Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Decent reading Sunday. Ara is a software Oulipean, Brent a meta-rhetorician, and Julien's longest and best poem was read from memory. Intimate, but as the number of persons present who were not readers, hosts, or significant others of either, it beat similar events at the same venue. Ara was nice enough to give me one of the 300 copies of an early Aram Saroyan book, from Telegraph in about 1970, that he'd been given by the author to sell in support of his (Ara's) press. It's the one-word material (not here with me as I write.)

Unfortunately, I lost track of the crew between going off for dinner with Bree and trying to meet up at The Mountain (newish bar in Chinatown). Either they were still eating somewhere, or (less likely) they'd been and gone by the time we'd gotten there. I don't think in terms of having relevant cell-phone numbers (or, in fact, the phone) unless I'm out of L.A. The odd bit: Peeked into some nearby restaurants to look for them, but found instead Paul Vangelisti and what I assume were Otis MFA students, dining with Ben Marcus, who looks like his photos and had just read at The Mountain Bar. (Doubly odd, b/c I haven't seen any of that crowd in months, and ran into Mark Sarlerno getting coffee about 4 days back.) Why Otis, which is out by the airport, hosts a reading series an hour's drive away is a mystery; how I dropped off the list of those notified, a bigger one. I think I may have missed a Robert Crosson memorial reading a few mos. ago, among other things. Must rectify.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I don't know if anyone's looking here w/ any regularity lately, so I'll be sending out an email to likely L.A. attendees, but I'd me amiss not to mention that I'm reading tomorrow. Not sure of the order.

The Smell
Sunday, September 26th, 5:30-8 p.m.
247 South Main Street, between 2nd & 3rd
Downtown L.A. (enter through the alley)

Franklin Bruno is a poet, musician and philosopher. He is the author of MF/MA, a book of poetry published by Seeing Eye Books. Other work by Bruno appears in Rhizome, The Hat, LA Weekly and The Village Voice. He has released several albums, both as a member of the indie-rock trio Nothing Painted Blue and as a solo artist, including Kiss Without Makeup and A Cat May Look at a Queen. His blog is konvolut m.

Ara Shirinyan is a poet, musician and publisher. His writing, which experiments with constraints and text generated through software, has appeared in Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics and What Our Speech Disrupts: Feminism and Creative Writing. Ara’s press, Make Now, has most recently published Family Archaeology by Ian Monk; he also publishes chapbooks with Umbrellad Devil press. His band, Godzik Pink, has released two records on Kill All Rock Stars, & his new band is The Sound of the Soil.

Brent Cunningham was born in Wisconsin and grew up in North Carolina, then Northern California, then Southern California. Since 1999 he has worked for Small Press Distribution in Berkeley. He serves on the board of Small Press Traffic, where
he has helped curate the Poets Theater Jamboree. His poetry, fiction, plays and reviews have appeared in Radical Society, Chain, Rain Taxi, 580 Split, and Kenning. Currently he is at work on a novel and a collection of stories.

Julien Poirier is a poet. He helped kick-start and edit the poetry journal 6x6, and is now a co-editor of New York Nights, a free newspaper against the War. He is the author of Flying Over the Fence With Amadou Diallo (Ugly Duckling Presse 2000), The Rub (UDP 2001), and Ours, Yours (Loudmouth Collective, 2001). His poetry has also appeared in Weigh Station, Old Gold, and Lungfull! Julien has taught poetry for many years in the public schools of New York City.


General update, while I'm here. Realized a couple weeks ago that I shouldn't whine quite so much about overwork; writing a book about EC and teaching a class where I got to yammer about the Oulipo is scarily close to what I might have dreamed about doing at 23, or even 19. The class (an intro Philosophy and Literature where I had a lot of freedom) is over; I start the more strenuous fall classes (the Topic in Aesthetics that I've done before, the Language and Communication that I haven't) late next week. EC MS is kinda due 10/1, but there's some play -- I'll surely be fixing and fussing for at least another month, alongside keeping the classes running, and phil. job market matters. This morning, did a phone interview with Roger Bechirian in London; the engineer/co-producer on the EC/Attractions/Nick Lowe recs (This Year's thru Trust, as well as Jesus of Cool and the first three Undertones records. (I conveyed my long-standing affection for Positive Touch, but didn't make a point of just how long-standing; Alfie Calamusa, the new wave tastemaker at Pioneer Jr. High, handed me a tape of various songs by the 'Tones, Magazine, and the English Beat in 7th grade. Formative.) Very friendly and forthcoming -- some suspicions confirmed, a couple of tiny revelations that the trainspotters will enjoy (I include myself). If you're wondering: TYM - 16-track; AF - 24.

Some of my background reading has been fascinating but not what you'd call inspirational: Currently halfway through a book on Mosley and the B.U.F.. Annoyingly, an anthology on Thatcherism ed. by Stuart Hall is listed as 'not checked out' at UCLA, but isn't on the shelf, though some other books on Tory radicalism are filling the gaps. For escape: A great show by the Ex/Han Bennink last week, matinee of the very strange Edward G. Robinson vehicle The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, a barbecue at an Episcopal church in Camarillo w/ Bree, a couple of Chabrol rentals -- preferred Le Boucher to Les Biches.

Today, a Phx column to write (The Prefects reissue came just in time to pair with The Homosexuals), and then decide what I'm reading tomorrow. Tomorrow, work through proposed edits on my Farber piece, try to put together materials for a post-doc at Michigan, due long before the bulk of job applications, and read. Next week: Smog certificate, see Kyle & Annalee Brodie's new baby, class prep, and EC, EC, EC.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

and she turns it into black and white

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hello, friends. I hereby give notice that the konvolut won't get much thicker for at least the next two months. What appears will likely consist of notes-to-self about something I've just read, seen, or heard, and maybe some links, as below; there will be an [even] less concerted effort to be comprehensible to others, or to elicit response -- though it is always welcome. I've known that I would need to go light around now for some time; this probably has something to do with the frequency and urgency during the back half of August. After Nov. 1, we'll see.


3 pieces I haven't linked to before:

Stephen Foster, for the Voice. (Don't know if this is on the stands for protesters to fan themselves with yet; I like to think so.)

DNA and Salt

Whose South is it anyway?


Two other reading notes:

1) A passage from Carol Mirakove's Occupied makes a point I wanted to when linking to a Nation piece some weeks ago:

the desperate, to separate: I am not like Bush and point to diction, resort to mockery: 'nucular" "Murrka." while regionalisms are normally & ardently granted their space.

but this frustration. this cutting down contagion & reduction. to ugliness.

Of course, there's also the question of cynicism: When and why did GWB adopt his speech patterns, and how consciously.

The book, by the way, is rending -- not least for using the Brainard "I Remember" construction to talk about the history of covert action and political betrayal.


2) Small but disturbing error(s) in "Signature Song," from Bill Berkson's Fugue State, concerning Bunny Berrigan's recording of "I Can't Get Started With You":

Earlier that same year, the song,
written by George Gershwin and Vernon Duke,
and rendered as a duet patter number by Bob Hope and Eve
Arden, made its debut on Broadway in The Zigfield Follies.

I quote the last two lines to show that the poem depends on getting the trivia of a certain sphere of interest right. But the song is by Ira and Duke; Duke and GG were both composers. (Duke composed, for instance, "April in Paris," and probably had a hand in putting "Our Love Is Here To Stay" into the form we're familiar with; that song existed as a sketch at the time of GG's death.) That it's a confusion, not a verbal slip, is shown in the poem's final line:

"I've settled revolutions in Spain" goes the line of Duke's lyric, just as odd.

I wouldn't "aha" this is most contexts, but it's disorienting coming from a poet of Berkson's age and milieu. What's next -- Ashbery getting the casts of romantic comedies wrong? [Again, I like the book, more than what I remember of Serenade; and I'm impressed with the parts of the new art-criticism collections I've had a chance to read.)


On this highly significant note, out for a while. It's as much a matter of telling myself, "no, Franklin, don't stay up for another 2 hours to do this" as anything else. I perhaps give the impression of some energy and alertness to those who don't know me, but the truth is, my batteries are recharging very slowly of late, and I think things will work out better in the long run if I let myself catch up on some other endeavors for a while. Write if you get work, and hang by your thumbs.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

kspc 8-10 (last show of the summer; so, only what really struck me from the bins, w/ a couple of the usual ringers)

mission of burma -- wounded world
really red -- white lies
new black -- cockroach with angel wings
tangiers -- run walk run

azita -- just joker blues
tracy & the plastics -- quaasars
carla kihlstedt -- peel
jacqueline humbert -- empty words

jon rauhouse/kelly hogan -- smoke rings (wow, this is mastered Loud!)
white magic -- plain gold ring
grey de lisle -- this white circle
freezepop -- stakeout

bomis prendil -- auto acupuncture (homework v. 10)
girl talk -- bodies hit the floor (w/ lisa loeb sample!)
beep beep -- executive foilage
passage -- all the little geniuses

xiu xiu -- clowne towne
rjd2 -- through the walls
homosexuals -- vociferous slam
wiley -- pies (a seg you don't hear every day)

side effect -- spitacular
busdriver -- driver's manual
eyedea & abilities -- now
alias -- pill hiding

diverse -- certified
sol power -- raach ya soul
jeru the damaja -- won't stop

[ack! third unheard seems to be damaged...]

eternals -- shot down (in the middle of division st.)
black dice -- live loop
luiano perrone -- samba vocalizado
the double -- firecracker in sawdust
lansing-dreiden -- track 10

jim boyd -- waxachachie boogie woogie dishwasher boy (hillbilly boogie box)
bergen white -- she is today
dead moon -- war is blind

[plenty of stuff I didn't get to.]

Bree remembered: "Oh Those Donuts."

Practically the first thing I heard on local radio news yesterday was that that Ray Charles' recording facility, RPM Studios, was going to be open to the public from 3-6, so I took a couple hours off and headed down. I think the event was given limited publicity on purpose -- and didn't say it was attached to the release of the new duets disc. This was for sale in the lobby; even so, the whole vibe was low-key and polite -- no one I'd call an 'industry type' in evidence. RPM is technically in what you'd call South Central (Hobart and Washington), but, if non-Angelenos are curious, the area isn't at all what those words convey; Washington is a major artery, parallel to Pico and Wilshire, Hobart is a unassuming block of single-family homes.

The building, fairly large but not ostentatious inside or out, is an ivy-covered near-cube; built in '64 -- I really had not realized that this was where he recorded up to the end. Line of about 90 people waiting to go in in small groups when I got there; I'd say 70/30 black/other, median age 45; several much older folks in wheelchairs and/or motorized carts willing to bear the heat for a while. One annoying hippie pontificating Jim Laddishly to a couple much younger musician types. No 'tour,' just a chance to look around -- mainly, a path cordoned through the tracking room, w/ Steinway, Hammond w/ Leslie, various other keyboards, and some very covetable RCA ribbon mics, mostly arranged as per his last session, apparently last March. Control room is raised off this -- could peer in and see a nice old analog board. Saw one tape machine in the tracking room; don't know how digitized the operation got. (Sorry I can't get more techy about all this.) After this, you could see into a room with Ray's wardrobe -- apparently numbered in some way for identification, I didn't really understand the sign that had been put up -- with performing shoes on the left wall, everyday ones on the right. Whole place was very clean; furniture even seemed to have been kept up-to-date, but classily so.

Then through the lobby, where I asked someone, a tidy man of about 40 who could have been an assistant engineer or an accountant, associated with the 'organization' if the studio had been booked to other artists while Ray was on tour, or not very active. To my surprise, he said no, it was dedicated to his projects all along, with engineers working on extant tapes or tracks while he wasn't around: "Oh, he kept us busy." Would like to have known a lot more, of course, but remembered that there were a lot of people broiling outside. Noticed an office-directory sign on the way out, w/ names of various sub-businesses: Racer Music, Tangerine Music, Crossover Records. Thought I'd note these down for those who know more than I about how it all relates. No idea what's supposed to become of the facility -- not to mention the mics -- in the future; it did seem that there were still actual employees (besides the one I spoke to) around, at least on the business end. Nothing huge about this story, just though you might be interested.

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