Wednesday, April 29, 2009

438 North Street Pittsfield, MA
missionbarandtapas@gmail
Poetry Slam
It was an honor to win last night's slam and be in the company of so many fine poetic voices.
You can hear a lot of different voices from the community all in one night in a poetry slam. You can hear your own work in a new way as you speed up or slow down the rhythm of the spoken word.
Thank you to Mission Bar and Tapas on North Street in Pittsfield for keeping the word alive.

Thank you to Matt McFadden, poet extraordinaire, for his hosting of the event.

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Ahab Rap
After doing my "Me & Melville " show awhile, I taught music improvisation to teachers (How to Make Herman Melville Come Alive in the Classroom.) When I spoke to the then-head of curriculum in Pittsfield, MA about teaching Melville he said:
'He's a dead white male, with a dead white whale." And he liked Melville! So I wrote an Ahab Rap and give credit to Bill Irwin for the first few lines.


Ahab Rap
He's a dead white male, with a dead white whale
Why should I care? Why should I care?
I never saw a whale, I never saw a ship
I never saw a spirit spout, what's so hip
about a guy with a headhunter for a friend
who builds his own coffin for a watery end
what's it to me, if there's a guy named Ahab
He should have been doin' his meds in rehab
Ahab, rehab, Ahab, rehab
It's a guy thing, revenge and such
Get off of it, Ahab, get a new crutch
Get a job at a desk, get a job sellin' blubber
Get off of that ocean, you be a landlubber
You made them die with your crazy obsession
Forget about it, man, learn your lesson
Ishmail, bishmail, tish-mo-ya
Melville and the classics, rah, rah, rah

c 2009 JoAnne Spies

Another song from 'Me & Melville' called 'Check-Out Line' has become a favorite in my work with Alzheimers groups. Originally the song was about what I might say to Herman if I met him in the Big Y supermarket (Le Grande Porque.) Now it's an invitation to make a shopping list for your favorite dinner and then remember what everybody ordered. Using boomwhackers and shakers, we have a lot of fun with this song.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Mission: Imagination - Annual Performance & Gala

The Founders' Theater, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA

Community Access to the Arts presents “Mission Imagination” at the Founders’ Theatre in Lenox on Saturday, May 2nd at 6pm and Sunday, May 3rd at 1pm. From uproarious improv and cheeky modern dance, to joyful jazz and techno-tap, the show will amaze, inspire and celebrate the creativity of people with disabilities.

The show includes a music video produced by singer, JoAnne Spies featuring residents of six Berkshire Health Systems facilities, Youth Alive, and Berkshire County students, “Perpetual Dialects,” a collaboration between Tap artist, Stefanie Weber, and James Daher using technology to turn a dance floor into a multi-faceted canvas, scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale” directed by Barby Cardillo and Diane Prusha, and “you who,” a new work by award-winning choreographer, Dawn Lane. Juggler and mime artist, Roger Reed, performs with CATA participant, Pam Tuliebitz, in a duet of improvisational foolery with a cast of props. Singer, Vikki True, collaborates with longtime accompanist, Peter Schneider, and guitarist, Sam Rosen, in a new arrangement of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s ‘Pure Imagination.’”

For information, please call CATA at 413-528-5485.

reflections on making the 'red red robin' video:
Video means 'I see' and the medium allowed me to look with new sight at people I've been visiting for years.

By focusing frame by frame, connections between people are re-framed and become larger.

What is going on in any particular moment defies capture.

I learned patience and the malleability of time.


I appreciate more the beauty in a face.