"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, but today is a gift...that's why we call it the present."
On August 24th Michael McDermott will celebrate another birthday...which means, of course, it's time for the 4th Annual McDermott Birthday Celebration -- a joint effort to make Michael's day just a little more special, by all of us in the pauper community -- and that includes not just fans, but friends, family, management...in short anyone and everyone who shares an appreciation for this amazing artist and his incomparable work.
As many of you know, last year we created an urn of Ashes -- a highly unusual creation based on his 2004 release of that name...an item Michael himself dubbed "an amazingly touching gift". And, of course, it's hoped we can collectively create something equally meaningful and fun for this 2005 event.
That said, I must add here that since someone got a wee bit TOO excited about the 2003 endeavor and "spilled the beans" of its details to Michael, as with the "2004 McBirthday Bash" this year's finished product -- its title, its theme, its construction...everything -- is once again going to be a complete surprise... and that means a surprise to even all of its participants!
However, I can tell you that the basic item around which the gift is to be constructed is much more conventional than the one used for last year's work. But, I can also tell you that (with your help, of course...after all, it's really all of you who make the project...I just add my one submission like the rest and assemble the pieces) the finished product will be no less unique. What's more, the quote at the top of this page offers an even bigger hint into the proposed creation...by which I mean the plan is to borrow from a bit of "history" -- including that of the countless unreleased songs Michael has created over the years -- along with the "mystery" that is the new album he is currently recording for release "tomorrow" (or more accurately sometime in the months ahead)...and, by combining these concepts together, creating a "gift" that it's hoped will indeed prove a most welcome "present" when Michael opens it on August 24th.
And, in order to make this whole thing happen, the following are the items I need from you (which, incidentally, may sound VERY familiar if you've participated in the birthday projects of prior years. However, I assure you, this year's work will result in an entirely different finished product...it merely once again incorporates elements of these prior celebrations in its construction. After all, the common thread all of these projects share is use of the gift that is Michael's music and his insightful lyrics to create something new and different and special by applying them to a gift we in return can give to him -- as our thanks for all he's given us, and a celebration of the unique individual who is the artist himself):
Each person chooses a line from an unreleased McDermott song you hope might be included on the new McDermott album Michael's currently creating (it can be one of the songs he's mentioned in the 6/21 teaser blog entry on the topic, a title from the myspace.com Monday Morning Musical Madness offerings, a song you may have heard at a live show, etc.). I've included links to a few of these songs' lyrics on this page for anyone new to Michael's work or otherwise not familiar with anything beyond the official releases...however, you're by no means limited to this meager sampling of possible choices. Moreover, I completely relate to the impossibility of narrowing so many great lyrics down to only one! BUT, you do need to choose just one, and as quickly as possible, since, as always in these endeavors, time is of the essence.
Then, decorate the line you've chosen in any way you like (just remember that keeping it "small" is the operative concept here since we'll be combining everyone's efforts in another phase of the project, and it's important that there's room for everyone's contributions...this year more than ever it truly is imperative that the decorated line should be no larger than 3" square, 2" x 6" long or something very close thereto. NOTE: Any submission too large to be fitted in whole will be edited as needed.). You can use colored construction paper, plain white copy stock, ruled notebook sheets, post-it notes, fabric, metal, plastic...pretty much anything your heart desires as long as it's flat. As for the decoration, again, pretty much anything goes....calligraphic writing with formal pens, brush strokes with kids' watercolors, plain printing with an ordinary ballpoint...whatever you wish (...the illustration shown here offers just one simple example).
And, under the unreleased McDermott line you've created, sign your name as, of course, we want Michael to know who his work has inspired to be a part of this project.
Each person must once again buy Michael a birthday card (of average size. Or, you may wish to create a homemade one...or, if you prefer, you can simply write a letter expressing your appreciation of his work, wishes for a great year, etc. Or, you may send a small -- VERY SMALL -- gift [remember, the finished product has to include ALL of our collective submissions and still be of a size suitable for mailing!] . In any case, it's your choice...the point is merely to submit some form of birthday greeting/celebration of Michael's life and work. NOTE: A thank-you card instead of a birthday card would also be appropriate in the context of how these will be incorporated into the finished whole.)
Item/Step 3: (Optional)
If you'd like you can include a photo (just one) -- perhaps of you and Michael at a show, a venue he played that made a particularly strong impression, something that relates to a topic he's written about -- basically anything at all that you think he might find touching or thought-provoking or might simply make him smile. Depending on the number of photos I receive, I hope to create a small additional component to the gift. However, I want to keep things as simple as possible for everyone involved -- after all, while this is intended to be fun for and meaningful to Michael, it's hoped it might be those things for all of you as well. It's therefore not in any way my intent to create a burdensome to-do list of seemingly unending and unreasonable demands, so I will leave this additional step fully and entirely up to you. Let's not forget, this is above all intended as a joyous CELEBRATION!!!
Step 4 is to send the above items to:
McBirthday Madness 2005
(Please include your e-mail address if you would like to be notified of your submission's receipt.)
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY AUGUST 18th TO ALLOW TIME FOR THE FINISHED PRODUCT'S CONSTRUCTION AND MAILING TO MICHAEL!!!
Lastly, I just want to add that if you're new to this whole process and want to check out the past three years' projects before getting involved, just follow the links below...
Of course, before sending the finished product, I will photograph it and subsequently post the image here on artistinsane.com, explain the theme, etc., so everyone who has participated can see at last the completed gift Michael opened on Aug. 24th. (Obviously, keep in mind I can't actually post the photo until after the 24th...just to make sure a certain someone doesn't see it before that!!!)
the idea! What do you
think? Any thoughts, suggestions, comments? If so, please feel free
to contact me with those anytime (though I warn you in advance, don't bother
asking me to reveal to you the surprise!!!)...just drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(As promised above, the following are lyrics from a few (VERY few, that is) of Michael's thus far unreleased songs...any others whatsoever you care to use are welcome.)