Now, here is the story of DAVID WAX MUSEUM from Susan:
Over the past year I've been more and more interested in David Wax Museum, a wonderfully unique young band that combines the musical styles of American folk, Mexican son, and bits of bluegrass and the blues. I owe my awareness of this band to NPR, and in particular to Jim Blum, WKSU's disk jockey who plays folk music on weekends and is the head of Folk Alley, that broadcasts around the world on their web site and on HD radio.
Early this year I found the video "Yes, Maria, Yes," made by David Wax and Suz Slezak, the two main members of the band, with Joy French, a choreographer in Bounder, CO, who grew up in Columbia, Missouri with David Wax. She totally designed, videotaped, and edited the whole Maria video project, which is extremely visual and intriguing. It has a plot that you can only guess at, and between that and the colors and the song itself, I decided to make this video be what I would use to illustrate this band.
On April 29 I randomly drew a tarot card, to see what would be my next piece's place in my Kitchen Tarot deck, and I thought about the David Wax Museum as I shuffled the cards, before picking one that attracted me. I got the 3 of Coins, which on first sight to me, is about harmony and prosperity. When I read Monicka Clio Sakki's interpretation, I was amazed at how this card fits this band. Here are a few of the things she wrote about the 3 of Coins (which in my deck is Potholders.)
"Three of Coins: Mars in Capricorn. Combining principles. Dignity. Putting things together with mastery. Making things happen. This person has created something beautiful and worthy, using advanced skills and intelligence, but he did not do it alone. For an achievement of this magnitude, a team effort was needed. He has exchanged ideas, shared knowledge, and mastered his craft with the support and encouragement of other professionals. This is the case of an artist who dares to act beyond his own "bubble." His dedication to his field now brings him recognition and pride, as his efforts are appreciated. This sort of achievement happens over time, demanding the development of unique abilities and the honing of skills. Each talent is essential, but combining them is what makes big things possible."
I rest my case! This IS the David Wax Museum!
I made a lot of sketches while watching the Maria video, but I was unhappy that there wasn't a strong composition - just a bunch of figures floating around. I knew it needed more, but what?? The next morning I woke up knowing! I needed to add a MUSEUM! I made one more little sketch, using a simple house shape, but making the sides of the structure be pillars, worthy of a fancy greco-roman museum front! I put the band inside the museum, put the twirling dancers around the band, and Maria herself in the bottom middle, flailing around in her chair, just like in the video.
Suz Slezak plays a quijade, a donkey jawbone (besides playing beautifully on the fiddle,) and there is a song David wrote called "Donkey in my Soul." So I put a donkey on the museum roof. And the band had recently bought a new Ford extended band, and after an online contest, they chose a name for the van, from what their fans had suggested. It became El Burro Blanco. I added the van and its story to the last empty spot at the bottom left corner of the piece.
The three potholders are the large yellow circles around the largest of the dancers. In regular tarot cards, coins or discs or pentacles are usually shown as yellow circles, so my potholders are much like that. I even gave them potholder loops for hanging.
In the video the dancers fling tickets - train tickets? - into the air at the end. When I put the tickets into my sky here, I made them green, so they can be success and prosperity coming now to the band in plenty. They are the hardest working people I know, and yet they have excited, happy smiles on their faces! I know they love what they're doing!
Now, about the stories:
Of course the main stories are about the band: How they formed in 2007 when David and Suz met in Boston, after they'd both gone through college and long research fellowships; that they're working on their fourth album now and in the middle of another of their long concert tours; how they started playing at the Newport Folk Festival in 2010, because they won a contest to be able to play there. I also told about their unique backgrounds: David got into Mexican culture by visiting Mexico during the summers, while attending a college in Southern California, got his degree from Harvard, and then had a year long fellowship to study music and culture in Mexico, and so starting to synthesize American and Mexican folk music. Suz was home schooled by her father in Charlottesville, VA, and learned folk, bluegrass, and classical music, with an emphasis on fiddle. She graduated from Wellesley College, then had a yearlong fellowship to travel the world, studying textiles, before she and David both showed up in Boston and realized how much they had in common. He talked her into learning to play the Veracruz donkey jawbone, as one of her contributions to his new band, and she added incredibly tight harmonies to his singing. At that point, the world began to bloom more vividly!
Sometimes the band is just the two of them, like when Jimmy and I got to see them this May 23 in Cleveland, at the Beachland Tavern,where they surprisingly filled the room with their songs and energy. But this band has more musicians on its records, because of the other members who seem to come and go. They include Jordan Wax, David's cousin, on accordion; Michael Roberts on upright bass and electric guitar; Greg Glassman on cajon and leona; and Jiro Kokubu on mandolin and dobro. David plays acoustic guitar and the jarana janocho, an 8 stringed, small guitar-like instrument from Veracruz.
I put this Spring's concert tour schedule on the pillars of the museum in my painting, and I included many reviews of the band in my stories.
Here are some of the non-band stories I wrote about on the piece: 5-17-12. After yoga we did our annual event of putting thick pads of newspapers and straw on the walking rows of our Rainbow Garden. 5-19-12 Eva's horse I'll Have Another won the Preakness today, having won the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. 5-20 Son-in-law Mike runs the Cleveland Marathon today! 5-21 President Obama endorsed same sex marriage earlier this month! 5-22 First ever non-government flight to the International Space Station, of Space X's Dragon capsule. Also the 1 year anniversary of the Joplin, MO tornado. Prez Obama spoke at the high school graduation there this year!
5-23 First free elections for President in Egypt today and tomorrow. Sir Jony Ive, head designer for Apple computers, was knighted today! I saw pix of Apple's new huge spaceship-looking building plans today, too. 5-26 Jimmy's half birthday is today. I'm starting to plant the seedlings from my peat pots - Cleomes today! The Rock Hall in Cleveland unveils 60 new art guitars today: 10 foot tall Stratocasters, all to be sold for charity this Fall. 5-28 Took Libby with us to a Memorial Day picnic at Vikki's in Loudonville today. 5-30 Saw Rev Howard Finster's art show at the Akron Art Museum today with Sharon and Rene. 5-29 Prez Obama gives 13 Presidential Medals of Freedom - one to Bob Dylan. 5-31 Dragon capsule splashes down, successfully completing its 9 day mission. Commercial space flight is born!
6-3 George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin in Florida on Feb. 26, is sent back to jail, after it becomes clear that he lied to the court, concealing that he still had a second valid passport and a lot of money, while he was allowed to be out on bail, before his murder trial. I'm still planting seedlings and seeds like crazy. June 3-5 Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebration in London, including a 1,000 vessel flotilla on the River Thames. 6-5 The rare Venus Transit! Eclipse of Venus. This happens in pairs, 8 years apart, with over 100 years between the pairs. In the 1700s they used the Venus Transit to make the first accurate measurement of the Solar System.
6-5 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wins the recall election that liberals and union workers had hoped would remove him from office. A good day for the Tea Party, a bad day for the middle class and liberals like me. The Greek and Spanish economies are a huge drag on the European Union, and everyone has different opinions on how to fix them up, before they drag the whole world into depression. I'm going to Spain July 2 to 12, so hope things stabilize! I want lots of students and for people to come see my solo show at INTERQUILT 2012 in Girona! Jennifer Wax sent me David and Suz's birth information, so now I've made their astrology charts, which won't fit on the front of my piece. I put their planets on Suz's dress and the charts on the back of the piece. 6-7 David Wax Museum plays New Orleans for the first time! And NPR premiered the DWM mini-documentary about their March, 2012 trip to Shanghai as cultural ambassadors at Shanghai University. It's really a good film!
6-11 Eva is here now for this week, and her cousin Olivia will be here tonight through Wednesday. Wild times at Turtle Moon! Now that this piece is all done, I'll be doing a lot of little projects I think, until I get home from that trip to Spain. Then the next big piece will be my Quilt National '13 entry, which I can't show online til it gets rejected or til the show opens, if it gets accepted. Meanwhile, I can talk about it, but not show images!
With finishing this piece, I'm now exactly half way through making my 78 card Kitchen Tarot deck, which I began in 1998! You can buy the first 22 cards, the Major Arcana of the Kitchen Tarot, with its guidebook by Dennis Fairchild, but we really hope to publish the full 78 card deck, after I finish it around 2022!
This David Wax Museum piece will be hard to follow, as it's been a real joy to do research for and a super treat to get to meet David and Suz, when they came to see the painting, partly made, on May 23. Wonderful people, stunning music and talent! Long may you run.