Michael Louis Serafin-Wells

 
 

News

Two New (Christmas) Videos

 

The band released two new videos this morning for songs from their 2015 holiday album, BPXmas. As mentioned in an earlier post, the album was featured on NPR's On Being in an article by Digital Editor Marie Sambilay on the show's blog. You can read it here. The two new videos are for the band's versions of Silent Night and Emmanuel. Click on the song titles for the link to them on YouTube or just head over to the "Video" page of the band's website here. Happy Christmas, everyone!

 

December 1

 

On this day, ten years ago, Summer and Michael first met. Michael wrote this to her on his Summerlove blog this morning, in honor, memory, tribute and prayer:

 

Little sweetheart, on this day, exactly ten years ago, my life was changed utterly.

On this day ten years ago, I woke up early in the morning, before dawn, took the “E” train to JFK and flew across the country, arriving before lunch, to San Francisco to do a reading that afternoon at The Magic.

 

When folks from the theater, including our friend AD, Chris Smith, picked me up, they were enthusing rapturously about a young genius little whirlwind that had blown them away at the auditions and callbacks and who they’d hired to head the cast. When I sat down at the big table they’d set up on the stage of The Shepherd, the writer, company and cast gathered around, I came to understand they weren’t exaggerating.

During the act break, I found myself alone. Everyone had stepped into the outer hall of the lobby or all the way outdoors (The Magic is nestled into the Marina and it was a beautiful California day, sweeping vistas of both bridges in view). I was getting myself another cup of coffee when the aforementioned little genius whirlwind - you - made her way over to talk to me.

I wish like hell I could remember verbatim every word you said in those first moments but I think even at the time I might not have taken it in fully because I was too busy being taken in fully by you. At first sight, you were quite a first sight. Like something out of a Botticelli or maybe any one of those amazing heroines that Waterhouse painted. A red-headed angel with ivory skin so fair its purity was blinding. A classical beauty trying vainly to dress down and fit into these screwball times. Ariel in black yoga pants and a band t-shirt.

Aside from being completely knocked out by your breathtaking talent, I wondered how they were going to work out you being in rehearsals everyday. Had your high school principal signed on? It wasn’t until you shuffled over to talk to me (all things had to go like this - you always making the first move, the first kiss, wrestling me to the ground, because you always knew sooner, knew better, knew so much faster and more than I), it wasn’t until then that I knew you already had a diploma, three of them, including a Master’s Degree.

If I track it, I think that is what we talked about - London, New York - places we’d both called home. The coincidence of locations in common without knowing one another. Not then. Not yet. That was for now. That was for this moment - ten years ago on this very day - that you found me.

Later, we often called March 19th our anniversary because it was the moment we both knew unquestionably it was ours and that we were each others. But even before that night and everything leading up to it, my life, my heart, was utterly changed, little sweetheart, looking into your big beautiful blue eyes. Before I ever loved you romantically and forever (and like everything you knew better, sooner, faster than I could know myself) I loved and adored and wanted to protect and be near you. My heart recognized you right away and you came over and found me.

Ten years ago on this day, exactly, my life was changed utterly. Ten years ago today, little sweetheart, I met you. You found me. Find me again, won’t you, my darling girl? And take me where you are. Where I belong. Home.

With all my love forever.

 

 

BPX on..."On Being"

 

So, for a bunch of years I've been something of a devotee of NPR's "On Being". I wrote about the show in the liner notes to the band's fifth album. "Electric Hymnal" and I had chance to meet and talk with its host and founder, Krista Tippett, when she was here in NYC giving a talk at St. John The Divine.

 

In the couple of years since, I've traded the occasional email with them and the show's co-founder, editor and publisher, Trent Gilliss. Trent's leaving and so he pointed me toward a colleague, Mariah Helgeson, to keep in touch and talk about our upcoming album "Sometimes in Dreams". Mariah just wrote to say hi and that it was nice to hear from me because she remembered the piece On Being had published a little less than two years ago about us on their blog.

 

What?

 

Yeah, Digital Producer for "On Being", Marie Sambilay, had written a piece about Summer and I and the band's new holiday album BPXmas which had just come out.

 

I listen to show, I read the blog, and incredibly, I never saw this piece, published in December 2015 shortly after the release of BPXmas, until an hour ago. I just wrote to thank them. Belatedly.

 

It features our version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", gives a nod to former bandmate Jason Sutherland, and is absolutely lovely in talking about Summer and our group. There's also a hyperlink to the album on Bandcamp. A gentle reminder that Christmas is just around the corner and that you can never have too much moody shoegaze dreampop in your record collection.

 

Thank you, "On Being", thank you Krista, Trent, Mariah and Marie. Look mom - and Summer, and Summer's mom - we're on NPR...

 

"Reimagining a Christmas Classic" - Bipolar Explorer. On Being Dec 2015

 

On Summer's Birthday - To The Other Half of The Sky

 

For Summer's 38th birthday today, the band release the video for "To The Other Half of The Sky" from their sixth album, Dream Together. Love you forever, little sweetheart.

 

 

Guest Liturgist

 

This Sunday, November 5, Michael will be the Guest Liturgist at New York's historic West End Collegiate Church. He'll be reading from Romans 8 as part of the All Saints Sunday service at 11am.

 

On WFMU - Sunday November 5

 

Hey, we don't usually get these heads up beforehand but we heard yesterday from WFMU's Deejay Samantha that she will be playing something from our album DREAM TOGETHER on her show next weekend. Samantha was Irene Trudel's fill-in on Tuesdays over the last few months and once Irene came back last month, Samantha got her own slot - Sundays 5-8pm. She was already one of our absolute fav new hosts on WFMU, so we're super psyched to hear how much she liked the album and that she's going to play a track on her terrific new show! Tune in online either live this coming Sunday or later on the station's archive to hear. More as this unfolds. Meantime - thank you, Samantha!

 

Sunday Speaker

 

Michael will be the guest liturgist today at New York's historic West End Collegiate Church.

 

In Studio

 

Michael and the band will begin work on a new album, their seventh, next week. A double-album, tentative titled Sometimes In Dreams, its expected release is Christmas 2017. Stay tuned!

 

In The Months Ahead

 

In the (rather delightfully busy) months ahead:

Michael will produce, co-author and play guitar and bass in a new side project collaboration with Idiom of Sad lead singer Devi L. Michael is also writing new material for a split EP with Brit ambient buddies Qualia. And, of course, continuing work on the live Of Love and Loss project, having composed and recorded 12 new short guitar pieces - incidentals - that both link the existing songs from the double-album in transition and underscore the narration he wrote for the piece, voiced by band friend Kim Donovan. Summer of Love, indeed. In every sense of the resonant phrase…

 

 

The Seventh Word

 

Audio (with film loops) of Michael's Good Friday address at NYC's historic West End Collegiate Church in honor and memory of Summer is up on YouTube.

 

 

Good Friday Recording

 

Michael's Good Friday remarks, given at New York's historic West End Collegiate Church were recorded and may be heard and/or downloaded here.

 

Birthday at The Shrine

 

Today is Michael's birthday - a date forever twinned with the great love of his life, partner and soulmate, Summer Serafin because her memorial was held, incredibly, on the same day. Every year the band does its best to remember and honor Summer on this day and tonight the band played a double-set at The Shrine - the new album Dream Together in its sequence and entirety followed by a collection of songs from Angels and Of Love and Loss. Michael & Jason concluded the evening by reading Michael's memorial speech for Summer, which is printed here below. With all our love forever, little sweetheart...

 

I have a thousand things to say about Summer Lindsay Serafin. A thousand thousand. I’ll be saying them and thinking them and writing them down every day for the rest of my life no matter how brief or prolonged that may be. But today...Just for today...

 

She liked to sleep. That’s not what I wanna talk about but it has to be said. She loved sleeping. I’m listening to one her voicemails of late and she says she is so excited by the prospect of sleep. That “it is like (her) mouth is watering for sleep”. She says that. It’s good. I sometimes sleep now and just want to stay. I hope I might find her there.

 

It’s impossible, really. Impossible that I met her. That she “found me” she liked to say. I’m not from around here. It’s impossible that she lived in a place called “The Inner Sunset”. Impossible that she lit me up, this shining person, and held me, safely, in her orbit. Impossible. All of it. And today. Just impossible.

 

She was a terrible driver. Even Mike said so. I loved her battle-scared Blue Prius. The passenger side mirror in a kaleidoscope thousand pieces, dangling by a cable. A taillight busted. The bumper sagging. No, no she fixed that. The back seat full of boots and sunhats and coconut water. And tissues. She left a trail of tissues everywhere. Like Hansel & Gretel. You could follow it to its source and eventually find her.

 

She was – words, not for the first time, fail – an unearthly beauty. An ethereal beauty. And shockingly, entirely earthbound. Preternaturally present. She ate up life. With both tiny perfect fists. Ate it up. Actually, she ate quite beautifully. Do you remember that? Cutting and balancing petite bites, transferring them knife to fork with quiet elegance. Even bananas she ate like that. Seriously, I have a picture. I got her to try dark chocolate. She wasn’t a fan at first. She broke little bits off into tiny pieces. I looked over and she was sprinkling Equal onto them one at a time.

 

She was the dearest dearest girl. Nothing phony about her. If you got to know her at all, your heart just broke in two the moment you realized, the moment you saw her, really saw her and then surged with love. For her. This amazing girl.

 

She didn’t do anything to make it difficult, but I can understand how someone could think she was hard to get to know. She was friendly but never facile. She wasn’t frivolous. She was serious. She was fun, god, was she fun. She loved people – and this is what I wanna get it, at long last – she loved people and she took them seriously. Not everybody’s up for that. More fool they.

 

I’m circling the runway here, I know, but there’s one more thing I gotta say before I bring it in – she was a breathtakingly gifted actor. I met her doing Edna O’Brien’s Tir na nOg, Chris Smith’s last play at The Magic. She played the central role, a country girl in the west of Ireland who grows to young adulthood and further adventures in Dublin. And she burned that stage to cinders every goddamn night. With three broken toes. If you live here and you go to the theatre and you did not see her in that, I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t. A year later, right after she was in Rock n Roll at ACT, she went down to Carmel to do David Hare’s The Blue Room directed by Ken Kelleher. I sat there between Linda and Coy and I just thought “god, what am I doing?” I have a perfectly healthy ego. I’m from New York. But I have never seen acting like that. She is like the supermoon. Once in a generation.

 

She loved her work. And she was good at it. But she had a higher calling. To love. And, yes, that is what I want to talk about. Because she told me. She told me she knew why she was here and that was to love. She was filled with love. So much love. And she wanted more than anything to share her love with others. She told me that. And there is absolutely no doubting it because you could not have a better piece of luck in this world than to have been blessed enough to have been loved by her. She was like that device they use in open heart surgery that cracks your chest open and holds it gaping, wide, so you can be healed. That fragile little muscle, scarred and scared and on the verge of shutting down, giving out, giving up, held now tenderly in her expert hands, beneath her loving, healing gaze.

 

Her love was tenacious, vigilant. Unflinching. I met her three years ago and she quickly became the center of my life. She didn’t drop people. If you were in, she was in. Even if you faltered because nobody had ever shown up for you before like this, she was on you. Checking in. Reminding. Different this time. Not goin’ anywhere. She hated talking on the phone but we talked every day, often for hours. For three. She knew everything about me. Things I never tell became hers.

 

And she made sure I knew her as well. Her gratitude, her pride in a happy childhood. Loving, devoted, would-take-a-bolt-of-lightning-for parents. Her epic struggle from the age of 5 to live. Ryan’s gifting her a kidney and the double organ transplant that saved and changed her life. The unfathomable loss of Jesse. She carried every piece of her past with pride and love and honesty into every room, knowing exactly who she was, like no one I have ever known. Or ever will.

 

God, how I loved her! She’s right. She did find me. I clung to her. “Like a liferaft” I told her she was, “to a drowning man.” She smiled and said, “you’re not drowning anymore.”

 

When my mom died last year, I was in London. I got the news in the middle of the night. I was alone. I called Summer, eight hours behind, here. When I told her, she burst into tears. And then told me to get on Skype. “I want to see you drink an entire glass of water”, she said. “And lie down. And try to sleep. I’ll be right here at my computer watching you. I will watch you while you sleep.” She watched over me like an angel, a cyber angel, and when I woke she was there with Linda getting me on a plane to New York and then on to Michigan. Then Summer flew herself to Detroit and waited in the airport all night to meet my plane. And was at my side every day for a week while I buried my mother. Who does that? Serafin love. Irrepressible, irreplaceable girl.

 

“When I met you”, she said “you were so wounded, so hurting, so sad – I just wanted to love you, to heal. But I never dreamed”, she added, “I would ever get so much love in return.” Who does that?

 

I need her. I am broken. That is as it should be. It’s supposed to be hard. She cracked my chest open. It’ll have to stay that way. Because who would go back? But it’s hard.

 

Summer, incredibly, had an answer for that, I think. All this is preface. She’d want to have the last word. So, I’d like to share that. It’s her Christmas card from a couple of years ago. She was in Boston doing Rock n Roll at The Huntington. It closed just before the holidays and she came to New York to exchange gifts with me. She made me promise to wait until December 25th to open it. So, I took it on the plane with me, waited til Christmas morning and opened it at my Mom’s. The gift was a beautiful blue and grey scarf she knitted. There was also a card. It’s to me but in a way it’s to us all. Everyone of us who she loved. Everyone of us who love her. And feel so lost. Because life is so lonely, the world so empty and wrong without her.

 

My Dearest Michael,

 

I’ve been working on this in the green room and backstage since we came to Boston. I’d drape it around my neck to keep warm while knitting in the dark of the freezing wings. The cast is decisively in favor of the striped color combination.

 

It’s Christmas day, and I’m wearing my pajamas. I’m in my P.J.’s even if you’re reading this when the sun has set. Ryan is making another bourbon and coke even if you’re reading this as the sun rises. My Dad is reading aloud shocking statistics about religion or politics, my Mom is spraying perfume on the dog, and me...? I am missing you. Maybe one day we’ll spend Christmas together.

 

Coy says “You are where you’re meant to be”, and while I like that idea, I know, far too well, what it feels like to be in a world where everything feels wrong – where everything is wrong. You have also been to that place. And as the world spins on its own axis, people are lost in their own needs and trials. We falter blindly, and strive endlessly. But no matter where you are, whether you should be there or not, and no matter who is present... know that you are a treasure in your own right. If the chest is buried, the key is lost, or the map stolen, it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t change the fact that it’s inside you. I just see what’s there. You carry it with you. What’s hidden can always be found.

 

I love you.
Your Gingersnap, Summer"

 

I love you, too. Love you forever. Goodnight, little sweetheart.

 

April 25, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Michael's memorial address for the love of his life, Summer Serafin.

 

Michael speaking on Good Friday

 

Invited to compose and deliver a reflection for Good Friday services at NYC's historic West End Collegiate Church yesterday, here are Michael's remarks in full:

 

GOOD FRIDAY ADDRESS

"Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last." - Luke 23:46

I want to talk for a moment, just a moment, about this final, the seventh of Christ’s last utterances from the cross and why it gives me such pause, such hope, is so very resonant. Indeed, a basis for faith itself.

Isn’t it interesting that the sixth utterance is not the last? “It is finished", Christ says. But it isn’t finished. Not quite.

In a way, all six of Christ’s last utterances prior are informed by this final one. "Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit."

Acceptance. In the darkest hour what mortal eyes - mortal - can only see as the darkest fate. Yet… "Into your hands".

How much, how very much we can never know - mortal, merely mortal - of our own lives, our own loss, our own unknowable fates - but only trust in God, that He knows. That He will put things right. That we must simply endure.

Suffering, cruelty, injustice. All unknowable. All so seemingly unendurable that even Jesus cries out in anguish, "Why hath thou forsaken me?"

But that is not the last word. "Into your hands".

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, his last known writing before his death, imprisoned in Rome he says this: “Always be sober. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Carry out your ministry fully.”  

Paul is speaking to a young acolyte. Encouraging him to diligently spread the Gospel but don’t we feel the full weight of his words, if we let them fill our own hearts? Endure suffering. Carry out your ministry fully. Do your work. There is meaning there. You live still for a reason, however unknowable. Carry out your ministry. Keep the faith.

It’s not always easy. We like to think, maybe it’s even an American thing more quintessentially than any other culture, that our best days always lie ahead. That’s a beautiful sentiment, a indefatigably hopeful one, full of poetry and promise but it’s not always true. Not for everyone. Some of us can’t find that anymore. Some of us are broken. Some of us long just to be taken - And having said this, He breathed his last - The beautiful life that was, we can only long for.

I lost the love of my life, my sweetheart, my partner, my soulmate, my true love- Summer was her name - some years ago. She passed away from traumatic brain injuries sustained after a tragic accident. I knelt at her side that night and stood holding her hand in the ICU for ten days after. She never recovered consciousness. She was 31. She was my life. She’s why I’m here.

Some months later, still very worried that I might harm myself, Summer’s best friend, Danya, said something extraordinary to me. I had already made a solemn promise to Mike & Linda - Summer’s beautiful parents - but she wanted to make sure. She said: “If you do that (take your own life), you will never find her.”

That thought stopped me in my tracks. I asked Danya what spiritual beliefs she had that led her to say that. She didn’t really have any. But it didn’t matter. Sometimes something is so resonant its source doesn’t matter. It drills down and grounds itself in faith for you on its own.

I can’t know why my girl was taken. I can’t know why I remain. But I also can’t know how she ever found me - Summer liked to say that, that she found me. Isn't that something of miracle - the holiest of them - in itself? How can I believe that God would lead us to one another - two halves of the same soul - and not intend we should find each other again? Over and over. That this is merely preface, a merely mortal manifestation of the eternal yet to come. Into your hands.

I can’t say that I don’t long for the moment I pass. I miss my girl. I pray each night to wake in some celestial arrivals lounge, just past the escalators, step outside and see Summer pulling up to the curb (somehow The Holy Father has made manifest her battered, quite earthly, 2005 blue Prius) maneuvering into a space - the designated Kiss and Ride for the newly ascended - leaping into my arms, asking me to drive and telling me in rush everything I need to know about The Forever.

I long for that day.
But I must not bring it on.
"Into your hands".
Not only at that hour when I breathe my last and may join her, but at all times.
"Into your hands".
May I carry out your will, as my ministry, fully.
Keep the faith.
"Into your hands, I commend my spirit." Always.
"Into your hands."




 

Good Friday Reflection (2017)

 

Michael will deliver remarks written for Good Friday services tomorrow at New York's historic West End Collegiate Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side. His address is a reflection on the last of Christ's Seven Final Utterances. We'll print it here in full shortly thereafter.

 

"Listen" on Irene Trudel's show - WFMU

 

The great Irene Trudel played "Listen" the sixth track from the band's new album, DREAM TOGETHER, on her show on WFMU last night. Always super honored to be on Ms T's show - we've been ardent listeners and fans for years - we're in amazing company (Mark Eitzel, Elliott Smith, a live set from Hamish Hawk & Viking Moses, Nick Drake, The fucking Who...!).

 

Here's what she had to say about the track and the new album during her back announce:

"And...Bipolar Explorer. From yet another album of beautiful, spacey guitar and sadness and wonder. This one is called DREAM TOGETHER and it's sort of... well, how does Michael describe it? It's sort of... with a spoken word component... it's sort of a companion to a previous album, OF LOVE AND LOSS. DREAM TOGETHER is sorta like a song cycle, with instrumentals and poems and songs, woven together. And from it we heard "Listen". By Bipolar Explorer..."

 

Listen to the entire program, up now on the WFMU archive here. Thank you, Irene and everyone at 91.1!

 

 

France's Indiemusic follows up review with feature

 

France's Indiemusic , who called the band's new album, DREAM TOGETHER "Magical and majestic - an ultimate tour-de-force" last month upon its release, have followed up with a Q&A feature today. Link here. It's in French (duh) but click on the link once there or simply scroll down for the English translation/version. Thank you Raphael and everyone at Indiemusic!

 

More Praise for "Dream Together"

 

It's been a very busy few weeks following the release of the band's new album, their sixth, Dream Together, on New Year's Day.

 

Tracks from the record including "Dream 3", "Thirteen" and "Ever and Ever Forever" have found their way onto the airwaves at WFMU via Irene Trudel and Liz Berg (who calls Dream Together "just a great album for winter!") and the album has spent 5 weeks on the charts out in California on KDVS 90.3fm.

 

But maybe most exciting of all was the incredibly beautiful review the album received in France. Indiemusic's Raphael Duprez wrote movingly and warmly about the new album and the magazine is following up with a Q&A with Michael and a feature about the band next week. More on all that soon. Meantime, here's an excerpt from Raphael's review translated from the original French:

 

BIPOLAR EXPLORER- DREAM TOGETHER
Review by Raphael Duprez
January 17, 2017
Dans Chroniques
Indiemusic (France)


New York’s Bipolar Explorer offers a new album, their sixth, Dream Together (Slugg Records) which is as much a reverie as a dream burning and crawling gently under our bare skins. In perpetual search for the discovery of the unknown, the trio delivers a work as simple as it is majestic and pure.

The guitars charged with reverb and delay, voices and choruses distant but warm, all in an atmosphere as moist as light, like a refreshing breeze before the storm. Daring and emotionally naked, doubtless this record may undo some. But we must yield to the temptation, the inexorable attraction of these magical and nostalgic, deep and milky songs.

Alternatingly dark ("Thirteen", “View”), angelic and aerial (“Dream 3”), painful and urgent (“She Hears You Calling”), catching and cathartic, the album closes with the ten-minute epic "To The Other Half Of The Sky” - loaded with palpable electricity as well as an ultimate tour de force in softness - the group relaxing its muscles and leaving notes hovering long after its ultimate resonances.

Devilishly endearing, Dream Together offers that rare possibility for us to traverse vast lands, leaving so primordial a place for our imagination, all by means of sonics that are literally enveloping and vibrating. A LP that is drunk, slowly, to better quench thirst. A walk through the clouds, without worrying about the next day.



(excerpt, translated from the original French)



 

"Dream 3" on Irene Trudel - WFMU

 

The great Irene Trudel played "Dream 3" from the band's new album "Dream Together" on her show on WFMU last night. The third song in her opening set, you can listen to the entire program on the station's archive here. Thank you, Ms. T!

 

 

"Thirteen" on Liz Berg/WFMU

 

Super honored to have had Liz Berg play "Thirteen" - the opening track of our new album, DREAM TOGETHER - at the top of her show on WFMU yesterday and to hear her say that "it is just a GREAT album for winter". Thank you, Liz! Check out link below - her entire show is great (as always!): Jan 3 - Liz Berg WFMU

 

Praise for "Dream Together"

 

Waking this morning to very kind words about the new album, Dream Together, from USC filmmaker Alexandra Dennis-Renner on her blog - out today:

 

"I think with unanimous consensus, 2016 was trying. However, frustration, loss of confidence, and despair are not organic. They're born of hope. As much as we liked to paint the overarching climate of the year since passed with the theme of despondency and resignation, for all of us, in one way or another, 2016 was a beacon of hope. It alluded to prospect. There was expectation for change. We faced wins and we survived losses. Sometimes it felt like the universe was abandoning us, but here most of us are...on our feet and moving forward. I think there's no better way to forge ahead than with a new record from my friends @bipolarexplorer. Every song on Dream Together is a reminder that the end of one thing is not necessarily the beginning of something new--not a hard reset--but the continuation of what was through the lens of what could be. What will be. And proof that there is always love, hope, and strength in that journey. Happy New Year, everyone. You made it to the next chapter. There's something here for you and you are loved."

 

Dream Together Released Today!

 

The band's new album, their sixth - Dream Together - is released today, January 1, 2017, on Slugg Records. Avail both digitally (iTunes, etc) and in a limited-edition CD with a 20-page booklet of vintage photos, lyrics and poems, in the style of a Victorian book of verses (written and conceived by Michael and designed by Audun Grimstad - cover by Natalia Drepina). You can preview and/or purchase the new album via Amazon, iTunes and elsewhere (including directly from the band's website) but we also want to provide a link to our partners at CD Baby. They carry both the digital and CD versions and are super supportive of indie artists. Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Pre-Sale

 

The pre-sale for the band's new album, Dream Together, is up live on iTunes. When you pre-order the album, the first single, Radioside, is available for immediate download. And the rest of the album is automatically delivered on release day - Jan 1. Link here.

 

The New Album

 

The band's new album, Dream Together, is slated for release New Year's Day on Slugg Records. Featuring twelve new tunes in the group's signature dreampop, shoegaze, post-rock sound, it was recorded, mixed and produced by the band at The Shrine in NYC. Sweeping and sonically rich, Dream Together will be avail both digitally and in a beautiful CD package that includes Natalia Drepina​‘s gorgeous cover and a 20-page booklet conceived by Michael in the style of a Victorian book of verses, under the art direction of The New York School of Visual Design's Audun Grimstad. A special pre-sale offer begins on December 18 - when you order the album in advance, an immediate download of the album's first single, Radioside, is available. Much more news soon. Watch this space!

 

 

Our Oneness

 

Below, triptych of tattoo Summer whispered to Michael in a dream: Our Oneness Can Never Be Erased. Saved's Michelle Tarantelli did this work for Michael one year ago in Summer's own handwriting. Photo by Ground Control Magazine's Daryl Darko Barnett for last January's profile about the band. Summer & Michael's story appears today in Tre Miller-Rodriguez's article as series on Modern Loss blog.

 

 

To Summer on Her 37th Birthday

 

We honor the life and memory of our beloved bandmate, Michael's true love, soulmate and partner, Summer Serafin, today on her 37th birthday. Michael publishes  - Summerlove - a blog dedicated to her and we'd like to share his post from this morning. It follows herein:

 

Little sweetheart... Happy Birthday! It's your 37th and I wake with thoughts of you, prayers for you and your name and spirit in every room.

 

I'm so very grateful for you, my darling. You found and saved me and brought such blindingly brilliant light and love into my life, the kind that could knock a man down. You felled me. You are my miracle girl.

 

I'm so very grateful, too, that we spent each of your birthdays together once we had become one. I remember the first in Boston when you were on the road doing "Rock n Roll" at The Huntington. It was brisk and wintry there already and I walked you to the stage door every night, watching the show from the orchestra almost every performance. On your birthday, after walking you there, I went grocery shopping, then back to the sweet little apartment where we were staying and made dinner and baked a cake for you to come home to.

 

The next year found us in San Francisco on the day. I'd been gathering lots of little presents for you with a plan to surprise and shower you with all the many gifts, securing and secreting them for you to find at last. I had most everything but while we were browsing at the great little punkrock bookstore, Needles and Pens, in The Mission, I saw how taken you were with a pretty set of feathered earrings. I quietly sneaked back later and bought them for you.

 

On your 31st, we decided to go up to Calistoga to the hot springs. We wended our way through the hills in your battered blue Prius and got there in the late afternoon. We checked in to a charming little room and then changed into our swimsuits to go visit the pools. You weren't crazy about the super hot one but the warm one was, Goldilocks-like, just right. You were, as ever, unbelievably stunning to every passerby, in your black one-piece, your perfect ivory skin, long red hair cascading over your porcelain shoulders and with your ever-present and enormous black sunhat perched on your head. Like a bathing beauty Zorro.

 

You wanted to wade across the pool into deeper waters but you didn't want to get submerged, so you wrapped yourself around me and I walked us across, a stately, striking procession. Carrying my giggling little mermaid. I can't think of too many times I was ever happier.

 

Little sweetheart, you are in my every thought, today and every day. I love you with all my heart and soul. And I'm sending all my love to you. May it fly to where you - closer than I can imagine. I know you're watching and guiding me safely toward you. You are my lookout, wrapped around my soul just like you wrapped yourself around me in Calistoga, taking me through the waters of the journey I must complete and then to be reunited with you so very soon and forever.

 

Thank you, my angel. My true love, my best friend, my soulmate, my partner, my gingersnap, my gorgeous gorgeous girl. Happy Birthday, Summer. Soon with you, my love, yes? Soon. So very soon. All my love... m

 

 

 

Michael speaking on All Soul's Day

 

Michael will be the guest liturgist at New York City's historic West End Collegiate Church as part of All Soul's Day services next Sunday, November 6th.

 

Update - "Dream Together"

 

Michael and the band are in New York in sessions working on final mixes of their new album, Dream Together. The album will be released both digitally (possibly first) and on CD, which will include artwork by Natalia Drepina and a 16-page booklet. More news soon!

 

Dream Together preview!

 

The band will preview their upcoming new album Dream Together with a special private performance on Saturday September 24th in New York. Message for details!

 

Ground Control Magazine's Review of "Electric Hymnal"

 

Excerpt from Ground Control Magazine review of the band's album, Electric Hymnal:

"...Get ready to be swept up and away by a prayerful reverie of melodies. I listened to the CD for the first time on a drive into San Francisco – careening above the bay on  the San Mateo bridge and I began to feel like I was flying. These songs could be considered prayers. The lyrics are not shouted, for the most part, but are breathed and whispered with reverential respect. There is something else happening with these melodies. Don’t forget that Bipolar Explorer is a post-rock band. Low growling vocals, gnarly grinding tempos, rhythmic looping strands that escape and rise above the weight of this world. That these lyrics are esoteric and spiritual is how they are able to soothe us and raise up our consciousness. I think that there is a lot of healing that can come from listening to this music. It also reminds me of the works of Nikos Kazantzakis; The Last Temptation of Christ and Saint Francis – a non secular approach was taken to deliver the message of their saintly lives without it being ordained by the religious order. This music feels like that, a post-rock interpretation of worship music for the modern age, and typical non-believers. Electric Hymnal is released (for free!) as a limited edition CD (no digital) and is not being mass-marketed  - the band has stated very clearly that this music is offered up “as a meditation and sonic prayer for our fallen bandmate, Michael’s true love and partner, Summer Serafin.” I highly respect this because it makes the music real in a different way. It makes it feel live. Being limited to a very special audience makes it feel, rare. It goes straight to heaven where the angels are listening, and connects us here on the earthly plane to this private listening room where angels and the living mingle..."

 

Praise for the new album!

 

Ahead of full review, Ground Control Magazine calls the band's new album, Electric Hymnal  "... a most amazing and prayerful reverie of melodies. Bipolar Explorer have knocked this one out of the park." - Daryl Darko Barnett (Publisher and Contributing Editor)

 

Electric Hymnal

 

The band's new album, Electric Hymnal, with beautiful artwork featuring the gorgeous cover by Michael Creese and layout by Tony Astone, a sixteen track collection of devotional songs and spoken word - a meditation and sonic prayer for our fallen bandmate, Michael's true love and partner, Summer Serafin - will be released next Tuesday, June 21st. And we're giving it away. That's right. Released in a limited edition CD only (no digital) in a one-time only pressing and for free. As gifts are meant to be imparted. Contact us directly (free copies are avail only via the band, not our distribution partners or label) and send SASE to address provided. We can also tell you that the band is already at work on another full length album - Dream Together - to be released in early September in both CD and digital formats avail everywhere and we will let you pay for that one. (smile) With love & faith - BPX

 

 

Coming soon...

 

Named to Ground Control Magazine's Critics Poll of Best Albums of the Year in both 2013 (Of Love and Loss) and 2015 (Angels), minimalist indie, NYC-based trio Bipolar Explorer will release their new full length, Electric Hymnal next month on Slugg Records. The 16 track album is a collection of devotional songs based in part on/adapted from traditional Taize (French monastic) chants in the group's signature dreampop style, interweaving spoken word (both secular and sacred) in a meditation and sonic prayer for their fallen bandmate, Michael's true love and partner, Summer Serafin.

 

 

Good Friday Reflection

 

Michael will deliver remarks - a reflection on the second of Christ's Last Seven Utterances - today at New York's historic West Collegiate Church during Good Friday services at noon. Podcast and transcript avail after.

 

We'll All Go Together

 

The band's latest video - for their dreampop arrangement of the traditional Scottish folk song "We'll All Go Together" (Wild Mountain Thyme) has been released. The track was recorded, mixed and produced on March 18th, 2016 in memory of the group's fallen bandmate, Michael's true love and partner, Summer Lindsay Serafin, who passed away after a tragic accident on this day in 2011. We know she is with us. Love you forever, little sweetheart.

 

 

New music

 

Michael and the band are at work on the first of two albums intended for release this year on Slugg Records. They're currently recording basic tracks for Electric Hymnal - which will be comprised of dreampop arrangements of Taize music (a French monastic tradition) and spoken word (both secular and sacred). The album will feature 16 tracks, with art by Sean Lahey, and is expected to be released in late April. 

 

GCM interview

 

Ground Control Magazine's interview with Michael is up on their site. Conducted by Publisher and Contributing Editor Daryl Darko Barnett, the two discuss the band's live Of Love and Loss project, the Angels album, upcoming BPX releases, affordable housing, their favorite radio station and more. Video and transcript on the Ground Control site, here.

 

Angels - Best Album of the Year

 

The band's record, Angels, has just been named to Ground Control Magazine's Critics Poll of Best Albums of the year, topping Publisher and Contributing Editor Daryl Darko Barnett's list at the number one slot. Excerpt below. Full feature here.

 

"01.) Bipolar Explorer – Angels – (Slugg Records): The New York City minimalist indie rock band continues to capture my attention with their ongoing stream of super-consciousness musical tributes to their fallen band member, Summer Serafin. Angels feels and sounds like a visitation of angels has descended upon, and electrified these men as they express their emotions of memory and loss. This is what music fueled by raw love and emotions sounds like. The single, “Angels,” is definitely my very favorite song of the entire year! Bipolar Explorer remain my number one small label indie band to keep an eye on for future greatness..."

 

BPX on WFMU

 

WFMU's legendary Irene Trudel opened her penultimate set of the night with the band's moody dreamcore version of Silent Night from their celebrated holiday album, BPXmas. It marks the group's 12th time on the station this year and 7th on Ms. Trudel's highly-praised show. Hear entire program here.

 

New Video Page!

 

All ten (to date) of the band's music videos can now be seen here on a page dedicated for that purpose. Just click on Bipolar Explorer MTV and check it out.

 

Band news...

 

WFMU's Liz Berg opened her show this morning with a track from Bipolar Explorer's holiday record, BPXmas. The track, Michael's moody dreampop arrangement of In The Bleak Midwinter, is the second song in her opening set. It's the band's 11th time this year on WFMU and their 2nd time on Liz's great show. You can hear the program in its entirety here. 

 

"Sunset Crush" on the radio

 

More radio play. "Sunset Crush" from our album ANGELS on "Dark Night of the Soul" w/DJ Julie on WFMU. Second tune in second set in company with Bjork, Veruca Salt, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Cocteau Twins, The Velvet Underground. Our 10 time on station this year, 1st on this show. Link to listen on archive/playlist below:  http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/64050

 

"No Answer" on WFMU

 

WFMU featured the band's song No Answer from their double-record Of Love and Loss on DJ Tamar's show, Are We There Yet last night. It's the group's 9th time on the station this year and 1st on this program. You can hear the entire show on the WFMU archive here. No Answer is midway through the show's final set. 

 

Video for "It's Christmas, Sweetheart"

 

Michael and the band have released a new music video - the group's 10th to date. It's for It's Christmas, Sweetheart, the opening track of the band's holiday album, BPXmas. (c/p 2014, 2015 Slugg Records) Music & Lyrics by Michael Serafin-Wells. c. 2014 Thirteen November Music (ASCAP)

 

 

"Downtown Train" on iTunes

 

The band's new digital-only single - their moody, dreampop cover of the Tom Waits classic, Downtown Train - is up on iTunes. (link below):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/downtown-train-single/id1061233480

 

New BPX digital-single

 

Bipolar Explorer will release a digital-single - their dreampop cover of "Downtown Train" - later this month on Slugg Records. More info soon...

 

 

Jacs Fishburne/BPX Collaboration - Preview

 

In August, the art photographer Jacs Fishburne shot Michael in the band's NYC studio for a series of photos that, with an original score composed by the band, will be the beginnings of a new art/music collaboration. Ms. Fishburne has been traveling since that time but just resurfaced to send the first preview of photos from that session. More to come...

 

 

"Of Love and Loss" concert performance

 

The initial concert performance of the alt-theatre adaptation of the band's critically-acclaimed double-album, Of Love and Loss was met with a standing ovation on Thursday night at Brooklyn's R&D Studios. Working with veteran Broadway producer, Nina Keneally, the team has an eye to bringing the work to a full-realized staging in a found, possibly sacred space, sometime later in 2016. Pictured below left to right are Michael, narrator Kim Donovan, and Jason.

 

 

October 29: Of Love and Loss - "concert performace"

 

In association with veteran Broadway producer, Nina Keneally, Michael's alt-theatre adaptation of the band's critically acclaimed double-album Of Love and Loss will have a concert performance on Thursday October 29th as part of R&D Studio's salon series in Bushwick. Michael and Jason will play the work live in its entirety with voice artist Kim Donovan adding spoken word narration.  R&D Studio is 345 Eldert Street, #117, Brooklyn. Doors 7pm, show 8pm.

 

"The Seedbed"

 

Michael begins rehearsals today out of town for the world premiere of Irish author Bryan Delany's new play "The Seedbed". The play will open on October 15th at NJ Rep.

 

"Of Love and Loss" adaptation

 

The band are working with veteran Broadway producer Nina Keneally ("Good Vibrations", "Last Night at Ballyhoo", "Driving Miss Daisy") to bring Michael's live art/alt-theatre/music adaptation of the group's critically-acclaimed double-album, Of Love and Loss  - the tribute and testament to their fallen bandmate, Michael's love and partner, Summer Serafin - to production. With an eye to a fully-realized staging in a non-traditional (possibly sacred) and intimate venue sometime in late 2016, an initial developmental "concert performance" of the work with the band and a spoken word narrator will be presented on October 29th, as part of the R & D Salon series in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Tickets and more info to follow.

 

With Jacs Fishburne

 

The celebrated Jacs Fishburne - recently cited in Volo Magazine's "Top Art Photographers - 2015" profile - stopped by the studio today to shoot Michael. Sneak peak soon and full session pix to come (expected October).

 

Michael in Boston...

 

Michael will be in Boston for a theatre benefit this weekend and through Tuesday August 4th.

 

"Can't I Be With You Now" video

 

Michael and the band have released the third video from the new record. It's for Can't I Be With You Now - the penultimate track on the album, Angels. (c/p. 2015 Slugg Records)

 

 

"Ocean" video

 

New video for "Ocean", the third track from Bipolar Explorer's acclaimed double-record Of Love and Loss(Slugg Records c. p. 2012, 2015)...

 

 

"Angels" video

 

Video for the title track from Bipolar Explorer's new album, Angels.

 

 

30 in 30 Project

 

Michael & the band are subject/participants in noted photographer Gracie Hagan's 30 in 30 Project. View and follow on the band's Instagram page: https://instagram.com/bipolarexplorer/

 

"Sunset Crush" on the air...

 

The terrific Liz Berg played your Bipolar Explorer on her amazing show on WFMU today. Liz spun Sunset Crush - the closing tune from the band's new record, Angels- in her first set this afternoon. Liz's show is every Tuesday from noon to 3pm on WFMU (who Rolling Stone call "America's Best Radio Station") and required listening - we're huge fans, so very honored. Thanks, Liz! Listen and see playlist here: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/60781

 

Bipolar Explorer on WFMU

 

The legendary Irene Trudel played another track from the band's new record, Angels, on her show last night on WFMU. The track is the second cut, "All", and appears in her last set of the night. It's a terrific honor and the band's fourth time on her show. Listen here.

 

Audiobook news...

 

Michael will begin recording sessions mid-May for his next title with Audible (Amazon's audiobook division), Kevin Keating's new novel, The Captive Condition. 

 

"Collected Plays" Second Printing...

 

The second printing of Michael's Collected Plays comes out today via indie publishers The Ginger Press. The first edition was published in August, later coming out as an e-book, as well, in December. The second printing should be avail everywhere, soon, as distribution to vendors -among them, Amazon and Barnes & Nobles (both of whom already carry the e-version online) - rolls out over the next 2-4 weeks. All versions also are avail, as ever, via this website.

 

Good Friday remarks...

 

Michael will offer a reflection on the words "I thirst" as part of Good Friday services at New York's historic West End Collegiate Church at noon on Friday April 3rd. 

 

Throwback Tuesday?

 

The good folks at Slugg Records have just digitally re-released the first music video from Michael's CBGB's-era band, Uncle, who put out two records with them in the late 90's. This track, "Lemon Lip Gloss", was the single from their 1995 debut "Thanks For All the Lemons". See it here.

 

Boston...

 

Michael is in Boston this week.

 

Angels disc release...

 

Angels - the new Bipolar Explorer EP, released digitally on New Year's Day - will be released and avail on disc this coming Tuesday, February 24th. Comes in a beautiful six-panel digi-pack with Elizabeth Gadd's breathtaking cover, art direction by Sean Lahey, graphics by Meredith Zinner and photos by Scott Bezsylko...

 

"Collected Plays" - 2nd Printing...

 

The Ginger Press will be coming out already with a second printing of Collected Plays - the first anthology of Michael's works for the theatre. So, you should find more copies on the shelves of your favorite bookstore (including option to special order) soon! In addition to the print version, the anthology is also avail as an e-book via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and elsewhere.

 

"You Are" on WFMU...

 

For the third week out of four, Bipolar Explorer is back on the great Irene Trudel's Tuesday night show on WFMU. We adore the station and Ms. T in particular, we've been huge fans for years, so it's quite an honor. Irene opened her third set with "You Are" - the very first track of our new album Angels. You can listen here. Thank you, Ms. T!

 

Angels

 

The brand new Bipolar Explorer album, Angels, comes out as a digital download (CD's coming soon) today, New Year's Day. Find it on iTunes and CD Baby.

 

WFMU Christmas Show

 

We were just getting over the excitement of having been on Irene Trudel's terrific Tuesday night show on WFMU last week when she played yet another track from BPXmas on her special Christmas show tonight. Our version of In the Bleak Midwinter comes on during her third set. Listen here.

 

BPX on WFMU...

 

Link to the archive of the great Irene Trudel's show on WFMU. We were so delighted and honored (and a little bit giddy, to be honest) to hear her play "It's Christmas, Sweetheart" - the opening track of our new holiday album, "BPXmas" - in her very first set last night. The entire show, as ever, is a must-listen. Thank you, Irene!

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58561

 

On the air -NOW!

 

Holy cow! Irene Trudel played our opening track It's Christmas, Sweetheart in her first set between The Byrds and Big Star! Should be up on the WFMU archive later tonight. Thank you, Ms T! Hey, sweetheart, you're on the radio... xM

 

On The Air...

 

The great Irene Trudel is going to play one of the tracks from our new Christmas record, BPXmason her show on WFMU (91.1 FM in Greater NYC, streaming worldwide wfmu.org) tonight. In the immortal words of Timothy Leary, drop out, tune in...

 

"Collected Plays" e-book avail - Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Amazon...

 

Michael's Collected Plays - the first anthology of his works for the theatre, first published this August by The Ginger Press - is available as an e-book via Barnes & Noble (for Nook), iTunes (for iBooks) and Amazon (for Kindle). See "Buy" page for links...

 

 

 

Ground Control feature...

 

Wonderful review of BPXmas and feature on Michael and the band in Ground Control Magazine by Daryl Darko Barnett. Excerpt followed by link to full article:

 

"New York’s minimalist indie rockers Bipolar Explorer are poised to release two new EPs this month: Angels, the follow-up to their celebrated double-record Of Love and Loss (Slugg Records) as well as a Christmas EP entitled BPXmas (out now digitally and as a CD on December 17). Indeed, I have it on as I write this. I’m not entirely certain what I expected but it’s kind of brilliant. And voluntarily having selected “repeat all,” I have to say it’s getting under my skin.

 

Christmas music. It’s a dodgy prospect. I’m not sure I can take another holiday season hearing Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” as I stamp about Trader Joe’s looking for some decent French Roast. But I wouldn’t mind at all coming across BPX’s moody “Emmanuel”, haunting “In The Bleak Midwinter” or their downright raucous “The First Noel” (yeah, they went there…) in any grocery aisle. There’s even a kind of joy in their ghostly half-German, half-English cover of “Silent Night.” It may be more Joy Division than Joy to the World, but that might actually be a good thing.

 

BPXmas (a mash-up play on words of the band’s acronym, BPX, and that of Christmas itself) is comprised of those four traditional carols - in new arrangements ranging from moody shoegaze to jangly dreampop with a sturdy bit of the ruins of CBGB’s undergirding the lot – plus one new original composition, “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart,” penned by frontman, lead guitarist and singer, Michael Serafin-Wells.

 

Inevitably, The Ghosts of Christmases Past attend and inform the proceedings – like every Bipolar Explorer record, this one is dedicated to the memory of their fallen bandmate, Michael’s late-girlfriend and partner, Summer Serafin, who died in a tragic accident in 2011 at the age of 31. But somehow that very gravitas only adds to the shimmer of this collection of tracks – it anchors them, still finding the very holiday-appropriate voicing of gratitude for ever having found “a life of love, so better led”, as Serafin-Wells sings to her on “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart,” the EP’s opening track.

 

Interest piqued, I caught up with Michael via Skype from the band’s studio in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen…”

 

http://groundcontrolmag.com/detail/1/4047/

 

"Collected Plays" on Amazon Kindle...

 

Michael's Collected Plays is up and available now as an e-book on Amazon Kindle

 

BPXmas on iTunes...

 

Bipolar Explorer's Christmas record, BPXmas, is now up on iTunes.

 

BPXmas released today...

 

Bipolar Explorer's Christmas EP - BPXmas - is released today in digital form via CD Baby and should be up on iTunes and everywhere by the end of the week. The CD follows shortly hereafter. With art by Sean Lahey and photos by Scott Bezsylko, it features new arrangements of four traditional carols and one new original holiday composition. Quickly on the heels of this release is a second EP, Angels - the follow-up to Of Love and Loss. Both on Slugg Records. Happy Holidays…

 

"Collected Plays" in e-book format...

 

Collected Plays - the first anthology of Michael's works for the theatre, which came out in print via Indie publishers The Ginger Press in August - has just been finalized for e-book distribution. It should be available on Amazon Kindle after Thanksgiving and shortly thereafter everywhere. Partial list of vendors below:

iBookstore
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble
Baker & Taylor
Copia
Gardners
eSentral
Scribd
Goodreads
Oyster
Flipkart
Ciando
EBSCO
ePub Direct

 

BPX live "You Are" on Summer's 35th b'day in NYC...

 

 

For my love...

 

Happy 35th birthday, my little sweetheart. May you be in everything I do, as you are in my every thought and forever in my heart and soul. Love you forever. Until that day! Until that day...

 

 

 

 

PayPal link to purchase "Collected Plays"

 

book_cover_copy_resized.jpg

 

The print version of "Collected Plays" can be purchased via PayPal from this site. Just go to the "Buy" page and click on the link. It's $20 postage paid USPS from our friends at The Ginger Press. Thanks!

 

"Collected Plays" - out in print today

 

Collected Plays, the first anthology of Michael's works for the theatre, is available in print today from indie publishers The Ginger Press. It will also be available as an e-book, premiering with Amazon and soon after with others, next month. The book features a special dedication, as ever, to Michael's love and partner, the late Summer Serafin.

 

New Bipolar Explorer record

 

Michael and the band are at work on the follow-up to Of Love and Loss - their celebrated double-record of, for and about their fallen bandmate, Michael's love and partner, Summer Serafin (Critic's Pick "Best Albums of the Year" - Ground Control Magazine). The new record, entitled, Angels, will be a five-song EP with cover art by Elizabeth Gadd and is expected to be released on New Year's Day.

 

Audible's newest narrator

 

Michael will be reading his first title as a narrator for Audible - Amazon's audiobook arm - this month. The book is "The Court-Martial of Corporal Nutting: A Memoir of the Vietnam War" and should be available this fall.

 

"Collected Plays"

 

The Ginger Press is set to publish the first anthology of Michael's work, Collected Plays - due out August 2014. With a special dedication to his late-girlfriend, love and partner, Summer Serafin, it will include the full-lengths District of Columbia and Seven Pages Unsigned and the one-acts Real Real Gone, The "I" Word: Interns, Detail and Two From the Line. Collected Plays will be available both in print and e-book form. More news soon...

 

BPX cover "I Need My Girl"

 

Noted indie rock group The National were one of Michael & Summer's favorite and inspirational bands. For Valentine's Day, The National took to their website asking anyone interested to cover their song "I Need My Girl" and upload a live video of the performance to YouTube. Here's Bipolar Explorer's version, arranged by Michael and dedicated to Summer, as ever.

 

 

Ground Control 2013 Critics Poll

 

Of Love and Loss has been honored in Ground Control Magazine's 2013 Critics Poll, hailed by staff writer Daryl Darko as "winning my vote for most heart-stirring album of the year, it feels and sounds like music that is really from inside someone's own skin, skeleton, bloodstream, and remains the most significantly stirring and addictive musical accomplishment I've come across in some time..."

 

"Of Love and Loss" in Best of 2013 list...

 

We've just gotten word that "Of Love and Loss" will be on the Best Records of 2013 list complied by Daryl Darko for publication in Ground Control Magazine's year end issue next week. Needless to say, the band is very excited and Michael would like to thank everyone involved.

 

BPXmas single

 

Bipolar Explorer has released a Christmas single, the traditional carol "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", in an new arrangement by Michael for the band. Free download on the band's site and their SoundCloud page - both found by simply heading over to the "links" page here. Happy Xmas everyone...

 

Remarks at Gillis Tribute - NYC

 

Michael's remarks last night at tribute to Youngblood co-Artistic Director, Graeme Gillis, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City:

 

"When Michael (that’s me - hi) met Graeme...

Nina Steiger had dragged him over to my apartment to multi-track some sound cues for a Youngblood show on my Tascam. Garageband didn’t exist yet. And Graeme wasn’t running Youngblood he was young blood. Well, he still is...

Mid-record, he looked around my rent-stabilized hovel - the guitars and amps and  CDs and the open copy of “Our Band Could Be Your Life”. And that’s what we talked about that day. We both liked The Replacements and Husker Du (although Graeme calls them Huss-ker Doo, like the Nebraska football team). We discovered that we both had the Metal Circus t-shirt. We often wear it at the same time. Usually on Thursdays...

I went away for a while. A couple of years. When I came back everybody else had left. Curt and Graeme and RJ and J Holtham and Jorelle (remember Jorelle?) were keeping the place alive even without any money. I know there’s no money now either but this was really no money at all. Graeme could’ve gone anywhere but he was invested, he believed in this thing Curt used to talk about, this faith in creating and sustaining a community of artists you could walk in off the street to join and even more importantly always come home to. Nobody more than Graeme is the reason why this place is still here. In the spirit of works in progress...

Six years ago, Curt died. I’d gone running that morning and when I got back I had three messages from EST. I called back and they just said “Curt’s been found”. Found? Whaddya mean? Is he dead? “He didn’t show up for a meeting this morning. He didn’t answer the phone. Graeme went down there. To his apartment. The police just called. Just please... please come to the theatre.”

So, I did. All day long and into the night I called people with the news, huddled with everyone who turned up dazed in Curt’s office. And all day long and into the night, Graeme stayed at Curt’s apartment, in the hallway, actually. The cops wouldn’t let anyone in. But Graeme stayed put like a Roman, like the First Centurion. At some point, they let Kathy, Curt’s ex-wife, inside. Graeme, in his grief, still had the presence of mind to tell her to grab Curt’s “book” - a bulging address book slash journal that had every imperative bit of info scrawled in Curt’s inimitable hand, within its pages. Kathy lifted it and Graeme stuck the fragile, unwieldy document inside his stocking cap, where it remained as he carried it protectively for that entire week as we held the wake, nearly burned down the theatre carrying out the Spirit ceremony Bill YellowRobe had instructed us to perform and went to work on the memorial.

The EST servers went down the night the program needed to go to RJ and the printers, so Graeme came over to edit and compile the whole thing on my MacBook well into the night. There was a lot of mishegoss but the memorial came off and Graeme gave the most incredibly moving, funny, heartbreaking tribute. Through those days, people would just randomly fold each other in to an embrace. I remember, as the months passed, that Graeme was a bit cross that nobody hugged anymore. I fucking love that.


I went away again after that. I had to because, well, there’s always been something a little wrong about me, I think. A critical piece simply missing. I never quite knew what it was deep inside. Maybe that ache that mythology explains with the story of human souls being split in two at their birth, half being given to another and our lifelong quest to find them - the person with the other half of our soul. So I went away and somehow she found me. My sweetheart, my soulmate, my Summer. She found me in my travels and then our travels became one. Eventually, we showed up here and maybe Graeme more than anyone could see how happy we were, how completed I finally was. She saved me, you see. And maybe Graeme, more than most could know how ruined I was, I am, that she could be taken, dying of traumatic brain injuries after an accidental fall. Two years ago. She was just 31.

No one knows what to say. There are no words. But there’s Graeme. There’s Graeme who knows there’s almost nothing to say but said it and keeps saying it, anyway. There’s Graeme, who doesn’t even have to say anything. Just sits with you, his eyes full of protection and love and friendship, for hours. At a diner or in a garden or on the bleachers behind third base in the park. Or just lets you slip quietly into his office and sit on a chair there for as long as it takes. There’s Graeme and his faith. A faith, that by its unselfish unshakable steadfastness can only always bolster your own. There’s Graeme. Thank god for him. Thank god for you, my brother. I fucking love you..." 

 

Westie...

 

Michael will be In NorCal and the Pacific NW over the next three weeks in advance of band dates and a new interview with Ground Control Magazine...

 

Feature article...

 

On the heels of their lovely review of Of Love and Loss, Ground Control Magazine follows up today with a feature about the band and a Q & A with Michael. Intro/excerpt here and link to full:

 

"...The story of how (Of Love and Loss) came to life, where the band has been, who they are, what they have done, and specifically, what this new album represents - a bridge of memory from life and love in the real and present world into a tribute to memorialize their tragically lost friend, band member Summer Serafin, well, it’s sound is now something that has gotten under my skin. Michael and Summer were soul-mates. They met each other as cast members of a play and became inseparable. Summer joined the band and is present singing inside many of the tracks, but then she is also a presence inside the CD. Seemingly inconsequential captures of the giggling of a mermaid or the humming of an angel, bits of dialogue caught in the studio, even a phone message she left Michael capture her spirit in an almost haunting way. You have to listen to it to see what I mean..."

 

Ground Control review...

 

Ground Control Magazine has just published a great review of Of Love and Loss, calling the record "eclectic and spare and altogether haunting. Taut, emotional and urgent. A testament of love. Alive, infused with spirit and resurrection in a magical way." Full article here.

 

Blogger update...

 

"Summerlove" -Michael's blog about his late-sweetheart - has a new URL. It's now: http://summerofloveandloss.blogspot.com/

 

Studio 360

 

Here's the link to Michael performing on NPR's "Studio 360":

 

 

More NPR and "Isaac's Eye" extension...

 

Michael will appear on another NPR program this Thursday Feb 28 - "Studio 360" - performing a scene from "Isaac's Eye". Also, following a very good review in last Friday's New York Times, the play has been extended through March 10.

 

Michael on NPR...

 

Michael will be on NPR's "Science Friday" tomorrow to talk about playing Robert Hooke off-B'way in Lucas Hnath's "Isaac's Eye". Lucas and castmate Haskell King will also be on. Check it out here.

 

Off B'way appearance...

 

Since the tragic passing of his love and partner, Summer Serafin, in 2011, Michael's acting appearances are now infrequent. A rare exception, however, finds him on stage in New York this month, off-B'way, as Robert Hooke in the premiere of Lucas Hnath's "Issac's Eye" directed by Linsay Firman. The play runs Wed-Sun at 7pm plus matinees Sat/Sun at 2pm through Feb 24 at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC.

 

New pix and iTunes...

 

Of Love and Loss is now available on iTunes. And we've just uploaded a batch of new pix from the live premiere at Zirzamin. See the photo page.

 

Tonight!

 

NYC'ers, tonight is the Bipolar Explorer double-cd release event, first time playing these songs live, first time without Summer, first time with Jason & Eva. The band will play Of Love & Loss in its entirety and sequence (mostly), twice. Doors 7pm. Come on down...

 

Of Love & Loss news

 

Simply awaiting final printing proofs of accompanying poster and release of the new Bipolar Explorer record is imminent. Much news, pix and mp3 previews on the band's website: www.bipolarexplorer.info.

 

Seattle & ICTF

 
Michael will be in the wilds of Leavenworth, Washington and then Seattle workshopping his play MY BEFORE & AFTER Aug 7-27. Bob Wright will direct.
 

"Of Love & Loss" - update

 

Michael's band, Bipolar Explorer, have completed mixes for their new record, currently in the mastering process, and expect to release it - a double-CD entitled OF LOVE & LOSS - this fall. OF LOVE & LOSS is both a testament and a tribute to their fallen bandmate, Michael's love and partner, Summer Serafin, who died, tragically, 15 months ago after an accidental fall. The new record is an eclectic mix of the studio recordings made with Summer on dual-vocals and the home ones written and recorded by Michael after her passing. Of, for and about Summer, the disparate sounds comprising OF LOVE & LOSS seem entirely appropriate given Summer's own fierce commitment to retaining the immediacy of the band's demos in all "proper" releases. A short run (300 copies) limited edition of the double-disc with a full-colour poster designed by Michael and produced by Sean and band friend Meredith Zinner will be avail in tandem with the digital release (iTunes, etc), which will stream in its entirety for two weeks here and at the band's website: www.bipolarexplorer.info Proceeds are marked for the memorial fund in Summer's name: Summer Serafin Memorial Transplant Fund, c/o University of Minnesota, Minnesota Medical Foundation, PO Box 64001, St. Paul, MN 55164-0001.

 

August travels...

 
Michael's play, MY BEFORE & AFTER, has been selected for this year's Icicle Creek Theatre Festival in Washington and will receive a week-long workshop at ICTF followed by a second staged reading at Seattle's ACT Theatre six weeks from now. R. Hamilton Wright will direct. Christine Sumption will dramaturg along with Anita Montgomery, ACT's Literary Manager.
 

Sold out in Seattle

 
Michael is in Seattle this weekend in rehearsals for a workshop of his play MY BEFORE & AFTER. The performance on Monday night at ACT is, reportedly, sold out.
 

Seattle

 
Michael's play "My Before and After" will receive a workshop at Seattle's ACT theatre next month. The workshop is part of ACT's new play series "Construction Zone" and will be directed by (former Seattle Rep Artistic Associate) Christine Sumption.
 

"Of Love & Loss"

 
The shocking, sudden, tragic loss of Summer 10 months ago tonight has been the heaviest weight we will ever bear. Hence the silence from these pages. But here's what's underway. In the deep paralysis of mourning, Michael was unable to continue work for several months but slowly began to write the new songs that will, with the Brooklyn sessions Summer sang on, together, form the new record. It will be a mixture of "proper" studio recordings and home ones (more on that in a related post). Summer loved the raw feel, the immediateness and intimacy of our demos and so we think it altogether right finding an amalgam of the two. The initial limited-avail pressing of the record will be a double CD (14 tracks) with artwork and a poster. There will also be a digital release. The record is called "Of Love & Loss". Jason Sutherland - who was instrumental in getting Michael back on his feet, writing music and playing guitar - has joined the band. The live line-up will vary from gig to gig. But whatever the configuration, we very much look forward to playing these songs out. We very much look forward to bringing this music - of, about and for our friend and bandmate, Michael's partner and One True Love, Summer Lindsay Serafin - to you all. We expect to release the first single from "Of Love & Loss" in the early spring, followed immediately by the physical and digital release of the full album. More soon and much love...BPX
 

All Soul's Day

 

Not really religious but love going to Choral Evensong. Always attend at St Paul's when in London and have been going to St Thomas's in New York for a year or two. It's usually on Wednesday but this week instead the service was a Solemn Eucharist for All Souls Day. Essentially a requiem. Didn't quite fully take that in before I got there. It was beautiful and I cried and cried and cried. I wrote Summer's name down on an envelope and left it next to the hymnal. Even tho she wasn't religious and I don't know if I am. Just want her to find me. After, I went to Chelsea to hear Joan Didion read from her new (released today) book "Blue Nights". It's the follow up to "The Year of Magical Thinking" - the former about the loss of her daughter and the latter about the loss of her husband. She's as fragile as I feel. A testament to grief and love in loss. I rode the M11 bus home up 10th Avenue stopping at D'Agostino's to buy fat free Half n Half and a box of Gingersnaps. I'm totally ruined, drained by days end - a crying hangover. Sober for 52 days I have this kind now instead. I'm aching for her. Always. Never stops. Only deepens, grows more keen. And then a surprise, the shock that so bereft i feel a stirring kinda love for New York. The way only the lonely and brokenhearted can, I suppose...

 

Name change...

 
Taking Summer's name in loving forever memory. Michael Louis Serafin-Wells.
 

Southampton

 
Michael is at the Southampton Writers Conference workshopping a new play this week.
 

It's a hit...

 
The New York Times has had some kind words about Michael's play TWO FROM THE LINE, running Off-Broadway now at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, citing Michael's writing as "LaBute territory with fresh angles and sustained tension". Thanks to the wonderful cast - Curran Connor and Eddie Boreovich - our fantastic director RJ Tolan, and Summer. Summer. It's all for her...
 

All for her...

 
With special dedication to his love Summer, Michael is in New York opening Series "A" of Ensemble Studio Theatre's 33rd Annual Marathon of One-Act plays, performing in Qui Nguyen's "Bike Wreck" (dir: John Gould Rubin). Series "B" includes a play of his own - the stage version of TWO FROM THE LINE (dir: RJ Tolan). In lieu of a bio, both Marathon programs contain Michael's dedication to Summer and a brief excerpt from his memorial address. Now and forever it is all for her. All for Summer. All for her...
 

Summerlove

 

Here follows Michael's address at Summer's memorial last Monday held at The Brava Theatre in San Francisco:

 

I have a thousand things to say about Summer Lindsay Serafin. A thousand thousand. I'll be saying them and thinking them and writing them down every day for the rest of my life no matter how brief or prolonged that may be. But today. Just for today...

She liked to sleep. That's not what I wanna talk about but it has to be said. She loved sleeping. I'm listening to one her voicemails of late and she says she is so excited by the prospect of sleep. That it is like (her) mouth is watering for sleep. She says that. It is good. I sometimes sleep now and just want to stay. I hope I might find her there.

 

It's impossible, really. Impossible that I met her. That she "found me" she liked to say. I'm not from around here. It's impossible that she lived in a place called "The Inner Sunset". Impossible that she lit me up, this shining person, and held me, safely, in her orbit. Impossible. All of it. And today. Just impossible.

 

She was a terrible driver. Even Mike said so. I loved her battle-scared Blue Prius. The passenger side mirror in a kaleidoscope thousand pieces, dangling by a cable. A taillight busted. The bumper sagging. No, no she fixed that. The back seat full of boots and sunhats and coconut water. And tissues. She left a trail of tissues everywhere. Like Hansel & Gretel. You could follow it to its source and eventually find her.

 

She was - words, not for the first time, fail -  an unearthly beauty. An ethereal beauty. And shockingly, entirely earthbound. Preternaturally present. She ate up life. With both tiny perfect fists. Ate it up. Actually, she ate quite beautifully. Do you remember that? Cutting and balancing petite bites, transferring them knife to fork with quiet elegance. Even bananas she ate like that. Seriously, I have a picture. I got her to try dark chocolate. She wasn't a fan at first. She broke little bits off into tiny pieces. I looked over and she was sprinkling Equal onto them one at a time.

 

She was the dearest dearest girl. Nothing phony about her. If you got to know her at all, your heart just broke in two the moment you realized, the moment you saw her, really saw her and then surged with love. For her. This amazing girl. She didn't do anything to make it difficult, but I can understand how someone could think she was hard to get to know. She was friendly but never facile. She wasn't frivolous. She was serious. She was fun, god, was she fun. She loved people - and this is what I wanna get it, at long last - she loved people and she took them seriously. Not everybody's up for that. More fool they.

 

I'm circling the runway here, I know, but there's one more thing I gotta say before I bring it in - she was a breathtakingly gifted actor. I met her doing Edna O'Brien's Tir na nOg, Chris Smith's last play at The Magic. She played the central role, a country girl in the west of Ireland who grows to young adulthood and further adventures in Dublin. And she burned that stage to cinders every goddamn night. With three broken toes. If you live here and you go to the theatre and you did not see her in that, I don't know what to tell you. I really don't. A year later, right after she was in Rock n Roll at ACT, she went down to Carmel to do David Hare's The Blue Room directed by Ken Kelleher. I sat there between Linda and Coy and I just thought "god, what am I doing?". I have a perfectly healthy ego. I'm from New York. But I have never seen acting like that. She is like the supermoon. Once in a generation.

 

She loved her work. And she was good at it. But she had a higher calling. To love. And, yes, that is what I want to talk about. Because she told me. She told me she knew why she was here and that was to love. She was filled with love. So much love. And she wanted more than anything to share her love with others. She told me that. And there is absolutely no doubting it because you could not have a better piece of luck in this world than to have been blessed enough to have been loved by her. She was like that device they use in open heart surgery that cracks your chest open and holds it gaping, wide, so you can be healed. That fragile little muscle, scarred and scared and on the verge of shutting down, giving out, giving up, held now tenderly in her expert hands, beneath her loving, healing gaze. Her love was tenacious, vigilant. Unflinching. I met her three years ago and she quickly became the center of my life. She didn't drop people. If you were in, she was in. Even if you faltered because nobody had ever shown up for you before like this, she was on you. Checking in. Reminding. Different this time. Not goin' anywhere. She hated talking on the phone but we talked every day, often for hours. For three. She knew everything about me. Things I never tell became hers.

 

And she made sure I knew her as well. Her gratitude, her pride in a happy childhood. Loving, devoted, would-take-a-bolt-of-lightning-for parents. Her epic struggle from the age of 5 to live. Ryan's gifting her a kidney and the double organ transplant that saved and changed her life. The unfathomable loss of Jesse. She carried every piece of her past with pride and love and honesty into every room, knowing exactly who she was, like no one I have ever known. Or ever will.

 

God, how I loved her! She's right. She did find me. I clung to her. "Like a life raft" I told her she was, "to a drowning man." She smiled and said, "you're not drowning anymore."

 

When my mom died last year, I was in London. I got the news in the middle of the night. I was alone. I called Summer, eight hours behind, here. When I told her, she burst into tears. And then told me to get on Skype. "I want to see you drink an entire glass of water", she said. "And lie down. And try to sleep. I'll be right here at my computer watching you. I will watch you while you sleep." She watched over me like an angel, a cyber angel, and when I woke she was there with Linda getting me on a plane to New York and then on to Michigan. Then Summer flew herself to Detroit and waited in the airport all night to meet my plane. And was at my side every day for a week while I buried my mother. Who does that? Serafin love. Irrepressible, irreplaceable girl.

 

"When I met you", she said "you were so wounded, so hurting, so sad. I just wanted to love you, to heal. But I never dreamed", she added, "I would ever get so much love in return." Who does that?

 

I need her. I am broken. That is as it should be. It's supposed to be hard. She cracked my chest open. It'll have to stay that way. Because who would go back? But it's hard.

 

Summer, incredibly, had an answer for that, I think. All this is preface. She'd want to have the last word. So, I'd like to share that. It's her Christmas card from a couple of years ago. She was in Boston doing Rock n Roll at The Huntington. It closed just before the holidays and she came to New York to exchange gifts with me. She made me promise to wait until December 25th to open it. So, I took it on the plane with me, waited til Christmas morning and opened it at my Mom's. The gift was a beautiful blue and grey scarf she knitted. There was also a card. It's to me but in a way it's to us all. Everyone of us who she loved. Everyone of us who love her. And feel so lost. Because life is so lonely, the world so empty and wrong without her.

 

My Dearest Michael, I've been working on this in the green room and backstage since we came to Boston. I'd drape it around my neck to keep warm while knitting in the dark of the freezing wings. The cast is decisively in favor of the striped color combination. It's Christmas day, and I'm wearing my pajamas. I'm in my P.J.s even if you're reading this when the sun has set. Ryan is making another bourbon and coke even if you're reading this as the sun rises. My Dad is reading aloud shocking statistics about religion or politics, my Mom is spraying perfume on the dog, and me? I am missing you. Maybe one day we'll spend Christmas together. Coy says "You are where you're meant to be", and while I like that idea, I know, far too well, what it feels like to be in a world where everything feels wrong -  where everything is wrong. You have also been to that place. And as the world spins on its own axis, people are lost in their own needs and trials. We falter blindly, and strive endlessly. But no matter where you are, whether you should be there or not, and no matter who is present - know that you are a treasure in your own right. If the chest is buried, the key is lost, or the map stolen, it doesn't matter; it doesn't change the fact that it's inside you. I just see what's there. You carry it with you. What's hidden can always be found. I love you. Your Gingersnap, Summer

 

I love you, too. Love you forever. Goodnight, little sweetheart.

 

Unfathomable loss

 
The Light has gone out. Summer Serafin: November 13, 1979 - March 18, 2011. Love you forever.
 

Blackbird

 
Michael is in rehearsals in San Francisco for David Harrower's two-character play, "Blackbird".
 

"Best Film"

 
TWO FROM THE LINE took Best Film honors this weekend at San Francisco's 13th Scary Cow Independent Film Festival. Michael was also cited for Best Screenplay and the film took additional honors for direction and acting (ensemble).
 

Two From The Line screening

 
Michael is in San Francisco this weekend for the screening of his short film TWO FROM THE LINE. The screening is part of the 13th Scary Cow Independent Film Festival and is being held at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre.
 

Production Photos

 
Check out the Photos page for production shots of MLW in Patrick Link's "Sweet Forgotten Flavor", staged by Youngblood Artistic Director RJ Tolan - New York, January 2011.
 

Sweet Forgotten Flavor

 
Michael is in New York appearing in Patrick Link's "Sweet Forgotten Flavor", staged by Youngblood Artistic Director RJ Tolan.
 

Youngblood...

 
Michael is in rehearsals in New York with Youngblood for Patrick Link's "Sweet Forgotten Flavor" staged by Artistic Director RJ Tolan...
 

Mixing...

 
Michael is back in Brooklyn with Alan this weekend doing further mixes for the new Bipolar Explorer record...
 

Rough cut

 
Michael is in San Francisco this week to oversee editing and a rough cut of his short film TWO FROM THE LINE...
 

Fall back...

 
Michael is in New York working to deadline. It was ever thus...
 

UK

 
Michael is working in London this month.
 

Next...

 
Michael is in New York at work on the new Bipolar Explorer record.
 

BPX live

 
Bipolar Explorer play Brooklyn's Bar Reis tonight, Saturday August 7th, 9pm.
 

Production Stills

 

Check out some production stills on the "Photos" page from the first weekend of shooting "Two From The Line" - the short film Michael wrote adapting his play of the same name for the screen.

 

BPX news

 
Michael is in New York at work on the new Bipolar Explorer record.
 

Filming begins...

 
Michael is in San Francisco where principal photography begins this weekend for the film adaptation of his short play "Two From The Line".
 

"Two From the Line" film

 
Michael is in San Francisco this week and next in rehearsals and pre-production for the film adaptation of his play "Two From The Line".
 

Short film

 
Michael is in San Francisco this week casting the film adaptation of his play "Two From The Line"...
 

BPX news

 
Bipolar Explorer heads into the studio this weekend to lay down tracks for the new record. Also - check out the band's new website: http://www.bipolarexplorer.info/
 

Mom

 

Michael's Mom died suddenly, unexpectedly and he had to return from London to plan and hold her memorial service last week. What follows is the eulogy he wrote and delivered in Michigan last Friday:

 

She was the Homecoming Queen. She was the only child of a doting father who became an even more doting grandfather to my brothers and myself. Everything I am, everything I hope to be, I owe to my mother. I owe to her. Like my father, she is gone too soon. Like my father she leaves a treasured store of memories and a void that can never, will never be filled. My father died a bit too young and I was a bit too far away to ever really know him as a man. My mother took it upon herself to defy, to transcend geography. She came to see me in San Francisco and DC. We ate pizza and burritos in hotel rooms. Not at the same time. She came to New York every fall and often in the summer, too. What we'd do was - I would rent a car and drive home at Thanksgiving and she would ride back with me on the Saturday after and stay for a week in New York. It seemed a little daunting the first time, a ten-hour car trip, but it was revelatory and became ritual. We learned about each other in new ways. And our understanding, our bond deepened. And she loved New York. She loved the Upper West Side. She loved sourdough bagels from H&H, and the Goldilocks omelette at Sarabeth's and sitting in Central Park between the Delacorte Theatre and the Great Lawn. She loved The Met. She loved The American Wing and the Christmas Tree in the Gothic Hall. She loved New York in a way that made me remember why I did, in a way that made me renew my vows. She was evangelically optimistic. She was generous with her labor and her love and she held up her family and her friends. She treasured them and let them know. I loved her sense of humor. She was so funny. I loved her wanderlust, her sense of adventure, her willingness to embrace things that were new. She was the first person in our family to get a computer, a cellphone, to text message. Before most of my friends had begun, she shocked me one day by texting me. OMG! She loved texting. We would talk every Sunday - we had a phone date - but she would text me back & forth all the time. I miss that already. I find myself reaching for the keypad to tell her something and then remember. And then, to be honest, I text her anyway. Because somehow I believe that she intercepts the message now floating through the either faster than it could travel to her old phone. I was so encouraged, so proud that she resumed travels with The Nomads. I loved how she would call with news of what she thought a particularly exotic or even dangerous destination, detailing her concerns and then call me back - or more likely text - in half an hour with a triumphant "I'm going!". Her love of life was infectious. And I believe she enriched almost every life she touched, with her joy, her faith, her good humor, her steadfastness, her soulfulness, her heart, even her tears. Everything I am, everything I hope to be be I owe to her. I owe to my mother. I owe to you, Mom.

 

London local

 
Michael is in London this week & next for rehearsals and a staged reading of his play SEVEN PAGES UNSIGNED - directed by Wilson Milam - at The Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court.
 

Thanks!

 
Thanks to Live Footage, Ollie Childs and everyone who turned up (and stayed late!) for Bipolar Explorer's gig at Local 269 on The Lower East Side, NYC last night. Further - apparently Chelsea Clinton was there. Whereabouts of The Big Dog unknown...
 

BPX at Local 269

 
Bipolar Explorer will play Local 269 - 269 E. Houston Street - in downtown NYC on Thursday night May 13th. Also on the bill are Live Footage and Ollie Childs. BPX should go on around 10PM.
 

BPX on Facebook

 

Bipolar Explorer now has a Facebook page. Find it here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bipolar-Explorer/124126257600266?ref=ts

 

Sloan workshop

 
Michael is in rehearsals in New York this week for a workshop of a Lucas Hnath play directed by Linsay Firman.
 

7PGS in London

 
Michael's play SEVEN PAGES UNSIGNED will receive a staged reading at London's Finborough Theatre on May 27th - Tony-nominee Wilson Milam directing - as part of a month-long series celebrating The Finborough's 30th anniversary. Other writers include Mark Ravenhill, Naomi Wallace...
 

Pop Matters article

 

PopMatters magazine's Rachel Balik writes about Bipolar Explorer's show at The Copper Square Hotel in New York: "Eclectic, steadfast and powerful - new and truthful music". Nice! We'll take that. Some good pix, too... http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/122436-bipolar-explorer-2-March-2010-new-york-city-cooper-square-hotel/

 

BPX in Annie O. Concert Series in NYC

 
Michael, Sean & Elizabeth will play a short (appox. 20 minute) set as part of the Annie O. Concert Series at The Cooper Square Hotel in New York on Tuesday March 2. Doors 7PM, show 8PM. It's free admission (yeah!) and cash bar. Here's the address: The Cooper Square Hotel Penthouse, 25 Cooper Square (3rd Ave btw 5th & 6th St.).
 

Lenin's Embalmers

 
Michael is in rehearsals in New York for "Lenin's Embalmers" featuring Zack Grenier. Previews beginning March 3 with a March 8 opening.
 

Micro workshop

 
Michael is in New York appearing in a workshop production of Michael Lew's "Microcrisis" this week and next. The play is directed by Ralph Pena and produced by Youngblood. Performances are Feb 17, 20, 21, 25 & 26 at 7PM on the stage of Youngblood's newly refurbished 6th Floor theatre at 549 W.52nd Street in Manhattan.
 

"Microcrisis"

 
Michael begins rehearsals in New York on Wednesday for Michael Lew's "Microcrisis" - a new (brilliant!) full-length about the global financial meltdown.
 

NYC

 
Michael is back in New York in rehearsals with Bipolar Explorer.
 

Way out West

 
Michael will be in San Francisco this week and next.
 

YB

 
Michael is in rehearsals in New York with Youngblood.
 

Youngblood Xmas

 
Michael will be appearing in Anna Moench's "Windy City" directed by RJ Tolan for Youngblood this weekend.
 

Opening

 
Michael's new one-act, HAPPINESS, directed by Youngblood co-Artistic Director RJ Tolan, featuring Youngblood co-Artistic Director Graeme Gillis and the totally stellar Scott Sowers opens in New York tonight.
 

West Coastin'...

 
Michael will be in San Francisco this week.
 

Happiness

 
Invited by Youngblood Artistic Director Graeme Gillis to write a short piece for two actors, Michael has knocked out a new one-act. It's called "Happiness" and will debut in New York as part of the Late Night series on Friday November 13. More news soon...
 

New Works..

 
Michael is in rehearsals this week in New York with director extraordinaire Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines.
 

Downtown...

 
Michael will be reading a new play with director extraordinaire Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines in NYC tomorrow.
 

Youngblood

 
Michael is in New York this week in rehearsals for Youngblood's annual "Asking For Trouble" festival of new short plays.
 

Westie

 
Michael is in San Francisco this week.
 

Dialectic Pix

 
Check out newly posted production shots from World Premiere of Kia Corthron's "Dialectic" on the photo page. They're alright! A helluva lot better than the one in the Voice...
 

The Voice

 
Nice notice for the festival, kind words for "Dialectic" and breathtakingly unflattering picture of Michael in this week's Village Voice...
 

New York Days

 
Michael is in previews for Kia Corthron's "Dialectic" and opening on Monday. Bipolar Explorer is back in action, as well. Check the photo page for new snaps...
 

Opening in NYC

 
Michael is in technical rehearsals in New York for Kia Corthron's "Dialectic", which begins previews later this week.
 

Dialectic

 
Michael begins rehearsals in New York for Kia Corthron's "Dialectic" tomorrow.
 

Downtown

 
Reading tonight in New York directed by Wilson Milam with Neal Huff, Grant Shaud, Meredith Zinner, Summer Serafin, Derek Lucci and Geneva Carr.
 

Opening Night

 
Michael is opening Off-Broadway in "Two-Handers" directed by (Tony-nominee) Wilson Milam tonight in New York City.
 

w/Wilson in NYC

 
Michael will begin rehearsals in New York with director extraordinaire Wilson Milam (Tony nominee - "The Lieutenant of Inishmore") on Wednesday.
 

New Stuff

 

It's been a prolific couple of months which have seen the completion of both a new screenplay (2nd draft) and a new stageplay (1st draft), as well as a brace of new Bipolar Explorer tunes. One of the demos, "Flag Day" has been posted on the BPX Tumblr site. Check it out! Here's the link: http://bipolarexplorer.tumblr.com/post/127821429/demo-of-branding-spanking-new-bpx-tune-flag-day

 

TV Guide

 
Michael will appear in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (episode "Security") re-broadcast this Monday, Memorial Day, May 25 4PM EST on the USA Network.
 

Best of...

 
They announced it in 2007 and they didn't complete publication until 2009 but Michael's TWO FROM THE LINE is coming out today as part of Smith & Kraus's "Best 10-Minute Plays - 2008" anthology.
 

Sad News

 
Michael is saddened to hear of the passing of Ed Braun - father of his pal, ex-Uncle lead guitarist Chas Milton Braun. Thoughts are with Chas and his family.
 

Tweet!

 

Michael can now be found (and followed- scary!) on Twitter.

 

Film Festival

 
Michael is attending the Sonoma International Film Festival this weekend.
 

Incoming, ongoing...

 
Michael is in San Francisco continuing work on the new play.
 

BPX

 
Michael & Sean are laying down a few tracks in New York tonight. More anon...
 

NYC

 
Michael will be in New York this week.
 

The Emerald City

 
Michael is in Seattle this weekend.
 

Pacific Local

 
Michael is in San Francisco at work on a new play.
 

LA

 
Michael is in LA this weekend for rehearsals and a reading.
 

SF

 
Michael is in San Francisco this week and next.
 

Curt

 

Michael is remembering his friend and mentor Curt Dempster, Founding Artistic Director of New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, who died on this day in 2007. The following remarks are from Michael's address at Mr. Dempster's memorial service in April of that year:

 

"I met Curt the first week I was in New York. My friend Susanne Brinkley (I know) was casting final readings for his playwriting class. She put me in Kate Robin's play that night and I met him the next morning in his office. He asked what my plans were. I told him I was interviewing with Michael Howard and he told me about Tannersville. The day after that I rang Michael Howard to confirm but Curt had already called to say I was studying with him instead. I think he kinda stole me. I'm glad he did. I fucking loved him. He said the right thing at the wrong time. His dogs farted during important meetings. He wasn't impressed with celebrity. Curt was the second person I called, after my Mom, when I heard that my father died. Something happened to me then. It feels a lot like that now. People fall out of love with EST. They come and go and sometimes come back. Mark Roberts said the best thing about EST is that everybody thinks their era there was its hay day. I think that's beautiful. But I don't think that's how Curt saw it. I think for him it was always in the present. His gift was to bring it all together cross-generational and alive. He brought people together. Not infrequently in vein-popping, messianic rage convinced he was doing it all wrong. It became a ritual that every few years some terribly earnest, disgruntled faction would rise to :save" the theatre from Curt. He outlasted nearly every insurrection but the cumulative effect allowed a narrative to emerge that the theatre was in constant crisis, forever teetering on the brink of financial ruin. No one wanted to take the theatre away from him it was assured, only the purse strings. He lost his voice. Literally. There was this weird thing going on with his throat. The last class of interns thought it was his real voice because they'd never heard anything different. If you asked him about it he'd huskily whisper that it was getting better. But it fucking wasn't. If the phone was ringing or somebody was talking in the lobby you couldn't hear him. After the gypsy for Detail I had to kneel with my notebook on my leg and my ear next to his face to get his notes. The first thing he said was "you can take these or not but I'm right 100 percent of the time." At the end of his wake there was a movement to open his coffin. It was a closed casket but the whole reason he hadn't been cremated immediately was because some thought it important that people be able to see him if they really needed to. Before the wake "officially" began the funeral director took anyone who wanted into the room one or two at a time for "viewing". But at the end a group of a dozen or so decided they had to have a last look. I didn't wanna leave the room but I didn't wanna go up there. I just watched them, some on tip toes, peering in at him. All I could see was his baseball cap and a bit of that eagle-like beak of his. I sat scrunched up in a corner by the coats until, mercifully, it was over. They closed the lid and filed out and I just sat there trying to talk to him in a whisper from across the room. But all I could say was "I can't hear you. I. Can't. Hear. You."'

 

Michael Louis Wells

New York City

April 29, 2007

 

January 13

 

Excerpt from REAL REAL GONE (published by Smith & Kraus, c. by the author):

 

MITCHELL(beat); Oh, I brought ya one.

KARL: A relic?

MITCHELL: Yeah. Looking for the flask this morning I found it.

KARL: Uh-huh.

MITCHELL: And I remember that morning when he... when Dad...

KARL: Passed.

MITCHELL: When I got the call, yeah. I flew right out. I get there. Everybody's milling around like some old episode of "Columbo". I need to be alone.

KARL: Right.

MITCHELL: I go upstairs and hide out in his room. I start lookin' at stuff. It hasn't hit me yet.

KARL: What stuff?

MITCHELL: Just all his stuff I'm lookin' at. And slung over a chair is this checkered shirt he liked to wear. It still smelled like him. I never thoughta that before, how he smelled. I felt somethin' up here in the chest pocket. It was one of those little crossword puzzles. I looked at it and I just completely lost it sitting there on his bed.

KARL: Crossword puzzle?

MITCHELL: Yeah, he was like a maniac for crossword puzzles. My Mom hadta ban 'em. When he got re-married, Mary-Maria started buyin' him like crossword everything. Placemats, toilet paper, calendars... And that's what this was. Is. One of those little calendar crosswords. (Mitchell has pulled the crossword out of his pocket. He hands it to Karl who studies it reverently. )

KARL: Wow. (Suddenly restless, Mitchell wanders the graveyard, calling over his shoulder.)

MITCHELL: It musta been a hard one, too. 'Cause it was from Labor Day. And it's all filled in. It's done. Yeah...

 

M.A.F. single

 
Michael played lead guitar, produced, mixed and engineered two new tracks - "Not At All" and "December" - for LA indie rocker M.A.F. last month at his home studio in Hell's Kitchen. Further work on an album is expected to continue in LA early this year with a digital release TBA.
 

Boston

 
Michael will be in Boston this week and next.
 

New Pix - LA Readings

 
Check out new pix from the LA readings of REAL REAL GONE and SEVEN PAGES UNSIGNED. And...Huge thanks to directors Scott Alan Smith and Elizabeth Sampson, actors JJ and Sean Wing, Chet Grissom, Ann Noble, Jeanne Syquia, Suzanne Tara, Nick Hoffa and Marty Lodge and everyone at Los Angeles's Road Theatre Company.
 

LA Readings

 
Los Angeles's The Road Theatre will be staging readings of Michael's REAL REAL GONE and SEVEN PAGES UNSIGNED in a kind of Wellsian doubleheader at their venue in North Hollywood on Monday October 27th at 8PM.
 

West Coastin'

 
Michael will be in Seattle and San Francisco for readings this week and next.
 

Dog Days

 
Michael is back in NYC in rehearsals with Bipolar Explorer, at work on a new play - FAR AWAY UP CLOSE - and planted directly in front of the air conditioner.
 

London Calling

 
Michael will be in London this month (and a bit of next) working on a new play with director extraordinaire Wilson Milam.
 

Tir Na nOg photos

 
Thanks to the totally stellar Summer Serafin we've just got our hands on a dozen or so pix from Chris Smith's gorgeously staged world premiere of Edna O'Brien's "Tir Na nOg" at San Francisco's Magic Theatre. Check out the (bottom of the) photo page. Sweet!
 

Controlled Burn

 
Michael will be appearing in the premiere of Michael Sendrow's "Controlled Burn" this weekend with New York's Youngblood Theatre Company, YB co-Artistic Director RJ Tolan at the helm.
 

Benefit reading

 
Michael will be appearing in a concert reading of LF Hall's "God, Sex & Blue Water" for a benefit at New York's Muhlenberg Library this evening at 5:30PM.
 

New Look

 
Not Wells. He's exactly the same. The site we're talking about. The old one was broken. No, seriously. Our "web guy" had a crash and lost all the files. Then he moved to Oklahoma. Seriously, you can't make this shit up. Anyway, something had to be done, so we pulled up cyber stakes (do people still say "cyber"?) and set up camp here. It's maybe not as flash but we swear updates will be far more regular. Which is cool. I mean, 2004 was a pretty good year but it wasn't THAT special...