Just when you thought it was over, the truly extraordinary was beginning to unfold. On All Souls Day, we attended a Zombie house concert at friends’ Kelly and Donna’s place. You may know them as Still on the Hill. You may have heard them in concert. You may own some of their CDs. You may have visited their famous Ozark Ball Museum. But all these pale in comparison to their zombie house party.
Donna Stjerna is one of the most creative people I know, and Kelly Mulholland is one of the finest musicians in the country. The best thing about both of them is that they really know how to play. Not just with musical instruments and voices, although there must be a reason why what musicians do is called “play.” While writer’s write and artist’s paint and sculptors sculpt, musicians play. Kelly and Donna really know how to play, and they invite others to create playtime along with them.
This year Donna was bit by a Zombie and decided to “zombie the house,” as Kelly called it. She would jump up in the night with a new idea and run off and do some more zombie stuff. There were zombie baby dolls, and zombie faces pasted over pictures of family members as well as fine art that hung on the wall. Nothing was too sacred to escape zombieing. There were zombie drinks and zombie food–zombie fingers, skin chips, and mucuous dip. Even the ball museum was zombied. Then, of course, there were zombie guests who brought zombie offerings of music. All of them were terrific.
Art should be joyful. Sure, sometimes it’s full of angst, as is life itself. But on the whole, art is about the joy of creativity. You know you’ve jumped into the flow when you work for hours then look at the clock surprised at how much time has passed. You know joy has entered your work when you find yourself laughing at your own ideas. You are truly playing when you invite others to collaborate and play along with you. Such was the zombie house concert. The offerings of the zombie guests were awesome and truly quite haunting. The Halloween carols using Christmas tunes to recreate them so everyone could sing along were a riot. The fire outside and the gypsy readings inside added to the happy, spooky atmosphere. I actually think Kelly took the prize as the creepiest costume. He didn’t want to be a zombie, so he dressed as Hello Kitty in a long pink dress with a ruffled flower top. Watching him riff on his stratocaster in his Hello Kitty getup was a moment I’ll never forget.
I went as a Cockney gravedigger who steals from the dead but gets his comeuppance when partner Jim gets a little too greedy. The piece is called The Gravedigger Blues, which I’ll include as a link. Just remember your Cockney accent and don’t forget to have as much fun reading as I did writing it. Thanks to Kelly and Donna for reminding us again what fun creativity can be.