> dream > home > biography > autobiography > chitty chitty bang bang kaleidoscopic calliope
< ./\. >
chitty chitty bang bang kaleidoscopic calliope

"The tightrope walker walks the wire...and beneath his feet: death wire death." Me performing The Tightrope Walker at the Poet's Monday. Cafe Melange, Milwaukee, 1992. (Note I am restricted by holding the remote control in my left hand while using a mic stand to leave my right hand free to gesture. This would soon change.) Photo: Doug Katerinos.


Upgrading To A Technology Trap At the Mic Stand

Inspired by Lourie Anderson, I upgraded his equipment with a slide projector, vocal processor, dual cassette players, and mixing board. It was a big investment at the time, but worth it, the equipment packed a huge theatrical punch.

Programing the vocal processor to work with foot-pedals, I could kick in and out of "Satan" and "space alien" voices at will. It was an awesome effect. The two cassette players and mixing board allowed me to cross-fade between music like a DJ, so music was always playing leaving no dead space in the show.

All this technology was great, but something did not feel right, holding the slide projector remote control in one hand meant using a mic stand to leave the other hand free to gesture with (see the picture above). I felt trapped by my own technology at the mic stand, something was not right, but I could not put my finger on it (literally).


The Widow-maker, my mighty effects processor stack: a Boss mixing board, Sony amp (from Carol), Yamaha SPX-90 II, and Alesis Quadraverb. The stack also included a two Nakamichi tape decks (not shown), On the bottom are cardboard storage compartments for the microphone, mixing board, cables, and the foot pedal platform in the forground. Fully loaded, the Widow-maker weighed about 70 lbs. and was a widow-maker, what a bitch to carry up stairs! Photo: Theodore J. Richter.


precious letter of discoragement


A precious letter of discoragement! (Click on pages to enlarge and read.) From Rusty R of the Madison poetry slam, February 1, 1993.

"In employing slide projections... the hand-drawn cartoons... It also appears that you've unwittingly limited your subject material and poetic voice to those images. I suspect you could make a more powerful presentation by cutting yourself loose from all of it."

Not bad advice actually, did I follow it? NOPE!


Great profile! But what's important is under my thumb: the multimedia microphone remote control. Photo: Superstars of Love's "Dirty Whore."


multimedia microphone remote control techno evolution


Setting up for a show at Walker's Point Center for the Arts I was behind schedule. I was pissed, he could not find a place to put the remote control, so without thinking I taped it to the microphone. Eureka! I could now get on the mic and work the remote control with the same hand! (It actually took me a minute to figure out I had just made a major innovation. I just staired at the mic, Duh! The problem was on my mind all this time, I just did not figure it out consciously.)

Just the week before, Bob Theno of Select Sound explained to me how gaffing tape worked, how you could use it over and over again to tape up equipment in different ways.

Unwittingly, I made an important breakthrough that day: "you are responsible for configuring your own equipment to work for you," not as defined by some AV Department. My techno evolution had begun. I constantly configured and re-configured my equipment, making it a comfortable and familiar extension of my own body. Like some hokey, homemade Chitty Chitty Bang Bang kaleidoscopic calliope, my goal was to play theatrical equipment like some grand musical instrument.


The multimedia microphone remote control at rest, snuggled between cassette tapes of bizarre sound effects and a cheap Boss mixing board from the 80s. Photo: Doug Krimmer.


Local photographer Doug Krimmer helped me convert my artwork to slides. Doug also took many of the performance pictures on this website, thanks Doug! The great people in your life help you make it to the next level, and squatting on a dusty floor, taking pictures of my artwork, Doug delivered the goods.


>> work in progress <<



Add Video. Why Not II video, The Tightrope Walker? Or Cafe Melange?

< ./\. >