Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kissing Gertrude Stein

A little rushed, as three things are happening at once.

I've become involved in a performance piece (it can't properly be called a 'play) that's happening at luna stage in montclair this weekend. It's called the picasso project and it's a theatrical exploration/presentation of picasso painting, sculpture and writing. A lot of it is very movement/physically oriented, based on picasso's work, and the text is taken from a play pablo wrote called 'desire.' There is a little gertrude stein text as well; here's an excerpt of that:

Shutters shut and
shutters and so shutters shut and shutters and so and so
shutters and so shutters shut
and so shutters shut and shutters and so. And so shutters
shut and so and also.

The picasso text has more verbal variety, but is very very free associative and non-linear. VERY hard to memorize.

It's challenging work, and i'm doing a bunch of day job stuff too, as well as a project with beth and arianne, and, of course, auditioning. SO that's one of the reasons you haven't seen much on this blog lately.

Speaking of which, i've got to go meet with a potential office boss. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Secrets and Jet Blue

First of all, thanks to sherin, here's an invitation to participate very easily, for the price of a postcard and postage, in what might be a cool installation in london:

Hello all,

I'm working on a sound installation right now for which I need people to anonymously send me a secret. I would greatly appreciate it if you could write a secret on a postcard and send it to me. The postcards need not be fancy as they themselves will not be shown rather the secret itself will be recorded. Please forward this e-mail onto anyone who might be interested.

Thank you in advance for your time,
Piper Mavis

Piper Mavis
5 Tyssen st.
Flat 76 London E8 2LY

There was an online project that was similar to this at some point, wasn't there? I seem to recall a website of photos of 'secret' postcards put together by some artist or other (don't know if it was piper or not).

And now this goes out to abner g.: it's a youtube response to the jet blue apology that took up a full page of the times and has been plastered all over the internet. It's disturbing and somehow hilarious too - kind of video redneck equivalent of the crazy people on the subway. With ac/dc music!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Indicative solution

You've heard of greenwashing, yes? This tendency to make a company, industry, government, etc. appear environmentally friendly by using a small percentage of green materials and/or paying lipservice to energy concers, while pretty much keeping up the same destructive processes.

Well, they've taken it to a new level. Laoshu mountain in yunnan, china was looking pretty grim: it had been quarried heavily, and the trees weren't making it. So naturally the local authorities took action: by spray painting the mountain green.

Yup. They sure did. Evidently residents of a new government building now have a better view. Or something.

Read all about it in this article.

In other news, britney spears got a haircut.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What are blogs for?

I was wondering why we do these things, and for whose benefit. Typing onto some website that some few or some many, or maybe no one will ever look at. And it may or may not mean anything to any of them, even yourself. Not exactly like a journal or a diary, because there is the possibility and even the hope that others will read it (as opposed to the presumed privacy of the thoughts one puts in that notebook he totes around in a satchel along with a subway map and this week's village voice; or some cleverly and maybe cutely bound book [with a lock?] one keeps in her top desk drawer next to photos of her last five boyfriends...)

And by some random turn of the psyche, that got me thinking about william arrowsmith. He was a serious classicist, by which i don't mean he taught priviledged white kids how to read homer (although he did that too). No, the thing is that he wrote important and alive translations of euripides and seneca and many others, while also writing plays and film criticism and teaching ancient languages, poetry and drama. He also turned me on to antonioni - via a simple twist of free association: a line in a lyric in a play i was in led me to a film director, who just happened to be the subject of a course taught by one of the greatest minds of his generation the following semester. So i took his class and opened up a visual aesthetic in myself. (i knew college was good for something)

Of course i wasn't aware of any of this until it had already happened. Odd like that. Anyway, he was one of the best teachers i ever had. Hero worship? No, fuck that. He taught me a lot about film and literature, drama and art (and more about writing than almost any english professor i ever had) and we got along well. But we didn't stay in touch much, and then, well, he died (may he rest in peace).

But one thing he used to refer to came back to me today - the 'great western intellectual butter slide.' Pretty self-explanatory, and perhaps a tad alarmist; but it's true that what is considered genius, brilliant, smart, even competent has, well, slid. We're at a point where starting and finishing a book, i mean reading one - in your native tongue - can be considered a significant intellectual achievement by altogether too many people.

SO maybe these blogs are an attempt to reach out to others, and bust out of this pattern. To escape from the habit of tv, mass-produced, commercially-driven advertainment. To cease to be a passive observer/consumer and actually do something, make something, say something.

Or maybe not. Maybe it's just some shit that people do.

Cause what are they saying? I had an entry typed out reacting to an article in the eyebeam journal on open source theory as it relates to fashion design (two areas about which i know almost nothing at all) but figured that it would be boring, not to mention ridiculously uninformed. But maybe that is just what this forum is best suited for. And after all, what do i typically end up posting? Plenty of nothing about haircuts and the shows i've seen lately. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

And of course, all of this rant may just be part of the butter slide. I could go on, but instead - one last quote from arrowsmith: “an alarmingly high proportion of what is published in classics—and in other fields—is simply rubbish or trivia.”

How 'bout that?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy V-Day

Which causes just a little bit of bile, given my single status and the fact that one of my exes is celebrating her anniversary with her new boyfriend on this most commercially, forcibly 'romantic' of all holidays.

No, i'm actually cool with the valentiny biz, especially since i'm in love with my new sweetheart chan marshall. Tee hee! This video is worth watching just to get to the point where she talked about being 'so enwounded with self hate.' Darling, i love your music, and you are hot as a match - just keep on making up words if you want...

Plus, there are links to some other ny times-tepid vids as well, including lady sov.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Weekend and then some

A lot went on this weekend, in a good way.

Saturday - Met up with yana et al. at the metropolis in motion dance marathon in madison square park (24+ hours of dancing to change the cabaret laws). Then headed to the museum of the city of new york with lori for the robert moses (urban planner/dealmaker/get things happen-er) exhibition. This had the added benefit of a program on the roots of hip hop dancing given by pop master fabel, of the rock steady crew. Really excellent, and expecially rad in that the room was full of kids who had come on a school trip or with their parents - learning their history in a fun way. Then sherin & i went to hear the improvisational quartet attention screen at merkin. Good, not great; the kind of thing that usually happens in downtown lofts. Recording expert/techno geek from stereophile was hosting/recording the gig. Finally we went to meredith's bon voyage surprise party way over on the east side. Great seeing her, and kelly and rob, and mj - it had been a loooong time.

Sunday - Met lisa from the book club for avenue q. Hadn't seen it before - very fun show! And as a totally surprising added bonus, evan, a guy i worked with in summer stock like 8 years ago was in it! Didn't have a chance to say hi, but i'll stop by the stage door sometime soon. Then i met sherin once more for the armitage gone! ligeti essays at the joyce. Superbitchen! Dancers on that level amaze me in so many ways: ability, strength, flexibility, commitment, beauty, endurance, expression.

Then yesterday was back to auditioning. That frustration is starting to get a little brutal, especially since i'm now at the point where i'm sending out dayjob resumes. If you know of any work, let me in on it...

And kelly is back in town even yet once more. Was going to be just in for today, but due to the snowstorm threat he drove the miata up yesterday, and since pennsylvania is getting slammed, he'll be hanging out until at least tomorrow, probably thursday. Thank god he's a good houseguest.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Movie Week

This week i saw three movies in three different commercial cinemas in three days. Don't know that i've ever done that before, certainly not for a long long time.

Tuesday was factory girl with jessica, about which i've already written. Wednesday was blood diamond, which i saw with kelly, beth and sherin. Good movie, heart in the right place, maybe didn't live up to the hype. Emotionally manipulative, fairly implausible at times (man it's lucky that our leading men are so good at dodging bullets - both of them; and those journalists sure ended up in the middle of a lot of gunfire fights), but a well told important story of a horrific and brutal situation in africa that is humanity's shame (or should be). Last night was pan's labyrinth with dawn. First rate film in some ways, but i must say it was emphatically NOT for dawn - jqln, wish you and jeffrey had been able to join: you definitely were the folks to see this flick with. Dawn is fab, but this was a graphic film with very very brutal subject matter (fascist spain in 1944) and she is more about looking at the positive side of things. The design work was bitchen, as were the fx and makeup. And del Toro paints the screen and tells the story quite well, just with many intentionally cringe-inducing moments.

Along the way i got a new hairdo, and beth and i sent a message to one of our college theater advisors in honor of her 70th:

Happy Birthday Leila!

Finished matthew pearl's the dante club today. Worthwhile read in the historical fiction/mystery vein. Will discuss it with lori's book club in a week and change; looking forward to the discussion.

Finally broke down and started sending out dayjob resumes. Well, hell. And of course several auditions - a shakespeare-heavy week, replete with interesting convos with other actors. Now that's some work i want to be back on the inside of: x your fingers that one of the shakespeare festivals hooks me up in the next season or two.

Tonight, i'm watching yet another movie, but this one on dvd solo at home (kelly rolled out this p.m. after another extended audition visit) - the unbelievable truth. This will be the first time i've watched adrienne since, well, you know...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Eternal Factory Girl

Saw Factory Girl last night - very mixed feelings. Sienna miller is great, and oh so yummy, but much of the rest of the casting was perplexing: they worked hard at uglifying guy pearce (which takes some doing) to be andy warhol; and then hayden 'the bad star wars movies' christensen as dylan? Really? Not that either of them were that bad, but better casting couldn't have been that hard to come up with.

Then again, those were only two of a whole bunch of questionable choices made in the making of this film. A couple of my major complaints would involve big-time spoilers, so i will forbear. But the whole thing went out of its way to make odd demonizing decisions, and felt a bit like an overblown, r-rated, anti-drug picture.

That said, parts of the film were super-effective and the style was damn good.

I think the hype of 'were sienna and hayden really having sex on screen? Like, for real?!' is hilarious! Now that was a good choice by some publicist somewhere...

And apropos the Isis inscription, in the seemingly endless stream of sychronicity/coincidences that make up my life, here's something i ran across yesterday, from The Inferno:

Before me nothing was made
If not eternal, and I will last eternally.

And if you know your Dante, you know what comes next...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Still in full-out audition mode. Hitting them like i mean it on a regular basis; something good will come eventually by sheer persistence, presumably. Economic realities look like i may have to go the dayjob route pretty soon (blah, i know, but it's one of those things that you have to do to get through this life).

And on another note:

Written beneath a statue of Isis in Sais - "I am everything that was, that is, that shall be... Nor has any mortal ever been able to discover what lies under my veil."

Which strikes me as being pretty fucking cool.

Friday, February 02, 2007

super what?

Oh yeah, there's a big football game this weekend. What is everybody doing for that?

Went to a reading last night - celebrating galway kinnell's 80th birthday. Bunch of great poets read a bunch of his poetry, and then it wrapped up with kinnell himself reading a few - as frank said, it was one of those nights when if sombody blew up cooper union it would decimate contemporary american poetry. Unfortunately, frank couldn't make it last night, for a super-unfortunate reason: amanda's grandmother died this week. She had been pretty ill for a while, and hadn't been expected to live into the new year, but it was still a shock and a very very sad turn of events.

This may not be the best eulogy, but i think galway would approve:


On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity, they sank down
into the mud, faded down
into it and lay still, and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

And oatmeal is probably too long for putting in a blog, and certainly not an epitaph, but it was one of the highlights of the night.

Tonight is J.P.'s birthday party in astoria - happy happy, bro!