December 28, 2009

Remember all the people that were heroes to ya
And remember all the people you deceived

Cara Ober, 2009

Ober's solo show "Glittering Generalities" opens January 7, 2010 (reception that evening, from 6pm - 8:30 pm) at the newly opened Randall Scott Gallery in Brooklyn (111 Front Street). If you are nearby be sure to check it out.

* Excellent April 2009 interview of Will Oldham. excerpt:

LA Weekly: I wonder whether in 2050 there will be people digging in old hard drives to find the undiscovered Jandek of 2009.

Will Oldham: Yeah, hard drives. They're a complicated thing. They will be complex things to excavate in the future. And maybe on a strong level they will strengthen small communities. But in a bad way they will diversify people extremely if people start to excavate hard drives and create more and more diverse interests. Wow. That's a lot of separation.

Have you heard about that woman whose recordings have come to surface in the recent year or two? She may be French, may be German, but sings in English, but whose recordings were supposedly discovered. Sylvia Bayer -- something Bayer. (ed: Sibylle Baier) Some friends in Kentucky have been playing it for me, and then I was staying with a friend and there was an Artforum and all these artists had their Best of lists. There's a story behind it, like a Darger type story behind it. This was discovered post-mortem in someone's attic and they were recordings made 30 years before. And upon hearing them, my first thought was of J.T. Leroy - immediately upon listening to it you think that's a made up story.
LA Weekly: So then I started thinking, okay, if mosquitoes are making music for a certain reason, then we are, too, and is that reason just as basic and primal.

Will Oldham: You can diversify it a little. You can say some people's job is to fuck and reproduce, and some people's job is to do other things to support the reproducers, or to support the times prior to reproduction and post reproduction, and that's what makes for the complex society, that's not just beating her on the head and dragging her by the hair. And that's why there could be a crazy-great song that is so insanely emotional and has nothing to do with courtship whatsoever. It's relating to some other survival instinct, and making survival better, stronger and more complex. But then it must be related to that stuff. I think about those things, say, in watching the last election. Like, okay, where does a speech like that, and or where does the appointment of the Secretary of Agriculture fit into choices based on sexuality and survival of the species. That's insanely complex - and that's very good.

* A Poem By Klipschutz:

Eyes In the Back of My Head
(And on Either Side) (More to Come)

“Are you still peeing in the tub?”
my wife asked, at 12:25 p.m.
on Christmas Day. “No,” I shot back,
resolute. “Okay,” she said. Okay?

-Yesterday, at Christmas Eve Mass,
Pope Benedict XVI was knocked down
by a woman in “red jacket and dark trousers.”
(She sacked a cardinal even older than Ratzinger too.)

-Before that, dude broke Berlusconi’s nose and teeth
at a rally. (He’s in custody – now we might see
how “connected” the randy P.M. is.)

-Obama sustained a mere breach of security
from two main-chance wannabes.

It just hasn’t stopped, ever since
the Iraqi newsman threw footwear
at GWB’s empty CPU at a briefing.

And then there’s container ships, jammed
with containers containing. . .Stop!

Friends, intelligent ones, of mine think
the government’s “in on it” (name it).

Apparently, no one is safe.

Don’t turn your back or close your eyes,
test yes, think no, or eat simple carbs!

I swear I didn’t, but what if I did?
And who’s to say that she’s not one of them.

--- Happy New Year!

December 22, 2009

time is the enemy
time is the guide

William Burroughs, Holiday Elf, 1992

Happy Holidays!!

* Two for Tuesday:

-- Jingle Bells, by Will Oldham, with The Anomoanon

-- Father Christmas, by The Kinks

* "Why do we kill all those Christmas trees just to celebrate one birthday?" -- Charles Bukowski

* "When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums." -- Andy Warhol

December 18, 2009

no know bullshit
no know fuckin mediocrity
no know excuses
no know influence

Paul Vinet, Absences, 2007

Gimmie Shelter
-- by Bill Knott

The thread or the theme
That holds this tune
Together is the same
One that rips it open--

The initial guitar
Continues splitting
The whole thing apart--
It is the lightning

Which Jagger complains
Of and which he seeks
Shelter from the rains
Of when it breaks--

We ourselves will shut
Our deepest sills against
His common cries but
There is no defense

To keep out that other
One behind him twinned
His starker brother
Whose keening strings skein

Hymns from one more
Murderous composer
Whose cause is war
Who tears down our door--

Shelter/the home
Is made of language--
But music sunders the poem--
Its rift is like a tongue

Trying to compile all
Words into one word--
One Babel whose walls
Fall beneath its standard--

What the fuck did that flag
Say--the opposite
Of peace/of the page
Is what I must write.

You Are Happy
-- by Margaret Atwood

The water turns
a long way down over the raw stone,
ice crusts around it

We walk separately
along the hill to the open
beach, unused
picnic tables, wind
shoving the brown waves, erosion, gravel
rasping on gravel.

In the ditch a deer
carcass, no head. Bird
running across the glaring
road against the low pink sun.

When you are this
cold you can think about
nothing but the cold, the images

hitting into your eyes
like needles, crystals, you are happy.

See Under:
-- by Joanna Rawson

There's a word for a beggar who fakes being blind.
Another for amnesia about all events underwater.
For the exact center of gravity in a skyscraper.
Without motive, a bullet whittled from ice
utters murder into a toddler's chest.
The sun makes a pool of water around her body
that will evaporate by noon, a shadow
advertising the precise time of death.
There's a word for a cannon fired from a camel's back.
Another for a rain gauge fueled by the sun.
For anything that lasts all night.
The rumor of a violent stormfront
keeps arriving,
but somewhere else.

December 17, 2009

And just like in a movie
her hands became her feet

Carl Fischer, Andy Warhol on TV, 1976

* Fast Company on The Rise and Fall of DWR. excerpt:

Design Within Reach focused mostly on popular European-made pieces created by designers well known within industry circles but less so among the general public. Board member Peter Lynch, a charmingly effusive retail executive with little design experience -- "DWR has converted me and educated me," he says -- gushes that "we're getting a lot smarter about how we source product."

Midway through an interview in DWR's Upper East Side studio in Manhattan, he pulled me over to a sectional sofa called the Albert ($5,700) and told me to sit. "Isn't it terrific? This used to be called the Albero, but it's basically the same sofa. My brother has one," he says proudly. "It used to be made in Italy. Now it's made in America, from American leather. Bison!" ("It's not bison," says a DWR spokeswoman. "It's just called that. It's really cow.")

At least a dozen of the company's current offerings are essentially unauthorized reproductions of a foreign design. "Rather than saying, 'Let's come up with something better to replace it,' they said, 'Let's come up with something similar to what people liked,' " says a former DWR employee. French designer Christophe Pillet, who didn't know that DWR was copying his Tripod lamp until FAST COMPANY directed him to the company's online catalog, says: "They are pirates and thieves, like the Chinese -- except even the Chinese are calling me now to ask me to make something original for them."

Brunner saw DWR's strategy as "completely legal. We're not doing anything wrong." In every case, he said, DWR's product-development team improved on the original design. In most instances, the tweaks were small and not obviously better. Take Pillet's Tripod lamp. "We were inspired by it," says VP of marketing Chris Hope. DWR's version (also called the Tripod) "diffuses light differently. We changed some of the mechanics."

* Ten "best" hockey fights of the decade.

* The Caribbean talked favs and recorded a Christmas song as part of label Hometapes' 12 Days of Christmas. Check it out.

* "Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult." -- Samuel Johnson

December 16, 2009

Heaven is a Truck

Ansel Adams, Laughing Man, from the Lost Los Angeles series, 1940s

A Vision of Now
-- by Hayden Carruth

Here we are, my dears, the autumn of twenty-o-five.
And it’s very strange. The sultry summer lingers
Into October; the foliage that by now was always
Bright is drab and withered; and we are far
Too dry, except where hurricanes rage and fl oods
Carry off our houses. Is this then our last
Autumn? The radio is insisting, “Log on, log on.”
And then the television is pleading, “Log on now.”
And signs and portents are everywhere, although
They are bewildering, because no one knows how
To interpret them. Persons of faith are tremulous
And unsure, while those of science apparently
Cannot read nature’s peculiar new vocabulary.
Each of us is proceeding at a different pace,
Stumbling or running, aimless or headed straight
To a distant remembered door. The spendthrifts
Sing Auld Lang Syne and tip up goblets of fine
European brandy. Others are creeping and
Wandering, weeping and wondering. For we are
The new refugees, going nowhere. We are this
Old and horrifying pitiful dream come true.

-- by klipschutz

I was just walking down the street
and there stood Gregory Corso,
looking just like Gregory Corso --
to a T the spitting image
of himself.
(He was, in fact, spitting.)
I congratulated myself on such fine luck
my very first day in San Francisco,
and pushed on.

On Gifts For Grace
-- by Bernadette Mayer

I saw a great teapot
I wanted to get you this stupendous
100% cotton royal blue and black checked shirt,
There was a red and black striped one too
Then I saw these boots at a place called Chuckles
They laced up to about two inches above your ankles
All leather and in red, black or purple
It was hard to have no money today
I won't even speak about the possible flowers and kinds of lingerie
All linen and silk with not-yet-perfumed laces
Brilliant enough for any of the Graces
Full of luxury, grace notes, prosperousness and charm
But I can only praise you with this poem—
Its being is the same as the meaning of your name

December 15, 2009

Nothing is real
and nothing to get hung about

Suzy Poling, Dead Amusements

* From Harper's January 2010:

-- Average number of minutes unemployed Americans are spending looking for a job each day: 18

-- Number of applications a weekly newspaper in Denver received for its jobs of medical-marijuana reviewer: 249

-- Date on which Obama tied George W. Bush for the number of rounds of golf played while in office; 10/25/09

-- Date on which the fifty-millionth man-made chemical was registered: 9/7/09

-- Number of registered drug company lobbyists in Washington, D.C., for every member of Congress: 2

* In Chicago? Want to see a Bonny 'Prince" Billy set at 6am? Here's your chance! Related: Bonny's top ten musical performance of 2009, published in Art Forum.

* "The problem for me, still today, is that I write purely with one dramatic structure and that is the rite of passage. I'm not really skilled in any other. Rock and roll itself can be described as music to accompany the rite of passage." -- Pete Townshend

December 10, 2009

Would you like to watch T.V.?
Or get between the sheets?
Or contemplate the silent freeway?
Would you like something to eat?
Would you like to learn to fly?
Would you like to see me t

Josephine Pryde, Adoption (13), 2009

* From Superfreakonomics:

"Prostitutes in the United States a century ago likely made in excess of $70,000 per year in today's dollars - far in excess of today's prostitutes, and were a higher percentage of the population. The reason? Today's prostitutes face more competition from women willing to have sex with a man for free. This conclusion stems from the work of economist Sudhir Venkatesh on the subject of the Chicago prostitute industry:

"It turns out that the typical street prostitute in Chicago works 13 hours a week, performing 10 sex acts during that period, and earns an hourly wage of approximately $27. So her weekly take-home pay is roughly $350. This includes an average of $20 that a prostitute steals from her customers and acknowledges that some prostitutes accept drugs in lieu of cash - usually crack cocaine or heroin, and usually at a discount. Of all the women in Venkatesh's study, 83 percent were drug addicts.

"Many of these women took on other, non-prostitution work, which Venkatesh also tracked. Prostitution paid about four times more than those jobs. But as high as that wage premium may be, it looks pretty meager when you consider the job's downsides. In a given year, a typical prostitute in Venkatesh's study experienced a dozen incidents of violence. At least 3 of the 160 prostitutes who participated died during the course of [his] study. 'Most of the violence by johns is when, for some reason, they can't consummate or can't get erect,' says Venkatesh. 'Then he's shamed,- 'I'm too manly for you' or 'You're too ugly for me!' Then the john wants his money back, and you definitely don't want to negotiate with a man who just lost his masculinity.'

"Moreover, the women's wage premium pales in comparison to the one enjoyed by even the low-rent prostitutes from a hundred years ago. Compared with them, [the typical street prostitutes] are working for next to nothing.

"Why has the prostitute's wage fallen so far?

"Because demand has fallen dramatically. Not the demand for sex. That is still robust. But prostitution, like any industry, is vulnerable to competition.

"Who poses the greatest competition to a prostitute? Simple: any woman who is willing to have sex with a man for free.

"It is no secret that sexual mores have evolved substantially in recent decades. The phrase 'casual sex' didn't exist a century ago (to say nothing of 'friends with benefits'). Sex outside of marriage was much harder to come by and carried significantly higher penalties than it does today."

* Momus on the outgoing decade. excerpt:

"Other things that looked dead or dying this decade: I personally stopped going to the cinema. Why sit behind someone's head in a fleapit when you can download all you need to see and project it at home? Copyright effectively died, overtaken, de facto, by events on the internet. Magazines and newspapers ended the decade looking very unhealthy indeed, although books seemed strong. Young people got a lot less interested in cars, leading some to label Japan a post-car society. Detroit pretty much collapsed. The polar ice caps melted rapidly; climate change is a fact. Banks -- having invented what they thought were clever ways to spread risk around, and play with planet-sized sums of entirely fictional money -- looked pretty shaky. As a result of the financial crisis, some declared the thirty-year neo-liberal project to privatize, incentivize and globalize over. Nicolas Bourriaud declared postmodernism dead, replaced by something he called the Altermodern. Attacks in the British press helped to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy."

* "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think." -- Horace Walpol

December 9, 2009

I never said nothin'

Henry Gunderson, 2009

Three by Erin Belieu:

The Sadness of Infidels

That which illuminates is sometimes only sad;
this full moon's rule, titular
at best, and each decision
we come to beneath her, obscured,

vague as the myth inside a constellation.

We're more comfortable with vanishing,
the partial beliefs of a bedside lamp,

and only trust in what we must
keep hidden. We make love our euphemism.

I've observed each part of me eclipse
as your body passes over mine,

your mouth moving then replacing nipple and clit,

desire circling a single point, unanchored,
incapable of resting or sinking in.

We're sad as glaciers are, who cannot feel this,

propelled by the engine of their frozen weight,
natural machines made completely of mirrors,

we put out the light, moving forward and blind.


Remind me of a similar devotion;
how the head, buried
deeply in the brush

and gully of damp flesh,
becomes platonic
in its gratefulness,

a perfect worship.
This is why one body,
fastened to the forest

of another, swells.
This wild dependence

of the host on her guest.

Against Writing about Children

When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one. I was not
exceptional, uncomfortable as that is
to admit, and most children are not

exceptional. The particulars of
cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large,
memory gnawing it like

a fat dog, are ordinary: Mean Miss
Smigelsky from the sixth grade;
the orthodontist who

slapped you for crying out. Children
frighten us, other people's and
our own. They reflect

the virused figures in which failure
began. We feel accosted by their
vulnerable natures. Each child turns

into a problematic ocean, a mirrored
body growing denser and more
difficult to navigate until

sunlight merely bounces
off the surface. They become impossible
to sound. Like us, but even weaker.

December 7, 2009

nothing frightens me more
than religion at my door

Max Protetch, Winter, 2003

He Said, She Said
-- by Dennis Mahagin

Tiger wrapped a Caddy 'round a tree,
only then they began to pour, ceaselessly
out of the woodwork ... hardly banshees,
or even sirens, but more than vaguely
skeletal-couture, with litigator shoes

in tow; yet myself, I'll have you
know was reading William Blake when the story
broke, with a classic rock song simultaneously stuck
in my head, a slow-blues version of a Beatles favorite
made fashionably current by a Government

Mule, the best part of the catchy tune being
a change-up in the middle, when quirky waltz time
usurps a straight-eight beat, wise old Lennon threw
that in, big as Jesus, it was in fact John's genius--not
caring fuck one iota what a general populace thought

about signature
time, how he got off, with Yoko
or not ... even how it feels to be
stalked, Christ, that song got
to me, the way a bluesy singer

named W. Haynes with lion mane
and virtuoso chops could take a pop song
and wring out a dog leg see saw of purest
pain, tuft of blue grass tossed windward, through
symmetry, through dobro, tract fire, sycophantic

baiting of a too-tall totem with four degree
three iron in an electrical storm ... So I hummed
this tune, ceaseless it seemed, and said to my
"Self now a Tiger knows how it feels
to blow with B. Blake a most furious

blues rune..." A week, or even more went
by, that stubborn song kept making my
morning news, and young T. Woods
took it all out on his next drive
went about 425


* "An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. " -- George Santayana

December 4, 2009

what comes is better than what came before

Sarah Nesbit, Walking Home, 2006

-- by Freya Manfred

What matters most? It's a foolish question because I'm hanging on,
just like you. No, I'm past hanging on. It's after midnight and I'm falling
toward four a.m., the best time for ghosts, terror, and lost hopes.

No one says anything of significance to me. I don't care if the President's
a two year old, and the Vice President's four. I don't care if you're
cashing in your stocks or building homes for the homeless.

I was a caring person. I would make soup and grow you many flowers.
I would enter your world, my hands open to catch your tears,
my lips on your lips in case we both went deaf and blind.

But I don't care about your birthday, or Christmas, or lover's lane,
or even you, not as much as I pretend. Ah, I was about to say,

"I don't care about the stars" -- but I had to stop my pen.
Sometimes, out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside
I glance up and see everything that's not on earth, glowing, pulsing,
each star so close to the next and yet so far away.

Oh, the stars. In lines and curves, with fainter, more mysterious
designs beyond, and again, beyond. The longer I look, the more I see,
and the more I see, the deeper the universe grows.

I have a long way to go, and I'm starting now --
out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside.

Speed, a Pastoral
-- by John Forbes

it’s fun to take speed
& stay up all night
not writing those reams of poetry
just thinking about is bad for you
— instead your feelings

follow your career down the drain
& find they like it there
among an anthology of fine ideas, bound together
by a chemical in your blood
that lets you stare the TV in its vacant face
& cheer, consuming yourself like a mortgage
& when Keats comes to dine, or Flaubert,
you can answer their purities
with your own less negative ones — for example
you know Dransfield’s line, that once you become a junkie
you’ll never want to be anything else?

well, I think he died too soon,
as if he thought drugs were an old-fashioned teacher
& he was the teacher’s pet, who just put up his hand
& said quietly, ‘Sir, sir’
& heroin let him leave the room.

(In DC? Story/Stereo #3 is tonight at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, 8:00 PM sharp. The music: Zomes (Asa Osborne of Lungfish). The writers: Dylan Landis (Normal People Don’t Live Like This) and Brian Gilmore (Elvis Presley is Alive and Well and Living in Harlem). More info at Storystereo.)

December 2, 2009

I want to grow up and be a debaser

Isa Genzken, Basic Research, 1989

Where They Were and What They Were Doing
-- by Matt Cook

I was looking through Milwaukee newspapers
From the day after John F. Kennedy was shot—

There was this auto body worker
Who brought his BB gun to work that day;
He was arrested for shooting his BB gun
Out the windows of the body plant
At passing automobiles—

That's where he was and what he was doing
On the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

There was this biochemist.
He was giving this speech at some university in town—
He was inviting the audience to imagine
A strain of pneumonia bacteria
That was wearing a heavy armor suit that was actually made ofprotein—
That was his public speaking metaphor.
His point was that the protein would act like
A shield against white blood cells.
That's what that guy was up to that day.

And just outside of town somewhere,
A car slammed into a truck on a rainy highway.
The car guy died of head injuries;
The truck guy was in satisfactory condition with neck pain.

In satisfactory condition with neck pain—
That's where that guy was, and what he was doing.

The day President Kennedy was shot,
These kids broke into a junior high school.
They stole twenty dollars worth of stamps,
And smashed up an aquarium.

That was their story;
That's where they were and what they were doing.

The Surgeon
-- by Alicia Suskin Ostriker

I was still a kid
interning at State
he reminisces late in the meal—
It was a young red-headed woman
looked like my sister
when the lines went flat
I fell apart
like a car with a broken axle
Went to the head surgeon
a fatherly man
Boy, he said, you got to fill a graveyard
before you know this business
and you just did row one, plot one.

-- by Sharon Olds

By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

December 1, 2009

how can one ever think anythings permanant

Lisa Law, Nico, 1967

* The lobbyist new gravy-train? High-speed rail. excerpt:

"High-speed rail is Washington’s latest potential bonanza, it seems, and that $8 billion dollars — just for starters — is attracting lots of attention. In fact, an examination by The Center for Public Integrity found that more than 50 public and private groups explicitly lobbied on high-speed rail policy last quarter — a three-fold increase from a year ago. Even that number fails to capture dozens of other actors likely lobbying on high-speed rail that keep their specific lobbying targets as vague as Washington does its spending plans."
"But for K Street, it’s “all aboard.” General Electric turned heads this summer by hiring Linda Hall Daschle, previously the Federal Aviation Administration’s Deputy Administrator — and wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle — to lobby on rail. Signing up such an influential Washington player — just last month the Daschles hosted a fundraiser for House Transportation chairman James Oberstar’s political action committee — suggested one of the world’s largest companies sees real opportunities. Last week the firm announced an agreement with China that would allow GE to pursue American projects using Chinese rail technology.

“'There will be a lot of consultants all over this stuff,' says consultant Gillespie, who got his rail start while working for Republican Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania and then Amtrak. 'There already are.'”

"The 50-plus groups that filed last quarter as explicitly lobbying on high-speed rail include labor unions such as the AFL-CIO and big freight railroads such as BNSF Railway, as well as supply companies, transit agencies, 15 cities and counties, and even the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Law and lobby firms Patton Boggs and Ball Janik represent many of the local governments, while others, such as Kelley, Drye & Warren lobby, for specific rail-interested niche groups such as the steel industry."

* NFL films' Steve Sabo says the wiring of Lions' QB Matthew Stafford was most dramatic ever. Watch the clip, Sabo would know.

* "Dance is the hidden language of the soul." -- Martha Graham