Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Noise Beneath the Apple: A Celebration of Busking in the Bay Area by: Heather Jacks Interview

About the Book:

Title: The Noise Beneath the Apple: A Celebration of Busking in the Bay Area
Author: Heather Jacks
Publisher: TNBTA Media
Pages: 200
Genre: Media & Performing Arts
The Noise Beneath the Apple® is a hardcover, Limited Edition Art-Style/Coffee Table book, presented in an elegant slipcase. It measures 12″ x 12″ and celebrates buskers and street music in New York City. It includes a history, evolution and culture of busking, photos, interviews and commentary with 35 of NYC’s prominent street musicians. A cherry red vinyl record, of 11 tracks of original music, mastered by Grammy and Academy Award winning Reuben Cohen, (Slumdog Millionaire, Frozen), is page 200. At the culmination of the project, 30 participants went to Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn, where they covered Billy Joel's hit song, New York State of Mind. A 12 minute short film and music video were created from that day and are included with the book, making this project, truly multi-media. The project won a Book of the Year Award in the category of Performing Arts & Music.

For More Information

  • The Noise Beneath the Apple: A Celebration of Busking in the Bay Area is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at her website for less!
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

About the Author

Heather Jacks was raised on Indian reservation in southeastern Oregon, until age fifteen, at which time; she was chosen to be an ‘experimental exchange student’ to Australia. She went down under, with an organization called YFU, Youth for Understanding, and spent 10.5 months turning16 in the Outback.  When she returned, she attended college, and received an FCC license, followed by completing a B.A. from USF and two years of study at UC Davis.

During her twenties, she traveled extensively, worked in the music industry in various capacities; radio, production, A&R, booking and eventually, landed at a new and young company, called Starbucks, where she worked on a Star Team and opened new stores in remote markets.

Music has always been her passion and during her tenure at Starbucks, she helped launch Hear Music, which today is Starbucks Music Label. Eventually, she returned to the business side of music at a major indie label, where she had a number of roles, from concert production to glorified babysitter.

An avid TV Junkie, die-hard SF Giants fiend and unapologetic Twitter practitioner, she recently won a Book of the Year Award for her multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple®; A Celebration of Busking in New York City, which was inspired by her love for street music, busking and the people who make it.

She currently hangs her hat in San Francisco and am is working on the Bay Area version of the TNBTA® busker project.
For More Information

Where are you from?
I grew up in the country in southeastern Oregon. There were 200+/- people where I grew up; no electricity; no running water; one old stock truck and few roads. We were an eclectic lot of people, living out our days on Indian land. There were hippies, war dodgers, some who were a few sandwiches shy of a picnic, and of course, Indians. I am an only child, and there weren’t many kids where I lived, so my animals were my playmates. Not the typical dog and cat—although there were dogs and cats; there were also cows, pigs, deer, raccoon and my rabbit Honey, who I used to wear like a scarf.
Tell us your latest news?
So much fun stuff going on right now! My current book, The Noise Beneath the Apple®, has arrived at NIQUEA.D Boutiques in New York City, where they will be selling it. I am super stoked about this, because finding a place to carry an independent project of this nature is one of the toughest parts of the process. Let’s face it, this is a big book with a film, vinyl record; cover song, etc.…about buskers. It’s very niche and most folks don’t know what to do with it. So, I am very grateful to NIQUEA.D.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing, because it was one of the only things to do as a kid. I read a lot growing up; couple that with being an only child in possession of a wild and vivid imagination and the next logical step is writing. I loved writing as a young person. I loved creating the letters, feeling the pencil skating over the paper and leaving something where nothing had existed before. It was magic. So, I began writing poetry and short stories; things like Ode to A Cow—(a poem to my pet cow, Pepper), and White Rooster, a tale about the demon rooster who truly existed and terrorized me as a kid. Trust me; that whole Portlandia thing, portraying roosters as docile? That’s a myth. Recently we were watching a reality TV show, Survivor Man or something like that. Anyway, he was running away from a bear—(which is not very realistic,)—then, he climbed a tree, because ‘bears can’t climb trees’, which is entirely untrue. In fact, I had written a story about such a thing, when I was around 8 or 9. I wrote about what I knew then, and still do today.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never started referring to myself as a writer, until after TNBTA® was completed, although I had several other things published previously, inducing YA books with ‘real’ publishers. I always thought of myself as an artisan, along the veins of a great sculptor; taking an unformed piece of marble or blank page and bringing something beautiful to life there. I still think of language as art and words as the things you work with; sculpt and mold into melodies. It was my boyfriend, who introduced me to his very educated and accomplished friends, (engineers, scientists and such), as a writer, and I kind of liked it. It’s much easier than trying to explain writing as art…which is still true for me.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was actually a collection of short stories about living on Indian land, and I wrote it because so many people seem to have an interest in that life. In any social setting, the first question asked is, ‘where are you from’, and my answer, Modoc Reservation in Oregon, would elicit a lot of questions. The first run of that book sold out, the publisher is gone and I never got around to re-printing it, but, I might like to one day, because I am a much better storyteller now, than I was then.
Do you have a specific writing style?
One of the early books I read about writing, was Stephen King’s, On Writing; A Memoir of the Craft. I LOVED this book, and still do—(in fact, I re-read it last year). In it, he says you should always write what you know. I have taken that to heart and that is exactly what I write. I write what I know, in the way I know it; hence, I tend to write exactly as I would speak. I think it works. One reviewer for my earlier book had said that I ‘handle dialogue better than most’. Not to sound vain, but, it’s true, and that is a direct result of my childhood. I loved hearing stories. I loved telling stories; and the best stories are the ones that sound true; that I could put myself in the place of the character, and be like, ‘Yeah, I would have done that’, or ‘Yep, that’s what I would have said’. You can read science fiction, set in another time, place, planet—and it can still seem 100% true and believable. Game of Thrones? Yep, I think that’s exactly what Tyrion would have done. Now, 50 Shades of Grey……?
How did you come up with the title?
The Noise Beneath the Apple® was actually the result of a Facebook contest!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
How much of the book is realistic?

100%! I write historical non-fiction. I had a publisher long ago—(I think they are defunct now? Rainbow Bridge?) Anyway, I wrote Indian stories; stories about growing up on the reservation. He said I was writing history through adventure. I like that description. My main goal in writing any of the things I write, from Indian stories, dating columns, busking and Sisters, is to address the mythology and bust down myths. People tend to have a lot of assumptions about things, judgements that may—(or may not)—be correct. It’s difficult to get people to consider things from a different viewpoint, because often the argument or alternate viewpoint is made with a lack of empathy. We tend to default to what we think or believe and force it on others, and this never works. I have to write with what I call ‘objective empathy’, if I hope to have people consider alternate views in regards to the fringe pieces of society that I write about; Queer Nuns, street musicians, Indians.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
What books have most influenced your life most?
I read a LOT! I’ve been reading long before Kindle made it cool. That being said, there are so many books that have influenced me, continue to influence me and books that will influence me. The first books of major impact came to me in the Outhouse; we lived in the country and had no indoor plumbing. I spent a lot of time reading; The Bible, Sears Roebuck Catalogues and assorted treasures from my wooden post in the Outhouse. I was nine years old when I read, The Death of Ivan Ilyich.  "Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore the most terrible.” This story really startled me. From an early age; I made an unwavering commitment to not become an Ivan. Next up was Illusions, by Richard Bach; rather a different story than Ivan—and one that was more akin to my way of thinking and hoping. I was Indian land, and had yet to meet the real world, so hope was the one thing I had. Hope for what it would be like, once I left the reservation. Both of these stories impacted the way I walk in the world today.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
What book are you reading now?
I am reading Life by Keith Richards…and I LOVE it!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
What are your current projects?

The next bit of big news is that for the past year, I have been putting the vision together for my next project, gathering people, interviews, and research and bringing the tribe around; and THIS week—(December 1-7), we begin shooting it! This project is again an art book, but the topic is very different from before. I am capturing the history, culture and intimate profiles with the SF Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters are a 21st Order of Queer Nuns, who tirelessly works for charitable and activist issues. They began in the city by the bay in 1979, and are now international; Australia, Europe, Prague….It is a fascinating journey, that is revolutionizing me at a core level. My goal is to make the Sisters a little more accessible to the mainstream, and bust down some of the myths that surround them. If interested, here is a really great 5 minute film, which was done by my friend Fred Gebhardt. ( He is also capturing ‘behind the scenes’ footage of the production/creation of this book.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
What would you like my readers to know?
If you have made it this far in the article, if you have visited my site, supported my art in any way, I want to say thank you, as in: I couldn't do it without you. As in: I don't want to do this alone. As in: I was afraid. And mostly: I would miss you if you were gone .Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment