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Sharp Tools Make Good Work: Spring 2012 Newsletter

Charity Coleman: Should we talk about the Whitney Biennial? Two years ago we started Write This Down TV and we talked about the Biennial.

Ariel Goldberg: Oh yeah! You went, I didn’t.

CC: There was a lot of war stuff and this year there was none.

AG: The war was not in the Biennial.

CC: No. This year’s is a toy fetish.

AG: The war is a myth.

CC: What was the first thing you saw?

AG: The 1st thing I saw was exactly what the Whitney wants. I was in the elevator and when the doors opened, the piece was in the middle of it happening and it was very spectacular- not in a sensational way- it just felt exciting. I felt a jolt like I got a positive electric shock. It was a deceiving moment because immediately the piece became less interesting. I think it was loud pop music that made it good. I got off on the 4th floor first. The performance space.

CC: That was closed when I went.

AG: That’s a bummer. It was the first time I walked into a museum with no walls, no art on the walls, just a rectangular stage. A hip hop dance song was playing and a team of dancers were doing basic moves and a schlubby mismatched group of museum visitors were watching who had haphazardly agreed to get a dance lesson. It was the Michael Clark Company. British choreographer. Sara Michelson had the space, him, then Richard Maxwell.

CC: The first thing I saw was Kai Althoff’s woven tapestry hanging with paintings and the ET baby plushy creature sculpture. That set the tone for me. Then I looked at the Moyra Davey photos, but it was the ET baby that set the tone. The Davey photos made me think of the Percy Shelley exhibit at the public library, where they have fragments of his skull.

AG: Wow.

CC: Because he was burnt in a funeral pyre. I think it was Lord Byron who took parts of Shelley’s skull and also his heart.

AG: There was a fire at his funeral?

CC: They burnt the body because it was all bloated because he drowned at sea but the heart wouldn’t burn, so Lord Byron took the heart and gave it to Mary Shelley and she kept it in a jar.

AG: Morgan library or Main?

CC: Main.

AG: The last time I went there was a show about objects.

CC: That’s pretty specific.

AG: Maybe that’s not what it was. They had a Mac laptop in a vitrine plugged in you know with a power cord just showing a NY Times website that would refresh every so often. When you looked in you would just see the moment’s home page. They also had stuff like Emily Dickinson’s letters.

CC: I got a postcard there with a portrait of Emily Dickinson.

AG: I know someone that just got a tattoo with Emily Dickinson’s face on her arm.

CC: I think tattoos are maybe a bad idea but we shouldn’t talk about that.

AG: So, back to the Biennial…

CC: Parts of it meant making a mess and reveling in it.

AG: Forrest Bess was not a mess.

CC: I was thinking about…

AG: Becoming a pseudo hermaphrodite.

CC: Yes. Let me look at my notes. What do I have here. Do you want me to rattle off a few points and you can respond or not?

AG: Yeah.

CC: I used the word fetish like three times in my notes and I don’t know what that means. Latoya Ruby Fraser was “political”.

AG: What was that—I missed it.

CC: Second floor to the left when you walked in. Written text on photographs of Braddock, Pennsylvania.

AG: Something about Levis right?

CC: This steel-mill town had fallen into total neglect and disrepair. Levis used Braddock as part of an ad campaign disguised as a humanitarian gesture. I was talking to my friend Mark So about how I hated that ad campaign that was O, Pioneers. Fake blue collar fashion. Latoya’s work addressed the exploitation in that campaign. Forrest Bess’s room was nice. It was fun looking at people’s faces while they were reading the wall text—expressions of mingled concern and fascination.

AG: That was the one time that I’ve stood captivated in front of wall text.

CC: I counted eleven people reading the wall text. Their mouths were half open and they looked worried. I couldn’t read the text because I was too busy reading their faces.

AG: Museums are so distracting. You could just watch the people.

CC: Before I went, my roommate mentioned Forrest Bess and he was like, “Yeah there were these nice paintings by this guy who cut his penis off”, and I was like…

AG: That’s so inaccurate. That’s not what happened. That’s like a bad telephone game. He had a lifelong pursuit for ecstasy.

CC: Right. And obviously when my roommate said that, I thought of Chris Burden getting shot and it’s like this thing, which it wasn’t at all.

AG: He wrote a letter to Dwight Eisenhower.

CC: What did it say?

AG: That he wanted his invention of pseudo hermaphrodite to be recognized as a national achievement. What did you think of the Dennis Cooper?

CC: I didn’t see it. They shut the whole floor down.

AG: Oh for the performance. In the Cooper piece there was this tableaux with a mannequin of a boy, it was like a stage, androgynous, the kid was white like the color not Caucasian. Icelandic looking. It was a robot that talked and at certain points the chest would pop out.

CC: The whole entire floor was shut. Albino?

AG: Kind of. It had really creepy music. I forget the name of the person who made the music. Gisèle Vienne. The text was extremely heavy handed. The tableau had drawings on the wall that looked like really messy Sol Lewitt miniature floor plans of a house some trauma happened in. Micro level repeats all over the wall. The robot would come to life, in a sad cheap budget horror film robotic voice. The thing that was speaking was this puppet that was upside on the kid’s hand. It looked like a Chucky thing.

CC: See?

AG: It was all this muffled cheesy evil possessed murder stuff. Will Charlie ever be the SAAAAME?

CC: Was there a turntable?

AG: No.

CC: There were three instances of turntables.

AG: Dawn Kasper. The person who was there, the studio person.

CC: Also, Joanna Malinowska’s video involved records… and making a concoction in a pot. There was a dog. Beuys. Art referential…

AG: I just don’t remember that. I wish I had the program. I think Dawn Kasper’s work is un-judgeable. Because you would just be judging her stuff. I felt like all her communications are scripted. Like, I’m going to the bathroom now. She says that ten times a day. I don’t know maybe she’s a camel and she never goes.

CC: Yeah.

AG: Everyone’s gotta go. She has to kick people out and rope it off when she pees. You know the first thing I thought when I walked in there, in to her studio was: I didn’t know she was a dyke. I mean in The New York Times article it didn’t mention it and I was like wow one step forward for artists who are queer.

CC: In the Nick Mauss Guerlain spa reproduction there was an Andy Warhol print on the wall. Why does he have to be everywhere? Can’t we exclude him for once?

AG: I ask that question all the time. The ICA in Philadelphia included Warhol in a show called “The Queer Voice.”

CC: You can’t get away from it.

AG: Do you know they just built an Andy Warhol sculpture in Union Square?

CC: The silver one? That’s been there for a year.

AG: I thought it was unveiled last month.

CC: They should put a veil on it. Someone asked me if it was a real person—you know, like one of the buskers in silver body paint. I should stand nearby and put a hat in front of him and get coins. I’m going to set up a boom box next to him. Playing something like Michael Jackson.

AG: Yes.

CC: And I’ll collect all the money from the hat.

AG: I have notes. I ran into a sort of friend who was wearing a pin that said “Give Poetry A Try.” Also, I had to wait on line then I found out I didn’t have to wait on line. The other thing I wrote down was about the no photography sign, which was shared with a watch your step sign. That was my favorite thing that I saw at the Biennial. But now I would like to hear the story about how you were at some party and some guy was reading their poetry from an iphone, and then someone read from a kindle?

CC: Oh, a reading at someone’s house. One person read from an iphone. Then the next person read from an iPad.

AG: Oh gawd.

CC: The crazy thing is they went first while there was still some daylight, but by the time it got around to the person who read from actual paper it was dark out so they had to hold these devotional candles at awkward angles in front of their pages. It was completely dark.

AG: Didn’t they have lights?

CC: It was in a backyard.

AG: Got it.

CC: The girl at the counter at the Whitney, when she gave me my ticket, she pointed out that my student ID had a sticker that said Fall and she said I didn’t have a Spring sticker.

AG: They are so nitpicky at that museum.

CC: She gave me such grief. I just kept saying look I’m enrolled, I’m enrolled. She’s like a bouncer.

AG: What does it matter to her, it’s not like she’s on commission from how many people get in to the museum.

CC: It was exasperating.

AG: I heard they changed their free day to a pay what you wish day.

CC: At the Met you have to pay something.

AG: I usually give them a penny.

CC: I don’t think they take coins. I was thinking about Tintoretto and 16th century paintings the other day.

AG: Did you go to the Met?

CC: No.

AG: I want to go to the Met.

CC: I like the medieval room. I like all the suffering.

AG: Yeah you like suffering.

CC: I don’t like to suffer I like to think about suffering. I like romantic depictions of suffering.


AG: I think the other tape player never recorded.

CC: Are we recording? Do you want to test it?

AG: I know this one works.

CC: What I wanted to ask is why do you think Moyra Davey showed us walking around in her apartment in Les Goddesses reading aloud and speaking into a tape recorder.

AG: Right, it could have been a voice over.

CC: I understand that her apartment is part of her work, or it has been in the past, the interior, still I couldn’t help but wonder why. I felt distracted, thinking about her furniture and her windows or how much her rent might be.

AG: I think she wanted to show how provisional it was; she wanted to show that she wasn’t reading from some script, but then again she was sometimes just reading from books she found on Mary Shelley. Moyra Davey could have been doing something else while she was pacing through her apartment. Maybe she wanted to show the getting of ideas of what to say?

CC: Or she was going through the portfolio of the photographs.

AG: I was thinking about the photographs–how there was nothing really in the text of the video about the photographs. There was no explaining or excuse. They sort of explained themselves by her just sorting through them. Here are these photographs I took twenty to thirty years ago. Of people. I’m assuming a lot. That’s what happens with photos.

CC: But they were tied together…

AG: I appreciated how it wasn’t discussed. Some of the photos were teenage looking girls, or couples lounging on grass, black and white fiber prints, like a band’s headshot or hairy nipples. Wait, the ones in the film were also on the walls of the gallery. I think she wanted to show that she was listening to the audio of the text in order to read it. She had headphones in. Actually, I don’t know her process.

CC: (Walking past the Rubin Museum) You been in there?

AG: No.

CC: You could buy a dishtowel.

AG: I also think the stakes…

CC: You could buy a dishtowel. A dishtowel.

AG: No I don’t want a dishtowel from the Rubin Museum.


AG: I thought about not liking the fake snow in the video–I think it wanted to be a very ambivalent work.

CC: The fake snow, was it not supposed to be like shredded paper falling…

AG: Oh I didn’t think of that. It’s weird some of her photographs are so…

CC: ephemera…

AG: She doesn’t care about that kind of stuff. I think it was like oh I took a video of snow from my window but you cannot really see it so I’m going to make snow as a special effect. I liked how she kept the stumbles in with her reading and speaking. I think that was connected to when she showed herself walking around the apartment recording her voice.

CC: Oh I agree, and I also thought of how strained a reader can become when reading something out loud. It is really hard to listen to because you notice the concentration and how it is consuming all their energy and effort. Like their veins are popping out…

AG: I think ultimately she wanted the video to be like a book so the text was really important. It was a video of her reading a little pamphlet she wrote. It sounded though like she was reading a book-on-tape biography of Wollenstonecraft.

CC: [repeats to emphasize correct pronunciation] Wollstonecraft.

AG: Ugh we are walking so fast.

CC: I like it. This is how I walk.

AG: You’re made for New York.

CC: I moved here so I could walk this fast without impediment.

AG: It’s the type of place where you should be walking fast. But I’m sick of walking fast.

CC: I find it invigorating.

AG: It’s because you just moved here.

CC: No, I always walked fast. When I lived in LA I would walk fast.

AG: Did you feel at home walking in LA?

CC: No! Look at the tower.

AG: Is that the new World Trade Center?

CC: Yup.

AG: I’m glad that Ricky’s had batteries. That’s the thing about New York. The minute we realized we needed batteries there was a store right in front of us.

CC: And we got ‘em.

AG: It wasn’t even a battery store.

CC: And right behind us was a Duane Reade, which I’m glad we didn’t go in to.

AG: No, that would have been depressing.

CC: It was good to start with Harry Dodge and end with Moyra Davey.

AG: They’re both wanting to tell stories.

CC: There was a lot of storytelling and a lot of text.

AG: A lot of text.

CC: Language is kind of cool again.

AG: I think people are trying to figure out how to make things a mostly language show. And that is going to be a struggling with the materials.

CC: …struggling with the materiality of language and trying to capture that. There was a lot of that today. It’s constantly problematic but you just exist in that troubled space and navigate it. Even if it fails, that’s beside the point.

AG: Yeah, like what was that moment when Moyra Davey was going through the page of this book of Wollstonecraft’s letters and it was like a fan page documentary like on YouTube. You know how there are sources on the Internet when it’s just a fan and they give nascent information about the figure?

CC: Well I kept thinking about the parallel universe at the Schwarzman library, like I was saying earlier–

AG: There’s a red dress hanging on a fire escape!

CC: There’s a strapless red party dress from like the 40s or early 50s that’s all tulle, just layers of tulle.

AG: Just hanging.

CC: It’s this wonderful coral washed out salmon color.

AG: It’s red. It’s not salmon.

CC: It’s not red though. It’s completely washed out. Maybe it was red, once.

AG: It’s hanging there to be discussed. This is the perfect example of something that would make a bad photograph but a good story.

CC: I want the dress.

AG: You wouldn’t wear that.

CC: I would wear that!

AG: Just to defy me.

CC: I find myself sentimentalizing Davey’s photographs in one way or another. Or reading into the person’s eyes in a photograph.

AG: The pictures of people reading and writing on the train—people were acknowledging the camera. They were part of her mailing photos series. All pictures of people writing, which clumped together a sort of unusual thing to make the activity seem like it was happening all the time. What did you think of those, Charity?

CC: Oh on the train? People are just using their time wisely. They get on the train and they get something done. Someone takes a picture of it and it’s a moment.

AG: Charity, look it’s the Andy Warhol sculpture.

CC: Who is it who thought he was a human?

AG: You imagined standing next to it painted in silver.

CC: No someone actually thought the statue was a person.

AG: Look someone is playing their guitar in front of it. He’s playing jazz in front of Andy Warhol, on an expensive guitar.

AG: There’s ash over here too.

CC: Oh so do you know what’s burning? There’s ash falling on the ground. For hours. We saw huge plumes of black smoke. From the northwest. Where was it, in New Jersey, Ariel?

AG: I don’t know. (Looking at Marcia Hafif’s contact sheets): where’s Pomona, Charity?

CC: About 45 minutes from LA. Palm trees and dead grass.

AG: When were these taken?

CC: In the 1970s. Marcia Hafif found out her childhood home had been torn down, destroyed forever, so she started taking pictures of all of those houses in Pomona.

AG: So what did you think about Harry Dodge’s mask [in his video Unkillable]?

CC: Clowny.

AG: A cheap-y Halloween-y.

CC: The mask hadn’t been painted. And the box tilting off his head was some art world white cube thing? But then I thought oh god, like thinking outside the box.

AG: That’s what you said as soon as you sat down.

CC: uh, get it?

AG: I think it referenced those miniature hats people wore in like the Twenties or something. You know? It’s a clownish thing to wear a little hat.

CC: Vivienne Westwood. But there is something very specific about the cube…

AG: You think it’s talking to Donald Judd. It was also not shot on like High Def.

CC: No. The quality was important. And the lighting changed.

AG: It was shot over different periods of the day as if the story took all day to tell. At first I thought it was porn he was narrating but then it was not porn.

CC: Surgery.

AG: There was a car accident. Then there was surgery. Then there was supposed to be a sex scene. There was a boner.

CC: And foreskin.

AG: And the verb tense it was being told in, one of the videos, the first video, they switched into being like the director of this film that we couldn’t see we could just see Dodge talking about it. I was like oh is this some Neo Benshi moment. But then it turned into this is a film I would make.

CC: Then this happened. Then that happened.

AG: Yeah, he wasn’t watching the film, he was just talking about it. It was very detailed. Kind of giving instructions to a camera crew. Idiosyncratic details throughout to keep the listener engaged. Right?

CC: Yeah. I liked the drawings and sculptures.

AG: Those drawings were like better versions of Raymond Pettibon. But that room in between the videos was like the solution of language—make it a cartoon-length snippet. Something you could read while standing right in front of it. Nothing more, nothing less. This is just some weird cock, deal with it.

CC: Very much a one-liner situation. A penis is one-liner… so to speak.

AG: There was this fleshy meaty penis with veins and it was on a plate with some yellow sauce underneath.

CC: But it was severed. It wasn’t really a penis on a plate.

AG: It actually looked like it could have been.

CC: It was skinned.

AG: A surgically attached raw penis from like Thailand. I could also see someone constructing it from different meats at the market. It was very disturbing. There were mucus membranes.

CC: Those were testicles.

AG: It was like the only color photograph.

CC: I enjoyed the speech bubbles or captions under the drawings.

AG: They looked like they were over a long period of time.

CC: It was storyboarding. And that’s what was going on in the video with the clown. A sort of verbal storyboarding. Then we’re going to do this, then we’re going to…

AG: Yes. I’m going to shoot a low budget film and on it describe a super high budget Hollywood film.
The other video had found footage interspliced, unfortunately with definitions.

CC: Don’t you hate it when they show definitions of words?

AG: I’m so sick of definitions.

CC: Like an excerpt from the dictionary, ugh.

AG: It’s a deal breaker.

CC: Like “sublimation.” And what’s that word for “suggested immanence”.

AG: Part of the found footage was this old guy at the beach trying to put pants on his arms. Maybe it was a shawl.

CC: Or a shirt he was putting on backwards as if it was a straight jacket. And this other man came up behind him and helped him. They were wearing Speedos. And I kept thinking maybe this one guy was rubbing his dick on the other but it wasn’t sexual because maybe they’re men who prefer women but it was sexual to me.

AG: It was very sexual.

CC: Homosocial. There was this bondage moment with the garment that was oblique in nature. And they are on the beach in this public place. But men are allowed to perform that in public places.

AG: Yeah sure. I was trying to find a synonym for immanence. But it didn’t happen.

Big News: Write This Down TV Moves to New York City!

Charity Coleman and Ariel Goldberg in deep and invigorated discussion
Charity Coleman and Ariel Goldberg in deep and invigorated discussion.

Destroyed by Fame: Winter 2011 Newsletter

Charity Coleman: Humor! It’s really on my mind a lot.

Ariel Goldberg: When people start laughing at poetry readings, it’s almost like a laugh track. It’s the same people with the same laugh.

CC: I never understand what’s so funny. I just don’t get it.

AG: But you have laughed at a reading, Charity.

CC: No, I never have.

AG: You must have found something funny at some reading.

CC: No, never.

AG: What makes you not laugh, I should ask.

CC: I never understand what the joke is.

AG: When it’s a poem, and it’s some funny combination of words or some weird pop culture character inside the poem, that’s when it seems to make people laugh. But there are things I don’t recognize. It’s weird, at the last poetry reading, everyone was laughing but we weren’t.

CC: Yeah.

AG: The men were laughing

CC: Yeah. Men always laugh.

AG: Would Lisa Robertson have laughed?

CC: What would Lisa Robertson do? (WWLRD)

AG: Where do you expect to hear laughter?

CC: I never expect laughter. I don’t require humor with art. I do feel like at poetry readings the humor usually comes from a place of self-effacement.

AG: I also think the humor is largely frat boy humor? It’s like, I’m gonna take a sip of my beer now.

CC: And not use the mic.

AG: The thing with not using the mic is really obnoxious because I feel like people are trying not to have an ego, to be more modest.

CC: It’s like cheap rebellion.

AG: It is cheap rebellion.

CC: I’m not buying into it. And guess what? Not everyone can hear everything if they’re in the back of a room that has bad acoustics. You’re giving a reading, use the mic! Just own up to what you’re doing and don’t feel like you have to apologize for being a poet.

AG: I always want a mic. When I read, you know what people’s response is? “That’s intense! You’re so serious”. And I’m like well, what else is the point?

CC: I don’t go to poetry readings to laugh. I don’t look at art so that I can laugh.

AG: I’ve been meaning to ask you, what do we do with the name, “poet,” the identifier, socially?

CC: What about what Michael Nicoloff said about programming the 21 Grand reading series on the SFMOMA blog: “I know that I’d love to invite more folks working in other genres to read, perform, collaborate, etc… I suppose if we started inviting nonpoets every month we might get complaints that the series is no longer serving its primary purpose as a venue for experimental writing, but I’d rather be more forward-looking in our curatorial choices and then have to rein ourselves in than be too conservative and insular”.

AG: I’m confused, like they would get complaints about featuring non-poets? As if there’s like, a jacket that you wear that says “poet”?

CC: Who would complain? I hate this term “non-poet”. It’s odd.

AG: What do you do with the term “poet”? When is it offensive or not offensive? As somebody that dabbles in a couple of mediums, I feel like I’m disqualified from having a poet badge. I pay to have an artist studio, so how could I ever be a poet? Wait, I’m sorry, I’m not a fucking non-poet, I’m a poet.

CC: You’re a non-poet!

AG: I’m a poet!

CC: You’re not a full-blooded, purebred poet.

AG: Charity, are you a poet?

CC: I’m a non-poet because I do other things as well.

AG: What do you call yourself?

CC: I prefer to say writer. It breathes better. Speaking of which, what about attaching the word “experimental” to things like writing, film, and music?

AG: If it’s not New Yorker poetry, it’s “experimental”. It’s a very broad term.

CC: “Experimental” is old timey. It’s rather archaic at this point.

AG: It’s like saying, “I’m avant-garde”.

CC: Is conceptual writing “experimental”? When does the experiment end?

AG: If it’s the language that’s experimental, the podium at the reading seems to cancel out the experiment. But maybe I’m just fixated on performance.

CC: The podium is the Great Barrier Reef.

AG: Sometimes it’s not even a podium; it’s a music stand.

CC: Ariana Reines says in her poem, Valve: “What does a country need a poet for”.

AG: Or Rae Armantrout on a review of Eileen Myles’ Inferno: “What is a poem worth? Not much in America.” But then this labeling of poet among poets, does that attempt value? How does that make the “non-poets” feel?

CC: It’s about exclusivity, and it’s also about space. What space do people carve out for themselves based on identity? I guess using “non-poet” to describe the billions of people who do not write poetry is like staking a claim to something.

AG: It’s identity politics. Almost like queer separatists.

CC: The “community” vs. the world at large.

AG: What do we do about verbalizing these grievances?

CC: I guess we just need more of a sense of humor.

AG: And we’ll incite more public grievances!

Fall 2010 Newsletter


Write This Down TV performs at 21 Grand in Oakland, California for The (New) Reading Series on August 15, 2010

Summer Dispatch

Charity Coleman: Why is everything in my life low tech? Have you been writing at all?

Ariel Goldberg: I’ve been writing these one-sentence observations.

CC: Do you consider yourself a writer?

AG: I do. I consider myself an artist who writes. Does that make sense?

CC: It makes a lot of sense actually.

AG: I’ve been writing sentences.

CC: Ooh we gotta talk about sentences.

AG: I know. They’re really fascinating.

CC: I’ve been having a relationship with sentences. It’s kind of an antagonistic relationship. I don’t really understand the sentence or what the sentence wants me to do, but I tend to rearrange the words multiple times until the sentence becomes what I want it to be and even then it is unstable and then I need to engage the unstable sentence.

AG: Right, the agrammatical sentence.

CC: Yeah, inside an unstable paragraph.

AG: I’ve been writing this logbook like one sentence observations about my encounters with photography. It’s the longest list poem ever. It’s getting weirder the more I do it. I put photography magnets on my hands; it’s inexhaustible, my subject matter. People are using cameras everywhere.

CC: I was just talking to someone about how people are saying photographers are having a crisis where they feel their art has become inconsequential or defunct. It’s so ridiculous— photography is not “dead”.

AG: It’s just democratized, which makes it a lot more interesting. I want to move from sentences to letters, where someone writes to this person about photographs they’ve seen or seen taken or taken. So I’ve expanding this to be more cohesive than a list.

CC: Can I take your picture? Don’t pose. Uh-oh. I think my camera’s dead. This thing isn’t opening. It’s kind of messed up.

AG: I did this horrible smile in that photo-shoot of us.

CC: Can you keep still for one second? Low light situation.

AG: Oh no I don’t like my hair like this. It’s poofy on the sides. Now can I take a picture of you? What’s in the news?

CC: A heat wave in Moscow good lord. I never think about things like that.

AG: Take another one. I fixed my hair. We’re so vain.

CC: A ship unearthed at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan was a ship that carried sugar and molasses to Barbados. It’s a sugar ship. I need to write about the sugar ship.

AG: I see kids so into sugar. These students of mine, all they talked about was Coca-Cola. One day a vending machine was getting delivered and they walked towards it like zombies. I would give them sugar, bribe and them and then they would be crazy. And I’d be like damn it why did I give them sugar. Hey—I have a question. When does performance become theater, do you think it is more time-based or does the type of script determine the shift?

CC: And if there is no script?

AG: Once there is a script it looks different, content-based; so how would a piece start transforming into performance if it’s in a theater with a non-participatory audience? I’m thinking of Dynasty Handbag’s one-woman show I saw at Dixon Place.

CC: And then you have artists like Ann Liv Young kind of forcing people to participate. The division between performance and theater is not as pronounced as you’re suggesting in terms of semantics or connotations. It’s just about different spaces. Scripts? People script all sorts of things. Choreographers script dance moves. I gotta read about that sugar ship.

AG: This article is all about how no one knows the details of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Who cares what they’re having for an appetizer? 90,00 pages of documents about the war in Afghanistan were on Wikileaks. That’s a conceptual poetry piece right there.

CC: Look, the Chelsea article says “Where’s Wikileaks when you need it?”

AG: They read my mind.

CC: They’re saying something different. Where’s the sugar ship?

AG: Look what’s on the TV–I don’t understand why they split up the screen in four different parts. The
ticker, the main person, the icons, the weather thing. People don’t get over-involved in the sharing of information. You can streamline that.

CC: I only like watching soccer when they score a lot of goals.

AG: Sometimes the game ends zero-zero.

CC: I know, that’s boring.

AG: I went to the Popsicle Festival which was all these Brooklyn reading series, Crowd, Space Space, Stain of Poetry. Gina Abelkop read from San Francisco. She does some pop star discussion inspired poetry. She went up the front of everyone, and it was a hot marathon type reading and just screams and she did it again later in the reading.

CC: It’s kind of riot grrrl.

AG: I bought Dorothea Lasky’s pamphlet way to package what they’re doing. But actually, “project” can contain uncertainty and “project” is just a word that fails our descriptive powers. And why is art pitted against poetry in terms of glamour? I don’t know any artists really making money as artists. Show me the glamour! Lasky seemed to be using that chatty-girl-criticism voice that Stephanie Young uses, but without enough evidence.

CC: It is making an argument against conceptualism(s) but in a really vague manner. I didn’t understand the relevance, if any, of the illustrations to the text. It looked like a gardening diary for grannies or something, and it made me feel gloomy about these pseudo-debates or controversies.

AG: Why is she drawing lines around poetry and visual art?

CC: I think it’s a pretty common perspective to take, usually stemming from the misconception that poetry is somehow a lesser form. The lines also mythologize visual art in a way that ensures that writers remain alienated from visual art and its constructs. We need to shake this whole “why I am not a painter” conundrum. Forge ahead, people!

AG: Maybe that poetry is not a lesser form but that it’s invisible. Visual artists use tangible materials. Words slip away or take time. They aren’t as approachable. So what, poets’ processes also should be invisible? Why can’t their (increasingly conceptual) processes also be the art? There was something else that happened at the Popsicle Festival.

CC: Was it a project?

AG: One of the organizers went up to the lectern and holds up her Blackberry or i-phone and reads from it and I thought it was a performance piece, a commentary on incessant contact with the device, but it wasn’t. She had the introduction up in some document on her phone.

CC: Maybe she was Google-mapping her poetics.

AG: It made me uncomfortable like the online poetry magazine that puts a profile picture next to the poem. This author photo has gone too far.

CC: Subject / object.

AG: I need to wash my clothes. This laundromat has TVs. Let’s go here.

CC: I want to get some toys from the machine.

AG: There was this stuff inside the washing the machine, I thought it was lint. I picked it up and it was a clump of shit. I don’t want the shit washer.

CC: Are your clothes in the shit?

AG: No, rescued them. I have detergent on my fingers disinfecting it. I need soap. Do you smell it on me? Can you do a smell check?

CC: You smell fine.

AG: This TV is too modern. That TV is hiding and two are hiding in a nook. Why is the TV on low if there are subtitles?

CC: Maybe someone is hearing impaired.

AG: It’s too low to hear, turn it off entirely. What is HD?

CC: Hilda Doolittle.

AG: Are you friends with her?

CC: No, I’m not friends with HD. Why would you show someone drinking water in a commercial? Can you smoke in here?

AG: Where do you think we are? Can you smoke in here. There’s bras on the floor, that’s as wild as it gets. Closed captioning, they just showed musical notes.

CC: What else are they supposed to do.

AG: I feel like everything looks like it’s an advertisement for a store.

CC: I wish there was an advertisement that wasn’t advertisement for anything, like a picture of someone folding a handkerchief and that’s it and then it ends.

AG: What’s happening on the TV now?

CC: Some guy is falling from a World Trade Center tower.

AG: Do you remember when that performance artist did a reenactment of jumping from the WTC in a building in Chicago? It was on the front page of the Daily News.

CC: No, I don’t know about that.

AG: And these family members of the people who died got really offended.

CC: They always do. Remember that sculpture of the person who had fallen to the ground?

AG: No, I didn’t see that.

CC: It was called The Jumper and a figure was like, lying curled up on the ground or something. People were very upset. Maybe I’m making it up, I don’t know.

AG: I can’t pay attention to what you’re saying because the TV is on.

CC: That’s fine.

AG: It’s silencing. I feel like you can get sucked into TV and then you don’t care what’s on it. You can just watch it, not paying attention.

CC: I get really distracted. I’m thinking about a million other things while I’m staring at a TV, like I don’t know who’s good or bad or who should die or who dies or whatever, or why stuff is even happening.

AG: This is why we are doing TV—I mean we are on our own ideas of TV. Clearly we’re not on TV right now. But we don’t own actual TVs, so, do you get my logic?

CC: I’m speechless.

Charity Coleman and Ariel Goldberg are the hosts of the public access talk show Write This Down. The show features performative commentary on art, poetry, current events as well as interviews with Bay Area luminaries in various walks of life. Pilot episode coming soon.

Contact: writethisdowntv at gmail dot com

Spring Newsletter

Ariel Goldberg: What cultural events have we been to?

Charity Coleman: We have been to many cultural events.

AG: I go to about three cultural events a week.

CC: I like going to cultural events. It’s not subsidized though. A month ago I went to the Whitney, to that show they put together every once in a while. It was hot in there, it was really crowded. When I was standing in line to buy my student ticket with my expired student ID I dropped a quarter and this man next to me he looked down at it and then stepped over so I could bend down pick up my quarter.

AG: So you thought it was his social responsibility to pick it up for you?

CC: OK all right, I’ll play this game. But I’m not happy about it. There was all this stuff. A lot of sculpture. The Obama Couch, this woman plastered with newspaper articles, reupholstered it, did the cushions, everything, it was from her childhood home. Then she placed awkward ceramic objects on it.

AG: Obama merch?

CC: No. Just these objects, like ceramic vases. Then there were two different photography rooms. Both of them contained disclaimers on a text introducing the piece. Some of this material may be disturbing to certain people. One of them was this American soldier who was severely disfigured while in Iraq. He looked like he had suffered a lot. He was burned. Then there was another room of Afghani women who had self-immolated due to familial abuse.

AG: What does that mean?

CC: Set themselves on fire. They were recuperating from severe burns. Why was this part of the Biennial? I don’t know. I’m not looking at how the photo captures something or the photographer’s technique, I’m just thinking about human suffering. Is that the point?

AG: This reminds me of Peter Galassi, the MOMA Photo curator at this symposium on photography said photographs can do fine without talking; they don’t need us to do all this talking. But I think that’s at times why we make photographs, to talk about them.

CC: I hope he got up and went home and made a sandwich and read the newspaper.

AG: No, he stayed.

CC: Why do people torment themselves?

AG: What was the wall text for those photographs of human suffering?

CC: So and so went in and visited a burn trauma unit and took pictures of these women braving their injuries. Stephanie Sinclair is her name. The Obama couch: Jessica Jackson Hitchins. Nina Berman did the disfigured soldier photos of him with his high school sweetheart— I hate that word— they were getting married and she looked absolutely terrified it was all over her face and the text said that they divorced about three months after their wedding. Kerry Tribe’s dual projection. All my notes on this show are women’s pieces. I think it’s a coincidence.

AG: I don’t think it’s a coincidence. What were your impressions of the Headlands open house?

CC: There was something very luxurious about it. This is what art could be for artists in this country if we were just a little bit more generous. Because there were kids there, people from all walks of life, wandering around. Artists had their space, they had their materials, they had their freedom, they had their time, they had all the allowances. There was something really utopian about it. Why does this have to be a utopia, why can’t it be a reality?

AG: I’ve been thinking about how quickly people walk through an art space. What happens if you make a text-based work, meaning the concepts and the script is based on a time commitment? How do you get people to remain?

CC: Lock the doors.

AG: An artist at Headlands, Stina Wirfelt, did a re-visitation of a John Baldassari piece where he photographed every truck that passed him in between Santa Barbara and LA. Hers are all pictures from Google. Satellite because she is based in Scotland but is visiting CA. She made a big grid of the pictures of trucks passing and is giving them away as posters like Felix Gonzalez Torres. They look pretty good for being Google images.

CC: Yeah, the perspective’s the same and the sky is blue.

AG: I’m thinking about how conceptual art requires a text, which is contrary to what people want to experience in an art space, like people are anti-literate or a title is just enough or the right amount. How do you keep people sustained in a space, especially when presenting them with language? Do you have to demarcate a performance?

CC: Sometimes it’s better to leave things unsaid.

AG: Where we left off earlier is the discrepancy or the extremities between the live, in-person poetry readings and what follows immediately after, the feedback people receive.

CC: All they want to do is get drunk.

AG: But on the “blogosphere” there happens to be a circulation of rather harsh criticism not even about people’s poetry but about their personalities.

CC: Some only say what they like over and over again. You don’t dislike anything? You don’t have questions? There’s all this talk of poets as critics, having the ability to write critically. There’s this collective interest in it. How can this exist if they can’t incorporate it into their intimate circle? When is thinking critically appropriate? It’s not value judgments; I’m not talking about if it’s good or bad. I’m talking about what’s working or not, what direction is something moving in.

AG: What about Non-Site Collective events?

CC: I went to Green Apple Books not too long ago and it’s pretty rare that you see much contemporary stuff in their used poetry section and then all of a sudden there was lots of contemporary poetry. There were Kenneth Goldsmith books, used. They had Day and Soliloquy. And I picked up Day and inside was a receipt from the original person. The name on the invoice said Bill Berkson. I took the invoice out of Day and brought it home and scanned it and sent it to Kenneth Goldsmith. And he said, “After all, it’s not really poetry, is it?”

AG: Have you seen the documentary on Kenneth Goldsmith? You can stream it on the Internet. It’s free.

CC: I don’t need to see a documentary on Kenneth Goldsmith, do I?

AG: No, you don’t. But it’s funny to watch. Robert Fitterman is talking about thinkerships replacing of readerships in one interview. Kenneth Goldsmith does these poetry readings just for the documentary— I don’t think they go to his actual poetry readings— they stage them in his house. So it looks like this amazing rehearsal or satire of a poetry reading. He gets really into it, he’s spitting with bookshelves in the background.

CC: Vito Acconci was spitting a lot in his talk. He was sort of slobbering.

AG: How old is he now? He didn’t call in the lecture?

CC: You would’ve been surprised. It was confounding. He just showed computer renderings of architectural plans for buildings and public spaces. You know how horrible those look, like late-90s cyber things.

AG: Did they hand out 3-d glasses?

CC: It wasn’t like that. The humanity of the presentation took precedence over the actual ideas he presented. I was looking at it as more of a performance instead of thinking, ‘oh that building could work’. Is he really seriously proposing these things? At the end he said, you know you can do something different than you’ve been doing your whole life. I can be a poet. I can be an architect, totally switch gears.

AG: I was at this talk at SFMOMA called Is Photography Over. I was surprised I got in, they presented it on the website and in the email I got after attempting to get in off a waitlist that it would be impossible.

CC: There were a thousand people on the waitlist. But you got in anyway.

AG: Well I got in to the simulcast on the first day. They had two simulcast rooms. You know if you get to the airport early and you’re flying first class?

CC: There was a VIP lounge.

AG: They put a picture of the VIP lounge up on the SFMOMA blog! I didn’t know about that. I was in a folding chair. On the second day I got into the real room and I could watch people’s uncomfortabilities sitting in these chairs on stage. At one point Phillip Lorca-DiCorcia, in response to this guy’s comment about being a successful artist, he said “I had galleries interested in me, and then I stopped and decided to become a war photographer and now I don’t fit into photojournalism and I don’t fit into art”.  He was asking about the policing of art that museums do. And PL got the mic and said, you know what I’m thinking, my ass hurts sitting in this chair. Because the panel was three hours long and they didn’t have a break. They were in these wooden chairs all in a line and the people who worked at SFMOMA, two curators were sitting in higher chairs than the panelists. They had to make an announcement at the beginning of the symposium saying that they ran out of chairs that the panelists were in, and that’s why they were in these taller chairs, they just wanted to clarify it wasn’t intentional, that’s just all that was left in the stock room. It made me think a lot about seating arrangements and the passive audience. They had these two microphones set up where you could go up and ask a question and it was absolutely terrifying. Very confrontational.

CC: You had to, as an audience member, get up from your seat to ask a question?

AG: Yes, I had to walk through an entire row and say excuse me, excuse me, to every one.

CC: What question did you ask?

AG: I’ll read it some version or revision of it. What is the social impact or psychological impact of a break from responsibility in image making— this lack of agency that a photograph may contain? Because photographs have so much power, I’m interested in how the photograph of an event is more important than the photographer. And how is this going to be dealt with in museum spaces, is it similar to a daguerreotype, it being so old, and them not considering themselves artists, that we don’t know who took it? The unknown photographer label? How is that similar to a cell phone photo— of let’s say Oscar Grant. Or Reuters just puts their name sometimes. What about people not asking permission to photograph or photos of ourselves on the Internet or pictures we don’t know about from satellites circulating? So there’s this lack of ownership of a photograph and this lack of responsibility associated with photographs and how will that be dealt with when these photographs will start to be acquired by museums?

CC: Who answered?

AG: Joel Snyder, an art historian at University of Chicago literalized my question and started attacking me, I don’t understand what you mean, how is there no agency in a photograph? And I thought I shouldn’t have used that word agency and everyone from the audience was shouting at me, do you mean authorship, and I said forget it, what about responsibility. He said ‘I still don’t get it. You put the camera in front of your face, you press the button, you take the picture’. And I said well you don’t have to literally take a picture to even take it— you can just look at it. Who owns the pictures is up for debate, you can click and drag things from the Internet. My question was really about wall text, why isn’t citizen journalism entering the history of photography or will it? Charlotte Cotton said the label is going to say Citizen Photographer. I bought this book Words without Pictures that she was involved in. It used to be a blog. The blog is now a book. Meanwhile, the night before, at the bottom of the simulcast, you could see some iphones, or camera phones, you could see the screen that showed what people were taking a picture of— the stage, which is a boring picture, it’s just people sitting at chairs at a table. Then in the audience of the simulcast people were taking pictures of the simulcast with their cameras. And nobody was talking about that.

CC: You know what I was thinking about. There’s something about when people take photos of the non-visual, of people on the panel while they’re speaking. They want to capture the idea; that could have been a panel on household paint for all you know. I was at the Palace of the Legion of Honor a few months ago and there was an organ performance. The guy who plays the organ at the Castro Theater, he was there and he was playing all these hits, crowd pleasers, there were chairs set up in this gallery. But in the atrium when you walk in, the sound was better in atrium because they had hidden the organ pipes in the ceiling so the acoustics were better. My point is, people were taking photographs of the organ while the music was being played like they were trying to take pictures of the music.

AG: Synesthesia.

CC: Yeah. And this happened in Glasgow, almost a year ago exactly, I was at the Museum of Natural History. There was a pipe organ, the pipes weren’t hidden, they were visible, brass pipes, very imposing, emitting this very overwhelming sound, unmistakable, vast vaulted ceilings, people milling about. You couldn’t see who was playing so they were confused, what do I take a picture of? They take a picture of the pipes emitting the sound of what they were perceiving. That’s not going to be interesting. It was like, how can I capture this moment in my life. But it’s a different sense.

AG: It’s a form of diary. When you look at that picture the question is will you recall the other sense? The visual is replacing or we’re depending on it to replicate other senses.

CC: What about photographs of people reading poetry? The reader’s mouth is open, they’re in front of a podium, some crappy microphone, this is the worst, the plastic bottle of water, sitting right there, in the middle of the frame, it’s like does no one see this, what? We don’t think about composition? Now you have this ugly picture of them looking boring, their mouth is in a strange position, they’re looking down. The mic is in front of their nose. I hate when the plastic water bottle makes a crinkly sound. Can you just give this poor person a glass like a civilized creature?

AG: You know at a boardwalk, there are those games where you shoot water from a gun into a clown’s mouth. Someone in the front row would have to practice beforehand, high-powered. As if it’s hooked up to a soda fountain.

CC: It would almost have to have a military accuracy.

AG: Did you see the Tea Party rally in San Francisco?

CC: I wasn’t invited! I’m never invited to anything. I would have gone you know, I definitely would have. I would have gotten there and wanted to blend in. I’m white— I can blend in. I’ll go and wear something innocuous: a sweater set and jeans. Just go talking to people. They’re afraid, you know, they’re really fearful.

AG: About communism.

CC: Communism! Communism! These people, either they have amnesia or they’re living in the past. The two are at odds and that’s how they exist— in this weird state of contradiction. They’re ahistorical but they are stuck in the past. I don’t know how to make sense of it. It baffles me.

AG: I’m reading an international bestseller that’s now a major motion picture. Jarhead, an account of the first Gulf War.

CC: Have you seen Gunner Palace?

AG: Not yet.

CC: Let’s have a cheerful movie night watching 18-year-old boys blowing things up. What’s a Jarhead?

AG: It’s a disparaging nickname for a marine—you unscrew their head and dump in military, ‘go fight go kill go serve your country’ and this replaces their individuality.

CC: Did you hear about the military recruit who needed to lose weight and the recruiters put him in a ski suit and a plastic suit no it was scuba gear and a plastic thing and put him in—what are those places called where people go to work out?

AG: Gyms?

CC:  They put him in a gym and made him exercise vigorously and he passed out his body temperature was 108 degrees he went into the hospital and had a kidney fail, was transferred to some hospital in CA, and died. And this guy, he was 22 years old, a basic run of the mill beefy dude. He got swept up in this crazy attempt to make him suitable for the military. He was 200 and something pounds, described as “moderately obese” in the medical record.

AG: Quick trivia question: What day is patriot day?

CC: Every day… is this a trick question?

AG: Not a trick question. Patriot day, what day? You know this!

CC: Maybe it’s in the index of this book Jarhead. What’s this, have you seen this?

AG: Yeah, that’s the bookmark I found in the book: Justin Cho went from Salt Lake City to Fresno. I didn’t even know there were airports in those places. Abysmal.

CC: The greatest moment I had in Salt Lake City was realizing I didn’t have to eat at this family pizza joint and there were all these Mormons and I had just come from seeing Spiral Jetty.

AG: Did you swim?

CC: The lakebed had dried out. I had on combat boots and the salt gets all over you. Have you been out there? There’s nothing out there. There are bugs encased in the salt crystals and I shot this ten second video with my camera my phone no my camera of an empty Budweiser can rolling along the ground, the rattle of the aluminum. It was a lonesome moment. There was an oilrig. Spiral Jetty seemed kind of quaint to me. It didn’t have the scale that I was expecting.

AG: I’ve seen the video documentation of it being built. That was interesting.

Winter Newsletter



“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard”


“I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the (Haitians) and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land… unto a land flowing with milk and honey.”


The adoptive parents start screaming, then hugging, kissing and crying over their new children, who often look bewildered as they are handed Mickey Mouse dolls and bags of popcorn as welcome presents.” (UK Daily Mail, article on American Christian parents who adopt Haitian children. 8 February 2010)

Ten white Americans (five women, five men) are being detained in Haiti on charges of child trafficking after attempting to bus 33 Haitian children out of the country. They were stopped at the border of the Dominican Republic and were arrested for not having required legal documents permitting the removal of the children. None of the children had identification or passports. The Americans are Baptist Christians led by Laura Silsby, and eight of them are from Meridian, Idaho. According to the 2000 US Census, 96.3% of Meridian residents were white and 0.7% were African American. Laura Silsby claims that she thought the children were orphans, even though members of her group pointedly met with Haitian parents and convinced them that their children would be given a happier home elsewhere. The Baptists promised an orphanage in the Dominican Republic with a soccer field and a swimming pool, and eventual adoption by loving (Christian) families.

Silsby claims that she “did not really know” that paperwork would be required when taking children across the border. She was picking the little black flowers of the Lord, don’t you know? Perhaps Julius Pringle and Tony the Tiger will join forces with God and free the white people. A NY Times photo of Silsby and the four other women in their prison cell showed an open can of Pringles potato chips (“once you pop, you can’t stop”), and a box of Frosted Flakes (“the taste adults have grown to love”). Pringles’ potato content is only 42%. They are manufactured by Proctor & Gamble, one-time maker of the toxic shock syndrome- enducing Rely tampon. Researchers found that Proctor & Gamble manufacturing plants release 350,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air each year. In the 1980s, rumors alleged that P&G’s logo was Satanic, and that the president of Proctor & Gamble appeared on the Phil Donahue show saying that he was a Satanist. The rumors were false, but the fact remains that Satan was once an angel, “the accuser”, who opposed God. Laura Silsby is not a Satanist, but a woman of the Christian faith. Instead of a Biblical “grievous swarm of flies”, the Baptists are faced with an infestation of mosquitoes in their cells and one of them was treated for infected mosquito bites. Some people believe that diet greatly affects one’s susceptibility to mosquito bites, and that a highly acidic blood pH could lead to more mosquito bites. Frosted Flakes and Pringles are not high-alkaline foods and it is not suggested that they be eaten in Haitian prison cells, even if it is God’s calling that one do so.

1. a siege

2. their calamities

3. ignorance and imbecility

4. He freeth us from the law

As the Bible sez, the just shall live by faith. When you come from a place where 96.3% of the people are white and you are also white, then you will probably consider yourself to be one of “the just”. Your faith will likely go unchallenged for the most part, mostly because your faith is likely “upright and pure”, like the motives of Laura Silsby and her nine helpers. Apollo and the Nine Muses!

“Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth

Than those old nine which rhymers invocate.”

(Shakespeare,  Sonnet 38). Some astrologists refer to thirty-three as one’s “Christ Year” since Christ was 33 when he died and was duly resurrected. Thirty-three is the number of children who were on the Baptist bus. Perhaps the Christians were desegregating Haiti, busing the black children to a place of whiteness. Surprisingly, Laura Silsby’s Facebook page indicates that she is “a fan of Sarah Palin”. Silsby’s neighbor Chris Wentzel was quoted as saying, “I was just amazed to see she was down in Haiti, saying she was trying to save orphans. She never struck me as the do-gooder type.” Laura Silsby claims that her drive to rescue orphaned children comes from the intent to “share God’s love with these precious children, helping them heal and find new life in Christ”. They might also find new life in strange snack foods, obesity, and perpetual otherness. As the Idaho state motto declares, ESTO PERPETUA! Let it endure forever, something like that.



YO HOPE HOW YA DOIN: The art administrator business card gets you into almost any museum in the world for free. But I was not in the company of such superpowers. The Goog shoved their ticketing to the very front of the entrance, whiplash after revolving doors, cramped wallets, and this re-construction was all to accommodate the surprise integral to art titled The Kiss. Paying admission moment: Are there children tour guides? Debit or Credit? I am not at liberty to tell you. To release details of the performance’s concept is like spitting on the art. How do I do preservation on performance art? See admission payer urgently approach a guard: How close do people get to the professional dancers in pg-13 continuously groping embraces? This art is owned by MueMa, see the summer of 2006 for the fall of the maybe U.S. empire with MueMa’s outrageous gesture of admission. I heard a gay person was offended The Kiss wasn’t gay. But the concept was to choreograph art historically renown paintings–if it were same sex kissing then it would be about gay people and that would be a real bummer to the intended theme hybrid of economics and non-commodity art. There’s no hitting or touching dancers allowed, that’s what I would need to stop, says the guard. Spoiler alert: more Tino Sehgal art begins at the bottom of Goog ramp: People of ascending ages pick you up to guide you up the ramp while having vague conversations. You find out the name of the piece is, This is Progress. I listened to a single father talk about his teenage children choosing where to order takeout from. He concluded he prepared them for a world of infinite choices where the common experience will be endangered. Is this a reflection on the Big T piece at the Goog? It is not my job to talk about the piece. WAIT: Do you think human communication is progress. Is this piece in the context of the Internet? In the context of a drastic departure from strangers silently staring at art on walls? How is using words as tool and medium for RADICAL art piece just enacted poetry? If something NEW is just something else in disguise do I feel patriotic, refurbished, and or disappointed? I passed a streak of dog poop on the Goog ramp from a seeing-eye dog. I saw people taking pictures even though Big T forbids visual or audio documentation of his work.

ART AND POETRY POETRY AND ART: Robert Ransick’s State of the Union, is latest Artists & Activist zine. It’s free online or in flesh & blood at Printed Matter. Purple pages of varying shades, white text, how many people voted yes no, 30 states, ten years of proposed amendments, all of which passed. QUOTE Every ballot measure has been copy edited by the artist to reverse the negative connotations and render marriage between any two people legal ENDQUOTE. The act of reading this pamphlet is devastating and yet compulsory. It’s so easy to change words on paper! Reminds me it’s also easy to dress up in glitz for a brief stage appearance, equality appears now, and then we’re back. Clothes drop to the floor, unpleasant wounds persist.

GOOD TO KNOW: Plays, a Lecture by Gertrude Stein put on by David Greenspan, one man as her, reads behind a desk with glass of water, arm movements, pitch changes, breathing, fast/slow, stamina of voice talking for long time. The lecture is half memorized half down glance referenced. And he smiles, in character? How to smile, when not to smile, what is a natural smile while in character of a lecture? How do you read to a stagnant audience?

IN OUR MOST IMMEDIATE WARZONE: We wear socks and the ground might be clean or it is cleaned daily. Our shoes are off for only a timed passage. There are stores in the warzone with goods especially needed for airtime. We pay tax 19 cents on newspaper of two dollars. A whole line of people wait to buy the same paper. We should negotiate a split. Can I get a hand check? I got film but the speed is not important, I don’t trust your vision system, see forums on get everything hand checked, don’t do X-rays, resounding advice. What does it mean to photograph in a time of photographs? Charging stations to power up before the time when you have no plug. Now you can be connected while in flight with Gogo® Inflight. We need to run a special check on you. Woman to woman: I’m going to touch your back with a wand now. After this many years of threat and that many tens of thousands troops I finally learn to prepare for the warzone by going to a drug store, name not disclosed. I buy neon color 3.4 ounce (100ml) container sized compartments to show up for the security measure. They come with the labels body lotion, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and then blank labels. Be prepared.

The things I’ve bought and been given

COUTNDOWNS UNDER A TARP: Can you believe the time has come for innovative moneymaking in the nonprofit arts? If you wish to have a professional photographer or videographer document your piece the cost is $50 for video and $50 for photographic documentation.  Moments: Bringing Back the Now at SOMArts opened with 100 (more or less) performers doing 2-minute advertisement length pieces from a hole in the ground.  Interdisciplinary was very welcome but if text had to have its way, the MC Justine Hoover had to ask several times, in the voice of a school teacher on the perpetual brink of losing their passion for education, “Please be quiet everyone, the performer has asked everyone to please be quiet.” And if you didn’t ask for silence, as in a vigil for words, where a live video stream consumed the large wall a crowd was facing, then you sort of sounded like mush.

NO POSSESSIVES: If you’re looking for large type and generously spaced poems interrupted by irrelevant and nasty yelp reviews revealing links grayed from being clicked on, then padded with dated male nudey photos that smell of internet search terms, check out Stephen Boyer’s Ghosts from Bent Boy Books. “I couldn’t find anything older that I liked.” The work twirls around, ending up drunk, having gay sex, and speaking to celebrities through titles like a chapbook “distributed in secret mysterious ways to a select audience,” The publisher. Way to go exclusivity! Highlights include the amusement park sarcasm meets run on with no period “Dear Lindsay Lohan My friend IM’d Me” and a heartbreaking story about being turned down to work at the queer gravitational vortex the Lusty Lady for not passing well enough as a “princess.” And then the crotch shot at a strip club: “they grind their cock in your face/ask you to eat their ass/ ask if you’re on facebook.”

TOTALLY UNDERGROUND: The longest and most fantastical dedication inside a chapbook I have ever seen is the poem before the title page poem in Lara Durback’s People’s Varying Abilities or The Attentive Spell and then comes a reoccurring title with slight variations. Events are typos at parties, a chemical smelling toy, a suspicious Snak Wrap, and insistent wisdom: “Imagine there is a dotted line to all the trash you threw in the garbage can and you will never get it of…” The point of view keeps changing. In this book “you reader” is on a bus and everyone is talking in their heads, pause, talking together, pause, spotlighting some conversations, pause, ignoring others, pause, overhearing others.

BOMBARDING CREDITS: Original Plumbing zine is planning issue number 3: safe sex. It’s 2 prior print issues and the website and the release parties offering trans dating games “create visibility for and by trans men.” The pictures in the zine take the sexy pose portrait now I am looking at the camera now I will obscure my gaze from camera very seriously while the text takes on the queer jargon playful caj / cash / have we agreed on an abbrev for casual? In response to the question Why Manscape (not to be confused with Mindscape), in the hair issue, contributing writer Joshua Klipp brings in the authorities: “A recent poll of admirers of transmen (including men, women, transwomen, and other transmen).” See ad for P-MATE, a disposable stand -to-Pee Device. Goodies on the website include instructions for how to become a model for the zine: please tell us: What do you do, Job, School, Artist? Please tell us if you are comfortable posing fully naked, shirtless only, shirtless with binder ?