"We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art."
Don Chambers (from show recording): For whom the phenomenon was supposed to have been presented to itself, had been caught cheating time and again. I believe in a hereafter and no greater blessing could be bestowed upon me than the opportunity once again to speak with my sainted mother who awaits me with open arms to press me to her heart in welcome. Just as she did when I entered this mundane sphere.
Garrett Tiedemann: I find myself asking this a lot because it's part of the main thing that I've been thinking about, looking at all this stuff, but is that film out anywhere or did you strictly make it to be shown that night.
Don Chambers: I strictly made it to be shown that.
Don Chambers (from show recording): There is one thing I'm going to ask for cooperation with and that's, a little later in the show, I'll remind you again, a little later in the show we're going to need complete silence and complete darkness. And therefore I'm going to ask you to turn your cell phones off, put em' in your pocket, put em' in your - not now, but a little later; you can still check your twitter account or whatever for the next thirty minutes or so, but at some point we're going to ask you not to leave the room for a brief period of time.
Garrett: It's one thing to do performance, whether it be music or spoken word. And then it's one thing to kind of combine. It's insanely complicated to put it all together.
Don: You should have told me that before we started.
Garrett: Yeah I know. What drove you to go for it all?
Don: I've never seen a show like that. I've never seen a show that could put all that together and I kind of just wanted to see if I could make it happen. You know, I think one of the takeaways from this is we probably needed about four people behind the scenes making this all happen if you wanted to do it on a less discombobulated, less less mistakes level. But, the fact that most of the time it was John and I doing all the heavy lifting meant that there was this random thing that fed through all of it.
There was definitely random mistakes that happened in every single one, of course. But, the reason I wanted to do it in the first place is because I hadn't seen anything like that. I like a lot of different things. I just thought, why aren't why are shows. For one thing most rock shows are for bands basically doing the same thing or three bands and they're basically doing the same thing for the evening and you like one you don't like the other whatever, you like all three of them.
But, why not make a...I wanted to make a contained thing that started at a certain time and ended at a certain time. That's another big thing about Athens is our shows here really start at 10 or 11 and they end at 2:00 in the morning.
Now that has its has its own built in. There is a theater to that. But it's, but it's a long drawn out theater that doesn't really like. I'm older now, I kind of want things I want to go in and get something really good and then get the hell out of there. And that's what I was trying to build.
Doing it this way, the audience never knew what was going to happen next. And I really like that aspect of it. Of course, the flipside of that was sometimes I didn't know what was going to happen next.
[from a recording of the show - John Barner is introduced to read An Halloween Poem to Delight My Younger Friends by Leonard Cohen]
Fewer and fewer moments that happened that you can't say I had this wonderful experience. Here's a video of it. And, to me it's not nearly as sexy not nearly as fun as just experience something and being able to talk about it. And. And. The only thing the person can experience from it is your enthusiasm or your wonder at having been a part of it. And. I'm much more interested in that. You know, I like going to shows where they have no photography no video signs on the walls because I want everybody to be present. I want to be present and in the moment of the thing happening.
John Barner (from show recording) reading An Halloween Poem to Delight My Younger Friends by Leonard Cohen:
Impassive frogs, skins stretched taut,
grey with late October,
the houses down my street
crouched, unaware of each other.
Unaware of a significant wind
and mad children igniting heaps of rattling leaves
and the desperate cry of desperate birds.
Dry, stuffed, squatting frogs.
I don’t know where the children got the birds.
Certainly, there are few around my house. Oh,
there is the occasional sparrow or robin or wren,
but these were big birds.
There were several turns of parcel twine about
each bird to secure its wings and feet. It was
that particularly hard variety of twine that can’t
be pulled apart but requires a knife or scissors
to be cut.
I was so lost in the ritual that I’m not sure if
it was seven or eight they burnt.
(“The effluvia of festering bodies was so great
that even the Mongols avoided such places and
named them Moubaligh, City of Woe.”)
Soon they grew tired of the dance
and removed the crepe-paper costumes
and said prayers and made laments.
It was a quarter-to-nine
when one bright youngster
incited the group to burn the frogs,
which they did at nine.
(Now that I think about it, the birds
must have been pigeons.)
If one of Temujin’s warriors
trapped a deer to eat,
it was forbidden
to slit its throat.
The beast must be bound
and the beast’s chest opened
and the heart removed
by the hunter’s hand.