Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Freak storm looks set to break, and break the record heat spell. That'd be ok w/ the right line breaks.

Frustration: Todd Haynes Superstar is there to be downloaded (along with much other intel-pro-challenging vid-stuff), but it's big and slow and high-trafficked and unreliable. Probably the streaming version is ok, but I want the mpeg. (Link courtesy Harlequin Knights, at left.)

Felt I wasn't getting much out of John Godfrey's Private Lemonade, suddenly began to click a little less than half-way in -- it accumulates, both referentially (light and smoke pass by often, and many poems end in a swerve toward a 'you' that might be a beloved or a pleonasm, depending) and formally (the steppy Williams line that recurs every few poems, though most are in three or four line groups, with the very occasional burst of Ceravolo/Blackburn less-symmetrical shapeliness). Struck by this quietly immense reorganization (reheirarchialization?) of perception, opening "Blush": "The land is/squashed/between/gases and bones," though I'm not doing the spacing. Book seems to get harsher/darker as it goes, but I might not think so if I started again from the top.

Maybe you know a little about the Dutch-born artist Bas Jan Ader, who was based in So. Cal. for much of his working life. I believe he may have taught at Cal Poly Pomona; I know that he was married to someone my father used to work with. (Which I did not know when I first encountered his work.) He was fairly obscure in life; he's among the figures recovered by the last decade's re-evaluation of Conceptual Art (esp. the varieties involving photo-documentation).

He went missing and presumably died at 33, in 1975, during one part of a performance piece entitled "In Search of the Miraculous," in which he set out in a tiny sailboat from Cape Cod, attempting to reach England. (A fuller description.) Not as clearly death-as-art as Ray Johnson, but the age makes one wonder. Or, as it goes in "Dry Spell," a song on the upcoming NPB album: "Bas Jan Ader went to sea/Searching for the mystery." (I try not to talk about my own work here, though maybe I've largely honored this norm in the breach; oh well.) 'Miraculous' didn't scan.

An earlier piece, or earlier part of the same piece, under the same title, is in the Armand Hammer's current "The Last Picture Show," which I'm making my students take a look at. It consists of a series of night photographs of the artists skulking around various Los Angeles streets and alleys. Across the bottom of the pictures, in metallic-marker script, are written the lyrics to the Coasters' "Searchin'," by Lieber & Stoller -- a song I'd been thinking about as a less-overt predecesor to "Is That All There Is?" but didn't mention in my talk. (You know: "Gonna find her...Gonna find her.")

I don't know -- not much of a punchline, which must be why I was putting off this entry, but coming upon it was a strange little clicking-together experience last week. Score one for the inadequacy of (my) language. Score one for me, for not going on longer about (my) song.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?