Does Your House Have Lions?

"One day in the late sixties, I was on the phone with Rahsaan and mentioned to him that just that day I bought a house.
He responded by asking, "Does your house have lions?"
I said, "What?"
He said, "Lions, you know like in front of a museum or the post office. You know, concrete lions. My house has lions. Get a house with lions."

--Joel Dorn

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Geoff Dyer at the Texas Book Festival

Yay!  I get to sneak out to the Texas Book Festival this weekend.  It's a great event--hundreds of authors gathered at the state capitol giving readings and signing books.  Geoff Dyer, who wrote the gorgeous, incredible jazz-inspired book, "But Beautiful" is going to be there and I hope to catch him.  Here's a passage from it:

"He arranged everything and then blew, blew, blew--one arm squirreling up and down the keys, the other hanging limp at his side, dangling there like something irrelevant, heaving and puffing like he was trying to keep death itself at bay....A blind man who had risen from the dead.  Watching him, Mingus felt the red ice of his blood tingle in numb hands."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dog Years in the Fourth Ring

I came across this box set earlier today and it brought back a flood of memories.

It's a collection of Rah's music that Joel Dorn issued posthumously on his indie record label, 32 jazz.  It's a 3 cd set and the first two discs are from live performances.  The third disc is Rahsaan's only solo album, "Natural Black Inventions:  Root Strata"--a work that refuses to age and only gets better and better with each new listen.  It deserves its own blog post, and as a matter of fact, I have been threatening to write an essay about it because I love it SO DARN MUCH.

But the beautiful flashback I had when I pulled this album off the shelf today has to do with the first track on the first album.  It's called "Box Tops and Whistling Rings" and it's just a 19-second intro. for the music, but why it matters so much to me is that it's from an interview I did with one of Rah's childhood buddies.

I had recently flown back from Columbus to New Jersey (where I was living at the time), and went to the city one day to meet with Joel.  I played him a section of the interview and he flipped for it and marched me back to his office (we were having lunch) so he could make a copy of it.  It's a story about Rahsaan, as an 8 year old collecting the box tops off of cereal boxes so he could get the prize:  a whistling ring.

His music was truly always with him.

Bright Moments always,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What song have you been listening to lately?

This week I've been playing "Salvation and Reminiscing" a ton.  I think it's a masterpiece and would love, one day, to hear it performed by a full-piece orchestra.  How rad would that be?

Things have been quiet over here in blogland so I thought I'd check in and give everyone an update.  Since I got back from Rahsaan's birthday celebration in San Jose, I've been writing, writing, and more writing.  Writing as much as possible every week, trying to close in on this latest draft.

How about you guys?  What have you been up to?  And yes, what music of Rah's have you been listening to lately?  X & O and Bright Moments always,


Friday, July 26, 2013

A Visit from Dorthaan

Yesterday was marvelous!  Dorthaan is in Houston at the moment visiting family, and she decided to make the drive to Austin to be with us for the day and to meet baby Johnny.
It was broiling outside, but not too hot for the deck in my backyard.  Dorthaan ALWAYS looks impeccable and yesterday was no different. Of course she and baby Johnny really hit it off and he loved finally getting to meet "Nana Kirk."
After a few hours of catching up we all went to dinner at The Salt Lick BBQ, the restaurant where my husband, Chuck works.  I've been telling Dorthaan about it forever but we've never had the chance to go until yesterday. 
Of course the food was fabulous and everybody ate too much--ribs, chicken, sausage, turkey, brisket, chopped brisket, the best slaw ever, beans and potatoes--but it was so worth it.

Best of all, when it was time for them to head back to Houston, we really didn't have to say goodbye!  Dorthaan and I will be meeting up in just two weeks to celebrate Rahsaan's birthday in San Jose!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Press Release for Rahsaan's Birthday Tribute

Contact:  Maxwell Borkenhagen   408 386-7165 
     Steve Borkenhagen  408 813-5984

 “A Rahsaan Roland Kirk Tribute Week”
Friday August 2--Sunday August 11, 2013

San Jose, CA—July 15, 2013—Cafe Stritch, formerly Eulipia Restaurant in San Jose, continues its heritage of presenting first-rate jazz by presenting a five-day tribute to the great Rahsaan Roland Kirk.  In addition to three nights of performances by trombonist Steve Turre, one of the world’s pre-eminent jazz innovators, the week’s activities include a number of diverse activities revolving around Rahsaan’s life and work.  Betty Neals will be performing her legendary ‘Theme for the Eulipions” poem with Steve Turre’s group.
Kirk’s “Theme for the Eulipions” gave Eulipia its name in 1977, and the restaurant’s owners, and now their children, who own Cafe Stritch, carry on the tradition of reverence for the jazz of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Trombonist Steve Turre, who played for many years with Kirk, will be playing as part of a sextet at Cafe Stritch on August 8, 9, and 10 and Kirk’s widow Dorthaan will attend all of the activities during the five day tribute in honor of her late husband.  Many friends of the late great jazzman will participate in the festivities.  The first-rate band includes Matt Clark on piano, Howard Wiley on tenor sax, Charles McNeal on alto sax, Marcus Shelby on bass, and Darrell Green on drums.

No Walls Between Us, an exhibit of Kathy Sloane’s powerful, atmospheric portraits of jazz greats will be presented throughout the cafe with an artist’s reception being held on Saturday August 10 from 3:00PM to 6:00PM.  Drawn in part from her acclaimed book Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club, the exhibit also includes jazz photos from her 30-year career.

The schedule of activities appears below:
Friday August 2 – Sunday September 29:  No Walls Between Us: an exhibit of jazz photographs by Kathy Sloane.
Wednesday August 7 at 6pm: Birthday Party for Rahsaan featuring live jazz, a panel discussion with Dorthaan Kirk, Steve Turre, Betty Neals, and others, along with a screening of Adam Kahan’s Rahsaan documentary “The Case of the Three Sided Dream”. (No admission will be charged for any activities on August 7)
Thursday August 8, Friday August 9, and Saturday August 10 at 8pm: Rahsaan Tribute Sextet Featuring Steve Turre performing two sets each night with special guest Betty Neals performing her iconic “Theme for the Eulipions”.  Tickets available for $15 at
Saturday August 10 from 3pm to 6pm: Artist’s reception for No Walls Between Us: an exhibit of jazz photographs by Kathy Sloane. 
Sunday August 11 at 6pm:  The Eulipions, Cafe Stritch’s house jazz collective pays tribute to Rahsaan.

About Café Stritch:
Opened in March, 2013, Cafe Stritch was named for an iconic saxophone used by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the jazz great whose “Theme for the Eulipions,” gave rise to the name Eulipia, the white tablecloth restaurant and jazz club that preceded Cafe Stritch in the same location: 374 South First Street, San Jose, CA. (408) 280-6161.  Cafe Stritch features affordable food offerings such as fried chicken and waffles, hamburger sliders, jambalaya, salads, sandwiches and a variety of house-made soups. It offers a full bar including craft beers, Chromatic coffee and live music.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jazzmen to be honored

"Central Ohio jazz luminaries Rusty Bryant and Rahsaan Roland Kirk will be inducted into the Lincoln Theatre Walk of Fame next week in a free public ceremony.

The Walk of Fame at the theater, 769 E. Long St., honors Columbus natives who have made major contributions through their careers.Bryant, a saxophonist, had an R&B hit in the 1950s with All Night Long as well as several popular albums. He died in 1991.

Kirk — also a saxophonist, blind since age 2 — was known for using circular breathing, a technique that enabled him to take fewer pauses for breaths. He died in 1977.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. July 27. For more information, visit"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rah's b-day party...

I'm so excited about this  (Rahsaan's 75th b-day tribute at Cafe Stritch in San Jose), and admittedly, even more so because I WILL GET TO WEAR A JACKET IN AUGUST!  Yes, it was 102 here in Austin yesterday.  But mainly, I'm looking forward to hanging out with Dorthaan and celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime, left-us-too-soon genius!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rahsaan's Birthday Party!

A new jazz club just opened up in San Jose called "Cafe Stritch" (in honor of Rahsaan), and the owners are throwing Rah a weeklong b-day bash this year.  Things kick off on August 7th with former band mate, Steve Turre performing.  Dorthaan will be in attendance and I just found out that I'm going to be able to make it out there!

Here's their fb page:

I'll be posting more details as they develop.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Exciting News!

I found out some great news this week:  "The Man Who Cried Fire", my book-in-progress about Rahsaan, has been named a finalist for the Writer's League of Texas 2013 manuscript contest.  Winners will be announced in early June.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me! XO