The Henry is excited to host HITS of Sunshine in the middle of this cold snap. We caught up with Lisa Schonberg and Allan Wilson from the group for a quick conversation.
Henry: First off, you are coming to dark, cold, Seattle so let’s start with an important question: How do you take your coffee?
Lisa: Black, and in one of those taller ‘regular’ mugs, rather than in one of those broad saucer things.
Allan: Decaf. Exciting, no?
Henry: Seattle is cold, like bone-chilling cold, lately. Portland, where you live, has had similar weather. In weather like this, what part of Joshua Tree do you miss most?
Lisa: It is definitely cold here. We’ve been “snowed in” for a few days now; all it takes is a few inches and everything gets canceled, since they do not have the infrastructure to handle it. I often miss the consistent warmth and dryness of Joshua Tree. I am much more adept at dealing with excessive heat than cold (my extremities shut down if they get too cold), and I never mind an intense sweat, whereas I get pretty grumpy when it I am cold for too long. I loved hiking in the desert in the sun, as long as I prepared myself with sunscreen and a wide hat. I also loved how the sand got into everything; my skin was different there, and my hair has this nice consistency and would hold itself in braids without any hairbands, and i just felt good – my circulation and my systems were functioning more smoothly. My energy levels were consistently higher and I did not experience the midday slump that is typical for most people I know in the Pacific Northwest. It is near impossible to bring that feeling to the cold damp Pacific Northwest unfortunately, but I just remember to get out in nature as much as I can regardless of the climate, and to walk aimlessly on trails. Even though I can’t replicate the feeling of sun or sand or open skies, and might need an espresso to keep my energy up, I can definitely still get the pleasure of walking in wild areas and the good feeling that always brings to me.
Allan: We spent an autumn month there (October 2012), which is a warm, pleasant time to visit. So this week especially, Joshua Tree feels like a memory from a distant past on another planet. I miss it all, really: the company, working everyday in Andrea’s studio, the boulders, the campfires, the smell of the creosote bushes, the outdoor kitchen and encampment, our wagonstations (where we slept), the stars, sunrises, sunsets (my lord, the sunsets!!), the various bugs and critters with whom we literally crossed paths every day… even the scorpions and rattlesnakes I miss, and now sincerely thank for choosing to leave us and our friends unharmed.
Here is a video of their experience so you can check out what Lisa and Allan are describing.
Henry: Watching this movie, it seems like place was a big part of the art and presentation. Will the Henry’s space be utilized as fully for the performance here?
Lisa: Well, there’s no way to replicate bouldered hillsides obviously, and sound will carry much differently in a closed space. We’ve already put on the performance at an indoor venue, Disjecta in Portland, and so we have dealt with some of the limitations, but also have benefited from the advantages of using an indoor space, such as being able to more easily control the movement of sound. Volume levels will come across more consistently and we do not have to deal with the elements of noise from wind or things like that. We will not have a full setup of speakers like we did in Joshua Tree, since there isn’t the same sort of space to walk around in to get the full effect of that sound installation and the spread of different samples coming at you from different points. And we don’t have the boulders to project visuals on. So we will instead be focusing on the music and fashion, sound collages and field recordings, and adding a new element of dance to our performance. Like Disjecta, Henry will offer us the advantage of a more concentrated space where it is easier to hone in the audience’s focus. We will be presenting our sound collages and field recordings in a new and interesting way at the Henry; they’ll be projected through the speaker system throughout the museum. I am excited about that!
Allan: Definitely. We decided to expand on what we did in the desert, and will be incorporating dance into parts of the performance. Fortunately, the sound system at the Henry will allow us to create a sort of “surround sound” environment, using the field samples we recorded in JT that form the core of many of our compositions. We’re also considering utilizing video projections during the performance.
Henry: Is there anything else you are looking forward to while you are here in Seattle?
Lisa: The library! And visiting with my old friends.
Allan: I guess I love Dick’s. You know, the hamburger place.
Henry: Thanks, Allan and Lisa, we look forward to this weekend! get your tickets here for HITS of Sunshine.
Here are a few resources to get to know the creators:
Lisa’s website is frequently updated and she just got back from a similar trip in Hawaii.
Allan’s band !!! is currently on break from touring to create new music.
The third member of Hits of Sunshine, Heather Treadway, couldn’t join us for this chat but you can see her fashions at the event and on her website.