Category Archives: art

A: I HEAR YOU HAVE A BABY

F:  YERP

A: When you have a baby you don’t have time to do ANYTHING

F: That’s because babies take up so much time

A: I know

F: What is it that babies take so much time doing?

A: The babies are very busy, they are constantly reading dense texts and challenging your preconceived notions about things

F: Like what sorts of things?

A: Like … arbitrary–

A+F [in unison] …arbitrary taxonomies of genre!?!

F: Whoa.

A: Luv.

F: I’m bummed out again about how I don’t feel like I know how to make sense. Or, maybe, I hate making sense. Making nonsense is much more fun.

A: It’s hard to tell the difference between making nonsense is more fun in the way that smoking lots of pot and watching Adult Swim is more fun, or making nonsense is more fun in that you are an acolyte of Jarry and Ionesco and Stein and live your life in a radical subversion of standard bourgeoise modes of expression etc

F: I think I sometimes milk that ambiguity. Like I pretend to be a highbrow Dadaist when in fact I’m just waiting for the next fortnight of pajamas and Xavier Renegade Angel

A: Xavier Renegade Angel

F: But Xavier Renegade Angel is made by guys who split that difference. They’re students of Gordon Lish, they seem like they’ve done their homework, and they might have pretensions for their show to have a depth or at least a terminal bleakness that makes the comedy that much more “fucked up”

A: Did you ever check your email during the dark time of hospital visits and black veiled hospitalizations

F: There’s never been a time in my life when I haven’t checked my email every fifty minutes

A: remember when you first went camping and they explained what the trowel was for?

F: Yes. The trowel is for digging a little pit for you to shit into. Then you wipe with leaves, and bury your poo like a tiny funeral rite.

A: That’s a lot of work for a poo.

F: You’re not pooing so much in the forest. Maybe once a day if you’re lucky

A: Also not a lot of urgent emails to respond to in the woods.

F: Are you pining for the pines, blood?

A: The grass is always greener in the other bong. I had my dream job, and now I have my other dream job. Someday I won’t have any dream job and I’ll be shooting squirrels for sustenance

F: Shooting them with what?

A: An inherited crossbow.

F: Inherited from who?

A: A girl I met on the internet

F: Why did she leave you the crossbow in her will?

A: She said she liked my blog.

F: How did she die?

A: She faked her own suicide.

F: So she’s still alive?

A: No. She actually killed herself, but she didn’t mean it.

F: You know how if you commit suicide you don’t get in to harvard I mean heaven?

A: yes

F: that’d be funny if whoever the last person you slept with got to rewrite your will if you ended up killing yourself

La historia de mi camiseta

Tengo una camiseta con un diseño de Ben Jones. Nunca la vestía porque mi compañero de trabajo, Quoinstone, tenía la misma camiseta y fue demasiado distintiva para nos dos llevarlo en la misma oficina. Pero ahora vivo en Columbia, Missouri, y puedo llevar mi camiseta de Paper Rad (el colectivo de Ben Jones) cada dia. Pero es super-colorido; este camiseta siempre empieza una conversación.

El martes yo caminaba en Broadway a KOPN, donde presento una programa de “Jazz” una vez a mez. Un joven en un carro me gritó, “Nice shirt, faggot!!!” Hice una mueca, y me sentí mal. “Bienvenidos a Columbia, MO,” pensé.

Después de mi programa, caminaba a mi casa, ví una chica, en ropa mas o menos “punk.” Ví que ella fue mirando a mi camiseta. “Ay,” pensé. “¡No mas!” Pero ella no fue como el joven en el carro. “That’s a really cool shirt!” ella dijo. Le di las gracias.

No hay moral de este historia. Mi camiseta no tiene moral. En San Francisco, es posible que no habría oído nada—positivo o negativo—de este camiseta. En Columbia, tengo las dos reacciones extremas. ¡Viva el centro-oeste!

‘h’ideo’s’v’ideo’s’

R sent me a link to dis magazine

first thought was some fashion people are high all the time, no thanks

but then I found a video on there that through some facebook integration it said Johnny was into

so I watched it

since i’m “Working from home”

Ryan Trecartin isn’t listed in the credits but his fingerprints are smeared all over it

What the hell is Dis?

the video i liked was directed by @leilah_weinraub

who directed a film called Shakedown:

a press release came in for the band Woods:

good entertainment

word on the street is they throw better parties than Olivia Tremor Control ever did

I just made that up

I got a job as a magazine editor again. Maybe I should start punctuating my blog posts and thinking about cultivating a learnéd persona, instead of this marijuana casualty vacation tweetsturm

the job dampened*

*I never think of “dampened” as meaning “made damp” in this context, but I guess it does. In that form I think I usually imagine something being tamped rather than damped.

my enthusiasm for going Back to School, but it’s OK.
should I take presocratic philosophy or “literary journalism” or history of doc. film or 20th-c. russian lit in translation or spanish conversation or Occupy Wall Street Studies II: Thinking about Capital

leave your comments below, unless you feel hot anger, in which case go for a jog and volunteer somewhere first

you guys ever think about race

started reading pitchfork reviews reviews again, after being reminded of its presence via the NYT (again)

that guy’s voice is addictive, makes sense why he loves Tao Lin. I bought the zine.

I sent a piece of writing that wouldn’t be out of place on this blog to prism index #2, and they printed it next to a sweet chris johanson painting. which looking at it was somehow the first time I ever made the connection between his work (messy/masterful/gorgeous semi-cartoony drawings with ab/ex brush/inkwork, at once punk and mannered, skateboards and sublime landscapes,  with wry/dry inky captions that buttress the work’s philosophical ambition) and Raymond Pettibon’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could’ve found better examples

Paparazzo: Episode Eight

Announcing Episode Eight of Paparazzo, a radio show about culture broadcasting from Paris, France.

The software I used to record the phone call adds distortion after 10 minutes of recording. It comes in at about the 9:30 mark of today’s episode, which is about “nothing/suffering”

[Listen to Episodes One, Two, Three Four, Five, Six, and Seven.]

Drubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb’d

My very close friend Andrew Leland has started blogging for the Oakland Museum of California. He only has three posts up; he has been very shy about it. The link is here. I was with him when he saw that the most recent post had gone up, and he was like, “This reads like a college newspaper column. I hate myself.”

“Andrew,” I told him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s great.”

“Really?” He said. So self-obsessed, so delicate. “Thanks.”

The blog isn’t bad. He’s trying. He also told me he recently tried writing fiction, because a young lion who edits a young lionesian quarterly asked him to submit something. “Writing fiction is excruciating,” he reports. “I spent a week forcing myself to write 750 words a day. Then I went two months without thinking about it. I returned to the document I had created, and my wonderful girlfriend had to pry the screwdriver out of my hands before I plunged it into my eye sockets.” Writing nonfiction isn’t much easier, he added, but then when it’s done, he feels happy.

Last Saturday, Andrew and I were hanging out at his apartment in San Francisco. I had my tape recorder, and we thought it would be fun to record our conversation. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I transcribed it.

ME: That’s not why dogs are neutered, Andrew. [Laughter]

ANDREW: Just kidding.

ME: I adore your shoes!!

AL: I love you. I wish I could smoke pot

just kidding, that’s not a real transcript. Tonight is the Oakland Standard’s launch party — officially selected by Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbb: The Online Journal of Success as the number-one Friday Night social calendar PICK for Friday, February 4. The Tammy-Rae MacArthur Genius Kutundu-Wajahat Mother Novella Carpenter’s Gothic part starts at 8, then Turf Fienz at I wanna say 9, then Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding DJ (seriously, literally) at whenever everything else is over. It’s free, it’ll go till 1, one is advised to “come through.” One block from Lake Merritt BART. Alcohol, bikes, leggings. At least three generations of Americans, dancing.

Let This Hangover Be Not Wasted

I’m in a book club with a whole bunch of pseudonyms: Jeremiah’d, Paulie Groundphones, Li’l Broheim, Shampoosie, et al. Maybe their pseudonyms should be taken from the book we’re reading, instead of from the jovial thin air above, since the book is already populated by hundreds of perfectly named minor characters. But I’d want an hour with Hilary Spurling’s Invitation to the Dance to produce halfway decent analogues for each of my book club’s members. Last night was one of our most rollicking meetings to date: The spirits flowed liberally, and by the time Shampoosie had to leave for her engagement, the atmosphere had (sonically speaking) pleasurably devolved into this sort of vibe:

I got vague half-permission to record the meeting’s minutes here. I was astonished by how much beer I’d been served, and how easily it flowed into my massive gullet. Just before he was shrouded and bundled off to bed, Li’l Broheims, our hosts’ beatific infant son, staggered around the cacophony clutching a baguette nearly as tall as he was, grinding fine cheeses and flatbreads into the fine carpet. Maybe a less-hungover observer than I am could turn a nice analogy comparing Li’l Broheims to a drunken British soldier like those depicted in Anthony Powell’s Valley of the Bones, the book we’d met to discuss.

His pose is supposed to subconsciously remind you of Lou Reed holding his guitar in the video above. And it's cute to picture him as a moustacioed infant with a giant baguette cannon. I know this isn't an English soldier's uniform. Manet's painting appears with kind persimmons from Manet's garden © SKRONK, INC

But not this guy. Because I AM TOO HUNGOVER TO DO ANYTHING. Which is all I wanted to say in the first place. So today being a low-volume work day I’ve just sat here hitting the internet harder than I have in a long time. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., I’ve probably stood up three or four times, once to retrieve a pallet of Thai food from the overpriced (dance-club atmosphered) restaurant next door.

Among the many things I clicked on today, I finally had the chance to read Elif Batuman’s review of Mark McGurl’s book on the rise of MFA culture, “a study of Planet MFA conducted from Planet PhD.” Then I read Molly Young’s review of James Franco’s debut collection, which in turn linked me back to Batuman’s review of the 2004 and 2005 Best American Short Stories. I don’t have anything interesting to say about any of these book reviews. In both of Batuman’s essays, Joyce Carol Oates comes off as an exception to the rule of timid, tepid, guilt-imprisoned contemporary short fiction. In both essays, Don Quixote is the canonical first novel that successfully performed the literary innovations that four hundred years later are still being called innovations. And in both essays, she urges fiction writers to expunge the guilt and shame in being a contemporary writer in the face of global suffering, to shun the imperatives to write about

(A) nostalgic and historical subjects; (B) external, researched subjects, also sometimes historical; © their own self-loathing; and/or (D) terrible human suffering

[N.B. as a lover and collector of typos, that copyright symbol is about as awesome as it gets—unless it’s some kind of metadroll joke I’m too hungover to get?]

[Pointless Full Disclosure: I recently purchased from this writer her “favorite red chair, as well as two lamps, an ottoman, a saucepan, a carpet steam-cleaner, some geranium-scented laundry detergent, and approximately eight pounds of rice.” I’m also babysitting her car for a few months, it seems SUPER relevant and important to add. Buying a writer’s soap or borrowing her car unfortunately doesn’t transmit any of her intelligence to their new owner — although I wonder if some reptilian part of my brain wants to pretend that it does. The same goes of course for adopting a great writer’s dog, something I also did with no improvement to my critical faculties. Or, shit, I bet lots of editors, myself included, egoistically and falsely absorb some of the brilliance of a piece they’re editing, even if their edits mostly involve the introduction of typos and tautologies. The connection between leading a good life and thinking and writing well — I wonder how big that gap needs to be. It fluctuates. Brilliant assholes; generous buffoons; everyone in between. Eating Elif’s rice won’t help me think clearly about literature. Neither, apparently, will getting an MFA.]<—– (<(“the ghosts of deleted paragraphs rattle their chains from the margins.”)>)

[Once I’ve fully left my job,  I wonder if I’ll start writing Tao Lin–style fan fiction about Keith Gessen, or hosting this blog on a domain with my full name on it, etc.]

[What would that last “etc” refer to, I also wonder? Going on the Tao Lin diet? Buying my own car? Moving to Alaska to teach comp at Juneau Community College with Gerhard Richter’s Daughters? Starting a weekly jogging club with Benjamin Cheever, Sam Frank, and Haruki Murakami?]

[Please don’t make me try to say anything else about anything I’ve read. Please don’t say nasty things about me on the internet. Or about Ariana Reines.]

[Paul Groundphones recently demanded that I read Jacob von Gunten as soon as humanly possible, which I did, and I can’t think of a better example of a work of art that’s feels simultaneously both “pointless” and essential; that’s quite so beautiful in its pointlessness. I love the wry, skillful incompetence of Walser’s narrators. I haven’t finished the novel yet. I’ve never read Stendhal.

EXTRA CREDIT:

  • My novel will read like a press release — for life itself!
  • What do you guys think about psychoanalysis!
  • Goodbye!!!!!!

Knee-Jerk Status

I went on a Facebook and Twitter hiatus because I felt like I was just whipping around too much in an unconscious toilet-flushing motion. It coincided with finally getting internet at home. Something on the internet will remind me of someone I know so I slap it on their wall. A violent scrap of megabanal language emerges out of something I misread at work, and so I tweet the fuck out of it. Then I wait to see if anyone responds to these empty, flaily gestures. At least here on the blog there’s still some obligation to construct something with a little more… integrity? The self-loathing bleeds through more cleanly. Fffft

Ariana Reines’s Tumblr has been moving and inspiring me lately, in all-caps. I’m on my lunch break. Magic Molly immolated her Tumblr, it seems, which is a bummer but I understand and even appreciate the gesture. “In 1970 John Baldessari cremated nearly all the paintings he had created between 1953 and 1966.” I don’t think it’s an outrageous comparison. I look forward to reading Molly’s future work.

Still haven’t read either of the colossal and megafun-looking and much-commented-upon recent Elif Batuman essays: LRB/McGurl/MFAs and NYT Magazine/Kafka. Ben Jones posted a Kathy Grayson–style blog post. I am in a transitional period of my life, self-imposed. There is a weird and bitter ex-marital drama that I’m pretty sure is real unfolding in the comments section of an old blog post. I don’t know either of the parties involved.

Kovacs

“if the famous innovators of the early days of television were the French New Wave, Ernie Kovacs would be Godard. In that no one followed him. Milton Berle and Henny Youngman and Steve Allen all created television that we now watch. Ernie Kovacs created television that no one could ever follow. There was no successor. Channel Thirteen replayed his entire archive for one brief, beautiful moment in the seventies. My mother sat me down to watch, as though it were school.”

Jonathan Lethem

100% Fiction

The brain can’t have sex — you have to use a different organ. Take it from me: I’m a PhD in biology! But listen. “I’m done.” I know it isn’t Internet Season. The snow in California is qualitatively different — which is to say, “different” –than East Coast or even Mid-Western snow that sticks to your glasses and ignites a spark in the jug of coffee you’re hauling around in your gut. (Within a sweater, inside your jacket; college times.) But it’s never going to be Internet Season if I keep waiting for it.

There’s nothing cooler than being a security guard at the Whitney. Dream job, right? But maybe at a certain point it’s time to move on. The Rauchenbergs will only keep writhing in Psylocibic ecstacy for a decade or so before they finally flatten and hang dead, right? Of course there have been new acquisitions. The Neo Rauches look so fresh their reds seem painted in blood. And as a security guard I have unusual freedoms: I can tape postcards to the mirrors in the bathrooms. I’m allowed to edit the artworks’ wall text. I can design my own uniform. I’m more like a “security guard in residence.” But the thought recurs, with newly alarming frequency: Cheese wedges on a platter in the drowning ship’s cafeteria?

But it’s all cheese-colored parachutes, my friend, and they don’t stop moving. I know this. There’s no reason why teaching InDesign shortcuts to at-risk Shar Peis or pouring soy-milk foam into at-risk triple macchiatos is going to be better than being a security guard at the Whitney. Money is money, and so is time. But what about… I’m not sure what the intervening factor would be. Probably ego. Mine has more than a few Velcro pockets brimmin w/ the old, weird trinkets (: marijuana from 1995, a tiny perfect wooden sphere, the artist Tom Friedman‘s Hammacher-Schlemmer Best Nose-Hair Trimmer, an unread copy of John Fante’s Ask the Dust...)

I might try to rejigger my role within the museum — I could relinquish my guarding duties and just work on the wall-text and bathroom postcards full-time. But but but but. That’s more than likely the answer. The challenges would be recharged and I’d have time, probably, to really make that wall-text sing. But today it’s a lot more fun to imagine laying my billy-club and taser and oversized plastic cool-guy glasses on the Membership desk with firm, respectful authority, and stride stridently into the Upper East Side of my life, totally fearless and nude, zero prospects, zero confidence, the air between the buildings filled with absolute columns of pure windchimes. Right???

And then immediately regret it for the rest of my life. I’d return to the museum a month later and the security guards are all cool and new. They’re smoking some sort of health-food opiate that increases abdominal toning and sexual stamina. I stand there for ten minutes, watching them copulate hotly inside of a new Tim Hawkinson body-machine. I’m holding my supplies for the day in a plastic bag: greasy old New Yorker, mealy apple,  first-generation iPhone I bought off a cyber-hobo outside the subway. I am doomed.

Lemme know your thoughts when you have a sec.

Friday: WFMU in SF!

Live Remote from San Francisco Gallery 16’s “100 Records”
Friday, May 7th, 3pm – 6pm
on
Put the Needle On the Record with Billy Jam
Musician/ artist/ curator Sonny Smith (of Sonny & The Sunsets who performed on WFMU during SXSW) currently has a unique exhibit at San Francisco’s Gallery 16. Entitled “100 Records” it features the cover art for one hundred seven inch records by 100 bands/artists that never existed. Actually the band names & song titles (200 in all for Side A & B) were all dreamt up by Smith who then commissioned a hundred artists to create corresponding cover art for these fictional bands’ singles. Smith then, with other musicians, set about making the music to go along with these imaginary 45s. He then built a jukebox (also on the display in the gallery) to playback these songs. This coming Friday WFMU will set up its remote broadcast unit smack in the middle of the “100 Records” exhibit when Smith will be among the many guests on the air. Also scheduled to stop by are Gallery 16’s Griff Williams, Live Human, DnZ, Z-Man, B-Cause, and more to be announced. Gallery 16 is located at the corner of Bryant & Third Streets in downtown San Francisco and is open to the public. This WFMU broadcast of “Put The Needle On The Record” with Billy Jam happens at local San Francisco time noon to 3pm, which is 3pm to 6pm Jersey City time, on Friday May 7th.