A moment, with rain. Cue Music: “Story From A Stranger”, by Pat Metheny. I’m home… it’s raining. My cat is curled up by my side, next to the laptop on my desk. Very different then the day that was supposed to be. But, we all know (or should) – that change is the way.
I’m gonna keep this short, because I’ve enough to do with emails, etc – and an unexpected free day.
I was supposed to get on an 8:30 am train to NYC this morning, to do a performance called “Available Space”. This show is up all this week (expect thursday) at 12:30, and next week (sat-sun-mon) at 8 pm. Choreographed by Ofelia Loret de Mola, it is a fantastic conglomeration of dance, live music, spoken word, and more. It’s a little hard to describe; check out the Danscores website for more info. We spent about a month making the music, after the original musicians had to cancel last minute.
It gets more complicated….
This is about the spider web – the “web of connections”, remarkable and otherwise, in which we are all entangled to some degree. The amount of connections that have shown up in my life recently borders on staggering. I’m still reeling a little from the last few weeks of people coming together, people from radically different points/times of my life, some of whom are connected in other surprising ways. It spirals around and around, a veritable vortex of people and events. Perhaps I should assemble a time line, to track just how convoluted and interesting this has become. I ‘ll work on that. But for now….
The “Available Space” performance is all consuming; it’s long hours, but great work; no money, but great satisfaction and “visibility”. In addition, when I got the call I was busy with another project. The opportunity arose for Nita Rae, my wonderful wife, to write the music (I was asked for punk/alternative – something Nita does quite naturally, have played in the NY scene for years prior to when we first met in 1985). She would write the music, and I would put the band together to perform it live with the dancers.
Even with the lack of pay, the opportunity was a good one, for both of us. It’s a well publicized event, covered by the NY Times, Village Voice, etc. Cool. I called our old friend and guitarist Jesse Martin, whom I used to jam with all the freakin’ time and whom I have not played with in years at this point, to play guitar. Our drummer is Emily Willis, the 21 year old daughter of Mary Stark, who also has a daughter named Sharon – one of my daughter Rebecca’s best friends.
This is where it starts to get interesting…. because Sharon (and her twin brother Michael) went to a school run by Barbara Sarbin, the wife of my long long longtime former bass player, Conrad De La Cruz (from my first and longest running band, “A. Animal”).
From here it begins to spiral out of control. Available Space is part of a festival called “Celebrate Mexico Now“. It so happens that the director of this festival is someone else I used to know – Claudia Nicolau, the wife of Carlo Nicolau, an incredible violinist and composer I used to hang out with 12 years ago – and haven’t seen in at least a decade. She showed up yesterday to see if the Neil Alexander in the program was the person she used to know.
Why are all these things coming together now?
Why ask why?
At a recent dinner at Mary’s house, with Nita, myself, Conrad and Barbara, a spider began building a web on my head (we were eating outside). Mary referenced this to an animal totem, and found this quote:
Spiders are very delicate creatures that play an important role in the myths and lore of many peoples as the teacher of balance between the past and future, the physical and spiritual. To the Native Americans, Spider is Grandmother, the link to the past and future. In India it’s associated with Maya, the weaver of illusions.
With its gentle strength, Spider spins together the threads of life with intricate webs. Spider knows that the past affects the future and vise versa. It calls us to make use of our creativity and weave our dreams into our destiny.
For many Native Americans, “spider woman” stories are important creation mythologies. One of the common feature of those are wisdom symbolized with spiders’ webs (for example, she taught the human how to weave). Also generally accepted are the ideas that her “thread” connects the human world and the world of spirits or the “above world” and the “below world”. Spider Woman also weaves the “relationship” of the Web of Life and all beings.
“In the beginning, there was the dark purple light at the dawn of being. Spider Woman spun a line to form the east, west, north, and south. Breath entered man at the time of the yellow light. At the time of the red light, man proudly faced his creator. Spider Woman used the clay of the earth, red, yellow, white, and black, to create people. To each she attached a thread of her web which came from the doorway at the top of her head. This thread was the gift of creative wisdom. Three times she sent a great flood to destroy those who had forgotten the gift of her thread. Those who remembered floated to the new world and climbed to safety through the Sipapu Pole the womb of Mother Earth.”
Perhaps related, or perhaps not, I am going to take a moment to commemorate the 20th anniversary of my father’s death. I get the feeling he’s had a hand in all this, or is at least enjoying it. I miss you, dad. I’d like to think you’d be proud of me.
Love ya all –