Disappointing to hear Baraka sound like a moldy fig in the Poetry Project Newsletter. I suppose most poets become moldy figs by that age, it's just that not all of them publicize it?


The difference between the RITE-AID and the DUANE-READE glucose tables is that the RITE-AID ones are IN-EDIBLE.


Two Or Three Things I Know About Her

Interesting, grueling essay/painting about changing economy of France during the Vietnam war. This movie could have been made the day before yesterday.

As much a piece of writing as a film. No characters but tropes. Goddard is using the movie to write with.

Largely complaint via portraiture of the culture of first world economy via an allegorical bourgeois emptiness. Not just an annoyance at kinds of people, but a representation of a global system. You could easily juxtapose Iraq carnage and Paris Hilton with the same effect today. The film is devoid of the kind of playfulness you get in Weekend or Alphaville or Band of Outsiders, except for the universe in a coffee cup shot and the kid narrating his dream where he sees twins merging into one and interprets it to his mother as North and South Vietnam reuniting - that's startling.

Aggression towards the audience/hatred of the audience (arty middle class people): the kid shooting a toy gun into the camera. The intentional tediousness of the film is also kind of attack on the audience (how much poetry is like this?) because the audience ... is the economy? hmmm... It's not clear how much he implicates himself in this equation. This tendency evolves eventually with Goddard into exhausted self-righteousness years later with In Praise of Love.

Cars are filmed more lovingly than people. Beautiful oversaturated oranges and reds, clothes and signs. Grey construction scenes with the algebras of shape and connotation I know well from living in New York: creativity, organization and resources put toward increasingly undo-able and undesirable ways of life. The distant consequences of our development leak in in brief whips of language on the radio and TV.

Scenes take place in unassumingly stark, socially disconnected consumerist space -- bars, lots of liquids consumed: coffee, beer and coke. Also domestic family space. A brothel (or is it day care?) where people pay the hotel manager in cat food: barter thrown into a setting involving the purist expression of capitalism.

Centralized capitalist economy controlling how people live, what they feel, and the meaning of their time -- the movie works by never expanding from this theme or introducing too much ambiguity about it, but pounding away at it incessantly by dramatizing an exaggerated portrait of the culture it creates to perpetuate itself. Capitalism makes people steal without them intending to.

Orpheus riff with the pilot/father listening to the radio but it isn't poetry being broadcast but Johnson speeches about bombing Vietnam.

The film is mostly women's faces: reciting poetic essays about their own emptiness. Little male presence in the movie.

"what is it about signs that makes me distrust language."

"your shirt is very America Uber alles"
"yes but they invented the jeep and napalm"

The main character is reciting philosophical poetic prattle in front of an apartment building while in the background two people, who look like they really live there, lean languorously at a distant window. After a while it's impossible to listen anymore to the character's speech - and the people in the background become the most interesting thing. He's created a feeling here where you wish to escape from the movie -- escape from the new Americanized global economy/culture.


Doolittle, Ben Sisario

Kim deal once classified her bass style as "boingy-boingy-sproingy"

Boston Phoenix classified ad for which Deal was the only call: "seeking female bassist into Husker Du and Peter Paul and Mary"

"...what matters more is that (these stories about Frank Black) helped establish his persona as an Everydude, a pudgy blank slate who lacked the looks or poise or stage presence of any rock god yet matched them by force of screamy will"

Joey Santiago on Wes Montgomery: "Ah, that's a hook. That's some hooky stuff in this jazz world... and that's how you do it. You just simplify it."

Debaser: "all that is poppy and pretty will meet its raging, deformed reflection"

"And there is Charles Thompson's songwriting technique, or at least Charles Thomson's songwriting analysis technique. Guy reads article in newspaper, thinks about the awesome power of the ocean, scratches butt, writes song."


Lincoln Center Tower Records going out of business sale has creeped up to 40% off. If you have to charge $19 per CD, you really should be going out of business. Even at 40% off much of this stuff is still too expensive. The shelves were maybe 40% full. Friday I was hoping to find the Blue Note John Patton CDs I had previously passed-up. No such luck. This is going to keep me busy for a while anyway.

Clientele in jazz section: starving vulture Barney's sale vibe minus the dense crowd. Mostly forty to fifty something males. Clearly the prime foraging window had already closed. Still there where things to be had:

Larry Young, Into Something:
Yes, you heard the line-up right: Sam Rivers, Grant Green, and Elvin Jones. Yes it's awesome.

Charles Eubanks, New Beginnings, I heard a solo Eubanks set a few years ago at 5C: my advise to you is keep away from him if you're scared of very beautiful piano playing. This CD is absolutely gorgeous and for real from beginning to end.

Alice Coltrane: Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana:
Okay, I knew this one was risky, but I love Alice Coltrane. She's the kind of artist who is very inconsistent, some genius, some drek. I tend to like artists like this though -- like Terry Riley. When they're hitting, people of this level of inconsistency have a freshness that is rarely equaled by their more consistent peers. This CD was a total loss -- pious corn. I still love much of her music, and this minor setback will in no way stop me from continuing to dig through the back catalogue.

Chris Kelsey Trio, Wishing You Were Here:
Group w/ Francois Grillot and Jay Rosen. This one is still in the shrink wrap but I've heard all three of these players in other units live and they're great: will report.

Passed on the Grant Green Box set: I have to draw the line somewhere, right? Or am I crazy for not getting that?

At the register:

"Not much left on the shelves, huh"

Crazed-looking old mustachioed casher guy:
"You can't go through life with that attitude. I'm 68 years old. I've been kidnapped. I had surgery and they cut my whole chest and stomach open from here to here (gestures across entire stomach, chest and sternum) and when I woke up I said to the nurse, "You wanna make love right now???" I went to work once and they were waiting for me with a gun and a chainsaw. You have to be positive in this life, never be negative!"
I saw a young hawk half-heartedly dive-bombing squirrels in Tompkins Square Park.


Falling behind on pen and ink notes:

Smart, sharp riffs on Katherine Harris, congress poem satirical warp as opener, followed by a series of economically contoured mytho/ personal/ political/ lyric/ speculative fantasias like what Kathleen Raine and Frank Black might have dreamed up together on retreat. Combinations of gravity and humor. "If I can speak for the entire space station" "Even in terror we survive the collapse of yesterday's cake" Amazing how much warmth and beauty she can generate while keeping it just cryptic enough to engage you fully in the puzzle:

Elizabeth Willis at Dixon place.


Fantasy settings, the details of which, as they accrue and filter and take their place in the scenes, operate like a hologram to create an off-kilter, indirect self-portraiture:

Kate Colby
Later on, the idea matured of not only looking for the fall of Ulises, but also to transform the conditions of our lives that we have, and in our bases to create a new relation between society and the government.


Just finished Dai Griffiths' Ok Computer. There are so many passages that are Ron Sillimanesque in their close reading approach that it's hard to pick one. A sense of the generally Asperger's-lite-o-lishishness might be demonstrated with this:

"Thus, in simple quantitative terms the tracks on OK Computer average 4.27 each; however, if the notably short track seven is removed, the average length is 4.40. This is longer than Radiohead's previous album The Bends, where the average length of tracks was 4.03. That may not seem a big deal, but in music in general, the world of the pop song in particular , a minute is a very long time indeed."

The Griffiths, like Ron when he's in close reading mode, obsessively paces around the cartographic parameter of the album, with a strict distance maintained, constantly referring back to the most literal (and littoral) issues of production and presentation as grounding points.

Here's another example, this time dealing with York's Lyrics:

"...there seems to be a lot of internal alliteration, rhyme even (landfill/kill), all on the theme of h and l: heart, full landfill, slowly, kills, bruises, heal, look, unhappy (the listener sure to hear both 'an' happy' as well as 'unhappy"), I'll take, life, handshake, final fit, final bellyache, house, as well as recurring words 'alarm' and 'silent'. Outside these sounding correspondences are some characteristic words: job, bruises, bring down the government, carbon monoxide, the pretty garden, and surprises itself. References to polity and science contrast with the 'homes and gardens', and these contrasts perhaps help make 'No Surprises' a track that's characteristic of the album as a whole. "

Another person who shares this critical quantitative OCD characteristic is Phil Schaap, a legendary DJ on KCR. I have heard him read out several serial numbers from a CD series not once, not twice, but three times on the air. If he had gone for a forth round the differnce between Shaap's radio show and some kind of avant-guard performance art would have been pretty thin. Understandably there are people who are put off by this tendency, but there's something about it that I find interesting in terms of the drama of critic, and which sends me back to the material under discussion. Dai's book sent me back to the Radiohead CD with a vengeance even though it didn't say much about it beyond cataloguing details from it. The slabs of data cataloged are mostly not in themselves interesting, but the critic's dramatic fixation on them as a way understanding and engaging with the reader/listener and the art creates a particular kind of dramatic tension. The critic is activating their engagement with and passion for the material and their attitude towards their readers with extreme indirectness, as though overcoming some kind of emotional blockage related to attachment.
Rick Snyder on Deer Head Nation, Petroleum Hat, and V. Imp


So long Brad...

Brad Will 1970-2006

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