Sight, Word and Sound: Connections in Unexpected Places

Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011

Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011

  • Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
    Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
  • Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
    Dean Santomieri at Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
  • Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
    Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
  • Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011
    Berkeley Arts Festival, August 13 2011

When I was interviewing for my present job, the conpany’s live-work balance and tendency to hire interesting and creative people were offered as plusses. I didn’t think too much about it at the time. I was just interested in the job. But it turned out to be true; there seem to be a larger than expected number of musicians and artists working there. It has helped me to reconnect with art activity that I have lost touch with after years of grad school, parenting, and full-time work. A case in point was last Friday evening when I ventured out to the Berkeley Arts Festival to see one of my co-workers perform his spoken word/sound art. The venue presents visual works on the walls along with the performances on the stage.

Dean Santomieri is well-known in the performance scene around the Bay Area. I’m sorry not to have been familiar with his work prior to getting this job, chatting at work, finding lots of common interests, and exchanging recordings. In any case, the performance last Friday was wonderful. Dean is a great writer and story teller, and he accompanies himself with a battery of electronics and guitars, creating a aural environment that nicely supports the spoken word without ever getting in its way. The writing, what I might call magical realism, drew me in right away, eliciting a curious mixture of delight and trepidation.

And it was inspirational too. I’m not giving up photography, but I’m pledging to myself to fire up the old electronics and get back to work. And speaking of photography… I wish I had sat closer and gotten a shot of Dean playing that crazy, electric resonator guitar. I will next time.