(If you read the subject heading with a New York accent, it rhymes!)
Well dahlinks, the last few weeks have been kinda interesting and the new month is keeping yours truly a'hoppin'... This'll be a little long. Just pretend I wrote 3 and put them together -- which is basically what I did.
Couple weeks ago I got a chance to see two really yummy mainstream films just before Oscar's Day, Milk and The Wrestler. (Still got lots of catching up to do in this regard, obvs.) Milk was one of the most endearing an elegant films I've seen. Just lovely and Penn was astounding. Such a nice light touch and he made me ask my favorite types of questions when I'm watching a film: "*That's* the guy from 'Mystic River'/'We're No Angels'/'Dead Man Walking'? Really lovely storytelling from Van Sant. I saw it with one of my buddies and we had to get T shirts afterwards, we were so giddy!
The Wrestler's tone was very different, gritty. Mickey Rourke was almost unbearable to see. Just heartwrenching. I didn't get a T-shirt that time but another friend of mine and I did take away lots of food for thought. I saw the film as more of a meditation on aging but that might just be because I don't care about sports not even contrived ones. Without that 'distraction' it was easier to look into the trajectory of this modestly hopeful character stubbornly plodding forward. After the movie I saw the comedian Marc Maron's new live show "Scorching the Earth". Very intense. My brother and I saw the first draft of it in Brooklyn and it's definitely gotten stronger. Raw, unapologetic and toward the end Marc reads this letter he wrote (that's all that I'll say about it -- see it yourself) but prefaces it by saying that he looks just as 'bad' as the person he wrote it to. An understatement. If you see the internet show he does w/ Sam Seder, the performance is like a more combative and raw version of his persona on Break Room Live.
Well that was a couple weekends ago...
Last weekend I hung out at Duke for the Infection in the Sentence experimental poetry conference. Got to hang out with my buddy Fred, jazz musician/poet and bon vivant Cecil Taylor, Brent, Christian, Eileen and lots of folks it's been good to see and been to long to see including two -- Susan and Cecilia -- whom I'd seen last at the surreal Helen Adam reading last year. Well you can find the whole list of participants of the conference (except for Kamau B who couldn't attend due to illness) on the Duke U website by googling the search terms. Lots of fun and way too much food. Quite yummy fare in the south and I swear the plates are bigger in North Carolina! I also got to see a grown up soon-to-be-former teen I know who looks like a lady and everything! I remember when her age was in the single digits. Ah, time fleeting thing.
Speaking of academics, I got a mo to check out a talk at my lovely Institute that featured theorist Randy Martin. It was a great talk and those dancer types sure are lovely and demonstrative! They really can fill up a space! During a really fun lunch organized by Jon Beller, I found out that back in the day Mr. Martin had also met/took classes with an actor I've long been a fan of: Bill Irwin. (His presentation as George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" was an exhultant character study.) That's some crazy 1 degree of separation stuff right there!
Snow came in this month and I barely dodged it in the air, I swear! My plane touched down before the snow fell. Phew!
Even though 'the weather outside is frightful' -ly cold, feels a little like spring is around the corner. That Puxatawney Phil was right again, I hate to admit but in NY at least, it's sunny!
I'm traveling a bit now and hope to send off another missive soon in higher double digits!
A Word dropped careless on a Page
by Emily Dickinson
A Word dropped careless on a Page
May stimulate an eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Maker lie
Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria --
I Sing the Body Electric
by Walt Whitman (first stanza)
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
A Noun Sentence
by Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Fady Joudah
A noun sentence, no verb
to it or in it: to the sea the scent of the bed
after making love ... a salty perfume
or a sour one. A noun sentence: my wounded joy
like the sunset at your strange windows.
My flower green like the phoenix. My heart exceeding
my need, hesitant between two doors:
entry a joke, and exit
a labyrinth. Where is my shadow—my guide amid
the crowdedness on the road to judgment day? And I
as an ancient stone of two dark colors in the city wall,
chestnut and black, a protruding insensitivity
toward my visitors and the interpretation of shadows. Wishing
for the present tense a foothold for walking behind me
or ahead of me, barefoot. Where
is my second road to the staircase of expanse? Where
is futility? Where is the road to the road?
And where are we, the marching on the footpath of the present
tense, where are we? Our talk a predicate
and a subject before the sea, and the elusive foam
of speech the dots on the letters,
wishing for the present tense a foothold
on the pavement ...