First a poet, Lydia Tomkiw (1959-2007) was a familiar figure of poetry readings and slam sessions in various Chicago underground venues. During the 1980s, she published several poetry chapbooks (The Dreadful Swimmers and Popgun Sonatas, 1980), appeared in poetry journals (the Columbia Poetry Review #6) and anthologies (The Best American Poetry and New American Writing, both 1988). She met Don Hedeker during a gig of his band The Trouble Boys in 1980, and when they started their own duo in 1983, its name was lifted from one of Tomkiw’s poems. Algebra Suicide met with immediate success in the Chicago underground milieu and got international cult following, culminating in the band’s 1990 European tour.
Chicago’s Club Lower Links, founded 1985 by Leigh Jones and Michael Zerang (see googlemap location), was a key venue for Algebra Suicide’s performances and Lydia Tomkiw’s reading sessions. The club programmed free jazz (Hal Russell, Roscoe Mitchell and Steve Lacy, Evan Parker), experimental rock (The Effigies, Tom Cora, Hans Reichel) and slam sessions, or Spoken Word Thang (see handbill below). With various partners, Tomkiw bought the venue in 1991, but the club definitely closed in 1993. A regular poetry readings partner, Sharon Mesmer wrote a heart-wrenching obituary of Tomkiw on her blog in 2007.
Published 1995, Incorporated was Tomkiw’s unique solo release and includes collaborations with various artists like Chuck Uchida (of No Empathy), Sosumi, Reality Scare, The Legendary Pink Dots, Martin Bowes (of Attrition) and Dirk Ivens (of Dive). Tomkiw and The Legendary Pink Dots met during the latter’s US tour and performance in Chicago in the 1990s. Pretty Something was later included in the Kollabris 2001 CD on Terminal Kaleïdoscope.
01 May I Take Your Order, Please? – w/ Chuck Uchida (3:24)
02 Delilah’s Ex – w/ Sosumi (3:57)
03 The Edge Of Things – w/ Chuck Uchida (4:13)
04 Iris – w/ Reality Scare (5:39)
05 Thief – w/ Reality Scare (5:32)
06 Hot June Evening – w/ Robert Coddington (4:46)
07 Sometimes… – w/ The Legendary Pink Dots (2:32)
08 Heartbeat – w/ Chuck Uchida (2:30)
09 From The Place Everyone Avoided – w/ Reality Scare (3:20)
10 Saturn Makes A Move – w/ Dirk Ivens (1:54)
11 Pretty Something – w/ The Legendary Pink Dots (3:05)
12 Strange Candy – w/ Martin Bowes (4:10)
Total time 44:55
CD released by Widely Distributed Records, USA, 1995