Thursday, April 30, 2009

This women's work; or three faces of eve.

All quotations from Elizabeth I, Collected Works eds. Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose (U of Chicago P, 2000)

1) The Politics of Loving

On Monsieur's Departure

I grieve and dare not show my discontent;
I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate;
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant;
I seem stark mute, but inwardly do prate
  I am, and not; I freeze and yet am burned,
  Since from myself another self I turned

My care is my shadow in the sun—
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands, and lies by me, doth what I have done;
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
  By no means I find to rid him from my breast,
  Till by the end of things it suppressed.

Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft, and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, Love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low;
  Or let me live with some more swet content,
  Or die, and so forget what love e'er meant.
Elizabetha Regina. ca 1582.

2) Head of the Church

Morning Prayer

My God, my father, and my Savior, as Thou now sendest Thy sun upon the earth to give corporeal light to Thy creatures, vouchsafe also to illuminate my heart and understanding by the heavenly light of Thy Holy Spirit, that I neither think nor say nor do anything unless to serve and please Thee. During this whole day may my principal purpose be to walk in Thy fear, to serve Thee and honor Thee, expecting all luck and prosperity from Thy blessing alone. As for my body and my soul, mayst Thou be my Protector, strengthening me against all the temptations of the devil and of the flesh, preserving me from the encroachments and conspiracies of all my enemies, their accomplices, and adherents. And, good God, inasmuch as there is nothing well begun if one does not persevere, may it please Thee not only to receive me under Thy guidance and protection for this day, but for the whole course of my life, continuing and increasing from day to day the gifst and graces of Thy Holy Spirit in me until I, being united and conjoined with Thy only Son my Savior, may enjoy that blessed life which Thous hast promsied to all Thy elect, through Thy same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, amen. (1569)

3) The Lioness in Winter


[Subscribed] Gathered by one that heard it and was commanded to utter it to the whole army the next day, to send it gathered to the queen herself

My loving people, I have been persuaded by some that are careful of my safety to take heed how I committed myself to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery. But I tell you that I would not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear: I have so behaved myself that under God I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects. Wherefore I am come among you at this time but for my recreation and pleasure, being resolved in the midst and heat of the battle to live and die amongst yo all, to lay down for my God and for my kingdom and for my people mine honor and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king and of a king of England too—and take foul scorn that Parma or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm. To the which rather than any dishonor shall grow by me, I myself will venter my royal blood; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of your virtue in the field. I know that already for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns and I assure you in the word of a prince you shall not fail of them. In the meantim, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject. Not doubting but by your concord in the camp and valor in the field and your obedience to myself and my general, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God and of my kingdom.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Single k.o.

LXXV On Lip the Teacher

I cannot think there's that antipathy
'twixt puritans, and players, as some cry;
Though Lip, at Paul's, ran from his text away,
T'inveigh 'gainst players: what did he then but play?

—Ben Jonson, Epigrams (1616)

Phoning moe's.

Hysterical Willie Morris crankcaller anecdote as recounted by Larry L. King.
Years later, when ex-Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, a member of the Louisiana legislature was running (unsuccessfully) for Congress, Willie called his campaign headquarters election night and asked that Eva Braun be paged. He shortly heard the PA system at Duke's headquarters braodcasting , Telephone call for Eva Braun . . . Eva Braun, telephone call . . . When Willie eventually was told "Eva Braun" didn't answer, he assured the person on the other end of the line she was supposed to be there. "What does she look like?" the campaign worker asked. "Well," Willie said, "she looks very Germanic." (In Search of Willie Morris, 155-6)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How i got over.

On Being Brought from Africa to America

"Twas mercy brought me from my pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Savior too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their color is a diabolic dye."
Remember, Christians, Negroes, bklack as Cain,
May be refined, and join the angelic train.

  —Phyllis Wheatley, The Poems of Phyllis Wheatley ed. Julian D. Mason, Jr. (U of NC Press, 1966)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Me and my kind.

The issues about class in American culture are manifold and have long been overlooked due to our necessary obsessions with race. This is an extended rumination brought on by Rick Bragg's answer to Maridith's question Tuesday, which was referenced here. In short, he posited class, and specifically an agrarian working class, as a bedrock foundation of Southern culture: "The South: It's kinda like collard greens. It may be the Soul. It is the flavor. What it is I think it's class." This FACT explained why an urban SF audience didn't laugh at his burnt used car oil joke and we did. I wonder what bookstore that reading occured in: City Lights, Clean Well Lighted Place, some chainstore or further afield Cody's in Berkeley or Kepler's down the peninsula in Menlo?

Today's title theme song was written by a very good friend; I reiterate, "This is NOT a Rebel song!"

Me and My Kind

I never had no silver spoon
I went to school in an old saloon
I don't smoke, just dip and chew and spit
Meat and taters fit my bill
The Dukes of Hazzard gave me chills
And I'm still mad at Lee because he quit.

For me and my kind Dixie's more than just a word
To say the South won't rise again is plain absurd
Life without a truck is worse than doing time
As long as Hank is on the stage
As long as there is Jack to age
As long as wars for deer are waged
Then there will be hell to raise
For me and my kind.

Daddy told me long ago
"Son, when you die, you will go
To the capital of Tennessee"
Well, I swear that before I go
I'll let every Yankee know
That you can't tame or change a bird that's free.

Yes sir, nothing suits me more
Than the Rebel flag that soars
In the wind if only to remind
That country boys they will survive
God bless beer and four-wheel drive
That's the life for me and my kind.

For me and my kind . . .

Copyright 1991 John Brocato

Now the problem with solely race-based civil rights and at that a singular race is that they tend to overly favor those who do not need a helping hand. For example, many of the African American students I attended Harvard with starting in 1981 came from families with mid to high level six figure incomes, the kind of black elite who summer at Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard(cf Graham and Moore). I in no way deny that one can be African-American, well-to-do, and still have been discriminated against regularly. But I'm not sure the wealthy, prep-school educated son or daughter of a high ranking UN administrator who has never wanted for anything is what Affirmative Action should be about.

Rather I think we should have some other affirmative action components based on familial income, and some that seek out targeted non-African American minorities who are having a hard time in the US: say Vietnamese boat people along the Gulf Coast, Sudanese lost boys in Minneapolis, and Hmong villagers in Suburban Detroit, naming but three powerful exemplars.

I'm not a Lawyer or even a constitutional scholar, though I did study under Archibald Cox (who knew a thing or three), and I'm not here to re-argue Bakke or later Michigan cases. But I've read Agee and seen Evans' pictures. I know what happened in Muskogee and later the Central Valley between Modesto and Bakersfield. I've seen Matewan, and I do firmly believe that we have real class issues in the States that we have been denying since at least the 30s when effective labor and left political movements began dying off en masse. That's what Bragg (Rick and Billy!) is talking about.

We Liberals need to be tougher to borrow the adjective my former housemate applied to Alfred Shanker (cf. Kahlenberg). We need to engage those anywhere to the right of us with language and arguments they understand, so they can't just dismiss our ideas rotely out of hand as airy fairy left-wing fantasies. Liberals need to work on facts, figures, and specific proposals with limited targeted goals that are numerically measurable. Using such arguments we might actually start addressing the daunting problems which face our country, so many of which are about class and income and a result of the vast shift of capital away from labor over the past say 30+ years. Why do the highest incomes belong to those who produce nothing?

Remember Liberal is a seven letter word not four.

Graham, Lawrence Otis. Our Kind of People: Inside Black America's Upper Class. NY: Harper Perennial, 1999.

Kahlenberg, Richard. Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Moore, Jacqueline M.Leading the Race: The Transformation of the Black Elite in the Nation's Capital, 1880-1920. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1999.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pound it out.

Booker T. Potato Hole (Anti)

An instant birthday present review. Thanks, GD!

Booker T. Jones has recently released a new album Potato Hole. Standing in for the MGs are the Drive-By Truckers,a most appropriate choice for a couple of reasons. Band members grew up around Muscle Shoals and some of their parents where session musicians who could have recorded with the MGs back in the late 60s/early 70s. Recently, The DBTs displayed their backing band R&B chops while supporting Bettye LaVette on her career reviving The Scene of The Crime, also on Anti. Don't blame for using 3 guitars when back in the day Steve Cropper was sufficient! And by the way o some tracks there are a massive five guitars providing a kudzu-thick jungle of sonic textures and timbres. For some time now beyond his studio producing duties, Booker T. has toured with Crazy Horse. Neil Young returns the favor providing yet again a further display of his brilliance as a guitarist of heat, passion, and refined lines. He becomes the ultimate session guy here.

The DBTs have been doing OutKasts's "Hey Ya" live for quite some time now, but the version that appears here takes on a whole new sense of freaky fun with Booker's funky leading Hammond B3 organ lines. They also cover Tom Waits' "Get Behind the Mule" which puts me in mind of The Eagles doing "Ol. No. 55." Surprisingly the least of the covers is the DBTs' own composition "Space City."

But the 3 really superb tracks on the record are the opener, "Pound it Out," "Native New Yorker," and the title track. The first track features lots of fuzzed out guitars and some searing leads by one suspects Neil. "Native New Yorker" has the feel of a lost instrumental outtake from Live Rust. On the title track Booker T. plays both acoustic and electric guitar.

Don't leave this little gem buried under the plantation floorboards.

William, it was really nothing.

According to lore, William Shakspeare would have been 445 three days ago, having been born April 23, 1564, a day which just happens to be that of England's patron Saint George. Don't believe it. The facts as we know them are well laid out by S. Schoenbaum in Shakespeare's Lives
The parish registers of Holy Trinity record the baptism of the Shakespeare's first son, William, on 26 April 1564: 'Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere'. (Oxford UP, 1993): 7–8.
Beyond that we can only speculate that he was born in the week prior to the 26th starting on the 25th. Seeking to connect England's national author by birth to its national Saint is sheer wishful thinking. Any student of Shakespeare knows such myth creation would offend him to the very quick.


Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned,
Crookèd eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
  And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
  Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

—William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Sonnets ed. Stephen Booth (Yale UP, 1977)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Art into pop; or, walking on sunshine.

Took part in Starkville in Motion's Arts Walk today. It was an almost perfect day for this event, which was good for your physical, cultural, and perhaps even spiritual health. Kudos to Michelle Jones for a fantastic Architectural detail scavenger hunt! I bet the kids had fun, with or without binoculars.

First thing I saw was a group of walkers, but they were some high school kids walking for World Vision and against Famine. They sped by and, of course, my camera's battery died, so 1) I only caught their tail-enders and 2) no idea which denomination they represented.

First art thing I saw was a bunch of happy kids and kids at heart at Dandy Doodlez.

One of the proud co-sponsors of the event: Starkville Community Market.

Really, I swear there was some impressive chalk art, it's just out of my lens' eye.

Fridge magnets on the march!

Any and all outdoor Starkville Arts events require a shot of DK painting . . .

Then it was on to one of the primary venues: Cre8tive Warehouse.

This is the actual workspace at Cre8tive Warehouse.

Jeremy Murdock, who also showed at CDAF, is an up and coming photographer with a keen eye for all tints: B&W, Sepia, and Color. It doesn't hurt that his subjects involved two of my favorite places: NOLA and SF. Maybe he and Ray Iglay should try and do a show together some time.

But believe it or not Ripley, the find of the day was a freebie on a counter at Cre8Tive. Kirk Nunnelee's cartoon chapbook--something I suspect Dr. Fury & Gorjus will heartily approve of. Here's the cover and one funny page.

O death.

Sonnett XVIII: On The Late Massacre in Piedmont
Avenge , O lord, thy slaughter'd Saints, whose bones
  Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountain cold,
  Ev'n them who kept thy truth, so pure of old
  When all our Fathers worship't Stocks and Stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
  Who were thy Sheep and in their ancient Fold
  Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd
  Mother with Infant down the Rocks. Their moans
Thy vales redoubl'd to the Hills, and they
  To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
  O'er all th'Italian fields where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow
  A hundredfold, who having learnt the way
  Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
—John Milton, Complete Poems and Major Prose Merrit Y. Hughes, ed. (The Odyssey Press, 1957), 167–8.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potato(e) hole.

Remember when Republican Veeps were basically harmless?

Yankee translation: a secret hiding place in the ground, often under the floorboards of a plantation shack where a slave would store some extra food, aka A TATER. I'll do a proper review of this fine new album by Booker T. later. Just know standing in for the MGs are the Drive-By Truckers. And Neil Young lays down some incredible guitar solos in an occasionally incredible 5 guitar assault (Booker T., Patter Hood, Mike Cooley, John Neff, and Neil Young). Yowzah! Now that's what I call music. Plus a lot of fun covers: OutKast, DBTs, and Tom Waits. Produced by Foo Fighter's guy, Rob Schnapf.

But the title track provides a musical clue about today's entry, a discussion of Rick Bragg's presentation at Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library for the annual Dessert Theater fundraiser. You all know Rick Bragg as a famously hilarious and heartfelt best-selling memoirist of rough and tumble family life in the rural South, specifically NE Alabma, more specifically Possum Trot just outside Jacksonville, in works like (cf. All Over But The Shoutin' and Ava's Man). I first came to know Rick Bragg as a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter/columnist for The New York Times, who happened once to write about a folk ad area near and dear to my heart: the oystermen and women of Franklin County Florida in general and East Point and Apalachicola, specifically. That's all that needs to be said on that topic. If you don't think stringers are valuable working class folk, ask Dan Rather about his career break. What I was unaware of was that Rick now has a new third (or is it fourth?) career as Professor of Writing in the Journalism Department a scant 89 miles SE of Starkville at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Apparently he does know the meaning of another Booker T. track, "Pound It Out"!

The Dessert Theater was held in a nicely appointed John Grisham Room on the 3rd floor of the library. Round tables with white tablecloths and low mood lighting aided and abetted by the odd candle set the tone for a special evening. There's a nice linkage there. John was born in Jonseboro, Arkansas, the sight of a much later tragedy we all remember, perhaps from Mr. Bragg's reportage for The New York Times as a national correspondent based in Atlanta.

Here's Rick prior to speaking sitting next to Starkville maven, Elizabeth Gwen. Pretty well preserved for a centurion! Yes, she was a High Fashion model in Manhattan in the 20s!! She remains a gracious hostess, proud supporter of MSU academics in general and the English Department in particular (whom her late husband served well and long), and a lovely dinner companion.

We talked about all kinds of interesting things, the best kind of BBQ and its availability in Memphis and T-town. I'm glad to report Bragg properly wants a wet rib and his wife understand the need for low and slow cookin'. He then nervously talked about how modern YouTube, cellphone camera (read and blogging culture (Heh Heh) had in a way destroyed readings because authors felt less free to fully express themselves less a clip be taken out of context (translation: Karl Rove's basic playbook for 12+ years).

Soon it was time for the main event, Rick talking and reading from his third best-selling memoir, The Prince of Frogtown, about his father.

Bragg talked quite a bit extemporaneously, highlighting his ascent from that birthplace of gifted "Celtic fringe" storytellers, the Appalachian foothills. He even gesticulated to great effect.

Eventually he turned the night into a more traditional "reading." Funnily enough this act was prefaced by an even better story which highlights the man's essential qualities. He briefly left the podium and walked to the Barnnes & Noble table full of stacks of all three paperback memoirs and grabbed one to read from. He's stopped taking his own books to readings because
I always end up giving them away to some homeless person. You see in a big city you often get the Homelsss at readings because it a clean, well lighted place [well those weren't his exact words], usually warm and often with some free food. I'm living a dream no based on where I come from and what I write about. How could I begrudge someone so much worse of than me the pleasure of a book?
Then he read a story about his stepson with his wife's editorial "control" in plain view. It was a bravura performance!

Finally he took questions. Maridith asked the first one, a beaut reconfiguring the age old chestnut about whether or not there is still an essentially Southern literary quality. Three things stood out about Bragg's answer. It was long and well formulated. He was unafraid to display the courage of his convictions by naming names (though given his basically sweet-natured disposition he wasn't calling anybody out), and his anthracite-hard focus on "class" as the defining element of said culture was profound. No more needs be said about point one. Two: He trotted out several of this blog's personal faves, so who I am kidding when I say he, of course, knew what he was talking about. He did, you know! ;^)

Run don't walk to a bookstore near you and pick up a copy of Ron Rash, Serena. I was also moved to hear him talk abut Larry McMurtry and call Lonesome Dove (the book not the mini-series mind~!) one of the great novels of American literature. What Bragg didn't focus on is the fact that LM is arguably the greatest bookman in America today. Do yourself a favor; find a copy of this. The third point is so important to ponder, that I'll need another post to adequately deal with it. As a preview, a short honorary catalog of important Southern chroniclers of class: Faulkner, Hurston, Welty, Agee and Evans,WJ Cash, The Agrarians, Randal Jarrell, Otis Redding, The Drive-By Truckers, John Sayles, and Cynthia Cooper (even without an editorial board!). All I can add as a refrain:
I Don't Hate The South. I Don't Hate the South. I Don't Hate the South.
With the reading'done, it was time for the signin' as the fans lined up.

One special moment occurred when Rick signed former Athletic Director Larry Templeton's copy. Bragg wrote a famous SI piece about football in the South with a focus on the then new MSU Head Football Coach, Sylvester Croom. He also reminisced about enjoying a memorable beat down of the dread Gators on Scott Field.

Of course you're wondering: Yes, I got my picture taken with Mr. Bragg, and No, you're not going to see it. Life is like that sometimes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A city in the north.

My next-door neighbors are moving to Portland (lucky them). This happened long before Sun Microsystems just got gobbled up by Larry Ellison's inescapable maw, so it's a done deal. I decided to make them a travellin' CD to acclimatise to the NW.

This Mix is dedicated to them and Carrie, Douglas, Janet, Miguel, and Stephen.
Nota Bene: They are in no way responsible for the content or sequencing!

LCM Vol II: On To the Great Northwest

Flying Saucer Attack-Outdoor Miner
My Bloody Valentine-Map Ref 41N 93W
Tara Jane O'Neill-A City in The North
Pink Martini-Let's Never Stop Falling in Love
The Helios Sequence-Everyone Knows Everyone
The Shins-Pressed in a Book
Nu Shooz-I Just Can't Wait
Paul Revere & The Raiders-Just Like Me
The Brian Jonestown Massacre-Wisdom
The Dandy Warhols-Not If Your Were the Last Junkie on Earth
Avengers-The Amerikan in Me
Mission of Burma-Youth of America
The Kingsmen-Louie Louie
Team Dresch-Fake Fight
Sleater-Kinney-I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
Sleater-Kinney-Start Together
Sleater Kinney-Light-Rail Coyote
The Thermals-Our Trip
Quasi-Our Happiness Guaranteed
Loretta Lynne w/Jack Black-Portland, Oregon
Stephen Malkmus-We Can't Help You
Robert Cray-Right Next Door (Because of Me)

Screamin' & hollerin' the blues; or, it's like soul man.

I first met Jim Murphy at one of the Vice man's legendary Catfish cum Croquet 'dos. He is a kindred spirit. After all we both got "Strawberry Fields Forever" on THAT FB Living Social quiz.


Manners still intact, smack of poor talk
speaking on our lips—mid-afternoon
rain makes the roof tiles steam across
the empty row of streets. The parkway
is so far and unconnected from us now
that traffic seems to be a sound from
some other century. We may never play
the Charley Patton 78 we found this morning
for sale on two sawhorses and a door.
It's silver-blue sleeve promises a knockout,
but we'll have to put it in our book and wait
to see if what's on the brittle wax still swings.
These gifts are simple, held in one hand
up to the light and rattled hard for soundness.
For the right ones we're ready to break the bank,
as if the mementos we devote our spare time to
collect and endlessly nail up as evidence
were all free for he asking. Paper money,
case of wine, wall of books—all free. Our luggage
sits in the pool of rainwater. We sag on the split
gray lip of a bench, and I have to pull you
close just to feel that you're still there.
Even the green mountains can go to hell.
For the shameless moment, I covet my own life.

—Jim Murphy, The Memphis Sun Wick Poetry Chapbook Series Two Number 8 (Kent State UP, 2000)

And your bird can sing.

Another friendly local poet now decanalizing . . . For all I know he mesmerized the tree frog that landed on the window behind and stuck out the entire reading with the very poem below.


for Timothy

You look into the blackbird's eye
A whole world gathers around you at its center     smiling
How is it possible a simple trap
Could lure something of the world into your small hands

What power does a young boy have
That he might hold
What is most wild   given to flight

I understand the smile feathers bring
The contented moment of holding something in place
Life might be the elusive bird
That flies in the door and out the window

How proud can a father be of his own son with such a firm grip
When he himself has let so many things slip through his
When   at an early age
The sound of wings frightened  more than calmed

If the blackbird has given up
He is elevated now   in your hands
Lifted to a new height wit each stroke of your fingers

Your touch taking him this far
He might never return to himself
Or the world the same

But sing of his conversion
How his harsh calls were answered with soft words
How the fear of death climbed out of him
Once he gave in

He might sing of how he was held
For a moment one day
When sure he would die
He felt most alive
—Gary Myers, Lifetime Possessions: Poems (Riverstone, 1997)

Winner of the 1997 Riverstone Poetry Chapbooks Award


Out West, we say the picture below represents the "Angle of Repose"

Swinburne had a different tagline for it . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The lion sleeps tonight.

A intertextualized poem by the best New England poet I know personally and a favorite former colleague! Also printing this for National Poetry Month (rapidly receding) and as an homage to Joe Posnanski's Literary Ramblings.

Neither Road Taken.

A bright car pulled up where I was walking,
The driver leaning over. I didn't hear his questions,

my arms gesticulated some configuration of streets.

It was winter & ice hung in the branches like a thousand lost
sewing needles descending through the fabric of the afternoon.

It was spring & everything was imminence.
It was summer & the clouds swiftly passed over our heated element.

I told the man I was born beneath the wooden trestle of a train,
that loud noises captured my attention,

not the lefts & rights of destination.

Bearing the white needlepoint of a scar at the base of my neck,
I told him the road to the right was covered in hyacinth,

the one to the left dropped down along the aqueduct to hell.
Choose the oldest, I said to him, choose the oldest.
—Richard Lyons, Fleur Carnivore (The Word Works, 2006)

Winner of the 2005 Washington Prize


Monday, April 20, 2009

Outdoor miner.

No blind spots in the leopard's eyes

Can only help to jeopardize

The lives of lambs, the shepherd cries

An afterlife for a silverfish

Eternal dust less ticklish

Than the clean room, a houseguest's wish

He lies on his side, is he trying to hide?

In fact it's the earth, which he's known since birth

Face worker, a serpentine miner

A roof falls, an underliner

Of leaf structure, the egg timer

—Graham Lewis/Colin Newman, Chairs Missing (Harvest, 1978)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Celebrated summer.

The first 10 minutes of Adventureland bring a Replacements song I actually like (Think Tim Side 2), a semiotic signfying joke, and The VU. Now that's my kinda flick!

A little gem of a soundtrack, two funny supporting bits with Hader and Wiig, the honey from Twilight, a panoply of well known character actors (Wendie Malick, Jack Gilpin, Matt Bush, Josh Pais) plus some crushing punches below the belt.

Written and directed by that pomo Mr. Clean, Greg Mottola. The fact he was born in 64 has something to do with how this speaks to me I'm sure.

Met a gurl; liked her; made her a tape to play in the car . . .

Had my own version of the film's middle dramatic confrontation discussion at a picnic table outside Blackwelder end of summer 1988.

Something died in me on 12/6/88 when you sat directly across from me and said "I realized I don't have any close friends in the area."

But like any good film, "it"(whatever "it" was?) wasn't over yet. No "close friends in the area," but I kept getting mail and notes about her life and stuff.

She was always really resourceful about what she penned notes on: index cards, the corner of a cancelled check (just her name and a new phone number and thus I felt no reason to reproduce it), the back of a deposit slip (see below), et cetera.

Here was one about meeting her and some girlfriends at The Guild in Menlo to see Jaglom's farce Eating (1990). I went and it was a good time though most assuredly not a date.

Alas life seldom turns out like a romcom no matter how many times she reappears, which is why Casablanca has the perfect ending . . .

Make sure to spend your time at Pittsburgh's best low rent amusement park.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cotton song.

A 2fer.

Cotton Song

Come, brother, come. Lets lift it;
come now, hewit! roll away!
Shackles fall upon the Judgment Day
But lets not wait for it.
God's body's got a soul,
Bodies like to roll the soul,
Cant blame God if we dont roll,
Come, brother, roll, roll!
Cotton bales are the fleecy way,
Weary sinner's bare feet trod,
Softly, softly to the throne of God,
"We aint agwine t wait until th Judgment Day!
Nassur; nassur,
Eoho, eoho, roll away!
We aint agwine to wait until th Judgment Day!"
God's body's got a soul,
Bodies like to roll the soul,
Cant blame God if we dont roll,
Come, brother, roll, roll!

—Jean Toomer, Cane

Cane is a great but little known modernist Masterpiece out of the Harlem Renaissance. But is it a novel, a prose poem? A melange? A Bad CBS melodrama? Check it out; you won't regret it.

After lunch (A Veranda platter: two ribs and BBQ sausage on a stick and a slice of Chef Tyler's Rock Bottom chicken with avocado sauce wrap; darn I waited too long for a Turkey leg—next year Jay!)

Wandered around some more, saw a lot of nice art, but eventually left empty-handed. Three more shows to attend.

Gas pours fuel on the fire. Did a nice Heartbreakers cover, "The Waiting."

This little fella was practicing his hippy hop for Bonnaroo right down to a faceplant on the asphalt producing a cut lip.

Bill Davis was definitely in the District! Here he performs the rare "Spinout"!

Jeff of Jeff and Jeff with his favorite go go dancer!

Jeffrey C. Rockin' the Gibson as the show closes on the CDAF. But is it a Les Paul or an SG? Think this was his Dickie Betts' impression . . .

It never rains in southern california.

Kudos to Matt Cox and the SAAC for another happening CDAF with a little assist from Aeolus! The boys from Backstage braved the elements and brought the noise.

First sign of the festival at 9:30 Am was this tent in front of St. Joseph.

Light of light + glass fame. Heard a funny new version of the great Dr. Wagner"heist" as told by Gorjus a truly mendacious Southran Esq. a la Foote, who after all "tells better jokes." Also chatted with glass but forgot to take a picture. :^(

It was a tad greyish but as Auntie Beeb would say "Brightening later with patchy bits to the West." Turned off University Ave onto Maxwell and there was Stacie hot from the kiln.

Backtracked towards the other main street but detoured into the JA Children's Art & Play Village.

Every kid (Big or Small) loves a train set!

Dr. Damm got a mean drum circle going, the second best percussion gig in the "Ville, trailing only after Nexxus' amazing performance of Steve Reich's "Drumming" at Lee Hall.

If only our MSU drumline were this good!

Paging Susan Boyle, Susan Boyle? Anyone anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Oxford fell and has the Cranberry Wasabi sauce to prove it. Yum Yum!

There was, of course, dancing . . .

And crazy white people, AKA The Celtic Fringe.

JB performed GC.

Finally The J-Heads owned the TVA.

The fans seemed to like it.

The Kids Are All Right. Then it was time for a lunch break. Part duex forthcoming.