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When Life Gives You Lemons, Play Ball

A dugout conversation, a rented organ, a baseball game, and 90 lemons: sound artist Chris Kallmyer visited the Walker Art Center in June to make a plan for his July residency on Open Field. Earlier this month Chris Kallmyer met with two Minneapolis experts to map out his project, Baseball Day to Day, a sonic exploration of […]

of2014baseball-days-marketing_003A dugout conversation, a rented organ, a baseball game, and 90 lemons: sound artist Chris Kallmyer visited the Walker Art Center in June to make a plan for his July residency on Open Field.

Earlier this month Chris Kallmyer met with two Minneapolis experts to map out his project, Baseball Day to Day, a sonic exploration of baseball in the spirit of Fluxus. You may recall Kallmyer’s 2011 Open Field piece, the american lawn and ways to cut it, in which he invited members of the public to bring their reel lawnmowers to cut the shaggy field in concert. This year the everyday sounds of Americana take a sporty slant.

Chris Kallmyer and Larry DiVito discuss groundskeeping.

Chris Kallmyer and Larry DiVito discuss groundskeeping.

Field Day

On a baseball fact-finding mission Chris Kallmyer, Sarah Schultz and I had the pleasure of meeting with the Minnesota Twins’ Head Groundskeeper, Larry DiVito, to ask his counsel in the matter of building a regulation pitcher’s mound on Open Field. We met in his office, a dugout overlooking Target Field, with his crew dutifully grooming the pristine paradise beyond. DiVito is a baseball Zen master of sorts. He is kind, generous with his knowledge, and seems entirely at peace in the literal landscape of his making. In the end, plans were modified in scope to build a functioning baseline instead of a pitcher’s mound, but what we learned in that meeting has forever changed the way I think about baseball. I can’t share all of the details here but I will say that it involved lasers. The 40-foot baseline will be built on Open Field as part of the project Live Action Groundskeeping and will be mindfully tended to by Kallmyer and open for public play from July 9-17.

Target Field Mower

View of field maintenance from the bullpen at Target Field.

Larry DiVito showing Sarah Schultz pitcher's mound clay.

Larry DiVito shows Sarah Schultz the pitcher’s mound clay.

Sue Nelson talks about playing for the Twins.

Sue Nelson, Twins Organist

Charge!

If your grandma were a high-spirited, organ-playing baseball enthusiast she wouldn’t be half as delightful as Sue Nelson. Nelson has been playing organ for the Twins for over a decade and seems to love every minute of the gig.  Whether she’s watching the game, discussing it with the other fans or cheerfully inserting fragments of baseball favorites between batters, it is easy to see why people line up to be photographed with her. During his research for Baseball Day to Day Kallmyer identified Nelson as number one on his organist wish list.  The first time I spoke with Sue Nelson over the phone to ask if she would be interested in playing a part in the project I expected her to be skeptical. Instead she was open, charming, and willing to give it a try.  We visited her before a Twins game on a rainy Thursday night and she played us a few of her favorite tunes. You can expect to see Sue Nelson performing a score with Chris Kallmyer as part of the event Play Catch All Together on July 17.

Sue shows Chris a few diddies on the organ.

Sue Nelson shows Chris Kallmyer a few little ditties.

Rented Organ

Our very own Electone FS-300. (It’s a rental.)

Play Catch, All Together from Chris Kallmyer on Vimeo.