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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Read --

Remainder of Bruns, The Materiality of Poetry (more on which later)

Gail Scott, My Paris (on the plane, I know, corny, but I'd had it around for months...):

"Sevres saucer with man waving Marie-Antoinette's head. Man on plate gleefully collecting blood in basin."

Jack Webb, The Badge:

"The battleground is Hollywood. [...] There is the next of homosexuals, which lives under constant threat of murder, shakedown and blackmail. During the war years, the homos were victims of more than one thousand robberies and other crimes -- so many that the police appealed to the armed forces to keep their personnel out of the purple district."

(Much of the book has this mixed tone of concern w/ crime and suggestion that its victims in one way or another bring it upon themselves. Curiously, there's also a statistic concerning the number of maquereau, carefully apostrophized by Webb or his ghostwriter as "French pimps," to be found in L.A. c. 1985, but I can't find the passage. (See mack.) The chapters at the end about then Captain William Parker, and the police commission (inc. brief mention of John Ferraro, later a city councilman, whose pasta-seller father was a friend of my dad's parents)

Lisa Robertson, Xeclogue

"Power is a pink prosthesis hidden in the forest."

~~~

Halfway through --

David Sweetman, Explosive Acts: Toulouse-Lautrec, Oscar Wilde, Felix Feneon and the Art & Anarchy of the Fin de Siecle.

"Some time in the 1880s a new craze began to catch on at the Moulin. It had grown out of the polka, a mildly scandalous dance for two that had come from Eastern Europe and which itself had developed from an earlier passion for the waltz....One should not, however, imagine that this was anything like the strictly choreographed can-can performed in today's Moulin Rouge by a chorus line of identically dressed dance; in the 1880s, the can-can was a wild display of individual skills. There were several names for this new dance; the most common at the time was the chahut, slang for something like a 'riot'."

and a few pages earlier --

"The crowds who crammed the Mirliton every night to hear [Aristide] Bruant's songs and see Lautrec's paintings, may have come for little more than the thrill of the vulgar but they were nevertheless obliged to hear and see something of those who lived beneath their own level of bourgeois comfort. And this mix of radical politics and popular entertainment quickly attracted other entrepeneurs."

[I don't want to get all post-(fall-of)-Commune Montmatre = post-(rise-of)-Reagan Bronx (or London 1977 or London 2003-5, whatever one takes those to be post-) on you, but it's striking that the very last sentence above, especially, could appear in a number of historical contexts w/ little or no adjustment.]

~~~

Haven't kept pace with each Lady S. track or their order of release, so I have no view on whether she's in a downhill bike race w/ "Ch-Ching," but "9 to 5"? Freakin' Two-Tone, man, explictly so in the video (which makes the song feel esp. like peak-period Madness): It's grime like "Our House" is ska. Love it. (Thank you J-Shep via Jane.)

But I'll bet she probably wasn't really sick in NY -- she had just gotten word that the Sufjan Stevens disc she'd had couriered to the club had arrived.

~~~

I bear a mild physical resemblance to Karl Rove. But also to Courbet's portrait of Proudhon.

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