Saturday, June 12, 2010

Up Coming Performances

Thursday May 6th 5:15pm
Holden Elementary School
"World Cultural Fest"
(330) 673-6737
(330) 289-1460 for details

Friday May 21st
with Craig Wise @
Green Tara Yoga Center
2450 Fairmount Blvd. Cleveland Heights
Contact Karen Allgire for Details
(216) 382-0592

The Wedding Singer
Weathervane PlayHouse
1301 Weathervane Lane Akron, Ohio 44313
June 3 to 27
Thursdays at 7:30p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m. Sundays at 2:30p.m.
Tickets call 330/836-2626
I'll be playing drumset and percussion on this gig

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Drummer's Journey

My latest gig takes me to the Weathervane Playhouse in Akron Ohio off Riverview road. My musician friend Michael Curtis who I perform with in our calm and quiet kirtan music group, Breathing Room refered me for the gig. It's funny because he hasn't played electric guitar for 2 decades and I haven't played drum kit in a decade. The last time we talked before I took the gig was how he really hates snare drums, yikes now I'm his nemesis. The musician's pit is where he and I've been sentenced, which is a small cramped room under the stage with all my percussive toys, waterbottles, coffee cups, massage cream and a beautiful red light worklamp. It's as if, as our conductor Margaret Kneeper ( great person to work with, nice sense of humor and an enthusiastic positive spirit) says, Joe has been put into time out, I liken it to an Old Fashion film developing darkroom. Instead we'll be developing 1980's Rock-n-Roll grooves. The ceilling above my drumset is about 5' 11" and to get into the room itself you need to crooke your neck with an Igor hunch, if not you'll ram your head into a 6" piece of concrete, thus physically understanding the importance of your brain's frontal lobe. I think I'm going to wear a hockey helment and a neck brace for the rest of the show. I've been told the stage is up to Broadway specs, so the 6" thick concrete floor can allow for up to 2 elephants to do walk on parts, I wonder if they get paid in peanuts HA!
The sound dude DJ is a great guy to work with, calm, cool and helpful to my logistical and sound quality wants, needs and desires. The music for the show is pretty drumset agressive ranging from a Kim Carns/Motley Crue/Joan Jet/Temptations/Billy Joel/Earth Wind and Fire/Police/Guns and Roses and the Cars, all compiled in a medley of anthemic stadium concert "whose your mama? snare drum driven grooves". The wierd aspect for me is that I will never see the show. I'm completely encased in this Abugrave Dungeon, with a stylish plexiglass wall, snaking its way around my kit. This adds to my longing for companionship as well as turning my booth into a little bit of a Costa Rican Rainforest. During one of our full show run rest breaks I began practicing my rudiments on the wooden floor beams and plywood above my head, then a resounding tap dance answer came from one of the actors above. We did a bit of dueling banjo ala floor board and shoe call and response, it's one of the few ways I get to connect with the actors above. I still don't know who it was tapping out those beats? I'm excited because tonight is our first selected audience preview. This is the first time in about 10 years I've played drum kit in public, which is odd because I'll never see the audience or the show. I feel a bit like the wizard of Oz, makin all those explosions and crashes for the big ol talkin head to appear all the more menacing. I told DJ I should have left my drum set at home and had my set mic via phone line. Someday that just may be the case, if it has not yet already been done. Overall it has been fun to rekindle my joy of playing kit. Taking my designer series Sonors, fixing drum peddles and hihat stands, figuring out all the right sounds, trying to magically bring back sight reading as quickly as I can humanly do, all amongst teaching full time and makin sure my wife and kids remember who I am with late night rehearsals. There really is something to living out full fledge chaos...because as my wife has put it to me many times, "this ain't no dress rehearsal"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Artists Who Have Profoundly Inspired and Influenced Me

Painter etc.- Robert W. Culley "My Dad"
Tabla Master - Ustad Alla Rakha Khan
Painter - Mark Rothko
Painter - Agnes Martin
Painter - Jack DeJohnette
Tabla Wizard - Ustad Zakir Hussain
Guruji - Ty Burhoe
Sarangi Master - Ustad Sultan Khan
Tabla Master - Arup Chattophadya
Tabla Master - Pradip Ghosh
Sitarist - Pandit Ravi Shankar
Classical Composer - Phillip Glass
Classical Composer - Steve Reich
My Buddy Tabla Groove Master - Steve Bross

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fog Awake

Sun’s light woven into the warp and weft
Of a morning fog’s inhalation
I am reminded
“I Am That”
The names of actors, producers, grips and such rise
Folding into the Tao
House lights fade awake
A child tugs and pulls
“I Am That”
Living between heart and mind
Between all the words written and spoken
The child leaps with eager anticipation
To stay infused with all the brilliance they sense
Seizing what they will always have
Expecting others to see the same
“I Am That”
joe culley 5/6/09

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sound of Snowflakes

Air moves through space
Star light echoes forgiveness upon freshly furrowed fields
Warming Earth's womb ready to unfold another

Ebbing branches dance in a soup of slow silence like an Alexander Calder Mobile
Ohm they chant
With a leaf's calming breath
I exhale into Earth's frozen skin covering ground and sky
heart hugs
heart lets go
heart feels its myssterious intent

Coffee sipped quickens
Slow morning begins to be pulled
Thousands of ice encased limbs snap
with the sound of a hunter's shot
Blending their sound with the memory of quasars
Sending their codes to consciuosness witnessing

Snow flakes are unbable to doubt
They float and melt everyday
Looking for a place waiting
a seat to sit unknown
a seat waiting without hesitation
a seat without reservation
a seat becoming
melting back
upon the sun's undebatable command

joe culley 2005

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Corcovado Dream

Peering into the valley of my heart
It melts
Midnight clouds float
Luminously through moon glow rain
All stretches outward with completeness of being
I witness
I witness the breath
I am earth
I am music, light color, shape, taste, and texture
Singing the ancient songs of
Ti Ri Ki Ta Dha!
Guru’s awaken my talc cacked spirit
Whispering quietly its intention
Scrapping skin bark peeling
Red mud crying down the mountains of eternal stillness
Mother is here
Between the light and shadow
Between flow and stagnation
Between hugging my bones and radiating my soul
Between ego and no time
Dreams seep into being
Looping air looping Earth
Resonating to a crescendo of inner fire
Colliding with the low vibrato growl of the howler monkey’s chant
A small plastic turtle given along with this journey
Sits upon my palm from my beloved wife
Reminding me to be still and to slow with quick alertness letting go

Allowing the flow to waterfall from my eyes
Everything I have ever loved is awakened
Skipping on a tight rope above bottomless chasms
Diving into faith
Landing upon a grass runway in the middle of our ancient heart
I melt
And fade into nothingness.
joe culley 2004