Sunday, August 1, 2010


My one young and suspended pumpkin is starting to hold weight, and is close to touch the garden floor. Like the summer, with its swung thoughts that hope to be finding their places.

Party radio posing as an Italian spirit entered over the old walls of Padova into my set last night in the Giardini Sospesi (Suspended Gardens), and a plastic bottle of Acqua Panna served as a language key, helping me to explain my songs as neonate e vellutate (just born and velvety). After last summer's projections were stopped by rain, finally we were able to show Jill Auckenthaler's gorgeous paintings.

Debora Petrina joined me with harmonies and added scurrying musical lizard sounds with interesting toys, and Mirko Di Cataldo engineered and kindly embodied a marimba with his favorite guitar and a tremolo pedal.

Flip the year back in half, from summer night to insulated winter, which produced a base of piano/vox demos for my next album and an orchestration of my new song about aeroacrophobia, in the light of a wooden Christmas tree.

Bought an impulsive ticket 2 hours before the flight to surprise my Dad for his New Year's Eve birthday party in Chicago, where the ceiling was dripping with a floating balloon guessing game - each had a tag scribbled with a guest's anecdote about him, and how many years they've been friends!

Visited "the rocks" just before the party, where we used to go for walks on the water. And saw my Grandpa Ned for the last time, having a blast singing Auld Lang Syne from his wheelchair. His apartment across the alley was plastered with giant-sized lyrics to songs he liked to sing. His memorial service months later shocked our jaws open with an unexpected Navy 21-gun salute on a blocked-off downtown street. We could only hear it, from inside. The realization that it was for him took you over slowly, and it was profound.

Back in New York, February was growing wheeling trees, and my apartment was filled with rushing accordion notes of a new Valentine's song.

A drive to Canada gifted the most delicious cupcakes made by music camp friend Julia Seager-Scott,

and an exciting first rehearsal of her harp part in my orchestration.

As spring bent in,

gardens started to grow out of shoes,

and the Bushwick Book Club released my song Facing Their Way, which compares Roald Dahl as a child lying in his dormitory bed missing his parents (from "Boy") with James (and the Giant Peach) missing his parents who were eaten up by a rhinoceros.

I created wavy accordions for Roshi Nasehi's recording: an Iranian version of the traditional Turkish song "Sari Gellen" and curled my hair to serenade Mothers with french songs in a bistrot.

In June I arrived in Italy to a bowl of snails,

and dug into a riverbank to discover a plastic bottle with a gym membership inside.

Mid-month I celebrated the release of All My Friends Are Here, the final recording of Legendary Producer Arif Mardin. I'm "Amy Ice" in his film-noir song Dual Blues, and so honored to be a part of the eternal life of Arif's music, along with performers such as Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, Norah Jones, and my pals Raul Midon and Rob Schwimmer.

I found a handful of stars, and a green unicycle grew in the garden, packaged in sparkly vines.

Flowered teacups and plates marble my neighbor Armando's house, which he started covering when he was 17. Now he's 71.

Got painted with leaves for a night playing accordion in a production of Sogno di una notte di Mezza Estate, done by a community of recovering drug addicts, many only teenagers. It reminded me of when I was Puck for halloween, and my Mom painted my cheeks in gold.

The Community has a puzzle of flowers covering one wall.

Tons of ferociously creative rehearsals with drummer Jimmy Weinstein led to a sleepless recording session on a buttery Fazioli piano in Udine. So happy to initiate the new album. My longtime sax player and friend Peter Hess passed through Italy on a break from his Balkan Beat Box tour and lent a pricelessly helpful hand to the session.

2nd time in Berlin blossomed into one of the best, musically-releasing concerts of my life - the Concerts in the Box series at the Clavier-Cabinett piano shop.

The owner gave me a wooden hanger on the way out.

After downing some yogurt/poppyseed cake across the street, I accompanied singing drunks on accordion in a French bar. We passed right through last summer's magic square walking there.

Next day went to a blue peacocked island with directions on logs, where I climbed a ladder and saw a vine that seemed a person upsidedown.

A happy detour into Salzburg on the way home gave me one of the thrills of my life. I found myself unselfconsciously reenacting choreography from The Sound of Music in the actual Mirabell Gardens, covered in goosebumps from many Decembers watching it with my sister on Grandpa Ned's big bed.

There’s a Dwarf Garden there.

Now I'm eating just picked sugared pumpkin flowers fried in flour and beer. In Italy there's a saying "Agosto, non ti conosco" ("August, I don't know you"). It means - I'm on vacation in August so don't bug me. But to me, it's a prayer that this month will bring settled answers to wobbling questions - answers non conosco, yet.


  1. you are working and observing.

  2. I love you, Amy! Thank you for your music and your stories.