Sun Ra and I share a birthday. We celebrated my 21st together at The Pausa Art House in Buffalo’s Allentown – or at least some local Ramen and women and one original disciple (I believe it may have been Marshall Allen) celebrated Sunny’s birthday while I sat with friends and family, contemplating a globular glass of Three Philosophers and the strange music unfolding and exploding before me.
The concert was thrilling, especially in a venue as small as my living room. The costumes – wizards capes and caps, glittering gowns, a pair of nylon fairy’s wings that night (a little looser than the real Arkestra’s outfits) – weren’t gimmicks, somehow. Pretty quickly I realized that the music, as intentionally challenging as it was, was really just about joy.
So when I saw the Sun Ra Arkestra, led today by Ra’s longtime sideman, “91 years young,” Marshall Allen, would be playing Edinburgh’s Summerhall, I knew I had to go. Clock my review in The Skinny here.