I like/hate it when bloggers say things like…
Welcome, HTMLGiant webtrawlers!
…whenever there’s an influx of traffic from a generous link posted by a generous fellow webtrawler. But I’ll say it anyway: Hi, guys! I also struggle. I also did drugs. I also occasionally write things down and think too hard about the wrong things. My opacity comes just as often from laziness as it does from artfulness, or some fictional thing called “artful necessity”. What??? I’m pulling all this from the HTML Giant media kit. “Just kidding”
I wrote the below to read on Friday and Saturday at Lowerdeck Gallery. As I began reading on Friday night I realized that Breadstixxxx was right, of course, and I should’ve just riffed from the start. Saturday night went better, mostly because I didn’t bother even beginning with the pretense of reading from the page. Non-rhetorical questions for HTMLGiant webtrawlers: don’t you agree that at a “literary event” with, say, four readers, the two that extemporaneously riff and talk off the cuff will be more fun to listen to than the two who read from their trembling and creased laser printouts? Are there mp3s on the Internet of Gordon Lish’s freestyle monologues? Ubuweb? Help me out, HTML Giants!
So anyway here’s the text I didn’t let myself read aloud to a roomful of people this weekend. I was wearing a steak costume:
When I was invited to deliver some remarks at this exhibition, I discussed with a few people what I might say. We decided that, because I speak English, I should definitely say things in English, and I should definitely say them out loud, as opposed to silently “thinking” them. We then agreed that there were basically just two options available to me, w/r/t what I’d be able to say:
- the first option was to do something in a crazy performance-art context: speak in “fonny voice”; eat a single pinto bean for every time I’d ever thought about making love to a character from Sesame Street; or just extemporize total nonsense, saying things like Fonny Gorebridge Tree-fowl rappercrown UP MARKET breastmilk, and so on. Coo-REE, coo-REE!
- The other option was to deliver a more sober, lecture-style oration. The catch here is that, as some of you may be aware, I literally know nothing, which makes it very difficult to give a lecture.
We also decided that if I was going the performance-art route, it would make sense for me to dress very “straightforward” and “conservative.” On the other hand, if I did decide to give a regular lecture, I’d need to dress more “zanily” to compensate. In the end, when all the chips came down, when the ballots were cast, when the shame cauldron had all but boiled over, which is to say, when the sheepsmilk had cured itself, when the lambsfleisch was good and tender, when the crown’s rust had flaked into my eyes, when the children all resembled dogs, when civil twilight had ended, I mean to say when all was said and done, I ended up on the border: You’ll see that I’m wearing my daily uniform, but I hope you’ll also notice that I’m dressed as a steak. I am both subject and object; dinner and diner. Steak and dude. For this same reason, I will now be stapled into the wall behind me while I continue speaking. [thanks to mcmüller for doing this both nights]
The things I’m saying right now are more or less reasonable, but at the same time I kiiiiiiiiiiinnddddda if you think about what I’m saying you’ll kiiiiiiiiiinda hopefully notice that I’m not making any sense. You might get the impression, listening to me, for example, that I did a lot of acid when I was too young to be taking hallucinogens — I’m talking eighth and ninth grade. That’s way too young to be doing drugs. At that age, your brain is still developing. This is why tonight I want to urge you to wait until college to take LSD. Please pass this information along to your kids, and to your little cousins.
This exhibition here tonight at Lowerdeck gallery, curated by Katie Bachner and Ross Simonini, is called Ecotones. An ecotone is a transitional area between two or more distinct ecological communities. It’s the area between forest and grassland, for example, between tundra and savannah. The area between a mosswharf and a meadow. Ecotones exist in the space between a Penis-grove and a Tuts-Tomb, between a Shitcavern and the Barnfoam Valley. I’m not making this up: Labiola and Froxxhole. Spaincrest and Pipscave. Limpum and tattlecorn. These regions tend to be extremely rich in biodiversity.
The word itself is a kind of ecotone — there’s a border running through it, separating the 20th-century prefix “eco” (which does have ancient roots, in the Greek oikos, meaning house or dwelling) and the suffix tone, also from the Greek—tonos, meaning tension. And that tension, these tones, are what connect the word ecotones, for at least one night, TO-NIGHT—to music. Because in music, excellent ecotonal tensions abound. Take the tension there is between genres: as we all know, Nothing makes better love to genre than music does. Think of all those clustered prefixes so common to musical categorization: “Judeo-Cumbia-Hepatitis-MouseCore-JamPod Shuffle,” and so on.
Music is an ecotone between language and sound. Between a human steak and the adult nerd. Between Carabeth Peesh-Shaw and Bethany Clownfunctions. It’s there in the nutrient-rich area that lies between Ross Simonini and Mr. Benjamin Bromley. It’s up in that hot grundle between a synthesizer and the slender fingers that massage its happiest keys. I can’t go on, friends and strangers, and I won’t. The performance we’re about to witness straddles all of these divides like a mutant princess gymnast boasting hummingbird wings and the longest of legs. It’s a pleasure for me to introduce to you two men, and a few of their machines, and a quiver of songs that wish they were made out of petrified wood. And they are, folks. THESE SONGS ARE MADE OUT OF MANGANESE STONE.
Ladies and gentlemen, I INSIST that you put your hands together and supply a geologically huge, monolithic soaring granite-condor styled welcome to the stage, please, the only band in San Francisco tonight that I can honestly call…….
[They played rich, long sets both nights. Full-length CD out soon,
for now their righteous 7-inch is 5 bucks and on iTunes. Nice one!]