Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I know other people's vacations aren't interesting, but this will serve to remind me of some things I might want to come back to, if the oncoming pile-up of imminent activities abates. Will return to what normally passes for content here soon.

Wed 3/23

-- Labyrinth Books in the a.m.; noted down titles for an online order, decided there was no point in buying new and bulky books full-price.
-- new MOMA; ant-farm. I didn't think the effect of the new hanging would be as dramatic as all those Artforum essays suggested, but, yep, Water Lilies disappeared. Johns' Flag nowadays draws a bigger crowd than the Pollocks. I take with me: the Thomas Demand show, the Jeff Wall 'illustration' of the prologue to The Invisible Man, one small Vuillard.
-- back to the apt. to tune guitar, make sure I remembered the songs.
-- Million Poems Show: Listened to Jordan's monologue and Susan Wheeler's poems in her mothers' tongue from backstage, did my bit with a couple of fluffs, sat on the interview couch; my mic cut out every time I said the word "dissertation," then we got all Locus Solus on "lobster," "IP," "Perry Como" and a few others. Much gratitude to all who showed; all who went out for lychee-infused vodka afterwards (J-Shep poked her head in toward the end); and esp. Jordan and Susan. Actually, Gary (who I'm disappointed I wasn't introduced to) and Ange cover these portions of the evening better than I can. Bree, by the way, found it quite odd to meet people who 'know' her from her appearances here.
-- Since it was only 10:30 when that broke up, headed over to St. Marks. Of Capital and The Displaced of Capital, made sense; other things that aren't in front of me now; neither Graham Foust book...

Thurs 3/24

--w/ Bree, ambled through ramble to see a stretch of the parade; small, tightlipped group of IRA vets.
--plan was to walk down 5th Ave. to The Neue Gallerie, see the collection, and sup at Cafe Sabarsky (see M. Perloff, The Vienna Paradox. I read the website too hastily; gallery closed Thurs., but cafe open, so mission half-accomplished. Chestnut soup, linzertorte; among Vienna Secession posters near the restroom was a 1913 (?) advertisement for "Cabaret Fliedermaus" designed by a young Fritz Lang.
--drink w/ the Dean and family. I'll sound like a jerk if I recap the conversation, so I won't.
--KE's Lingoland. It does take a while to get used to musical theater vocal conventions, but this was a well-considered attempt to put some of his more accessible material alongside difficult poetic texts. One of the interpreters was much too cutesy, but the author's own presence balanced it out. Look out for the upcoming OCR. Found out a bit later that Ashbery had read in town at 7, but it was too late to change our tix.

Fri 3/25

--Bree headed down to Philly to spend the day w/ mom, great-aunt, cousin.
--Met Ange and Steve for coffee; discussed Kant, ideology, tax law, machismo of the avant-garde.
--walked across Union Square to meet 3/4 of current line-up of Scene Is Now; Sue Garner (who now plays bass for them) walked by entirely by accident a moment before I arrived: "Oh, I missed the band meeting." Conducted interview in nearby Chinese restaruant; embarassed that I didn't know about Phil Dray's book.
-- had just enough time to walk over to Footlights, picking up a Harold Arlen centennial tribute and two industrial shows (vinyl sale); brief conversation at the counter with a man who knew, off the top of his head, who had written them.
-- walked on sunny side of st.; hit Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to 4; Acela to Philly; met Bree at the hotel; dinner w/ family.
-- reason for PA visit; Bree's cousin Alicia Rose has the lead in this production of A Constant Wife, a 1927 drawing-room comedy by Somerset Maugham that is not w/out some feminist bite; much talk of economic independence. Full house; Alicia gave a charming and physically detailed performance, reminding Bree a bit of Constance Bennett (which is high praise, from her). The mother was played by Nancy Dussault of Too Close For Comfort (and a great deal of stage and cabaret work); met her briefly in the green room after, but what do you say to Ted Knight's wife?

Sat 3/26

--got up before anyone else and went to the Philadelpha Museum of Art before breakfast. More satisfying, in a few ways, than MOMA -- better Cornells, for one thing. Spent some time in the Duchamp room; turned a corner and found myself in front of the Cy Twombly painting that's the cover of Often Capital; bought the newish typographical translation of MD's "White Box" notes (though I don't have the Green, which seems to be o.o.p.). Didn't bother with the Dali show (I think it was sold out anyway), but a video room in the modern galleries was playing Destino, a Dali/Disney collaboration that had been started in the '40s, abandoned, and completed in 2003; sort of fascinating in being the very definition of kitsch.
--brunch at Reading Terminal Market; Amish youth flipping huge blueberry pancakes.
--back on train w/ Bree and her mom; worked on proofs; back to NYC by 4.
--considered trying to make some of the free first-come-first-seated Sondheim marathon at Symphony Space; was told on phone to "expect to wait several hours"; gave it up.
--Wreckless Eric at KF, 7-ish; honestly, I don't know his records that well, and there's a bit more to him, dried-out nutter or not, than I expected. Ran into Ira and Georgia.

Sun 3/27

--only wet day of visit; picked up and brought back Sunday brunch (Murray's Sturgeon Shop, H&H Bagels) by way of expressing gratitude to hosts.
--listened and responded to a French conversation CD for about an hr.
--packed; got extra bag from hosts to cart home purchases; made arrangement to meet Bree at 92st Y at 8.
--back out to get Xerox made of finished proofs.
--attempted to go to Housing Works; closed at 3 for special event; made for Other Music instead; scored 2 more volumes of the scarce Ultra Girls ye-ye series & used copy of the first Soft Pink Truth disc.
--came back earlier than planned, but Bree had just left; found her in a restaruant across from Y; she'd first misremembered and gone to 72nd before figuring it out.
--Dorothy Fields centennial celebration, hosted by the author of a recent biography; not quite as good as I'd hoped (more hard-to-take Broadway voices, relatively few unfamiliar numbers) except for Julie Wilson (a highly dramatic "Remind Me") and some recently unearthed extra lyrics to "I Won't Dance." Felt like being at certain things in L.A., in that Bree and I were the youngest people there by a good 30 years.

Mon 3/28

--made arrangements to have proofs couriered back to Continuum.
--heard of Bobby Short's death in the taxi on the way to JFK; strange note to leave on; so grateful that we saw him in his second-to-last season at The Carlyle.
--on plane, read incredibly depression George Saunders story in Harper's, and Terry Eagleton's review of two recent books on the Enlightenment; watched bits of After The Sunset, which seems to have made a very rapid exit from theaters; listened (as I had done off and on through the week, on a cheap Discman I bought one of these mornings for the purpose) to Guero.
--picked up car at Bree's, drove home, looked at mail, wrote 3/4 of Beck review before time-change hit me; slept rather than driving out to Claremont the night before classes per usual.

Tue 3/29

--more rain in one day than in a New York week-plus.
--taught, finished review between classes (wish the piece had more of an argument, but then, I wish the album did); dinner w/ parents, told them most of what I've just told you; called my grandmother b/c she just had a mild fall; watched parts of Sondheim-programmed movies on TCM, and just about all of Out of the Fog a slightly pink forties number based on an early play by Irwin Shaw. "Naked, naked as a mule, and bankrupt!"

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