Big Sur’s Miller Library inspires day-long musical event.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur is not a typical library; it is a treasure chest of history documenting a great artist whose work challenged the cultural standards and moral outlooks of America.
Magnus Torren, the executive director of the library, says he feels it’s important to preserve and archive all the historical artifacts of the library.
“We may be a small, humble library, but we’re a large supporter of free speech and expression, and we must continue to make visitors aware of Miller’s contributions,” Torren says in his slight Swedish accent. “The library has many photos, letters, and manuscripts of Miller’s, and all are important pieces of the history of this country and the history of free speech.”
The library’s “archival project” entails preserving, cataloguing, and digitalizing Miller’s artifacts dating back to the 1930s. There is a possibility of making the library archives available on the Internet in the future.
To help raise money for the library’s archival project, the Solstice Benefit Concert has been organized to rally supporters with 10 hours of local music, food, wine, belly dancing and fire dancing on the lush library lawn under the towering redwoods.
The day, organized by Stuart Thornton and Ryan Masters (staff writers at the Weekly) includes performances by 12 bands of 12 different musical varieties.
“Too many bands, too little time,” Masters says of the benefit’s packed schedule. “But with sun, music, and support for the library, it will be a great event.”
The event has become a sort of moonlighting exercise for several Weekly staffers. Masters’ own trio, The Suborbitals, will perform its unique Tom Wait’s renditions and original songs featuring shrewd lyrics and playful harmonies.
Keith Bruecker (an editorial intern at the Weekly) describes his band, The Nancy Boys, which is also performing, as a punk, new wave, indie, grunge blend.
“All I did was contact a few of the bands,” Thornton says humbly.
Among the acts:
• Jamaica, of the belly dancing Troupe Diva from Pacific Grove, who says she is a big supporter of the Library. “This benefit is the only gig we do for free because we believe in the cause,” she says.
• Rosalia Moon Byrne, a native of Big Sur, whose style of fire dance in known for a “signature all its own.”
• Vermillion Lies of Seaside, sisters who make their music with a guitar, an F-18 refueling pump, a gas can, a flour sifter, and other household oddities.
• Flojos Nos Visten, who call themselves an “experimental orchestra with a flavor for music that makes people think and move.”
• The Matt Hartle Band, who mix the complexity of jazz theory with the roots and blues of Son House and Johnny Cash.
• Local standouts Dubscene, The Remedy, Sean Smith, Paula Brisker, and Matt Baldwin.
Torren himself has been known to entertain audiences in past events with stories and song. He will not be without his acoustic guitar at the benefit and says, “I’ll probably sing at some point.”
Torren wants to continue to provide “a laid-back place” for visitors.
“The library is one of the only non-commercially oriented environments still around,” he says.
The Henry Miller Library benefit CD hits the local streets at a later date. All proceeds will go to the library.
THE SOLSTICE BENEFIT CONCERT TAKES PLACE SATURDAY, JUNE 18, FROM NOON-10PM ON THE LAWN IN FRONT OF THE HENRY MILLER LIBRARY, HIGHWAY 1, BIG SUR. $10. 667-2574.