Hola, and welcome to The Cold Burg, where the wind chill is keeping everything down below zero.
That’s outside the coffee shop I’m sitting inside right now, though that picture was taken right before eight AM. The Pennsylvania capitol building is behind me, so you know I’m in Harrisburg–or I’m really good with picture editing.
Busy day yesterday with writing and video blogging, and this morning I have just over a thousand words out of the way to finish my latest scene, and I’ll do a couple more videos this afternoon once I’m back inside the warm confines of my apartment. But for now it’s time to bring my kids back into the fold and show a little of what Annie did for her part in the Ostara Celebration. It’s nice, you can bet.
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
There were two canvases before him: Kerry turned his attention to the one of the left first, partially out of habit, partially because it was the more colorful of the two. The painting depicted a girl in light blue pajamas floating in a field of gray mist surrounded by a variety of blues, reds, pinks, aquas, and yellows, hovering over three large crimson and violet spheres run through with tendrils of turquoise. The girl was herself surrounded by a small field of faint white, giving her the appearance of a corporeal ghost.
He didn’t need to think about the symbolism of this work. “That’s you dreamwalking, isn’t it?”
Annie grinned. “Did you noticed the title?”
He looked at the card on the stand, which was written in both the English and Cyrillic alphabets. “I don’t even want to try saying that. I’ll end up butchering the words.”
“It’s Na Povŭrkhnostta v Tsarstvoto na Sŭnishtata, which translates as Afloat in the Realm of Dreams.” She gave him a knowing look. “That’s me dreamwalking you.”
He continued examining the painting. “It’s beautiful.”
“I can’t wait to teach you—” She chuckled. “Though I need to become better before that can happen.”
“Just give it time.” He turned to the canvas on the right. “There’s no need to know what this one’s about—” The second painting showed him siting on his broom, outfitted in winter flying gear, kissing Annie, who hovered in mid-air just to his left. All around them was dark, though it was possible to make out the huge structure covering the entire space behind them. Unlike the last painting there was almost no color in this one: it was all blacks and grays, punctuated by the brightness of their faces, close together and locked in an deep, tender kiss.
If he had any doubt about the source of the painting, the title cast aside those doubts. “Night Flight to Fenway. I like that.”
“I like what’s going on.” Nadine stepped up to join them, replying to Kerry’s comment before Annie could speak. “You two.” A broad grin formed while she shook her head. “There’s no place you’ll do a PDA, is there?”
Annie grinned back at Nadine. “No. Why would you think otherwise?”
“I don’t. I think it’s sweet as hell, actually.” Nadine glanced between the two. “I’ll bet you’d kiss in your dreams if you could.”
The couple exchanged glances before Annie laughed while Kerry blushed. “Yes, we would.”
We now know Nadine approves of those public displays of affection, and she actually calls it a PDA, which given that today in my world it’s Valentine’s Day, though I never get to partake any PDAs of my own. Then again, Nadine’s a couple of years older, so the whole “Let’s lock lips” thing isn’t something to giggle over. Like a few others at Salem, romance is serious business with her.
Quickly we discover that Nadine isn’t there just to admire the artwork . . .
Nadine knew better than to dig any deeper into Annie’s cryptic comment. “Next year you’re gonna have to paint something that doesn’t have you two in flying gear.” She turned to Kerry. “Ready for the big night?”
“About as ready as I’m going to be.” The right side of his face turned up in a smirk. “I just hope the rhythm drummer can keep up with the lead tonight. He got it right during our dress last week, but—” He shrugged. “He’s blown the bridge a couple of times.”
Nadine turned to Annie. “That’s what he gets for using two drummers.”
Kerry pretended to be indigent. “That’s how the song was played live. Two drummers, no waiting–except for when Phil had to come down and sing.”
“The dude’s gotten it right for a few weeks now.” Nadine crossed her arms. “I don’t think you have any worries there.”
He nodded. “I only have to worry about the vocals now.”
“That was your choice.”
“You’ll do fine with the singing.” Having sat in on their dress rehearsal she didn’t need to question either person on the specifics of their performances. “It won’t be any more difficult than when you played and sang last year.”
Nadine nodded. “Just a longer song.”
“It was either Burning Rope or Cinema Show—” He chuckled. “I went with Burning Rope ‘cause I figured I had less of a chance of screwing up a seven minute song than a ten minute song.”
Annie nearly rolled her eyes. “You won’t screw up.”
“Annie’s right; you got this.” Nadine lowered her voice just a bit. “Though if you’d played the ten minute song Professor Ellison would have let me add another song to my set.”
“I think it would have been tough finding something to go with Cornflake Girl and Run.” Kerry looked around to see if anyone close by was listening to them. “And if you had played a third, people would think Ellison was giving us preferential treatment.”
“Which he sorta is seeing how you’re using the Quadra for your performance.”
“I didn’t expect that.” He pursed his lip for a moment. “Not that anyone other than us three know how important that instrument is in my song.”
Nadine shrugged. “Screw everyone else. I’m glad you’ll use it tonight.” She glance to Annie before turned back to Kerry. “I’m going to check my setup.”
“I’ll be along in about five minutes.”
She nodded to them both. “See you back stage.”
So there you have it: by Nadine showing up and talking a little musical shop, you learn what they’re playing during the Ostara Performance. Even though their songs are wildly different, they’re using two instruments are similar, so it kinda makes sense they’d work together up to a point.
Nadine’s playing Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos as her first song. Tori normally uses a Bösendorfer baby grand piano, which was the piano of choice of Franz Liszt as well of that for Queen, Peter Gabriel, and Roy Bittan. This is why the Yamaha P-255 is being employed, because Nadine wants a hard-core sound without requiring a baby grand on stage. Which she could totally do if she wanted–
Her second song is Run by Collective Soul. This song has more of a subdued feeling, and while the piano isn’t as prominent in this song, she’s employing the Mellotron M4000D for the string parts. It’s an interesting choice for her, as some people have referred to this as an indie song to which one can slow dance. And who knows: maybe a few kids will jump into the aisles and do just that during her performance.
No one is dancing to Kerry’s tune, however. As he indicated, he’s playing Burning Rope by Genesis, which is a seven minute song that was the longest tune on the album …And Then There Were Three… When this song was played live during the 1977-78 Mirrors Tour four different keyboard instruments were employed, and that’s what Kerry is doing with his performance. And being a pedantic little prog rock geek, he’s also asked for, and gotten, two drummers to play in his accompanying band. The reason for this is simple: back in the “old days” while Phil Collins would do all the drumming on the albums, they used another drummer for concert tours–in the case of the Mirrors Tour and all later tours, it was Chester Thompson. However, Phil not only sang in concert but also drummed on a number of songs, and whenever there was a long instrumental section he’s run back to the drum kit behind his section of the stage and join in the drumming.
This is why Kerry has two drummers: because that’s the way it was played. His lead drummer, however, isn’t coming down off her kit to sing: Kerry’s doing the vocals as well.
(I should point out that the “house band” being used by Nadine and Kerry–and the other students who require musical accompaniment–are all former students with extensive musical backgrounds. This will get a mention in the next scene. Are any of them famous? I’ll never tell . . .)
The video below is Burning Rope as recorded 13 October, 1978, at Chicago’s late, great Uptown Theater, and this is pretty much how it’ll sound when Kerry plays. This is taken off a broadcast from my favorite radio station back home, WXRT, which means this is mixed right off the band’s soundboard. The image in the video also shows Tony’s set up for the tour. The keyboards he’s “facing” are a Hammond T-102 organ with the ARP Quadra digital synthesizer sitting on top. The Quadra that Kerry is playing–and which is constantly mentioned in the scene–is the same one heard in this recording; it’s making that “Wha-wa-wa-WAAAAAA-wa” sound in the song intro. Kerry isn’t using an organ, but is employing the Akai MPK61 Midi Keyboard Controller to replicate an organ sound.
In the image the keyboards on the right of Tony are a Moog Polymoog 203a sitting atop a Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano, which was the standard for portable concert pianos back then. The Yamaha P-255 is used in place of the CP-70, and the Mellotron M4000D is used in place of the Polymoog 203a to produce the string sounds as well as an additional synth sound at the start of the mid-song bridge.
Have I put too much thought into this? No more than Kerry would. Hummm . . . it’s almost like we’re the same person.
There you have it. All you ever wanted to know about songs you’re never going to hear. But what about the paintings? Let’s get back to that . . .
Kerry turned back to Annie’s paintings. “Sorry about that.”
“Not your fault.” Annie took his hand. “It’s your time to shine as well.”
“My time comes later.” He pointed at the paintings. “This is your time, and we shouldn’t talk shop now.”
She loved that he was so apologetic. “You love my paintings?”
“They’re wonderful. Though I’m surprised you got the Fenway one out so quickly—”
“I started sketching it that night. Only took me two weeks to paint.”
“You’d could never tell. I love the difference between light—” He indicated the painting on the left. “—and dark.”
“Just wait until you see the dream realms with your own eyes.”
“Can’t wait.” He moved closer to the painting of them kissing. “I’ll never forget this moment.”
“Nor will I.” She held him close. “First time to show us kissing.”
“Like no one’s seen that.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “Though we do need a painting that doesn’t have us in flight gear.”
“Well . . .” She leaned in so she could whisper in his ear. “There was another dream scene I could have painted.” Annie giggled softly. “Then I’d have only needed to explain why we were under a comforter.”
Could you imagine Annie painting the scene of them in the hotel in their dreams? “Oh, this is a little something that happened to Kerry and I over the summer before we returned to school. The comforter? It’s there because we were naked under that–” Eyes bugging, blood squirting from noses–it would make for a hell of an Ostara presentation, that’s for sure.
The question arises, too: which painting does Kerry get? He got the Bulgarian back yard scene from last year, so will Annie give him the kissing picture this year since she already has one of them together? Or is going to give him the dreamscape painting? Do you think I’ll answer that question in the next scene, which is the last of Chapter Twenty-six?
Hummm . . . Yeah, I probably will at that. After all, Kerry wants to know as well, so someone’s gotta tell him.