The blues club I worked in really was a tough place. Too tough. Tougher than life. Boss Mama who ran the joint let Chris Brooks bring in some poetry readings all the better to literize the young 'uns.
As a young 'un myself, I was made happy by the letter E.
They read poetry by a musician, John Cage. He was famous for the piano that wasn't played. Later, at another school, I watched a performance of the paper orchestra where people just folded and crumpled their scores and threw them on the ground. I was familiar with Cage even though I was a young 'un. He'd gone to school in Claremont and hated it and ran away, kind of like me.
Chris Brooks was reserved and usually sat in the back on a couch having quiet conversations with Boss Mama Mary. I was the one who started calling her Boss Mama.
So one early Sunday evening before the bands performed, I think it was usually Sunday as no one had too much energy left after the weekends with the bands onstage, the actors read a John Cage poem.
This was an old poem he'd written in 1957, a cross word poem, with the name of the artist's works who inspired the poem as the "spine" of the piece and of course everyone onstage was kind of familiar with it. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the poem or who inspired it)
I'd been able to talk the actors into having a light show with the poem. They wouldn't announce the name of the poem. The actors would read a line, when the moment arrived that the letter arrived that would eventually spell the name down the spine, a small letter was flashed on the wall next to them, like a small butterfly. Just for a second or two.
That was hard to do, to bring that idea into being. But how it was done reminded me exactly of Bruce Brown reading scripts at his surf movies in high school gymnasiums.
There was a small gooseneck light so the "spine lighter" could follow the reading along with the actor onstage. When the moment arrived, a pen flashlight beam went through a letter stencil (like they used to sell at stationery stores to make print letters) et voila! The letter "E" was illuminated on the backstage wall.
So clever these artists.