Dial Tone defies Debby: a sensory recap

Originally published in This Week in Sarasota


In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve become a somewhat obsessive fan of the unique local project The End of the Dial Tone Radical Experimental Collaborative Music Band Band. It’s pretty serious — to the point of attending as many as humanly possible since my first encounter one year ago. I’ve also spent considerable energy as well as some of my “TWIS voice” musing on the intricate dynamics, mysterious essence and compelling local value of this monthly creative phenomenon. (See this article, and this one.)

True  to my obsession, last Monday I joined about 60 other Sarasota souls who braved tropical storm Debby’s blustery gales and sheets of rain to soak up yet another Dial Tone experience out at Jake’s Tavern on Clark Road.

Unlike past articles, this time I’m going to step back and simply let the images, words, sounds and feelings captured in those images and words speak for themselves.

I’ve attempted to give this string of media a flow to mirror that of the show itself, from beginning to end.

The following are excerpts of poetry by Steve McAllister, Zachariah “Skylab” McNaughton and Lois Betterton, which weave together the photos and artwork of the visual talent present — all recruited by the diligent organizer-facilitator John Lichtenstein.

There’s actually a wealth of additional creative output; be sure to check out “further reading” at the end and follow the project on Facebook to stay connected and experience this for yourself at the next show on July 31.


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The End of the Dial Tone Radical Experimental Collaborative Band Band

June 25, 2012

Jake’s Tavern, Sarasota

Steve McAllister:


It starts as it always does

a driving beat to kick things off

it builds as the sounds progresses, driving toward anywhere

but nowhere is the destination on the journey to now

as the rhythm builds


Live art by Eric de Barros.


Mike Murphy on drums. Photo by Scott Braun.

TEOTDRECMBB organizer John Lichtenstein. Photo by Scott Braun.


the fevered pitch of crescendo and the unmitigated absolution of the purity of the moment

the rampant cacophony of egos diminishing in the sound of the collective

all sounds wrestling with silence

as the notes find their place in the infinite

and music is breathed into existence

life is breathed into being

we are born into us

as the undulations of musical ecstasy take us further into manifesting what is not there


Guitarist Johnnie Barker. Photo by Matt Gunter.


The moment is not broken

the dial tone still buzzes

as messages are called through the bullhorn of destiny

before it is laid to rest


John Lichtenstein and his trusty megaphone. Photo by Matt Gunter


and the music continues

the electric clamour exploring its channels of expression

against the pounding of sticks and hands

the torment of percussion beating out the path

Words wait silently

rocking back and forth

awaiting their birth

awaiting the existence of the next phase

awaiting a direction for the course


Lalo. Photo by Matt Gunter.


Steve McAllister writing. Photo by Scott Braun.

Steve Apostoli on hand drums. Photo by Scott Braun.


Garret Roberts on keys. Photo by Scott Braun.


at last she wails, the angel of ink bleeding into the microphone

her words blend like a velvet fold over the rambunctious

a flurry of unbridled sentiment in a race toward greater expression

and so it goes

Ink and paint are guided with hand and brush

fingers on keys bring more music than can be heard

as words are created in subtext

against the animalistic drive toward feeling


Kari Bunker on vocals. Photo by Scott Braun.

Urban Spiral Dance Company dancer. Photo by Scott Braun.


this music sets the pace

this music guides the pen

this music brings the people

it is where it all begins


Live art by Van Jazmin.


Photo by Matt Gunter.

Artist Hunter Slade. Photo by Matt Gunter.

Live art by Eric De Barros.


Live art by Eric De Barros


the eyes make contact, but it is the heart that connects

for this is beyond connection

this is the maelstrom of collaboration

beyond the pale of tropical storms and the meager winds she brings


Artist Hunter Slade.


the storm that builds here is pure energy

where the winds of change meet their mark

and the world is changed forever

while all things stay the same



Ryan O’Neill. Photo by Scott Braun.


Johnnie Barker. Photo by Scott Braun.

Artist Sishir Bommakanti. Photo by Van Jazmin.


for the music always plays on

even as the tone diminishes

And even after the music fades to a din

the dial tone echoing its death rattle into the chasm

the beat continues

a relentless vibration against the stillness of the never-ending closure of what once was

and from the depth of the reverb in some shadow of fragrance that rises from the ether and gives the earth cause to dance


Live art by Eric De Barros.


the rhythm continues

the undulations go on

and the pure vibrant sexuality of nature

unsheaths herself from the shackles we beset her with

and rises like a serpentine phoenix

from the ashes of forever into the blossoming now

between the bosoms of sound and silence.


– View the full poem at Steve’s blog, InkenSoul.

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On-site typewriter. Photo by Matt Gunter

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Live art by Van Jazmin.


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Excerpt from “Crashing Through the Looking Glass and Landing on a Surrealistic Pillow”

by first-time attendee Lois Betterton


Universes no longer parallel, diagonally rotating on the horizontal and colliding with bouncy black leather couches in a giant dark room with drums beating randomly at first.  Then becoming a rhythmic chant without human words, with jungle words.  No, not words, not words at all.

Bling, blong, bling, bling, bam…electronica joins in as unjazz, infusion of unfuzion, unjazzy, and yet beginning to form…Something.  Like the lightshows at the Fillmore only with sound; swirling colors of sound, like giant pinwheels or bubblegum or cotton candy infused with candied apples, crazy to the core.
And a pretty tiny faerie with Animee pigtails begins to spin electric hula hoops, blazing rainbow hula hoops that morph into giant pink flags, cautionary flags of butterfly wings twirling and enveloping her.  Wrapping her up and then flying away in the sounds that fly by and that relentless beating.  Heartless beating, booming without a soul or a heart…primal in every way.
And, oh no, now a tall lanky bearded giraffe-man in furry horned helmet with…what???  Tiny glowing hula hoops!  Twirling them…he’s three times the faerie’s size and yet his hoops are half the size of hers.
That’s an impossible geometry I’m witnessing right there.  I think the barometric pressure has affected my brain, has removed any and all signs of equilibrium.  And all my senses have become a blurr.



Photo by Lois Betterton.


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Next time, I urge you: don’t just get the re-cap — experience it for yourself!

NEXT SHOW:   July 31 at Growler’s Pub, 9 pm.  


To see more (yes more!) footage and creative output from last week’s show and to stay updated on the talent line-up and more for future shows, go to the T.E.O.T.D.T.R.E.C.M.B.B. Facebook Page and hit “Like.”


– Poetry –

Lois Betterton

Steve McAllister

Zachariah Skylab McNaughton

– Art –

Eric De Barros

Sishir Bommakanti

Van Jazmin

Hunter Slade


– Photography –

Scott Braun

Matt Gunter


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