Noted Southern California poet Brian Michael Tracy will preview his upcoming ‘rock poetry’ album, The Mystical Prism of Being, at Venice’s church of the spoken word arts Beyond Baroque March 5 at 4:00pm. The event will be a fundraiser for the non-profit literary space. Tracy will be joined by noted musicians Bruce Springsteen collaborator Marty Rifkin, Andy Hill (Title Trackers, Hard Rain), and Renee Safier (Andy & Renee, Hard Rain), and up and comer Edoardo Tancredi. Tickets for the event are $25 in advance and available here ($30 at the door).
The Mystical Prism of Being is unique in that it combines Tracy’s poetry with the musical talents of producer Rifkin, and South Bay music stalwarts Hill and Safier, performing a selection of beloved rock ballads interwoven with the poems. With three thirteen to seventeen minute tracks “A Virgin Birth,” “Our Last Supper,” and “Ascension,” the album is appropriately set for release on Good Friday, March 25.
The album juxtaposes Brian’s poems with a variety of beloved songs including The Beatles’ “Across the Universe,” Sting’s “Sister Moon,” Van Morrison’s “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart,” Leonard Cohen’s “Alexandra Leaving,” Robbie Robertson’s “Fallen Angel,” Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand,” and more. The Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace” also appears and profoundly influenced the project’s graphics. It is a continuous braiding of poem and song resulting in poetry like you have never heard it before.
Brian Michael Tracy was born, raised and educated in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his BA from Stonehill College and his Master’s Degree from the Harvard University School of Design. His work has appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Plainsongs, California Quarterly, Depth Insights, Yogi Times, and on spoken word radio programs throughout the United States and Canada including stations KPFK in Los Angeles and CIUT in Toronto.
Tracy is the author of three books of poetry Driving With Dante (Conflux Press 2007), The Distance Between Shores (Conflux Press 2009), and Opaque Traveler: A Dream Sequence in Verse (Tebot Bach 2012). He has also released two critically acclaimed CD’s of music and poetry, Midnight Tea (2007) and Blackbird Ballads (2009).
Brian has performed his poetry at a variety of venues throughout California including the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Beyond Baroque, the Ruskin Art Club, the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara and the West Hollywood Book Fair. He served on the Board of Directors for Tebot Bach, a non-profit poetry foundation from 2009 through 2011.
After many years of living in Manhattan Beach, where he became friendly with popular South Bay musicians Hill and Safier, Tracy now lives with his wife Kathleen in Palm Desert.
Beyond Baroque is one of the United States’ leading independent Literary | Arts Centers and public spaces dedicated to expanding the public’s knowledge of poetry, literature and art through cultural events and community interaction. Founded in 1968, Beyond Baroque is based out of the original City Hall building in Venice, California. The Center offers a diverse variety of literary and arts programming including readings, workshops, new music and education. The building also houses a bookstore with the largest collection of new poetry books and CDs for sale and an archive that houses over 40,000 books, including small press and limited-edition publications, chronicling the history of poetry movements in Los Angeles and beyond. Through the years, Beyond Baroque has played muse to the Venice Beats, the burgeoning Punk movement and visiting scholars. Many of the city’s leading literary talents, including Dennis Cooper, Wanda Coleman, Tom Waits, Exene Cervenka and Amy Gerstler, are alumni of the Wednesday night poetry workshop. Many of the world’s most well-known independent artists, including Patti Smith, Michael McClure, Dana Gioia, and Viggo Mortensen have performed on its stage.
Beyond Baroque’s mission is to advance the public awareness of and involvement in the literary arts; to provide a challenging program of events which promotes new work and diversity; to foster a place in the community for the exchange of challenging ideas and the nurturing of new work; to support writers through readings, workshops, books sales, publication, access to archived material and performance space; to encourage collaboration and cross-fertilization between writers and artists in multiple disciplines with the goal of producing mixed media art; to use the literary arts as a foundation for increasing education and literacy in the community.