Friday, October 30, 2009

The Next Book I Read Will Be This Huge-Ass Biography of Alexander Hamilton (Really)

There are some gaps in my knowledge of early U.S. history. In fact, my knowledge of early U.S. history is about 95% gap, 5% knowledge. I was enjoying a biography of Benjamin Franklin a few years ago but as so often happens I got distracted with other things and didn't finish it. I plan to. But first I think I will read this massive (~800 pp.) biography of Alexander Hamilton. I like the idea of learning history through biographies. More novelistic, I guess, than a standard history book. I've been interested in Hamilton for a while. I live in Hamilton Heights, a few blocks from where he lived. I work a few blocks from his grave downtown. Just the other day I found his grave for the first time, though I had known already it was somewhere in Trinity Churchyard. The guy was against slavery. He was literally a bastard. He was good with money. He wasn't very good at public relations, but that's why I like him. Those people who are good at public relations—aren't they the worst? He was killed by the third vice president of the United States and one of the great jerkwads of history. Thanks a lot, asshole. Hamilton didn't even fire. And look who ended up on the ten. What does that tell you, Burr? Well? That's what I thought. Sit down and shut up. Oh look, here comes Dickwad Cheney. I'm sure you two have plenty to chat about, shooting-people-while-vice-president-wise. Now, if you don't mind, I'll be over here, in my happy place, reading about the guy whose shoes you're not even fit to shine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have finished reading Shoplifting from American Apparel, by Tao Lin

It reminded me of one of those Andrew Bujalski movies. I like those. My sister read this before I did. She borrowed it from me on a plane ride (two planes) and finished it in one day. She went to the same college as Tao Lin, and I guess that's how she knew about him. She liked the book. She said, "It's very 'you'." I understood. I finally got around to reading it this week. I thought it was funny. I don't know if I would say it's "about boredom", but maybe it is. I don't know. It's like a documentary following a person around and catching mostly quiet moments, with people not saying much. Or, like I said, one of those Andrew Bujalski movies. And with that this post comes full circle, yay. Tao is doing a grassroots promotional campaign involving people blogging about the book, but this isn't part of that. It's not long enough (this post, I mean), and I have his other books (which he is giving away to participants) already. I'm just here to promote literacy in America.

(12 down, 138 to go.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Note to self and others


Friday, October 30th, 7PM

Matvei Yankelevich
Jeremy James Thompson
Sommer Browning

1014 Fulton St
(Grand & Classon)
G to Clinton/Washington, C to Franklin

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Stop the camera; we're winning."

They were having a sale; I was filmed.

So instead of typing out all the titles of the books I acquired at Book Culture tonight, I'll just let you observe and contemplate the above photograph. There are more copies of those plus many other NYRB Classics on sale for half price or less on a table upstairs. Last week after buying books at a different store I vowed not to buy any more books this month. And then I heard about this. So much for that. I need to start actually reading some of these. I've been thinking of setting February 19th, 2010 as my final deadline for finding a new job or other situation, and if I don't have anything in the offing by then, I leave New York. That would be two days shy of the third anniversary of my current job. (Setting it just before the anniversary is of course symbolic—the thought of having been there for three solid years is, um....) Anyway, I need to figure out what to do in the next four months. Trying harder would probably be a good start. Tonight as I was picking out the books above there was a girl with a video camera getting footage of the store and interviewing a guy who works there. After the interview she asked me if she could film me looking at books. So I did that for a few minutes. At one point, after standing still for a minute looking at one book, I made the decision to put it down and reach for another book—a book I wasn't actually interested in—for the benefit of the film. Throw some movement in there, give her something to work with. I think you could say that real life transitioned into acting in that moment. So the film, even though the filmmaker (who I think was just a journalism student) will never know it, went from being a documentary to a work of fiction, just for those few seconds. Then I resumed my legitimate browsing, and it became a documentary again. Within my lifetime half the world's animal and plant species will be extinct. Hard to know what to do with that. I guess we had a good run. Couple million years? Something like that. Here's hoping the next intelligent hominid species that evolves will be slightly less stupid about everything. Maybe we could leave them some information, some guidelines. "Don't use fossil fuels. They will kill you. Moreover, those fossils used to be us. Literally. Also, try to be nice to each other. It will make you feel good, and sometime when you feel like eating but don't have any food, those people you were nice to before might let you have some of their food. In gratitude for their hospitality, you can then do something nice for them again.

And so on.

P.S. Here are the collected works of _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, and _____.* Use them to start a new civilization.

Good luck. That is all.


We Who Are Totally Screwed"

*Fill the blanks in yourself. You can add or subtract blanks too, whatever. It's kind of hypothetical anyway.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have finished reading Eeeee Eee Eeee, by Tao Lin

and have started Shoplifting from American Apparel. I lent it to my sister on a plane ride and she read the whole thing over the course of two plane rides (in the same day). It's very funny so far and so was Eeeee Eee Eeee. After I finish SfAA I will read Lucinella, by Lore Segal, another Melville House Contemporary Art of the Novella novella. I bit into a hard thing in my Subway sandwich tonight. I spit it out clandestinely into a napkin. I also need to get cracking on Alfred Chester's The Exquisite Corpse so that I can then read Alfred Chester's Jamie Is My Heart's Desire. I also really need to finish Already Dead, make a dent or dents in ten or twenty other books, and get this thing at the library resolved regarding a copy of Charles Bernstein's Rough Trades that I'm virtually certain I turned in but which the library maintains is missing. So for now it's a "disputed item". How will it become undisputed? Time will tell. And when it does, I will be there, and I will tell in turn.

11 down, 139 to go.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thing tomorrow to go to at Poets House

Friday, October 16, 7:00pm

Living in Advance: A Tribute to David Bromige

with Charles Bernstein, Corina Copp, Rachel Levitsky, Daniel Nohejl, Bob Perelman, Nick Piombino, Ron Silliman, Gary Sullivan, Geoffrey Young & Others

This evening celebrates the life and work of poet David Bromige (1933–2009), who was born in London, grew up in Canada, and arrived in 1962 in Northern California, where he spent the rest of his life, teaching and writing more than forty books of poetry. Cosponsored by the Poetry Project.

Admission Free

Poets House is here.

Conlon Nancarrow – Study for Player Piano no.7

Monday, October 12, 2009

Something I Was Informed About But Which I Can't Go To But Which You Might Be Interested In Going To Yourself:

in Fritz Haeg’s Dome Colony space at Artbook@X Initiative (548 W 22nd St.)
14 October 2009
4-6pm. Readings from 5-6pm.

Readings and performances with Rodrigo Toscano, Lee Ann Brown, Thom Donovan, Julie Patton, Emily Abendroth, Jonathan Skinner and others to celebrate the release of the latest issue of ecopoetics (06/07). The editor of the magazine will be present from 4-5pm to discuss the project.

ecopoetics 06/07 (covering 2006-2009), packed with poetry, prose, criticism, translation, interviews and artwork from nearly eighty contributors. An Australian Eco-Poetics section, guest-edited by Michael Farrell. A Theodore Enslin feature. Interviews with Gary Snyder and mIEKAL aND. New work from Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Benjamin Friedlander, Forrest Gander, Joan Retallack, Andrew Schelling, Gary Snyder, and others. Bilingual pages from Antonio Ochoa and AngĂ©lica Tornero. Collapsible poetics by Rodrigo Toscano. Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s “Nanifesto.” Artwork by Christine Boileau, Justin Clemens, Ray Meeks, Isabelle Pelissier and Stephen Vincent. Ten color plates. Bark beetle translations, sound walks, field pages, slow texts, dictionaries of imagined flora, and more . . .

Copies of the magazine will be available for purchase.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble getting motivation to do or enjoy or care about anything at all considering what's going to happen to the environment and the human race over the next hundred years or so? Am I alone in this or what?