Monday, March 9, 2015

121. House show } Holy Komodo.


Cryptic invitation:

mauwf
bring furniture
& paper to
allagash trail
03.07.15 9pm

An empty house at the end of icy Allagash Trail Road. Split-level, big windows covered with invisible paper, teal wall-to-wall carpet, teal carpeted steps and upstairs hall. Band names on the wall. Bathroom. A soft couch. We waited for the Holy Komodo while we discussed age. A woman asked if I knew Tom Leotard. Possibly she thought I might be Tom Leotard or, as likely, she wanted to sell me some Tom Leotard.    

Downstairs for the Holy Komodo. We stood against the wall to watch. “How do you make a cult following?” My companion asked; the cult followed. My companion asks—she’s interested in how people make an idea actual in the world and subsequently cause the world to take notice. Bare cement walls, stamped by plywood forms. White wiring wrapped around the support beams. Bright, single-cell organisms projected on a sheet behind the band. Nina on keys, sang, dark hair flash and keyboards.

Flock of Seagulls hairdo camera-phone filmed the band, the audience, and us interlopers. A woman with her boyfriend behind her grinned. A crowd-surfer barely cleared the ceiling beams. “If you must mosh,” Nina said, “do it away from the equipment we’ve spent all our money on.” She was obeyed. My companion noted Flock of Seagulls hairdo; “If I had hair like that, I’d—” the rest of her comment lost, but something like, “—voodoo fan.”

From where I stood, Joel, the drummer, was the most visible member of the band. Pink and salmon, all joy—before the show he’d told an anecdote, said, of his brother—“he’s a lot skinnier than I am”—a claim hard to believe. Komodo’s recorded output in no way prepared me for the vigor of his drum work (in retrospect, hinted maybe by “Make Time”). He sat and he stood.

My thoughts were not especially interesting. Teenagers in the midst of an experience that—if remembered—will become a shorthand for who they think they are. People who go to house shows. Who shout: I was in that place. Pressed by the reptile nation, we braced ourselves against the wall.

An angry woman clutched a glass pitcher of ice water to her chest. My companion asked, “What do you think she’s on?” The angry woman shouted, in response to someone else’s interest, “You’re not my friend!” The pitcher sweated. The angry woman sat hard in a wooden rocking chair. Maybe she ate some bad Tom Leotard.


[ Photo of Holy Komodo at Space Afrika house show courtesy Sierra Clark. ]

Friday, March 6, 2015

120. Notes made while } Philip Glass & Tim Fain played.

“Mad Rush” (Glass says, from 1979). Sweet is thot / just the / piano” \\ a near stop + / the small / keys retake / the piece // [gold curtains, purple shirt, vest, pleated brown slacks] \\ left hand / crosses / the right / for a / lower / note [E. leans against me] \\ gold + green + brown / …keep [the work] warm / + kind… \\ write in your own line. / …the place the performer goes to / [E. wants to ask questions “when does the next song begin?”] / partita, 2 movements, for a chaconne \\ …holds the violin with his chin / + plays after \\ a breath / in the midst / emerges / familiar / Glass / built into the old form \\ we want high + low together / always

\\ [Fain] jumps / onto the notes, / feet planted but / heels up. / …scrape / drag \\ written for him + / …sounds / like him / “Metamorphosis” (Glass says, I like to play the even \\ ones in reverse order [4 then 2] ) / a little / showy \\ fast / went up / as I don’t / recall / embrace / heat. \\ not uncomfortable / but too / warm // in places, the keyboard / is re- / found \\ Music from The Screens (Glass says, from 1991), “French” (heard, “Friends”), “The Orchard,” & “The French Lieutenant Dreams” (heard, “…Lieutenant’s Dreams”) // the European piece / Kora \\ they tune up / my eldest melts

\\ feature / texture / on wave / [we] land // hollow sound [in] strings \\ hold hands / to bow // Hydrogen Jukebox (1990) \\ (Glass says, “the first time [Ginsberg’s performance] was perfect… / used [recording of Ginsberg reading “Wichita Vortex Sutra”] in the tour… \\ after he died / I didn’t / play it / for a long time // too painful / I didn’t want to hear it \\ one day I put it… / the only good thing / about this now / is a I know / how it goes”) \\ a hymn / (Glass says, “I’m an old man… \\ vortex is like / an energy system / sutra is / a prayer.”)

\\ ecstatic / lang. \\ who touches the breath / + says / om / stop for tea + gas [Ginsberg?] \\ “Evening Song” partita \\ a green / partita // played alone, / the violin at / times / becomes / more / isolated \\ smaller, maybe [my eldest / is on fire] / long / whisper \\ (2010) // (Glass says, “Actually / Tim plays his part / + the other part” \\ “Pendulum (for Violin & Piano)” \\ [goth] anniversary concert // tunes— / holds a note \\ [E.’s leg itches] / encircle particle open \\ Glass sits on the bench + listens. // “Closing” (1982), from Glassworks \\ tangled / keys / in closing.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

119. Readings } 8 Anthology.


Sandra Doller read “where did you get that hammer” and Oliver Strand asked if I was—“are you?”—Adam Golaski and we went to hear Forrest Gander read “…colorless bath mat with its frayed, dirty edge folded up.” I said, “Yes.”

Oliver Strand and Katy Mongeau, MFA candidates, co-host Anthology, a series that features “readings, performances and visual works,” mainly by Brown University and RISD graduate students. Last month I was most impressed by the work of Maggie Hazen.

Next week, I’m in Anthology 8.

Among the readers is Rachel May, author of “The Vermont Studio Center Experiments.” When last we spoke she told me about Quilting with a Modern Slant; I misunderstood everything she said. The book is an art anthology of 70+ modern quilters. What I heard, what I thot she told me, was that she wrote a book that hybridized her writing and her stitching, something like “The Vermont Studio Center Experiments,” but more extreme, with the text stitched, possibly into paper. I dunno. Clearly, I am not a good listener. I will try harder.  As for grad students, I’m interested to hear Leah Rafaela Ceriello. Her “Durational Performance” photographs I like.

Anthology 8: Bridget Brewer, Leah Rafaela Ceriello, Adam Golaski, Felix Green, Rachel May, Kristen Mueller, Kelsey Wakefield, & Kelly Walters. Wednesday, March 4th at 7pm. The Granoff Center (see photo above), Studio 1, 154 Angell St, Providence RI 02906. Wine, other refreshments provided.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

118. Re } introductions (pt. 2).


[ What follows is the Dream Coda of the introduction to New Genre #7. ]

At a conference, invited to speak on a panel about an essay I wrote, the subject—. The panel sat behind a table set on a raised platform. My boss, uninvited, sat beside me and opened the discussion. He told the audience that he never wrote horror fiction, in spite of successfully placing work in well-known horror magazines. He said, “To avoid writing horror, I take a close look at what is horrible and absorb the details so I can relay its character free of the limitations of the horror genre.”

I was about to respond when a member of the audience stood, joined us behind the table, and began to attack my boss’s statement. The audience member’s argument was completely undermined by his manner and his need to make the audience laugh. Meanwhile, I articulated a reply in my head: my boss, I thought, did write horror fiction—horror is a very broad category that freely bleeds into every other genre. “Even realism,” I said (in my mind), “gets weird, especially when realism writes death. See A Simple Heart. See The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”

The audience member’s blather was without cease. My boss exited via a series of ladders and by scrambling over a peaked roof. Still eager to make my point to him, I attempted to follow.

Without the transition typical of conscious narrative, I was in a brothel. The women there knew about horror fiction, but didn’t want to discuss horror fiction. They asked me if I planned to stay. From the brothel was a view of a dam, water high behind it.

[ Image: cover of New Genre #7, designed by Jeremy Withers. ]

Friday, February 6, 2015

117. Flac Draft } 7.30 humanity.



Listening thru Autechre’s late output. This morning quit Quaristice (2007) for Draft 7.30 (2003). At the start of the album (compact disk) is 20 seconds of what I remembered as silent lead-in before the beat and squelch of “Xylin Room.” Lamp off, sunrise, near-full moon visible behind clouds, snow and ice. An inexpensive Sony boombox CD / cassette combo—but I felt the sound, about 5 seconds in: to arrive.

Not the vent, not the snow on the sloped metal roof outside my window. I restarted the album and raised the volume. Within the first 20 seconds, a loop, it sparks, bright but wet static——

[ Click Autechre link under “My involvement varies.” & watch Little Stories undergo an L-Event. ]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

116. Stars laid in the night sky } like so much particle board.


In spite of what the critics say, “Satellite’s Call”—the latest video from the Holy Komodo—is about eyes. Hideous! horrible! adorable! eyes. Ask the eyes: is it the heart’s beating that controls the mind?

Eyes never answer, but nonetheless ask—eyes will betray the truth, because eyes are duplicitous.

Let’s examine the evidence: cheap furniture (“I may have lost it this time”), blankets (“this planet’s not my home”), photographs of the electromagnetic spectrum (“the fire’s never ending”), oversized sport coats (“I can’t escape”), lamps (“I feel the fear receding touched by the light”), a wall socket (“I felt it shatter my mind”), raw lumber (“It fills my brain”), and cabinets (“I’ve been played for so damn long”).


Watch. Eyes are self-evident.

[ Photo of Holy Komodo: Kyle Gibson, Zak Hosmer-Dillard, Joel Skardahl, Nina Joly, & Justin Nijssen. ]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

115. More video lies } from the Unfinished House.


The following is an excerpt from the column Video Lies, a regular feature in the 1990s ‘zine Kraken Farmer, edited by Lucy Kurtz, available at Tower Records and Flyrabbit.

House IV. Dir. Lewis Abernathy. Perf. Terri Treas, William Katt, Scott Burkholder, Melissa Clayton. Republic Pictures, 1993. Videocassette.

Abstract.

Roger Cobb fiddles with a film projector ostensibly to screen home movies, says, “A little twist here, a little tightening there…” —impatient stepbrother: “Great, Rog. You know they have a new invention it’s called video tape.”

The Great Spirit knows a) the house houses a portal to Hell and b) the car accident is no accident. Crispy Roger Cobb dies in a burn ward; his wife grieves and worries about their daughter’s ruined stems. Most unexpected: Mrs. Cobb inherits the house and won’t sell “You don’t want that it’s broken” Al the plumber’s weak heart: no foul ooze here—he washes his hands at the kitchen sink and

I long to use that sink myself, to be in that kitchen. I write in the fog on the mirror.

The Great Spirit orders pizza. “Don’t forget to eat your favorite pizza, man.” Mrs. Cobb don’t eat anything with a face on it, but grinds the pie in the disposal’s teeth after the pizza serenades and bites the hand it feeds.

Films about houses are home movies.

Two goons face off, faces transformed by The Great Spirit / Satan. Goon one faces a fly; goon two a lizard. This portal to hell is a manhole cover. The goons shoot, burdened by their oversized heads. Only The Great Spirit knows what’s so important about the house. The Cobb family yard sale slows time: two little girls with a jump rope skip so slow the rope goes.

Larry’s wife asks, “Larry, what are you fooling around with that piece of junk for?”
To which he replies, “Piece of junk? This is just like the one my dad used to have.”
His wife is not convinced. “It’s really ugly.”
Impatience shades Larry’s face. “Look, I’ve got all these home movies and I think it would be great if I could get this running.” He asks Mrs. Cobb “How much is it?”
Mrs. Cobb has home movies too. “You don’t want that. It’s broken.”
Larry wants to buy it, if only to annoy his wife. “No, I’m real good with my hands. I can fix it.”
“It’s not for sale,” Mrs. Cobb says, clutching the old projector.
He growls. You promised to solve my toxic waste problem. He says, “Fine. Fine. Fine.” Larry and his wife head for their car, and for an exasperating argument, resolved over an adequate meal. Later, they will watch a movie on Betamax.


While Mrs. Cobb will watch herself and her husband watch their daughter walk projected on a white sheet that haunts her house.