This was a night of poetry I arranged at my friend's house.
The actual event was definitely one of my favorite poetry events I've attended. It sounds self-serving but there was a lot of good qualities:
- I really liked all the readers.
- I got to present, and host, and make things the way I wanted, and look pretty and wear gym shorts and eye shadow (thanks to Karla Lamb)
- Jenson Leonard's performance was _excellent_ and I got to react while listening by moving my body.
- A lot of people and a lot of cool people showed up.
- We ran out of toilet paper and had to emergency restock from Shur-Save
- We got a noise complaint.
- BD and Carlisle's backyard, where we read, overlooked the Bloomfield Bridge and the valley below *and the train tracks and bus way*, it's probably one of the most beautiful views in Pittsburgh.
|View of the bridge. See also: fireplace.|
- This view is entirely unrepresented in the film.
- I had a cheap mike and bass amp and that was our P.A.. Our lighting for the second half of the readings was a maglite taped to a railing and a floorlamp. We also had a campfire.
- We had four or five different areas where people could hang out, including a campfire in the backyard, next to the readings.
- We had an open-mic, untaped, on the city steps down to the valley. I made everyone only read two poems, and it was entirely dark except the lights/phones we brought. We had maybe ten fifteen people and it was really *hot* like *hot jazz*
I think the video drags during some of the readings-- it's hard to put a whole poem being read in the middle of a film like that, usually you want more cuts. I edited this all in one night and sat on it for a while, I never arranged for a second edit, so I decided just to publish what I had, even with the long readings in it, and the misspelled title, it's documentary at least, also I think a lot of the movie has verve.
I said the party/movie was based on "Debt Begins At Twenty" which is actually the founding text of this blog. The party was an ideal state of poetry for me, and very true to the phrase "I Want Pittsburgh To Be Fun".
The full lyric from DBAT is "I Want Pittsburgh To Be Fun, If It [doesn't change soon?] I Might Pull Out A Gun" [I have to rewatch the movie, it's offline].
I danced with my dad at a punk show revival night at SPACE downtown featuring the band "Carsickness", this same gallery having "Debt Begins at Twenty" playing in the back room. Jon (my dad) has a peculiar way of dancing, my mom told me this growing up. All I knew about my dad's residency in Pittsburgh in his 20's was that he did a lot of drugs and also danced at punk shows, he was also a huge fan of "Carsickness". So I got to dance with him to the same band he danced to when he was my age.
The way Jon dances is he hangs his jaw out like a severe underbite, hunches his shoulders up, and twists back and forth. It looks completely without grace and I was wondering if there was something wrong with him; but there wasn't, he pulled me in and I did my own version of punk dancing which is like you know head bobbing shit. Also when I finished my beer the thing to do was just throw it on the ground, dad showed me that at that show.
The thing about that dance was that there was a lot of gracelessness to it, but it was entirely intentional, and entirely in the spirit of the thing, and we were dancing in good company with the other aged punks who showed up, we had mosh pits, I was shoving a small aging american around and throwing cups of water at my twin.
The main connection I make between that night and this night, was that in both cases there was a sort of odd perfection that the night was spelling out, relative to my personal everything, and it wasn't perfect for being completely good and not awkward but having a total form to it-- and in each case either was the result of careful artistic planning, my work for "Under the Bridge" and Dennis Childers and Larrey Rippel's for the SPACE gallery show.
Maybe there is one more thing which is impressing me which is the meta-form relations between these carefully planned artistic events, my movie, and "Debt Begins at Twenty". At all times I was aware, and I think maybe other people were too, during the events, and while I watched DBAT, that there was a certain ideal we could achieve, or an activity we could follow, in that sort of "being punk, being poets" vein. Mostly I am trying to activate that spirit if and when I am doing poetry or planning events.