Saturday, May 27, 2006
Anime Boston day two. thankfully we'd gone thru the registration yesterday, today was mobbed. Erin wanted to see the anime music video presentation. he ran ahead of me in his eagerness. when I got there, I couldn't see him. I sat in for some of it, he saw the whole thing. people take animes and use music of their choosing to create vids. I dunno who did the music for the 1st one. I'd call it some form of metal. the bass could be felt in my chest. I guess it was actually drums that I heard but boosted to explosive levels, very assaultive. very noisy as there was little separation of sounds. I rather liked it all, and the flashing images, but I couldn't take a diet of it. ensuing vids were tamer, except for German metal stuff that sounded a bit TOO German, Tod Tod Tod. a lot of parental units were in evidence, and they were kindly putting with the assault. an Avril Lavigne song came on and I decided to move on. I came back later to hear Bon Jovi doing "Have a Nice Day". the band is quite tight but jeez, that song sounds like a Ratt tribute band. it wasn't just that it was 80s music, but that they worked so hard at it, really amped it. lame. there were Jesus Christs both yesterday and today. as well a character, I assume from some anime, who carries a large crucifex tied to his back. perhaps that'a some sort of symbolism. one fellow had the cross in a backpack, odd image. another common theme was the school girl look: short skirts, knee socks, pig tails. at an atm a fellow blurted why are you doing this to me?, speaking of Christ. his card wasn't getting read and he got exasperated quickly. he talked to the machine loudly until it finally got the message and relented to give him money. another fellow was having his picture taken, and he assumed his power pose, an Elvisy sort of stance, with one hand outstretched powerfully. you could practically see the emanation of a purple energy beam. without that purple energy beam, I think the guy would've been kinda dorky. but not to make fun of these people. as I said, the vibe was really good, playful and excited. another guy was dressed super cool, with a sharp jacket with sleeves pushed up, like totally 70s. he had a flattened, bent cigarette in his mouth, a subtle touch. the young women taking his pic were excited like he was a celeb, and he looked pleased. I watched several episodes of an anime, something to do about slaying a dragon. really not a lot of animation involved, mostly movement was suggested by a panning of the image. which was effective. Erin and I ate at the food court, which appeared something like a Hollywood commissary. a guy had his head thru a board, had an eyeball hanging and his intestines were squirming out of his abdomen. and yet he was eating lunch! Erin raced off (again) to an anime writing workshop. which was full up when I got there. and so forth. I got a manga, no wait I got two. would've gotten more but so many were series. one of the things that killed f and sf for me was the chance you'll discover that the book you just got is book 17 of the Greengrabiad, a fact not clear until you reach the end and discover it's not close to an end at all. a disturbing sight was a person pushing a wheelchair. in the wheelchair was someone dressed in a big foam rubber costume, looked like Picachu. seemed sad somehow.
Anime Boston, Day One. Erin and I went into the 1st day of Anime Boston, an anime convention. this is a mega event for Erin. I don't actually have much taste for animation, but can appreciate some. on the subway in, we both noticed 4 guys who were definitely on their way to the con. one had a headband with an emblem that Erin identified as pertaining to some anime and fingerless gloves and a long brown coat, tho it was warm. another wore a Matrix black coat, and looked like Keanu Reeves, albeit with hair at Bill and Ted length. changing from Red Line to Green got confusing to Intrepid Travellers but Erin saw the 4 anime guys and we got right. Erin asked if they were going to Anime Boston and they all hooted Yeah!!! and exchanged high fives. registration looked hectic. we had to get to the end of a very long line. we didn't pre-register. security bustled about making sure doorways were clear. it seemed hopeless but then someone came along and ushered a bloc of waiting folk and soon we too were ushered to registration. guy behind me called out rather despeerately, did anyone lose this?. it was a little Hello Kitty doll. I said not mine then thought of the woman ahead who'd been rummaging her bags. is this your Hello Kitty? I got to ask. why yes, it was. the event took place thru out the convention hall and in the Sheraton proper. we wandered around plenty. we caught the end of opening ceremonies, where we saw an actress who voices anime, and was the voice for Leia in the Japanese version of Star Wars. much excitement. I didn't mench that many at the convention dressed up anime style. I don't know the characters to be found in anime but I'm sure most of them were covered. as a rule, males wore a lot of clothes and the females wore little. the guys had long coats, cloaks, ninja outfits. anime women tend to wear short skirts or shorts so that's what the con ones wore. the vibe was a little like a Phish concert, that is to say, playful and good. quite a few preposterous weapons were lugged around by those willing to go that extra. outsized swords and scimitars, the coolness must wear off quick. I can imagine them taking public transit. some wore things like Darth Vader helmets and looked dorky. but the masked ninja tended to look cool, and others were masked such as really gave them an air of mystery. and there were goth vamps, and quite a few cross-dressing guys. a new world order of the hip and the nerd living together as one. I didn't take many pictures. taking pictures can distract from being there. plus, as an older geek, it felt a little pervy to be snapping pix. not that the crowd wasn't rather ecumenical in age, and people wanted to be photographed. spent a lot of time in the swag room, where Erin copped fingerless gloves and some manga and dvd. he had his karate headband on and means to wear his gee (I don't know how that's spelled) today. there was a lot of hair dye in evidence, in brilliant colours, giving an appropriately cartoonish effect. the swag room is full of avidity, which is odd to winess when there's so little there I wanted. many anime and manga from Japan, rarities. things like the trading cards, the jewelry and what not don't tempt me whatsoever, even tho I feel the eagerness all around me. I once went to a baseball card show, where people were more interested in the crispness of the card's edge than in what was on the card. I just like seeing pictures of Shoeless Joe or Old Hoss Radburn (I saw a team picture once with Old Hoss one of the team, and he's blatantly got his middle finger extended. this is a 19th century ballplayer we're talking here). we took in a panel by a manga producer, TokyoPop. under our chairs were pens that, when you pull them, make a fart sound. cool. this was in honour of a series of manga featuring these 2 boys who solve crimes or problems using their farts. true. for little children. this publisher produces new work and licenses stuff from Japan, Korea and Germany. a lot of sci fi and fantasy stuff, also edgy stuff. one was about a young woman who routinely cuts herself, which, it was explained, is a problem affecting 1% of the Japanese population. the crowd was eager for any and all info. I'd say there were as many teen girls as boys attending this panel, but quite a few older folk as well. they gave away manga, so I have one. I almost bought a few more, there were some cheapos in the swag room, but I was feeling a little weary of pouring the money out. maybe today, we're in for the weekend, tho maybe Beth will want to take my place sometime.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
more Bay Poetics. certainly this anthology displays editorial acumen. Stephanie Young speaks of her selections as snapshots. as I said, you probably won't feel you grok the nature of anyone's work here from what is presented. surely your taste bud will be tickled, inciting you to see more, but I think that aspect is secondary to another, perhaps larger, aspect. Bay Poetics, wtf. okay, it's a region anchored by a couple of cities and lots of schools. more powerfully, it is a scene. I know that's a drastically icky word in most cases. in Boston, it sure means exclusion, not even hip exclusion. elsewhere it means righteous hipster. I infer, being no witness, that the Bay Area that Young sees differs from that twaddle. she's suggesting a community of writers, even a collaboration. there's no discernible Bay Area school here, just a good environment for poetry. I return to what Joseph Torra pointed out on saturday at the Olson event, that no local tenured professors attended. none could detach themselves from their Harvardy strictures, the ominous academic condition. or conditioning, I should say, the conditioning of canon. Harvard's just happy to have Dickinson as a cash cow. Eliot's still edgy here and, like, his early stuff is now public domain. so what I see in BP is a community sense, a place of poetry. both Garrett Caples and Andrew Joron have essays (essays!) that mention George Stevens, a Bay area decadent poet. Young placed the pieces contiguously, perhaps to suggest interrelationship (community), and perhaps to indicate some defining energy of the area. I don't mean to sound utopian, but I think some effort has been made Out There to make a living place for poetry. there is breath out there. here we have claustrophobic Groliers Bookshop, and Harvard looming over all.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
how prithee can I read Bay Poetics when I haven't yet finished The DaVinci Code????? I've never much sought out bestseller material in my reading but I occasionally feel obliged. I read Love Story long ago, in about 20 minutes, just to say I did. saccharine aside, it's hard to believe someone who taught at Yale wrote it, it's so clumsily written. wait a sec, or maybe not so surprising. I mean, Harold Bloom's at Yale... bestsellers tend to market low rent controversies, which don't light my fire. DC's controversy is at least high rent. its peek at the origins of the Church are compelling, even titillating. there's an awful lot of exposition in this book, necessarily. I mean he can't assume people know anything about the Grail legends. Brown has resorted to long expositional scenes. those get confusing when they are flashback scenes. 2 things I can't fancy in novels is flashbacks and dreams. flashbacks tend to be too quaintly jarring, as well as less effective than when done in film. when writers write dreams, it is usually with a vivid label saying I'm being obvious here. and the dreams always read like crummy movie scripts rather than dreams. no dreams so far in DC. I get a little tired of these worlds where it makes sense for innocent people to run away from the cops, lie that'll help your cause. in DC, it is done across international borders and includes the idea that, having fended off a murderer, you should bring him along too. that's a quibble, of course I believe everything I'm reading is reasonable. why shouldn't I? I've been reading the internet for years, and everything is true there. Brown does everything he can to keep the plot moving. no doubt we'll see the movie too.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
we bought and now have our copy of Bay Poetics. I'm pretty psyched. the vibes are good and that's pretty much all I'm going on at this moment. the book's regionalism is somewhat in quotes; participants are from all over, tho certainly some Bay area connection exists in all cases. I think the point is that everyone in the anthology fits in the Bay Area scene. the whereas consists simply in that no one really wants to say they are Boston poets. Boston poets? that means you are exclusive and clique-ish, doesn't it? it feels like that. me and Michael saturday felt that our quoroum could say that, at any rate. I thrum the pages of this book and feel its energy. honestly. maybe it's not Fiddler's Green there in the Bay area, but it seems pretty good from this distance. you won't say you've grokked any of the poets here represented if you read this book, but you will have a sense of what is happening. what's happening is wide and splendid. the book's 1st poem is a short untitled piece by Brenda Hillman. it's a poem you must read slowly, that's its pace. 23 words, stay with each one to inhale the essence (sorry, that sounds unduly phony--I only want to be duly phony) (but I am not being phony--sincerity still works). Stephanie Young (editor, I should've mentioned that up front) bravely and sensitively chose a quiet thoughtful thing to lead you into the book. I suppose the average age of the writers in this anthology is around 4 or 5 in dog years, but there's a goodly showing of older folk, Kyger, Vincent, Hejinian and so on. and connect with this: there's varied poetic styles, prose and a nice range of whatnot. brings to mind Olson's idea of achive. Chris Stroffolino's offering, following Hillman's, is a sort of reminiscence on music scenes. how curious! that's the extent of my actual reading, so far. Beth and I sought out the inestimable Jack Kimball today to procure this book, throwing our dwindling funds into his bottomless treasury (Jack lives in a castle made of sugar cubes and he owns the movie rights to NH's late lamented Old Man in the Mountain) BECAUSE this just seemed news that stays news. just shy of 500 pages, with a lot of names that I can attach a sense of work to. Boston, that squid-torturing pu pu platter of snotty ass, cannot produce an anthology such as this. the walls are too high. sad. sad. sad. Stephanie Young is the ace and deuce. so's Jack, but don't tell him. the preceding has been an unpaid skim review that forebodes further ruminations.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
a little more Olson Nowness. in the film, Pete Seeger (!) recounts how he met Olson, and how Olson inspired Woody Guthrie (!) to write Bound for Glory. John Malkovich (!) did some readings, no doubt to catch the eye of PBS. someone pointed out that the big Berkeley reading was within 3 days of when Dylan went electric at Newport: times of revolution. Kenneth Irby told me that Grenier brought Zukofsky up to Franconia, alas after I left. I thought it was something that Eigner made the trip. oh, during the open discussion a person spoke up about the Mumia situation. he made a modest attempt to connect Mumia to Olson (political activism) but really seemed more like spam.
saw the Olson Now fete yesterday. nice to see a little energy in Boston. among participants were Charles Bernstein, Gerrit Lansing, Fanny Howe, William Corbett, Ed Sanders, Kenneth Irby, Donald Byrd. Ben Friedlander gave a terrific, lucid talk. he brought up Olson's sense of archive, that O abandoned the idea of book for this larger possibility, one that can include letters, lectures, audio, essays, notes. to me, that's powerful. Ben related the archive to the internet. he also said archives are collaborative. we see that collaboration in how editors deal with dead poets, what to collect and how to collect it, but a wider possibility than that exists. Ben also said there's still lots and lots of stuff in the archives that hasn't been published. one final point, presented with a laugh, was his thought that the worst of Olson came from Pound and WCW. Fanny Howe said "the very name Maximus made me turn and run" (but she came back). Maureen McClane said "Charles Olson was a great trauma to me". Olson had a commanding presence. I think Corbett quoted someone who experiecned O in class, he'd fire you up and you'd be flying, then you'd realize you didn't know where you were going. that actual lack of coherence, if that's the word, saves O from being something completely bullying and grim. O's thesis, after all, was find out for yourelf. ie, don't copy him, discover your own way. which is what I've got from Olson. for me, a slow process of letting go. O famously divorced from 2 papas himself. the process of detaching oneself from one's literary parents is a difficult but important one. think of all of O'Hara's children. oh, Ben mentioned an essay that Olson wrote for an Ed Sanders publication. O was unsatisfied with it, and wrote (not rewrote) the same essay everyday for a week. which indicates process. Sanders said he still had that essay (as well the Chivas (er, was it Chivas?) bottle that Olson emptied during the Berkeley reading). Sanders said he still had the mimeo machine and plates, maybe he'll publish that essay yet. when Joseph Torra stood to say a few words and read some Olson, he 1st pointed out that in this place where universities are born, not one tenured local prof was in the audience. which is a sad word about Boston. Fanny Howe said "Boston is dead for writers". Michael Franco, who'd been a student at Berkeley, referred to "Projective Verse" as a training manual for reading Duncan. Ed Sanders spoke of Olson's shamanism, and of shamanistic transmission. I think he called Olson "post-theistic". an architect (who helped design Mass MOCA) recounted a class with I A Richards. he wondered why Pound was all but ignored at the time and Richards answered "well there's Pound crests and Pound troughs and you're in a Pound trough". Olson seems to have hit a permanent trough, but his relevancy doesn't seem lessened. the sense of him as authority and pandit certainly gets in the way, and for those seeking straightforward lucidities, Olson is a nut. but there's still so much to work with with Olson. and think how that era had such excitement in poetry! the Beats had pop star cachet, and events like Berkeley and Vancouver brought crowds and energy. wtf has happened since? I introduced myself to Ben Friedlander and Kenneth Irby, which maxed out my social boldness. when Grenier left Tufts to teach at Franconia, he urged Irby to take his old job, which he did. my father and aunt both went to Tufts, if that somehow completes the picture. I hung aferwards with someone I'd met online. we tailed a group including Kenneth Irby to a parking garage. if Irby shows up missing, we can supply some leads. I didn't mench the movie made by Vincent Ferrini's nephew, Polis is This. a close to finished product, hoping to find a PBS home. NEA twice denied grants because it wouldn't play in Iowa. how would they know? Olson's an odd enough character to play anywhere, you ask me. it's great to see the video of him. his style sense: fabulous. I forget who/where mentioned (might've been Corbett) walking down the street with Olson in the summertime. Olson had his sweater wrapped around his head. Olson's smoking a little clay pipe, and not a few instances in which he appears to be drunk or otherwise impaired. his accent gets me. I've lived here all my life and of course I've been subjected to television normal but I'm pretty sure my accent aint no how as broad as O's nor can I recall my parents, equally Massachusettsistic, sounding so. Olson had enough foibles for sure, tho how about just sticking with the writing foibles or such as influences the writing itself. despite all foibles I find him endearing. there were at least 8 Gloucester residents in attendence (participating, I mean), which is kind of odd. when Grenier taught at Tufts, he chose to live in Gloucester to be near Olson, despite a somewhat inconvenient commute. an Olson walk occurs today, but not for me. in the movie, a few shots showed signs, I'm assuming temps, with lines from Olson's work. kinda cool. oh yeah, a mail man saying, you know that book Maximus, me and my friends, we're all thru it. referring to an Olson mention of kids running in the streets. anyway, a good event, a hint of vitality in this stiff ass educational hotbed. it was noted that essentially no young people attended. don't they know Olson took drugs??? you wonder how it is that Corbett couldn't get any of his students to attend. sup wid dat?