Ekphrasis Report, 03.03.14 – Commas, Short Presentations, Musical Performances, Asyndeton

March’s Ekphrasis gathering began with Sørina H. leading a workshop on the proper use of commas. As several of the group’s regular members are currently working on long-form narrative fiction, Sørina has been offering some instruction on different English techniques. Several people brought in sample sentences from different works, punctuation removed. After the workshop, several people presented works. The group had been asked beforehand to bring works that could be presented in three minutes or less, rather than the much longer chapters from our respective novels that have marked many of the recent gatherings.

Jeff H. started us off with a page of cryptic notes that he didn’t remember writing (but which was clearly written by him). He found it in a folder on his computer, apparently.

I presented a short work of prose that I’ve been working on, and the group then had a lively discussion as they worked to interpret the meaning behind the piece. I listened to the discussion, but did not participate in it, which was a very interesting and fruitful experience.

Josh L., a frequent attendee but first-time presenter, brought in a series of his photographs. We talked about his composition style and shooting techniques.

Sharon G. unveiled an acrylic painting she’s been working on for several months, a still-life which pictured several different types of glass vessels.

Marian B. read us a short story she’d written called “Steph,” which was inspired in part by Steph H, another person present that evening. It was a funny story, which claimed to be full of inside jokes, but ended up being quite accessible to everyone who heard it.

Betsy G. finished the non-musical presentations for the day with a poem called “The Battle of the Galloping Sausage,” a rousing epic about a food-fight.

The group then moved into the room with the better piano, and the musical performances commenced. Betsy and I have been working (in a very languid manner, I grant) on a duet performance of the song “My Eyes” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which we presented to the rest of the Ekphrasians. I sang the part of Billy and Betsy sang Penny’s part, and I accompanied on the piano. We’d planned to perform the song with microphones, but it seemed that only one microphone was present in the building. We decided to muddle on anyhow, and sing it without any amplification. This proved to be a mistake. Our execution on that first attempt might have been the best we’d ever performed (extra impressive since we hadn’t sung together since the middle of January), but heartbreakingly, the audience could not hear our beautiful voices.

We decided to try again, and attempt to share the microphone. I moved the bench over so that Betsy could sit next to me and hold the microphone. What followed was not exactly terrible, but did include several false starts and two abortive restarts of the final verse.

Finally, I performed a song I’d written, accompanying myself. The song was a reprise of a longer song from an album I’ve been working on. I hope to make a rough recording of it this week and upload it here, so that all of you gentle readers can enjoy it.

After that, people trickled out slowly. The remaining attendees had an impromptu sing-along party, performing songs from Les Miserables, Frozen, Once More With Feeling and several other works, until the night eventually wound down to a close. Overall, it was a very good meeting.

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About Andrew Stirling MacDonald

Andrew Stirling MacDonald is writer, video producer, composer and actor. He worked as a composer on a number of projects including Twenty Third Street Production's Exile, Perfection, Come On Down, Shindigital Productions' Into the Black, and several professional theatre productions. He is a founding member of the sketch comedy group "The Pippens," and once had a small role in an episode of HBO's Flight of the Conchords. He's also worked as a producer for Twenty Third Street Productions for the past twelve years, and has been the showrunner for Exile, a post-apocalyptic web series. In real life, Andrew can often be found writing unpublished novels, monopolizing pianos, extolling philosophies he understands little about and valiantly attempting to raise his three adorable children. If you want to find him it won't be that hard; he'll be the big hairy loud one in the kilt.

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