2007-03-15: Chords That Have Colors


Lissa_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif Jane_icon.gif

Summary: Jane and Lissa discuss music and colors attached to it, Benjamin comes home whistling.

Date It Happened: March 15, 2007

Chords That Have Colors

Greenwich Village

Lissa exits the Au Naturale Market, with a small bag in one hand. Looks like she's been doing a little bit of shopping. She pauses, outside the store, and looks around, surveying the area with wide blue eyes, contemplating her surroundings.

A twenty-something brunette sits in a canvas portable chair outside a high rise apartment building. An open guitar case is next to her left foot, an amp on the other side. She's wearing a grey hoodie and dark jeans over boots with a low heel. Jane's eyes are on the guitar in her hands as she mulls something over. It takes just a few seconds, then her fingers are moving at the neck and body of the instrument, sound following from the amp it's plugged into.

Lissa hears the music, and her ears prick up. She looks around some more, trying to get a fix on where it's coming from. As she picks up on the source, she drifts that way slowly, curious and wanting to hear more.

It's hard to tell what's being played at first on exiting the market, but less so as she's approached. As the distance between Lissa and herself decreases, the chords of an Aerosmith tune can be made out, with lyrics sung by a rich soprano voice. "… Sing with me, sing for the years. Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears, sing with me, if it's just for today. Maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away." An instrumental solo stretch follows, Jane playing it out with skill honed through years of study and practice. Her eyes scan the street ahead and to the side of her as if she were practicing making eye contact with a large club or arena audience. One might conclude she's bolstering aspects of frontwomanship for future performances in more formal venues.

Lissa drifts closer, and closer, as the music lures her in. She does it gradually, not wanting to be one of those who beelines towards whatever's catching her attention. As she closes the distances, she starts to get the increasingly-familiar feeling against her skin. Her brow furrows, and she glances around. It's New York, it's a busy street, there's too many people to pinpoint the source. So for now, she ignores it, coming to a good vantage point where she can listen, and watch the performer.

As the lyrics resume, Jane's eyes settle on Lissa and rest for a moment, it seems, she's sharpening the ability to make members of an audience feel they were personally noticed by the musician. "Dream on, dream on, dream yourself a dream come true. Dream on, dream on, Dream until your dream comes true. Dream on, dream on, dream on…"

Lissa watches Jane right on back, blue eyes intent upon the musician, head slightly tilted. Her brow furrows again, as though she's got some attention on the music, and a whole nother train of thought chugging down some tracks towards a ravine somewhere.

Time moves along, her eyes shifting to another focal point as the tune concludes. Without a pause another is begun, instrumental at first for some fifty seconds before her voice is added. "We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline, to make records with a mobile. We didn't have much time. Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around, but some stupid with a flare gun burnt the place to the ground." The lyrics take a brief pause, maybe five seconds, before the next portion. "Smoke on the water, fire in the sky. Smoke on the water."

Lissa finally comes to a decision, as her mental tracks rejoin one another wuthout any significant mental collisions. She waits for a good moment, before quietly digging in a pocket and finding some crumpled dollar bills, which she carefully drops into the open guitar case. And still, she studies Jane, as well as the other people in the area, watching to see who comes, who goes, and who stays over a period of time.

More time passes as she plays and sings, until after nearly five minutes the Deep Purple classic is finished with a personal touch thrown in to fade it out. Jane's fingers and voice go still there, she looks at the people around her with a quiet grin. "Thanks, folks," the woman remarks with a nod of her head toward the case in reference to the money put there. She's a bit gaunt, her eyes speak of a lingering pain, maybe the memory of recent unpleasant experiences, as her attention settles on Lissa. "What'd you think?" she asks calmly.

Lissa tilts her head, as she's asked for her opinion. "It was very nice," she states thoughtfully. "The words were full of green and blue, which is always a good thing." She nods. "I liked it," she finally decides.

"Green and blue," she replies with a chuckle, her expression giving away a brief curiosity about what that might mean, one Jane doesn't speak of. "Okay. Thanks." Her head tilts to examine the woman in silence for some moments during which she seems to drift in thought, before asking "What are your musical tastes like, what sort of tunes show green and blue in their music and lyrics?"

Lissa blinks. Forced to think about it, she draws a mental blank. "It's… um. Very hard to explain," she says. "But, you know. The dark words, and round words, and ones with feeling to them."

"That's… different," Jane replies, her eyes settling on the woman to regard her curiously again. "You actually see the words, or is this a poetic way of speaking about what you hear?" For whatever reason, the guitarist doesn't seem to think that possibility is so terribly outlandish, suggesting she may have seen or done similarly odd things herself and has to at least consider the possibility Lissa's being literal rather than figurative. Another question seems to form on her lips and in her mind, but is held back.

Lissa frowns briefly, as she tries to think how best to explain. "The words," she tells Jane, "all have presence. They're all very real, in their own way. Like people. A song is like walking into a party. Or going to the prom."

"Interesting," she replies quietly, thinking for a moment more. Then her fingers start moving on the guitar again, this tune is dark and edgy in its sound at first, a bluesy metal sort of song. When the lyrics come, sung by her voice, they tell a story. It's about Brunette Canary's Course into and out of the darkness, how she suffered in it, and emerged from the other side. Jane's got a clear emotional connection to it, one might easily conclude she wrote this one from her own experiences. As she sings and plays her eyes occasionally settle on Lissa, observing her reactions.

Lissa contemplates the song, listening to it, eyes wide and blue and distant. She shivers a little, and finally speaks up, when it's quiet again, "It's very… blue, but not the good blue. It makes me feel like I was at a memorial service."

"It wasn't a good time for the woman who wrote it," Jane quietly admits. "She'd been through the wringer and had to express it somehow, and her fear about losing control, of having to ever suffer through the dark again." At no point does she admit, however, to being the Brunette Canary. Instead, Lissa's words are mulled over. It could be she sees things tied to emotions, but then again it's not at all hard to assign things to that one which might convince some of extraordinary perceptions, so she moves on. "How would Soprano Fog work for a band name?"

Lissa furrows her brow, and almost absently hugs herself as she mulls the words over. "Soprano Fog," she murmurs. "It's… murky." She tilts her head. "What kind of band?"

"Blues, rock, metal," Jane replies with a somber expression. Her eyes settle on the woman as she speaks, there's evidence of an emotional connection to the name in them. "I'm not like most women who play guitar, I rock harder than many of us. My influences are people like Nancy Wilson, Pat Benatar, Clapton, Hendrix, Page… Is murky bad, or good, do you think? A band's name should stick in the mind, you know?"

Lissa rolls the words over again, until she's gathered up her thoughts. "Soprano Fog. It has no ring. It's a man lost in the dark, feeling around by touch alone, and he's about to fall into quicksand. It… has weight, like it'll suck you down. It doesn't rock."

Now, that got her attention. Jane's eyes flash with something which might be anger for a moment as they rest on Lissa, and she takes some time to compose her words. "It doesn't rock. That was unexpected. So, what might you suggest?" The wheels seem to turn behind her eyes, she's considering the opinion and working on other names.
Lissa shrugs slowly. Clearly, she doesn't feel like it was her fault. People ask things, she replies. "I think Canary's Course has a good ring to it. It's full of openness. It has wings, and movement. It goes forward, and is airy. It has hope."

"So," she answers slowly, clearly still thinking, "you'd not use the song, and instead make part of the title a band name?" Jane herself seems to be taken with the idea, her head nods a bit. "Or maybe Soprano Fog should be the song title, and some changes made so the quicksand is still present, but there's more focus on the unbroken spirit, on how she pulls herself out and looks out to the clear blue sky above, glad to have made it."

Lissa blinks as she tries to keep up with the words, and finally just says, "It's your band. I'm just the random person from the street. But I think Canary's Course is a good name for a band. And Soprano Fog would be okay for a song." She shrugs, briefly.

"Hmm." Jane chuckles, something of a challenge entering her expression before she speaks again. "You might be on to something, and it's possible I might be much better for the playing and singing than the writing. Maybe I need a lyricist. Think you can write songs to fit what I play, what I want to express?" Her body leans back in the chair, legs cross at the ankles, as fingers run lightly over strings and frets to form a few idle chords.

Lissa frowns a little, rubbing absently at her arms. "I don't know," she says thoughtfully. "I'm… I'm a much better artist than I am a writer. Writing is like planning the guest list for a very large wedding, where you can't put Aunt Hilda next to Great-Uncle Marty, and if the Goldsteins come, you have to sit them with the Farbers, and there's always a table for the children."

"Artist?" she asks, quietly. "So you draw, or paint, then." Jane's gone back to being contemplative, solemn. "Music and art fit, some of the legendary albums had covers just as evocative as the audio content, true enough. It helps establish the mood, whether it be dark, or rebellious, or… anything else the musicians wanted to express."

Lissa nods in reply. "I draw and paint and other things. I like working with colors. It helps me convey what I see. I can try and make people understand my viewpoint." The then adds, with a flash of a grin, "Sometimes, I think I'd make a very good grafitti artist."

"Well, then," Jane offers with a quietly spreading grin, "give me some way to reach you, a number or email address, and someday when I need an artist I might get in touch. But, between now and then, I can maybe help you not get ripped off through selling your work. See, I'm not just a guitarist."

Lissa dips her head. She digs in a pocket, and eventually finds a piece of paper, on which she writes down her name and a phone number. According to that, she's Lissa Lane. "You're not?" she asks, blinking and peering at Jane curiously.

"I'm a lawyer too," she answers with a chuckle. "I wouldn't charge much, it's just that as a musician, I understand how easy it can be to get cheated. So many people just starting out got drawn in by bad contracts and don't own their own work." Jane trails off, before adding softly "No one deserves that."

Lissa blinks again. "A lawyer, who works as a musician? That seems odd. Shouldn't you be doing lawyery things?" She's conversing with Jane, over by some high-rise where Jane was set up to play her music on the street. "I have done okay so far with my art. I don't sell much. It's just what I do."

"I like music better," she replies quietly. "It's been my passion for years, the law angle was to make my parents happy, and I do use it. I want to help struggling artists not get cheated on copyrights and trademarks." Jane's fingers move over the instrument a few more times. "So you don't need to make a living from your art, then."

Overcoat folded over his arm, Benjamin is seen coming up the sidewalk towards the High Rise Apartments. He's wearing a decent suit, looks like he had some business to attend to earlier in the day. Whistling… it suspiciously sounds like Phantom of the Opera.

Lissa tilts her head, and frowns at the reply, mulling over words. "I have jobs," she says. "I guess it would be nice to make a living from my art, but then it would be a job too. And what if then it wasn't fun?"

"Nothing's entirely fun, Lissa," Jane replies solemnly. "even music. Got to meet the band members, write the songs, rehearse, do everything involved with making it great, but the rewards when it all comes together, that makes it all worthwhile. And it's all yours, it came entirely from inside you." She turns her head a bit at the sound of an approaching man who whistles Andrew Lloyd Webber and watches him for a long moment. For some seconds there it seems she might start filling in the part of Christine Daae, once she has a handle on just what tune from the musical he's doing.

Benjamin stops whistling as he reaches the apartment building. His steps slow and he heads towards Jane and Lissa. Smiling at both women, he turns to address Jane, "Hi, haven't seen you around the building in a few days. I thought it was a bit odd, you haven't been sick have you?"

Lissa blinks at Jane, and nods. "Oh," she declares. Not always the most agile with words, she fails at finding a good response. And then her attention is caught up by the arrival of someone new, so she turns to peer at Benjamin, studying him intently. "Hello."

She studies the man for a moment, as if trying to place his face in her memory, and doesn't seem to come up with anything but, she thinks, he seems to know her and so maybe he lives in the building. Jane doesn't want to let on anything she's been through lately to people who don't already know, and an attempt is made to cover. "Oh. I've been… busy for a while. How are you?" She doesn't look quite the same as the woman he sang with near this very spot not so long ago. She's paler and a bit gaunt, there's something to her eyes which suggests a recent harrowing experience and the grim determination to avoid repeating it, with lingering fear she might slide down that path again. "You like Phantom."

"You look like you've been sick, I hope that you're feeling better." Benjamin grins a little and rubs the back of his neck with a hand. "Yeaaah.. it's my mother's influence really.. Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners." He holds out a hand to Lissa and introduces himself, "Benjamin Winters, I'm Miss Forrest's neighbor."

Lissa instinctively shakes the offered hand, her own grip warm and loose, releasing Benjamin's hand quickly afterwards. She blinks, and then says, "Lissa. I'm a random person who was walking down the street until I heard her music and came to investigate. Hello." That Feeling is practically dancing along her skin, impossible to ignore, and she glancesa from Jane to Benjamin, resigning herself to another Very Strange Day.

Sick. Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. True, but also incomplete, good enough. And there's inward relief, now she can try to pretend she already knew his name. Jane answers Ben quietly. "I was, but I'm getting better every day. Thank you for asking." And she turns for a moment toward Lissa. "That's me. Doctor M. Jane Forrest. Jane will do, though. No need to be formal." And back to Ben. "Phantom's not really my thing to play, I'm a rocker chick, but it's good to watch. Not to mention I know I can hit the high notes every bit as well as the actresses in the musical." And then some, she thinks to herself.

"Hi, pleased to meet you, Random Person," Benjamin says, grinning just a little. "She's always out here singing and playing her guitar, so when she wasn't for a few days.. well it was noticeable." He nods to Jane, "I know, we uhm, sang a couple of songs.." Which he still looks a little embarrassed about. Just in the whole, 'omg, I can't believe I did that in public' manner.

Another missing memory, that, but Jane doesn't let on, and hopes it's not seen. That might lead to questions about just why she was sick, which she veryvery much wants to keep to herself. She's not the least bit proud of it. "I remember that day," she comments with a quiet smile. "It was fun." She doesn't, but she hopes it's accurate to say it was fun.

Lissa frowns a little as she realizes the time. "I'm very sorry. I appear to have lost track of how long I spent here. I should probably be going. But it was very nice meeting you both." Her brain has started trying to process Strange Things, and she's of a mind to flee before things get Confusing.

Benjamin is oblivious to any underlying problem there may be. As far as he's aware? Jane was sick and holed up in her apartment. Makes sense to him! "Oh sure, it was good meeting you!" He raises a hand in goodbye to Lissa as she leaves. "I'm glad to see you're okay Jane," is said with a smile as he too turns to leave, straight on into the building.

"Good night, Lissa, Ben," Jane replies quietly in turn to each of them, and as they move away she begins to pack up her gear with the thought of moving on to other places and people she might play for. A few breaths are taken and released, she feeling relieved the neighbor didn't seem to catch on to her shameful ordeal with addiction.

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