When the Devil came to California
He rode in on his fiery mare shook out his fiery hair
When the Devil came
When the devil came to California he brought along a bevy of hip, bejingled Berkeley dancers and musicians. Composer and performer Laramie Crocker and his partner, playwright and tarot reader Wend Elsen have created Redemption, the Acid Gospel Tarot Opera that traces the Hero’s journey through personal loss and horror in the backdrop of America’s apocalyptic War on Terror (which makes me wonder...what happens if they one day declare a War on Horror? Will zombies revolt?). I attended the Oakland Art Murmur premier performance at Uptown Auto last weekend, and was seduced by the ten songs in ten cards that veered between tenderness and a Persephone-like preference for the taste of Hades.
With the soul consciousness of Johnny Cash and a Pink Floyd-like flair for the surreal dramatic, Crocker is assisted by band mates Richard Berman on double bass, Ralph Granich on drums, Tom Huber and Phil Stokes on guitar. And Sam Weinstein, Wendi Olson, Carrie Davoli, Barbara Griesau and Eve Graham assist with vocals.
In addition to the musical feast, there's a basket brimming with visual candy for the audience to nibble, in no small part thanks to the lively performance of the Berkeley Morris Dancers, Tigris Dancing Joy and Gillermo Ortiz who add not only dancing feet but akido to the storyline.
If this sounds like a lot to digest, it is. But as the lyrics go, I don't know where I'm going and I don't know where I've been. If I find myself along the way I'll be sure to place a call to you from him.
For any who can't make it to a live performance, Crocker is also a software developer with a passion for the open source community and offers Redemption free of charge to listeners from the comfort of their own computers...
But Bay Area residents won't want to miss the opera in three (or more) dimensions at the Hillside Club in Berkeley on Saturday, May 19, 7:30 p.m – 9:00 p.m. In the acid gospel tarot opera, your journey to hell comes with a return ticket. JustRoll down the window
breathe the air