Jemeel Moondoc
Revolt Of The Negro Lawn Jockeys, Eremite, 2000

Moondoc (alto sax); Khan Jamal (vibes); Nathan Breedlove (trumpet); John Voigt (bass); Codaryl Moffett (drums)

Beautifully integrated swinging polyglot soundspace. Jamal's playing central in unifying the band sound. A tonality from the vibes like light piercing the darkness of a room: permeating, major/dominant tonalities. Now loping, now swinging, now staggering -- so much is allowed. He blurs the boundary between comping and a slow, patient soloing.The awkwardness, oddness, wackiness allowed to exist with the beautiful, cool and darker tones. Jamal's solo on You Let Me Into Your Life sounds like weather. Each bar of the vibraphone being an instrument in itself, collected in a row. How much the world is the interacting of groups of particles in space.

Moondoc: relaxed, Dolphyish, warped, good humored... some chord changes even! It is as though the tunes were left alone, to be themselves. Swing and awkwardness and humor together, liking and leaving room for the other players – as you would like and leave room for the people in your life....


Fung Wah to Boston, schlepping piccolo snare, cymbals, kick pedal, stick bag, and a new blank book. Several fellow passengers eating chinese food in the still dormant bus.

Lots of congestion coming out of NYC. Five hours up. Walked to Boston Commons and down into the Red line. Tokens for entrance. Everyone wearing white sneakers / baseball caps. Sunflowers seeds on the train floor. Charles river out the subway window. Out at Porter Sq. Up the hill to Dan's. Across the street a crazy house with religious rant lines all over it, like lines of poetry. That's publishing.

Dan's sitting on the steps. Two studies in the Kate/Dan household. I dream of getting my books out of storage.

Lovely back yard bbq involving portabellos and kielbasa. I get the skinny on Kate's theater career and a report on Dan's recent reading with Ron Silliman.

Into the car and out to Zeitgeist, where there some kind of poetry reading is just finishing. The house drumset turns out to be excellent. One minute of downtime before the set starts and I meet Cristina Strong. Cross draft coming through with the back and front doors open. Brief sound of rain. The set goes well.

Back to Dan's with Christina for post gig hanging out and talking. Asked about Christina's poetry origins and time in SF, where we overlapped but never met. I shake Dan down for reports on how Gerrit Lansing, Patrick Dowd, Jim Behrle, Joe Torra, Jack Kimball are doing. Hit futon at 2:45.

Woke at 6 am to a beautiful, restrained mocking bird. Really picking notes carefully. Back out till 11:00, dream of car crash where I berate the driver afterwards for carelessness. I am uninjured in the dream.

Dan gives us a copy of his new chapbook, Sound Swarms and Other Poems, Slack Budda Press.

Book hunting with Kate and Dan. Pulled a rare upgrade and got a hardback vers. of John Wieners, Cultural Affairs in Boston, which I have in paper. At The Brattle Book shop I find Emerson, the Mind on Fire, Robert Richardson and Karen Horney, New Ways in Psychoanalysis, both cheap.

Burgers before we get on the bus. Goodbye to Dan and Kate.

Best Fung Wah Driver ever, though he talked on his cell phone at near yelling volume for most of the trip. At the gas station rest stop he refueled at the diesel self serve. It came to $230.


MS, Michael Magee, Spuyten Duyvil, 2003

Playfulness, jokiness and serious engagement. Focus and then letting go of focus. To get the contradictions of life and presentation up front, rather than evade or hide or refuse to have a good time.

Most people are like trees, they are caught between competing sets of counterproductive /destructive forces. Between gypsy moths and being make into paper. Magee understands this.

"this is a fact check
from the girl at the hat check with the hatchet"

People places and things in these poems are constantly becoming each other. As in the ecosystems we are part of. The writer and reader and language and materials and experiences linked. As in ecology, the linkages have to be dealt with one way or another.

Goofy thematic fugue-like development. Ronald Johnson in science of perception mode if he had gone through the poetics of Jackass.

"the rest of the brain is barley"

Partly on nerve, partly on riff energy, partly on schtick, partly genuine interest in who might be listening. With his guard partially down. No transparent formal procedures or formalistic distancing to shield the poetry from the threat of the reader. A critical acumen operating from within. Letting the forces run openly through the poem, not screening out the contradictory stuff, not sidestepping the social phase cancellations.

The tension between the layers half the point. Dealing w/ it. Riffing, goofing, figuring, addressing, reapplying, and re-developing, The vectors of thought and playfulness. The light improprieties. Puns, rearrangements, cliches turned inside out. Figures of speech turn around.

Satirical suburban landscape as one of several enviornmental objects of address. Development as in the Duncan Doughnuts sense vs poetic development.

"the way to a man's heart is through his sternum"

References to Ayler, SunRa

Jazz voicing in dada mode- like Hans Bennink...

Riff-based Paratactic sequencing with active morphing.

Sweet/smart. Strong when deflating things.

MS is slop ala Mingus.

How much sampling?

"The 'I'm Tiger Woods, Motherfucker!' of indecision"

Dear P- Blog like epistolary prose dropped into the middle. Implying that the poet is doing a similar investigation of Globalization -- Capitalism -- Race from a different angle.

Readers hungry for more should check out My Ange Dickinson.


Ken Jacobs & John Zorn
Nervous Magic Lantern Live Collaborative Performance
Celestial Subway Line 3

Anthology Film Archive, 5/29/04

"AIRY NOTHINGS would be a way of describing the illusion of moving through and about places that aren't there. I can understand not wanting to throw away hard-earned (by somebody) money on such frivolity, like riding a cloud through the heavens solely to gawk in wonder. The Nervous Magic Lantern opens before us an unsuspected cinema, without actors and their fascinating problems (movies are about actors, they allow common people to learn something of the problems of exceptionally beautiful people). While only recently acquiring the Nervous tag, it is a technique that could've been employed before the advent of film, and way before electronics. As soon as light could be concentrated and focused through a lens in a surrounding darkness against a reflective surface, and a shutter could be made to spin, it was at hand. I figure it had to've given evidence of itself during the time of optical toys and experiment but got pushed aside, was skillfully shunned as extraneous to the inventing of cinematic mimesis. Recognition of its potential required a mind primed by Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. A mind also willing to turn its attention away from human strife, hi-tech barbarity, stupidity, venality, needless pain and waste in the service of God or The Nation. This dream world is a deception of another order, modernist deception, stating itself as such in the same way Houdini attacked priestly miracle-makers and spiritualist con-artists by performing tricks and saying so. Now if you as viewer wish to join in and lend substance to the work via your own depth projection, well, that's okay. Let us tangle." - Ken Jacobs

Met Brian and Marianne at Anthology.

Zorn doing a laptop score of some kind. Relaxed unnerving tamboural movements.

The Nervous Magic Lantern projection system does seem like it could have just as easily have been done with candles and a hand crank in the 19th century. The operation and design was intentionally obscured by pieces of cardboard (don't pay an attention to the man behind the cardboard?) Different objects/photos of some kind, including slides covered with colored granules and half-deflated balloons, seem to be placed under a moving projection lens /strobe -- or maybe the objects themselves were moved. The system allowed for the improvisation of different effects -- radial blur, a panning effect, maybe even some kind of stereoscopic effect or simulation.

Most of the material looked like a helicopter-eye view of a barren / alien landscape, like opening shot of The Shining or the planet surface sections of Solaris. The point of view was a disembodied watcher floating over nightmare landscapes, looking for something. Endless variations within the sameness of the surface textures. An alienation effect created by the disembodied viewer pespective, as in the monster-eye view in horror movies, not frightening, but unnearving, since the monster is no longer unknown: we are a spectator watching powerlessly from within it. Seeing this flim is like watching someone else play a video game designed by an evil shaman.

Shifting blurred forms and powerful strobing. Made me think of a Butthole Surfers concert I saw in a small building on the campus of Bard College in 1987 where there were two separate epileptic seizures from the strobes.

The Nervous Magic Lantern strobe is relentless and slightly nausea and headache inducting. Add to that the constant panning and blurring and it becomes mild torture. The darkened theater becomes a dungeon. Constant hallucinatory texture of mineral surfaces. Some kind of suggestible state / hypnotic state induced by the strobe? Seeing things in the mineral surface forms -- faces mostly, and skulls, but also a pair of vice grips? What does that say about me? That I project issues of identity, death, and agency onto what I see? Brian and Marianne later reported also seeing faces.

At one point a 19th century family portrait of some kind was the photo source, and the people became a nightmarish shifting landscape. The surface of human historical record or memory rendered into a morphing lava-like fabric...

Maybe if we worked out our nightmares more in virtual realms we would export them less to other countries...