rain drummed its change-of-season song last Friday, I let myself fall through the day's misty veil into a magical night of Words & Music at Pam and Jerry's. Two delightfully-slightly-demented storytellers, poet-author-editor Lana Hechtman Ayers and singer-songwriter David Wilcox, were our guides through the storm's inner-space, there at the "Farthest Shore."
Lana told me she was nervous before her reading, but her amber eyes glowed warm with stories of the Wolf, her peacock blue top radiated cool as a wrapping for stories of Red Riding Hood, her shiny black curls telling sweet, wild stories of their own. I liked her immediately.
"You can't find yourself without first getting lost."
Lana Hechtman Ayers is author of "What Big Teeth. Red Riding Hood's Real Life" and "A New Red. A Fairy Tale For Grown-Ups" among other works. The red-caped woman as her Muse, Lana's poems are first and foremost, fabulous, witty fun. She read to us in a humble voice, still tinged with an east coast accent, a lovely cadence in sweet little inside rhymes like, "...neither could you conceive her..." Her flow was joyful in its freedom and her rhythm carried us all. As you know though, her story begins in the dark, the woman is made a mark and sent into the woods with her own longing. Lana took us all with her, safely through this very entertaining, stepped-up version of the hip-to-herself Lady in Red. Her humour was deep, her understanding of a journey to Self deeper still. I came home with a signed copy of "What Big Teeth" and can't wait to add "A New Red" to my collection. Check Lana out at http://lanaayers.com/
Now I would say, David Wilcox dances with all the many spirits that are in his songs. They speak to him, whether on the set list or not...and all have delightful conversations, we the audience only privy to his side and his delight! He smiles and giggles like a wee boy with a secret toadie in his pocket. He does, in fact, look like a forever-innocent one when he performs, with his t-shirt, jeans, and an indestructible guitar. It was a beast, bright-sounding, black textured non-wood something, a guitar strangely beautiful and different.
David began with a bouncing blues groove to serve up some serious words about the BP oil-spill, called "Crude Greed" which made the whole audience (and it was Standing Room Only folks!) wanna dance and shout. There is a video of this song on his website. By his second song I was smiling at his wordsmithing over the fire of melody. By song three, my eyes were closed and he was singing just for me. "Charlie Parker's Swan-Song" was sweet and beautiful; one note held forever...and then softly changed on that same breath. Ooh yeah. I understood then what my friend Faye had said about playing his CD's and having him sing to her in her kitchen every day. Faye is a long-time fan and was a lot of fun to sit with as she told me stories between songs.
David closed his eyes and smiled as he finger-picked the intros to his songs; that smile that says, I LOVE what I do...as if he saw the original story play in his mind each time.
"You will always have what you gave to love."
For the second time in this series I heard the song "Let Them In Peter" and this time it was by the songwriter himself. The spirits of thousands of soldiers lost in this first decade of the 21st. century spilled their tears outside the windows. Hard rain gave David accompaniment. Inside her element, Tweed danced, drew and rubbed what she heard onto her paper. Inside the dark and stormy night the audience laughed, teared-up, clapped and sang along with songs long familiar.
From my reserved gallery-seating (sweet!) I could often look into the black mirrors of windows and watch Pam in the very back of the kitchen, swaying to the music, or listening with her head leaning to one side. At one point I didn't see her silhouette, and it was then I felt her come behind me as she often does, and lean into me with her hands on my shoulders. She curved to come 'round my left side and whispered, "Doesn't he have a wonderful voice." We both smiled because there was no question. Friday was a wonderful night in Vaughn. We were taken somewhere in the woods, whether we were Wolf or Red Riding Hood. If you were to ask me, I would say that the sweetest magic of the night was to see such intimate joy beaming on the faces of our loving hosts.