“Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

Touch the wire.

I was delighted to be invited and to perform at Oscillate: Pittsburgh 2019 at the Western Pennsylvania Center for the Arts in Verona, PA. It was a pleasure to be a part of the event and enjoy the work of so many fantastic musicians and sample the wares of the exhibiting vendors (Evaton Technologies, RPS Effects, and Vinicius Elektrik) .

For my set, I performed under my Kantoendrato monicker, live-scoring a brief story about my youthful experience of things electrical, “Touch the wire.”

“Touch the wire,” as told on 23 March 2019 – © 2019 Joe Belknap Wall
Click through to see my rig

Kantoendrato: playing Oscillate Pittsburgh 2019

I’ll be playing a gig in my ambient mode, as Kantoendrato, on Saturday, March 23, in Pittsburgh, PA. The details are as follows:

WHAT

A meet-up & performance event for electronic music and modular synthesizer enthusiasts, featuring manufacturer demos, live performances, hands-on wiggling, and more! Admission is free, however donations to the The Western Pennsylvania Center for the Performing Arts Academy (a non-profit organization) will be gladly accepted. We understand that starving artists and students are especially strapped for cash. 

WHERE

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania Center For the Arts 
300 James Street
Verona, PA 15147 

WHEN

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 
from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM (ish)

Hope to see my Pittsburgh area folks!


The Cloud

My mother was progressive and carefully explained sex to me well ahead of the rest of the kids in school, which was a problem, given my in-built mania to tell everyone around me about cool things I’d learned.

Mind you, I was not clear on the idea that sperm cells preferred to be administered in a liquid medium of a precise consistency and temperature, and I explained to my fellow students, with a tone of wisdom and gravity, that sperm was microscopic, like bacteria and viruses, and just leaked out of boys in a cloud that could impregnate any unlucky girl in the vicinity of a particularly potent boy.

My breathless retelling of this misconception about conception led to a very brief mass hysteria in my class involving all the girls taking to fleeing the boys as if they were surrounded by swarms of yellowjackets, complete with sudden darting changes of direction and wildly flailing fanning gestures.

“What on earth are you doing, Miss Wassman?” asked our teacher of one of the gesticulating young ladies.

“I don’t wanna have a baby!”

“You what?”

“I don’t wanna have a baby! There’s sperm everywhere!”

“What?”

“Joe Wall said—”

“—Oh, did he now? Mister Wall, can I have a word with you?”

And I was disabused of my errant notion.

@ 2019 Joe Belknap Wall

Pondering the social internet.

I’ve been writing a lot, performing here and there, and gearing up for more performances in the summer and fall, and in the midst of it all, I’m missing the way I used the internet as a social tool and a medium back when I was first venturing on the web.

It’s all very topical, of course, but I’ve been reminded quite often that Facebook just isn’t what Livejournal was, and it really games the system to generate revenue while not making us better off.

Cal Newton wrote a great piece (which I’ve linked to here) about managing the social internet in the era of social media, and I’m increasingly interested in using the internet as a tool instead of as an obligatory ludic loop, forever devouring time and attention in exchange for…well…what, exactly?

It’ll be interesting to see how I do. Watch.

RISK! Live, November 2017

I was honored to be invited to tell a story at the RISK! podcast live show in Baltimore at the Creative Alliance on November 3rd, 2017. I’ve been a big fan of the open, wild, freewheeling storytelling style of RISK! for a while now, which spares no sensibilities in telling things just exactly as they are.

I got to share the stage again with the fantastic KL Parr, who I had the pleasure to meet at my second outing with Baltimore’s own Stoop Storytelling series in February, 2017, as well as Rachel Hinton, Shamyla Tareen, and the illustrious host of the RISK! podcast, Kevin Allison. Three of our stories were featured in the podcast of that evening’s storytelling, available at the RISK! site, and here’s a brief excerpt from mine, in which I describe my failed aspiration to badass status and my infinitesimally short career in the eighties as a fake-smoking male stripper who’d learned to dance by watching Twyla Tharp and Bob Fosse and providing accompaniment by Harry Partch (it did not go well).

Listen:


© 2017 Joe Belknap Wall

 

A couple backroads stories.

Joe Wall @ Northeast Electro-Music 2017 from Steve Mokris on Vimeo.

The video from my performance at Northeastern Electro-Music 2017.

Stories from the back roads, with live improvised soundtrack for controllers and iOS instruments. I have no phone connected to my land line, but I still pay the bill.

[Thanks to Steve Mokris for the video and video editing, and to Laura Woodswalker for the interpretive projection work]