043 Handbag Poetry Night

But I think I stopped writing poetry as much just because when I would come back to it, I was like, what was I even trying to say?  It was just too vague.  It was too vague to get the meaning later.

Well hopefully it’s like protecting itself from getting burned.  If it weren’t so vague, you wouldn’t be able to stand it, maybe, you know?  That’s why I wrote that way, why I still write that way.

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This week on a special Handbag Hangout Poetry night, I’ve rounded up Amber, Diana, Sara, Maria, and Genevieve to read poetry with me.  Our friendship was cultivated while writing poetry and furiously journaling in high school in the late 90’s, which bound us tightly as very close friends over the past 20 years.  Since becoming adults, we have made a point to meet monthly (to reinforce and celebrate our identities before we became partners, spouses, mothers, or professional people), which came to be known as Handbag Hangouts as a dirty joke over beers.  Since COVID-19, we’ve upped our Handbags to a weekly Zoom meeting to dish out our love and support for each other.  (Please do forgive the quality of the recording since we weren’t able to meet in person.)

Order of poems:

Angelica: Title redacted a poem about restlessness found in an old journal (Feb 8, 2001)

Genevieve: “What is Never Lost” by Cynthia MacDonald from I Can’t Remember (1997)

Maria: “A Callarse/Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda.  English translation and in the original Spanish (1958)

We mentioned “the great pause” and referenced the incredible article, “Prepare For the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Amber: “Sensation” by Arthur Rimbaud. French and English (March 1890)

Diana: “I’m Nobody, Who are You?” by Emily Dickenson from Poems, Series 2 (1891).

Sara: A saying probably by Lao Tzu (?) from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Angelica: “As Far as Masks Go,” a poem about COVID-19 (April 20, 2020)

Amber: Rhyming Poem, a poem about haircuts or a hangover maybe (2001)

Sara: “We shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want” from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Genevieve: “If” a poem about being a therapist, in a series she wrote called Termination Poems (December 2019)

Diana: Two nature poems from a journal while being a summer camp counselor at Camp  Arrowhead (June 14, 2003)

Angelica: “Friendliness is Not the Car Ride it Once Was” in my portfolio used to apply for landscape architecture grad school (April 3, 2000)

Angelica: “Song of 3 Days Sad” A poem repeating the phrase Techno Glazes/Inspiration (July 14, 2000)

042: The Collager in Quarantine: Matt Norton

So it’s not just total freedom on the machine’s part.  You’re kind of giving it stipulations to work with it.  And that like gets my brain buzzing.

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That’s Matt Norton.  My sweet husband sat down with me again for a quarantine special to explain modular synthesizers to me.  We want to de-mystify modular synths to inspire our friends out there to use this time at home to get creative.  We also want to look at the positive sides of being in quarantine, because it’s incredibly overwhelming otherwise.  We hope you guys are staying healthy and safe, or are resting if you need to recover from being sick.  We love you.

We talked about synthesizers like Minimoog, Mellotron, Arp Odyessy, and Op-1 by Teenage Engineering.  We also mentioned the loving and supportive Sobriety and Synthesizers Facebook Group.

We also brought up Wonderful, which is a podcast by Griffin and Rachel McElroy (also in Austin, TX), one of my favorites, found on Max Fun.

The song used in the intro and outro of this episode is by Matt Norton as Berm and Swale.  He’s on Facebook and Instagram.  The song he was working on at the time of the episode, “Packing West,” can be found here:

041 Bark Eater: Neal Stilley

I mean I consider myself an experimental archeologist and a Master Naturalist. For the East Texas chapter of the Master Naturalists, I teach the archeology portion of their program, and it includes a lot of the stuff I showed you today – I show them.  Just to give them an idea what, you know, people, did as the real naturalists – I mean, the original naturalists, I should say.

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That’s Neal Stilley.  Friction-fire starter, atlatl thrower, tool-maker, Vietnam vet, and student of nature – Neal loves to share his incredibly extensive knowledge of primitive technologies to bring a connective tissue to how people lived in a simpler time.  He brought his collection of hand-made tools and scat display boxes over to my house to bring life to his stories, which he uses in his outreach classes.  If you catch him at any of his east Texas courses this spring, kick off your shoes and get ready to touch some bones.

The primitive tools he brought by are atlatls, rabbit stick, starting friction fires.  We listened to soundscapes he captured of frogs, toads, and crickets from the 80s and 90s as self-made white noise.  He’s really excited to share the Shumla Notch Friction Fire boards, which he rediscovered from research of the Lower Pecos People.  It’s a fire board with a notch on the side, instead of on the bottom.  Volunteer Archeological Steward for the Texas Historical Commission and their outreach educational Programs.

Click for more on the Archeolympics; look up Texas Beyond History for more on prehistoric info, lesson plans, and Dr. Dirt.

Neal will have classes at Primitive Awakening Wilderness School and Caddo Mounds Historical Site coming up soon, so check back on both websites for dates.

040 Ambassador of String: Gretchen Du Prè

Angelica, it is why I do what I do.  I love this city.  I love Austin, and that’s honestly my career goal, is to make Austin beautiful, though public art, through landscape design, through public projects if I can be involved.

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That’s Gretchen Du Prè.  Fiber artist, landscape designer, musician slash singer, mother, and beautifier.  Gretchen’s own string theory is: if there’s a way to knit it, play it, draw it, or sew it, she wants to get her hands on it.  If you see her around town and compliment something she made – watch out, you might be wearing it home.

Public Art:

She and Austin Outdoor Design had a entry in the recent Fortlandia, called Hamaca de los Flores, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

She also had a project in Creek Show, a temporary light installation over Waller Creek in Austin.

Music:

Singer and musician for the band, Honey Punch, for 10 years, a daytime fun band.  The intro was “Anarchy in the UK” ; the mid-episode sample was “Being Mir Best Du Schon”, and the outro was “Fallen for You.”  Follow them on Instagram and check out their website for shows and delights!

 

 

 

039 Word Alchemist: Ryan Dilbert

I started thinking about why I like it so much.  And then I thought, you know, it’s storytelling; I love stories.  Especially strange stories.  And pro wrestling is just a series of strange stories that are acted out in the moment…and some things are improvised and there’s a little bit of chaos because someone broke their nose.  Like, go with it. So it’s just a very weird world; it’s very easy to write about.

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That’s Ryan Dilbert.  As a creative writing teacher of 4th graders, he lovingly shapes young writers by utilizing all the other facets of his life: as a father of two young girls, husband to Julie, published author, pro wrestling journalist for Bleacher Report, stand-up comedian and performer, and tattoo artist and illustrator.  In his summers off, he’s hungry to do more, like developing screenplays, writing another novel, and trying his hand at graphic novel.

Ryan grew up in Cayman (we used the local inflection – in the States it’s often referred to as the Cayman Islands) before moving to Houston for high school.  We met in sophomore year and became student directors of a performance poetry group, Playwrights and Players, for our senior year.  Because our friendship included writing and editing together in this formative time, Ryan helped shape my own creative expression.  His biracial identity is something he has struggled to explore in his writing, and feels more comfortable creating his own worlds where he can confirm the validity of the character’s experiences.

You can find more of Ryan’s work at www.ryandilbert.com and his Twitter @ryandilbert.  This includes his novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press) which was published in 2011; the cover and visuals were illustrated by Shawn Callahan.  His website has links to his pro wrestling columns at Bleacher Report as well as to literary journals of his flash/nano fiction and prose.  He mentioned an article where he took his daughter, Lucy, to WWE Raw after sharing tweets of her experience.  And he participated in Austin’s Funniest Person Contest in 2008.

Ryan’s daughter, Lucy, age 6, sat down for a short interview at the end of the episode.

Shameless plug: His upcoming chapbook with a collection of flash fiction about pro wrestling, called Mat Burns, is set to come out in Spring 2020.

We mentioned Ira Glass’s concept of The Gap – when our taste develop more quickly than our craft.  Here’s a delightful video with his quote.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

Hey Crafties!  What is the term for a juicy quote that is pulled from an interview?  Like the kind of quote that I pull for the intro teaser, or that he uses to shape his wrestling columns.  Ryan and I both use this and calling it a “money shot” feels wrong)!

038 Heart and Handmaker: Jen Grudza

I think it’s a reminder to spend time with myself and do something that makes me happy and gives me joy.  It’s like my separate space where I don’t have talk to anybody, I don’t have to be on like I am at my job.  Because it’s the guest room; my dog hangs out on the bed, and the sun is very beautiful comes through my room. I think it’s just my check out space where I just dive in.  My hands have to be busy; I can’t not be busy…

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That’s Jen Grudza.  Project Coordinator for Moontower, quilter, bag-maker, dog parent to Mr. Winston, and wife.  She is my new crafty inspiration and muse.  I’m drawn to her because I relate to her need to make soft or yummy things to give away, like hugs.  Recently she has been exploring a functional style with durable materials like canvas, leather, and cork, and upcycling old jeans.  Her beautiful handmade items involve slicing intricate patterns and following complicated directions – that I’m anxious to get a lesson on now that I bought my first paper-piecing quilt pattern.

Names mentioned in the episode:

Niku Arabai taught a quilt class at Stitch Lab

Jen made Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl Quilt Pattern and took it to Gina Pina at Canopy to quilt it.

Chawnie Kimber teaches math in the NE; Jen took her class through the Quilt Guild and is inspired by her tiny mathematical pieces

Flash tattoo at Quiltcon by Stacy Martin Smith in Austin.

Some links of things mentioned in the episode:

Helm boot for outer wax, Tandy leather + photo of waxed canvas bag

Paper piecing – there are two kinds: english and foundation; The example she brought in is of a tattoo quilt pattern

Labels for handmade works by Wunderlabel

Carolyn Friedlander fabric with architecture and botanical designs – I already made my Christmas wish list of her re-released lines

Quiltcon is coming to Austin Feb 20 – 23, 2020

Hawthorne Threads – environmentally friendly fabric printing

**Note: Gunner was mentioned in the episode and as passed away just before the episode posted.  My heart goes out to his family and friends.**

037 Manic Maker at Testify: Angelica Norton

And what I learned was: anytime my hands were busy, I could think the thoughts I needed to think instead of having my smartphone dictate what I should think and feel.

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For my birthday today, I recorded a quick episode of the story I performed on the stage at Spiderhouse Ballroom on Thursday, October 24th for Testify (a monthly storytelling group in Austin) for October’s theme, Craft.  My story I recorded tonight (which is better audio than I captured on my camera) is about this podcast, so if you want a 16 minute sampler of what Chatty Crafties is all about, have a listen.

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036 Schizophrenic Straddler: Chad Raines

I think arranging in pop music is like so underrated.  I think that’s the whole reason why people like pop music; there’s not like lots interesting chord changes or melodies happening–-it’s all about production, which, production is arranging. and it’s just all about the choices of tones and instruments you make and creating an atmosphere that gives you a feeling.

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That’s Chad Raines, sometimes known as Rad Chains, but it depends if you find him on the divine stage or in real life.  His artistic lens is aimed at the juxtaposition between giving a rough edge to the prestigious and elevating the overlooked.  He swings between between musical theatre to performing in spandex with his band The Simple Pleasure.  He arranged and played the music to my wedding, and even more importantly to Matt and me, he made the “Egyptian Lover” music video of our friend Basil Malaty.  Having something so precious to look at when my friend was no longer around eventually lead to me to creating this podcast, so I can give stage to the essence of people I hold dear for posterity.

You can find more on Chad at www.chadraines.com, at www.thesimplepleasure.com, the Rad Chains Soundcloud page, and The Simple Pleasure Bandcamp page.

The intro of the episode is “Another Active Shooter,” we sample “Girls and Guys Sometimes,  and the outro is “Labor of Love ” by The Simple Pleasure.

Here’s Tom Cherry’s “Boogieman of My Dreams” and Donzi’s World, which have big Tim and Eric Awesome Show vibes way before that was a thing.

Shameless Plug: Chad’s new (Untitled) record with The Simple Pleasure, which should be out by Oct. 14th.

Here’s a couple of The Simple Pleasure’s music videos, “Young Professionals” and “A Need to Know Basis.”

Here’s the “Egyptian Lover” video featuring our friend Basil Malaty (1981 – 2004), shot and produced by Chad Raines in collaboration with Matt Norton around 2001/2002 in Austin, TX.

035 Magnificent Memorizing Maniac: Eloise Norton

I want to try acting for the rest of my life so I can become one of those actors that are really good.  I want to just keep on acting until I feel like, you know what, too much!  I don’t feel like I’m enjoying this anymore; I’m just doing this for fame and money, not for my enjoyment.

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That’s Eloise.  Child actor, big sister, and my incredible daughter with a memory like a steel trap.  She spent the summer working on her first professional play with Different Stages Theatre Company in Austin, Texas.  I wanted to capture her pure connection to playing characters when playing pretend was still an instinct instead of a distant, adult memory.

A question to our listeners: What should we do with the memorabilia from her performances?  Does anyone have a scrapbook they’ve done to give us ideas on how to showcase all of her programs, thank you notes, etc?  Tag me @chattycrafties on Instagram and Twitter!


Some names we mentioned during the podcast: Clayton Stromberger is the On-campus Coordinator of the Shakespeare at Winedale Outreach program.  Mr. Park is Eloise’s AMAZING 3rd grade teacher (what up, Mr. P!)  A Doll’s House (by Henrik Ibsen) was a Different Stages production, directed by Norman Blumensadt.  Kelsey Smith (Episode 31) told us about the audition for child actors.  Catie Williams (@catieelaine) played Nora Helmer, and was mentioned during the “dah doo” vocal exercises.  Emily Villarreal (@thatsmissemily) played Kristine Linde and showed Eloise tongue twisters.

PRESS:

Different Stages’ A DOLL’S HOUSE is an Excellent Rendering of the Ibsen Classic by Broadway World: “An unexpected highlight of the production is the performances of Eloise Norton and Anuart Zarate as the Helmer children. Commendably, these young actors pick up cues quickly and play their roles with enthusiasm.” (June 27, 2019) by Lacey Cannon Gonzales

Review: A Doll’s House by Different Stages by CTX Live Theatre (July 2, 2019) by Michael Meigs

034 Collaborating Elaborator: Graham Davidson

And that was the first time I started to realize that from a creative process standpoint, I really love getting teamed up with other people and their ideas and helping them see how great their idea can actually become and sort of take it beyond what they had even envisioned.

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That’s Graham.  As a musician and sound engineer, then as a producer of film and television, and now as general contractor and home builder, Graham has taken the puzzle pieces, flipped them over, and made sense of the big picture in order to tell the story.  He is also an occasional visual artist (if the occasion was to propose marriage to Amanda, who was my guest in episode 26) and woodworker if a project tells him it needs to be made.  He finds the creative process of collaborating most rewarding, and spends his down time from building houses with his wife and their three kids, oftentimes playing board games like Dog.

To learn more on Graham and Amanda’s Austin-based home-building company, Curate, go to www.curate.com.  You can also scope out his film and TV projects as a producer and sometimes director, including the award-winning independent films Chalk and The Aviatrix, A&E’s Shipping Wars, TLC’s Quints by surprise, Discovery Channel’s Texas Car Wars, and TNT’s Marshal Law Texas (with Jerry Bruckheimer).

More links:

Teaching Themselves: The filmmakers, cast, and crew of ‘Chalk’ learned valuable lessons with little in the way of plan or budget – The Austin Chronicle – May 2007

For TLC, With a Little TLC – The Austin Chronicle – Aug. 2007

Graham’s IMDB page

I mentioned in the Weekly Inspiration segment a Facebook group called I’m Like a Rotisserie Shithead, which is an adjacent group to the hilarious “advice show” podcast, My Brother My Brother and Me.