“I remember that time you told me, you said ‘love is touching souls’, surely you touched mine, ‘cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.”
Part One: The Epilogue of Her Love
Love: It���s a strange thing. It is perhaps the most shaping force we encounter in this life. It strengthens, destroys, calms, enrages; all at once. I have encountered it in its myriad forms, as all of us have through the years; but it is without exaggeration that I contend I never before felt its torrents of support and cacophony in the way I did when emanating from Marissa Provenza. A year after those torrents ceased as the sun set too soon on her life of beautiful chaos, we found ourselves at a posthumous birthday party for the aforementioned woman who touched us all. A woman witch; if you were lucky enough to be ensconced in the womb of her constant consciousness she was hell-bent on touching your soul… relentlessly.
This celebration would not have been possible without the entire year of grief leading to it, at least for me. I have never grieved so hard for anyone. The nightmare was thrust upon us without expectation, forcing us to swallow every bit of her torment, every bit of gut-wrenching agony trailing in her wake; analyzing every conversation, every memory—every euphoric sensation and brutal disappointment. There was no escape. It was everything.
Grief is the epilogue of a life well lived to be experienced by those left behind. It’s the soul purging entanglements in the face of permanent estrangement. It���s the final coda; no more chance to “take it from the top” as it�����s really the end. After all of that, it’s safe to say, this party… and the rest of our lives, are well earned; well deserved. For if the one positive aspect of grief is its end, then the prize awaiting is acceptance—something Marissa believed in, for all of us, and raged violently for herself.
Marissa also believed in Jesus Christ, as her personal savior. This may seem ironic at first, but if you knew her, you knew that salvation, perhaps the most holy form of acceptance, was the real healing salve she was perpetually seeking.
“If only you believe like I believe, we’d get by. If only you believe in miracles, so would I.”
Part Two: Miracles
It should be noted I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, but I like the idea; maybe that’s enough for now. For Marissa, she believed in Him for real, she believed in Us for real; she left us all so we could live on, earn the lives we really deserve, and be happy facing this state of unwitting acceptance as a permanent part of our lives—because it is, because we have to. Moreover, we should remember her parting as the boldest, most assertive, and most extreme reason to accept each other, ourselves, and to always do our best to reach for each other with the purest love and light despite whatever human consequences occur. I don���t believe in accidents; for Marissa there were no consequences. That I met her and in turn all of you was no accident, but this life, this loss, this grief, this love is the consequence. This love is the miracle. I will do my best to accept it fully, will you? Please do.
“It’s important to me that you know that you’re free, ‘cause I never want to make you change for me.”
Part Three: The Cosmic State of Change
Fundamentally, Marissa wanted all of us to change—to be more like her, but never wanted to change her ways. This kind of paradox, this conflict of interests, was difficult to understand. Todd Rundgren’s lyric sums it up in a way that is too perfect. I think of it as a call and response. If Marissa called, “It���s important to me that you know that you’re free”, then the response she would want from everyone (but mostly to self-resonate in her own being) would be “…I never want to make you change for me.” Unfortunately, she didn’t always get it from her lovers and friends and family, and she never got it from herself. It is doubly significant that this music reference recalls a common fragment of a church service, because Marissa found the path to her own self-actualization in music and towards the end through the collective of worship through song at her UWS church. Throughout her time in New York, she often used music as her tool for bridging the ego gaps formed between people—she used to say that she was striving for total ego death in everyone. That we didn’t have to accept the status quo, and she was here to embrace a “new reality.” In a way, she was actively collecting congregates for her own personal church. She believed the intimate gatherings at The Space Palace, utilizing both music and visual art, were the center-point for such ego death—her mission. In that sense, her church, where she could perform her own personal miracles of salvation as an agent of chaos, her method of change, was The Space Palace. And while there were not specific intonations of God, there was the fellowship of the musical, the artistic, and the collective.
“The Circle is finished and new forever”
Part Four: The Circle
Marissa loathed that her knowledge of music was limited and new, but she was eager to join the conversation. In life, her mission began by surrounding herself with musicians and artists and performers of all kinds. She found divine inspiration in this little borough of Brooklyn, as an independent woman living her life for herself, for the first time. It was the music of Ellis Ashbrook first and later the Louisiana Sun Kings that captured her attention. Always striving to connect, it was more the love and interpersonal aspects of interaction with these bands and their scenes, both separate and at times overlapping, that stirred her heart, churned her creative muse, and over time led to her indoctrinations of many. She was (after all) born again—her words—in a [that] Brooklyn basement. So when it was time for the “Roofest, in celebration of Marissa Provenza”, on her 27th birthday, it’s easy to imagine that she turned to her friend JC and said, “MAKE IT RAIN!!!” (Probably in full-mantis mode), and JC did just that; forcing both of her bands and all of her friends—her congregation into that same Brooklyn basement so she could be, once again, born again.
I’ve taken a little license here, drawing what may seem to some like an absurd analogy. From the outside these gatherings appeared to be nothing more than hedonistic parties—and on the surface you wouldn’t be wrong. However, if you were there and a part of things, you would know that the timbre of these events sounded much deeper; more the essence of human spirit convening than debauchers raging… and she was right there, putting herself at the center; “not in pursuit of the truth but in surrender.”
“Please put down your hands, ‘cause I see you… I’ll be your mirror.���
Part Five: Recapitulation
This show was everything you would expect if you’ve been to one of the many occasions that EA and LSK played together at The Space Palace. The room was filled with familiar and unfamiliar faces vibing on the nonstop self-expression that started with the event Zine and the fifth installment of the Chrysalis series, both brain-children of Marissa—the result of her rebirth as a creative phoenix, a Brooklynite, a writer and artist. Then there was the music. Both bands were in top form, with LSK reuniting after a year and sounding tighter and more unified than ever. Ellis continued the recent and welcomed trend of long mash-up jams featuring spontaneous segues joining disparate segments. There was limited banter or goofiness, as this felt like a serious event. It was as if they, both LSK and EA were channeling her muse. As the artist turns to look back at the observer for inspiration, the circle is truly complete; and we were all, for a moment, back in the womb of her constant consciousness. We were once again Marissa’s congregation; at home touching souls, touching mine and yours, drinking a case of you and yours, and still standing on our feet.
“Let me live every moment in the now, starting now.”
Part Six: Coda
Egos be damned; checked at the door and denied. For all of us who care, we convened in the spirit of her remembrance, hoping and helping to keep the mission alive. Thank you all for coming, for reading, for remembering… with love.
Saturday, October 3, 2015: THE SPACE PALACE, Brooklyn, NY
Set: Psychic Vampires, Off The Earth, The Undeveloped Brain, Slide, Mr. Anyone, Decelerator, Not Fade Away -> Good Time Blues -> So Simple > Dixie Chicken -> So Simple, Sledgehammer
E: 22 > Burning Down The House
 After PV, Natalie said, “you are equally responsible in that transaction”
 With intro jam
 With extended lead-in to verse including band introductions
 With Can’t You Hear Me Knocking jam and LA Woman lyrics (Mr. Mojo rising) from John