June 6, 2015

All One Song, May 30

Michael Czarnecki & Sue Spencer are traveling about the Northeast with this program of poetry, drumming & a slide show, all about the beauty of Nature & our (human) response to it. Tonight’s program took place appropriately enough at the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands, NY, with steward & planter John Abbuhl giving a brief summary of his 50 years of planting trees here. He knows every tree & plant on this 25 acres of what was, millenniums ago, the bottom of the Albany Lake Glacier.

To begin, Sue & Michael handed out, with regrets for the plastic, shakers made from plastic Easter eggs wrapped in electrical tape & filled with seeds, just in case you had any doubts about the hippy nature of the event, for the somewhat reluctant audience to use at will during the performance. Of course the audience was old enough to remember those days, whether we actually did remember or not. Michael's long hair & beard were certainly in character, as was Sue’s embroidered peasant blouse, faded blue jeans, & dirty bare feet. But the pictures were totally 21st century, generated from a laptop computer & projected on a flat screen TV.

The program consisted of poems & anecdotes illustrated with photos of water, cliffs, birds, animals, more water, accompanied by drumming, a thumb piano, uncertain audience shakers, even a rain stick. There were quotes from & references to Joseph Campbell, Black Elk, Gary Snyder & Meister Eckhart, & the poems contained a myriad of owls, eagles, whales, & other critters. At one point Michael stopped to urge us to listen to the silence, but it was drowned out by the whirring of the fan in the ceiling.

Alan Casline was given time at the end to read from his Kerouac-inspired “Normanskill Blues.”

It was a pleasant & relaxing evening that I capped off by driving back into the City of Albany & stopped for a drink at my local bar & watched part of a Mets game.

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