Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interesting Week, from 9/11 to 9/18

I had a poetry reading at Princeton Library with Mahogany L Browne which went very well. This was my first reading of any note, set up by Lavinia Kumar, another poet who is part of the US1 Poet's Collective with me.  I read a bunch of my poems:  "Reading Chaucer and Joyce to Parakeets", "Mood Ring", "your summer dress", "Horseflies" (a pretty good success) and Lavinia asked me to teach a class in my "stunt" poetry (I forget the technical name for it, but it can be read in any direction and is sort of cellular, like a spreadsheet.)

Next, I got accepted to the Low Residency MFA Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts!

Good Week!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Batman Lego movie

I went today with my wife and grandson to see The Batman Lego movie, a very clever piece of cinematic programming, composition and vocal acting.  It is very clever and witty on split levels - little kid and adult.

This kind of programming is becoming more prevalent these days as movies target the global youth - adult market and is highly financially calculated.  Still, some of these sorts of movies are crafted better than others.  They are all "team" made projects, rather than individual visions, I think: movies by committee, large-scale mixed media projects that operate on the literary level of a television situation comedy, with violent overtones.

As good as they can be, not many of them remain in the mind, appeal to me on a real artistic level, a real emotional level, or function as much more than woo-woo for kids. I can think of a few exceptions, but none that I would go out on a ledge to promote here.  I did like this movie, entertaining in a very clever and crazed fashion and appealing to the longtime "Batman consumer", which I certainly am.  I read Batman in the fifties and sixties, watched the original TV series and many of the other Batman productions.   This movie touches on nearly everything that went before in both a charming and arch manner, trying to be campy and homespun all at once.

The last movie I saw, "Fences" was an artistic success on every level.  I guess its good that such variance exists in "Motion Pictures", but I would like to see more "Fences" and less "Lego".

Friday, February 10, 2017

My geographically challenged inner flywheel again thwarted my momentary destiny in DC this morning when I got off the Metro too early and walked out on the wrong side of town.  It took a half hour of circumperambulation in fairly frigid weather before I reoriented to a bus-stop and used my Senior Citizen Metro Card to get back uptown to the Convention Center.  Adventures in getting there in a roundabout way.

Actually, it was a good experience. I saw a lot of the area south of the capitol and got some legwork in.  Also, I made it to the Gwendolyn Brooks Golden Shovel reading just in time and caught some really inspiring activity.  I got to meet Sandra Beasley and Major Jackson, two poets I really like.  They were really nice and their readings were polished and authoritative.  Wham.

This was my first AWP and it was right cool.  Thousands of writers swarming around.  Poetry at the book sale area as far as the eye could see.  Lots of African American poetry readings.  Catharsis.  All that sort of thing.  I'm overwhelmed by the number of poets there are.  Who knew?  Also, I got to meet people from three or four MFA programs.  I attended two why do an MFA discussions.  A lot of input!

At times, I felt like a snowflake, sometimes a cog in a giant wheel, turning.  You know, like that.

I was there for two of the 3 1/2 days of the conference and didn't attend anything after 4:00 either day.  I was limited by lodging far off-site.  For the future, I will book early and stay on-site.  It would be ideal to be able to go upstairs for awhile, go to evening events, etc.  Have folks upstairs for chats and brews, etc.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

so, tonight: Robin Trower at the Keswick, just days after the death of Jack Bruce.  I'm envisioning this: waves of large wobbling notes washing over me sitting in the sixth row.  I would like to hear the infinite guitar sound.

My last experience with Robin Trower in concert was "historic" in that it led to the composition by his then-band, Procol Harum of a song about the night in question.  This was during the cold winter of 1968-69 in Macomb, Illinois at Western Illinois University, where I was an 18 year old freshman. (Uh, 46 years ago.)

Procol Harum (magically, I thought) appeared unannounced on a week night to play at Western - a few buddies and I were in the Student Union and someone came in and said, "Hey! Procol Harum is going to play in the ballroom!"  We went straight there and saw them setting up. What?

The concert, with the original group played their first two albums' (White Shade of Pale and Shine On Brightly) material. The concert was insanely good, but during the climactic part of their closing number and during an intense solo by Robin Trower, the power to the stage went out.  Augh!  They re-grouped, power was restored and they restarted the number.  Again, the power went out.  Oh, no!
This happened, I think, three times.  Finally, they gave up.  However, no one there (maybe 100 students) would ever forget.

For weeks after, we could talk about little but Robin Trower. His guitar playing was quite unbelievable and none of us had suspected he was THAT good.  That note bending and natural vibrato left us in awe.  Of course he would go on to continue to stun crowds from there on with both Procol Harum and successive bands.

Anyway, I greatly anticipate his performance this evening. I'm hoping for a heartfelt version of "Spellbound" in particular, but hey, Robin - whatever you want to play is okay with me. 

Also, being a former band-mate of Jack Bruce, I'm wondering what tribute might be in store? We will see.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What to do with this stuff?

So I'm sitting on a 175 page book of poetry and starting another poem which is now up to 140 or so lines, but what to do with this stuff?  I consider this stuff to be unique, but ......

Also, I have completed the lyrics to my Musical, "Prozac Nation - the Musical", but am uncertain where to go with this.  I do need to finish the dialog and then that will give me two finished works.

I guess the thing to do is post them here or print them up at Staples.  There's the whole e-publishing thing, but this all seems too entrepreneurial to me. 

So, what a quandary! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Surf Music

Having listened to all available surf music I could reasonably allow myself, both in the sixties and during the subsequent revivals, I have to stop and bark out my opinions.




The 3 top documents of Surf Music I believe are:

Surf Music: the Hits Surf Music: the Instrumentals

Endless Summer Ventures Play the Greatest Surfing Hits of All TimeWorld's Greatest Surf CD

The Ventures CD ranks number one with me. It was recorded in the 80s, masterfully, by the real originators of the sound: 4 guys who never strayed much from their roots. This thing rocks and I listen to it QUITE OFTEN, I must say.

Dick Dale never did it for me, but some might consider him King of the Surf Guitar. 

Also, there's the Cowabunga! Surf Box for all of the surf music you ever want to listen to.  I'm not too keen on this.

http://www.sundazed.com/ has a bunch of really great surf cd reissues as well

You could argue for Disk 1 of the Beach Boys box set, Good Vibrations - that's all surf music in there. A better bet is their second album, Surfin USA, a real good one.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Can Lead An Old Dog to Water But You Can't Trick Her Into Drinking, Even If She is Dying of Thirst

The title says it all, although somewhat adage-challengedly. Mixed metaphorically (not really metaphors)

The hardest thing to do is know yourself, apparently.  (Didn't Robbie Burns have something on this?)

Someone I know is "highly invested" in the pretense that "Nothing has changed".  However, don't we all know the other adage "The only thing constant is change"? 

"Just act like nothing has happened. Ignore the 800 pound gorilla / man behind the screen / obvious." No matter what.

I suppose we are all guilty of vanity and pretending that "EVERYTHING IS FINE!!!!!!!!" but this case of which I speak is ridiculous.

For my pains in pointing out the obvious, I get scorn and ridicule and other people get plastered in the wake of unprincipled anger and spite.  Doing the right thing is seldom any fun.