Hello all! Yep. it’s been a couple of crazy years, and they’ve torn a pretty big hole in the sails of most musicians, me included. I just wanted to check in and let you know we’re still here ( Alan and I), still creating, still pressing in on the things that feel increasingly important to us.
I have been painting more, as the gigs are rare as hen’s teeth. Last winter I worked on a a few portraits, and threw a few pots in the studio. I held a couple of online writing workshops for the Grunewald Guild and a couple with my band, Diamonds in the Rust. Those went quite well, and the Diamond’s in the Rust workshop is becoming an annual event. We hope to hold it in person this Spring, in Alcona, MI, near the shores of Lake Huron, at Lost Lake. I hope that some of you will be able to join us there. I hope to return to the Guild, in Plain WA this summer for an in person songwriting workshop as well.
I’ll be playing the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Trinity House Theatre this June, reprising a few songs from the musical “Gravity”, the first show ever performed at the theatre. I have a show at the Ark in August, 2022 with my fellow Yellow Room Gang songwriting collective. We have a second show on the docket for January of 2023 with the YRG. Our annual January Ark show had to be canceled this year due to Covid concerns, and health issues for several of our company. It ill all be up on the gig page.
Over the winter and spring of 2021, David Barrett and I worked on a new project together, a children’s book. Dave had written a lovely song that he was wanting to make into a book, and I have been doing lots of illustrations lately, so we figured we’d try to join forces. We’re both pretty thrilled with the results and I plan to create posters to go with the project, which os called, “the flower needs the root”. More info on David Barrett, an amazing person and great songwriter: https://davidbarrett.com/
I’ve started a sort of book club for struggling creatives, and we are takings some pointers from Austin Kleon’s simple little gem, “keep going, 10 ways to stay creative in good times and in bad”. I think one of the best things the book has helped me to do, is to play with the elements of art and music, and not be so serious every time I start pushing a pencil around. That was advice I’d seen in a number of other books, and heard from many other artists… Just reading about it didn’t help me at all though. I’m sure you’re not surprised. I finally closed my eyes, and let go of the stress, put a smile on my lips and told myself, with every mistake- no problem, I’m just playing with these materials, you have to play with them to know what they can do. THAT somehow caused a total reset on my creative time. I highly recommend this little book, don’t blow through it all in one sitting though, read little, do a little. You’re welcome.
I’ve found myself a student again, again. I’ve been trying to understand the ways that Art and Music intersect with issues of Social Justice, Environmental Justice, and the needs that surround us in these difficult times. I was looking at art that has made a difference, and one of the artists I’ve been looking at and reading quotes from is the British enigma, Banksy. Banksy said, ” People seem to think that if they dress like a revolutionary, they don’t actually have to behave like one.” He also said, “Walk quietly and carry a big can of paint.” His work created a revolution in the art world, and he’s tried his best to stay a mystery . Even as such, through the sale of his work he built a hospital in Jerusalem, and he currently funds a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Ocean, saving the lives of refugees. My own efforts at changing the world have been fairly pithy, but I continue to give it a try; Taking soup and casseroles to neighbors and friends facing illness or loss, shoveling a driveway for a neighbor who works afternoons, so she doesn’t get stuck in the drive when she comes home, a fundraiser, a piece of art work, etc…
I recently took part in a national debate, hosted by “Braver Angels” ( an organization of people from the right and left in the US who hope to find common ground) on “revolution”. In my 4 minutes of the debate I suggested that the word revolution was being used as a way to romanticize the fist pounding and lust many extremists have for a civil war. I emphasized the need to find the us in the US, and to recognize that this would be a monumentally bad move on anyone’s part. We need to see the these arguments we have are quite literally with our sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and friends. These are troubling times and we can’t toy around with the idea of violence toward our neighbors. There is a special sense of shame in all of this for Christians who stroke these ideas of hate and wars if they are Gollum, and war were the hobbit’s ring. As if anything could ever justify violating the commandment to love one another? Anyway, If you are interested in hearing the debate you can find it on the Braver Angels website. Cynthia O’Brian, a dear friend who is part of the group did an interview with me for them last month, and that too can be found on their site , here is the link: https://braverangels.org/aom-jan-krist/
I continue to teach art to Adults with Developmental Disability, though on zoom, using 2 cameras, and Alan continues to work for Sweetwater Music. Alan has been redoing our recording studio and we hope to be back in soon. I’ve got a handful of songs I’d love to get done.
OK, well, that’s all the new from the snowy Midwest.
I hope that you are doing well.