Writer, performer, music aficionado, and creator/host of Soundtrack Series, Dana Rossi reflects on how it all began in New York City four years ago at the famed le Poisson Rouge. Dana brings performers, writers, artists and poets together to share their stories…first in New York, and now Austin.
We just passed the four year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death–which means we also just passed the four year anniversary of the conception of Soundtrack Series.
The thing I will always remember the most about hearing that he died (right before I went to see the movie UP, mind you), is that I flat out refused to believe it. This couldn’t be. The man who was responsible for the first full album I ever owned and for the music that pretty much raised me could not be gone. This was the sickest joke ever and I was spending hours, then days just combing the Internet looking for that one story–that one intrepid reporter who would break the news that it was all a hoax and he was still alive and rehearsing for his tour, and really, how gullible could everyone be? But I never found that story. I was shocked and hurt with the rest of the world, and for days I remained glued to Facebook–reading status updates about him, his death, and all of our shared grief.
While participating in this bizarre digital wake, I noticed that people were not only talking about his death or quoting his lyrics, they were also talking about Michael and his music in the context of their own personal histories and sharing snippets of their life that they associate with him–trying to learn the Thriller dance with friends, but being the only one who zombie shimmied the wrong way. Singing Man in the Mirror at the school talent show, but singing the wrong lyrics. I’d always done this–paired music with my memories as I’m sure many people had–but the grief we were all feeling really brought these kinds of stories out in spades. And as I read everyone’s mini histories set to the music of Michael Jackson, I realized that breaking news I’d been looking for was right in front of me the whole time. He wasn’t dead. He was right here, living forever in the story about the zombies, the story about the talent show, and the countless other stories we’d surely be telling each other for years to come–the stories that music wouldn’t let us forget.
The Soundtrack Series is July 5th at 8:00 pm and July 6th at 7:00 pm in the Long Center’s Rollins Studio Theatre. Performers include Dana Rossi, Kambri Crews, Monique Daviau, Robert Faires, Lowell Bartholomee, Amparo Garcia-Crow, Johnny Goudie, and Ralph Hardesty.