the magick of autumn has only just begun

I cheated on my cats tonight with this little furball named Buttercup! His mommy was stressed with work sooo I took her out on the town. We hung out in Washington Square Park for awhile, ran around the dog run then sat at the fountain and listened to Adam Roads magically strum his guitar… then I met his friend Danielle Parente and both of them are making lovely music! We chatted for awhile and shared our tastes in music as we listened to him strum and people from all over the park continually gathered around in admiration. I just kept staring at the fountain and then cast my gaze up toward the moon, basking in the moment which felt so wonderfully New York, the kind of New York I want to always be experiencing, well maybe except the part wherein I watched as Buttercup tried to eat her own shit. Pups will be pups. Really tho: LOVING this transition from summer into the breezier and far lovelier Autumn nights… I wait for them all summer, without them I’d probably never survive the horrifically overheated and sewage filled summer’s New York City always manages to provide. Well enough with that! It’s time to feel and absorb all of the magic about to burst into being.

#whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney

#whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney

#whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney #whitewitcheshoney

Oh, I also read Sarah Schulman’s “The Gentrification of the Mind” today while working at BGSQD. I now work there on Tuesday’s. Come say hi and peruse zines with me!! And if you haven’t read “The Gentrification of the Mind” yet, do yourself a favor and do that immediately. I spent most of the day overwhelmed with grief and on the verge of tears as the history of queers isn’t all porn and wild abandonment. It seems like every generation really gets pushed to the brink, yet still we manage to continually fight for our passions. We’re an amazing lot indeed! And so are all the rest of the communities affected by gentrification and the wave of wealth that has changed the city (please read this article). Anyway, I felt like hanging in Washington Square park with a couple kids playing music and crowds of queer couples holding each other as they listened, rasta guys getting really into it, tourists, middle aged women, hipster kids, homeless wanderers, all seemed to connect to the strumming and the moon, yes that moon, it just made me feel hopeful again. Like maybe the part in “The Gentrification of the Mind” where Sarah argues that there will indeed come a better day that isn’t ruled by corporate oppressive bullshit policies and political assholes will come.

Here’s a brief passage I really enjoyed:

“Gentrification culture was a twentieth-century, fin de siecle rendition of bourgeois values. It defined truth telling as antisocial instead of as a requirement for decency. The action of making people accountable was decontextualized as inappropriate. When there is no context for justice, freedom-seeking behavior is seen as annoying. Or futile. Or drag. Or oppressive. And dismissed and dismissed and dismissed until that behavior is finally just not seen.”

MASHA TUPITSYN: VIA THE SCREEN

Interview with Masha Tupitsyn on her new book LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film.

How do you prefer to watch movies? Do you think the way in which you watch a film contributes to your reaction to it?

The film critic Pauline Kael wrote: “When one considers the different rates at which people read, it’s miraculous that films can ever solve the problem of a pace at which audiences can ‘read’ a film together.’” It’s funny, a lot of people react to that line in LACONIA—where I write about watching movies alone. It’s like blasphemy when it comes to cinema. But it’s true. I do prefer to watch movies alone, for a lot of different reasons. I think they come in a different way when you watch them alone. When you do anything alone. I also started watching movies that way as a kid, and the way you start is maybe the way you always stay. I am really selective about who I watch movies with, so I had like movie friendships. Friendships that were based on watching movies together and talking about them. But I’ve moved away from that more and more, and DVDs and streamed movies only exacerbate my tendency. And since I’m also someone who writes about movies, I have particular tics and ways of watching them that would irritate someone who’s just trying to watch a movie for (uninterrupted) “pleasure,” because I’m constantly interrupting the cinematic fold, so to speak. Or maybe I’m never even in it in the way that a traditional viewer is supposed to be, which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it intensely. Where you don’t talk while a movie is playing. You don’t stop and start a movie. Go back, go forwards. Re-watch. Watch a movie too late or over a period of 2 days. But for me it’s less about watching and more about working through a film: what it’s doing, what it’s trying to do, what it’s showing, what it’s not showing. What it does to me. What it does to the world it’s in as well the world that’s in a film. The world it makes and that makes a film possible.

There are two quotes about cinema from Steve Erickson‘s novel Zeroville that I always think about. The first is: “Last night, the movie became mine and no one else’s.” Which is the idea that there is a kind of alchemy between a film (the true or secret film that is underneath the false film, as Erickson says repeatedly, which is the one everyone watches together—the “official film—at the same time. The film you’re meant to read in a certain way) and a viewer, so that cinema is also about who’s watching it—the chemistry between a particular film and a particular viewer, at a particular time, and that, like a book, has an ideal reader that contributes to the meaning and existence of that book, and the writer who writes it—a film needs the right pair of eyes to really see it.

The second quote from Zeroville that applies to what we’re talking about is: “The thing is, that movie last night is a completely different movie when you watch it by yourself. Why is that? Movies are supposed to be watched with other people, aren’t they? Isn’t that part of the point of movies—you know, one of those social ritual things, with everyone watching? It never occurred to me that a movie might be different when you don’t watch it with anyone else.” Having said this, it’s important to distinguish the critical, discerning, and radical intimacy between a viewer and a film from a kind of purely fetishistic and possessive relationship to images that is dangerous and titillating and alienating, and which Michael Haneke so brilliantly conjures in Benny’s Video, for example. And with Pablo Larraín’s Tony Manero. Where images are used to feel less, not more. Where images are used to cut us off from knowing what things really even feel like in the real world—off the screen. To engage with the real world less, or only via the screen. So that Benny thinks killing a pig, or watching a pig get killed, is the same thing as killing a girl in real life, in his house.

What I’m interested in now is an evolution of what I’ve always been interested in when it comes to film: The cinematic subjunctive. That is, the relationship between what’s possible in the cinema (how the cinema influences and/or hijacks our idea of possibility and potentiality) and what’s possible or not possible in real life—the gap(s) in between and what those gaps do to and mean for us—for our hopes, desires, and dreams; whether they limit and expand them, whether they hold them hostage in cinematic space, and how one—offscreen vs. onscreen—affects, shapes, and confuses the other. How they overlap and blur. Rub up against each other and clash. Sometimes even cancel each other out. Which is, in many ways, what I’ve been looking at all along—in LACONIA, Beauty Talk & Monsters, and Life As We Show It. For me, the real question is always: What do images want and what do we want from images? But not just from images when we look at them, but what wants of ours are stored in and reflected back to us (often unconsciously) by/through images—films? And can we access and live those wants and desires unless they are mediated and contained by images? How do images mediate and contain us? And more, how do we live because of movies? For as Geoffrey O’Brien writes in his book about movies, Phantom Empire: “If only it had been possible to live like this.” This is what every movie is always engaging with and putting us in touch with—if only it were possible to have this, to want this, to be this. Because as O’Brien also points out: “It wasn’t narrative that drew them but the spaces that the narratives permitted to exist.”

What is your favorite period in film history?

It varies culturally, of course. Whether it’s European cinema or Third World Cinema or avant-garde cinema. But in American cinema, it’s the 1930s and 1970s. With the 1930s, you have this athletic, dexterous, and energetic attention to language. To the elliptical way people talk and feel. Their rigorous back and forth—a sign of tenacity—of not being able to let something or someone go. I think one of the great things about the screwball comedies of yesteryear (and there are many) is their velocity, because that speed and energy and attention have to do with the quantity and quality and intensity of feeling and interaction and desire. In the 1930s, as Geoffrey O’Brien writes, “a movie was a completed destiny,” which has so much to do with the motif of time and memory; the way the characters live in and through and for time. So there’s this wonderful cadence and rhythm to everything. To the way things are felt and said and done. And in the 70s, you had the recognition of social reality and what it does to people’s lives. You had incredible doubt and skepticism and suspicion of dominant power structures, so that for a moment there was a sense that things could change politically and socially.

What’s your biggest critique of the industry?

Exactly that—industry. The way everything gets turned into industry these days, including people. I think Beauty Talk & Monsters really answers that question though. Continue reading

Talk Show: An Evening with Ugly Duckling Presse @ The Kitchen

Have you noticed??? Everyone is breaking out of their cocoons and transforming into social butterflies. Just when you forget how much skin is on everybody’s bodies, Spring starts to morph into summer, proving the perfect time to release a book entitled Ten Walks/Two Talks. Ten Walks/Two Talks is a new book published by Brooklyn’s Ugly Duckling Press and written by Andy Fitch and Jon Cotner. The book explores ten walks and two talks that the authors had in New York City. Sound exciting?

As part of the release, Ugly Duckling Press presented “Talk Show,” an evening of interviews, poetry, and unscripted surprises in the format of a late-night talk show. Fitch and Cotner, hosted the evening, sometimes even succeding to be witty with poets Dodie Bellamy, Rachel Levitsky, Matthew Rohrer, Marina Temkina, Cecilia Vicuña, and interview-artist Alex Stein as their guests.

Rachel Levitsky and her pal Barb (a commercial fisherman from Alaska – can we slap 10,000 bad ass points on her shoulder??) were a bold highlight of the evening, weaving their texts over each others words and lulling the audience into submission.

Maybe I’m biased but my favorite writer of the evening was Dodie Bellamy reading from Barf Manifesto. She wore black tiger striped tights, and a full black outfit. She had this sleazy nerdy librarian vibe which felt right up against her bathroom inspired meta text that joyously fucked with and scattered all genre’s, bringing attention to the imposibilities of life’s compartamentalizing.

I saw Andy Fitch and Jon Cotner “perform” their Ten Walks/Two Talks in San Francisco last month at Books and Bookshelves and to be frank, I have my criticisms…. their demeanor is overtly smug, knowingly pretentious and they try so hard to be clever that it comes across as a gimmick. In the beginning of the night they talked about “making sense”… I don’t know about y’all but I’m with the Talking Heads on this one… The whole idea of their work seemed too forced and too specific. New York is one of the best walking cities in the world. You can go through neighborhoods and mini worlds all within a matter of blocks. You could walk 1000 walks and still find things to interest you here, so why a semi guided, psuedo whimsical, forcibly precious walk on page is necessary is beyond me. Find a friend of yours who’s sense of humor is consistent and take a walk with them. It’s summer time and everyone is naked. Steal food from Whole Foods instead of recounting forgotten conversations there, then take your stolen goods and picnic in the park. Fuck, even write something about it, jus elevate it beyond you’re own insular smirk.

BentBoyBooks Reads: my first reading for my new book GHOSTS

BentBoyBooks Reads! This
Friday, April 9 – 8:00PM at Dog Eared Books in the Mission District of San Francisco..

Join Jennifer Blowdryer, Stephen Boyer, Drew Cushing and John Sakkis for a night of poetic outburst, stories of all variations, and hopefully a bottle of wine or five. And a few possible superstar surprise guests if the universe pulls through.. Continue reading

My new book “Ghosts” is out… and I’m moving to Austin.. and I’ve lost my mind.

My new chap book “Ghosts” is officially out courtesy of Bent Boy Books (sf) and haunting the world. You can get it by following this link.

Here’s what the publisher said, “Ghosts maps the world’s of Lindasy Lohan, Marissa Nadler, Winona Ryder and Antony Heggarty against the online bar reviews of Yelp and the gritty ennui of gay life in the not so new millenium.” Continue reading

Ariana Reines Poetry Reading

The Poetic Research Bureau presents…

A Valentine Gift from
Ariana Reines & Jon Leon

Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 4:00pm

@ The Poetic Research Bureau
3706 San Fernando Blvd
Glendale, CA 91206

Doors open at 4:00pm
Reading starts at 4:30pm

$5 donation requested

Ariana Reines is the author of The Cow (Alberta Prize, FenceBooks: 2006), Coeur de Lion (Mal-O-Mar: 2007), Mercury (forthcoming, FenceBooks: 2011), and the play “Telephone”, commissioned by The Foundry Theatre and mounted in February 2009, with two Obies. Her full-length translations include My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire, (Mal-O-Mar: 2009) and The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal by Jean-Luc Hennig, (Semiotext(e): 2009). She was Virginia C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at UC Berkeley in Spring 2009.

Jon Leon is a Los Angeles-based poet and novellaist. His books include Right Now the Music and the Life Rule (Hathaway, 2006), Hit Wave (Kitchen Press, 2008), Alexandra (Cosa Nostra Editions, 2008), and The Hot Tub w/ Dan Hoy’s Glory Hole (mal-o-mar editions, 2009). He is an occasional contributor to Art in America.

I got no investments and no money either, and I really am feeling the anxiety… will the recession ever end…

Searching for the Perfect Last Minute Xmas Gift??

In the spirit of the times, I highly suggest you give the gift of Credit. Have you noticed extra long lines at the banks lately?? It’s because bankers have ceased giving us credit. And since more of us young folks are unemployed than ever before, we need to take Credit back into our own hands. Credit, written by Matthew Timmons, is an 800 page full color, large-format, hardbound book put out by Blanc Press. Get it!