Pam Houston directs the Creative Writing Program at U.C. Davis. Her most recent novel is Contents May Have Shifted.
Luang Prabang, Laos, is so close to the equator that daybreak happens at the same time each day. Also each day, a few dozen women set up rice cookers on small collapsible tables on street corners next to the more than 30 monasteries that grace this riverside town. If you get up with them and walk the silent streets in the misty Mekong predawn, you smell, under the sweetness of the frangipani blossoms, the thick odor of cooked starch.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of singer-songwriter Dave Carter from a sudden heart attack induced. He and Tracy Grammer, his partner in both music and life, were the fresh new act in folk at the time, having joined forces in 1996. In accordance with Carter's wishes, Grammer has continued to perform their songs even into her blossoming solo career, which so far includes three studio albums.
I was curious to see how Gang Gang Dance would present their edgy mix of dance and more experimental electronica at the outdoor Prospect Park Bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn. The answer was: convincingly. Gang Gang Dance's set featured keening, alien vocal lines soaring over choppy keyboards, rhythmic samples and glitches, and two live drummer/percussionists.