Two powerful forces
Two road-wizened gurus have joined forces to create one powerful show, a multi-media collage combining storytelling, poetry, video and a wide variety of musical styles, into an evening of compelling theater with themes ripped from the pages of history books, current events and personal reminiscences.
Multi-instrumentalist David Roe trades chops with Chris Chandler, a dynamic street preacher and poet, while video projections illustrating their tales of a world gone mad flash on a screen behind them at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 at The Redhouse, 201 South West St., Syracuse.
Their 9th Ward Trilogy is a poignant example of this collaboration and collage. No. 1 was written and filmed in 1996 when both gentlemen were living in New Orleans. No. 2 was written the morning the levees broke and utilizes news footage to illustrate the tragedy and triumph of the spirit of New Orleans. No. 3 shows picture after picture of the devastation of the 9th Ward taken 6 months after the flood, during Carnival season. The three pieces use music from former New Orleans resident Tom Waits, Louisiana's native son, Randy Newman, and the Louis Armstrong classic, "What A Wonderful World" to provide an aural bed and counterpoint for the poems.
Born in Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister, Chris Chandler found his own way of spreading "The Word." He takes the pulse of America, and then with equal parts acidic irony and utopian idealism, casts his prognosis to audiences at the rate of up to 250 shows per year, from folk festivals and coffeehouses, to clubs and theaters from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Miami, Florida, from California to the New England coast, from the headwaters to the Mississippi Gulf.
Part preacher, poet, huckster, wandering minstrel and medicine show barker, Chandler casts a spell over an audience. He has recorded collaborations with Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary, The Austin Lounge Lizards, Dar Williams and many others. He has worked live with Alan Ginsberg, Ani Difranco, Pete Seeger and Mojo Nixon and played on two Lollapalooza tours. Utah Phillips said, "He is the best performance poet I have ever seen."