Thursday, March 31, 2011

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For those interested I will be reading tomorrow at the CafĂ© for Contemporary Art, 140 East Esplanade (Lower Lonsdale), North Vancouver, 7PM, part of Capilano University’s “Prosethetics” series.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

While stir-frying vegetables I noticed a patch of ceramic missing in the middle of my six-month-old lifetime warranty pan. After lunch I cleaned up the pan and drove it back to Kerrisdale, where I bought it.

Travelling west on King Edward I turned left on Marguerite, a few blocks east of where I usually turn, to see what’s new in a neighbourhood I rode my bike through as a kid. At the southeast corner is Shaughnessy Elementary, where my Little League baseball team practiced forty years ago, the bucktoothed grin of Nicky Dimitri looming large.

The field as I remember it was an expanse of dirt and gravel, where sliding into second base meant the destruction of one’s pants, or at the very least their reassignment to the laundry hamper that night. But this field was covered in the deepest greenest grass. The backstop was still there, but the baseball diamond was not. A girl stood by the fence, checking her messages.

At the shop I told the manager that I was at a loss as to why my pan had chipped. I assured her that I did not start the pan on HIGH, nor did I use anything other than non-metal utensils. She nodded and said that she would “put a work order on it,” have the rep check it out the next time he was in. Because they don’t provide loaners, I purchased the next pan up.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Saturday evening I attended an opening at The Apartment, a group show of recent San Francisco art entitled 11 Lights on the Bay and a selection of Fran Herndon lithographs that found their way into Jack Spicer’s book Heads of the Town Up to the Aether (1962).

This being an opening, and The Apartment being a small space, I had few opportunities to view the work, though I did spend time with Colter Jacobsen’s corner piece, a selection of newspaper obituaries mounted at right angles on the wall and window, with the trimmings and unused obituaries crumpled below.

The elevation – and thoughtful arrangement – of the dead was both respectful and expected. However, it was the presence of that which fell away as dross that gave the piece its gravitas. A simple gesture, one that caught me off-guard.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Also in 1977:

On April 6 Jack Wasserman, Vancouver Sun columnist and broadcaster, died in Vancouver, aged 50.

Wasserman was born February 17, 1927 in Winnipeg. He came to Vancouver with his family in 1935, aged 8. He dropped out of law school to take a reporter's job with the Ubyssey. Wasserman graduated from UBC (1949), and joined the Vancouver Sun, becoming a police reporter. Legend has it that he was covering the 1951 royal visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip somewhere in the Interior (before their arrival in Vancouver) and, rushed for time, simply phoned in his notes. The notes were so good, the story goes, the Sun ran them verbatim. Then, starting May 12, 1954, they gave him a man-about-town column, and he hit his stride. His column on “the second front page” of the afternoon paper, often detailing the city’s underbelly, became a hugely popular feature. His biggest scoop was the death in 1959 of Errol Flynn in a West End apartment.

Wasserman hosted an open-line program with CJOR, later hosted Hourglass on CBC TV. He was fired by the Sun in 1967 for hosting his radio show but rehired 18 months later. He died of a heart attack while speaking at the Hotel Vancouver during a roast for Gordon Gibson, Sr.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Last night’s screening of Skip Tracer (1977) went well -- a good turn out (including cast members Sue Astley, David Peterson and Stephen Miller) and a lively discussion after.

While preparing my introduction, specifically the question of how this film relates to Vancouver then and now, it occurred to me that the story is not of a debt collector out to “win,” as Charlie Sheen might say, but the nature of debt relative to a city born and raised on speculation, a life based on what is going to happen.

Debt, or outstanding debt, is that which has not happened -- the failure to repay. Rather than seek gold or fish or timber, rather than buying and selling stock or real estate, the film’s protagonist is out to make his bones collecting debt. And like Charlie Sheen in Wall Street, he has his reckoning: that sociopathy is not for everyone.

Thank you to Steve Chow and Sonya William at the Pacific Cinematheque and Elizabeth Park and Kathleen Ritter at the Vancouver Art Gallery for making last night happen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

The view is in full force today, a warm spring morning where everything, even the garbage bin, is lined with silver.

I want this light to last, but of course that is impossible. Not for the inevitable clouds, but for the sun's passage from east to west, and nightfall.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I admire most about Renee's writing is her paragraph. Unlike Malcolm Lowry's paragraph, a baroque structure littered with broken bottle clauses (often to great effect), Renee favours leaner smoother lines, a paragraph that rarely exceeds four sentences.

Where some writers strive for aphorism (the hot licks of our times), Renee, like Monk, gives us the space between. (Monk was often playing in her store.)

Here is the fourth paragraph from the fifth chapter of Subject to Change:

"That evening on my way home I almost missed the obviously lost puppy shivering and shaking by the curb. It didn't take much persuasion to get him to walk with me into a pizza parlour so I could read his tag. The name and number on it corresponded with George Puil the city councillor who'd been responsible for the recent four-month transit strike that had wrecked havoc in many lives."

Monday, March 21, 2011

I first met Renee in the early-1980s when she ran R2B2 Books on West Fourth between Larch and Yew. It was there that I discovered the local literature, writers like bill bissett, George Bowering, Maxine Gadd, Fred Wah...

Every time I brought a book to the counter Renee would have something to say. Oh, Maxine is reading next week; are you going? Or: Ah, John Ashbery, I keep wanting to read more of him. Never once did she look down on a purchase, though this was common at Duthies. Not to compare.

Then the fire, and R2B2 went up in smoke, along with my friend Barry who lived at the rear of the building. Barry had just installed iron bars to keep people from breaking in. I remember watching the fire on the news, a woman crying in the alley because her rabbits were inside. There was no one outside for Barry.

R2B2 relocated a few blocks east, and I followed. A few years later Renee sold the store and for a while it was Black Sheep Books. I read there once with Evelyn Lau.

The first time I read Renee's writing was in Front Magazine, the same piece that Lucy Lippard saw and referred to in her book The Lure of the Local. The piece concerned a series of neighbourhood interactions, something to do with signage, or the signs people put out in place of talking to each other. As usual Renee spins it into something new, and a laugh turns into a thought.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Renee Rodin launched her memoir Subject to Change (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2011) yesterday afternoon at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kits. About sixty came out for an event made enjoyable first for editor Karl Seigler’s increasingly mysterious introductions, then Renee’s fabulous thank yous, which are artworks in themselves.

I received my copy of Subject to Change last month, and devoured it in a couple of sittings. Renee’s style is spare yet elegant, her narratives deceptively simple. And what a life! -- enriched as it is by her arrangement of it, as literature. Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York; the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.

Subject to Change is a book I will keep alongside two of my favorite memoirs: Harold Nicolson’s Some People and Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. I look forward to return readings.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

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Friday, March 18, 2011

ANGRY YOUNG WOMAN
(Yoko Ono)

Angry young woman on Sunrise Strip
Walking away to the new world
She left her man, she left her children
'Cause she knows she has only one life to live

Angry young woman with her background on her forehead
Three children and two abortions
Played a little piano ten years ago
And some typing from the college where she met her husband

Angry young woman in the dark of the night
Hears her children crying for dinner
Hears her man shouting for his shirt
And thinks of the first Sundays they spent in the park

Angry young woman, angry young woman
There's no way back so just keep walking
Leave your past in your raincoat pocket
And when you turn the corner, you'll see the new world

Angry young woman, angry young woman
There's no way back so just keep walking
Leave your past in your raincoat pocket
And when you turn the corner, you'll see the new world

Angry young woman, angry young woman
There's no way back so just keep walking
Leave your past in your raincoat pocket
Angry young woman, angry young woman

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whiteley's is England's oldest department store.

During the winter of 1980 I lived across the street, in a cold water flat above a Pizza Hut. Morning walks in Hyde Park, lunch at the Moscow Arms.

I was looking at scarves when someone came running though the store shouting, John Lennon's been shot! John Lennon's been shot!

The scarf was for my mother.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

On my pillow, Lucas and Morrow's collagist masterpiece What a Life! (1911), subtitled (for this edition) "The Humorous Dadaist Classic", and not (as originally published) "An Autobiography".

I like the book's "Preface", as it speaks to what I see (too) when viewing certain texts:

"As adventure is to the adventurous, so is romance to the romantic. One man searching the pages of Whiteley's General Catalogue will find only facts and prices; another will find what we think we have a found -- a deeply-moving human drama."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday blustered, spraying rain everywhere.
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We remain on Hornby, the car trapped in mud.
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The rain continues.
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Yana is coming to tow us out.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

I awoke early Saturday to a beautiful song whose source I could not locate. Stepping from my bed I stumbled through the darkened house and saw that it was coming from Hassan’s mobile, what turned out to be a work commissioned by the phone’s manufacturer, an alarm tone by Police drummer Stewart Copeland.

Unable to sleep, I returned to the Pethick literature and took a few more notes before setting out to Joe King Park, where Margaret had reserved the hall so that Jerry’s Hornby works could be documented at a single location. Fittingly, not all of Jerry’s works could be moved, so those that were not were photographed in situ.

As Scott continued the ardent task of photographing works comprised of Spectrafoil and diffraction grating, often taking multiple shots towards a composite document, Margaret and I stole off for lunch in the sunshine of her kitchen, a room distinct from her and Yana’s bedrooms.

What a joy it was to hear from Margaret about her and Jerry’s time in London, Paris and San Francisco, which inevitably led them and Yana to Hornby Island, in 1975, where they lived in a cave at Downes Point before moving to their home on Savoie Road, which she and Yana share with chickens, pigs, and as of this Monday -- turkeys!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Last night Hassan, Scott and I attended a concert at the Hornby Island Community Hall: Musical Antidote to Dark and Dreary Evenings presents Kiiri Michelsen (soprano) and Frank G. Chu (piano).

The programme kicked off with some slow but mirthful tunes by Gabriel Faure, followed by a rather speedy, and somewhat patchy, Impromptu in E flat, op. 90, no. 2 by Schubert. While Michelsen seemed intent on giving Hornby’s little hall the full force of her voice, Chu appeared hesitant, as if taking a breath before each charge up the island’s recently purchased grand piano.

Debussy’s Ballade (1906) calmed things down before the duo launched into what sounded for the most part like early Schonberg, particularly Waldsonne from Vier Lieder, op. 2.

After a 20 minute intermission (tea and cakes) we returned for a robust set of Brahms (Zwei Rhapsodien, op. 79) and, finally, four songs by Grieg (Veslemoy, Blabaer-Li, Med en primula veris and Varen) to take us out of winter.

A romantic evening, one very much appreciated by the 40-plus members of the audience, most of whom reflected the island's aging population.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A travel day.

The 8:30AM ferry to Nanaimo, the 1PM ferry to Denman Island, then another to Hornby, where I visited with Margaret Pethick, who makes the crispiest cookies.

I am here to conduct research on the artist Jerry Pethick, Margaret's husband, who passed away in 2003. SFU Gallery is mounting a show of Jerry's work, drawn from the collections of island residents.

Today Margaret took me and photographer Scott Massey to the home of Bill Smith, musician and founder of Coda Magazine. Bill has two of Jerry's pieces: one is very fragile and hangs behind a door in the hall, the other above the kitchen sink.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Below was taken verbatim from americansongwriter.com:

Admittedly, we can’t make out most of the words. And the words we did make out, we don’t think would hold up in court. However, here are some of the things that came out of Joaquin’s mouth.

Remember, ENUNCIATE, mang.

verse 1:
(whispered) can’t f**k around

lift up higher turn yourself around
knees and chest then f**kin on the ground
get up kids and eat a bowl of damages
get your ass in the game (dramatic pause)

lift up higher turn yourself around
knees and chest then f**kin on the ground
get up kids and look all around

get …
get ….
get….

(unintelligable unintelligable, unintelligable)

it’s gettin’ hot in here

repeat chorus

fall of stage

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

The television next door is louder than usual -- what sounds like a current affairs show, where foreign wars and celebrity musings interrupt each other as "breaking news".

Libya's dictator lists his enemies in an effort to save his job, while the star of a Southern California-produced situation comedy does the same. Both come off as desperate men, though the latter, despite evidence from a clinical psychologist, appears to be working from a script.

Two years ago another Southern California actor announced his retirement from acting to focus on his rapping, a move that was chronicled a mockumentary film. Libya's dictator, on the other hand, seems sincere.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday was the second and last day of The Conference On the Conference. Of the six panels scheduled, only [In absentia] was comprised of texts written by those unable to attend, and in turn read by proxies. The text I read was “The Conference as Imaginative Historicity”, by Dimitrios Otis, aka Dhymitruy Bouryotis. Dimitrios is currently serving a five-year prison term in a Pecos, Texas for drug trafficking.

The highlight of our panel, at least to my mind, was a text first delivered at Centre A’s Let’s Twist Again symposium last fall. The text, in the form of a question posed (sincerely) by a UBC art student, amounted to a five minute self-portrait concerning her future as an artist and was addressed to keynote speaker David Elliot, an internationally-renowned curator and cultural historian.

An audio recording of the question/text was played by Stacey Ho, an independent Vancouver-based scholar, who asked us to consider the question less as an instance of embarrassment than as a meditative space, something that this new context (The Conference On the Conference) provided. Ho went on to say that Elliot more or less dismissed the questioned and that the artist who asked it was later censored by the ringing of a bell.

Ho’s “found” text, and her discussion of it, generated what I thought to be the best of our conversation. If not an artwork, then the basis for one.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

From The Magic Mountain:

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yesterday I participated in a conference held at the Woodward's campus of Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts. The conference, entitled The Conference On the Conference, is the grad project of one of the School's MFA candidates, Dylan Cree.

Below is my abstract:

O MINUTES

A conference is a temporal regime comprised of activities where actors with common interests perform one or more roles within a predetermined time allotment. Overseeing these activities is a moderator entrusted with the maintenance of these allotments. Greater than the potential for professional disagreement is the potential for conflict between the moderator and the time-indifferent presenter, a conflict that often goes unnoticed. This presentation will use single case analysis and conjecture towards a theory of temporal indifference in relation to conference participation.

And here is my paper:

0 MINUTES

The conference was held in the mountains, at an arts centre. In the months preceding, the centre had undergone an architectural transformation. Where once there stood a circle of buildings, in the middle of which was a large open space, one the original architect might have imagined as a site for impromptu lectures or debates, in the Classical sense, or pedestrian flow, where people could see each other coming and prepare their greetings in advance, now this space, this site, was occupied by an almost-as-large new building, the effect of which created a series of passageways that might be called streets had their steps not said otherwise.

For many, this was their first visit to the centre, so none questioned the new building (or the loss of the open space), focused as they were on the signs that guided them through these (new) passageways, from building to building, from meals to work to rest over the three days we were there.

In advance of arriving, one of the attendees, a friend, had just read Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and over lunch I listened as she spoke of the novel in the way those who have read it often do: enthusiastically, their life changed. I myself had never read the book from start to finish, but have probably read it at least once from various points.

I have reason to believe that The Magic Mountain has something to say about Time and that is why I have continued to poke at it these past thirty years, curious about its lopsided structure, how the first five chapters cover in exuberant detail the protagonist’s first seven years at the sanatorium, while the last two chapters, filled as they are with the more mundane aspects of sanatorium life, account for his last six. Much has been made of this acceleration, particularly in relation to the transformative nature of illness, but also with respect to the inseparability of Time and Space, something the author was no doubt aware of, writing at the time of Einstein and Heidegger.

As mentioned in my abstract, the conference is a temporal regime, a series of timed keynotes and panel talks, and within them further subdivisions, one of which I was asked to manage, as moderator. Because mine was the last panel, and because the previous panels had, much to the chagrin of the other attendees, run late (one by as much as forty minutes), I resolved to address the problem by asking “my” panelists the length of their presentations, reminding them of the twenty minute time allotment, and that in fairness to those worn down by the previous panels, I would be strict, if not cruel, in my enforcement. Of the three presenters on my panel, all but one had prepared a text; and of those texts, none were over twenty minutes. The one who did not prepare a text was the one who had just read The Magic Mountain.

As a moderator, there is a difference between listening to a presentation towards summarizing its propositional content and listening with the hope that the presentation finishes on time. All sorts of feelings overtook me while listening for the latter; the first of which was a resentment at having taken such a position, the second, a face-changing anger that had me staring balefully at the presenters as if their sole purpose was punctuality, especially when it came to the presenter who had just read The Magic Mountain, who told me, almost apologetically, that she only had fifteen minutes of material, and was that okay? But in listening like this, to this particular panelist, I was also reminded of the structure of Mann’s novel, and whether her presentation might have been conceived in relation to its conceit: an exuberant opening, which hers had been, followed by a much shorter, somewhat sudden ending.

At the fifteenth minute it became apparent that the panelist who had just read The Magic Mountain was nowhere close to finishing, the effect of which had me recalling her opening comments for evidence of an outline. Upon realization that there was no outline, it occurred to me that what we were being presented with was a middle, not unlike the middle the protagonist of Mann’s novel found himself in when he went to the sanatorium to visit his sick cousin -- only to find that he was sick as well. Faced with this unavailable outline, not to mention this ever-expanding middle, I found myself growing nauseous. I looked at the clock and saw that it was approaching 3PM. (For readers of Sartre, 3PM is an auspicious time – too late to start something, too early to finish.) Now five minutes later than the last time I looked, I tore a page from the conference booklet and wrote 0 MINUTES, then passed the page her way, a gesture greeted with an absent nod, then, twenty minutes later, her sudden ending.

A couple weeks after the conference I met the panelist (no longer “the panelist” but my friend again) for lunch. Knowing her as I do I could tell she was waiting for me to explain why I was mad at her, because I could tell she knew I was. But in my rage, and now my cruelty (sadistic and masochistic), I held out, denying her, when all I really wanted to know was whether her extended presentation was related to her reading of The Magic Mountain or a more common strain of time-indifference, like those presenters in the panels that preceded ours. Perhaps by not asking her I did not want to know, fearful that she might surprise me with the wrong answer and thus justify my anger. While part of me would have liked the answer to be yes, it was The Magic Mountain, duh, another part would be disappointed to hear that it was time-indifference, and where do we go when we lose track of time, if indeed we go anywhere other than where we are, at the centre, holding the floor, never letting go? That is the hardest thing to hear, I think. But the answer I most understand.

Friday, March 4, 2011

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

From the Condensed Fourth Edition of the Greenhorns' Guide for Beginning Farmers (2011):

"Final words, from some of our farmer elders:

In it for the long haul? Slow down.
Don't breathe dust,
practice tractor safety,
consider long term effects,
save your back,
keep poise under pressure,
maintain graciousness,
call your mother for a pep talk,
don't swear loudly from the front porch."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One of the books I picked up during my visit to Publication Studio’s Portland storefront is The Condensed Fourth Edition of the Greenhorns' Guide for Beginning Farmers. The Greenhorns is a non-profit group who “promote, support, and recruit young farmers nationally.” One of its members, Patrick, was completing a PS residency, on leave from his farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.

The Greenhorns’ book is one of many published by PS, who, like The Greenhorns, promotes, supports and recruits interest in writing, editing, designing and publishing. So far there are a number of PS nodes in North America, including Vancouver, San Francisco, Toronto and New York. It is refreshing to see this kind of generosity and enthusiasm in both publishing and farming, as the two are not unrelated.

Another organization that spreads itself far and wide, one that I have been in conversation with, is Pecha Kucha, a presentation format generated by a design studio in Tokyo and now operating in over two hundred cities. However, the openness and generosity of PS and The Greenhorns is lacking with the originators of Pecha Kucha, who treat their concept less as a presentation format than a brand franchise, as evidenced in Vancouver last fall when a group of UBC Curatorial Studies students were told they could not use the name Pecha Kucha (the Japanese word for "chit-chat") in their 560 Seymour exhibition because it was already taken.

The Vancouver Pecha Kucha franchise is Cause+Affect, a design firm whose expertise extends more towards real estate decoration than expanded notions of the liveable city. When I was asked two months ago if I would be interested in participating in their 15th Pecha Kucha at the Vogue Theatre (in conjunction with the Vancouver Art Gallery’s We: Vancouver exhibition, which I contributed to), I said yes. But the more I found out about Cause+Affect, the more I wanted no part of them. Propriety was a factor; same with the proceeds -- $15 x 1100 seats is a lot of money. Where does it go? And why are the presenters not paid?

My problem with Cause+Affect began when I proposed a set of images we might use to accompany my talk (20 images for 20 seconds, each). In the spirit of “cross-platforming”, I suggested we use a macro/micro version of my Digital Natives billboard project, with guidelines on how to achieve the effect, only to be told that they had no one in their organization (a design firm!) to implement them, but that I should “go for it,” because “what your images will lack in terms of visual interest I’m sure you’ll make up with your presence and dialogue on stage.” When I suggested an even easier idea, easier than the process by which we were to submit our images in the first place (the first twenty images that come up when you Google Image “Vancouver, BC”), I was told they did not have a “volunteer staff” and that maybe they could find me a “student” (as if the latter could not also be the former). That’s when I asked where the proceeds went – because it was clear that none of it was going towards the presentations.

It cost Cause+Affect $5K to rent the Vogue, with $4 of the ticket price going to venue administration. From there things got murky. I was told that “[t]he time it takes to curate, organize, promote and sustain the event is far beyond what minor money we make to host the event,” leading me to wonder what part of curation precludes helping to mount what people are paying to see, especially when Cause+Affect have referred to their Pecha Kucha as a “non-profit" affair. Couldn’t some of that “minor money” go towards the minor cost of on-stage production? When asked this, I was told I was given “an invitation,” and that “no one is forced to present,” and that “[a]ll our presenters to date have been very grateful of the opportunity, it’s fun and often great exposure for them, often providing them with new opportunities, etc. We have 100s of people on the waiting list to present,” etc.

For those who emailed to ask where I was that night, I was here, at Websit. For those who saw what I refused to take part in – a trade show – I am sorry for that too. I just wish I did my homework first.

The difference between projects like The Greenhorns and Cause+Affect’s Pecha Kucha speaks to the times we are living in, a gulf that mirrors the divide between those who have, and those who have not. That the Greenhorns are in my world is reassuring and offsets the despair I feel towards Cause+Affect, especially when firms such as theirs are increasingly active in cultural brokerage, working with larger public institutions (like the VAG) as well as government. Is this the future? Not so much Cause+Affect but this ever-widening divide?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The return train from Portland was on time and mostly took place in the dark. Internet was intermittent, but I had the NY Times Sunday crossword and Faulkner’s Light In August as detours.

At Chapter 6 I noticed Faulkner’s increased use of compound words, such as “cinderstrewnpacked,” “childtrembling” and “parchmentcolored.” There were more, many of them gender- (“womansinning,” “manshape”) and race- (“womanshenegro”) specific, but I will leave it at that.

Portland is a white city. I brought this up with Matthew and he said two things: first, that the KKK has had a long presence there; and second, that Portland was built on what many believe to be a site that is not recognized as the site of a former aboriginal settlement -- implication being that history begins with its settlers (unlike Seattle, which, prior to contact, was the site of a stratified Salish village). Something Matthew did not tell me, something I learned while hitch-hiking in the 1980s, was that Oregon was the last state in the union to encourage tourism.

Although I did not see all of Portland, I could not help but notice a number of bookstores and DIY publishing outlets in the downtown core (one of which was Matthew’s Publication Studio). I noticed also a lot of people in restaurants and cafes reading, which is usually the sign of an advanced interior life. Portland does not have a contemporary art museum, though it does have a Contemporary Craft Museum, the emphasis on “craft” over “art” being a deliberate one, I am sure.

After my last trip to Seattle I came away with a description of the city as a cross between Chicago and New Westminster. To apply a similar comparison to Portland, I would say that it is a cross between Brooklyn and Prince George -- if it were not so blindingly white.