Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it’s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it’s real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.
I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed,
I’m back on Boogie Street.
it could be that because dylan & cohen have always been more "writerly" than most of their contemporaries they've somehow endured to give us excellent late work. pop music doesn't seem to be kind to old men. most of our high school idols have slipped into self parody(morrison)or trite redundancy(young). dylan has definitely hit a late stage productivity similar to, say, yeats or stevens. cohen's productivity is all about quality & not quantity, which has always been the case. he's just stayed true to his muse, i suppose.
while dylan & cohen's lyrics can still dazzle w/their word play & characterizations, they've both chosen to musically explore seemingly "played out" forms(blues, cabaret)to great affect. watching each assume the late personae of the rocking roadhouse journeyman & the "joel grey" cabaret master has been another lesson about getting back on boogie street.
leonard cohen turns 75yo today.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Not Waving But Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
THIS IS A HAWAIIAN DISH CALLED "LONG RICE."
when ann & i stayed on the north shore of oahu for a week a couple of years ago, i made every effort to try specifically indigenous dishes of the islands: loco moco, poi, poke, lomi lomi salmon, kalua pig. long rice is the simplest of all of them to prepare. long rice is actually cellophane noodles cut into short lengths(after soaking)& served w/whatever you've got handy. in this dish, i used pork loin & two fresh chilis & two dried chilis for spiciness. ann got a chili buzz from eating a plateful.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
merce & hodge have been huddled around the computer screen playing this over & over today. of course, hodge feels she could take the cheetah. merce just appreciates feline beauty & strength. this beauty is another animal that i'm hoping i'm long dead & gone before it disappears.
forget the genius of ridley scott's film, blade runner. two of the most important threads in philip k. dick's novel, do androids dream of electric sheep?, is that there are NO animals, other than man, in the future & man is given an endless legal supply of sedatives & stimulants to help him get through the day. we can hardly make it through the day WITH empathetic animals. dick saw exactly where we're headed.
i drove much of the second part of this trip along the river countless times when ann & i were in the odiyan monastery. odiyan was northeast of jenner, up on a ridge the overlooks the pacific ocean. when i first went there nearly 15 years ago, some of the mountain roads were still unpaved. the drive is quite beautiful, one of those classic california road trips that takes you through so many different geological terrains: river basin, hills & meadows, redwood forests, craggy mountain cliffs, formidable ocean rock formations, ocean.
ann isn't as crazy for this drive as i am. she got a ticket once somewhere between rio nido & monte rio. they've got speed traps set up all along the twisty roads leading up to jenner.
we were sitting in the blue heron bar & grill in duncans mills & i said, "it seems like a lifetime ago when we were living out here." ann replied, "several lifetimes."
"The Russian River springs from the Laughlin Range about 5 mi (8 km) east of Willits in Mendocino County. It flows generally southward to Redwood Valley, then parallels U.S. Route 101 past Calpella, to join the East Fork Russian River just below Lake Mendocino.
From there the Russian River flows south, past Ukiah and Hopland, and crosses into Sonoma County just north of Cloverdale. Closely paralleled by U.S. Route 101, it descends into the Alexander Valley, where it is joined by Big Sulphur Creek. It flows south past Cloverdale, Asti, and Geyserville.
WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE PACIFIC OCEAN. DURING THE WINTER, THE STORMS OPEN UP A MUCH BIGGER OUTLET TO THE OCEAN.
it had been a beautiful sunny day, typical of this time of year in north california(where our summers really don't start until september). again, typically, when we got out towards the coast we could see the fog clinging to the cliffs at the higher elevations & once we got to the river mouth, it was beginning to sweep in at sea level. usually, there are large numbers of seals playing in the river & sea lions luxuriating on the banks of the river & the sea. i'd never NOT seen them there when i invariably stopped to watch the river & the ocean meet but ann insisted their presence was seasonal. since they weren't there, i pretty much had to agree. the view seemed much more desolate & forlorn w/o them.
East of Healdsburg, Maacama Creek joins the Russian River. After a series of sweeping bends, the river flows under U.S. Route 101 and receives water from Lake Sonoma via Dry Creek. The river then turns westward and joins Mark West Creek north of Forestville. The river passes Rio Dell, Rio Nido, and Guerneville, where it meets State Route 116. Paralleled by State Route 116, it continues past Guernewood Park and Monte Rio. Austin Creek enters from the north before passing through Duncans Mills then the Russian River flows under State Route 1 and empties into the Pacific Ocean between Jenner and Goat Rock Beach. Its mouth is about 60 mi (100 km) north of the San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate." wikipedia quote in boldface.
LOOKING BACK DOWN RIVER TO JENNER
i've always loved liminal places, places where one specific thing meets & mingles w/another: river mouths, passes & cuts, deltas. we used to surf at ft pickens pass & destin pass & at the jetty over at alabama point. philip & i saw what had to be a 18'+ hammerhead shark riding a big swell at alabama point. that was the end of that day's surfing. i've always wanted to drive south from new orleans, into the bayous & down towards the delta. in tibetan buddhism, liminal places are called "bardos" & the main goal of meditation is training the mind to be calm & w/o desire as it passes through interim states of being, primarily the one between life & death.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
"Of the many African-American soul singers of the 1960s explosion of talent around the Muscle Shoals Studio and Stax records, perhaps none were better than Otis Redding, born this day in 1941, killed in a plane crash just 26 years later." from ordinary finds
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
i got a jimmy rodgers greatest hits album right after i'd gotten hooked on bobo's hank williams 21 greatest hits in high school. bobo had actually seen hank williams play in pensacola at the old auditorium at the foot of palafox st. he always said it was one of the greatest things he'd ever seen. jimmy rodgers had considerable influence on williams, as he did on lots of future country music stars. merle haggard did an entire album of rodgers' songs. along w/woody guthrie, he had a big influence on dylan too.
in celebration of the great news that holly & marie will be seeing leonard cohen in atlanta(ditto my friend ken), i'm posting two oddball videos of obscure cohen songs(well, the first one anyway. it was never released in the u.s.)& this odd shot of cohen looking like al pacino circa cruising. the second song may be on cohen's next album. he did neither one of these songs in oakland.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
"Guest, who was born in 1920, died in Berkeley on the day after St. Valentine’s Day, 2006; she was a poet at all times close to, yet decisively out of synch with, the rites of lyric voicing. Indeed, her work, more than any other poets of her generation, enacted a "lyric negation," as critic Robert Kaufman has noted, singularly inhabiting and disavowing poetry’s ability to mime personal utterance. Guest’s unsparing aestheticizing created a new horizon for alyric verse in which saying cedes seeing, composition concatenates context, and palette elides figuration. For these reasons, she is the direct heir to Hopkins’s sprung rhythm and to the idea of imagination that she found in Coleridge and Stevens. I take Guest’s aversion to the lyric to mean that her work is not an extension of herself—herself expressed—that is, not a direct expression of her feelings or subjectivity, but rather is defined by the textual composition of an aesthetic space—herself (itself) defined. And while I would not call her Objectivist (or, in the parlance of another media, "nonobjective"), I think the link is there, both to the American Objectivist poets and to nonobjective painting.
No ideas only surfaces, no surfaces only words, no words only textures, no textures only contingent connections . . . The proofs of poetry often take a long time to develop.
In a period of American poetry in which the most visible and indeed much of the very best poetry has been written with hooks galore—whether outrageous or flamboyant or hip or morally uplifting, the arrogant or agonized or transcendent—Guest used no hooks. This allowed her to create a textually saturated poetry that embodies the transient, the ephemeral, the flickering in translucent surfaces that we call painterly for lack of a term to chart the refusal of a pseudo-depth of field. It would be easy to dwell on the exquisite surface refraction in Guest’s work while eliding the significance of this insistently modulated diffusion and liminal warping and woofing." CHARLES BERNSTEIN
Saturday, September 5, 2009
JOHN CAGE WITH DAVID TUDOR
"After I had been studying with him for two years, Schoenberg said, "In order to write music, you must have a feeling for harmony." I explained to him that I had no feeling for harmony. He then said that I would always encounter an obstacle, that it would be as though I came to a wall through which I could not pass. I said, "In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall."
if we are mapping out various strains of modernism & its discontents, we'd have to start at least one line w/cage.
Surrealism is above all a state of mind, it does not advocate formulas. The most important point is to put oneself in the right frame of mind. No Surrealist is in the world, or thinks of himself in the present, or believes in the effectiveness of the mind as spur, the mind as guillotine, the mind as judge, the mind as doctor, and he resolutely hopes to be apart from the mind. The Surrealist has judged the mind. He has no feelings which are a part of himself, he does not recognize any thought as his own. His thought does not fashion for him a world to which he reasonably assents. He despairs of attaining his own mind.
- Antonin Artaud
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Sometimes I remember
my grandfather’s house
A garden with tiger lilies,
Waving a white apron to
On that trestle across the
—from "Sometimes," a poem by Bearden
this great artist was an astonishing everyman. in his off time, he played baseball in the negro leagues. otherwise, he was writing, exploring collage, working w/printmaking, wrote jazz standards, & probably cooked great calahoo. the number of great black artists in this country is huge & most are still unknown. how can we ignore a man who appreciated a truly funky fly butt & gave it to us unadorned.
check out these sites for a more complete presentation of this great artist's work. another one.
with julia child being celebrated coast to coast because of the film, julie/julia, the notice that sheila lukins, author of many cookbooks over the last few decades, i hope doesn't go unnoticed. ms lukins had a
great run as both a restaurateur & cookbook author. it's as a cookbook writer that she really made her mark. the first book, the silver palate cookbook, was a wildly eclectic collection of foreign cuisines & women's league cookbook recipes. oddly enough, the combinations worked & the book sold crazily as did several of her subsequent books.
we've been blessed w/fanny farmer & clementine paddleford & irma rombauer & julia childs, women who weren't star chefs but nevertheless changed the way america ate. ms lukins is right there on that list.