Tuesday, July 30, 2013

California Poet Laureate

Pretty cool interview and DJ visit at NPR with Juan Felipe Herrera.  The first tune he shares is "Incident at Neshabur" off of Santana's classic Abraxas.  I used to pull this album out of my parents' vinyl collection and spin it on the turn table round 'n round.  The beautiful "Samba Pa Ti" was my parents wedding song.  We used the tune in a beautiful slide show last year to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  Gotta admit, I got choked up.  I got choked up, I gotta admit.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters

Just found this gem over at UbuWeb.  It's Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters.  Track 4 includes Ornette Coleman.  Amazing compositions!  O holy chills!  Damn!  Every marching band in the U.S. should learn the title track and play it at once.  To think this album is nearly 25 years old--it sounds so fresh.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Amaldóvar and Me

I'm really excited to watch Pedro Amaldóvar's new film Los Amantes Pasajeros.  I want to hit it either tonight or tomorrow before it moves on to different formats.  In preparation, I've been revisiting some of his older movies and watching those I've never seen.  For example, yesterday I watched Entre Tinieblas (Dark Habits).  To quickly sum up the picture, it features a near all-female cast.  It's about a cabaret singer whose on the run and finds refuge at a convent managed by eccentric nuns--very eccentric nuns!  A drama that utilizes dark and bawdy comedic elements (the type of stuff I love!) pushes this film forward, always surprising and knock-you-off-your-seat funny.  As in many of Amaldóvar's movies there are literary references and writers who are faced with a dilemma.  There are allusions to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and chistes directed at the 'holier than thou' literary canon.  I loved this movie.  Looking back--it was produced in 1983--it was a wonderful point of not necessarily departure, but it marked the possibility for new directions in the director's arsenal.  

Quick connection: my wife and I just returned from Madrid, and my lungs are still pumping Spanish air.  Goya, Goya, Goya, a voice bellows in my sleep.  A beautiful, beautiful time.  After a long day at the museum, we decided to drop into a tapas restaurant in Chueca.  A small, family-owned restaurant operating since 1966.  As we waited to be seated, I looked around the entrance and found a picture of Pedro Amaldóvar.  It was an article cut out from El Pais, explaining his fondness for the place. "What the &#$#?"  "What's wrong," Mandie asked.  "[mumble, mumble, grunt, pointing at the article (my wife understands this)]"   It turns out it's a place he likes to stop by when he's itching for tapas.  Actually, it's a place that he adores, and after eating there, I can see why.  It's short money--considering--and the food and environment is great.  I looked around the place, nervously hoping to catch a glimpse of the director, but he wasn't there.  One reason might be that it was ridiculously early to be eating dinner--it was 845pm.  If he was there, would I even approach him?  What would I say?  Or would I just stare creepily across the restaurant, my eyeballs peeking over a menu, waiting for him to pull out a notebook from his breast pocket to jot down some notes for his next film?  I'm really not good with that kind of stuff.

I mention this incident because it's one event in a chain of events pointing at the work of Pedro Amaldóvar.  There's a word for this I can't think of now, but I'll just use the word 'coincidence.'  These coincidence's happen infrequently but they do happen, and what I've realized is that I usually need to pay closer attention to the subject at hand.  Something's telling me something: "Study Amaldóvar's work more closely, you lazy %$@#$#@%. Study Amaldóvar's work more closely.  Don't just sit watching passively.  Don't multi-task.  What can it offer you and your work?  How did Amaldóvar critique this or that (read allegory and satire), how does he use humor, how does he rear back and deliver the gut punch, how does he introduce the extraordinary, how does he use color, etc."  Reader, you must imagine this recited in the voice of Hamlet's deceased father.  It's important, I believe, to take advantage of this synchronicity (not the word I was thinking of).  I don't know how, but as I mentioned earlier, it's advantageous to tune the senses a little more acutely.

From what I've observed, the reviews for Amadóvar's new movie have been mixed.  Some have told me it's a commentary on Spain's current economic crisis, but I have no idea what to expect.  All I know  is that I'll be there with a well-salted and buttery tapa, a bag of popcorn.  As for the crisis in Spain, protests are in the streets.  I read the spray-painted phrase "Eat the rich!" more than once on a few buildings around the city.

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I'm listening to Nas' "Nasty" as I write this.  I can't sit still.  

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Watched Mexico versus Panama yesterday in the Copa de Oro tournament.  Que lástima.  They're skidding out of control.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Karen Dalton

I thought I'd post a song this evening by the truly gifted, Karen Dalton.

Here's a little backstory on Karen Dalton with some tunes on Red Essay:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Finally read CD Wright's One Big Self.  My goodness.  It was such an experience.  I'd like to write about it at a later time.


I've been listening to Deafheaven's new album Sunbather.  Epic compositions with exceptional production.  This album references some of the great stuff that came out of the early 2000s.  Beautiful melodies drenched in distortion, screams, lulls, etc.  I like to take this album along on bike rides around the neighborhood.  I'm not entirely certain how I feel about the album yet.  It's been hella warm outside lately, but it's easy to forget about that when the flashes of beauty rise triumphantly from the chaos.

Also been listening to Retox, too.  And Kanye.  And Parts and Labor.  And Bob Marley.  And early Slayer.  And Chalino Sanchez.  And Nina Simone.

Tao Lin's new book, Taipei, was written up in the Los Angeles Times recently.  I haven't read it yet-the book that is-but do intend to get to it soon.  I've posted my feelings regarding Lin's work here on occasion and continue to suggest his books to friends and acquaintances, especially his early poetry, like you are a little bit happier than i am.  This guy has inspired a generation of imitators and will continue to do so for years to come.  Lots of folks have beef with this and to them I say 'eat your beef.'

I'm dreaming of long walks in distant cities.

Or long bike rides on distant bike baths.  I don't know how many more miles my beach cruiser has in its lifespan, but it's been a great companion over the 10+ years we've ridden together.  From the bike rides to the various AM/PM's in El Centro to the nasty spill I took a couple of summers ago on University Avenue in Hillcrest.  Packages, books, and food flew out of the basket on my handlebars (yes, I have a basket)--I was the yard sale of yard sales that day.

 Aqui está el Rocinante con mi esposa's fantastic steed, Artax, The Immortal
Wrote 3 new prose poems over the last couple of days.  Some would argue that's all I write.  Some would argue that I don't write prose poems, because I write 'pose' poems.  To those austere individuals, I say: 'come 'ere, someone needs a tickle.'  Actually, they might be right.  But who cares, I'll build my castle out of gelatinous cubes of fun, but not always, not always, that can be counted on.

Gearing up to read Evan Lavender-Smith's Avatar.  It's on deck with the pine tar in hand, gauging the velocity of the change up, slider and two-seam fastball that runs inside to the right-handed hitter.  Saw him this spring at UCSD.  Great stuff.

Speaking of which, c'mon Padres, you can do it man!

New Book

México, DF. Las voces de 25 jóvenes inmigrantes “involuntariamente” indocumentados –que llegaron antes de los 16 años de edad a Estados Unidos, por decisión de sus familias– son los protagonistas del libroDreamers, el primer libro de la periodista mexicana Eileen Truax.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


"Do you have love for humankind?"  Although I'm an information junkie, I'm seriously thinking about shutting down the news feeds for an undetermined period this summer.  I really believe that the horrible migraine I suffered two days ago was a result of the onslaught of horrific news we've been processing over the last few weeks.  My dreams have even been infected.  I must find equilibrium in art and kind relationships this summer (and always, que no?).