Lately (1) cabin fever trumps avoiding the cold and (2) there’s a lot of cool stuff going on, so I’ve been out a lot. Initially the cold nights gave me a headache, but my head is getting used to things and I know not to wear a baseball cap instead of a beanie. Tonight rocked: two free shows of poetry and music back to back, Flarf and three sets of jazz from the Ars Nova Workshop.
On the way to the Flarf show what sounded like gunshots went off at the hour of six, and I thought perchance it was Flarf-related and/or Chris Daniels was being set up as the patsy. When I got there I was glad everyone was okay. Ran a tad late and I expected standing room only for this verse-u-tainment event where I’d be staring at the monitor or the fireplace in the living room. No, ample empty seats. A cold night, but when they get tenure their audiences will increase threefold as will their backlash, a cadre of two dozen anonymous gradschool detractors with lame-sounding internet handles.
Had fun, laughed and guffawed a lot and got to see Gary, Sharon, Nada, and hear Mike Magee for the first time. & Rod’s one of my half dozen favorite living poets, for those who want me to make more declarative crit comments on this supposed poetry blog. The biggest laugh came when Gary said ‘Has Gary Sullivan dragged Charles Bernstein further than Bernstein dragged Charles Olson past the tree where Olson once dragged Ezra Pound? -Ron Silliman’ and I’m sure somewhere between 95% to 100% of the people laughing didn’t know that Ron Silliman actually did say it.
I have only had good things to say about Flarf, and what criticisms I have have been pretty well covered in a post by Gary last June in which he seemed to appropriate the arguments of several detractors he lambasted. You probably won’t see a flame war between the two of us, which would produce enough Hibernian argumentative rage to cause an East Coast blackout. As Ezra Pound once said: 'When you can build your own chair you release yourself from the whole Flarfian cycle.'
After the reading, duty to the Muses required me to rush over to the Rotunda after stuffing my face with a poor imitation of Mexican food. The first act was the Rova Sax Quartet, which I thought was to be the only show, and went on for about 45 minutes. The last number they did, Certain Space, was one of the best live compositions I’ve heard and I will note in this space when it is released on CD unless I am on a Himalayan mountain or thereabouts. They’ll be playing a not-free show Saturday night featuring additional cats including Andrea Parkins whose ‘Slippage’ I listen to repeatedly, which I may attend and will definitely be attended by a certain poetry blogger whose comments field I am known to frequent.
I had no idea that there would be three bands, and after the second I was tired and wanted to go home, and I thought the show was over anyway. After all, who wants to go on after the Rova Quartet? What can you do to top that? Mike Pride’s trio provided that answer, in an unforgettable OOOOMMMMMGGGGG moment for everyone present. I will comment on his From Bacteria to Boys CD, perhaps on this comment field below, when I listen to it, but you can just jump the gun and get it now. I have to note a superhuman alto sax by Darius Jones and inspired bass by Evan Lipson. My night became much less free as I was compelled to stock up on his recorded oeuvre, of which I have decided that I have to listen to the four selected discs for the first time in my car because my home stereo and Walkmen don’t have subwoofers. Luckily, my car stereo is configured (by me, a great way to fend off the temptation to get a new car, & and everyone says it’s the best they’ve heard) to sound like the inside of Art Blakey’s head during the late 50's, so this stuff fits right in.