Saturday, June 24, 2006
venerable Brattle Theatre in venerable Cambridge had an anime festival today. ongoing, it's a 24 hour affair, but Erin and I are content with our 9 1/2. the Brattle has for years been home to your basic hip showings of Bogart films and Rocky Horror Show: that sort of theatre. what I'm after saying is that the audience engages to the point of considerable comment during the flick. looked like a hardened crowd, people ready for the derby distance. probably not great attendance, at least so far. I liked the anime. visually, very cinematic and gratifying. I absolutely can't stand the sort of animation used in movies like Shrek, all that techno wizardry strikes me as lifeless. whereas what I saw yesterday had considerable zest and liveliness. and they have surprising depth. one featured a girl who said at the beginning that she woke the night before and realized that she was a god. with ensuing adventures in which indeed she was a god. but she's also smitten by the clueless boy with the cool spiky hair who doesn't quite get that she's there. Half-hearted cosplay (costume contest) occurred during one of the breaks. 3 entrants. one seemed to be a samurai geisha. another wore cargo pants, tube top and kerchief on her head, which is to say, not very identifiable as a character, altho she noted who she was dressed as. showing her stomach may have been the point for her. the winner wore black fatigues or jumpsuit, had blond spiky hair and wielded an outsized sword. One anime concerned two brothers fighting over their father's sword. this one also featured a school girl who goes back to their time, and occasionally returns to the present. she rides her bicycle everywhere, even in the air, and dynamically uses a particularly efficient bow and arrow. there were some wonderful filler shorts seeded thru out the event. one was a student film done by someone who went on to greater things (of which I know nothing). no dialogue, just zooming images. it featured your typical and ubiquitous young school girl in school uniform, but early on she transmogrifies into a Playboy bunny, and proceeds to do hyperkinetic laser battle with Darth Vader, and fly around on what I take to be Silver Surfer's surfboard, all the while with things exploding with nuclear wrath. just so odd. odder still was a live action music video. it featured five guys on stage singing. the group is possibly called Yatta. they wore just their Fruit of the Looms, with fig leaf over the crotch. it's a parody of boy bands and Village People and Menudo and poppy pop music. the five look like software developers but are all exultant smiles and sincere singing and mugging and eye contact with the crowd. the crowd is an odd blend of elders and children. the boys shake their skinny booties in some of the goofiest choreography possible, jumping, marching and kicking. cut into the live performance are the usual vid vignettes. one of which shows one of our heroes, in Yatta mufti, walking down a city sidewalk. he passes a young woman, who smiles at him. he turns with a sad look of yearning. out of the shadows come his four mates, grinning and supportive, and suddenly everything is fine again, lots of hppy reenforcement. there are no subtexts here, it's all uber text. I was quite entertained by everything shown during the event. at one point I left to call Beth and to walk around. which led me to the Grolier Bookstore, now safe to enter. a much calmer place than it used to be. whatever the shoplifting problem under previous ownership, the security archway took way too much acreage in such a small shop. glad to see that gone. I had no particular bees in my bonnet as to what I would look for, tho I don't know why I share personal bonnet information in such a public forum as this. I mainly just wanted to see if the coast were clear at the old poetry shop. what's not surprising but I am hopeful will change is that the selection had glaring holes. er um no Creeley, for one. the shop's latter years were not well funded, so selection kinda sorta didn't keep up with the times. I picked up a copy of Kirby Doyle's collected, priced at the 1986 price of 7 dollars that it entered the shop by. aint never read him. I also discovered Stops by Joel Sloman (Zoland 1999), one of the good people in the local arena. it has an introduction by Denise Levertov. he seems detached from the professorially inspired (or conspired) embargo on originality and verve that obtains in this fusty old town, yet seems like a supportive citizen in the best sense. I was glad to get his book. a guy in the shop needed help from the person working there. I didn't hear his entreaty but apparently he had the woman looking for some Bulgarian poet. eventually he said something that lit the idea of Bukowski in the woman's mind, and that proved to be what the guy wanted. no Bukowskian poetry was in attendance at the shop however so the guy was referred to Harvard Bookstore, right next door. another person wanted a poetry book from, as he said, the man who wrote Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, Richard Farina (Farina also wrote some lovely songs, too, buddy), but the shop lacked that as well. new ownership should sell off the dustier tomes (i. e. the ones I'm not interested in) and dedicate a handful of smackers to an A-Z overhaul. christ, should I send a letter listing books and authors to carry? I checked for Kasey Mohammad, Stephanie Young, Shanna Compton, as poets who ought and maybe could (they all seem to have some sort of distribution going) be on the shelves. and that I'd be interested in reading. none of them were to be found. see, I'm not crazy about SPD, at least so far as the D of the acronym goes. with our press, they were supposed to send our new publications to libraries as standing orders but oops, never happened. and little presses with micro budgets having to wait 6-9 months for proceeds from sales, yeesh. and hey the exorbitant cost of doing business with...okay, okay, don't get me started. Grolier is supposedly one of 2 poetry shops in the country. I say, send them 3 copies of your book, call it consignment if you like, just to freshen the selection as a material instance of a selection. which brings to mind what I'm told a certain poet does: sneaks copies of his books onto store shelves, with the idea that readers and orders would therefore occur. I didn't feel the kind of excitement I used to feel in the store, but I don't blame current ownership. around 6 Beth arrived and we convened for dinner at an Indian restaurant, then Erin bustled off to see Steam, a parody of anime, gaming, commercials and so on. I saw parts of it at Anime Boston. quite funny, tho many allusions and references exist well outside my ken. Beth and I wandered around Harvard and Brattle Squares. flashback the 60s and hippies and excitement. this wounded-seeming Asian fellow I'd noticed 3 years ago was there in front of the Harvard Coop, playing his 3-stringed instrument and looking very distant. I saw an older man in a couple of different places during the day. he had earphones, and just sat there rocking back and forth to the music. autistic, I would imagine. anyway we scurried home once Steam ended.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
among the balls that I've dropped is not keeping up with Stephen Vincent's series Tenderly, which is a utilization (is that the right word?) of Stein's Tender Buttons. Stephen works an interesting method. a means of enduring respectfully within the work of certain writers. why that verb endure? he faces, confronts, lives with... specificially Zukofsky, Sappho, Stein, so far, that I know of. both critical and collaborative. he assays, which is the genuine article we all should (equal that is to the real itself). Stein maybe nervoused me up more than any writer when I was young and stupid. Tender Buttons, tho, came a-brimming. I think I'm vaguing out here but I really caught something with Buttons. not that I even tried to accomodate the possibility, back then when I first read. it was too magical, Stein's processing of words into things or vice versa. I have to mark how unready I was for such discovery. I was absurdly ignorant when school force fed me these instigations. maybe I'm a brighter candle than I want to admit, because I took on the registry of proprioceptive response which is WORD. I went against my own prosaicness, when I saw the flow of Stein's urge. does anyone else admit to a nakedness when in the lights of different arts bearing? I don't think I've ever writ an oh well blubba blubba response to words as poetry. I've been stupid but Ive managed to halt at the point of freeze up. still, I envy the seeming readiness of Stephen Vincent, in collecting the energy. on the other hand, I''m not as stupid as you, categorizer. I plant difficulty as my challenge, not my duty to cover up. you ought to listen, readership, beneath the equivocations here. poetry enjoys the mystery of living tension. tension is the movement of living entirely. entity right in the word. okay, haul all this rumination back to TENDERLY. words are real employment of active essential in a... in what, exactly? in what one can comprise, as Reader. well yeah, okay. I commend Stephen's work into in. simply that. continuing the Steinian... what's your haul?
Sunday, June 18, 2006
had an urge to visit Grolier Poetry Bookshop today, but it is closed on sundays. under previous ownership, we weren't allowed to bring Erin in. he was 12, and gave no evidence of being trouble. that's what the Grolier experience devolved to. anyway, in lieu, a visit to B&N. I almost got away with no purchase, until I saw a book, Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde. the front cover blurb says the book "celebrates the need for the kind of paintings, music, books and ideas that society initially finds unpleasant". my 1st thought was flarf. I'm not doing my Gary Snyder imitation here. Hyde himself writes "trickster is a boundary-crosser". I think that works well as an aspect of flarf. not to limit it to flarf, but I think flarf can reasonably be viewed in such terms. just as last night, the puppet porno in Team America was really, really disturbing, even as it was hilarious (Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Michael Moore et alia getting slaughtered was not, btw, disturbing, it was just a good hearty laugh). I don't know how far I want to develope this idea, but I do see a use in the outrageous and in boundary crossing. it is certainly true that that which makes us uncomfortable should at least be examined. the recent reaction to Mike Magee's Asian Guys poem has been useful when it has been seen as queries on the border. squeaks of propriety do not work with trickster, that much I've gleaned from my forays into the literature. the discomfort of flarf, which also includes its disjointedness, and its silliness and triviality of subject, produces areas of consideration. irritation can be good. Trickster pulls our chain, removes safety net, makes things serious after all. that initial discomfort bespeaks areas of restriction. those areas of consternation are areas of illuminations. so I'm reading Hyde's book now, that's what I'm doing.
... and speaking of flarf. 2nd issue of Gary Sullivan's Elsewhere arrived yesterday. front and back covers are really lovely, dude check it out. the colour scheme is bluish grey mainly, very compelling. the back cover shows this Mickey Mouse sort of character, a doll maybe, with an electrical cord wrapped around its head. for some reason. those 2 images pretty much encapsulate what's inside. the words are by Nada Gordon, kaleidoscopic impressions. the 2 took a bus trip to Coney Island, Gary took photos from which the drawings were developed. it's like Walt Whitman took acid then welcomed all that he saw. or make that Frank O'Hara. there's a gracious acceptance in what could seem jostling and foreign. the drawings inside (b&w) possess a heavy line, weird weighty modules. almost emblems, that is. there's one Crumbian image of a fellow with not just eyes popping out of his skull but everything else, teeth, brains everything. that nod to Crumb fits perfectly. while neither Sullivan or Gordon show the snideness that Crumb does (I love Crumb), a sense of swimming the human stream is shared. I'm glad to see comix stretching its form. I mean continue stretching. I guess I never cottoned to Marvel's soap opera necessity. having read 3 manga recently, thus making me an expert, I can speak of the cinematic quality of manga, which is a nice breath to take. everything is interesting. people, words, things. I'm suddenly thinking Stein. in Tender Buttons, she tries to see ordinariness. note the fantastic lengths she must go. our seeing is language. this comic is what Gary and Nada saw. comprised, but not explained (death lives in explanation). I'm being rather general in my comments here. the comic is not at my side at the moment, I'm going by my memory of reading it thru last night. the effect of it is a disjointedness but not an unsettling. read Gary's account of the MOCCA (comix convention, I presume). the same sort of fun commitment displayed as I witnessed at the anime festival. dunno why poetry can't be fun like that. flarf, being funny, wanting to be funny, takes a positive step. the the point is not that poetry should be funny, just not so precious and headache. Knopfitude, that draggy condition of sunless poetry. poetry as an excuse to vent. I think I can accept many means, but not that end. which is why we listen to music, perhaps. and turn to visual. come on Poetry, kick out the jams.
we watched Team America yesterday. holy crap!!! it's the marionette movie produced by the South Park team. I guess there's nothing more to say. sure, it's weird to see puppets all serious like, in an action flick. my memory contains Supercar, featuring that arch-nemesis Master Spy, but this movie is on a much grander scale. 1st class marionettes, quite expressive. early on there's a martial arts scene, a mighty showdown. when the 2 opponents close on each other, they just flail absurdly, like puppets. it is hilarious. Team America members manage to blow up almost everything in sight, which gets the ire of Hollywood liberals led by Alex Baldwin. who, it turns out, are under the sway of Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. denouement of the movie features the slaughtering of these liberals. hooray! you know about that bad taste aspect of flarf. naturally, this movie went for the same thrum. there's an extended, graphic sex scene that is so perfectly absurd (puppets pooping and peeing on each other, OMFG!!!). later, the dramatic lowpoint for Our Hero, there's an extended puking scene. in both cases, the score is lush with all dramatic markers in place. it's a weird sort of genius, lighthearted and unsettling.