Guest Author sessions
Next session: Margo Lanagan
Nov. 28 - Dec. 5

Guest Author sessions are hosted by novelist Marianne de Pierres.
Every month, settle in for a freewheeling Q & A session with some of your favorite authors.

Get valuable advice and encouragement from some of the best writers around; participating authors have generously agreed to take time away from their writing to answer questions, and share what worked for them. For free.

Need reliable writing advice? This is the place to find it. We'll save you a seat...

Welcome to the online Guest Author sessions -- just add coffee.
Class is now in session with: Margo Lanagan: Nov. 28 - Dec. 5
Go there: Torley's

Bio: Margo Lanagan has published poetry, YA novels and short stories for science fiction, fantasy and horror fans. Her books have been Aurealis Award winners, and been shortlisted for the Ditmar Awards and the New South Wales and Queensland Premier's Literary Awards.

Her short-story collection "Black Juice" won a Victorian Premier's Literary Award, and stories from previous collection, "White Time," were selected for inclusion in several Year's Best (and in one case, half-century's best) anthologies. Lanagan lives in Sydney, Australia.

About the host: Marianne de Pierres is the author of the Parrish Plessis series. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies alongside works by Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Jack Williamson and Terry Dowling.

Find additional books/writers content in the DEC/JAN issue of "Arte Six."

Writers Bloc series
Featured columnist: Lissa Warren
"Secrets of a Publicist"

Here's the deal -- sure, the publicity department is supposed to be pushing your book -- but they're also working on about 50 other releases.

Now what? You grab a coffee and flip through the morning paper, fuming to yourself about publicity's utter lack of interest in your latest chef-d'oeuvre. Which is kind of a waste. Because a fantastic opp to publicize your book is right there under your nose (see secret #4).

When I'm working on a book and it just isn't getting coverage, there are certain steps I take, and certain steps I ask my authors to take.

Here are ten of them:

1. Honestly assess your book's media potential.

Has it been done before? Is there lots of competition? While you're at it, assess your own media potential.

Are you regarded as an expert in your field? If yours is a science book, are you a scientist? If yours is a book about medicine, are you a doctor?

If yours is a business book, are you a CEO at a big corporation? If not, you're likely to find it hard to get interviews. A writer does not an expert make - unless, of course, it's a book about writing.

Could you be overexposed? Could your topic be overexposed? If you've written a book about dot coms or Enron, or a book about boys or mean girls, you're bound to find it a bit of a tough go.

But remember, media isn't the only way to make people notice your book.

2. Write an op-ed tied to your book.

When it runs, send it out to all of the broadcast media you've been targeting.

3. Try to get interviewed for something other than your book.

Not having any luck getting the media to talk with you about your title? See if you can interest them in speaking with you about another topic.

For example, if your book focuses on how to lose weight, see if you can get your local paper to do a piece about your award-winning sugar cookies. Tell them about the irony so that they give a nod to your book.

Or, if your book is about your memories of high school football but it's baseball season, try to get a sports radio station to have you on to talk about the joys of high school

4. Go read the newspaper or listen to NPR.

Try to find current events to which you can gear your pitch.

If your book is about job-interview techniques and the latest unemployment figures just came out (and have risen), you've got a new hook.

If your book is a guide to Atlanta and it's about to be named a top-ten city, call up USA Today's "Destinations & Diversions" section and ask whether they want to interview you for a sidebar to run alongside the rankings.

5. Look for other books on the same topic as yours.

Two books equal a trend, and reporters love to do trend pieces. For example, in the spring of 2002, we published a book called "Linked: The New Science of Networks."

Around the same time, Norton published another book about networks, "Nexus."

By calling this to the attention of science reporters, we were able to get more coverage than we could have gotten with our book alone.

Another example: In June of 2002, the "New York Times" ran a big piece about perimenopause that included a bunch of books on the subject along with info on various estrogen supplements.

6. Take a long, hard look at your press material.

Is it too hypey? Does it seem outdated in the light of current events? If it's skewed heavily to one section of your book, could you redo it to skew to another section in which the media might take more interest?

It's also important to get someone else's take on your press material.

While it's true that no one knows your book -- or you -- the way you do, it's important to get feedback that provides outside perspective.

7. Assess whether you're targeting the right kind of media.

Are you going for media that's too highbrow (or lowbrow) for your book? Are you wasting time trying to get reviews in major-market papers?

(If your book is self-help, health, parenting, new-age, or very technical, the answer is probably "yes"; but don't lose heart -- those kinds of books are great for off-the-book-page coverage.)

Are you focusing on long-lead time magazines after your book is already out?
If so, it's probably too late for them; go for the weekly mags instead.

Be honest with yourself: Do you have the right "sound" for radio? The right "look" for TV?

8. Look for new media outlets to approach, especially in your city.

* For instance, have you exhausted the following local affiliates: NPR, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox?

* Have you tried the alumni magazine for your college and your grad school? Have you tried your hometown paper for a "local boy makes good" article?

* Have you tried all the magazines to which you subscribe?

* To get more ideas, have you gone to a newsstand?

* Have you approached the websites you surf on a regular basis?

* What about the drive-time shows on your local FM and AM stations? To find them, just go to Google.com and type in the name of your city with the word "radio" next to it.

9. Evaluate the way you're approaching the media.

Are your emails not getting answered?
Try phoning the media instead.

Are your phone messages being ignored?
Try emailing or faxing.

10. Determine whether you're using all your ammo.

* Are you including quotes from your reviews and copies of other coverage?

* Are they presented in an impressive way (in a folder or in color)?

* Does your bio list the shows you've done and the groups for which you've spoken?

* If you're touring, does it clearly state the venues where you're speaking so that each city's media know there's a local hook?

Any one of these ten steps can help you save your book, and help you get it the attention it deserves.

Like all of the tips in "The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity," they're meant to encourage you to think like the pros.

But the most important thing is to keep a positive attitude. You are, after all, a published author; you've already accomplished what very few have done. Good luck as you embark on this journey. May it be meaningful, and fun.

Bio: Lissa Warren has worked in the publicity department of several prestigious Boston publishing houses including David R. Godine, Houghton Mifflin, and Perseus Publishing, and is currently Senior Director of Publicity at Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

About this book: Excerpted from "The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity" by Lissa Warren. Copyright © 2004 by Lissa Warren and published by Carroll & Graf Publishers, an imprint of the Avalon Publishing Group. Used with permission.

"Seven questions NOT to ask your publicist"
Read it here.

Find additional books/writers content in the DEC/JAN issue of "Arte Six."
Original post date: "Arte Six," JULY 2004


LIVES: Patty Wagstaff, stunt pilot
"Fly Girl"

I think that sometimes things choose you, rather than you choosing them.

I didn't know anything about stunt flying or aerobatics while I was growing up in Japan. My father was an airline captain. My sister is also an airline captain. They both influenced me to fly, but growing up, my parents told me that girls didn't become pilots, that I would just become a wife and mother.

My dad had books on flying -- airplane manuals that I used to love to read. I always offered to quiz him when he had a checkride coming up. I read his aviation novels. I had airplane posters on my wall.

Airplanes always represented freedom and escape, adventure. But in Japan there weren't any airshows and very little "general aviation" (small craft aviation).

Years later, I was living in Alaska and taking flying lessons from my ex-husband and other instructors.

I'd never seen aerobatics, just heard about them. Living in Alaska, there wasn't much chance for exposure to them, so we traveled to the states (in Alaska they call it the ‘Lower 48’) and went to an airshow, then to an aerobatic competition.

Photo: Charles Stites

I remember watching the airshow in complete amazement. I watched the best pilots at the aerobatic competition and thought, "I can do that! I can do that, I can be one of them -- and that's where I belong."

I went back to Alaska, took aerobatic lessons and one thing led to another. I flew my first airshow in May of 1984 and flew in a contest in August of 1984, after flying my little airplane from Alaska to Wisconsin.

I think that by becoming a stunt pilot I was fulfilling and living my destiny. There were a series of things that brought me to the place where I could actually fly, learn aerobatics and continue with aerobatics. I always felt that whatever I was doing at the time would lead me to the right place eventually.

I particularly like the precision of aerobatics. I like flying a perfect loop, a perfect hammerhead -- a perfect maneuver.

I do all the maneuvers -- torque rolls (rolling and sliding backwards at the same time), lomcevaks (tumbling end over end), etc., but my biggest interest is doing some of the more simple-looking maneuvers with perfection.

I think I've always chosen activities (like jumping horses, competition aerobatics, etc.) that give you the most freedom, within the most disciplined structure. Only through great discipline can you achieve that freedom. Ironic, isn't it?


Staying in good physical condition is very important and makes you better at anything you do. Aerobatics specifically demands a lot of training to keep your G-tolerance up. During an airshow routine I pull up to l0 positive Gs and 8 negative Gs.

The Gs are very hard on your body and you have to condition yourself to them. I take a couple of months off in the winter, but when I start up again in early March it takes me several months to get in top condition again.

Photo: Jeff Berlin

When you're in top condition, you can't take off more than a week or two before losing a lot of G-tolerance. You have to fly almost daily during the airshow season when you are doing really hardcore aerobatics. I also work out, go to the gym, swim and ride horses.

You can never forget that you have to be very focused before flying an airshow or performing a stunt. You have to take it very seriously and never be complacent, and that requires mental focus and concentration.

There have been studies done on aerobatic pilots. They are detail-oriented, extroverted introverts in general. They have good hand-eye coordination, the ability to focus and the need for excitement and challenge in their lives. And, yes, the ability to act under pressure and, in fact, excel under pressure.

The most difficult part of competition in any sport is presence of mind and mental control. Keeping your head together under pressure is what separates the winners from the losers.


Flying in formation is not difficult, but it does take specialized skill. However, flying in close proximity to another airplane adds an element of danger that makes it extremely important to brief and prepare well on the ground and follow those rules while in the air.

If you can’t trust your "wingman," then you shouldn't be flying close to them in the air. Flying in formation takes a great deal of trust, skill and preparation.

Flying an airshow performance, aerobatic competition, or a stunt requires a great deal of team effort. I rely on my crew chief and mechanic to make sure the airplane is in top condition (and of course I check it over, myself).

I have to make sure that the fuel is not contaminated beforehand. I have to make sure my engine builder knows how hard I'm going to fly the airplane. I also have to rely on people on the ground to keep the airspace sterile while I'm flying.

However, final responsibility always comes down to the "pilot in command." It is the pilot who has to make sure the team operates correctly.


I have a two page checklist that I use to check everything from the aileron attach points, landing gear, general airplane condition, oil and fuel quantity.

In addition, I wear a parachute and have to make sure it's in "re-packing" date. We have to have them re-packed every l20 days.

Airshow coordinators generally know what's going on. The good airshows have a professional "air boss" who handles all the logistics for the performer, gives them clearance to take off and keeps the airspace sterile while they are flying.

Usually you plan your takeoffs, but there are times you have to fly earlier than scheduled due to someone else's airplane breaking, an accident, or something like that.

I've had to make a few emergency landings as well...so yes, you have to prepare for any eventuality.

I've had to fly early because someone had crashed. It's difficult flying over the wreckage of an airplane when you knew the pilot.


Like anything different, people consider being a stunt pilot very
"glamorous". At times it is, but at times it's work, just like anything else.

Being on the road, traveling, away from home, in mediocre hotel rooms, etc. can get really old and depressing. It's not all fun and games and can be exhausting.

But flying gives you freedom. I've never felt bored flying, and it's always been a challenge. When flying, I've never felt that I've wasted my time.

Photo: Budd Davisson

I’ve been involved with stunts for "Drop Zone," "Up Close & Personal," "Lois and Clark," "Discovery Wings," The Learning Channel, ESPN, Speedvision, and lots of others.

In stunt flying for movies and television, there are a number of things a pilot can be asked to do.

A fixed wing (as opposed to helicopter pilot) can be asked to do low-level aerobatics, land on top of a truck, land on a road, fly under a bridge, crash an airplane, make the airplane look out of control.

A helicopter pilot will either be a "photo platform," or be used in an action sequence during a movie.

Watch "The Italian Job" for a great action sequence with a helicopter in it. The sequence was actually filmed by another helicopter.

There are certainly risks involved, but those risks can be minimized. Most pilots will tell you that we don't consider any of it particularly dangerous, if flown within the limitations of the equipment and the skill level of the pilot.

As a woman, you have to work even harder to appear professional. I've worked very hard at that. A lot of people watching me fly think it's a man in the cockpit. When I land and get out, they’re surprised [that the pilot is a woman].

Some of the maneuvers I perform are the inverted ribbon cut, torque rolls and lomcevaks, snap rolls, rolls, avalanches and tumbling cartwheels.

I really enjoy performing the inverted ribbon cut. This is where I have a ribbon stretched across two poles that are 22 feet high. People hold the poles up and I fly upside down and cut the ribbon with my propeller.

I try to keep my 12-minute airshow routine rocking and rolling, moving fast during the entire time so I don't "lose" the spectators, and keep them excited the whole time, from take off to landing.

I travel at least l00-plus days a year. I've flown in some wonderful and exotic places -- Argentina, Russia, Hungary, Kenya and, recently, in Iceland.

I took off to fly an airshow in Rekyavik and looked down at a geyser shooting straight up at me. The most difficult conditions have been on film sets (flying skydivers off narrow runways in turbine aircraft, etc.)

None of it has been scary, but I have to admit I've gotten lower than I've intended to a couple of times and scared myself. It has always been a wake up call to focus more and take it more seriously and to never be complacent.

I think the weirdest thing I've done was the first time I did an inverted ribbon cut. It was just a very weird, strange feeling, being that low, seeing the ribbons coming up to you, flying through them.


You have to be very careful what you do right after takeoff. Some pilots do a snap roll on take off. A snap roll is a high speed, stalled roll. I will do that, but only on an upwards vector, climbing as I do it.

If something goes wrong or if you've forgotten something -- like switching to the aerobatic fuel tank (which enables you to fly inverted), or have something floating around in the cockpit (like a chart, or screw driver) by mistake, then it will make itself evident right after your takeoff.

I've never had an accident. I've had a few little incidents, like hitting my propeller, etc., but nothing where I was injured. I was in an accident once in Alaska...but that was as a passenger, and before I learned to fly.

The airplane went off the end of a soggy, muddy runway and we flipped upside down. No one was hurt, but it was pretty strange.


I've just returned from my fourth visit to Kenya. Working with the Kenya Wildlife Service has been extremely rewarding. I’ve just returned from my fourth year of working with the pilots.

I give the pilots recurrency training, some bush pilot training and aerobatic training and of course, have learned a lot from them too. Giving aerobatic training to pilots who do dangerous, low-level work in difficult conditions in the bush (like chasing cattle out of National parks, looking for and catching elephant and rhino poachers, etc.) is important, as it gives a pilot much more confidence and awareness of their airplanes.

I've always wanted to go to Africa, and Kenya in particular, so to be able to combine travel with working and volunteering has been an incredible experience for me.

I'm also getting my airplanes ready for the airshow season. I’m looking for a new major sponsor.

My airplanes are now going through their "annual inspection." The aerobatic airplane gets torn down and checked over very carefully each winter, and a new engine is built up that is modified especially for top performance.

I’m going to be flying the Texan II for Raytheon at the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom this summer.

This summer I will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. This is a huge honor, so I am getting ready for that. I am on the Board of the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC and will be going to Board meetings. I lead a pretty active life.

I don't want to look back at a certain age and regret that I didn't do everything I could have done. Life is short and there are no guarantees for a tomorrow, so I want to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and the opportunities that I can create.

I don't know what the future will bring, but I feel that I have other exciting things coming my way in the future.

There's a saying, "Life is mysterious, don't take it serious." While that's easier said than done, it's a good thing to remember. People, myself included, tend to worry too much.

There's also something we all need to remember, myself definitely included...as soon as one door closes, another opens.

Just be ready for the open door and don't be afraid to take a gamble.

Bio: Raised in Japan, professional stunt pilot Patty Wagstaff was the first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic Champion. Her stunt work has been featured on ESPN, and in "Up Close and Personal" and "Drop Zone". She is the co-author of "Fire and Air: A Life on the Edge" She has trained with the Russian Aerobatic Team and flown airshows and competitions on five continents.

Official site: Patty Wagstaff

RELATED EXTRAS: More about Patty Wagstaff

I'm a big movie nut and have seen hundreds of them.
Sad movies – "The Horse Whisperer," "On the Waterfront"
Funny movies - I love the Coen Brothers' movies, "Fargo," "The Big Lebowski," "O Brother Where Art Thou?"...movies like that.

I have a lot of hobbies, but my most favorite thing besides spending time with my pets is riding horses. I enjoy it for similar reasons that I enjoy flying...it's always a challenge and there is always something to learn.

In other ways I enjoy it because it is really good for my soul to be out at the barn with the horses. You can't rush anything, because horses are sensitive, intelligent creatures. You have to take your time while dealing with them, so they force you to slow down and listen.

Riding itself is a challenge, because I want to improve my skills and learn to ride with rhythm and understand my horse. It's a quiet place to be. I also love to go the beach with my dogs and watch them run.

Favorite quotes:
There's one that describes me that I like, from Mark Twain:
"She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot."

Other favorite quotes: Neil Young, from "Comes a Time"
"You and I, we were captured
we took our souls and we flew away
we were right, we were giving
that's how we kept what we gave away."

My recommendation for something new to do this month:
Adopt a pet, but know that it's a big commitment. Animals give you more than you give them. They also make us more human.

Interesting fact that nobody knows about me yet:
I am very shy.

I think creative people are usually creative in many areas of life. I've already written a book, "Fire and Air: A Life on the Edge," with a co-author. It's my life story up until about 1994, but so much has happened since then, that I'd like to write another book. I've written songs, but particularly enjoy writing lyrics. And I've had a couple of poems published.

I've written so much in the past, and one of the reasons I wrote my book was so I didn't have to answer too many more questions. But so much has happened during the past ten years that it would take another book to discuss it. I would like to write another book, but not autobiographical...I'm just not sure what format it will take. I'm sure it will come to me.

Life is...a long strange journey. Don't take it too seriously.


Patty Wagstaff was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame on July 17, 2004. Actor and pilot Dennis Quaid served as the master-of-ceremonies for the 43rd Annual "Oscar Night of Aviation."

This year, the NAHF honored Wagstaff, former astronaut William A. Anders, the late Harriet Quimby, America’s first officially licensed woman pilot; and the late Jack L. Ridley, pioneering flight test engineer/pilot.

Past inductees include Louise Thaden (a stunt pilot and co-founder of the The Ninety-Nines, with Ruth Nichols and Amelia Earhart), Wilbur and Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Anne Lindbergh, Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran, industrialist Olive Beech and Alexander Graham Bell.


I am in my element -- the air.

I am suspended, surrounded by that which claws at my every sense: swirling clouds and an acrid mixture of lubricants, outside air, faint exhaust fumes, and, occasionally, a whiff of something sweet and pungent that I can't identify.

The control stick is molded to my fingers. I squeeze tightly, then my touch is light; my hands are inquiring yet positive. My feet, never still, respond to every pressure of my toes -- pressing, relaxing, rhythmic like those of a dancer.

I sight the horizon, envisioning a distinct line even when it is faintly obscured with blurred stands of evergreens and mauve-colored hills.

I choose section lines on the surface to choreograph my routine, never losing sight of where I am in space the way a twirling ballet dancer focuses on a single spot on a stage to maintain balance.

This is where I belong and where I feel alive, even joyous. Each time I fly aerobatics, I feel more at home in my machine and in the air.

I believe in the elements; air, earth, water, and fire. I believe that people are basically elemental...

From: "Fire and Air: A Life on the Edge"
(c) 1997, Patty Wagstaff, Ann L. Hooper. All rights reserved.
All images (c) Patty Wagstaff Airshows, except as indicated by respective photo credit.

Additional books by/about female aviators: "Night Witches," "East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart," "Queen Bess," "20 Hours, 40 Min: Our Flight in the Friendship," "Leaving Earth: A Novel," "West With the Night," "Women and Flight: Portraits of Contemporary Women Pilots," "Amelia Earhart's Daughters,", "Promised the Moon," "The Mercury 13," "Before Amelia,", "Crosswind," "Red Line," "Amelia Earhart's Shoes," "High, Wide and Frightened," "Lyrical Aviators," "The Happy Bottom Riding Club: The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes"

Read in-depth interviews with other performing artists, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six."
Original post date, "Arte Six", APRIL 2004.



This month: Quicksilver harmonics. Spaced-out, ethereal, ambient, melty music that seems to ooze out all over outer space like a mellow threat from Planet Electronica:

VERTIGO DELUXE: Vertigo Deluxe
Dramatic, dreamy, sophisticated and mesmerizing down tempo electronics brush up against pop with fluid, soulful vocals calling to mind Sade, that will paint pictures of underwater canyons, distant, mist-heavy landscapes, and cosmic convergences. If it's been a while since you've unplugged from the rat race circuit, this is the chill pill you need.

ELEMENTAL: Lux Aeternae
Heavily influenced by the electronic music of Europe and the "Berlin school" in the 70's to the mid 80's, this sweeping, liquidy electronic album is a muscle relaxer for the brain. Using mainly analog synthesizers and sequencers, these songs have a full spectrum of sounds, ranging from crystalline to earthy. Fans of Tangerine Dream, indulge yourself.

JON DURANT: Things Behind the Sun
Ambient, expansive, far-reaching, progressive jazz fusion that doesn't shy away from the intimate and dives without hesitation into the adventurous. With swirling guitars, thick bass and minimalistic, cyclic grooves, the album encircles the listener with an aromatic, dewy atmosphere. This is jazz fusion at its most expressive and colorful.

STRAYLIGHT: Straylight
Start with Afro-Brazilian percussion, analog Buchla synth and electric guitar in an ambient and mysterious universe that rebels against gravity, physics and common sense, mix in brooding echoes, shadows of swarming dissonances and the unmistakable feeling of floating in space with uneasiness that is too fascinating to resist; you've just begun to enter the psyche of this improvisational electronic trio, and they're determined to blow your mind.

MICHAEL HALAAS: The Lucidity Project
Grammy-nominated cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, of the famous Kronos Quartet, sings through these songs, weaving tumbling, river-like cello tone through fluid tapestries of classical, new age and jazz language. Dramatic, passionate, soaring and epic, these pieces dance through the imagination, calling up expansive landscapes, mountain ranges, and tender moments between lovers. Classically-informed new age spun with sophistication and artistry. Like a soundtrack in need of a movie.

Have you given your brain a bubble bath lately? Float and drift on passing waves of emotion and thought in this liquidy, rippling, dawn-colored sea of ambient electronic soundscapes. It could very well be the most visceral out-of-body experience you've ever had.

FEZ DISPENSER: Fez Dispenser
Jazz-influenced beat-driven abstract hip hop. Think DJ Shadow, Chemical Brothers, and the Crystal Method taken up a musical notch; they know their jazz, too. This CD is packed with the following, take your pick -- way tripped out jazz, highly experimental hip hop, or spacey electronica with chops.

GARLO: Vent De Guitares
Space oddity: 54 guitars placed on the summit of the highest sand dune in Europe. Result? The song of hundreds of strings vibrating only under the wind's touch. Experimental, ambient, geo-acoustic creation.

Reviews courtesy of: CD Baby

Find out about other indie artists, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six."


Gabri Christa, founder, Danzaisa

In my new work, "Dominata," I explore several themes: the immigrant in New York who looks at a game that is very New York: dominoes, while the game at the same time reminds her of the Caribbean islands, where she is from.

Domino thus brings back associations with the men playing it; traditionally, in the Caribbean, it’s mostly the men who play. I thought of domino, and a sonata, and out came "Dominata".

"Dominata" is about relationships between the folks playing, and relationships between men and women. The piece explores the game and relationships, but also the numbers and points in [the game]. Movement is created around the numbers on the stones. I’m still completing the work. I haven't reached the point yet that I feel: "this is it."


Everything has been done already; one’s take on it is what makes it special. I like to think that my viewpoint is different. In my last full-length work, "Yeye," I gave it the title of spirit of the Winti ceremony. The piece was inspired by Yeye. But I don't believe something completely new exists. Passion is more important then technique.

"I see myself as a humanistic creator.
I’m interested in people and their ways."


Inspiration: Mostly I have a title before I start. Mostly a theme; after that, free association around that theme.

I like to improvise and to create an imagined space. Something always happens. Sometimes I search for new ways, but that is all. Creating is just being in the flow.

All work is in some form or the other is based on real-life incidents. The major difference between creative license and real life is the interpretation.

I see myself as a humanistic creator. I’m interested in people and their ways. I admire and am inspired by abstract creators, who make movement about movement. I tried to do that, but can't. I see two people on stage and I see some form of relationship besides the relationship to space, time and form.


What frustrates me daily: The lack of passion and caring in a lot of people and folks. I was in the playground with my baby the other day, and big kids were trowing a big ball around other little babies.

I told them to go to their section and no one else said anything. I really stood my ground, but no one else did. Then a big kid, a teenager, started telling me to mind my biz. I said if other babies get hurt, I should say something.

I asked: “Don't you care?”
She said: “No, they’re not my kids, I don't know them.”

Anyway, long story short, I left fuming.

"Creating is just being in the flow."

Other people told me: "Gabri, you need to learn to shut up. Who knows, maybe she would have a gun, or trow a punch. If you see something that you don't like -- anything, a person being beaten up, a bad scene, you can't do something. Just leave. Bottom line."

This kind of a thing makes me so, so, so mad. The helplessness I feel, and mostly the fact that other adults around just won't do anything. So what, we shut up, let kids shoot? Just hire more police, put gates up? I don't get it.

Other things that puzzle me: Why do people like President Bush? Why don’t people vote, why don’t people care about pollution, other people, the environment, violence? Why are they not furious and upset about all that is happening? Why is there no affordable healthcare? Why is there war?

Is dance necessary in daily life? Oh, yes. Not necessarily as a performance art, but it is a must for the soul.


Some of the themes that appear in my work: relationships, outsiderness/otherness, Caribbean cultural themes. The name of my company is Danzaisa. It’s a combination of two words: danza (“dance”), and aisa (“she who unites through music and dance”).

Dance works I wish I would have made: “Sacre du Printemps” by Pina Bausch or "Set and Reset" by Trisha Brown.

Hanif Kureishi is one of my favorite writers and film writers. Maryse Condé has influenced me tremendously in her writing, and in her ideas about Caribbean identity in art-making. I think writers in general have a big influence on me.

Recently I have been influenced in a new way of working, by collaborating with Greg Tate and his orchestra, Burnt Sugar. Greg uses a method called conducting to create the improvised pieces. This really is Butch Morris's method, but Greg has a funky, loose approach I appreciate. I am not sure how to translate this to dance, but I am trying...

My husband, Vernon Reid, is also is an influence. He is one of those people who is constantly creating and he doesn't make any distinction between popular art and highbrow, he moves fluently from one to the other. I find that inspiring, yet impossible to achieve.

Bio: Gabri Christa is the founder/director of Danzaisa. Christa has danced with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and DanzAbierta, of which she was one of the founders. Her work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, Aaron Davis Hall and Judson Church. Christa landed in New York from Puerto Rico via Cuba, the Netherlands, and Curaçao, in the Dutch Caribbean, where she was born and raised. She holds an MFA from the University of Washington. She has taught dance and lectured at Fordham University and Ballet Hispanico's School of Dance. Her choreography has been performed throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States.

Her evening-length works include "Yeye," "Orangemelted," "De Steen" and "Semela." Her new work, "Dominata," features Christa’s continued exploration of contemporary Caribbean culture, community and diaspora rituals told from an urban New York perspective. The game of dominoes, which is popular in Caribbean and Carib-American communities, inspired her short film, "Domino" (2003).

Official site: Gabri Christa

“Nothing Compared to This”
Through November 28th

Ours is an era in which big and loud are among our highest values, a time when the quiet joys of contemplation yield routinely to temporary excitement. Many artists today, however, work against the widespread idea that works of art must insist upon our attention or command the space they occupy.

For some, such a way of working is a kind of new humility, perhaps born of renewed interest in the ancient traditions of reflection and meditation. For other artists it is tactic of infiltration -- an insinuation rather than an insistence; a subliminal communication, in place of a shouted one.

This exhibition looks at the works of artists who occupy and control space by subtle, often indirect, means. The most salient distinction of today's art in this vein, however, is that it is often not meant to be contemplated, or even directly looked at. Ambient art is peripheral. It infuses space, as much as it occupies it.

Participating artists include: Ricci Albenda, Francis Cape, Martin Creed, Do Ho Suh, Brian Eno, Gaylen Gerber, Liam Gillick, Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster, Kara Hamilton, Vincent Mazeau, Jorge Pardo, Todd Pavlisko, Karin Sander, Tavares Strachan, Iran do Esp’rito Santo, Rikrit Tiranvanija, Andrea Zittel.

Shown: “Evil/Exit – Theater”, (2003)
Vincent Mazeau
Courtesy of the artist.

Find it: CAC
44 East Sixth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Get info: (513) 345-8400

Find out about art exhibits in other cities, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six."


eNerGy Anime Festival
Nov. 19-21

Dyslexic otakus of the world, untie! The weekend-long eNerGy Festival bash starts this Friday.

New York-Tokyo (NYT) monthly events -- Gamer's Night Groove (GNG) and Monthly Director's Series (MDS) -- bring the best in cutting edge games and music, and film/anime from Tokyo to NYC. eNerGy brings all of these ingredients together into a multi-media blend for three days in November.

eNerGy 2004: Check out premiere films you can’t see outside Tokyo, meet the animators creating the work, chow down on nifty Japanese snacks, and a shot at all kinds of weird and wonderful free gifts, including round trip tickets to Tokyo. Well, hey.


Video Game Content/Friday, Nov. 19

Session 1: Gamers Night Groove
Friday, 8pm
• Video game highlights from 2004
• Live chiptune music

The serene lower courtyard of Tribeca's Performing Arts Center (PAC) is the place to be for Friday night's opening bash; officially the first session of eNerGy festival, and the one-year anniversary of their monthly GNG event, the session includes special surprises from BANDAI, a performance by 8-bit button mashing Gameboy musicians, Nullsleep, and a funk-fuelled booty-shaking DJ set by Jesse Mann.

eNerGy Festival kicks off with NYT’s Advanced Interactive Nightlife. Enjoy console gaming at it's best on crystal clear flat-screens. With plenty of controllers to go around, it's time to play, compete, or just chill out and people-watch, grooving to live chiptune music performances.

Anime Content/Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21

Session 2: Saturday Morning Anime
Saturday 11am - 4pm
• Breakfast + screenings
• Screening: Three premieres

Session 3: Anime Giants
Saturday 5pm - 10pm
• Meet the Creators: discussion panel
• Screenings: Three full-length film premieres

Session 4: What’s on TV?
Sunday 11am - 4pm
• Inside the Industry: discussion panel
• Screenings: 12 TV serial premieres

Session 5: Anime/Live Action
Sunday 5pm - 10pm
• Special Guest Appearance
• Anime Screenings: Two full-length film premieres

Two full days of the best Japanese anime from 2004. All films being screened at eNerGy are premiere screenings, so you’ll be the first to experience some of this year's freshest and most highly acclaimed work, straight from Japan.

It's also a rare chance to meet the animation experts and talent behind the films, in discussion sessions immediately following the screenings.

Lastly, in the exhibitor's pavilion, three days of sampling even more fresh anime from the best production studios, including new serial work now only available in Japan.

Exclusive Exhibitor Content/All weekend: Friday 8pm – Sunday 5pm

New Work from Japan
• Asatsu Dk
• Gonzo
• Studio Pierrot
• Toei Animation

If you haven't already checked out work by the animation wizards at Toei Animation (“Dragon Ball”), Aniplex (“Blood the Last Vampire”) and Asatsu DK, then don't miss this chance to see what’s coming up.

Find it: Tribeca Performing Arts Center (PAC)
199 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
Get info: (212) 220-1460

Find other events in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six."


“FAUST/How I Rose”
Nov 16, 18—20, 7:30pm

Sell your soul to the devil and you wind up with a few unique...complications. Just ask Faust, whose notorious pact takes on post-apocalyptic ramifications in “FAUST/How I Rose.”

Playwright and multimedia artist John Jesurun applies a cinematic sensibility to a contemporary retelling of the centuries-old tale.

Adapted from a Spanish language production by Mexico’s Teatro de Arena, “FAUST/How I Rose” tackles a host of cultural, social, and personal politics.

A high-flying diplomat, Jesurun’s Faust is lured by love and crushed by its inevitable pain, a vulnerability exploited by his oft-sympathetic, female Mephistopheles.

Mephisto, in the meantime, has her own problems; bedeviled by flawless 360-degree vision, she sees everything from every point of view, simultaneously. For all eternity. Hellish, no?

Find it: BAM - Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Get info: (718) 636-4100

Find other dance/theatre events, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".


MUSIC/Disc series
"Tango Varón"
Sandra Luna

"Cinders that burn again and again...tango is like life, and has to evolve," says singer Sandra Luna, paraphrasing famous tango lyricist Horacio Ferrer.

On her first international release, "Tango Varón" (Times Square Records), Luna unleashes a bolder, contemporary style of tango, while remaining true to tango’s colorful past.

On her new album she expands tango music, normally associated with dancing, to a more expansive stand-alone song form.

"Tango Varón" features re-energized versions of tango classics from legends like Homero Manzi and Astor Piazzolla, to newly created tango compositions that reflect contemporary life in Buenos Aires.

From: "Tango Varón"
Edgardo Acuña

Este es el aire de Buenos Aires/está en su gente y entre sus calles
Vive en el centro del Obelisco/va por Corrientes hasta el final
Acá está el dueño de los misterios
vino del Bajo, mirando el Centro
Creció entre luces y mate amargo...
Ese que viene de allá parece ser
el que inventó la ciudad y el bandoneón.

Trans: This is the air of Buenos Aires/It is in its people and between its streets
It lives in the centre of Obelisco/And passes by Corrientes until the end
Here it is the master of mysteries
Coming from Bajo, looking towards the Centro
It grew up between lights and bitter maté...
Everything originating from there seems to have been
Invented by the city and the accordion.


Tango -- provocative, flashy, unwavering; it's been described as a ‘vertical expression of horizontal desire.’ Born in the bars and brothels of Buenos Aires in the early 1900s, an era when men outnumbered women by 100,000 in the city of Buenos Aires, the culture of overt masculinity, prostitution, and violence opened the way for this form of dance.

Tango caught on like wildfire in the 1930s, with a new generation canoodling in tango bars, to the horror of their aristocratic parents, who feared tango’s saucy lyrics and intrinsic association with booze, knife fights and bordellos.

Tango dropped from the mainstream only a few years later; by the late 1940s and early 1950s, there were hundreds of small tango ensembles, but only a handful of professional tango orchestras playing nightspots in Buenos Aires.

From: “Ché Bandoneón/Hey, Bandoneón"
Homero Manzi/Aníbal Troilo

El duende de tu son, ché, *bandoneón,
se apiada del dolor de los demás...
Tu canto es el amor que no se dió
y el cielo que soñamos una vez,
y el fraternal amigo que se hundió
cinchando en la tormenta de un querer,
y esas ganas tremendas de llorar
que a veces nos inunda sin razón,
y el trago de licor que obliga a recordar
que el alma está en orsái,
ché, bandoneón...

[Photo/Sandra Luna: France Demarbaix]

Trans: The magic of your sound, hey, bandoneón,
Takes pity on the pain of others...
Your song is the love that is not given
And the sky we once dreamed about,
And the brotherly friend that collapsed
Strangled by the torment of love
And a tremendous desire to cry
That sometimes floods us without reason,
And drinking only makes us remember
That the soul is *offside
Hey, bandoneón...

[Ed: "Offside" is an adjective used in sports, it indicates that a ball or puck is illegally beyond a prescribed line or area. A bandoneón is an accordion.]


Tango lost the pop culture battle to rock and roll, but experienced a renaissance in the 1960s as Astor Piazzolla’s group Quienteto Tango Nuevo brought the genre back to life with a jolt.

Musician/composer Piazzolla also collaborated with lyricist Horacio Ferrer whom he'd met in 1955.

Tango fever swept through Europe; ironically, the dance form was now enthusiastically received by Argentine upper-class intellectuals.


In 1966, long after the peak of tango’s popularity, Sandra Luna was born in Buenos Aires’ slaughterhouse district of Mataderos. Luna was raised in a revitalized era of tango in Argentina. By age eleven, she was performing in local tango bars like the Boliche de Rotundo.

[Photo above/header image: Nora Lezano]

From: "Me Llaman Luna (Milonga)/They Call Me Moon" (Tale)
César Rossi/Horacio Cabarcos

Soy nueva ola de viejo estilo...
Yo soy comadre del bandoneón
Me llaman Luna y de la cuna/me arrulla el canto de mi ciudad.

Trans: I am the new wave of an old style...
I am a friend of the bandoneón
They call me Moon and from the cradle/The song of my city lulls me to sleep.

In recent years, a handful of singers have flipped the traditional gender roles of tango, putting a strong female voice at the fore of the style.

Luna's "Tango Varón" balances a strong repertoire of traditional tango standards, with newly written compositions informed by modern life in Buenos Aires.

From: “Carritos Cartoneros/Cardboard Carts”
Carlos Cereti/Carlos Buono

¿Quién te mintió, primer mundo Buenos Aires,
el de lo shopping, el bacán Puerto Madero...
que al esconderse el sol tras Catalinas,
salen a luz viejos "carritos cartoneros"

Una gran bolsa de arpillera en retaguardia
y por el medio mercancía incomprensible,
adelante manos sucias en las riendas
y en los ojitos tantos sueños imposibles?...

Yo tengo aguante y algo duro el corazón,
pero tus pibes son verdad
No son carton.

Trans: Who lied to you, first world of Buenos Aires,
The world of shopping, the posh Puerto Madero...
Saying that when the sun goes down after Catalinas,
The old "carritos cartoneros" appear

A large sackcloth bag at the rear
And incomprehensible merchandise in the middle,
Dirty hands on the reins in the front
And in their eyes, so many impossible dreams?...

I have patience and something hard in my heart,
But your boys are real
They're not made of cardboard.

From the highly percussive approach of "Me Llaman Luna" to the more traditional and ornate bandoneón and strings on "Que Nadie Sepa Mu Sufrir," Luna displays her ability to work above a wide variety of textures.

Title track "Tango Varón" details the origin of the machismo-laced ‘male tango' in Buenos Aires, but Luna's bold interpretation of the track brands it with the unique passion of a confident woman.

Official site: Sandra Luna

Read about other creative artists, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six."
Original post date: "Arte Six," MAY 2004

RELATED EXTRAS: Nuevo tango trivia, via Wikipedia:

During the period of Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, Astor Piazzolla lived in Italy, but returned many times to Argentina, recorded there and on at least one occasion had lunch with the dictator Jorge Rafael Videla. As recounted in "Astor Piazzolla, A Manera de Memorias/"Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir":

Q: "One year before the Los Largartos issue you went to Videla's house and had lunch with him, why did you accept that invitation?"
[Piazzolla]: "What an invitation! They sent a couple of guys in black suits and a letter with my name on it that said that Videla expected me a particular day in a particular place."

RELATED EXTRAS: Additional lyrics (excerpts)

From: "A Un Semejante/To a Fellow Man"
Eladia Blazquez

Vení charlemos, sentate un poco,
la humanidad se viene encima...
Ya no podemos, hermano loco
buscar a Dios por las esquinas.

Trans: Come, let's talk, sit yourself down,
Humanity is bearing down upon us
And we, crazy brother, cannot
Search for God in corners.


"Silence Isn't So"
Nov. 13, 2pm

How would you feel if your language didn't officially exist?

After 500 years of struggle, Mexico has recognized its 60 indigenous languages, many of which do not have a written form.

In this "concert for barely official languages and seduced electromagnetic waves," composer and ethno-musicologist Tareke Ortiz records and mixes ancient languages with electronic and digital sounds of today to celebrate their power and permanence in contemporary culture.

Bring a cell phone, portable radio or videogame and add to the mix of video documentaries, Afro-Mexican rhythms, and a live 20-person chorus.

Find it: The Kitchen (btwn 10th/11th Aves.)
512 West 19th Street
Get there: A/C/E/L to 14th St./8th
Get info: (212) 255-5793

Find more dance/theatre events in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".

Word Hatchery

What is it that defines the language of the moment? Words, actually. However short its life, each word also has a tale to tell about the environment into which it was born.

"Larpers and Shroomers" selects a single word born in each year of the 20th century and the opening years of the 21st, for an interesting look at the evolution of words.

It should be noted that the author covers English words, only, which is one of the shortcomings of the concept, but that takes nothing away from the fascinating inventory of ideas-in-word-form. Of all varieties.

Each word says something about the preoccupations of the time, including demob, in 1920, racism, in 1935, Big Brother, in 1949, beatnik, in 1958 and toy-boy, in 1981.

This year’s word du jour: chavs, or, folks with council estate chic. Virtually unknown until this year, it’s roughly the Brit equivalent of ghetto fabulous.

Chavs had some stiff competition, among them movieoke/cineoke (film clips version of karaoke) and retrosexuals - men who spend as little time and money as possible on their appearance.

Some words are a direct result of political events or themes: Big Brother (1949), Watergate (1972), Molotov cocktail (1940).

Others describe or reflect cultural or artistic trends, such as punk (1974), blues (1912), love-in (1967), or words that came into being due to a specific artistic creation, like Mickey Mouse (1939) or Trekkie (1976).

There are words hatched to describe technology and its impact on our environment, like virtual reality (1987), URL (1992) and cyborg (1960), and words that capture frivolous obsessions, like Botox (1994) and It-girl (1968).

Some became placeholders for a certain period in time, like U-boat (1916), while others stuck around to become common-use words: bagel (1932), fast food (1951), avant garde (1925), kitsch (1926) and teddy bear (1906).

Author Susie Dent includes some headscratchers along the way. Like sex, as if no one had discovered it until, as she has it, 1929.

There might also be wailing and gnashing of teeth among hipsters this month, as the ghastly truth comes out – hip, as a descriptive term, was hatched – not in the last few years, but 100 years ago, in 1904.

Same difference for Generation X, which puts in an appearance as a wordling way back in 1954. Then again, one can say the same for hippies (1953); they might have been the first to fly Psychedelic Airlines on acid (1966), but their progenitors were smoking spliffs way back in 1936. Although this doesn’t explain anything...

Other inexplicables: we’ve got the mobile putting in an appearance in 1986, which is about right, but when did the concept ‘mobile phone’ first show up? In 1945. And buzz, as a concept, has been buzzing around since 1942. That, and subway/metro doesn't put in an appearance at all. Nor does feminism. Or netiquette. Or road rage.

Blocks of words are almost a history primer in brief: the 80s, for example. What shows up on Dent’s list? Power-dressing, hip-hop, beatbox, and lattes, giving way to dot-commers, bling-bling, applets and google in the 90s.

But...chavs? What happened to flash mob? Politikino? Sync?
Or, gawd knows, blog?

Indulge in some late-night lexpionage: Word Spy

Find more real-life odd news, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".

NYC/KGB Bar/Reading
Nov. 17, 7pm

The Fantastic Fiction series, curated by Ellen Datlow and Gavin J. Grant, is on the third Wednesday of every month at 7pm at KGB. Come early.

Reading: Michael Swanwick, "Bones of the Earth"
About the book: World-renowned paleontologist Richard Leyster's universe changes forever when a stranger named Griffin walks into his office with an astonishing job offer...and an ice cooler containing the head of a freshly-killed Stegosaurus.

Also reading: Bradford Morrow, "Ariel's Crossing"
About the book: After years of being kept in the dark, Ariel Rankin learns that her birth father is a man named Kip Calder who went to Vietnam, then disappeared before she was born. Ariel leaves behind her life in New York City and heads west to New Mexico to find the mysterious Calder, and the truth of who she really is. Other books by this author: "Trinity Fields"

Find it: 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave)
New York, NY
Get info: (212) 505-3360

Read more books/writers content in the OCT/NOV issue
of "Arte Six".


Tooling along in your solarmobile...

Among the prototypes for alt-fuel cars presented at the Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai this month: your very own solar-powered car.

Economic growth, social development -- just means more trucks, buses and cars on the road.

The internal combustion engine and petroleum started the whole hullabaloo, but with limited resources of fossil fuels, mad scientists are pondering ways to keep folks on the road, without them having to fork over two bucks a gallon.

Solar-powered cars aren't the only trippy prototypes at the exhibition -- there are also the usual suspects, like diesel/battery hybrids, electric cars, and, of course, cars powered by hydrogren fuel, which will give everyone yet another opportunity to argue about hydrogen vs. petrol. Feel free. In the meantime, dig that trippy little car. Beep, beep.

Find out more here: Challenge Bibendum


Disc series: Anastácia Azevedo
“Mistress of Rain”

"Sea, sky, family and friends -- these are all motifs passing through many songs on our albums...as expressions of saudade. This kind of saudade is defined by positive memories. But there's also another kind of saudade that really hurts, if you long for someone you would like to see again."

Our new album is called "Amanaiara". Amanaiara means “Senhor das Chuvas/Lord of the Rain."

In Northeast Brazil, rain stands for saturation and abundance. Rain moistens the earth and paints it green. For me, "Amanaiara" symbolizes growth and development; the desire for improvement of the life experience.

I learned about the name Amanaiara for the first time at school, in a book about folklore.

The Indians from Ceará (my home region) used to call the Jesuit priest Padre Pinto "Amanaiara," to underline his authority.

I also like the name because of the special, balanced sound, each syllable containing an "A". For me, the word represents openness and femininity.

For me, rain also means fertility, regeneration and a moment of deliverance, like crying.

A line from the song "Pé de Côco" (Zé Eugênio) tells a story about this transition: "No frio da chuva desce do céu o alívio em águas, como no coração, calor que é do céu, o alívio em lágrimas/Cold rain falls from the sky, relief in water, like the heart is hot, and finds relief in tears."


"Chuva de matar sapo/Rain which kills frogs" is a figure of speech, meaning heavy, strong and enduring rain.

People are afraid that this mysterious rain could bring them catastrophes. In this case, people to pray to Santa Bárbara and S. Jerônimo.

There are also other expressions in the text, like "Chuva no mar/Rain at the sea." It simply symbolizes waste (because water is falling on water, not on the needy earth).

There is also: "Apaga-poeira", light rain, and "Vento aracati," which is a special wind, a sign which predicts a good winter.

None of these expressions reveal their meaning at first sight.

"Chuva feminina" means female rain. That's my own expression, in reference to a figure of speech.

As I already mentioned, the Indians from Ceará believe that "Senhor da chuva" is the one controlling the rain. "Senhora de chuva" is my adaptation for the story of the album. Amanaiara is the Lord of the Rain and in this story, I am the Mistress of the Rain.

"No frio da chuva desce do céu o alívio em águas, como no coração, calor que é do céu, o alívio em lágrimas/Cold rain falls from the sky, relief in water, like the heart is hot, and finds relief in tears."


In this album, I'm associating "saudade" with many emotions. I'm missing my roots and sometimes I need to travel home, to kill the saudade.

Sea, sky, family and friends -- these are all motifs passing through many songs on our albums, "Lumerê Lumerá" (1999) and "Amanaiara" (2004), as expressions of saudade. This kind of saudade is defined by positive memories.

But there's also another kind of saudade that really hurts, if you long for someone you would like to see again. These kinds of feelings are often my inspirations for writing new songs.


I haven't lost my roots by moving to Berlin. The possibility of taking a look at Brazil from another perspective really enriched my life. I actually became more aware of my roots.

I don't regret leaving Brazil. That's the way life goes. Me and my husband Zé Eugênio have been adapting to Berlin very well. We got to know a different culture.

Most of our inspiration comes from our everyday lives. It is a possibility for me and my partner Zé Eugênio to transform our thoughts in poems and music. Nevertheless, it is a lot of work.

The composing process varies: One of us writes the lyrics and the other proposes a melody for it. The lyrics are inspired by many things: books, our own experiences or just experimenting with words.

I wrote two songs on Amanaiara: "Raios de Sol" and "O Rio." The inspirations for them were my own experiences.


Côco, Xote, Baião, Xaxado are all different types of rhythms from Northeast Brazil. Forró is a festival where these rhythms are played.

On my new album, the rhythm of “Pé de Côco“ is Côco. "Amanaiara" is a Xote and the rhythm of "O Rio/The River" is Baião.


(Zé Eugenio / Anastácia Azevedo)

Vento Aracati
Com seus sinais de chuva
Floraço do Juazeiro é bom sinal
Calango suado é sinal de chuva
Chuva é bom sinal, chuva é bom sinal

Chuva do cajú no mar
Em janeiro sol com chuva
A neblineira apaga poeira
Na chuva de matar sapo em trovoadas
Santa Bárbara
A trovejada já em fevereiro
Lá em Juazeiro.

Amanaiara, amanaiara,
Chuva feminina

As mentioned, "Amanaiara" is an overview about different common images of rain from Ceará; what the rain is like, when it comes or doesn't come. Also, the lyrics of "Amanaiara" give a description of the landscape.

For us, the people of Northeast Brazil, the Amanaiara (Rain) has an important significance: it's a desire and a necessity, for the crops, for nourishment. It stands for growth in general and the blooming of life.

As "The Mistress of Rain," I pray for life to improve for everyone. This is my female message for everyone who takes the time to listen to us.


We're collecting new and old, unreleased musical ideas, songs and poems, to develop new concepts. But, for the moment, we're just very busy with tour concerts in Germany.

"As 'The Mistress of Rain,' I pray for life to improve for everyone. This is my female message for everyone who takes the time to listen to us."

Artist bio: Singer/songwriter Anastácia Azevedo was born and grew up in Brazil. She moved to Berlin in 1990, and studied singing at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler for five years. While studying in Brazil, she played clubs in and around Fortaleza until she and partner Zé Eugênio left Fortaleza to move to Berlin permanently. With mutual friend Iberé, they founded Brazilian cultural center Quilimbo.

Their original music program, heavy on standards of Musica Brasileira Popular, changed in 1992, when they began penning original songsets, combining the rhythms of Brazil with new influences in jazz and funk.

Azevedo often uses rhythms common in northeastern Brazil -- Baiao, Maracutu and Samba -- in her work. Azevedo recorded debut album "Lumerê Lumerá" in the winter of 1999, laying down sunny, samba-tinged tracks while the snow piled up outside the studio.

Her latest project, "Amanaiara" is based on a series of narrative texts reflecting Azevedo’s philosophical outlook on life, love, saudade, nature, family and the commonality of human experience.

Contact/Booking agency: Griot (DE)

Read in-depth profiles with other artists, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".

“DaDaDa: Strategies Against Marketecture”
Oct. 22-Nov. 21

This exhibition explores the visual aesthetics of resistance. Taking in work that mixes up art, music and design, artists from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Finland and the UK, the program provides a critical and often playful opposition to super-hyped consumer culture.

Curator statement: “Strategien Gegen Architekturen” (Vols. I,II,III) is a series of three compilations documenting the music of German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, famed for their attempts to conquer the repressed rebuilt surfaces of postwar Berlin by beating on the physical structures of the city and using them as instruments.

Far from suggesting that the buildings should be destroyed, they attempted to release the cacophony they perceived to be trapped within the static forms.

As for marketecture, nobody’s quite sure what that is. The Internet’s Word Spy dictionary has that it is:

marketecture (mar.kuh.TEK.chur) n. 1. A new computer architecture that is
being marketed aggressively despite the fact that it doesn't yet exist as a
finished product.

To us, however, it is like Einstürzende Neubauten’s city; a hyperdefined space that needs to be conquered. We are surrounded by mass-mediated consumer culture, which we seek not to destroy but to make our own.

The exhibition features artists, writers and musicians, who each position themselves in relation to this great living/dead cityscape. Some find ready made objects, sounds and ideas in the debris, using them against the grain, to reveal a truer nature.

Others add pixel to pixel or frame to frame, to explore the beauty seen only through the eye of the machine. Some see spaceships in tea cups, insects in shopping carts, pagans in Tesco, erotic eruptions in videogame consoles and wonderful weird druid songs in polyphonic ring tones. Others dance to a different tune, recorded on makeshift instruments in a bedroom all their own. This is democracy with an eye for d.i.y., and you’re welcome to make your own.

Shown: Montage (left to right)/Works by: Mister Ministeck, Chicks on Speed, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, ROR (Revolutions on Request)

Find it: temporarycontemporary
2nd Floor, Atlantic House
The Old Seager Distillery
Brookmill Road / Deptford Bridge
London SE8 4JT
Get info: + 07766 130 860

Find other art events worldwide, in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".


Writers Bloc series
Featured columnist: Victoria Strauss

"The Impatient Writer's Guide to Worldbuilding"
by Victoria Strauss

I'm an impatient writer. I don't enjoy prep work, especially the kind of detailed preparation needed to create a believable imaginary world.

When I first started writing, my solution was to wing it. I'd take an idea and plunge right in, letting the story take me where it would and allowing the world to develop spontaneously.

The problem was that I constantly wrote myself into corners. I'd get to a point where I'd realize that what I wanted to happen couldn't happen, because of some social custom or rule of magic I'd set up earlier.

Over the years, I've worked out an approach that's a compromise between my natural hastiness and the need for consistency in the development of an imaginary reality:


Before I do anything else, I make sure that I have a firm grasp of my world's core principles. But the details -- the shape and nature of the actual places my plot takes me -- aren't developed until I get to them in the course of writing.

The core principles for my novel "The Arm of the Stone":

1. A parallel world where technology is regarded as deadly to magic.
2. A medieval lifestyle artificially maintained by limitations on technological practice.
3. A repressive ruling group driven by a fanatical anti-tech ideology.


The initial idea for "The Arm of the Stone" came to me via a friend's dream.

In the dream, my friend traveled to a place where magic was possible only because technology was rigorously restricted.

I was intrigued by the question of what sort of world that would be. Would the restriction be based on a natural law (i.e., magic and technology are intrinsically incompatible), or would it be based on an ideology (i.e., people only think magic and tech are told magic and tech are incompatible, so that’s what they believe to be true).

Just thinking about this one question brought out several ideas and thoughts about this world:

- What would the lifestyle be?
- What mechanisms of enforcement would be involved?
- How can you be violently opposed to something unless you've actually seen it in action, or think you have?

Ultimately, I decided to make the incompatibility between magic and technology a belief, rather than a law of nature -- firstly, because belief systems are a fascination of mine; secondly, because I didn't feel I could come up with a reasonable explanation for such a law, and I dislike books where situations exist
"just because."

So, the people of my world believe that technology kills magic, and they believe it as if it were a natural law. Whether it is or isn't is a crucial theme I explore on "The Arm of the Stone" and its sequel, "The Garden of the Stone."


Next came the question of why such a belief should arise. There had to be some past experience of rampant technology, an evil memory that had become an essential part of the belief system.

I came up with several possibilities: a high-tech society that had destroyed itself and been replaced by a magical one, a high-tech society that repressed magic and then was overthrown by it, and the option I chose, that my imaginary world had splintered off from our own "real" world, when developing technology began to crowd out the old magical and mystical ways.

It seemed to me that the lifestyle of my world would be more or less medieval -- not just because anti-tech ideology would make it a pre-machine culture, but because the ideologues, in their fervor, would cripple the practice of technology beyond what was really necessary.

I had the ideology, then, and the lifestyle.

But ideologies don't exist independent of groups. I needed an organization that could embody the anti-tech belief system -- and also enforce it.


I use real-world models whenever possible; I think an imaginary world gains depth not just by being strange and different, but also by being

Because I wanted my anti-tech ideology to have a strong religious flavor, I decided to model my organization after the medieval Christian church.

Thus, the Order of Guardians was born. It has a central seat of power, like the Vatican. Its members receive training and take vows, as in a religious order. It's ruled by a single spiritual leader, like the Pope.

It governs by means of Dioceses, controlled by the equivalent of Archbishops, and parishes, administered by the equivalent of priests. It has Scriptures, in the form of the Books of Limits, which set forth the precise means by which technology is to be restricted.

Like the medieval church, it's an entrenched bureaucracy concerned as much with its own preservation as with its spiritual mission. Also like the medieval church, it hoards wealth: all wealth, including magic.

Last but definitely not least, it has an Inquisition: the Arm of the Stone.


With the plot in place, I faced the task of unfolding my core concepts into the detail required by the story: the nuts and bolts of worldbuilding.

I broke the writing down into story chapters.

In each section of the book, I worked on portraying a different aspect of the Guardians' rule: in the first section, the Guardians' methods of educating and punishing the populace; in the second, the Guardians' internal training systems; in the third, the special training required by the Arm of the Stone; in the fourth, the Guardians' administrative bureaucracy; in the fifth, the Guardians' ways of punishing their own.


These, then, were my core premises for “The Arm of the Stone.” I thought them out over a period of about six months, while I was finishing up a previous project.


Most of my books begin with a single, long plot synopsis, which helps me flesh out story and characters; it also tells me where I need to
concentrate my worldbuilding research.

For my most recent book, "The Burning Land," a great deal of my effort was focused on creating the Way of Ârata, the religion that lies at the core of the story, along with its legends, its scriptures, and its traditions and institutions.

My goal was a monotheistic religion that did not substantially resemble the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

Because I wanted to come up with something that had no real-world analogue, my research consisted of general reading about a wide variety of religious traditions, which I hoped would give me inspiration in two areas.

First, I needed to work out the basic structural elements of the Way of Ârata. Second, I looked for interesting practices and traditions that I
could borrow or adapt.

For instance, the perpetually-reincarnated Brethren are borrowed from Tibetan Buddhism. Âratist monastic practice is very (very) loosely based on Buddhist practice.


While there are varieties of fantasy that arise whole and entire from the author's imagination (Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast" books come to mind), most have at least something to do with the real world, or use real-world models as the basis for their inventions.

If you want to write a fantasy with an Asian flavor, your imaginary world is going to have more depth if you do some research into Asian cultures.

If there are battle scenes in your book, read up on weaponry and military strategy. If one of your characters is a metalsmith, read up on
metalworking techniques if you want her to be credible.

Research for "The Burning Land" included reading up on the Australian outback, to give a realistic flavor to the vast desert from which the book takes its title; the Jordanian city of Petra, which was my model for the lost city of Refuge; some general reading on the Russian Revolution and Mao Zedong, to flesh out the Caryaxist rebellion and some investigation into herbal lore, since my heroine, Axane, is a healer.


I made rough maps of the terrain, buildings, cities, etc. that my characters would be encountering.

Nothing fancy, just enough to keep myself oriented so that I wouldn't describe something as being on the left side of a courtyard and then, in the next chapter, say it was on the right.

Also, there’s a lot of travel in the book; the distances traveled, as well as the timeframes involved, needed to be plausible.


I decide on the actual shape of things only when it came time to write them.

Before beginning work on each section, I paused for three or four days to sketch out settings and customs and other necessary details.

While the core premises were formulated mainly in my head, I did the detail preparation on paper (I tried to think of myself as compiling a series of essays for an imaginary encyclopedia).


Another advantage of building a world in bits and pieces is that I don't come up with more detail than I actually need.

This is important, since I've found that if I go to the trouble of making something up, it's incredibly hard to stop myself from including it, even if it doesn't really serve the plot.


Notes in hand, I organize information into a form that I can use right away. Rather than making outlines or enumerating facts, I create little essays, as if I were writing entries for an encyclopedia.

Some, such as a series of episodes from church history, a discussion of Âratist religious practice, and an exploration of the magic of Shapers and Dreamers, were essential background information for the book. Some, such as the list of Âratist heresies, I did mostly for fun.

It’s easier for me to discipline myself to this kind of prep work in small periodic doses than in large do-it-all-at-once lumps. I like the freedom of not being locked in to a specific template from start to finish. It gives me a sense of discovering my world as I journey deeper into it, and allows room for inspiration.

Many of my best details are things I probably couldn't have envisioned at the start of the book, springing not just from my understanding of the basic principles of the reality I've created, but from the context of what I've already written.


Some fantasy writers do feel that it's important to work out every aspect of their invented worlds and cultures, whether or not they figure into the plot. But for me, this is clutter. You can write a novel set in Massachusetts even if you don't know much about Illinois.

One of the ways I guard against the impulse to overstuff is to develop in depth only those areas of my world that are required by my story.

For instance, the kingdom of Haruko is important because it's home to a large community of Arsacian expatriates driven out by the Caryaxist rebellion -- but none of the book's action actually takes place in Haruko, and so I didn't bother naming cities or deciding on geographical features.


Because I’ve made sure I have a good grasp of the basic ground rules of my setting, I can easily invent more details when I need them.

This results in a fair bit of world building on the fly -- which, because it takes place during the actual process of writing, does slow me down, but still works better for me than spending a lot of initial time developing things I may not need.

It also preserves a certain amount of spontaneity within the context of all my careful planning, leaving room for flashes of inspiration.


Research and prep work for "The Burning Land" took perhaps three months, with several additional one or two week intervals where extra research was needed.

For the sequel (as yet untitled), I haven't had to do nearly so much preparation, because all the basic world building is done. But there are still things I need to research. So far I've read up on solution caves, messianic cults and military strategy. But most of the work was already done for me, since I have an established base to build on.


I still don't especially enjoy the research process, but I've made my peace with it, because there really are no shortcuts to doing things right.

But, for me, this method of working is the best compromise I've found between the demands of good writing and my own impatience.

The time spent in initial, broad-premise preparation gives me the consistency I need to produce a believable and fully-developed world, while the working out of specific details as I go allows me the flexibility I crave.

Best of all, it preserves the element of discovery that is, for me, one of the greatest joys of writing.

(c) 2004, Victoria Strauss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Bio: Victoria Strauss is the author of "The Arm of the Stone," "The Garden of the Stone," and YA fantasy books “Worldstone” and "The Lady of Rhuddesmere."

Her new novel is "The Burning Land" (HarperCollins/Eos). She is currently at work on the sequel to "The Burning Land," as yet untitled.

Visit official site: Victoria Strauss
Preview the sequel to "The Burning Land," here.

Strauss created and maintains writer resource Writer Beware, a compendium of alerts about literary fraud. Strauss is a member of the Authors Guild, Novelists, Inc. and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; she is a member of the SFWA’s Writing Scams Committee.

About: The Writers Bloc series is an ongoing column featuring practical advice for writers. Nope, not a support group. Not until someone busts out the tequila, anyway...

Read more books/writers content in the OCT/NOV issue of "Arte Six".