Music Program

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
New World Record and P22

David Greenberger with 3 Leg Torso

Legibly Speaking

Presented at:
Trinity Episcopal Church

Main Sanctuary, Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.
$10 general; $7 members, seniors, students

Legibly Speaking is the new CD (release date October 5 on Nail Records) by David Greenberger and the musical ensemble 3 Leg Torso. It features 11 new stories derived by Greenberger from conversations with residents of elderly housing in Portland, Oregon, collected as part of an artist’s residency sponsored by Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA).

25 years ago (make that a quadruple anniversary!) Greenberger started a magazine using stories he collected from residents of the Duplex Nursing Home. The Duplex Planet magazine still continues today, and selected stories have been collected in the recent book No More Shaves: A Duplex Planet Collection (Fantagraphics, 2003). Greenberger (also a music reviewer on NPR) has made a career out of talking with old people, writing down the conversations, and presenting them as both performance and literature.

Formed in 1996 as a violin, cello, and accordion trio, 3 Leg Torso creates original modern chamber music for their unique instrumentation. In recent years the band has expanded both generically and in size to become a quintet performing an eclectic synthesis of chamber music, Tango, Klezmer, Latin, and world music. The two founders—Courtney Von Drehle (accordion, bazouki, soprano saxophone) and Béla Balogh (violin, trumpet, mandolin)—are joined by newer members Gary Irvine (drums & percussion), Michael Papillo (double bass), and Craig Martin (vibes, marimba, xylophone.)

With subtle wit and nuance the music introduces changing characters reflecting on universal subjects: everything from gambling (“Single”) and pets (“How Whivet Got Her Name” and “Another Brunt”) to painting and the foundations of Western thought (“Perpetual Motion”). The dreamy, chilling retelling of a stroke (“Two Strokes”) and the shadows cast on a diminished life (“A Condition of the Heart”) reveal not only the darker side of aging, but the depth of emotion those losses arouse in all of us. Ultimately, Greenberger’s goal is to reveal, with genuine tenderness, the richness of the whole person’s intelligence and humor.

On September 1, the unique Buffalo-based company P22 launched its newest original electronic font, Ed Rogers. Rogers (1925-2002) was an unlikely and unintentional art figure. His art career began in 1981 when he met Greenberger. As a resident of the Duplex Nursing home, Rogers became a contributor to The Duplex Planet magazine. Greenberger included his drawings in many issues. Rogers’ dynamic lettering was a primary focus of nearly all his drawings. Later, Rogers was commissioned to create album-cover lettering for R.E.M. and other musicians. Since 1994, his drawings have been featured in a traveling exhibition of outsider art. Ed Rogers' vibrant lettering is compelling in its characteristic inconsistency. The Ed Rogers font set features digitized versions of his hand lettering and selected doodles. As the subject of a P22 font, Ed Rogers joins the ranks of Cézanne, Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Hopper, M.C. Escher, John Cage, Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, and other artistic geniuses.

This special live performance in the beautiful sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church is being jointly presented on the occasion of their milestone anniversaries by three of Buffalo’s preeminent alternative cultural enterprises: Hallwalls (celebrating its 30th this year), New World Record (celebrating its 20th), and P22 Type Foundry (10th).