Wednesday, November 28, 2012

me kissing Audell

Here is me kissing Audell Shelburne. He's a poet and an academic, maybe even in that order. He teaches now at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, but I got to know him at his previous gig at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, where he directed an annual writer's festival and edited the journal Windhover. He even published a short story of mine in that journal a few years ago, so this is a delayed "writer kisses editor" sort of post. (See a few posts ago for me kissing most of the editorial board of the Blue Rock Review.)

Speaking of Blue Rock, Audell is another friend who was published in this year's volume, VOX. I think you should go buy a copy because I want you to read work by my friends as well as my own work, but as I've been reading through the volume this week and I have to say---we're all in really good company.

me kissing Beth

This is another kiss from the Blue Rock Review soiree this past weekend. This is Beth Melles, who I met there. She came with Audell (coming up next) and through him had seen my blog and knew before I finished asking what I was about to ask.

I love that. Makes me feel almost famous.

But I have to admit that this another one of those situations where I don't have much to say because I don't know my kissee well enough to tell stories.

But we're Facebook friends now. I look forward to learning more about her.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

me kissing Alice and Alan

Meet Alice and Alan Berecka. This is still at the Blue Rock Review soiree. Alan is a poet and has a poem in the new volume (and two previous volumes). I've known them a few years and I had the distinct honor of publishing Alan's first full volume of poetry, The Comic Flaw (back when I was a publisher).

There are probably any number of tales I could tell you about Alan, but mostly because he tells them so much better in his poetry.

However, I'll share this one, just because it's fresh.

After the Blue Rock party, I followed Alice and Alan to San Marcos to eat dinner (at an old college haunt, Grins!) and while we were there, they just casually mentioned that the day previous had been their wedding anniversary. I either said "Congratulations" or was about to when they confessed, "We both forgot about it until the evening."

Honestly? That's the kind of married person I want to be---to both forget the wedding anniversary and both be able to laugh about it.

They are good people I don't see nearly enough.

me kissing Sarah

Meet Sarah Webb, educator, poet, editor . . . not sure what all. She is in the current edition of The Blue Rock Review and she was at the release party for the new volume yesterday. I went to the party with the notion of maybe getting some literary kisses for my blog, but I admit I was feeling a bit shy. My multidisciplinary life sometimes leaves me unbalanced when I switch from my performance life to my writing life (or vice versa). It's hard to explain,

At the party, during the readings, editor Billy Crockett would call up three of us at a time. Sarah and I were in the same group. As I sat one bar stool over from Sarah and watched her read her poem, "St. Vitus Dance," I fell a little bit in love. She didn't just read it, she performed it. I guess it was some kind of affirmation that I was still among my people, in the right tribe.

She was the first person at the party I asked to kiss---even before all the people I knew well---and she broke the ice.

Look at that beautiful smile. I'm glad she was game to play along.

me kissing Blue Rock

Here's where I play with fire.

For the second year, I've had some writing published in The Blue Rock Review, a journal published by the Blue Rock Foundation. It's an annual journal (which, upon typing that, made me smile as I noted the roots of each word---word geek humor) and when they release each volume, they throw this great party to celebrate and read and sing and show art---all the sorts of things that I would count as a "great party."

Last year, I didn't have a kissing blog. This year . . .
So here I am kissing  three members of the editorial board. That's the dangerous part. It would be nice to be published there again---but you know, when they start looking at whatever piece of genius I'll send them next, they're going to remember this and go, "Yeah . . . no. He's just going to come to the party and start kissing everyone again."

But, hey, how many writers have wanted to kiss an editor? I just did it. No regrets.

I missed the other member of the editorial board who was there (and one was absent). So who knows? Maybe they'll be my advocates to get me in the next volume! ("Hey, I didn't get my kiss! We have to include him again!")*

Playing all angles . . .

In fairness, I sort of sprung this on them and I don't know these people very well. They even have actual careers and maybe they don't want to have me kissing them pop up in a web search on their name. So in sensitivity to that, I've decided to leave their names off these pictures, to lower their Google-ability.

I also invite them to leave a comment or email me at neilellisorts (at) yahoo (dot) com to tell me to tag them here. Because, you know, maybe they want to be known as being kissed by me. (Again, with the angles.)

All nonsense aside, I highly encourage you to visit the Blue Rock website and order a copy of the journal---even try one I'm not in! (It's not all about self-promotion!) It's a beautifully produced journal on every level, a labor of love by people who clearly want to have an ongoing conversation about creativity in all its expressions and permutations. Explore their page, order a couple of back issues, and enter the conversation.
* In case anyone misses it, I'm being silly. I've been doing this writing thing long enough to know that decisions about inclusion in anything is based upon any number of things, but getting a peck on the cheek is not one of them, one way or the other. Probably.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

me kissing Deborah

Hey look! I'm kissing Deborah Hay!

I first met Deborah over a decade ago while I was living in Austin, which is also where Deborah has lived for many years now. I took a workshop with her that she called "Dancing and Writing Together."

I have to be candid here. I sort of knew who she was, but not really. My grasp on dance history wasn't so great and I really was a bit befuddled by what I experienced in that workshop. (I did, however take it a second time!)

Without going into details, I sort of remember maybe being a little bit of a jerk in those workshops, especially the first go-round.

So, anyway, I leave Austin in 2001 to do graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago in Interdisciplinary Arts. The "Movement Images" class was taught by Nana Shineflug and Charlie Vernon, and a component of that class was dance history. It was that component of the class that changed my life (and is probably to blame for my become a sometimes dance writer).

It also really introduced me to the Judson Dance Theater. That class gave me a context for the aesthetic and practice of that movement of artists and gave me a retroactive context for the two workshops I experienced with Deborah.

And, to be honest, there are ways that my own preparation and practice for performance have been radically affected by those workshops.

So it's a joy to be able to spend this week of rehearsals and to perform with Deborah on Saturday. If you're reading this before October 13, 2012, do come out and see us in Richmond Hall---in Richmond Hall---performances at noon and 3:00pm.

me kissing Paul

Read the previous entry about me kissing Joanna to give this entry context.

But basically, this is Paul Smith. He and I are in Richmond Hall, the site specific performance by Deborah Hay. This is after rehearsal today. We are actually in the building that gives the performance the name. I love that skylight above us.

Paul has a resume in dance and performance, among other things, but he's also new to me, so here is that awkward moment when I admit I don't much much more to say about the person I'm kissing.

However, I do have this little fun fact: Deborah said one of the best meals she ever ate was prepared by Paul. So he cooks as well as performs. And very well, according to Deborah.