Work in Progress

In August of 2011, I was diagnosed with a terminal case of whimsy.

I find it most interesting and informative to follow the shiny object, to be distracted by the new idea.  

In making many small things, we make big things.

Yesterday, for example, I went to the library to check out a book by Marianna Moore who Ranger told me about at Halloween since she was dressed like a colonial man but was really dressed up as Marianne Moore who often dressed in a man’s colonial cape and triangle hat.  (Is there a special name for this hat?) 

I found a 45 minute recording of her reading her poetry and blithely commenting, though perhaps the comments were also her poetry, I don’t know, this my first exposure to her work. 

At the library, with two of her books in hand, a book at the end of the 810 isle caught my eye, baby blue with ten hand-drawn yellow stars and the white script, THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOE BRAINARD.  Inside are drawings and many pages of paragraphs all starting “I remember” which I don’t remember ever coming across except as a creative writing prompt which, after reading the introduction last night, I now know was derived from Brainard. 

So, when intending to study Marianne Moore, I’m now absorbing Joe Brainard who writes little thoughts while stoned on the train, each entry separated by one long line.

I’ve always had a talent for copying.  In the fifth grade, hanging out with the Vietnamese girls at recess, I developed a thick Vietnamese accent.  I can’t help writing in the style of whoever I’m reading.   Which is why I only read certain things. 

right-handed copy of a left-handed drawing of Marianne Moore


What Is The Lesson?

Why don't we enroll our young children in weekly private painting lessons, and require that they practice painting everyday, not painting whatever they like, but painting with the proper technique so that they can learn to perfectly replicate the works of the masters?

Why don't we encourage our children to play with musical instruments the way we encourage them to play with paint and chalk and clay?

Why are we so rigid in our approach to some art forms and so relaxed in our approach to others?

What is our purpose in offering these lessons to children?

Why is it that so many of us quit our lessons at some point in childhood and never pick up a brush or instrument again?


Old Shakuhachi Woman

tad neuhaus, bass
joanna dane, shakuhachi

The old shakuhachi woman 
didn't go out much 
except to walk to the store and back.  

She'd stop and look up and squint at the sky.  
Then she'd laugh and shake her head,
slap her leg and continue on.  

How to know what she was thinking, 
she so old 
and I so young.


A Novel Novel

The writer wrote a novel novel which no one believed was a novel, 
having been stuck with one kind of novel for so long 
as to have forgotten that a novel is, by definition 

new and not resembling something formerly known or used.  


How Will You Contribute to the City Park New Arts Celebration?

sunrise to sunset
one day in may
city park
appleton, wisconsin

chalk art?
ephemeral sculpture?
monkey chanting?
deep listening walks?
improvisational soundscapes?
movement compositions?
tree stories?
percussion parade?

share your ideas
saturday, 11/15
@ The 602 Club
602 N. Lawe


Thoughts on the Delights of Suffering to Banjo Music

You know what I just wrote down here, honey, I wrote,

I've had to suffer through a lot of people suffering through my banjo playing.

Haha!  I. . . But I don't think you've had to suffer.  You. . .  I think it should be, I have delighted in the suffering that others have had whilst I play banjo.

I have delight, yeah, maybe you're right.

Yes that should be it!  I'm delighted by those who suffer from my banjo music. . .  The suffering.




Revelations That Shouldn't Be Revelations But Merely Obvious Facts

It comes to me in the middle of the night, that I have been saying "orchestra" when I should have been saying "ensemble."  This should have been clear to me long ago, since people often asked, after I incorrectly described our group as an orchestra, if I played strings.  This confused me since I had already told them it was a percussion group, but I was patient with them and replied, "Oh, there are no strings."

I was so confident in my mistake (not yet realizing it was a mistake) that they became confused, perhaps some even doubting if they themselves properly understand the word orchestra, maybe being a more general term for a group of musicians, like ensemble?  More likely, some of the people I was talking to about the "percussion orchestra" were highly trained musicians, orchestra members themselves, and knew very well that I was mistaken in calling the group an orchestra, but politely let it slide.

There is no good reason why I was misusing the word orchestra being a word I've known all my life, my parents having raised me listening to classical music performed by orchestras.

Once, when I was teaching adult immigrants English, I said that a photo of the Capital in Washington D.C. was the White House.  An intelligent Russian man questioned me, but I insisted it was the White House.  Everyone was very surprised at how big it was, all for one family!  Yes, I agreed, sadly that's how it is here in the United States.  Years later, in the middle of the night, I realized my mistake.

There is no good reason why I mistook the Capital for the White House. I had been to Washington. I had seen both buildings with my own eyes. I had been surprised by how small the White House is.


It's Crockpot Season!

  Daddy's Best Crockpot Recipes


Ribs and Brats

1.  Plug in crockpot.
2.  Turn on high.
3.  Take brats out of package.
4.  Put brats in crockpot.
5.  Take ribs out of package.
6.  Put ribs in crockpot.
7.  Put lid on crockpot.
8.  Open a beer and watch TV until done.

tad neuhaus, guitar and toy piano
joanna dane, vocals
dedicated to Johnnie B.


No Fingers Joe

No one knows how No Fingers Joe lost his digits 
because each time we ask him, 
he tells a different story.

detail from Cora L. Schroeder's "Transitions" at the music conservatory, Lawrence University