Greetings, Lime Nation!
We’ve gotten many questions recently as to when new music will be forthcoming from the JP Lime camp and I’m glad to finally be able to answer thusly: soon. We are currently in the pre-production period, a part of our process alive with possibility, exciting in its potential. Each of the three emcees that make up the JPL trio works slightly differently in their writing process so over the coming weeks we’ll each bring pieces to the table – an idea to a particular type of beat, hooks and verses without attached music, concepts, thoughts, and themes for where our new material should go. As we engage in this collective process, here at #JPLMagazine we’ll be offering an inside look at how we create and collaborate to bring you the Lime-flavored brand of Hip Hop you’ve grown to love.
Today we’ll be taking a look inside my notebook, browsing a few of the verses I’ve been working on and maybe providing some level of insight into my artistic process. I am a writer through and through and I frequently face the struggle of continuing to move forward in the moment of lyrical inspiration versus reworking and editing. Often I am struck by verbal rhythms ahead of the words themselves so throughout my writing are blanks and placeholders, signified by [square brackets], spots to either fill or rework later based on the rhythm, syllables, and concept. Allowing my brain the time and space to find the perfect word or phrase yields far better results for me than forcing a choice to complete the line. These spaces can be anywhere from a syllable or two, to half or a full line, even to a couple bars if I know that something I’ve already written fits best at a certain place in the meter (as the beginning versus end of a four-bar measure, for instance).
Perhaps none of what I present below will find its way into our final product but that causes me no trepidation. It is fertile soil on which we now tread, something awesome is about to grow no matter what.
Most often I write having heard the beat first, drawing direct inspiration from its character and nuances. But this is not always the case and sometimes I’ll just begin a piece and attach notes on its tempo, such as the nearly complete verse below:
<somewhere around 90 bpm, can get up to 95>
Dependent on a wind blowing westward today The whims of my sin And my whiskey intake My urge and desire for another mind state I am burning the tires and fleeing today Onto a tomorrow that’s tipping my way All I hear is tick tock in my everyday But the tip of the iceberg is what you see and say There’s always another fate Awaiting in the wings And everything ends where another thing begins So pick a place to be Or make a sudden change No sense in sitting, waiting In the sunshine or rain Whether under [the weather]/[achieving] Or over [disdained] I am subject to the will of my bionic brain Got the verbal skills to bend But unwilling to break And I will not descend until I’ve made my stake
As we approach this next phase of the Lime I am eager to push our music in new directions, finding ways of expressing my own fascination with the strange, the offbeat, the alternative. The following 8 bars have no hook or other defined concept attached to them but I know how the track is supposed to feel.
Not but/Only philosophers and apothecaries have need to here apply We’re peeling back your epidermis to see just what’s inside What you’re made of, if you will What Truth you might provide What vile proof is in your root And what you can’t abide Not sounding like your cup of tea? Then be pleased to see the door Be sure to tip the barmaid And the man who keeps the score From the basement to the penthouse And on every single floor We play “Hotel California” So don’t dare ask for more
Say the name, MBTA aka Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and hear the sighs. Positive thinking has been replaced with resignation. We settle and acknowledge it is not a great system, but for many, it is the only way to travel.
Bicycles aren’t for everyone, cars need parking spaces, and we don’t want to repeat the grandparent’s stories about walking 20 miles in the snow to a one room schoolhouse. So we are stuck between that hard place and a rock.
But then again, we live in an era of “repurposing”; maybe we just need to take a step back and reassess. We can reframe reality and let the new narrative reveal itself to us.
The strength of the system has nothing to do with the ability to transport people. Rather, the system’s strength is in its ability to find money (aka generate income) by justifying contradictions. Think of the acronym MBTA as short hand for Multi Business Trans-Actions.
Check out the advertising in the train stations and on the trains. The advertising space goes to the highest bidder. One season, the trains are filled with advertising for services that deliver liquor to your home (on the up side there is always the possibility/hope that the number of drunk drivers and car accidents will decrease).
A season or two later, the trains and waiting platforms are plastered with (pun intended) posters promoting a treatment for alcohol and drug dependency.
The next round of advertising might be for science, school/family events, followed by ads recruiting kids for cool adventures, aka medical studies. It just takes my breath away just thinking about all that advertising in a relatively small, often cramped space holding a captive audience.
Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.
“So I’m working on a huge dance project if you’re interested. It’s all about speaking through dance. I’ve already had 70 dancers already participate. Think Humans of New York, but with dancers and in Boston. For this project, dancers pick a place with special meaning to them, wear whatever they want and I’ll meet them there.”
That’s the email I received from photographer Mickey West of Mickey West Photography after she took amazing photos at The Harvard Breakers’ Pandora’s Jam (http://oddballmagazine.com/2015/12/03/the-underground-garden-pandoras-jam/) in December of last year. Mickey West can freeze the freshness. Bear witness!!!
OF COURSE I said Yes! #1 It’s an honor and complete joy to be captured in natural bliss. #2 Did you see her pictures?! Mickey has been photographing dancers for this project since July 2015 and has 166 plus dancers involved. “The project is for the Honor College at UMass Boston where I am graduating with a dual degree in Communications and Art. The idea behind the project is to show that dance is a way of speaking. I was inspired by Humans of New York and Bosoma Dance Company. I loved hearing the stories of people in New York and I noticed how directors in Bosoma would speak about the world through their dancers. I used to be dancer myself before I came to college. Dance photography is a way of connecting me to the world of dance. And there’s something I love about being able to capture the still beautiful movement of dancers.”
Ms. Mickey West’s dance project/thesis, Dance Figuratively Speaking, will be exhibited Saturday, May 7 at Mass Motion Dance, 100 Holton Street, Boston beginning at 6:00 p.m.! “The exhibit is taking place at Mass Motion Dance in Boston because that’s where I graduated from in 2012, it’s where Bosoma trains, and what better place to have a dance photography show than in a dance studio.”
Food will be served and smiles will be revealed. You are cordially invited into the minds of Boston dancers as seen through the eye of Mickey West Photography. I hope you check out this wonderful project that has been given so much commitment and love. Dance indeed is a language. Thank You Mickey for allowing us to speak ours to your lens!
We Celebrate Mickey West’s DANCE FIGURATIAVELY SPEAKING next Saturday, May 7th! Congratulations Mickey!!
Liza Zayas is a lover of writing and dancing and celebrates both as a singer and songwriter performing as Luna del Flor. You can hear her collaborative sounds and experience life through her storytelling. She invites you to dance. Her poetry seeks to initiate dialogue by intentionally expressing consequences of love, lust, ego and self-respect.
At the Koffee Klatch the agenda items tick off until magically we come to May 1st
May day which Tina the Manna minister who speaks Spanish and English
with a British accent says is International Worker’s day and one of the oldest
if not the oldest coffee klatchers, a woman who lives in Dorchester someplace
between Shawmut and Ashmont stations says that May 1st is “Law day” and so
afterwards I ask her if they really still celebrate “Law Day” when all I can think
of is Stone Soup Poetry founder Jack Powers who every year would celebrate
May 1st as International Worker’s day and decry Labor Day as a capitalist roader
conspiracy to bury the very real history of the Haymarket General Strike that shut
down Chicago and large portion of industrial America demanding the 8 hour day
that eventually led to the 40 hour week. The police shot into the crowd killing
demonstrators and a few days later the strikers gathered to protest the killings
and someone threw a bomb into the crowd killing more demonstrators and a
policeman so, of course, they arrested the leaders of the movement and even though
some of them were not even there when the bomb was thrown they all were convicted
at a show trial and then sentenced to death. Three were hanged and one cheated
the hangman the night before by suicide. Three others were eventually pardoned.
This U.S. movement became the celebrated cause for the 8 hour day all over the world
and in 1890 the 1st International made that demand at a time when 12,14, even 19 hour
work days were common. Jack Powers always connected the Poetry readings at Stone
Soup to that movement yet as I talk to my Dorchester neighbor at the church Koffee
Klatch suddenly I’m struck because all the new jobs in the last economic recovery from
the last “Great Recession” are part time, fill-in, temporary and very, very contingent
and they make sure no one ever gets 40 hours a week or benefits much less time and
a half overtime or perish the thought double time and lo and behold the guys in green
eye shades have turned our May Day victory into labor days that never end, never end.
James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.
Toccata and fugue in d minor
bringing it back
bringing the darkness that covers my eyes
I am a proud product of that dark
not knowing the light
i was afraid of it
This is where is my jesus has found me
i can call him my own
i can call him my home
go forth to the rodeo my romeo
marry me my god
thy ear is thy heart
my eye is my lie
old for new and new for old
that church used to be a bank
that bank used to be a church
that church used to be a home
that home used to be a bank
that’s why they all want all of me
when i can get my wallet out
Andrew Borne is 2 Cups Poet 1 teaspoon Musician 1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/2 cup Absurdity 3/4 cup Chef 1 egg, beaten 2 1/3 cups Family Man. Mixed together and served raw. His column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.