Michiana Trio Opens For Claudia Schmidt With Slam-Bang Poetry
THREE OAKS -- A trio of local Michiana spoken word performers will add the air of a slam-bang poetry gathering in opening for folk/jazz singer-songwriter Claudia Schmidt at the Acorn Theater.
Area poets Pam Blair, Dave Casper and Chairman Ralph will join forces in opening for blues, jazz and folk singer Claudia Schmidt at 8 p.m. this Friday, at the Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Drive, in downtown Three Oaks. Admission is $15. For more information, call (269) 756-3879, or visit: www.acorntheater.com.
Schmidt has recorded 14 albums of mostly original songs, all exploring folk, blues, and jazz idioms, and featuring her acclaimed 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer playing. She is also herself a poet, who released ROADS, a 17-track CD dedicated to that passion, in 2003.
Now living in Traverse City, Schmidt has been perfecting her performing craft for almost four decades. It is a quirky and wonderful "hodge-podge" (her word!) of music, poetry, story, laughter. drama, and celebrating the moment. Work in clubs, theaters, festivals, TV, and radio has added depth and dimension, and since she has always included her original work along with very personal versions of the work of others, as well.
Cops, bosses and corporations, take cover! St. Joseph author, musician and folk-punk poet Chairman Ralph can always be counted for a night of verbal provocation in broadsides like "Everybody Thinks They're In New York," which pokes fun at the entrenched mentalities of local music scenes ("Your demos gather dust on the backseat/Another original, who couldn't compete"), and "For 39 Bucks," a smackdown on collection agencies ("For 39 bucks, you say there's nothing left to understand/Never mind how I got trapped in your monthly no-man's land").
The Chairman's work has appeared in many distinctive places,from MSU's Red Cedar Review, 'to obscure '80s-era cassette compilations, and upcoming efforts like the Chiron Review's punk rock theme issue -- and AFTER THE STOEM CHANGE CHANGE: A REBIRTH FROM THE ASHES, edited by Kareemah El-Amin.
In real life, he's known as Ralph Heibutzki, writer for the Herald-Palladium, a folk-punk solo guitarist, and author of UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE LIFE & TIMES OF DANNY GATTON, the first in-depth look at Washington, D.C.'s late, lamented "Telemaster." For more information, visit www.chairmanralph.com, or www.nextcat.com/chairmanralph.
South Bend area artist, singer and poet Pam Blair sees herself as "appreciative of every gift given to her by God," she notes on her website, http://www.nextcat.com/mapblair. "In the beginning, he created...so I could create." Pam's performances bear out the realities of that creative drive, whether reading over her own music ("I Have A Dream"), or critiquing social hypocrisies ("I'm Mad"). On the graphic side, Pam's creativity has found an outlet in her long-running project, Fine Art Cardz. For more details, visit: www.flickr.com/mapblair.
Benton Harbor resident Dave Casper has pursued a more thoughtful, contemplative style, but no less hard-hitting. Both sides come out in pieces like "All The Smiles," written a couple weeks before 9/11, that balances the horrors of conflict, while paying tribute to those who serve ("The ones who were there will tell you, it can't be imagined").
Dave also specializes in lighter efforts, such as "Now I Write Just To Feel It," a look back at his artistic development ("To write is no longer to escape"). Dave has written and spoken his poetry for over 30 years at many venues, such as the "Writers and Other Troubadors" programs in South Bend. He recently had a new book published by Studio II, in Elkhart, IN, featuring original covers by Jake Webster. He will also have poetry included in the El-Amin anthology, as well.
All three poets can also be heard regularly at the "Xpression Session" Spoken Word Night. Co-hosted by Kareemah El-Amin, and Lisa Eddie-Rimpson, the "Xpression Session" runs every fourth Saturday at the Livery, 190 E. 5th St., in the downtown Benton Harbor Arts District. For upcoming dates, check www.liverybrew.com, or call (269) 925-8760.
What They're Sayin'... About The Chairman
2/26/20: This section focuses on advance stories, reviews and commentary about the Chairman's music, spoken word, and related projects. Here's you'll find relevant interviews that I've done, and my own thoughts about my various projects.