Missou International Composers Festival (in Columbia)

Well, Nolin suggested I check it out, and I got to hear some contemporary classical music on Thursday, including a guy playing on a 7 string electric violin- FYI I’ve got one myself. This guy has even played in New York! It was worth going and I lucked out on a decent parking space, too. Some of the composers were there at the concert, and talked a little bit to the audience.
Talked about different cultures: from the contemporary classical scene in Columbia to the Wentwood Winery to the Belle Fair…
The stage was lit up a cool blue. I hope the photos uploads.
-DanClassical concert in Columbia


Night out at the Wenwood Winery

Well, we artists, (Josh, Nolin, Grace and I), made our way over to the winery some days ago- must have been last Saturday, since that’s when they have bands. It was a really nice night of weather, just like the mild weather we’d been having. Plus, there was Reggy! He’s the adorable little black dog that doesn’t shed. There were so many names this mut had of its varying breeds that I don’t feel any responsibility remembering a single one of them. He was quite cuddly and had all the energy you need as a 12 week old puppy. Oh, and there was music and art there, too.
Actually, it was seriously very good that I finally saw Josh’s paintings at the winery, or finally realized that they were his. He’s got a great one across the width of the length of the little store there where you can buy your little plastic glass of wine for $7.50. Glad I was the DD…
And he had another beautiful large painting on the side inside that building. A good night at the winery…

The Belle Fair

Well, the OAC artists were among the many people at the fair the last few nights, and it looks like I’ll head over to try the circular ride this afternoon. Tractor pull, Rodeo, Demo. Derby, plus shootin’ hoops for a chance for a gargantuan sized stuffed animal, as well as some food was what I took in so far.
As I reflected about what this entertainment is, I realized it consisted of watching: plumes of black smoke come out of a truck, bulls get tortured, people risking bodily harm, destroying vehicles and going on a seemingly dangerous ride. The activities were all about frightening yourself. If that’s what we do for enjoyment, no wonder there are so many possible wars on the horizon, or currently going on.
And besides those, the stuff that wasn’t scary involved spending money in the unlikely event of winning a large useless piece of junk, and eating pure sugar, (at least that was some of the food selection.)
Hope you enjoyed it. Tonight ought to be a nice change: a country music concert, a nice way to end Belle’s fair.

Only one guest at the Art Center this Friday, but she is one who sees all the exhibits.

The last few weeks have been slow at the Art Center, and I expect that’s the norm this time of year. But, the one guest named Kathy who came by, said she tries to see all the exhibits here in Belle. In fact, she was disappointed that her schedule didn’t allow for her to make the opening back in June.
Of course, I stopped by the creamery down the block for what is becoming a favorite: Andes Mint concrete, which means mixing the mints in the cream, as opposed to having them sprinkled on top. But, that wasn’t nearly the end of my eating, as Kathy invited me over for what turned out to be a little diner party, with her husband Lawrence, and three of their friends/family besides me.
They were starting a roofing job when I arrived at their farm, which was supposed to be finished the next day. A friend/family member of theirs named Keith talked farming and more, and I also got a tour of their beautiful farm.
The meal that Kathy and her friend/relative prepared was all from family farm fresh products, except for the rice. And the dressing was put on I believe ‘wilted’ style: pouring it hot onto the lettuce to make it wilt. Then their was white tailed deer, gravy, fresh salad makings, fried zucchini and home made white or cherry wine. Plus, we had an early taste of red wine that is probably two months from being done, Kathy said.
I learned that a huge 300 person family reunion is planned for one of the friends/relatives of Kathy who was there at the diner. This is possible coming from a family of 12 children. There will be name tags, she said.
So, it was certainly a nice surprise evening for me. Thanks Kathy, Lawrence and more!

The River, the Wives and the Work!

We borrowed my mom’s sweet SUV hybrid and took a road trip from Austin, Texas, to the farm outside Belle, Missouri, for a weeklong retreat to further develop an experimental theatre piece, about women living in an isolated polygamist society.

Our farm team:
Jenny Larson, Artistic Director of Salvage Vanguard Theater
Jessica Gilzow, costume designer extraordinaire
Cyndi Williams, writer/actor

Though we are all slash people: director/performer/designer/producer/et cetera.

Driving in crazy rains, we said we must be elemental witches bringing storms as we traveled to conjure in another land! Cruising close to overflowing mountain lakes, wondering if we were bringing floods.

Jenny organized our days at Osage Arts Community: yoga and a walk, breakfast, free time for writing or research or whatever, lunch, composition time (building a theatrical moment following certain rules, incorporating certain ideas), river time, dinner, lolling with an episode of Sister Wives or Big Love.

We stayed in a little river house next to the Gasconade. I could have easily hit the river with a rock from my bedroom window, and I throw like, you know, a girl. The Gasconade is wide and shallow, dark, rocky, and silent, but with a powerful current under its smooth surface. “Does it ever flood?” I asked Mark, our host. The basement had been completely under water. “Is it always so silent?” It never makes a sound till it’s risen up in the trees. securedownload

But it only rained a little the week we were there, so we were never afraid the river would wash us away, just aware of the possibility.

We spent a lot of time by the river, thinking of the flood in our work. We crossed the strong current together. We wished we could bring people to the river to watch a site-specific piece. But since the eventual goal is for this work to live in a theater, we wondered how to put the river onstage. We thought about 12 dripping women, dragged down by long winding wet skirts. securedownload-2

We thought about being witches. Jessica led a ritual in the basement that was once underwater, and she made a volcano and a fireball. Earth, air, fire, water, y’all.

We thought of living in an isolated place, and how you function together as a small community and make do with what you have. We imagined what place we might have in a community like that: First Wife, Slutty Wife, Forgotten Wife.

A lot of work got done. We further developed the story, the rules, the characters, the images and events of this piece.
And we watched some Sister Wives and some Big Love. We ate healthily, (except for frequent incidents involving cheese and that one awesome bacon morning) but we made up for it by drinking lots of wine. We enjoyed a fantastic Greek restaurant in Belle, shopped at the Walmart in Owensville, and watched day turn into night at The Winery. We shared a few communal meals with the other artists in resident, Grace, Josh, Dan and Tim, and our hosts Mark and Tony. IMG_1003

But that river is the thing that keeps flooding my memories. Mark showing us how to cross it, on a diagonal, where the current tugs hardest. Throwing sticks for Murphy the dog. Sitting in the river chairs with your feet in the water, or balancing a plastic glass of wine while you tried to sit on the rocky bottom, buffeted by that crazy quiet current. Waving as boats go by. The eagle, the herons. IMG_0971

Damn I loved sleeping so close to that river; damn I loved standing in its tepid water on sharp little rocks in my new four dollar aqua socks. Written out one day during free time I crossed the river alone, unplanned, in yoga clothes. It started to rain lightly and I stood in the river in the rain, till I realized my writing book on the rocky bank was going to be a big blur of running ink if I lingered.

We got a lot of work done. We want to come back.

-Cyndi Williams


Another concert at the Missouri Botanical Garden

After seeing the video of Big Brother Thunder and the Master Blasters, I just had to get there myself to hear their funk/rock/jazz/blues playing live. This concert had a lot more people dancing for a whole lot more of the time than with last one. And afterward I got to speak with the leader of the band when she was giving away free CDs, and I got one, too. I asked her if she ever had a violinist play with their band, and she said no, but I’d love it! Guess I’ll have to send her a track with me doing some improv, eh?IMG_1248


Catching fireworks on the 5th

The day after was just was full of fireworks by the residence as the 4th. Not sure if it definitely was Jim’s or not, but I was able to catch a few on my camera: I just drew the DSLR of Mark’s as quick as the wild west guys are supposed to draw their pistols, and fired!