Monday, August 15, 2005

Poet Jen Hofer (“like offer, not like gopher”) was kind enough to open her home Friday night to the Angeleno rabble by hosting and co-curating , with filmmaker David Gatten, an evening of cinema & poetry entitled The Moving Word.

Los Angeles, like most urban centers, has a fairly vibrant & diverse avant-garde/experimental/underground/what-have-you poetry community. The same can be said of the avant-garde film community, with the added twist that it operates in an industry town beneath (or along-side-of, or above) Hollywood, the dream factory, Babylon, etc. (Maybe it’s so energetic because of this fact; that is, only from such an embattled position at the apex of Hollywood money, power, & celebrity can such a community exist – similar perhaps to how the underground literary community operates in New York, surrounded by the big publishers? I suppose there are other reasons, the proximity of film & art schools like UCLA & CALArts being primary. For an interesting take on Hollywood & the avant-garde ("The distinction between 'pure' uncorrupted avant-garde and 'commercialized' Hollywood or mainstream cinema is a false one, and probably always was"), check out this post from Digital Poetics). Still, it amazes me that the cinema & poetry communities in Los Angeles are not brought into dialogue like this more often, especially because the communities tend to overlap significantly. Most of the poets I know are cinephiles, avant-garde or otherwise...

The evening began with a film by Janie Geiser, followed by Will Alexander reading from his latest book, Exobiology as Goddess. There were also films by Paolo Davanzo (who runs the Echo Park Film Center), David Gatten, Adele Horne, Lewis Klahr (with music by Rhys Chatham), Lisa Marr, and Lee Anne Schmitt, as well as readings by Haryette Mullen, Jane Sprague, Diane Ward, and Jen Hofer. Quite a lot to take in, and I didn’t even mention the pre-show impromptu musical performances (a group of people, I don’t know who, played incredible old-timey country & bluegrass music, two guitars & a fiddle). Sorry I don’t have specifics, I didn’t take notes. Jane Sprague read from “White Footed Mouse, Field Notes” which you can read online in a PDF document of the journal ecopoetics no. 3.

Also got to talk a bit with Ara Shirinyan, and finally got to meet Stan Apps & Mathew Timmons (at least I think it was M. Timmons...I didn't catch the last name, correct me if I'm wrong).

Oh yeah, I joined the Totally Obvious blog and will be posting there occasionally.

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