Friday, July 01, 2005

Roundup

Not Roundup. It's evil.

On Malkmus, because Kyle asked: Yeah, I don't know. Face the Truth is fine. I just don't get the feeling he's challenging himself at all. And the lyrics are just okay ("Done is good / But well done is so much fucking better," picking up I think on S.M.'s obsession with roast beef, being the exception. Where's "pigs, they tend to wiggle when they walk"? I mean, look at the play in that line. And then the "crick" bit. Those were the days).

Eye Scream: I find it a real challenge to look at art in social situations, so I'll have to go back (report soon). Great though was Neil's (or was it Kyle's?) saying something like, "What you really want is a 50/50 split between outrageously positive and outrageously negative reviews." I think I liked the flower-language piece the best. Murmur tour: Showed up late, thinking it started at 1:00 p.m. Lots of non-poetry people there. Emily Schultz's account and poem about that awkward starting-out-as-a-writer period. Maggie Helwig's earnest and adept traffic control. The response to Sharon's intro of Danny Bradley's piece (highly ambiguous). All of Stephen Cain's talk in Matt Cohen park, which nicely incorporated the protest going on behind us. A chat with Hugh Thomas. David Donnell's telling me we need more "whole wheat bread" readings, and then suggesting a night dedicated Plato's Sophist ("you know, six readers, ten minutes each"). Excellent samosas at Coach House.

I think Nadia thinks I'm an idiot now, because I couldn't understand what she said when I asked her what book she's studying this summer (Kant's Critique of Pure Reason).

Oh well, happy Canada Day.

Here, as a bonus, is an excellent description of something I've wanted to see for a while now (via Zoilus):
Another video piece by Marclay, called "Guitar Drag," at first seems vaguely comic. A single monitor shows us Marclay tying an electric guitar -- a classic Fender Stratocaster, red and white, in mint condition -- to a stout rope, whose other end is anchored to a pickup truck that's got an amplifier sitting on its bed. Marclay wires the guitar to the amp, turns both on high, gets in the truck, then takes off down a rural road and through the scruffy landscape all around it. For 14 minutes we watch, and hear, what happens when Fender meets asphalt, or gravel, or high grass, in a kind of random suite of found-art power chords.

The heaviest death metal seems positively cheerful compared with Marclay's composition. In a witty riff on the whole macho-man guitarist thing, 4/4 time gets traded for 4-by-4 noise. If you earn your rocker stripes by smashing a guitar onstage, how much better to drag it from a truck with Texas plates?

But then, as the elegant instrument first loses its sheen, then begins to splinter and finally sheds the last of its strings, it's hard to keep a smile on. The sound caught by the guitar's surviving pickups eventually becomes a featureless roar and a sense of tragedy sets in -- of potential wasted, of an unnecessary, early end. You hardly need to know that Marclay made the work in response to the lynching death of James Byrd Jr., a black man dragged along a Texas road until his body fell apart. You feel it as you watch the piece.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nadia said...

I don't think you're an idiot! :^)

I didn't even notice the confusion surrounding Kant. We were all a little heat-stroked by that point in the afternoon.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Phew.

11:52 AM  

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