Archives for posts with tag: Music

My Mother Gives Me a Tape of My Father’s Dance Band
by Marjorie Maddox

My dead father plays boogie-woogie
throughout the house. Even in the back
yard, emptying the garbage, I hear his hands,
sixteen and agile, thumping, plinking, and do-wopping
along the thin tape that whirs in its recorder. What years
wind up in that casing, in the canal of my ear, in the curving aorta
pumping out his beat in my veins, in this aging staff of a body.
At sixty he still loved
his songs and stretched a broken pinkie to hit the notes.
My hands only snap and tap,
the bones bumping up against age. Still,
underneath flesh I know
something’s jumping. Joy cracks
his rhythm in notes too strong to stay
in the grave, too staccato to listen
to sounds good-daying
in the bass of a previous page,
two-stepping still, though long
long since played.

SOURCE: Previously published in The Montserrat Review and in Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (WordTech Editions).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: With my father, William C. Maddox, around his sixtieth birthday (circa 1987) in Columbus, Ohio.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father had his first heart attack at the age of 38. He lived until 65, dying after an unsuccessful heart transplant. (I write about this in detail in my book Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation). Despite all this, he was a person overflowing with joy, adventure, and humor. This was especially evident when he thumped out tunes from his old dance band, filling the house with boogie-woogie and be-bop. After his death, my mother made me a tape of his teen dance band from an old record. It remains a most prized possession!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series); Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf and Stock); Wives’ Tales (forthcoming 2016 Seven Kitchens Press), Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); and Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (2017 Fomite Press), and over 450 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published two children’s books with several forthcoming. Visit her at


Tongue & Groove

If you’re in the L.A. area on Sunday, August 14, 2016, check out Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word + music produced by Conrad Romo with an impressive roster of featured performers. The 8/14/16 event has a music theme — featured performers include Eric Spitznagel, James Fearnley, Lisa Jane Persky, and David Kendrick, plus music by Kaylee Cole.

Sunday, August 14, 2016
6-7:30 p.m.
The Hotel Cafe
1623 1/2 No. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, California 90028

Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! The club is a two-story black brick building, a third of a block below Hollywood Blvd. There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed till 8pm. Avoid Cahuenga street parking

eric s

Eric Spitznagel is an Executive Writer at Men’s Health Magazine, where he’s written about a range of topics. He’s also been a frequent contributor to Playboy, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Maxim, Billboard, Details, The Believer, and the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He’s the author of seven books, including Ron Jeremy’s bestselling autobiography The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz. He’s also edited several humor anthologies, most recently Care to Make Love in that Gross Little Space Between Cars?, which features questionable life advice from people like Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Sedaris. His most recent book is Old Records Never Die. You can read all about it at


James Fearnley, a founding member  of The Pogues, has written a memoir, Here Comes Everybody, drawn from his personal experiences and the series of journals and correspondence he kept throughout the band’s career. Fearnley describes the coalescence of a disparate collection of vagabonds living in the squats of London’s Kings Cross, with, at its center, the charismatic MacGowan and his idea of turning Irish traditional music on its head. With beauty, lyricism, and great candor, Fearnley tells the story of how the band watched helplessly as their singer descended into a dark and isolated world of drugs and alcohol, and sets forth the increasingly desperate measures they were forced to take.

Persky + Divine

An early participant in the CBGB’s scene, Lisa Jane Persky was a founding member of the staff of the New York Rocker and more recently a founding editor of Los Angeles Review of Books. Her work as journalist, photographer, and artist has appeared in Mojo, The Pitchfork Review, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere, and her fiction has appeared in Bomb and has been anthologized in Eclectica: Best Fiction Volume 1. She has appeared on, off, and off-off Broadway, and in numerous films and television shows. Lisa also anthologizes at

dave kendrick

David Kendrick came to Los Angeles by way of a phone call from the legendary Kim Fowley. He has played with 90 bands more or less. Some of note have been Gleaming Spires, Sparks, DEVO,and Andy Prieboy. He is an avid collector of odd art and some of his finds have appeared in Clown Paintings by Diane Keaton. David’s ongoing music project, “The Empire Of Fun,” to date has released a box set plus six other collections, including the fiction story  CD set I’m sorry Mr. Kendrick, there’s a skull inside your head. Recently he has had essays on cycads and fear published by the Laboratory Arts collective Hymn magazine.

Kaylee Cole Promo

Kaylee Cole has opened for bands such as The Lumineers, The Head & The Heart, Damien Jurado, and Emily Wells, performed with the Seattle Rock Orchestra and Portland Cello Project, and nearly finished a debut album (recorded and produced by Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio). Whether she’s behind a grand piano at an ornate theater, or sitting with a keyboard on her lap at a cozy house show, Kaylee Cole is a true entertainer who leaves no audience member without an impression.


Tongue & Groove

If you’re in the L.A. area on Sunday, July 31, 2016, check out Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word + music produced by Conrad Romo with an impressive roster of featured performers.

Sunday, July 31, 2016
6-7:30 p.m.
The Hotel Cafe
1623 1/2 No. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, California 90028

Come early!  Seating is limited and the event starts on time!   The club is a two-story black brick building, a third of a block below Hollywood Blvd. There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed till 8pm. Avoid Cahuenga street parking

This  month’s featured performers include Pam Ward, David Darmstaedter, Elizabeth Marquez, Rios de la Luz, Kristina Wong, and  music by Linda Ravenswood

pam ward

Pam Ward is an author/artist and L.A. native. An art advocate as well as an instructor and mentor at Art Center College of Design, Pam has designed for politicians, community organizations, and corporate America.  A former board member of Beyond Baroque Literary Foundation, Pam was also an artist-in-resident for the City of Los Angeles, Venice and Manhattan Beach.  After publishing two novels, Want Some Get Some and Bad Girls Burn Slow, and working on merging writing and graphic design, Pam produced the recent installation, My Life, LA: The Los Angeles Legacy Project, a poster project blending graphics with story/facts documenting the impact of Angelenos on the actual land. Her play, I Didn’t Survive Slavery for This has played throughout L.A. Currently she is working on the true story of her aunt, a real Black Dahlia suspect.

david darmstaedter

David Darmstaedter lives in Topanga, California, and travels the hills dressed in tinfoil underwear to summon ideas from the wild. He has written plays, screenplays, short stories and novels. His memoir My Monster is in eternal development with Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. He will be reading from his current book in the works, Solly’s Shangri-La.


Beth Marquez stumbled into a spoken word tent at Lollapalooza when she was 13, and it changed her life. She co-hosted Java Gardens reading in Huntington Beach and attended the National Poetry Slam as an alternate for the Laguna Beach team. She’d been  published in the Moontide Press, Valley of Contemporary Poets, and Ugly Mug anthologies and elsewhere. She will be debuting a show based on her poetry at The Victory Theater in Burbank in September.


Rios de la Luz is a queer xicana/chapina living in Portland, Oregon. She is brown and proud. She is the author of The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert (Ladybox Books, 2015). Her work has been featured in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Entropy, The Fem Lit Magazine, World Literature Today, and St. Sucia.


Kristina Wong  is a performance artist, comedian, and writer who has created five solo shows and one ensemble play that have toured throughout the US and UK. She was recently featured in the New York Times‘s Off Color series highlighting artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.  She’s been a frequent ommentator/guest with, xoJane, Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post,  and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore to mention but a few places. She has been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants and residencies and not to brag, but Kristina has twice given the commencement speech at UCLA, her alma mater.  Her most recent solo show “The Wong Street Journal,” which navigates privilege and economic disparity, premieree in June 2015.  Kristina’s mail order bride website is This Fall, she is a guest professor at Cal Arts in the MFA Creative Writing Program.


Linda Ravenswood, with an aim towards inquiry, tantalization,  and uncovering, speaks, stands, beckons, and reminds  viewers to hold memory, history, place, and lineage as holy, yet available markers.  In these ways, Linda has evolved  an arts practice holding a strong and defining spatial, and theatrical course. Recent work (2014¬2016) has appeared,  or been commissioned at The Broad Theatre, AWP/Pen Centre USA, Cornell University, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, The Angel’s Gate Cultural  Centre, The Artery, The Bootleg Theatre, Gallery 16 (San Francisco), The Lancaster  Museum, The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Craftswoman House.  She has been published in 30 literary journals, her music has appeared in three  documentary films (PBS), she has four books in print (Sybaritic Press, Mouthfeel Press, Gallery 16 Press, LACMA Press – forthcoming), and she is a 2016 Vermont Studio Centre fellow in Poetry.  Twice nominated for The Pushcart  Prize for Poetry, Linda is a lecturer, dramaturg, and workshop presenter, most recently teaching at Occidental  College.  Linda Ravenswood is NDN, First Nation, (Pokanoket Nation), a Mayflower descendant on her mother’s  side, and an Indigenous Mestiza from Baja California Sur on her father’s side.  She was raised by Holocaust  survivors from WWII.  No kiddin’.

Hands of young potter
Throwing a Perfect Pot
by Tobi Alfier

IF I had an imaginary skill it would be as an artist. I would wear flowered sundresses and sandals, braid my hair, and have a booth at the long-gone Whole Earth Marketplace where I would throw pots all day. I would take them to my aunt, the REAL artist, for glazing beauty and then to a studio that rented kiln space. I would sell my work for what amounted to ten cents an hour, make friends with all the other hippie-types with their VW vans and a dollar fifty-two in their checking accounts, say “yes, I saw Ghost” a hundred times a day to all the “real” people coming to shop, and be perfectly happy. I would trade a bowl for a pair of dichroic glass dangling earrings, shave my legs never, and sing Joni Mitchell songs, or all the songs to Hair, in my head as my hands got strong and the clay did my bidding.

PHOTO: “Making a pot” by Best Photo Studio, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m still a bit of a hippie. I still know the words to most Joni Mitchell songs and most of the songs to Hair. But the art is gone. Others in my family are blessed that they can call themselves artists. I can’t even pick out paint colors.

talfierABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press and Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press. Down Anstruther Way is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

The Versatile Singer
by Leslie Sittner

I sing in church choir
Holy. Holy. Holy.

I chirp Doris Day tunes
yodel as Teresa Brewer
growl as Marlene Dietrich

I sing in high school choir
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah Chorus

I doo-wop as the Chiffons, Chantels
get some respect as Aretha Franklin
jazz it up as Billy Holiday

I sing for my supper in a college bar
harmonize with Peter, Paul, & Mary
warble as Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon

I take lessons with Joyce Voice
learn to croon Anne Murray, Nora Jones

I honky tonk as Dolly, Loretta, Tammy
croak as Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt
scat as Ella Fitzgerald

I take a performance class
sing Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings
at a New York City nightclub

I am ready
I make a demo


lately I am Adele

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  This is me in 1983 singing on stage at Dangerfield’s. It was the promised gig for the students at the end the singing class. My boyfriend came in from Boston to see me. He said it was great…Fortunately, this production was early, before the club opened to the public.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always loved to sing. In the shower, driving in the car, when I clean the house, to soothe my (deaf) dog. No one really heard me as far as I know. Until that performance, I imagined I could sing. I guess not. The tape of it didn’t lie. Writing this forced me to think about all the singers I like and why. Also, how much a speaking and singing voice changes as you age. Deeper, less range, more effort with weaker results. Although it’s not so disturbing if you didn’t have much to work with from the beginning.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Since returning to upstate New York after 25 years in Manhattan, Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. She began this journey two years ago and is finding her voice in different formats. Two of her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words and 50 Word Challenge. A variety of prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press. She is finishing a book about travels with her ex-husband and hopes a publisher will find it as humorous as she and her friends do.

When I Stand on a Spotlit Stage
by Alice Morris

I am a world-class, class-act singer
When I stand on spot-lit stage
Patsy Cline, Dolly, Patti LaBelle, Ella, even Mahalia
Stand in awe
Of me
My voice, they say, is soothing, and soulful
Beyond compare

I have more fans than
Elvis, Johnny Cash, BB King, The Beatles, and Hendrix combined
And just when the word thinks I
Have reached my apex —

I switch

To the black and white of
Symphony halls
The woman
With sticks
Bringing down
Rolling Thunder
On kettledrums

Watch me —
Stage left, in back, watch closely —
See how I throw myself into the drumming — see how I withhold

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, 1968, as a high school junior playing the violin, but longing for the excitement of a great singing voice, or being a powerful force on kettledrums. (Photo from high school yearbook, edited by Alice Morris.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My wish for a melodic singing voice became especially strong when I had two young children who often covered their ears when I sang to them. As for kettledrums, in forth grade, I wanted to play this instrument, but percussion, like Little League in the mid-50s, was for boys. But I was able to “choose” the violin, which hurt my neck, and always slightly smacked of insult to me.

Morris– 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Morris, a Minnesota native, earned her BS in English Education from Towson State University, and her MS in Counseling from Johns Hopkins. After applying her training as an educator, therapist, and later, as a real estate agent, Morris continually found herself returning to her passions of building, art, and writing. Her art has been published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Recently, her poetry has been published or accepted for forthcoming publication in three issues of The Broadkill Review, included in a chapbook, two poetry collections, two anthologies, the Weekly Advocate, and the Starting to Ride blog series by Silver Birch Press.

by Jennifer Lagier

My dream singing dazzles the audience.
Despite lack of training, rehearsal
turns all four chairs on The Voice.
Pitch-perfect, effortless trills
win over critics, mesmerize listeners.

I rival Maria Callas,
give Taylor Swift
a run for her money,
excel at it all: opera,
jazz, rock and roll,
heart-rending country.

Any vocal I record
zooms immediately
to the top of the charts,
turns to platinum,
trends on I-tunes.

My imagination evokes
a rich, earthy vibrato,
flawless soprano.
In real life, notes curdle,
stick in my throat.
I screech off-key,
an untuned, tone-deaf diva.

PHOTO: Maria Callas performs in the title role in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma  (Paris, May 23, 1964).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My voice is so horrible, when I was a children’s librarian, the kids would beg me to please not sing! I’ve had dreams where I am a fantastic singer, then wake up with a sore throat from trying to make my recalcitrant vocal chords perform what they simply cannot do.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Visit her at

AUTHOR PHOTO: Jennifer Lagier selfie, performing for her long-suffering dogs while at her laptop in the kitchen.

Sing Sing Sing!
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I want to sing
like a songbird!
I do, I really do!
I want to sing
like Celine, Mariah,
and Patti too!
Yes, I do!
I want to sing
like a
whole heavenly host
of angels
on their very best hour
of their very best day
and they live in eternity
so that’s forever
and that’s
a mighty long time
(yup, that’s a nod
to the late, great
I do, I do, I do!
I want to sing
so that people
every place
at the sound of
my voice!
I — oh.
I already do.

PHOTO: Singing superstar Mariah Carey.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem came gushing out of me a like a great big song which I’d love to sing for all of you, each and every one of you! But I won’t. Yet and still — singing is a talent, a skill that I wish I had, I do! But I don’t.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Look for her work (some forthcoming) in these diverse places and elsewhere: the Buddhist Poetry Review, Dead Snakes, Foliate Oak, Fox Adoption Magazine, Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review and Your One Phone Call. Her poem “The Swear Poem” was recently selected to be in the Chicago Poetry Press/Journal of Modern Poetry’s Poetry of Protest edition (JOMP 19). Tricia volunteers locally, believes there’s no place like her own backyard, and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She resides with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox. She can’t sing but she does it with gusto.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Schnitzel Platz Restaurant, Glendale Heights, Illinois.

The Cellist
by Emma Filtness

I want to rub hearts raw with horse hair, each wrenching note snagging on wet, pink muscle; to feel the drag of the bow on flesh, in breath; to make that awkward bray and mourning moan.

PHOTO: Cellist Alisa Wellerstein in concert.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Cellist” is a little prose poem written after hearing a particularly beautiful and heart-wrenching cello accompaniment in an attempt to capture the emotional impact such sounds can have on a listener. It also made me wish I could play the cello (“Three Blind Mice” terribly on a violin when I was 12 is the closest I’ve got).


Emma Filtness
teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She has published poetry and flash fiction in magazines and journals including Popshot, an illustrated magazine of new writing, and Pins and Needles, a journal of contemporary fairy tales. She likes writing about foxes and evil road sweepers, among other things.

Author photo by Joe Norman (Ibiza, 2014). 

by Joan Leotta

Here I am!
Center stage,
seated at a Grand Piano
Music flows from my fingertips
as I smile at passersby.
Classic busts smile at my skill with classic
works—Beethoven, Bach, Mozart.
Popular tunes? Of course.
If you can hum it,
I can play it.
My brain has but to wish
and sonorous becomes
with me.
Can you hear it?
My music transcends the bounds of
ordinary sound waves.
No need, however,
to watch for my Carnegie Hall debut,
because, though I took one
entire year of lessons,
I never did practice.
But you must admit,
I do look good
sitting at a piano!

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken with me sitting at (and poem inspired by) the magnificent grand piano in the lobby of Gran Meliá Fénix in Madrid this past May.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I always wanted to play the piano. However, once I took lessons, my interest diminished. It seemed that the work required was not equal to the “instant” results I had imagined. So, now I listen to great music. I try to look good at hotel pianos. I do hear the music even if to others it is as imaginary as my skill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta is widely published in US and international publications as a journalist, essayist, and poet. She has four books of historical fiction in print and one picture book in print and another on the way!