VIDEO: Dirk is writing songs for me! And I’m playing them! (Sorta.)

Dirk has started writing music for me! Specifically, he’s started writing a “songbook” for me as I start re-learning how to play piano, which I haven’t played since I was a kid. Here’s me trying to play the first of them… well, the first half of it, anyway. I’m still working on learning the second half… it’s really hard!

The song is a “barcarole” which, according to Wikipedia, is a traditional Italian folk song that was commonly sung by Venetian gondoliers in the 19th century. (“Barca” is Italian for “boat.”) Hopefully I’ll be able to play the whole thing soon… and a little bit faster than what you see here. To be continued…

Tame Your Man: Adam Tendler & Dirk Caber’s piano/bondage concert

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Composer Nathan Hall’s Tame Your Man is a “living music sculpture”, a theatrical work composed for piano, rope bondage artist, narrator, and electronics. The piece premiered in November 2012 in Boulder, Colorado and has since seen several more performances with the NYC-based group Tenth Intervention. Over the course of the work, the pianist gets progressively more bound to his instrument, and the piano writing purposefully reduces the range of motion of the hands on the keyboard. By the last movement, only the outermost keys can be reached.

The above performance, which took place at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore on January 8, 2016, is a condensed version of the piece that was included as part of this year’s New Music Gathering festival. It features Adam Tendler on piano and my hubby Dirk Caber (credited under his real name, Jack Parton) on rope bondage and as narrator. Enjoy.

Text by Mark Mangini:

So here I am, here we are. One tie leads to the next, One tie leads to the next.
and once again I am nothing without you.
This physical restriction emphasizes
purity of communication
predicated on trust. Trust.
In this space we transcend ourselves
and our lives and our words.
How many more times do you need to hear
that love is all we need?

And with you, together, I know only of what I feel; that I can express directly
with no intervention, without artifice.
A half dragging the dead weight of the day from place to senseless place —
But here I learn I can breathe again.
I can think/feel/express with
a clarity that makes no sense in the day
to day world.
You put a hand in mine and I believed.
You spoke and I understood.
We know no ambiguity.
We have created a new reality.

It works as a focus.
One note, one point, a concentration.
The dissonance doesn’t resolve; it ceases to be.
“I don’t need you anymore” transitions to “I am you now.”
We are fused in that heat, dependent on the other to breathe,
to feel, to be.
You do not have to chase after me now because I have given myself up to you,
have put myself in you, am bound to you.
We are one focused point in space.

New Classical Caber: Presenting Alternating Hand Motion, Dirk’s first original composition on his new piano!

Here is the fifth of twelve piano études Dirk wrote for the wonderfully generous folks who donated $500 or more to our successful GoFundMe piano campaign (, and the first one he’s sharing publicly… just in time for the new year. Étude no. 5: Alternating Hand Motion is dedicated to Dr. Burt Humburg, a particularly athletic friend of ours from Iowa. The piece is a similarly energetic work which features sweeping runs of notes that eventually require the performer’s arms to swing wildly across each other. Dirk thinks it quite a fitting tribute! We’re posting it with Burt’s permission; in his words, “I’m proud to be a part!”

Thank you once again to everyone who contributed to the GoFundMe campaign. There’s much more to come!

– Jesse and Dirk

P.S. Please note: This is a synthesized recording that Dirk recorded with the music composition software he uses (Sibelius). It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we can do at present in lieu of a professional recording… which we’re working on getting for all twelve études. Stay tuned! Also, click here to read the whole story of the GoFundMe piano campaign… and to hear more of Dirk’s music, visit

Piano Party Pic (Crop)

Alternating Hand Motion 01 (708 px)

Alternating Hand Motion 02 (708 px)

Alternating Hand Motion 03 (708 px)

Alternating Hand Motion 04 (708 px)

Proofreading music: A piano GoFundMe update with Dirk Caber

The last few months have been amazing. Since we got the piano — THANK YOU YET AGAIN for everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe campaign to make it possible — there’s been nonstop music in our house. It’s amazing. Dirk plays it for hours every day, and has been furiously composing the piano pieces that were commissioned by wonderful people who donated at least $500 to the campaign. They’re all written at this point, or as Dirk would put it, “They’ve reached a double bar.” He’s still tinkering with them, though, and here’s a brief video peek at part of the proofreading process. Enjoy!

If the video doesn’t play, try putting your mobile device in landscape mode, or use this alternate link.

Classical Jackman goes all 20th Century on your ass

The other night, Dirk and I had the immense pleasure of dining with gay romance novelist Kaye P. Hallows and her husband at their Boston-area home. (We were on the cover of her recent novel Taking My Chances.) After dinner, we gathered around their piano so that Dirk could entertain us with a few songs. Kaye and I got in on the act too, each of us playing the one piece we could remember.

Then Kaye presented us with some sheet music by 20th century Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. One of his pieces, Triste — the second of his twelve “American Preludes” — seemed easy enough to play… so when we got home, I found a copy of it online and started practicing. A couple of days later I got to the point where I thought I could actually record it… although I think I’m playing it a little slower than Maestro Ginastera intended. Anyway… I’ve posted the video above. (I’m shirtless in it, of course.) Hope you enjoy it! And be sure to check out Kaye’s awesome fiction!

If the video won’t play, you can view it at this alternate link. Try putting your mobile device in landscape mode first, too. And by the way… that little red thing on the music rack, to the right of the sheet music? Yup, it’s a condom.