Archives for category: Sun Ra

These are the manholes that surround the DuSable Museum in Washington Park. I scoured the grounds on foot and on bike. I could only find one labeled “EL.” Now I look for the EL manhole all over town. I can’t find any more.

If someone spots one, would you please let me know?

John Corbett’s book, EXTENDED PLAY, contains, “Brothers From Another Planet: The Space Madness of Lee “Scratch Perry, Sun Ra, and George Clinton,”  a very influential essay which firmly identifies said artists  as the holy trinity of afro-futurism in contemporary culture. There are many other insightful essays and engaging interviews in the book. Looking forward to a long ride on the Red Line this morning  I grabbed Mr. Corbett’s book and settled on revisiting “Anthony Braxton: From Planet to Planet.” An awesome and provocative interview. I so admire the artist who can remain steadfastly wide open, compassionate, and engaged, while still crafting the ways and means of intensely considered and deliberate creative production. This is not as easy as it sounds!

Anthony Braxton. photo by Peter Gannushkin

At the end of the interview Mr. Braxton offers readers his suggested list of tracks. Since this blog focuses on the production and research revolving around Sun Ra, Marching Bands, Creative Music, and insurgent art, this list seemed apt:

1. The Florida State University Marching Band School Theme

2. Sun Ra, “Brainville” (from Sun Song)

3. Sun Ra, “Bygone” (from Mayan Temples)

4. Paul Desmond (w/Brubeck) “You Go to My Head”

5. Frankie Lymon, “The ABC’s of Love”

6. Ornette Coleman, “Peace” (from The Shape of Jazz to Come)

7. Alban Berg, Lulu (conducted by Pierre Boulex)

8. Richard Wagner, Parsifal and The Ring

9. Charlie Parker, “Donna Lee”

10. Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh, “Sax of a Kind”

11. Dinah Washington, “You Go to My Head”

       **12. William Grant Stills,  A Bayou Legend

13. Cecil Taylor, Akisakila

14. Sal Mosca/Warne Marsh Quartet, “Steady As She Goes” (from Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. II)

15. John Coltrane, Central Park West”

~ Extended Play, by John Corbett, pg 217.

** Amazing.

The Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band Fundraising Campaign has begun!

Check out our promotional video. I hope it inspires you to give us a little kick!

Thank you for all of the support thus far!

And cli k here for a link to the site to see what kinds of goodies await you!

Thank You,

Sending much love from Outer Spae!




“If you find earth boring

Just the same old same thing

C’mon sign up with Outer Spaceways, Incorporated.”

~ Sun Ra


This happened at approximately 11am on Saturday
morning September 11, 2010:

I sincerely hope this video conveys a little bit of the magic generated from the Rich South High School Band, the band’s musical director, Mr. Douglas, and the wonderful arrangement of Space is the Place by Mr. Frederick Tapley. There are many thank yous to send out, and a great deal of work still to come. But I wanted to share this with the people who worked so hard, got SO WET, and made it happen. You had to be there, but it was a beautiful beautiful thing.

Thank you Rich South  H.S.M.B.

You bad!

“Outer space is a pleasant place A place where you can be free There’s no limit to the things you can do Your thought is free and your life is worthwhile Space is the place. ”

~ Sun Ra

Just one caveat: the audio is NOT mixed. At all.

You’re all instruments.

Everyone is supposed to be playing their part.

~Sun Ra  in the film, Space Is The Place

A really nice article-

by Nate Chinen, jazz writer for the NYT, reflects on Sun Ra by investigating practically all of the contemporary (male) artists that I absolutely adore, including one of the Solar Flare Composers, Jeff Parker, and one of the project’s most astute and enthusiastic advisers, Greg Tate. Check it out!

CLICK HERE to read Chinen’s blog post on Sun Ra.
About to ride my bike in a little San Diego sunshine and think about it. Be back soon!

Chicago,  I MISS YOU!!!!

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I am favoring speed over precision for these! Sorry about repeat images.
All images taken by Ivan Lozano.

Today is September 12, 2010. I am still in Chicago. The threewalls residency ended on Sept.6, but I could not go home without producing at least one March. Shannon Stratton, the executive Director of threewalls, and I knew it would be difficult when we took this project on, and we knew it would take time to create all of the relationships, do the research, make the calls, ask the favors and apply the pressures necessary to create a flash mob marching band. It just took one week longer than my residency! But we did it!

The weather for the past week has been sublime. Fall has descended upon Chicago. Every day last week, was sunny and cool – and then Saturday happened. Thunderstorms! Riding the train from the Howard stop of the Red Line to Cermak Chinatown, I watched the clouds grow darker, the rain fall heavier. I text messaged my Sound Supervisor, Ben Chaffee. Both of us were dubious, and yet steadfast and determined. There were way too many moving parts to this event (70 students, 3 school busses, 13 crew members, borrowed equipment, guest-visa on the residency!) to turn back now. Back and forth we text’d our hopes for a break in the rain. I twittered my anxiety and prayers to Sun Ra to my 5 followers. There was a tiny break were full pour turned into misty Drizzle – the Musical Director, the brilliant and ebullient Mr. Y. L. Douglas, ordered his marching band into position – sound and camera rolled! About 15 seconds into Space Is The Place, the sheets of rain started coming down. And the RICH SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND sang the spiral melody even louder; they marched and danced even more brilliantly.

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In that moment, Chinatown Square was The Place and The Space to inhabit. I am still awed and inspired by the dignity, professionalism and utter beauty of the Rich South High School Marching Band. We will certaily work together again. So please keep checking in for updates, post- residency blog entries, and announcements for more marches. Thank you threewalls. THANK YOU CHICAGO. I’ll be back.

Check back soon for more images!

A March for Sun Ra

will strike the planet earth!



2133 South China Place
Chicago, IL 60616-1536
Just off the Red Line – Cermak

The participants of this event sincerely hope you can join us to celebrate solar flares, immeasurable equations, Sun Ra, and the cosmos.
We also ask that you please not ask the participants when the event  will begin.
Please do not tell folks you do not know why you are there.
Please do not stand around expectantly waiting for the event to begin —
Simply enjoy your Saturday morning at Chinatown Square.
Trust us. When the solar flare strikes  you cannot miss it!

See you Saturday, and thank you so much for all your support.

Space is the Place (1973) written by Sun Ra
Arranged for Marching Band by Mr. Frederick Tapley
Musical Director: Mr. Y.L. Douglas
Featuring The Rich South High School Marching Band
Sound Supervisor: Ben Chaffee
Executive Producer: threewalls

Audio/Visual Crew:
Jessica Bardsley
Samuel Davis
Michael Gleason
Joe Grim
Shy Hamilton
Sharon Harrell
Ivan Lozano
Cauleen Smith
James Smith
and friends.

This project is funded in part by: UCIRA, UCSD Academic Senate and threewalls

solar flare #1

As happy as I am to discover this cool funky site , it’s a bit daunting. I am learning more than I need to about the many and amazing album covers Sun Ra created for his short run vinyl presses of his recordings.

From the website called "SUN RA QUILTS OF JOY." Joy indeed.

This is just luscious and, for me, really expands my understanding of Sun Ra as an artist.

Oh. Like a mix tape, or a home burned CD, but it's vinyl!

All images are from:

Much respect.