The official blurb:
Joseph Zitt is a multimedia artist, author, and composer whose works have been performed across the United States. His works include the book Surprise Me With Beauty: The Music of Human Systems and the performance and CD Shekhinah: the Presence. Following studies at Yeshiva University and Rutgers University, he is completing his Associate of Arts degree at Cuyahoga Community College with a focus on Media Arts and Studies. “[His works are] a fascinating and intensely personal synthesis of such diverse disciplines as computers and mathematics, linguistics, and Jewish mysticism.” – Katherine Setar.
The friendly version:
I’m originally from New Jersey. (Well, I was born in Pennsylvania and spent early years that I don’t remember in Canada, but I did most of my growing up in New Jersey.) Over the years, I’ve been a technical writer, editor, and programmer, working with companies large and small all over the country. After that, I spent most of the past decade as a bookseller at Borders before it folded in 2011. At the end of 2011 and for much of 2012, I focused on Occupy Cleveland, doing street theater and press relations, among other things, before returning to college full time. I’m studying new technologies and related skills in recording arts and digital filmmaking, focusing on video editing and doing sound design for radio drama.
I have had several albums out of various types, most of which can be downloaded for free through links here. While my favorite is the solo instrumental album Jerusaklyn, recorded in the late 80s, and I’ve also done some purely electronic music, most of my work since then has involved avant-garde vocal performance. I’ve also created theater and video pieces and designed book layouts for several publishers.
I have five books in print.
- 19th Nervous Breakdown: Making Human Connections in the Landscape of Commerce describes the life of selling music and books in San Francisco, showing how this dot.com dropout discovered the gift of helping people find what they desire, need, and love. (People have told me that this is the book that they enjoy the most.)
- In The Book of Voices, a prophet who has lost her memory channels the voices of people from the Hebrew Bible to rediscover her own identity. (I’m excited to be working on a new edition of this, as well as a fully dramatized audio book of its sixty stories.)
- Surprise Me With Beauty: the Music of Human Systems (which you can download as a free PDF) involves materials and methods of improvisation. I’ve organized and led ensembles exploring these methods in Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, and would love to put together a group to do that here in Cleveland.
- The Rounds (created with photographer Chelsey E Stewart) depicts life in Berkeley, CA, a few years ago, from the vantage point of my secondary job as a night watchman at a church near my house. I did the rounds after midnight each night for over five years, and occasionally had fascinating and disconcerting encounters with the people whom I found there.
- Shekhinah: the Presence, my first book, is a full-length poetic work focusing on images of the Divine Feminine in Jewish mysticism. It expands on the text of a dance/performance piece that my ensemble presented in 1992. Video and an album of the music from the piece are also available online for free.
In addition to schoolwork, I’m currently involved in some outside video editing, developing a sixty-episode audiobook/podcast based on The Book of Voices, and still have the occasional press contact due to Occupy Cleveland and book publicity. Occasionally, I also sleep (though I try hard not to do so in class).
The tab bar at the top of the page links to a variety of things that I’ve done, both here and on other sites. You can contact me on various social media, as shown on the Contact page, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.