Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sorry to hear about Rick James; equally so about Henri Cartier-Bresson. Strange: I only learned a week ago that he was, at that moment, still alive.

Otherwise, glad to be back. Just to return on a negative note: More than one person has told me that I should not let Julie Delpy's singing dissuade me from seeing Sunrise, Sunset. But who will talk me past this sentence from Ed Park's Voice review of Garden State?

"Early on, Sam claps her headphones onto Largeman's ears so that the Shins can fill the soundtrack—a scene so out-of-nowhere moving, you wish they could stay like that till the last possible measure."

It's not even so much that I don't understand The Shins (though I don't); it's that I distinctly remember feeling that Hal Hartley lost it at the exact moment in Amateur when Elisa Loewinsohn (what became of her?) put on her Walkman and Bettie Seervert's "Tomboy" blasted extradiagetically. Tyranny of the music supervisor.

Ok: Teaching tomorrow, some last minute fussing w/ the syllabus. Below, a summery summary, annotated for those w/ time on their hands; no energy for linkage, sorry. Why didn't I just post some of this as I went? Needed the constraint. Glad to be back.

thu 7/22

-- Rodney Graham/Cheval de Frise/Gorge Trio @ Spaceland
-- bought Graham's catalog at show; read essays over next 2 days

fri 7/23

-- spent large chunk of day listening to (parts of) promos (see below)
-- dinner w/ bree

sat 7/24

-- wrote Phx column (DNA/Arto); took me all freaking day
-- read New Yorker (esp. Kerry profile), Nation (esp. Danto's anti-identity-aesthetics Mondagliani rev.)

sun 7/25

-- groceries
-- Graham retrospective/gallery talk @ MOCA
-- babbled about Kantian sublime to Joseph, Rita
-- lunch in Little Tokyo w/ Bree, Shannon
-- Catherine Daly/Chris Piuma reading/Minor Thirds perf. @ Smell; poorly attended
-- routed but did not vanquish ants in kitchen w/ vaccuum cleaner, Lysol, fire

mon 7/26

-- bills, correspondence
-- Graham rev. for weekly
-- took about 90 cds (mostly promos*, a few things from the shelves that I looked at, realized I didn't give a damn about) to Amoeba, spent about 1/4 of the credit
-- wrote 'attention span' entry for Third Factory

* Listened to portions of all or nearly all over last 7-10 days, probably kept about 10%; came to decision that I have to listen mostly to music I actually enjoy for a while. (Worst in show: Maritime, ex-Promise Ring/D. Plan w/ sidepersons I've played w/ myself -- our rock bands 'matured' then broke up, now we're exploring 'classic pop' textures, structures. I fear making this record; it's possible I already have.)

tue 7/27

-- killed a.m., somehow
-- started Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club for no better reason than having picked it up used a while back; though the Civil War background connects up a bit w/ stuff I'm writing about
-- "Bad Movie Night" at Dennis'; Gigli (oh, Jesus, I hadn't even known about the developmentally disabled character) and ...And Call Me In The Morning (2000 vanity production by character actor Sid Melton, w/ Frank Sinatra Jr., videotape given to Bree by one of her stepdad's comedian friends)

wed 7/28

-- picked up Bree's car from shop
-- correspondence
-- Robin Holcomb; Sen. Robert Byrd on Fresh Air
-- Menand on Wm. James
-- programmed 2 CDs for KSPC (Truman's Water, Open City)
-- radio 8-10
-- stayed overnight in Empire

thurs 7/29

-- laundry in a.m., futzed around w/ a poem based on Jane's "assignat," lunch (rapini) w/ parents
-- Chris Reiner Stylo
-- took my time getting home; stopped at so-so used bookstores in Covina (and a coffee/needlepoint show w/ shithot wifi) and Glendale (got out before a poetry reading organized by a v. Hollywood pork-pie-and-goatee dork began)
-- corned beef rueben at Billy's Deli, around corner from above
-- desultory Farber revision, started Menand on Pierce, a few poems from Sharma, The Opening Question

fri 7/30

-- correspondence
-- Tweet, Southern Hummingbird: Never tops "Oops," but I like the acoustic one that quotes "Rapper's Delight" (in a less obvious context than, e.g. Pookie Blow)
-- UCLA around 3, talked to Pam about my comments on her blame paper, and w/ Colin about the gay Scoutmaster case and the coerciveness of The Pledge of Allegiance; looked into poss. of getting NME microfiche by interlibrary loan; tracked down a couple books on Stephen Foster
-- came across web discussions of Robert Byrd's "white n----r" comments from 2001; he apparently meant Clinton.
-- Counselor at Law (early Wyler); Vincent Sherman, then an actor (playing a total Group Theater Bolshie) in attendance; he broke down a bit while reminiscing about John Barrymore, who didn't worry about how many lines or scenes he had when considering a part, but asked instead: "Who does the suffering?" The film itself was fantastic, very crisp, very Deco, w/ Barrymore, Bebe Daniels, Mayo Methot, Thelma Todd; ending isn't really consistent w/ the moral gist of the thing, but how many are? I've said it before: I have absolutely no problem with filmed plays. Decided I'd better skip the second feature, True Confession, Lombard/MacMurray screwball which I wrote about here some mos. ago but could have sat through again.

sat 7/31

-- okay session on Farber 10-3
-- skipped both The Apple at Cinematheque and Year of The Pig at UCLA to have dinner w/ Bree at Olvera St.

sun 8/1

-- late start
-- corporate bookstore, to use some credit I'd had since Xmas; Zukofsky on Apollinaire, new J. Richman
-- locked keys in trunk; called AAA
-- well into Dewey section in Menand
-- typed up some 2 yr. old poems

mon 8/2

-- paid rent
-- J Richman pick for weekly
-- America Will Always Stand review for Voice; phone edit w/ xgau later than I thought he'd call
-- started Austin's book on Stephen Foster; quite good.

tue 8/3

-- 3.5 hrs of work on Farber
-- LACMA matinee, more Sherman: Nora Prentiss, 1947 noir w/ Ann Sheridan (a bit stiff in a Joan Bennett role); right on edge of noir/women's picture, mainly notable for James Wong Howe's photography (he gives himself a cameo in a Fisherman's Wharf location shot), a male lead performance by Jack ? that covers a lot of territory, and a song called "Why Don't You Take A Souvenir," the bridge of which runs:

Should I let you kiss me, you won't miss me if you stop
Take something material -- that ethereal stuff's a flop

Noted during the credits that I'd never heard of the songwriters, but now can't recall their names.
-- skipped screening of Lost Horizon remake (a legendary bomb, not on video), spent at least another 3 hrs on Farber; now 3000 wds in, going better now

wed 8/4

-- read up to penultimate ch. of Menand
-- correspondence
-- went to Claremont early to do refresher training on new KSPC equipment; Kiss of Death on the drive out.
-- lunch at Chinese place in Upland); spent $3 on Monopoly pinball in adjoining bowling alley. Dead left flipper, hard to get much going.
-- wrote up 'assignat' notes for Jane (which didn't include the above quote)
-- radio 6-8

thu 8/5

-- cleaned apt. 9-noon
-- finished Menand. Shallow response: I still do not find pragmatism (in the forms that I can understand) a congenial view; I find William James a very congenial character. LM's style goes down damn easy.
-- Farber off and on until 7 -- about 3/4 through, a little stuck on a little subsection on Godard
-- Read Kevin Killian's Onoro Reports on Poetics list.
-- Canter's w/ Annick G.
-- pulled from various shelves all the poetry books/chapbooks which I've acquired but have only (in a few cases none) of since moving into this apt (2 yrs); fair-size pile. Had brief enthusiasm for some kind of 'book a week' resolution; but then spent strangely long time on "Marie Menken," first poem in Drew Gardner's Sugar Pill. At this rate, I'll be able to buy new books w/o guilt in, oh, 2008.

fri 8/6

-- email from Dad says Mom has seen "my" commercial twice more; I asked them to try to tape it. Still doubtful.
-- UCLA, put together course reader for Mon., other misc prep.
-- Jacqueline Humbert, Chanteuse
-- met Philip C. for The Partner at LACMA, Bertolucci's second film, a free adaptation of FD's The Double w/ heavy influence of Godard and Beck/Malina (the world as theater w/ revolution as the text). 1968, but pre- or post-May? Fairly adolescent, w/ some subtler self-questioning toward the end; to my surprise, I was reminded more of Fight Club than anything. Rarely screened; sparsely attended.
-- trio led by Alan Broadbent, Australian pianist who's also in Charlie Haden's Quartet West, playing as the free Friday jazz at LACMA. I've always disliked this guy's playing; lotsa impressionistic flash, little swing. I don't think the musicians can hear each other too well out there in the concrete and glass plaza.
-- read about 2/3 of Kenward Elmslie/Trevor Winkfield, Snippets; fell asleep to Disc One of The Conet Project

sat 8/7

-- dicked around pretty badly until approx. 2 p.m.
-- got within last 2 grafs (on Grand Illusion screening) of Farber piece.
-- Probably would have finished same if motherfucking sink hadn't backflowed, twice, bigtime, messing recently mopped floor (see Thurs.) Called bldg. mgr., who said it was probably upstairs neighbor's washing machine. ("I've been worried about that....") Asked neighbors to turn off the washing machine; took a while b/c they assumed I was coming up to complain about music (which has been much less obtrusive lately).
-- cleaned counter, floor; still need work.
-- finished Snippets, read more of Sugar Pill; despite similar look of poems, they seem to be composed differently -- "Sloth" and "Homeostasis" keep to a small compass of sources, longer pieces are much tougher to hold together in the mind for more than a few lines at a time.
-- 10 p.m. Jon Langford/Rico Bell at Hwd. Knit.. Jean Cook in the house!!

sun 8/8 (today)

-- Finished Farber piece; light polishing & proofing to do before sending, but surely close enough to done to return to the 'sphere. For how long?
-- Realized I'd put off seeing the Yvonne Ranier show at LACE until the last day (today). It's close, fortunately; went over around 4. Documentation, dance scores; doesn't take long to see. Best item: a profile called The Ranier Variations, which combines archival footage of Judson Th. performances w/ new interviews, and footage of Ranier teaching her movement style to a female impersonator 'doing' Martha Graham. Completely hilarious, but also genuinely helpful for a dance illiterate (me) trying to understand what was new in YR's work.
-- Haven't been inside in years, but I was parked near Vinyl Fetish, a Hwd record store that's been around in various locations since the punks-on-Melrose days. Now, strongest on goth, house, and rare Mozzer, with some interesting used bins toward the back. Score!!: Propellor Product, Boston 7" comp from 1981 -- Neats/Wild Stares/People In Stores/CCCPTV. Not something you see in L.A.; esp. nice b/c I know KSPC used to have it, but I haven't seen that copy in years. Was there another volume with V;? I'll be back.

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