Friday, September 9, 2011
Ogden reading with Helen Gillet
Last night's reading from New Atlantis accompanied by one of the book's stars, Helen Gillet, was a truly magic evening. Helen played music from her new recording, Running With the Bells, accompanied by saxophonist/flautist Tim Green and drummer Doug Garrison. The music was by turns earthy, ethereal, spiritually sustaining, challenging and peaceful. The audience at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art listened carefully, then remained silent in rapt attention as I read passages from the book about Helen while she sat next to me, commenting occasionally on the text. We finished with a quote about how her experiences working with the Silence Is Violence community group helped her as an improvisor, and I used that as a jumping off point to begin the interview portion of the program with her. After we completed the interview Helen's band returned for another set and I signed books and talked with some of the wonderful people in attendance at the event. Just another example of the grace we all experience in this glorious city of New Orleans as it rebuilds itself in an image not born of greedy developers and political chiselers but of artists and artisans, people who find meaning in their work and are always looking to help each other reach a better place. Helen and I will join up again September 19th at the Observatory at Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn, New York, where she will perform, I'll read and talk with her and then I'll DJ a New Orleans dance party.