Class of 2007: Ship

Pub date August 29, 2007
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

QUOTE "We’re kind of getting our hands dirty in all the different ways we like to, sometimes making music, sometimes taking pictures of ourselves in underpants."

CLUBS Fresh Air Fiends Unlimited, Cross-Disciplinary Disciples

If Virgos are master catalysts at organizing earth energy into new ubergrounded forms, both functional and artful, Ship is all Virgo. The multitalented twosome, David Wilson and Frank Lyon, embody Virgocity and more, even on the cusp of certain show disaster, as when they put together a performance this spring in a World War II military tunnel in the Marin Headlands. Ship were just closing out the night, singing around a campfire as the cold air swept in and everyone gathered around the blaze, when bright lights suddenly began swirling at the other end of the tunnel, and someone whispered, "I think the police are here."

"It was a nice moment because everyone joined us in song and started singing the final lines, over and over and over," Wilson says while scouting for a good drawing locale on the brink of his "golden" 25th birthday Aug. 25 (he and Lyon, born Sept. 7, are planning a "little Virgo party" soon). "The police all sat waiting for it to end, and it just kept going. It felt eternal. When the last note rang out, they saw us sitting at the center of the group and gave us a $500 fine."

That gesture too was transformed into a beacon of possibility as attendees sent dollars, coins, and tokens of support to Ship in the weeks following. In the end, they gathered $350, "raising money for the park service."

Add in shows at Ship’s nature-based venues of choice — including a Mount Diablo musical campfire sleepover, an Oakland crater turned creekbed performance with Soft Circle, High Places, and Lucky Dragons, and the forthcoming Aug. 31 sing-along slumber party event for LoBot Gallery’s "Mystical Enchanting Forest" exhibit, which includes drawings by Wilson — and it’s clear that Ship’s free-floating, expansive vessel is unstoppable in its quest to connect and explore. Witness the vibe at Hotel Utah last week as the pair — who met dancing to boom-box jams at Wesleyan University in Connecticut — crooned awkward, winsome harmonies while pinning yarn to their white T-shirts and throwing the balls out into the audience, creating a web of performer-audience interconnectedness. Or behold artbooks by the twosome, working under the name Ribbons, including Sea Past Landscapes, which comprises Wilson’s drawings of his journeys from Cape Cod dunes to pebbly Bay beaches as well as a sweet accompanying CD of Ship’s seafaring songs.

All such endeavors will come together in the pair’s January 2008 exhibition at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, titled "Enter the Center: Our Gentle War with Entropy." The show will encompass Wilson’s drawings and collages, Ship music, Ribbons books, perhaps sounds from their sample- and beat-heavy project Maneuver, and, of course, music and dance performances. "It’s kind of about growing and feeling the forces of aging and time," Wilson explains. "I sometimes feel like I’m between being a kid and having a kid."

Now they’ll just have to find a way to work their love of yoga into the art and make "New Age deep yoga dance music" under the handle Yoga Lazer. Dancing and sing-alongs are all swell, but, as Wilson says, "If we can get everyone to do yoga, we’ll be at our peak." (Chun)

SHIP "What Fire Sounds Like" sleepover with Almaden, One Bird, and Yoga Lazer, with an invitation to sing your ultimate campfire cover. Fri/31, 8 p.m. doors, $5–$10. LoBot Gallery, 1800 Campbell, Oakl.>.