Friday, July 28, 2006

Vast Arcade Los Angeles

(click on photo to enlarge)

Dr. Eufencio Rojas!”...
“Liki Renteria!”...
“George Lopez”...
“El Pendejo!!”...
“Soy Yo!”
“Antonio Villaraigosa!"...
(Sound of locked jawbone cracking)
“Dr. Renato Frias!"...
(Low frequencies)

All are gathered here to pick up the parts and play with the remnants of Sr. Romo’s backhands.

First, let’s examine this document entitled, The Crystal Brilliance Manifesto. We have all studied The Art of Noises, have we not? Do you sense a rupture in the seams of 20th century art history now that we have come to a point where we can conjure the Futurists perfectly at home on Whittier Blvd?

Your Crystal Brilliance Manifesto loops los planes (which we remember were penned with blood, cactus, and semen) with the escritos of David Alfaro Siqueiros. His seemingly hazardous development was “an antinomic double objective: on one hand, encouraging the development of "new means" for literature and the visual arts through the incorporation of avant-garde principles; on the other, the promotion of truly independent perspectives based on the recovery of indigenous traditions.” (Mari Carmen Ramirez)

Romo, you penned, “Think of a mural dedicated to double vision, to sound, to the dead twin of the puff of smoke that you released from your lungs one night, to the long faded trails of movement left behind by your hands pushing into the concrete. Sounds should pass through your mind about now, wooshes and abstract noises and fractal like guffaws, hoots and car horns."

And then a crash defines the disso-stinct…and then we see the cinematic trails of Siqueiros project which somehow landed in Sergei Eisenstein’s erotic film bins.

Sr. Romo, think back to the Futurists’ dream of a mural dedicated to sound—think of Russolo’s praise of the-- “crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffling of crowds, the variety of din, from stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning mills, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways…” (Russolo 85 Futurist Manifestos, edited by Umbro Apollonio, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Publications, 2001: 74-77.)

from Vast Arcade Los Angeles: An Introduction to the Project by way of an Interview Conducted by Rita Gonzalez at the Home of Arturo Romo, 8/20/05

Arturo Romo's Vast Arcade Los Angeles can currently be seen along with Kalup Linzy's All My Children at LAX Art in Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

This should go in the comments section of Silliman’s Blog, but he’s turned his comments off, so I’ll respond here.

In response to Sherwood Anderson’s 1918 poem “Song to New Song”, Ron writes:

Several things in this text stand out, above & beyond the obvious influence of Whitman. One is the fact that there is nothing personal here about the use of the first person singular. Is “I” here even a person? More accurately, it strikes me as a rhetorical position. Nor is there anything personal, even personified, about “you,” bird man of the furnaces. Rather, this is a kind of public, figurative language we hardly hear any more, save possibly in church. If it seems preposterous or stilted or dated, that is the index of just how far outside our expectations such language is today within the poem.

Ron is referring to Sherwood Anderson’s rhetorical, and presumably communal, use of I and you: “I greet thee, horse and terrible singer, half man, half bird, strong, winged one./I see you float in cold bleak winds,/Your wings burned by the fires of furnaces…”

My first thought was that this language is epic language, and that indeed one occasionally does find such language used in contemporary poetry, if only ironically . My second thought was of Juliana Spahr and her repeated address to “Beloveds” and her use of the rhetorical I in her book This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (Spahr was also ready-at-mind for Gabe Gudding). Finally, I recalled the very common use of infinitives that function rhetorically, figuratively, and publicly, and that are often composed as lists in much contemporary poetry. This sort of infinitival excessiveness is the syntactic soft spot into which the public I and rhetorical you have recently wiggled: “To labor night and day/To bear rain or wind/To eat badly and to sleep badly, etc., etc.” In Heretical Imperialism Pier Paolo Pasolini calls this the “inchoative infinitive”:

…. “inchoative,” that is, as description of repeated actions – always because of a normativity alluded to with the absolute certainty of being understood, of exciting sympathetic sentiments in other people who not only have had similar experiences but who don’t even have the possibility of thinking for themselves of different experiences….The infinitival category […] in any case implies a humble and, I would say, labor-union-like epic quality: and so it does not imply only a simple “reanimation” of the speech of a speaker as a statistically and above all socially individualized particular character, but of a typical speaker, a representative of a whole category of speakers, thus of a milieu, even a people….The sympathy of the author in reanimating his speech grammatically thus doesn’t go out to him, but to all those like him, to his world.

This Weekend in Los Angeles

Poet's Theatre at the Last Sunday of the Month Reading Series
@The Smell


The Mummer's Play by Vanessa Place
starring Christine Wertheim, Matias Viegener, Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, and Maude Place as Twing Twang

Bad Fuggums by Joseph Mosconi
starring Andrew Maxwell, Rita Gonzalez, and Joseph Mosconi

Rootbots by Matt Timmons
starring Steph Rioux, Stan Apps, and Matt Timmons

excerpts from Conduction in the Catacombs, by Will Alexander
starring Tova Cooper and Alison McDonell

Optimist Meets Pessimist by Stan Apps
starring Brook Haley and Jen Rust

What Do You Know of Ghosts? by K. Lorraine Graham
starring K. Lorraine Graham and Mark Wallace

sections from Dark Carnival by Mark Wallace
starring K. Lorraine Graham and Mark Wallace

Balm to Bilk by Rodrigo Toscano
starring K. Lorraine Graham and Mark Wallace

Monkeys in the House by Harold Abramowitz
starring Steph Rioux, Stan Apps, and Matt Timmons


Doors open at 6:30. $5 at the door to support artistes.

The Smell
247 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA

Please don't throw rotten vegetables. I've never written a play before.


The 3rd installment of Long Beach Notebook
Saturday, July 29, 8PM

Aaron Kunin
Jen Benka
Ara Shirinyan

Aaron Kunin is the author of Folding Ruler Star (Fence Books, 2005), a collection of small poems about shame. The Mandarin, a novel, is forthcoming in 2007. He lives in California and teaches negative anthropology at Pomona College.

Ara Shirinyan is writer and editor of Make Now Press in Los Angeles. He curates the Last Sunday of the Month Reading Series at the Smell in Los Angeles with Stan Apps and Teresa Carmody. His chapbook Handsome Fish Offices is due out later this year on INSERT PRESS.

Jen Benka's collection, A Box of Longing With Fifty Drawers, which is comprised of one poem for each of the 52 words in the Preamble, was published by Soft Skull Press in 2005. She is also the author of the Eisner-nominated indy comic book series, Manya. She is the recipient of grants and awards from Intermedia Arts, the Poetry/Film Workshop, Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Xeric Foundation. She works as the managing director of Poets & Writers, and on the side, organizes poetry events, which have included a 24-hour marathon reading of the complete poems of Emily Dickinson, a protest reading during the 2005 Republican National Convention, and currently, a 5-night festival celebrating women poets. She lives in New York City.

LONG BEACH NOTEBOOK is held at the home & office of Palm Press:
143 Ravenna Drive
Long Beach, CA 90803

Thursday, July 20, 2006

E-Mail Spam as a Masterpiece in the Making
When Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu looks at junk e-mails, he sees patterns - bits and bytes that can be manipulated into colorful plantlike images or stark architectural forms.

As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, he and fellow student Tim Jaeger collected spam and used it to create live multimedia shows of sound, text, and animation - "like a VJ and DJ performance," Mr. Dragulescu says in a phone interview.

What? A visual correlate to the literary spam avant-garde?

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Neo-Benshi craze finally found its way to Los Angeles.

Only here it's called Da Benshi in order to differentiate it from the Bay Area chapter. Like Berlin and Zurich DaDa?

Amar Ravva and Harold Abramowitz are curating the bi-monthly live film (or video) narration series at Beta-Level in Chinatown (Da Benshi Code is the official series name).

The Mask of Zardoz is its logo.

Saturday night was Episode 1: My Dog Benshi, featuring "Jury Duty" by Oliver Hall (A Few Good Men served as the source text; instead of being court-martialed, Jack Nicholson was brought to court for...); "Monster" by Jason Brown (Jason used a sampler and turntable to narrate a collage of silent monster films); and "Bubonic Phonics" by DJ Eng (found footage of a squirrel met a live human chorus shouting "Bu-bo-nic Plague!").

The highlight of the night, however, was "Goooaaalll!!!" by Stan Apps and Mathew Timmons. Stan was out of town, so his disembodied pre-recorded voice ineracted with Matt's live narration as they scoured the tubby universe of Spanish commercials and trash television.

Guess who they found there?

Jim Behrle, "the poet capitalist", "the fruit of the loom of romanticism".

Lucky for us, Stan and Matt have taken a video polaroid for posterity.

Watch Goooaaalll!!! by Stan Apps and Mathew Timmons on YouTube:
Part 1
Part 2

And check out Harold Abramowitz's chapbook Three Column Table out now on Insert Press (no website yet, but query Stan or Matt for copies).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oh yeah? This morning I received this:

"Well, are you pleased?"

He was glowing, positively radiant, grinning as good as the best of any literature. Looked clean. The antennas screwed up the effect though--they were overgrown instructor's level.
So long, Syd.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Went to see the Dying Californian, my old college housemates, play at Mr. T's Bowl. Saw perhaps the best men's room grafiti ever:

"Fuck this existentialist drama."
-Louis Ferdinand Celine
Japanese improvisationalist Tetuzi Akiyama brought his guitars (acoustic, electric, mystic) to the experimental music series at the Schindler House last month for his first ever performance in Los Angeles. The night was cool, the crickets were chirping, and the occasional helicopter cruised by in the distance overhead as Akiyama strummed his acoustic, and then, after a short Campari break, boogied with his electric. I don’t own the vocabulary of a music critic, but I would guess that Akiyama’s acoustic noisy twangs & plucks are greatly influenced by Derek Bailey. The electric half of the show was conceptual: Akiyama essentially played a single classic rock riff for, oh, five to ten minutes, and then switched to another classic rock riff, which was also repeated for several minutes. It was very “dorm room”, but as my friend Jon said, the entire “rock” portion of the performance was put into relief by the more experimental acoustic half; many Derek Bailey style experimentalists can easily play “rock” but it’s not often that the rockers can play Derek Bailey.