Day 20 VCCA: It’s Not Easy Being Green

It’s darn near impossible to capture the fleeting yet meaningful connections forged at a place like VCCA, but picture this: we’re all situated around the fireplace after dinner, twenty-odd artists from across the country in varying stages of their careers. We’re there to hear a poetry reading, or a novel excerpt, or a new composition as the case may be. A few nights ago it was a poet and a ukelele player. Last night it was a composer who loves pop tunes and cabaret, paired with our jazz trombonist/composer/good-at-everything kind of guy. They hadn’t rehearsed, but who needs to? When one of the musicians played trombone on a Norah Jones album and has a children’s show on PBS, while the other can sing with a voice as smooth as water for three hours straight, who needs to rehearse?
Imagine now that the evening has grown long in that slow, wine-drinking kind of way. The buzz is on, the lights are low, and good vibes fill the air. We’ve heard everything from covers of Bowie and Gershwin to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Then someone mentions the Muppets…and the visual artist working on a puppet show music video brings out her horse mask…and then the cabaret singer remembers that he knows “It’s Not Easy Being Green”…and of course the trombone player is game for anything, and so it goes.
Here’s a poorly lit, unedited, battery-running-out snippet from that moment. Listen for the apex of that lonliness in Kermit’s song, the way the trombone (with mute) wails across the room, then lifts the air. It can’t capture how much I admire the artists here. It can’t even demonstrate how inspiring life at VCCA feels. But it’s something. It’s surely something…

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