Nonfiction Prize

I was delighted to learn a few weeks ago that my essay, “A Man Down There,” has won the Dorothy Cappon Prize in Nonfiction from the journal New Letters. This piece is about my father, Narven, who killed a man in a hunting accident just before I was born. Not just any man: the founder of our town! I’d been trying for years to find a shape for Dad’s story and my discovery of it when I was a teenager. I’m really gratified, but as any writer will tell you, there were a lot of renditions and rejections along the way!

Here’s a link to the announcement.

Amour Fou: Shades of Love in Film Noir

Cold Spring Jazz Quartet Presents a Valentine’s Day Special Event
“Amour Fou: Shades of Love in Film Noir.”

Ida at Piano in Road HouseFor almost twenty years CSJQ has been treating Baltimore-Washington audiences to their signature blend of current, classic and cool jazz. The emphasis for this evening, however, is on the classic, as CSJQ presents an evening of love songs associated with the films noir of the 1940s and ‘50s. “Amour Fou” highlights the many shades of love, from bliss to blues, rhapsodies to red wagons.

Noir films were crime stories, but most were also tales of amour fou (crazy love): the detective who falls for a dead woman; women who love too easily; men who can’t be trusted. A few even showed how wonderful love can be. In this show CSJQ plays classics such as “I’ll Remember April” (from Phantom Lady), “Stella by Starlight” (The Uninvited), “I Hear a Rhapsody” (Clash by Night), “Your Red Wagon” (They Live by Night), “Never Let Me Go” (The Scarlet Hour) and “One for My Baby” (Road House), as well as the title themes from Laura, Body and Soul, Kiss Me Deadly, and others. Along with this evocative, romantic jazz, the show features clips from the movies and introductions by CSJQ saxophonist and vocalist Mark Osteen—author of Nightmare Alley: Film Noir and the American Dream.

This dazzling, unique multi-media event is sure to delight jazz aficionados, classic movie fans and anyone who has ever been in love.

Germano’s Piattini
300 S. High St., Baltimore
Friday, February 12th, 7:30-10 pm

Visiting BYU This Week

I’m excited about my upcoming visit to Brigham Young University, where I’ll be giving a talk on jazz in classic film noir. After that we’ll visit the Herman Leonard jazz photography exhibit. Should be fun!

The photo is of the fabulous actress and director Ida Lupino in Road House, where she sings a mean rendition of “One for My Baby.”

Ida at Piano in Road House

CSJQ Presents “Passions of a Man: The Music of Charles Mingus”

MingusIn this show, Cold Spring Jazz Quartet showcases the full range of Charles Mingus’s work, punctuating the selections with humorous, informative stories about the man and his music.

Virtuoso bassist, innovative bandleader, composer of genius and legendary jazz character, Charles Mingus was a man driven by many passions. His music is as varied and passionate as his personality, embracing everything from joyous gospel (“Better Get Hit in Your Soul”) and a myriad of blues, all the way to quasi-classical suites like “Sue’s Changes,” political commentaries such as “Fables of Faubus,” and tender tributes to his musical heroes (“Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love,” “Reincarnation of a Lovebird”). We’ll also present vocal versions of some tunes, featuring lyrics by luminaries like Joni Mitchell (“The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines”), Elvis Costello (“Jelly Roll”), Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (“Devil Blues”) and Mingus himself.

If you haven’t been officially introduced to this amazing jazz artist’s work, or if you’re already a Mingus maven, this is your chance to celebrate his music. Come on out, tap your feet, clap your hands, and feed your brain!
October 16th, 2015 7:30-9:30
Germano’s Piattini
300 S. High St.
Tickets: 410-752-4515 or visit ticket source.