I try to write daily, to music, to a song, pairing up a poem or a short piece of prose with something visual, a painting or a photograph, creating a love-triangle of music and art and words. It is how my muse works, and it is in that crossroads of artistic expression that I feel most myself, that I feel like a writer, an artist, a lover of music. I can’t exactly explain it, how it makes me feel, except to say it is part of who I am, at the core, in my soul.
Kansas City Choir Boy felt like that triangle, and I sat there, off to the far right side, in the front row, almost a part of the stage itself, and I could barely breathe. Tears hung precariously from my eyelashes, that threat of crying out loud cloying at my chest, feeling like a tight grip around my throat. I felt like my emotions were being pulled to the surface of my skin, exposed, vulnerable, alive. My oldest daughter would say that it was my kind of thing, the show, and I would think yes, yes it was, and so very much more.
Courtney Love was radiant, raw and real. I watched her lie on the stage floor, close enough to touch her, not that I did, and I kept thinking how small she was, how fragile, and yet how incredibly strong. Her eyes told stories in-between each line of the songs she sang, of loss, of love, of heartbreak, of big booming bright as starlight dreams, and of the living and the dying of humanity. Her voice, raspy and deep, dark at times, playful at others, and sensual, told the story of Athena (I think that was her name, if not just a song title) in a way that made me understand why she was the only one he’d ever loved, why she was haunting him, why he was so devastatingly sad.
And, Todd Almond, let’s talk about how he pulled me into the story, into his character, into every song he sang, and made me feel everything – love, pain, grief, longing, delusion, wanting. At one point he stood in front of where we sat, right in front of me, playing an acoustic guitar, making the strings squeak, pain and sad in his eyes, and I felt like I was breaking. And then this moment, when he was on his knees, realization hitting like a car crash, and there was just all this silence, deafening, and it lasted for moments that felt like minutes that felt like lifetimes. I swear that all of us in the audience were holding our breath. I felt so much, so many things in that silence, and it was breathtaking, the enormity of it – and experience I have never had in live theater before.
The Sirens, like a Greek Chorus, came in and interrupted, interjected, pulled us along the twist and turns of a love found and lost, and lost and found. The three piece strings that orchestrated everything weaved us closer to the story. The lights, and the imagery, on the TV screen, and on the walls, took us out of that tiny theater and into New York, into the subway, the park. It took us to Kansas City, to an apartment, to a drive on Memorial Day, to the stars in the sky, to the great loss, and the greater love. It all worked so perfectly and poetically.
To say I was moved would not be enough. To say I loved it, wouldn’t be enough, either. I want to go back and live in it a little while longer, in that triangle of art and music and poetry. Courtney and Todd, thank you – you were both AMAZING.