In 2018, artist David Greenberger came to Chattanooga and spent three weeks conversing with participants of Adult Day Services at Signal Centers. He then developed these into a series of four dozen monologues, following which he collaborated with composer Tyson Rogers, creating musical settings. These were recorded over the course of 2019, with drummer Bob Stagner and bass player Evan Lipson adding a rhythm section to some of the pieces. Mr. Greenberger titled the finished album Good Perspective and in early 2020 it was ready to go, but then the pandemic intervened.
Mr. Greenberger will be speaking about the making of Good Perspective and playing selections from the recording at Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave. in Chattanooga on Wednesday, June 21, at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Adult Day Services, a program of Signal Centers, is a social model of care with a focus on arts and recreation-based programming. Licensed by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, ADS serves individuals with disabilities in a safe and lively setting including activities, meals, recreation, and some health-related services.
Mr. Greenberger is an artist best known for his creation of The Duplex Planet, which was borne out of his conversations with residents at a small nursing home in Boston, beginning in 1979. It was subsequently collected into several books, been adapted into a comic book series, and been the subject of three films (Lighthearted Nation (1989), Your Own True Self (1993) A King in Milwaukee (2009)). Over the past 30 years he has created over 20 CDs of monologues and music, collaborating with a wide range of musicians (including Yo La Tengo, Los Lobos, NRBQ, Ralph Carney, John Sebastian, members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, and Chattanooga’s own Shaking Ray Levis).
Filmmaker Beth Harrington is currently completing a documentary about his life and work, titled Beyond the Duplex Planet. His work has found favor with and earned praise from a diverse lot of creative individuals, such as George Carlin, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Penn & Teller, Studs Terkel, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Stipe, Norman Lear, Ed Ruscha, and Elizabeth McCracken. He has created works for NPR, California Council of the Humanities, The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Arts at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, Portland institute of Contemporary Art, Big Ears Festival as well as performing at museums, universities, and performing arts venues across the United States.
Topics conveyed in Good Perspective cover everything from lightning to problems with watches, what the blind dream about, dignity, perseverance, faith, love, and hope. Each individual has a different way of seeing themselves and the world, but within those differences are our commonalities. We find a new way of considering the world around us through shared experience.
“This project gives lifelong residents of Chattanooga an opportunity to hear the thoughts and observations of people in their city whose lives have been largely hidden from view,” said Mr. Greenberger.