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David Greenberger and Prime Lens: It Happened To Me

A vinyl record and a cd over a wooden surface

David Greenberger and Prime Lens
It Happened To Me

2-disc CD / Limited Edition 12â” LP w/download
(PelPel Recordings #PL-8718) â• Release date: March 1, 2019
Original album cover artwork by Ed Ruscha

FREE Live Music Performance April 27, 2019, in Santa Ana, CA

Performance Details – Click Here

Artist David Greenberger is best known for creating the long-running periodical, The Duplex Planet, which started in 1979 and continued to 2010. Through his conversations with the residents of a Boston nursing home, the series developed into Duplex Planet Illustrated, a comic book adaptation of the material drawn by a variety of alternative artists and illustrators, including Peter Bagge, Drew Friedman, Dan Clowes, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, and James Kochalka, published by Fantagraphics. The project developed further through differing approaches, including The Duplex Planet Radio Hour with New York Public Radio, a series of CDs, and books of the collective conversations.

Continuing to evolve, Greenberger now focuses on the development of new projects that become recordings and performances of monologues with music, what the artist refers to as â“a band with a guy talking.â” The work continues to develop from conversations, but now have him interacting with elderly in communities around the country, most often through residencies and commissions. The projects have led to a wide range of musical collaborations with individuals including David Hidalgo & Louie Perez from Los Lobos, Robyn Hitchcock, Ralph Carney, Glenn Jones, Wreckless Eric, Terry Adams of NRBQ, and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. He has created new works for NPR’s All Things Considered, California Council for the Humanities, Kohler Museum (Sheboygan, WI), Erie Art Museum, Center on Age & Community at the University of WI in Milwaukee, The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College (New York), Third Coast Festival (Chicago), Arts at St. Anns (Brooklyn), Portland Institute for the Arts, The Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco), and elsewhere.

It is the mission of Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) to focus on helping to reflect, through socially engaged artistic practices, the Santa Ana, CA communities in which the institution exists. David Greenberger was a natural fit as an artist-in-residence, invited by GCAC to create a new work drawn from Santa Ana’s richly diverse elderly population. Greenberger spent his time in residence visiting senior community centers, a museum, and senior living apartments. Through the support of GCAC, he developed text based on his dozens of recorded conversations that took place at the Santa Ana Senior Center, Tustin Senior Center, Heninger Village, Flower Terrace Apartments, and Bowers Museum. Individuals who participated in conversations include Andra Aguirre, Chinda Ayanaputra, Ron Bianco, Charles, Rose Hendley, Winnie Hsie, Susan Johnson, Chong Kim, Paul Kohn, Dorothy Korte, Tish Leon, Jose Magana, Mary Mitchell, Tomoko Mizusawa, Sam, John A. Spiak, Vera Toner, Chanida Trueblood, and Brenda White. Working with Prime Lens, the Chattanooga-based ensemble he assembled four years earlier, they went into the studio in the spring of 2018, collaborating to create It Happened to Me.

What emerged is twice the size of anything originally envisioned: 60 pieces, each one carefully composed and arranged to convey individual emotional potency, giving dignity to the small moments, as well as the larger overall narrative. Artistically it became the only way of expressing the breadth of the City of Santa Ana’s population and its varied and rich cultural identity. Throughout the nearly two-and-a-half hours of recorded stories with music, the recurring characters and themes begin to surface. The recordings of It Happened to Me assemble in full through a 2-disc CD release, with an additional smaller selection of the works available on a limited edition vinyl 12″ LP that is accompanied by a download of all 60 pieces. Both formats feature original cover art designed by renowned Los Angles based artist Ed Ruscha.


David Greenberger and Prime Lens will present a live performance with selections from It Happen To Me on the evening of Saturday, April 27, 2019. Complete details on the event will be released soon.


Prime Lens Keyboardist Tyson Rogers is the trio’s primary composer. He has led his jazz quartet, toured extensively with Tony Joe White and country legend Don Williams, records regularly in Nashville, and has his work featured on many soundtracks. Drummer Bob Stagner has worked with everyone from Derek Bailey to Bob Dorough, John Zorn to Rev. Howard Finster; as well he is a co-founder of The Shaking Ray Levis. Bassist Evan Lipson tours regularly with saxophonist Jack Wright and has worked with a diverse list including Pauline Oliveros, David Grubbs, Col. Bruce Hampton, Davey Williams, and Susan Alcorn.


With a focus on artists working in socially engaged practices, Grand Central Art Center residencies are centered on discovery, creative process, and relationships through an open collaborative and immersed approach. Residencies support the creation of projects through a philosophy of listening, assisting and connecting. GCAC allows the artist as much freedom as possible, leaving open the potential for multi-visits, multi-site interactions, and partnerships. The duration of residencies are not limited, instead determined on project-by-project bases, with ongoing conversations throughout a residency. GCAC residencies to date have lasted from three-weeks to over four years. Residencies are not required to occur on-site, but provide the openness and opportunity for projects to be realized at off-site locations throughout the direct community, region and beyond. Generous support for the Grand Central Art Center artist-in-residence program has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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