Friday, April 22, 2011

Writers Graves

The photo banner of this blog, which will be returning in full force soon, is the statue of Joyce siting over his grave. Here are a few grave photos.
Leo Tolstoy's grave at Yasnaya Polyana, Tula, 2006 
(Photo by me, free to be used for any purpose :)

 Ezra Pound at JJ's grave
Peter Orlovsky at JJ's grave

Here's some fun quotes:

  Hillsengals, the daughters of the cliffs, responsen. Longsome the samphire coast. From thee to thee, thoo art it thoo, that thouest there. The like the near, the liker nearer. O sosay! A family, a band, a school, a clanagirls. Fiftines andbut fortines by novanas andor vantads by octettes ayand decadendecads by a lunary with last a lone. Whose every has herdifferent from the similies with her site. Sicut campanulae petalliferentes they coroll in caroll round Botany Bay. A dweam of dose innocent dirly dirls. Keavn! Keavn! And they all setton voicies about singsing music was Keavn! He. Only he. Ittle he. Ah! The whole clangalied. Oh!


Is this space of our couple of hours too dimensional for you, temporiser?

For fun and profit, click the 'Concordex' link at the side and search your favorite words. More to come.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One year anniversary of Salinger approaches, and no news about new books

This Friday marks the first anniversary of J.D. Salinger's death. Oh, my God, I salute you, Jerry!

So what's the deal with Harold Ober Associates? Their literary agency is mum on the subject of Salinger. We don't know if Salinger has books coming out in the future or not. We don't know if he wrote a will demanding 50 years of silence before publication or not. We deserve an explanation, and one year is more than long enough to wait. If they don't release some sort of announcement on Friday the 28th, indicating if there IS anything or if NEW BOOKS exist or if they don't, there will be consequences. How simple is that? DO THEY OR DON'T THEY. EXIST or NOT EXIST. SUM. NON SUM. Eh?

I for one will be beginning a protest "with extreme prejudice" if we don't get any news this Friday. That is all. (Your participation would be greatly appreciated.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

kaputt is fabulous

Dan Bejar's new album is a really, really excellent piece of music. With his cryptic comments about ambience in grief point, I wasn't sure what the result would be. Bay of pigs was epic, but unique. The sound of Kaputt is basically the best possible result of what Bejar's recent work --(Archer on the Bay EP, Bay of Pigs EP, performing with Loscil, see my last few destroyerelated blog posts ;) were building up to. Don't believe the hype? Check this clip, courtesy of stereogum:

The look of the opening segment with the ambient glassy faraway guitar chords in the song give me some strong Mysterious Skin vibes, which had excellent music by Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie.

Thanks, Dan. You are amazing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grief point - lyrics by Dan Bejar

The journal starts late: six weeks into the making of "Grief Point," first off as "May Day," a song in honor of May 1st and the workers. Can you still be against the strike that only strikes for more pay? By "you," in this instance, I mean "me."

There is a certain kind of person to whom things come with great facility. They say this is the noise that gets made as my life is lived. So be it. But don't feel the need to record it. For a second I thought that this meant that they were not interested in history. But that's... wrong. Wrong, wrong. A bad reading of the situation. The right reading is that I just don't understand it. At all.

Grief Point � and "May Day," by extension � suffers from the same old shit. A potential, complete ignorance of ambience, real ambience, in that: Can you really construct it, every last bit of it, and just let the listener feel its effects? And is this the right treatment? Always the same question. In this case I would maybe say yes, just because it forces form onto the thing, "thing" as a bunch of words, two melodies, and the words sung in a handful of ways. Between J____ and D____, of course, the same old war rages: one into a tight and perfect digital palace, but super true to the genre; the other, wanting to draw on actual sounds, mix it up, humanize.

It's cool how for my part, this sleight of hand, the trick of making something confounding and great and potentially horrible, drawn up from air: all this is no longer of any interest. In fact, even seeing things in this light depresses me. And so I often come home at night depressed by what we have done, what we are doing. It's good. It means I've changed.

I have lost interest in music. It is horrible.

I should only make things I understand. I should only make things I know how to construct, however imperfect. It's not even like dictating to someone. It's less than that.

"May Day" itself is pretty cool, I have to admit. It condemns the world at such an easy pace. I intend to tell T____ it is like a happy "Shooting Rockets," a disgusting description of anything, to be sure. I think the world does not like me grim. It likes me melancholic, but not miserable. English on the Mediterranean, which is oddly enough some of the worst people there is.

At some point, when it is made, I will explain this record, word for word, swear to God. An ape with angel glands: when I know if it is good or bad, I will know what is good, and what is bad.

The answer to the making of "Grief Point" is picnic baskets, filled with blood.

Too rich, nothing at stake.

If ______ had to write lyrics for his songs, they would be cumbersome, pale blocks, like his riffs, but pale. So instead he went out and found a whaler, too stupid to commit to a single thing.

I assume not lighting up at the sight of your mother as a sign of madness in an infant. Patina, no name for a baby. Your firstborn, before they threw you from the bridge.

Bagna wrestles his dogs to the floor. Such a beautiful scene for some. They write plays, don't perform them.

The message from the critical reception of Dreams was quite clear: we will not be listening to you any further. Of course some tension is created. Cosmonaut in a bread line, et cetera.

I watched a pig devour the classics just to get to you. The barge endlessly circling, your mind finds out. It is done.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jonathan Franzen's Freedom best american novel since Infinite Jest?

Jon Franzen's new book, The Corrections 2, will take you by surprise by being so much more than the made-up title I just gave it implies. Although the voice is virtually the exact same, the style is the exact same, and the basic plot is the exact same, Freedom shows us how much an artist can expand into the new without changing the sorts of parameters I mentioned above.

I just finished Freedom a few hours ago, and it was truly, truly beautiful. The America seems realer; Franzen's observations wiser, more mature, more accurate. He presents vividly the thoughts, ideas and philosophies of modern American minds and lives, without endorsing or attacking any of them. He lets the character speak for themselves, to the point of bad writing that are vulnerable to snark by sincerity-hounding critics or bloggers; specifically in the diaries authored by Patty, her writing is full of the whinging self-pity that her mind is cluttered with. She exhibits the melodrama and tearfulness that a writer like Franzen could most viciously be criticized for; where he's most vulnerable to attack as writing an overwrought monologue.

But Franzen, I think here more than in C, the only other book of his I read, has truly refined himself out of the work, part of Joyce's ideal for the author. His own personal views, his own experience, feelings and beliefs, are no longer visible in the novel. Instead, he seems to be giving us a pure portrait of our culture.

Aside from the compelling central characters, between whom Franzen shifts fluidly -- like in C -- for 80-100 page long chapters of development and recollection, stream of consciousness that travels into the deep past, the present, today, a few weeks ago; there are a host of pressing cultural questions and issues that lose no relevance for being printed on the page. Throughout, the writing proceeds fluidly. One is a passenger in a very well-driven automobile.

What else does this blogger have to add? Thank you, Jonathan, for this incredible book, which touched me more than most. Thank you for your hard work and the beauty of your accomplishment.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A few new things.

Kings of Convenience' newest album... Its so great! I was a big fan of Riot on an Empty Street.

There's a new edition of Finnegans Wake coming out which Danis Rose and and john o'hanlon have been working on for thirty years or so. Their site has a detailed rationale for the new edition. Roland McHugh, in his weird but helpful FW-memoir 'The FW Experience,' recalls Danis Rose talking about starting such an edition in 1981.

Now that its been a few weeks since finishing the Wake I'm finding new sources of valuable criticism. Skeleton's Key to FW by Campbell & Robinson was good to read part of, and better to put down, forever. Tindall's Readers Guide to FW I found unbearable for some reason and read little before returning to the library. McHugh's Annotations had to go back to the library as well. The end of the book, I think, is very hard for an unaided reader. Some parts of Books III and IV are settling into order for me, including currently with McHugh's Sigla of FW and also John Bishop's Book of the Dark.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the legendary David Mitchell to hit Brooklyn USA

Anyone else incredibly excited that David Mitchell is visiting the holy land of Brooklyn U.S.A. in Juuuly?

For a while on Wikipedia, his soon to be published fifth novel was listed bizarrely as NAGASAKI. Based on this interview.

Now it's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, set on an island in Nagasaki Harbor around
the turn of the 19th century.

American cover

Based on Mitchell's record, this book could be incredible. If you haven't read him, why the hell not start with this one. It's strange that he's not more read in the U.S. since he accomplishes what our novelists try to do He leaves you with musical stories to reconsider, think about and muse over the plots. They always bubble up in my mind long after I've read them.. Hard to shake.

British cover

I received Ghostwritten from my aunt in England around the time it came out and it sat on the bookshelf for a number of years until I saw an interview with Mitchell in the Financial Times that impressed me. That was when his fourth novel, Black Swan Green, had just been published.

So I went back and read Ghostwritten, the international interlocking short stories written like a series of philosophical essays about why things happen. Number9Dream may be my favorite of them all, it's the Japanese 20-year-old boy's fantasy life and life in Tokyo. That novel, in scenes that give no hint as to whether they're real or imagined, has a rhythm that picks up in speed to an unbelievably hyper pitch in a few chapters.

This one is the most famous, if any of them can be called famous.

It's good. I started reading it thinking it would be like a rewritten version of Ghostwritten, but it goes much deeper. Still kind of trying to figure it out and I don't want to give what little I've gleaned away. Six stories over five to six hundred years of history, told by different speakers, and pretty f'ing glorious just as a literary achievement.

That is the edition of Ghostwritten I read.

This wonderful British bird says that it's her favorite, after reviewing all of his novels on Youtube.

I'm with you sweetheart! Well, I don't know what to say about that charming novel -- it led me to read everything else. (Neil Brose in ghostwritten = Nick Leeson. Neil Brose in Jason Taylor's school = Nick Leeson and Mitchell really in school together? Doubtful, but fun to imagine).

This is the edition of Black Swan Green I just finished, approximately three years after reading Ghostwritten, and caught up just in the nick of time, apparently.

BSG is a unique novel that I couldn't well describe. The story of the 13 year old boy growing up in bloody England veers from deranged teenage fun to adolescence crushed by life on a hairpin. It's fun, it's frightening, it's beautifully dense and complicated...

The highest compliment I can think of for Mitchell right now is that he gives me that unique Nabokov sense of magic and surprise in literature.

So, literary Brooklynites unite and attend the Greenlight bookstore, July 17 at 7:30 p.m.!!

(This guy made some awesome Number9dream covers. I think he feels the same way I do about it).

Monday, May 17, 2010

And Jerry Salinger's new book is coming out... when?

The New Yorker, June 6, 1959; containing Seymour: An Introduction.

I wonder if by January 21, 2011, if we're still alive by then, there will be any announcement about old Jerry. The fifteen to twenty to fifty novels locked in the safe, the autobiography Lillian Ross once mentioned as a project he had speculated about with her...will a year be enough for the Harold Ober Associates to get their act together?

At the very least, that cursedly faithful organization must make some sort of announcement on the anniversary of the man's death to let the faithful know if we have a reason to keep living or not. Twelve months should be sufficient time to work out the rights, the will, the probate or whatever its called process. It was about a year after David Foster Wallace's death that we got the ambiguous news about the publication of the unfinished "The Pale King" sometime in the near future.

Or did Salinger pen some insane will requesting 25 years of silence before publication, like Eugene O'Neill with A Hard Day's Journey Into Night? (O'Neill's wife violated his wishes after two years).

One wonders.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Michael robbins mini poetry collection

Myself and many others were introduced to the strange and wonderful charms of Michael Robbins one year ago when his poem Alien vs. Predator appeared in the New Yorker. However, it is not easy to find more of the man's work, holed up as he in the hamlet of Chicago. One piece that you'll find if you Google him says that he teaches at "Columbia." In Chicago, that is. (I hoped he was a local). I am quite happy that I was able to find an additional five whole poems online, and now present all six to you.

Michael Robbins collection (formatting went a bit kaflooey, damn blogger.):

Aliens vs. Predator

Praise this world, Rilke says, the jerk.

We’d stay up all night. Every angel’s

berserk. Hell, if you slit monkeys

for a living, you’d pray to me, too.

I’m not so forgiving. I’m rubber, you’re glue.

That elk is such a dick. He’s a space tree

making a ski and a little foam chiropractor.

I set the controls, I pioneer

the seeding of the ionosphere.

I translate the Bible into velociraptor.

In front of Best Buy, the Tibetans are released,

but where’s the whale on stilts that we were promised?

I fight the comets, lick the moon,

pave its lonely streets.

The sandhill cranes make brains look easy.

I go by many names: Buju Banton,

Camel Light, the New York Times.

Point being, rickshaws in Scranton.

I have few legs. I sleep on meat.

I’d eat your bra—point being—in a heartbeat.

Favorite zoo animal

Tiny reindeer dancer
you put the
abra in lab rat.

Appoint a green snowsuit
to sort out illegal downloading.

A specter is haunting communism.

I think the lake reminds me of a wafer
bottled in Arkansas & shipped
with maple porn.

Left Behind to certify the velcro of small things

—antlers in our milk, the hen
that guesses our weight—

the hen that stamps our names on tin bands—

Management of Widow Burning,

or, The Cultural Logic of Late Creationism.

You can’t smoke in here, this is America.

A good police will patent a lint barrow.

When you fix it in a field of filthy x rays

one girl’s ankle monitor is

as sad as another.

for Matthea Harvey

[Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:]

Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:
1. Box cutters
2. Airplanes

This spleen & idyll is legally a star.

Let us stockpile rupturewort & eryngo
in the unlikely event of water landing.

All that is sullied melts into flesh.
Hebrew, the original HTML.
How will I open my box on the airplane??

I saw a bat another bat
& two batlike swifts
that might’ve been bats.

I mean that literally.

I mean “literally”

Either Time

Made like a moving picture

not about things but with—bonny a machinist as pleases.

I mean I have real hair to transfer

I have moths to gale. Say it, us

look that tiny, tinsel-mote October

revolutions, belly-belly barometric span.

Sure, sad stories I love to leave where they lie.

For who can sing so softly heroes from their stupid tombs?

Didn’t I know all this in the version where your negotiations of

it is simply astounding to see an animal dead on a highway

were nonnegotiable? No one if you lift the rain

from the bucket & fling it back into the sky says

hey it’s raining again

for Anna Clark

Known knowns

Very little perhaps nothing
is known about boats.

I was never bitten
by a radioactive pony.

I believe we lack
a public health system
per se.

The world’s tallest freestanding smokestack
is in Sudbury, Ontario.

Lights at the top make it
scrutable to aircraft.

We’re waiting to de-fern.

Soft pink widows

Uplink with the Candied Piety

Filament the trash-fish trade

Your spinal melodies comfort
ejector-seat collectors

Tried to use the spoon but the spoon
shorted out
It wants its robot raspberries back
Tried on neon, neon
obsoletes me

& xanadus from the fever archive
Remix the minesweeper’s tiny sex

Thus you no-man-fathom, pee-shy
Braving the salad to saturate
lavender horizons
with wire-minded professionals

The religious left’s turntablist
Printed our t-shirts in narrow daylight

Like an odometer you sundered valentines
Fire-static limbered your ambit

You were weirded by an old box of receipts
Purple numbers italicizing trees


He writes for this site:

EDIT: After comments by the poet, some correction have been made to this mishmashed post which originally attributed 7 other poems by "Michael Robins" -- one B -- to the poet in question. Thanks Michael.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just need to share two amazing films by Ben Baker-Smith

This is 100 Hours of Peace. At the end, it gets really good.

100 Hours of Solitude from Benjamin Baker-Smith on Vimeo.

This is Our Country. Created in the rainy spring of early 2008. Made by Ben and George Schaefer. Stars yours truly and a few other future movers and shakers.

Our Country from Benjamin Baker-Smith on Vimeo.

Enjoy these masterpieces.
Also, if you felt like Merryweather Pose Pavilion had some empty spaces that needed filling when it came out last year, maybe you should click this link.
Fall Be Kind (ep)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I just read an interesting essay about Der Zauberberg, The magic Mountain, an extremely absorbing novel which I finished a little while ago, and it reminded me that I'd never written on Finnegans Cake about this wonderful book. That yellow edition above is the one that I read, translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter. She's a gifted translator, in that, the way that Rosemary Edmonds' Tolstoy books made me feel, one becomes entirely unconscious of the translation and just thinks the author is miraculously speaking to you in English. Lowe-Porter was Mann's official translator, even if he wasn't sure he wanted her, he apparently respected 'Die Lowe.'
Wikipedia has some more criticism of her... Above is the movie cover with the wonderful x-ray image that is often brought up in the novel, although it's usually the x-ray of Hans Castorp's beloved...

What the essay I read really bothered me with was the ending, where the writer in essence declares that Lowe-Porters translations are garbage and that John E Woods' is infinitely better. He provides the following example, Lowe-Porter's last line. You might not want to read this if you prize surprises in novels although the line doesn't give away much of the plot.... just skip to my text below if that's how you like it...

Out of this universal feast of death, out of this extremity of fever, kindling the rain-washed evening sky to a fiery glow, may it be that Love one day shall mount?

Contrast Porter-Lowe's leaden, awkward prose with Woods's infinitely more supple phrasing:

And out of this worldwide festival of death, this ugly rutting fever that inflames the evening sky all round -- will love someday rise up out of this, too?

It's impossible not to see the improvement. Mann's original German prose is notoriously difficult: circuitous, occasionally labyrinthine and filled with elaborate constructions. Woods succeeds admirably in translating the hefty style without sacrificing tone or flow. This is a translation for the ages.

God, I couldn't disagree more. Is that new version really better? Maybe b/c I read the old one I like it more, but i find a novel ending in ", too?" to be incredibly weak. (Although I've read two novels recently that end with a vague rhetorical question as a last line (Sag Harbor and Cloud Atlas; it worked in the first one but irritated in the second)).

I have difficulty understanding the fights between translators. I suppose I haven't compared too many translations of the classics, except for Constance Garnett's Crime and Punishment to that of Pevear and Volkhonsky. And I liked Garnett's more. Call me old-fashioned... But I think a novel from 1924, like Magic Mountain, should read like it is old-fashioned. I don't value modern language in old novels.

Also, it would be appropriate here to get into the themes of Mountain, and its meaning, etc; but I won't, since that's almost impossible. Shortly after finishing it, I read recollections from an aluma of my college many years prior to my study there, talking about her literature education at the college. She said that she and a close friend both read Mountain and spent their fall breaks at the college working on papers about it, talking about it all day, every day, from breakfast in a dining hall to in a dorm room at night, trying and failing to figure it out. Doesn't that sound sweet? For me, I basically got rid of the book as soon as I finished it -- glued it up, shoved it between a rock and a hard place to fix the binding, and left in a house in a different town. It was instinctive -- it is such a complex story, so straining to the intellect, that I guess I had to have it completely out of my sight? But instead of talking about it with someone, instead there's just a slight buzz in the back of my mind like gas from a burner going over the arc, the story, the basic outline. Why did this happen? What was the meaning of that part? Why did that happen at the very end? It's hard to say. Mann, in 'the making of magic mountain,' which was appended to an american edition, asks the reader to read it a second time. Then says, 'Obviously this isn't required if you found it boring...' He says that it is like a piece of music, and as a musical score must be known by the listener before it can be enjoyed, so with his novel.

But I won't have time for that for quite a while.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I recently was charmed to find Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald the most delightful little bunch of short stories, even though in the back of my "enhanced learning readers' critical edition" (the same "brand" as my edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, which I just finished, years after being given a diluted photo book about AF in elementary school) there are essays criticizing it as cheap -- even at his worst Scott's better than most, or all. It came out in 1920, same year as This Side of Paradise.
Here's a slightly uglier cover:
This was the image on my copy, although it was shrunk a bit.
Among criticisms:
Mencken in The Smart Set was among the first to call attention to the split in Fitzgerald betwen the entertainer and the serious novelist: 'Fitzgerald is curiously ambidextrous. Will he porceed via the first part of This Side of Paradise to the cold groves of beautiful letters, or will he proceed via 'Head and Shoulders' into the sunshine that warms Robert W. Chambers and Harold McGrath?

Apparently in the copy he sent to Mencken, Scott had this inscription: "Worth reading: The Ice Palace, the Cut-glass bowl, Benediction, Dalyrimple goes wrong; Amusing: The Offshore Pirate, Trash: Head and Shoulders, The Four Fists, Bernice Bobs Her Hair."

Well I think its perfectly silly for the different critics in the back of this book to be saying that one story is better than another, they're all pretty similar in quality to my eyes, and I liked all of them. It was also a very pleasantly quick read.
Which brings me to a big point of this post, actually. Publishers seem to always put the short stories of great writers of antiquity into 500-page-long compendiums. It's insane! What are we, in some college course getting an anthology? I don't want to read the Collected Short Stories of Nabokov, Faulkner, or Borges -- I would feel terrified of the undertaking. If I want short stories, I want something short -- like in Scott's case, the original, 250-page collections are infinitely preferable! Some of the four, like Tales of the Jazz Age, are still available, at least according to ABE Books. But other ones, like All the Sad Young Men, (Keith Gessen's title inspiration?) fetch prices around $80.

Biographical note: I have a new apartment, after two months of homelessness.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brilliant cover. Anyone else insanely excited for this? A Wall Street Journal article about dead writers and which also profiled DFW's the Pale King gave a nice concise history of this one.

For decades, Dmitri Nabokov kept the manuscript locked in a Swiss bank vault, allowing only a select group of Nabokov scholars to read it, and occasionally suggesting in interviews that he would destroy the novel. In 2008, more than 30 years after his father's death, he announced to a German magazine his decision to publish the work, saying that his father had appeared to him in a vision and told him to "go ahead and publish."

"The opening few words just blew me away," said Mr. Boyd, who is also editing three other collections of Mr. Nabokov's work, including previously unpublished letters to his wife. "There's a kind of narrative device that he's never used before and that I don't think anybody else has ever used before."
So that's something to keep on the happy list. Slate's Ron Rosenbaum also put a piece about the book up today -- you can read that, if you want to give yourself a nice acute headache between the eyes. Apparently it will be published as facsimiles of the notecards, and perforated index cards that can be torn out and shuffled, since the original order, at least in the latter half, was lost anyway.

I haven't read Ada or Ardor yet -- it's been watching me from the bookshelf for about a year now -- nor Pale Fire -- but after Lolita and especially The Gift, felt like I knew Nabby well enough, to, well, start calling him Nabby.

Also, this is just plain awesome. A new edition of Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome with a cover by Jeffrey Brown.

P.s., this blog led me to these images:

Other news in the literary realm:
-Perhaps with the onset of winter I'll be spending more time at the computer and make this blog live again.
-Just read an article on Usyless
-- absolutely boring and pointless and typical, paraphrase: ulysses, Declan Kiberd proposes in Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece (W.W. Norton, September), , should be read by the common people! What a fascinating and novel argument -- its about humanism and how great the common life in the street is -- so it follows that we should devote our energies to shoving it down the throats of the working class. Ha, ha. Those who know me know my perspectives on the class issue. Wait, no you don't -- I don't know them myself. But let me comment that Joyce knew how hard his book was to read and I don't think he'd force it on any unwilling reader -- books are meant to attract people, not be forced on them. And if the non-intellectual can't read it, then that's just a fact of life -- as Stephen says about the English soldier in Nighttown, "He thinks he knows me. Doesn't even know his own mind."

But actually this review suddenly and shockingly gets good when the writer steps in to prove he has quite the brain -- in his very last line, of all places!
Disguised as praise, books that offer practical uses for literary classics are in fact acts of iconoclastic arrogance. Proclaiming their fealty to the ordinary, they are driven by impatience with—even contempt for—the actual experience of reading extraordinary works.
Cheers, Steven Kellman.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grief Point?

Welcome to the Grief Point Elementary School website! We hope you find our site helpful, as you and your children interact with our school community.

The intent of this site is to provide you with an overview of the school, its goals and its culture, as well as contact and resource information for parents, students and staff, supplemented with the latest news from around the school.

Grief Point Elementary School strives to achieve a safe and caring environment where all students can be successful and where students, parents and staff members work collaboratively for the benefit of children.

Children of all abilities are integrated into their peer group classrooms with modifications made to the curriculum to ensure that all students participate to the best of their ability. Children are encouraged to work together cooperatively, while the Second Step Social Skills program attempts to teach conflict resolution skills from kindergarten through grade five.

The staff looks forward to working with students and parents to make your child's year a successful one. We encourage parents to be involved in our school environment.

Mr. B. Bailey

6960 Quesnel Street
Powell River, B.C., Canada V8A 1J2

Sunday, September 13, 2009

dan bejar

I'm obsessing over a small argument with the stage manager at Columbia University's Miller Theater last night. It was right after what was billed as Destroyer, Loscil, JACK quartet, as part of Wordless Music Festival. Really it was Loscil (feat. Destroyer), JACK etc. Bejar only sang three songs, but he also did spoken-word to one Loscil song, Grief Point.

So at the end of the concert, I was standing by the stage and when the house manager approached I asked if I could get the computer print-outs of words that Bejar left on the stage. She didn't even look at the stage to ask what I was talking about, I just got this like almost-frightening No, and I just gave up, lamely. Lot of tension in that moment. Could have been a huge confrontation.

But now I'm really about to kill myself for not putting up any argument. Public Has a Right to Know, trying something like 'I work for Pitch Fork Media Magazine!', or just like hopping up there rowdily, grabbing the shit and bolting. Would like to have gotten a copy of those words and I don't think Dan would care. It also almost seemed like he had just written it two hours before the show for the performance. I recall some lines, like 'This is the noise I make while living, you don't have to listen to it.' then, 'I used to think it was all for historical records, but that was wrong, wrong.' 'English people in the mediterranean, which, by the way are the worst kind of people.' 'Grief point led me to May Day. The secret of Grief Point and May Day is...' Oh well, at least I got to see it once.

Overall, Loscil was really good. He's cool and I like Loscil's Rubies. The three Destroyer songs were great, esp. Bay of Pigs. I had my mouth open in shock but like smiling for the entire song, somehow. I was so excited to see it on the programs they handed out, it was the one thing I was most hoping to hear. He didn't actually play anything, just sang to a recording of the instrumental. It was amazing.

As apocalypses go, that's pretty good.

These are two different edits. The top one has the awesome intro lyrics, and a unique but kind of awesome ending. The bottom one has the closer to correct ending but omits some lyrics. Real thing is 13 minutes long and available.

I kept laughing to myself while listening to the words. Part of that may have been due to the weirdly funny photos that were projected on the screen of him during the show and faded around. But I don't think most people appreciated it. The only other people who seem to have written about the concert are this girl, who seems to really get Destroyer and wrote something pretty good about it, and then people like Mr. Big City, who wrote this hilarious review.

Bejar performed his piece “Bay of Pigs,” singing to an electronic backing track while standing under a screen with projected images. The results were a bizarre mess; Bejar’s lyrics are an inscrutable stream-of-
consciousness ramble with no opportunity for a possible rhyme left out, no matter how
awkward or ridiculous [...] the ideas are so terrible that it’s hard to conceive of something that is sincerely so unselfconscious, so egocentric and so lacking self-awareness.
Is it meant to be a parody? If so, it is deeply weird.

That was pretty hilarious. Let me point out that in the concert program, it described Bay of Pigs as a reflection on the 1961 American invasion of Cuba. Well, I didn't hear any lyrics about Cuba. It's either just a joke, or taken very very loosely. Just thinking about the Cuba interpretation is a little crazy.


Loscil provides some insight on their prep on his blog, and also put up a practice recording of Certain things you ought to know.

I think between Your Blues, This Night, Streethawk and Rubies alone there's a lot of my favorite songs. Also remember the lyrics too well, random things about jewel-encrusted roans.

Related but not related, here's some footage of bejar playing in Williamsburg a year ago, as part of Hello Blue Roses with Sydney Vermont... Most notable for how into it he seems to be.