Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010



Thursday, March 25, 2010


"Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not."

i've believed for a while now that college freshmen should be handed copies of augustine's confessions, o'connor's collected short stories, dashiell hammett's the maltese falcon, charles olson's call me ishamel, w.c williams' in the american grain, ralph ellison's invisible man & james baldwin's the fire next time & be left alone to digest what's found in the pages of those books.
what the hell do i know?


"Congress was voting on my well-being Sunday night. Congress was voting on the survivability of my family. And one political party voted unanimously against my family. That is something I will never, ever forget." ron silliman

the rest of his eloquent analysis on his blog here. silliman is a poet, not a pundit.

"They are the people who have "invaded" "us." The hippie commie queers, the blacks who "snuck in" on slave ships, Africans, Asians & Latin Americans who took Emma Lazarus at her word. Ultimately, I think that this is what all this lack of comity is about – one group of Americans (largely tho not entirely white males) look in the mirror & what they see does not look like America, although they may pretend that it does. That other America of difference & diversity has in their view wrested control of the government. Which of course is why everything government does has, for them, become illegitimate. (Tho they would like government, such as the courts, to do whatever it can to preserve their dying stranglehold on power.) " ron silliman

ai, poet, RIP


Coming home, I find you still in bed,
but when I pull back the blanket
I see your stomach is flat as an iron.
You've done it, as you warned me you would
and left the fetus wrapped in wax paper
for me to look at. My son.
Woman, loving you no matter what you do,
what can I say, except that I've heard
the poor have no children, just small people
and there is room only for one man in this house.

i first read her in the american poetry review in the early 70s. it was the first year of their venture & i'd already been blown away by john ashbery & soon, thomas mcgrath. ai's poetry was visceral & spoke plainly & bluntly like someone you'd meet in a dark bar drinking during daylight hours. as troubling as some of the poems were, they never strained credulity. if the outrigger experience taught me anything, it's that some of the most awful things that happen to us can seem so mundane. if i'd paid more attention to her poetry, i might have skipped the direct experience of that truism.
the cover of her first book of poems(my own copy now long gone):

her l.a. times obit here.
more on ai here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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well, we had our 10 or so days of winter here in the bay area. rain & temps in the 30s, lots of snow up in the sierras but mostly a relatively mild winter. springing forward w/the time change doesn't make me think spring as much as the birds returning to our pool area to build their nests & drive our girls crazy. this weekend ann came into the living room & there on the cat tree was a little sparrow. luckily, the girls were asleep in the bedroom.

our balcony gets lots of sun in the spring & summer too, which results in cat naps out there. hence, this peaceful shot of the two step-sisters blissing out.

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i imagine if i were a cat i'd be out there w/them. however, being human i must do what humans do in the spring & summer. i must grill. yesterday was the first day i broke open the grill this year. in the summer, all that sun blazing through the balcony doors might be nice for the cats but it turns the apartment into a kiln. grilling mitigates this by making the stove unnecessary.
here, a cheap piece of meat(skirt steak) transformed into a thing of delicious beauty by smoke & fire. an even cheaper piece of meat, my toe, was transformed into something too by smoke & fire. i stepped on a small piece of burning coals barefoot. the cats remained profoundly indifferent to my fire walk.

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last year,i really got into grilling pizzas. ann loves them & i just think the whole idea is cool. the first time i heard about grilled pizzas was way back in the early outrigger days. i had bought a cookbook in new orleans i'd read about, cucina simpatica, from an italian restaurant, al forno, in providence rhode island. george germon & johanne killeen were the folks who introduced the idea to america in the 80s.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"everybody goes, leaving those who fall behind..."


it's hard nowadays to see irony in anything since alanis morisette famously &, w/the immutable belief only found in teabaggers & young hipsters, wrongly mauled the meaning of the word in her song "ironic". still, the idea that alex chilton was scheduled to play this weekend at the sXsw fest w/a faux big star is hard NOT to label that way. the sXsw fest wouldn't exist w/o the idea of big star. that idea, that there's a band playing somewhere, anywhere that no-one is noticing but will soon influence the future of pop music only after an acrimonious breakup is pretty much the Ur-myth of pop music. the festival is where in-the-know hipsters can "make" that discovery before all the messy stuff happens, like an acrimonious break-up that would require forming a faux version of the band 20years hence. that chilton hasn't done anything near the quality of big star since the break-up(& yes, i know this point is up to rabid debate) just adds some poignancy to the "ironic" mix here. well, that & the fact that he died this week prior to his sXsw appearance, once more shoving his finger up the ass of the industry & fan expectation.

personally, i loved the big hits from chilton's first pop music success, the boxtops. i still play a version of "the letter" on guitar myself & "soul deep" & "cry like a baby" bring teenaged dance parties, w/their mix of excitement, anxiety & disapointment, back to my mind like tea-cakes brought back the past to proust. chilton had less than an ecstatic experience in his first(&, really, only)experience w/pop stardom & its necessary corollary, the pop music business. that sour experience influenced him, good & bad, for the rest of his life. he eventually embodied the american outsider as pop music icon w/o any of the success usually reserved for icons. he earned this status by anamnesis, the recognition by others of his role in THEIR history.

initially, big star flew under our p'cola radar. #1 record came out in 1972, when i was a junior at washington high school. the two subsequent albums didn't register w/our gang either. in invisible republic, greil marcus writes about how something in the present can't be heard or understood for a myriad of reasons but, as history stretches out & shakes loose the oddball or irrelevant or mundane, something that may have appeared oddball or irrelevant or mundane asserts itself in a new way. from a place in the future that past speaks to the present as it's contemporary.

"In my opinion, Alex was the most talented triple threat musician out of Memphis - and that's saying a ton," said Paul Westerberg, the former Replacements frontman. "His versatility at soulful singing, pop rock songwriting, master of the folk idiom, and his delving into the avant-garde goes without equal. He was also a hell of a guitar player and a great guy."

in the interim between big star's break-up in 1975 & my discovery of them twenty years later, we had the replacements & rem & uncle tupelo & the various manifestations of those bands & their styles. as the impact of rock & roll splintered out over the country & world like the debris from a meteor hit, chilton's many musical personae insinuated themselves, discretely, into the disparate lines that erupted out of that impact. if you can't hear big star's "kangaroo" in wilco, you're deaf. if you don't hear "when my baby's beside me" in all of the power pop acts still going strong, i can't help you. what about rem? listen to "the ballad of el goodo". i think jay farrar makes my point most eloquently w/his cover version on another one of my favorite big star songs.

chilton gave direction to westerberg & stinson, stipe & buck, & tweedy & farrar about how to embody the project of pop music & he did it by example. it really only matters that those truly engaged in that project learned his lesson. as a consequence, the american outsider was invited to sit at the table where he's always belonged & the present insures the past w/its future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


this is not shaping up to be a stellar year for lo-fi, diy, outsider southern musicians. we lost the great vic chestnut on c'mas day to suicide & now mark linkous, better known i suppose as sparklehorse, has checked out. today we get news that memphis born & based oddball, alex chilton, has simply given up the ghost in new orleans. it can't be easy doing things your own way in the music business & each of these guys did so w/o apology. in fact, chilton just got weirder.

i have no memory of what my sources were back in c'ville during the mid-90s but i somehow stumbled onto will oldham, sparklehorse, soul coughing, vic chestnut, & the "reconsideration" of big star. w/the exception of mike doughty of soul coughing, all of these guys were southern boys doing the lo-fi thing themselves. something about their music & their approach appealed to me then(& it still does). some of it had to do w/the subjects they chose to write/sing about(greil marcus' "old weird america"), some of it w/the simplicity of the presentation.

oldham, linkous, & chestnut got better as they settled into their various, variable creative terrains & each became more musically accomplished. i'll write more about chilton later this week but here are several linkous videos, the first two songs from his first album, vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, which i owned back in c'ville & the last two from later work.

enjoy & lament. really. lament. this is a huge loss.


"Give us the fucking code...if you don't, what'll change? what'll ever fucking change? I got no idea at all what'll happen if Wintermute wins, but it'll change something." Neuromancer

as far as i'm concerned, this is one of the greatest climaxes in modern literature. when i read that passage, i was stunned. along w/haruki murakami, gibson presents the 21st century's ethical impasse w/humor, clarity, & precision. too bad the solutions aren't as funny or clear.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"the blackbird whistling or just after..."


if there is a thing we could call male beauty(& i KNOW ann would say there is) i think this is it. i remember rudy in james toback's(a truly nutty auteur)film, exposed. i went hoping to see nastassia kinski naked. i can't remember if she was but i remember clearly the weirdness that nureyev brought to that role: "tick tock, tick tock, tick tock," he mumbled, kind of imitating the march hare.

he brought his male beauty to his idea of dance. it was left to barishnikov to combine it w/astonishing athleticism.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


New Roky Erickson & Okkervil River: "Goodbye Sweet Dreams"
"Here's a feelgood story for you: The troubled Texas psych legend and former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson is back. Anyone who's seen the documentary You're Gonna Miss Me knows that this guy has not had an easy life. The image of Erickson, his hair matted and his fingernails long, cranking up several TVs and radios to top volume because the resulting ungodly din was the only way he could fall asleep-- well, he didn't exactly look like someone ready to jump back into a recording studio. So consider his return a happy surprise." posted by TOM BREIHAN for pitchfork

i think i ran across roky erickson's story when i stumbled across another texas lunatic's story, daniel johnston. both have had astonishing & deeply disturbing movies made about their sad lives. while johnston is more a diy music outsider, erickson was, at one point w/the 13th floor elevators, on the cutting edge of rock music in the 60s. drugs, the rockstar life, inherent craziness, all caught up w/both of them but unlike, say, skip spense or syd barrett, both have survived for the most part. based on the strength of this cut by erickson, i'd say he seems to be doing quite well.
i've already posted here about the young band that's helpfully backing erickson, okkervil river. they've put out several strong albums themselves.

you have to scroll down past the picture of roky to get to the mpeg.



back during the outrigger days, i could clear my apartment of 15 or more hipsters by putting on anything by coleman or taylor. these kids, who took such pride in listening to loud, sometimes dissonant pop music, would run screaming from the hard musical truths of jazz. jazz requires some intellectual engagement; that was not something that the outrigger crew had in abundance.

i can guarantee that some of the jazz dilettantes that i know don't have a single recording by coleman or taylor in their "jazz collections". they'll follow miles up until bitches' brew or sonny rollins up until his great solo work but they can't or won't make the effort to follow coleman or taylor. like art snobs who "like" picasso but don't get barnett newman's zips or flee from the sight of donald judd's objects, they approach art not as a challenge to be engaged but as some delectation to be consumed. jazz ends up being pleasant background music.

you can't use these guys as pleasant background music. these guys have taken it upon themselves to engage w/the history of music & extend & deepen it. there is a deliberateness to their approaches even while their methods differ. they have continued the difficult expansion of possibility that jazz has explored since its beginning. born just a year apart & still actively working, they continue to explore & articulate their individual journeys.

we should really be listening to them.


Monday, March 15, 2010


i'm not sure if any of the things exist at this point in time but this arbus pic was on the front of our infamous "outrigger" t-shirts back in the day. our motto was "sun & scum." we were also "home of the world famous crab-burger." ah, memories.

the craven thieves who worked at the outrigger had no idea who arbus was or her place in the history of photography. they just saw "grotesque" & sniggered as young know-nothing hipsters do. i thought the t-shirt was spot-on & the motto apt. it certainly fit well w/my own attitude at the time.


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mike & i had a discussion last week about various approaches to hash & even the various types of hash that exist. bette's oceanfront diner in berkeley has the best corned beef hash i've ever had in a restaurant. mike says that postrio used to do a brisket hash back when they had their phenomenal sunday brunch. (my mother made a roast beef hash but it was a dinner dish, not for breakfast.) of course, there's the cool sounding "red flannel" hash too. there was some discussion about cubed or shredded potatoes, the danger of too large a cube, etc. i went w/the shred.

after serving ann tripe w/o telling her what she was getting, she's gotten a little suspicious whenever i serve her something that's not automatically recognizable. when she asked what i'd given her, i simply said, "hash." she bravely dove in & finished it pretty quickly. i then told her it was corned beef. she thought she didn't like corned beef but this dish won her over.
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Sunday, March 7, 2010


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Saturday, March 6, 2010


"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. . ."

past, present, future all woven inextricably into that first sentence of his first masterpiece, one hundred years of solitude, marquez made it clear from the beginning that we can't escape our destinies but we can rise above them in the end.


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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


no one, NO ONE in the 20th century, wrote more elegant poetry than james merrill. yes, that declaration includes the lordly mr auden. he might well have been a minor though accomplished poet but for the magisterial & remarkable the changing light at sandover. i read the entire work several times way back when & what astonished me was the final sections of the poem were as strong, as alive, as beautiful as the earlier ones written 20 years before. the endurance & power of the poetic vision that possessed merrill was remarkable. the poem is simply a masterwork of the 20th century, as great as any other great work by any other great poet you can name.

"The Changing Light at Sandover is a 560-page epic poem by James Merrill (1926–1995). Sometimes described as a postmodern apocalyptic epic, the poem was published in three separate installments between 1976 and 1980, and in its entirety in 1982. Already established in the 1970s among the finest poets of his generation, Merrill made a surprising detour when he began incorporating occult messages into his work. The result, a 560-page apocalyptic epic published as The Changing Light at Sandover (1982), documents two decades of messages dictated from otherworldly spirits during Ouija séances hosted by Merrill and his partner David Noyes Jackson. The Changing Light at Sandover is one of the longest epics in any language, and features the voices of recently deceased poet W. H. Auden, Merrill's late friends Maya Deren and Greek socialite Maria Mitsotáki, as well has heavenly beings including the Archangel Michael. Channeling voices through a Ouija board "made me think twice about the imagination," Merrill later explained. "If the spirits aren't external, how astonishing the mediums become! Victor Hugo said of his voices that they were like his own mental powers multiplied by five."(wiki)

An Urban Convalescence

by James Merrill

Out for a walk, after a week in bed,
I find them tearing up part of my block
And, chilled through, dazed and lonely, join the dozen
In meek attitudes, watching a huge crane
Fumble luxuriously in the filth of years.
Her jaws dribble rubble. An old man
Laughs and curses in her brain,
Bringing to mind the close of The White Goddess.

As usual in New York, everything is torn down
Before you have had time to care for it.
Head bowed, at the shrine of noise, let me try to recall
What building stood here. Was there a building at all?
I have lived on this same street for a decade.

Wait. Yes. Vaguely a presence rises
Some five floors high, of shabby stone
—Or am I confusing it with another one
In another part of town, or of the world?—
And over its lintel into focus vaguely
Misted with blood (my eyes are shut)
A single garland sways, stone fruit, stone leaves,
Which years of grit had etched until it thrust
Roots down, even into the poor soil of my seeing.
When did the garland become part of me?
I ask myself, amused almost,
Then shiver once from head to toe,

Transfixed by a particular cheap engraving of garlands
Bought for a few francs long ago,
All calligraphic tendril and cross-hatched rondure,
Ten years ago, and crumpled up to stanch
Boughs dripping, whose white gestures filled a cab,
And thought of neither then nor since.
Also, to clasp them, the small, red-nailed hand
Of no one I can place. Wait. No. Her name, her features

Lie toppled underneath that year’s fashions.
The words she must have spoken, setting her face
To fluttering like a veil, I cannot hear now,
Let alone understand. (the rest of the poem, here.)


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served w/a thai coconut/chili sauce & baby bok choy

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"the last refuge of scoundrels..."

"Such violent imagery and invective, once largely confined to blogs and talk radio, is now spreading among Republicans in public office or aspiring to it. Last year Michele Bachmann, the redoubtable Tea Party hero and Minnesota congresswoman, set the pace by announcing that she wanted “people in Minnesota armed and dangerous” to oppose Obama administration climate change initiatives. In Texas, the Tea Party favorite for governor, Debra Medina, is positioning herself to the right of the incumbent, Rick Perry — no mean feat given that Perry has suggested that Texas could secede from the union. A state sovereignty zealot, Medina reminded those at a rally that 'the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.'"

the entire chilling op-ed.

if anyone has a hard time imagining just how these kinds of lunatics & crazies could become not just a potent political force in america but assume the positions of power in the country, we should perhaps consult john dos passos' usa trilogy or philip roth's 1990s newark trilogy. w/simple twists of fate, a whole other history could easily unfold & it's not pretty, to say the least.
my old friend bill thorton, a closet neo-con if there ever was one, would do well to consult these books & reflect on their wisdom.


sometime before my new college days(circa 1978-80), i found an article on this guy in one of the art magazines i'd read at uwf. it seems to me it was art in america. i don't think uwf got artforum at the time. anyway, for some reason this guy's art struck a chord w/me. i may have been thinking that the carastro girls would find it "cute" but i think i was drawn to the entire project: the creation of a mythological space that intruded into & upon "profane" modern space in minute ways. it could have been my lifelong attraction to ruins, the idea that other lives, other ways of life, have existed, could exist & their meaning be wiped away & only barren, mysterious structures remain as ciphers of that meaning.

who knows? i will say that his stuff still impresses me, still actually haunts me. that he gave his art up, so simply, to the savage & ineluctable ravages of time & place just confirms what we know about civilizations in general. each tiny ruin, as it was washed away or stepped on or run over, contained worlds & stories & experiences, pretty much like all of us.

"Charles Simonds has created an entirely imaginary civilization of a race he calls Little People, complete with its own history, belief system, and way of life. The people themselves are never seen; we know them only through the architecture they have left behind. The forms of the architecture are reminiscent of Native-American structures, especially those of the Southwest, which Simonds visited as a child. These references are also appropriate since, like the Native Americans, the Little People’s lives are centered "around belief attitudes towards nature, toward the land." Their buildings are made of clay, which comes from the earth, and other natural elements such as twigs, bones, or sand."

"Simonds has two types of exhibition space for his work: inside galleries and museums and outside in the streets. The indoor pieces, such as this work, are larger and more complex than their ephemeral outdoor counterparts. This particular structure is subtitled "Ritual Furnace." A path leads through an opening in the dilapidated wall to a staircase that ascends to the upper section of the building. One has to imagine the inside configuration and how a person would reach the staircase at the back of the structure, which exits directly onto the roof. On the roof is a hexagonal construction with a circular wall in the center. Inside the circle is black pigment, which implies that something was burned, perhaps a ritual sacrifice of some sort."

"Simonds began his career creating miniature buildings in the streets of New York. Working primarily on the Lower East Side, he built structures out of these tiny clay bricks inside broken segments of wall and other unusual openings. People gathered to watch him work, children were allowed to help, and he soon become well known in the neighborhood. He explained: "At first I was just a crazy man to the people on the Lower East Side….I was a phenomenon, an anonymous vagabond who made visionary things. As time passed, I became a folk hero, then an active member of many community groups." With these groups, he has worked on housing, the development of open space, and other activities designed to promote community awareness. He finds his street creations more satisfying than those in museums because, as he says: "the streets are where my work finds its meaning and direction, in people’s reactions to it. I’ve often sensed the feeling of loss about the brutalization of that fragile fantasy which is emblematic of the lives they themselves lead, that sense of ‘well, every time you try to do something good or beautiful around here, it’s always destroyed.’ It awakens and politicizes that consciousness. The park [that Simonds help to plan and build on the Lower East Side] is gathering those energies and a channeling of them through existing community organizations so they have a positive result. That’s a political act. It’s intended that way."

"Thus, in evoking a past time, Simonds guides viewers to think about the present. The structures of the Little People are not intended as an escape from reality, but as a stimulus to consider our society today: what we create, what we destroy, what we value, what we believe, and what we will leave behind as our ruins."

Mariann Smith and Nancy Spector


New Track From New Pornographers: "Your Hands (Together)"

just in case you're thinking i'm just a big grouch, here's something i really like & i'm looking forward to the release of the whole album. as a "real" collective, i find the new pornographers to be much more interesting than, say, the arcade fire. that's just me.


a bonus video just in case the first track didn't remind you just how cool these folks are.


this guy is a big deal in l.a. right now. comparisons to cohen have been naively made but he sounds more like matt berninger of the national & the modest accomplishments of the song craft are more akin to that band too w/a little shoegazing thrown in. i'm not knocking it really but i do seem to get a little ornery when 20something hipsters try to make connections w/the great & enduring pop artists of the past to legitimate what they're listening to currently.
i don't remember any of us trying to read sinatra into jagger or even, more accurately, cole porter into lennon/mccartney. there didn't seem to be a need to rationalize why or how the music spoke to us. that's not to say we didn't read bangs & landau & marcus but they weren't trying to legitimate the music so much as promote it & they didn't do that w/facile comparisons.

all that being said, i like this song & i think the video works too.

"We started out, we were much younger
you taught me the fire, and i taught you the hunger
i remember love ,but love don’t remember me
...i’ll wait at the bar rooms, and you’ll wait at the station
and we’ll dream of each other, in our old situation...


ok, ok. there's more than a hint of jewel here but she really SINGS the damn song &, yeah, there's more than a hint of showboating too but she really SINGS the damn song & i'll take it. this song was used in the final episode of the chaotic mess that was joss whedon's dollhouse. joss & company have always used pop music effectively & it worked so well in the closing minutes of that final episode that i almost forgot how bad the experience of the show had been.


"Poetry, like music, is to be heard. It deals in sound - long sounds and short sounds, heavy beats and light beats, the tone relations of vowels, the relations of consonants to one another . . . Reading in silence is the source of half the misconceptions that have caused the public to distrust poetry."

he was one of the last "old school" modernists in the poundian mode. not as inventive as pound nor as profound as eliot, his ear for the musicality of the english language is pretty damned finely tuned. read these next few lines out loud & you can't help but experience what he was trying to accomplish.
unfortunately, his connection w/pound personally caused him to be viewed suspiciously & his poetry to be casually ignored or dismissed as "minor".

Every birth a crime,
every sentence life.
Wiped of mould and mites
would the ball run true?
No hope of going back.
Hounds falter and stray,
shame deflects the pen.
Love murdered neither bleeds nor stifles
but jogs the draftsman’s elbow.
What can he, changed, tell
her, changed, perhaps dead?
Delight dwindles. Blame
stays the same.


someone i stumbled over while cruising the web. this is lovely stuff. i'm not so sure i approve of the vocal affectation(a celt from seattle? a northwest sinead?)but it works in & for this song.

outside my head i cast a shadow
im not someone whose seen this side of me
but it drifts accross the ground so down i look
and i could spend my time wondering who i was
i could count the times that i have lost or won
i could turn toward you and ask you what you saw
but what do these feelings mean?

come meet me on this path of wonder
take my hand i'd like to share with you
what can we learn when we cant understand?
we could spend our time wondering what could be
we could ask of god to show us where we stand
you could follow me back to where we met
but what have you been dreaming of?

im going to live
but im living far away

im going to die
im dying for a way out

"Tiny Vipers is the stage name of Jesy Fortino, an acoustic musician from Seattle, Washington. After having started as out a more conventional pop singer-songwriter, she has since developed a very distinct style. She uses both minimal but complicated melodies and techniques that move her away from the pop sound of Hands Across the Void into more abstract music."

Friday, February 26, 2010



cash & rick rubin were so prescient in their understanding of what made cash cash & what made american music american. we're on the 6th album of these sepulchral recordings &, for me, i want them to go on & on. sure, there are some clunkers here & there but i'll tell you what: you do something like this as the curtain closes & we'll see how it stacks up, ok?. w/the exception of warren zevon, i don't think anyone else in american music got to close it out as profoundly & self-consciously as cash. the trick w/both of them was that as the self fell away(as it always does)Being(heidegger's big "B") asserted itself in its most fundamental way.

we'd do well to listen very very closely.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


"All good art is an indiscretion."

oddly, i found three different death dates for williams from five different sources. i'm sure this is something that would have amused him. i mean, they know when pliny the elder died; it seems like they'd have a handle on someone from the 20th century.
be that as it may, i've mentioned before how i took williams lightly back in high school, especially when i compared him w/o'neill. seeing his plays actually performed by professionals opened up a whole other side to his writing for me & convinced me of his true genius. i believe now he had a much better sense of the stage than o'neill did.
i met williams in key west. i was there w/frank & di in our new college days. there was a huge gay bar down on front st. it had several levels & the top one was an open air bar built around a huge kapok tree. there was a swiss family robinson aspect to it but for mature audiences. williams was very drunk but very gentlemanly. he said nothing memorable & paid more attention to di(faghag that she was/is)which should have offended me but didn't. the whole encounter amounted to us being able to say we bought tennessee williams a drink, tho i suppose it exposed the origins of one of his great lines about strangers.
he didn't buy any of us a drink.

"Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


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william grimes described craft restaurant's gnocchi as "light-weight, butter-laden eye-rolling pleasure bombs" & that description fits this version from mark vetri. i taught a skillful means seminar at the nyingma institute that included making gnocchi. they're relatively easy & quick to make if you use a light hand. these were served w/cremini & golden chanterelle mushrooms in a porcini cream w/shredded baby spinach. they were also ann's lunch on monday.

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Monday, February 22, 2010


there are any number of similar desserts & they all have cool names like grunts, slump, betty, cobbler, buckle, pandowdy, crumbles & crisps(& let's not forget their french ancestor, the clafoutis). i used to like crisps & cobblers when i was a little kid because i could scrape the fruit away & just eat the fruit flavored sweet crusts.