Saturday, August 07, 2004

Friday, August 06, 2004

I wondered what that was about. (va Metafilter)

By a myriad
Of lights from Hiroshima,
Pinpoints scratching my eyes.
Moist scar-folds winding
On the glossy keloid skin of puffed up tissue,
On the muddy street smelling of entrails
Floppy buds sprouting from seared trunks
Of trees along the avenue.
In depths of drizzle, a woman’s
Eyes grow redder than cigarette ends;
She does not seek to hide
the festering
Scab on her thigh.

Ah Hiroshima!
My virility
The A-bomb has crushed it--
Desires gone impotent
In the night, the barren women,
The sperm lost in the dark.
The A-bomb Victims Inquiry Building
Looks pregnant, squatting
In the shadows of trees in
Hijiyama Park leased and glittering,
Its arc-lights eclipsed by the
Bright tail-lights
of American cars:
The placenta leaves the womb
While the tempo of Los Indios
Echos from the desert
Of New Mexico.

The trains,
their broken windows
Boarded up like
Blind eyes,
Rest under the station roof
Where even the news
(Coy tonight) blushes
At sunset, telling
Of a second, a third,
A hundredth A-bomb test.
Blood dripping
Down from somewhere a drunk
Comes staggering down
The dark riverbank
From out of a creaking barge
A gangling soldier suddenly rears up
The evening tide covers the footprints
Of scrap-iron scavengers
Stealing up from the sea.
Across the sky something swishes
Metallic blue like a moth
From night to dawn
From dawn to night again
Far hanging light
Caught before falling; and
Anxiously trying to forget
Lights like dropping fire-flies
Flickering light, dying light,
The lights ofHiroshima
Dragging blood, seond by second
Drawing away from that day
Seeping up from nowhere.
In the darkness of History
The lights of Hiroshima
Teem quietly below.’

--Toge Sankichi

Thursday, August 05, 2004

How much better it would be, if instead of invading another country, we'd just used that money to buy everyone with a driver's license a Vespa--& a turntable--?

Covers, versions. A Thousand Acres as "King Lear"; Clueless as Emma. Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare. Jeffers's "Medea"; & Mark Cullingham's Jeffers... And what about "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"?

Listening to: Dir en grey.

Some Poet-Painters:

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

D H Lawrence

Sylvia Plath

Wyndham Lewis

e. e. cummings

And of course Michelangelo & Blake.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Pollution Level Red.
Nieman’s: the rich in black pajamas.

Many people know that W S Merwin spent years of rustication in the French countryside, but it is a revelation all the same to read his Mays of Ventadorn, one in an interesting new series of literary travelogues. I previously advocated poetry criticism on the model of Poets in a Landscape, & this volume certainly fits the bill. Merwin delves into the Occitanian language & medieval history to produce a vivid portrait of the troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn & his mystical courtly culture.

“The city changed hands between competing factions so frequently that the inhabitants could not agree, when it was all over, whether the number of these occasions was as low as fourteen or as high as nineteen.” --Ronald Hingley, Nightingale Fever (1981)

Found a Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs record. I hadn’t known he was from here (--like Question Mark & the Mysterians, another Tex-Mex band from Sixties Dallas). I was always fascinated by the custom car this band drove, featured in a car magazine (one of the first i ever bought) from the days when bands--even one-hit wonders--had to have their very own unique means of transportation.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"We might feel that pan-Maya ideologies are, in a strict sense, "invented traditions" based on imaginary reconstructions of past culture, but it is not easy to dismiss them as "inauthentic" if they are capturing the imaginations of large numbers of people and becoming their cultural traditions as far as they are concerned." --John Gledhill

"Smart" movies for stupid people: American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, Memento.

A different list of song covers at Mosses from an Old Manse.

Paintings by a Synaesthete. (via Metafilter)

"The entire queue/
clapped, and proclaimed as one: "You is Da Man! "

"The grounds keeper apologized profusely but said that they were bringing in an average of almost 100 bodies a month this year to his graveyard alone- where was he supposed to bury the bodies?"

Monday, August 02, 2004

" 'This deep relation which music has to the true nature of all things also explains the fact that suitable music played to any scene, action, event, or surrounding seems to dislose to us its most secret meaning, and appears as the most accurate and distinct commentary upon it.' " --Arthur Schopenhauer in: Joseph Lanza, Elevator Music (1994)

"Symons's The Symbolist Movement in Literature was translated into Japanese quite early in the 20th century. In Japan it became a sort of critical bible. The young Korean poets had some English and less French. Most of their translations seem to have been made from Japanese texts with an eye sometimes on the English." --A Handbook of Korea (1990)

Some of these song covers are glimflashes; & when i consider a band such as Big Daddy or Laibach (with its Stalinist chic--a kind of camp that is disturbing because the corpse of Stalinism hasn’t quite cooled yet) i am led to thinking of such exercises in musical heteronymy as the Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band”, Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”, the soundtrack to an unmade Logan’s Run sequel, & (which i just saw in our store--in the glass case) Zappa’s “Ruben
and the Jets” album. And then, the novel Norman Spinrad did, as by the science
fiction writer Adolf Hitler, The Iron Dream. (Also, BTW, to a topic i hope to return to, the movie-within-a-movie device & its uses.)

On the one hand, in our marketized culture, every artist is to some degree playing themselves in quotes, especially with the tease of confessional pseudo-intimacy; on the other hand, the basis of our high culture is the Romantic cult of “sincerity”. I think the greater the fictional basis for the disguise of the artist, the more they approximate a deep cultural context such as all traditional art once possessed, & which in 20c. art got lost. This is why people immerse themselves in alternate-worlds, systems of counter-discourse: either as esoteric blixen, fantasy fiction, or the more kinetic surround of RPG’s. Poetry, however, has invariably refused this
option--even when the role of the avant gardiste might have permitted it. (How much more acceptable the wartime broadcasts of “Uncle Ez” would sound, if we didn’t have to think Pound meant them seriously!)

Khlebnikov, Pessoa, Borges, Spicer (especially After Lorca)--Umbrist saints; a 21c. whakapapa.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Complementarity Revoked? (via Metafilter)

Hate is Up. (via Orcinus)

Of course, as soon as i’d posted my list of cover songs others began crowding into my brain. First of all, it was seeing an album featuring the Living Brass’s “Indian Reservation” that set off this whole train of thought. (I now have the record, & it is every bit as awesome as i could have expected.) Second, digging through my record collection has caused me to revisit Joseph Lanza’s Elevator Music. Then, the gods have responded to my 25-year prayers by giving me a mint copy of the only collectible Jackie Gleason album, Lonesome Echo (because of its cover by
Salvador Dali)...

Emerson, Lake and Palmer- Toccata [4th movement of Ginastera’s 1st Piano Concerto]
Jethro Tull- Bouree [Bach]
Miles Davis- Concerto de Aranjuez [Adagio movement]
Streisand- If You Could Read My Mind
Harmonicats- Love Is a Many Splendored Thing
Bill Justis- Cast Your Fate to the Wind; Alley Cat
Sheryl Crow- First Cut is the Deepest
Esquivel- Nature Boy
John Zorn & Naked City- Peter Gunn Theme
anything by Clara Rockmore [theremin], or the Koto Connection
Perez Prado- Blue Tango
Arthur Lyman- Blowin’ in the Wind
Jerry Goodman- Perry Mason Theme [violin!]
Martin Denny- Clair de Lune; Take Five
Chim Kothari- Guantanamara [sitar]
Gus Vali- Aquarius [flute & xylophone]
Electronic Concept Orchestra- Atlantis [Moog]
Pat Boone- Holy Diver
Diamanda Galas- Gloomy Sunday
Julie London- Sometimes I Feel
Gipsy Kings- Volare
Rare Earth- Eleanor Rigby
Manfred Mann- Quinn the Eskimo
Odetta- Gallows Pole [also Led Zeppelin’s]
Tori Amos- Smells Like teen Spirit
Aerosmith- Come Together
Sonny & Cher- Like a Rolling Stone
Michael Buble’- Fever
Dan & Dale- This Magic Moment
Roches- It’s Bad for Me
Ventures- Nadja’s Theme
Ace Cannon-Blue Prelude
Hugo Winterhalter- Theme from Rosemary’s Baby
Sara Brightman- Whiter Shade of Pale
Michael Hedges- Purple Haze [acoustic!]
Jimmy Lafave- Walk Away Renee
Judy Collins- Dress Rehearsal Rag
Huun-Huur-Tu: The Internationale [Tuvan throat-singing]
The Luv’d Ones- He Cried [was “She Cried”]
Dead Can Dance- The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Concrete Blonde- Everybody Knows
Johnette Napolitano- Dancing Barefoot
Roseanne Cash- River
Indigo Girls- It Won’t Take Long
Sophie B Hawkins- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Johnny Rivers- Baby I Need Your Lovin’
The Baroque Inevitable- Wild Thing/Sunny
Big daddy-Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
K D Lang- The Joker
The Lions- Happy New Year Twist [Auld Lang Syne]
Joe Cocker- You Are So Beautiful
Laibach- Let It Be
Pointer Sisters- Fire [Bruce Springsteen's]
Ronstadt- The Waiting is the Hardest Part
...& of course that Symphonic Stones album...

And a related thought: are there ever any good movie remakes?
Off the top of my head, Herzog’s Nosferatu; The Italian Job; The Thomas Crown Affair; Coppolla’s Dracula.