Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christian Marclay's "The Clock"

A snippet from Christian Marclay's "The Clock"
A scene from the film (my surreptitious photo)

Knowing that tomorrow would be the final day to see Christian Marclay's acclaimed film The Clock, which would also probably ensure a line all the way to Midtown, I hightailed it up to Lincoln Center to catch a snippet--that was my goal, to see only a small portion to savor the experience--and find out what all the hullabaloo was about. Zadie Smith wrote what I think is the definitive meditation of the ones I've read on the film, entitled "Killing Orson Welles at Midnight," which she published in the New York Review of Books back in April of this year, so I won't attempt to match her perceptiveness or depth of reading. Instead, I'll point out that this is as strange, seductive, experimental, and methodical a film as I've ever seen, and it compels your viewing even as it lulls you. I found myself attempting two things constantly: trying to guess when the clock would appear--for Marclay ensures, I believe, that it either appears or is mentioned every minute of the 24-hour clock--and trying to figure out from which films came the swatches of cinema he has ingeniously stitched together. Yet as I was actively doing this, I also found myself become transfixed by the stream of imagery and sound, the whole cloth of the film, such that although I'd set for myself a fixed time of no more than 30 minutes--I wanted to allow others to catch the film and to gauge my experience of only a tiny bit of it--I kept pushing back my moment of departure. My eyes remained agape; my indifference to the dutiful ushers who were, like mechanical soldiers, guiding people in and out of every available seat (the Lawrence Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center cinema space holds only 96 or so), never slid into annoyance; my wonder and awe at what Marclay had pulled off steadily rose, though I could not bring myself to.

The line outside Christian Marclay's "The Clock"
The serpentine line in front of the cinema space

When I realized, via the clock on screen, which matched up exactly with the real time outside the darkened narrow room, that I'd gone over, I had to force myself to get up and head out. A smile parted my lips. I'd waited in line for about 2 1/2 hours, and it was if I had not even waited 10 seconds; my entire sense of time, so forcefully grounded by Marclay's artistry had, ironically, floated off into nothingness. The balmy air, more autumnal than August need promise, was like an added gift. If there weren't likely to be a long line and I didn't have to start preparing for classes and so on, I'd go back tomorrow,  and sit for a slightly longer time. I completely grasp how people have managed to pass an entire morning, or evening, or day in front of Marclay's film. It beguiles that completely. At least it did to me. I wonder what it would have been like to see in the Paula Cooper Gallery, as Smith did, last winter. To go at any time of the day or night and just watch. There is tomorrow, of course, for those nearby. It is worth it.

One of the docents, who was helpfully keeping people from jumping in the line and, as calmly as possible, telling people that they might have to wait for 4 hours or more like everyone else, did say, I think I heard correctly, that a print of the film will remain in New York, and may show again at some point in the fall. If it does, especially for the 24-hour period, I intend to be there to see it again. It ought to be released for public and private viewing parties too. It's a perfect way to while away an hour, or several, and give the mind a workout even as it is simultaneously rocked to something akin to, but not exactly, sleep.

Lincoln Center
Ever grand Lincoln Center, on a late-summer night

From Zadie Smith's essay:
The things you notice on a second visit are quite small but feel necessary for orientation, like drawing an x and y axis before attempting to plot a great mass of information on a graph. In my notebook I tried to state the obvious, to get it clear in my own mind. The Clock is a twenty-four-hour movie that tells the time. This is achieved by editing together clips of movies in which clocks appear. But The Clock is so monumental in intention and design that even the simplest things you can say about it need qualification. There isn’t, for example, a clock visible in every scene. Sometimes people will only mention the time, or even just speak of time as a general concept. Mary Poppins does less than that; she glances at her wristwatch, the face of which we cannot see, then opens her umbrella and flies, to be replaced, a moment later, by a man, also flying with an umbrella, who soon floats past a clock tower, thus revealing the time. There are many moments like this, and when you first notice them their synchronicity and beauty are a little unnerving. They reveal a creative constraint even larger and more demanding than the one you had assumed. If The Clock cares to match a flying umbrella with a flying umbrella, it must have aesthetic currents passing beneath its main flow, moving in a variety of directions, not simply clockwise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vanishing New York, or Doma (No) More

Doma, back in April 2007
I'm a regular reader of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, a blog devoted to cataloguing the rapidly disappearing vestiges of pre-Bloomberg Manhattan (and to a lesser extent, Brooklyn and the other boroughs), be they restaurants, barbers' schools, bodegas, gay leather bars, you name it, be they 10 or 100 years old. One can rightly argue that Manhattan is always changing and has been for over three and a half centuries, but what Jeremiah Moss captures, much as I've observed in my much less attentive way, in his sometimes overly nostalgic and sentimental but always informative posts is that the pace of transformation from the post-9/11 moment to today, driven mainly by hypergentrification, the accelerating colonization of neighborhoods by chain stores, and the vicious cycle and unaffordable rents, except by the superrich and mega-corporations, outstrips the pace of change of the previous ten years.

Even the behemoth NYU, which has rescrambled its neighborhood more than once, couldn't clear out and knock down and throw up buildings as quickly during the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s, as it has done over the past decade. (It also has managed to come back from ICU status to now somehow hosting campuses not just in Manhattan and Brooklyn--where it snapped up not just its former engineering and architecture departments, which Polytechnic University of Brooklyn had taken over, during its troubled period thirty-something years ago, but that entire institution!--but in Abu Dhabi and, if I read correctly, in Shanghai, China very soon.) No matter how sharply pitched the outrage by neighborhood residents, the faculty, and politicians, NYU, like New York's bossy imperial mayor and its still growing cadre of billionaires and multimillionaires, is getting its way.

But my point with this post was not to launch into a tirade against my (one of them) alma mater. If you Google "NYU village plan outrage" or a similar combination you will find more than enough material to decide on the appropriate emotion. (Or just let Fran Lebowitz [cf. below] do it for you.) I also suggest visiting Jeremiah's site, which often points to places you might want to drop by in order to catch them before another high-end condo building crams into the spot they once occupied, or learn about a planned action to save a struggle bookstore, or chase down links to peruse if the mention of the words "hipster" and "artisanal" and "luxury" and "Ivy League" in the same sentence sparks in any emotion in you. Or if you just want to witness other people's exasperation at entitlement and privilege and no care for the swift, capitalist erasure of the past and present.

Doma, on March 22, 2012
I began this post to memorialize a spot that Jeremiah did not cover, a café-wine bar that was close to my heart, Doma, because, as he wrote to me in a polite email reply, others had covered it. What was Doma and why was it special to me? It was a tiny café that sat at the corner of 7th Avenue, Waverly Place and Perry Streets, in Greenwich Village. It was quite affordable as New York spots go, had decent coffee, slightly better pastries, very good aguas frescas, economical wine (though I rarely drank there), and, at least for a while, a very relaxed atmosphere that encouraged creativity. (The Czech name, Doma, means "home" or "at home," and it certainly had a Bohemian air.) It was a neighborhood-centric joint, with a revolving monthly gallery, that also drew people from all over the metro area, and among the regulars (including an elderly artist who drew extraordinarily elaborate pencil and ink abstractions, or local graduate students, or people working on hieroglyphic math problems--professors? post-docs?), there would be the occasional glamorous or semi-glamorous person (Calvin Klein, Elizabeth Wurtzel, John Cameron Mitchell--I saw all of them, so not just making this bit up) sliding in and out without much to-do.  One cool element of the place was that they had a bookshelf of all the books written or revised within Doma over the years, and it was quite a little library. The café-restaurant, which opened in 2002, stayed fairly relaxed up through about 2007, I think, and then, as the pace of gentrification ticked faster, it glitzed up a bit, becoming a bit more bistro-esque after 6. But during the day it still retained, to the extent possible, what it had been. I also think musicians played there, but I never caught a performance, since those usually happened after my clearing-out time.

It was also the place where I wrote, discussed and revised a good deal of Seismosis during the summers of 2003 to 2006 with my fellow collaborator, Chris Stackhouse. Since it was convenient for both of us to get to, I'd often go there, sketch a bit, work on revisions I'd drafted initially at home, and then show and discuss them with him. He often had to get back to Brooklyn or head somewhere else, so after our discussions I would just chill, write a little more, grit my teeth and not complain because the place did not have Wifi (though if you sat close to the front windows, you could pick up a free connection from time to time), and Doma was also not far from the Village Copier, on Hudson Street, where I copied and bound not only the many drafts of that book, but other many short stories, novel chapters, poems, and so on, over the years. (It too is gone, and its storefront remains empty, occasionally filling with sets for photoshoots.)  Even though Doma was changing--though the other café where I worked on Seismosis, Il Panino Giusto, just down Perry and up Hudson, is thankfully still open--and I'd found a new favorite spot at the New York Public Library's Research Branch, I tried to drop by there from time to time when I was back in New York.

And then, this past March, during spring break, I went by Doma to get a cup of coffee and catch up on reading I'd had to put off because of the academic quarter, and it was closed. Emptied out. A shell. March 18, I believe, was its terminal day. I knew its hour of reckoning was coming, given that it sat on one of the primest spots in lower Manhattan, but I also though that the clientele, some of whom did belong to the 1%, could keep it afloat. But then again, since Doma did not own the building, if those 1%ers weren't directly negotiating with the landlord to keep the rent reasonable--a threat to many a business across New York--or if one of them wasn't the landlord and thus could decide to go against the grain and not gouge, the café-restaurant was going to have to clear out. It did. Sic transit...you know how that goes.
Doma na Rohu, on Morton St.
But the story doesn't end there. Because Doma miraculously did find a new spot, a bit out of the way and further south in the Village, at 27 1/2 Morton, at Seventh Avenue South. In addition to the new location, it found a new name: Doma na rohu. (Uh huh, and yes they use the lowercase letters, and I'm not making that up.) And from what I can tell it has morphed into a more beer-centric spot, with an Austro-Hungarian/Mitteleuropa focus (double huh?), perhaps because, at least a year or two ago, beer bars and beer gardens had become quite popular in New York. And Germany, which I have been noting various people in comment sections keep threatening to move to, or urging others to do so. (WTF? Also, I love beer, but grew up in a city where German beer gardens and rathskellers and street festivals featuring beer and beer itself were so plentiful it might as well have been Munich, or Prague. Ich möchte nicht in Deutschland leben jetzt oder später. That's from my high school German, and I think that's close to right, yes?) Perhaps the beer gardens still are popular, and perhaps the rich people will go live in Germany if Barack Obama wins reelection in the fall (though he does everything he can to keep them happy except tuck them into bed every night and promise them endless tax cuts, even though he's ensure they got to keep the ones that have made them obscene rich and thrown the entire US economy out of whack).

Anyways I have not yet hied myself over to Doma Na Rohu yet, though I keep saying I will. I haven't even been back in New Jersey for an entire month yet, so that's my excuse. I will get over there, though. I'm closer than the Brooklynites and their beer gardens, but it still isn't as convenient to get to as the old spot was, and I really am not looking to drink beer in the middle of the day, pleasant as that sounds (though if it gets hot again and I'm not already in Newark, I just might reconsider), and as I said I'm not so gung-ho on the whole heavy-duty Middle European thematics--and let's not talk about the scary mess that contemporary Hungary has become, at least not in this post--but I will check it out. Uh...soon.




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Updates + Congratulations & News

These summer days are zooming by. Although I haven't even been back in New Jersey for a full month, it feels almost or even double that long.  As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back I'd begun to set up my new office, and now it's much further along. I still need to figure out how to get into half of my desk, which appears to be locked from the inside (?), get a few office supplies, and hang more artwork (including a vèvè of La Sirène, who kept watch over my office in Evanston), but things are proceeding pretty well.

The office, coming into order
The office, now mostly in order


The books, in order on the shelves I have several DUPLICATES of books, so I am again putting out a call to find out if any J's Theater readers would like a copy of one of them. If not, I will donate them.

The books are:

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Raymond Carver, Where I'm Calling From
Luis Cernuda, Selected Poems (translated by Reginald Gibbons)
Therese Hak Kyung Cha, Dictée
Jason Epstein, The Book Business
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Allen Ginsberg, Howl
Thomas Glave, Whose Song? and Other Stories
Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber
Tyehimba Jess, leadbelly
Adrian C. Louis, Bone & Juice
Michael David Lucas, The Oracle of Stamboul (my former undergraduate student!)
Claudia Rankine, Don't Let Me Be Lonely
Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck
Nathanaël West, Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust (2 copies)

A certain very dear person to me was quite skeptical that Newark has a subway system--it does, called the Newark Light Rail, and comprising the old Newark City Subway and an extended light rail component--so here are a few images of it and the Rutgers University-Newark campus. From Newark's Penn Station to the campus, it's 2 stops, or 70 cents. I was a bit incredulous at first at this price, but yes, it's cheaper to go back and forth to campus on Newark's subway than either one way on the PATH, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail or New York's MTA. The trains are almost identical to the light rail trains that run along the eastern spine of Hudson and Bergen counties, from Bayonne, through Jersey City, to Weehawken. But they do slip underground at first, before ascending to road grade. One line stays in Newark, I believe, and the other runs all the way to Bloomfield. Another line takes you to the now quite famous New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and also to the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

The entrance to the Newark subway/lightrail station, in Newark's Penn Station
The entrance, at Newark's Penn Station

photo
A mural in the Newark Penn Station stop

Newark subway/light rail train rolling in
One of the trains, barreling the station

Washington St. subway station, Newark
The Washington St. station entrance, in University Heights

Looking up the hill, Rutgers Newark
On campus, looking up the hill, toward New Jersey Institute of Technology

University Heights, Newark
One of the directional signs, along the campus


***

Now, for a few announcements and congratulations. First, to Dr. Laura E. Passin, newly minted Ph.D., who successfully defended her dissertation "The Lyric in the Age of Theory: The Politics and Poetics of Confession in Contemporary Poetry." Smart, brimming with insight, covering a range of noteworthy poets in unexpected combinations, theoretical without ever turning to theory as a crutch, it is a work much like its author, an incredibly sharp and talented poet and budding scholar I've had the good fortune to get to know from the time she passed her oral exams with panache, on through all of her dedicated efforts on behalf of the Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and the poetry workshops the undergraduate students conducted with the students at Evanston Township High School, and it has been a particularly joy to serve on her thesis committee. Congratulations to Laura, now Dr. Passin, who has a great book on poetry with her dissertation, and a great future ahead of her!

Congratulations also to Nathanaël, someone whose work and works in the world never fail to astonish me, who received a PEN American Center Translation Fund Grant, to support her translation of French writer Hervé Guibert's Mausoleum for Lovers. According to the site, this work is "a posthumous collection of the private journals that the well-known novelist and AIDS activist kept from 1976-1991—a series of literary snapshots of the author’s various objects of desire and mourning and already a classic of French autobiography," and will be published by Nightboat Books.  The PEN blog even features a snippet of Nathanaël's translation.  Congratulations again to Nathanaël, and it goes without saying that I am looking forward to her translation of this work and--I'll say more later--another work she has translated, which will appear this fall.

I've been waiting for the starter's gun to sound and permit me to announce the winner of the first Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Northwestern University Poetry and Poetics Colloquium in conjunction with the Northwestern University Press, and she is Kristiana Rae Colón! As a member of the inaugural committee of judges, I can attest to how her book of poems, promised instruments, crackled with spirit and soul, and demonstrated how craft can transform one's life and imagination into powerful, memorable poetry. The press will also publish a companion chapbook, Closest Pronunciation, by poet Ed Roberson, who will be writing the introduction to Kristiana's début, and it too is full of poems which show a poet at the height of his girts rendering everyday experiences into artfully cadenced, pitched lyric. The 2013 chapbook guidelines are open, so if you qualify, please submit your work!

And finally, in the July 20, 2012 New York Daily News, the ever-amazing Kwame Dawes discusses the newly established African Poetry Book Series, an exciting, multi-dimensional program under the auspices of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s African Poetry Book Fund, that will include books to be published beginning in January 2014, and more, and which I have been fortunate to have been involved with since its conception. Some very exciting titles are in the works, and as things develop I'll announce them here, but many thanks to Kwame and to all the other poets, writers, sponsors, as well as Nebraska-Lincoln, for making this happen!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 Harlem Book Fair

Before I post any photos from the 2012 Harlem Book Fair, let me first express my horror and sorrow at the massacre that occurred early Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado, at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The most recent reports I've read say that 12 people have died, and over 50 were injured to varying degrees. I send my condolences to those who have died and wishes for a swift recovery to those who were injured. The police thankfully did immediately capture the murderer, a 24-year-old domestic terrorist named James Eagan Holmes, who had been a graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Denver, and who apparently not only slaughtered people in the movie theater, but booby-trapped his apartment to maim authorities who planned to search it. Holmes, had also apparently dressed himself in SWAT-type gear, and set off a smoke bomb to create confusion before he began shooting. I won't use this brief note to pontificate, but I have long believed and will continue to believe that the easy availability of dangerous arms and protective gear of the sort that Holmes easily acquired, the lack of adequate, comprehensive mental health services across the country, and the socially stressed environment, particularly because of economic conditions and political divisions, that so many Americans live under, all help to foster such horrific incidents. What doesn't help is a normalized attitude toward social oppression, and psychic and physical violence, dating back to the country's origins and celebrated in many aspects of our society, that diminishes the seriousness of harming oneself and others, and of death.  What motivated or sparked Holmes's terrible acts I cannot say. That they have happened before I and every American can affirm. That they may happen again, without any serious measures being taken to lessen their likelihood, I must also sadly affirm.

***

Yesterday I dropped by the 2012 Harlem Book Fair, which took place on several blocks alongside the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research branch of the New York Public Library, located at 135th St. and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. I have attended and even participated in the Book Fair in past years, trying as best I can not to miss it in order to support the fair organizers, the authors and publishers, and Harlemworld itself, and to see what new books and book trends it has on display, since many bookstores are not featuring many of these books in the ways they're being presented at the fair. 

What struck me this year was that the venue and the time-span of the fair both seemed to be truncated compared to previous years, but at least to my unscientific appraisal, the number of fair-goers looked higher and the booksellers appeared more enthusiastic. One reason for the added liveliness of this year compared to last might have been the milder temperatures. After a very Hades-like stretch this past week and two days of rain, this weekend brought the sun out, but in moderation and cooling breezes. One of the things I love about this book fair compared to others is how enthusiastic many of the authors and publishers, many tiny or self-publishing outfits, are; in my experience rarely do they complain about having a conversation, signing books, meeting readers or even people just browsing the materials on their tables, or having their photos taken. Some even specifically ask for you to do so. There's also a level of showpersonship that I don't often see at other book fairs. My favorite display was the simplest; it's the final picture I've posted below.

One thing I did not see this year, and also missed last year was any sign that many of the authors were providing their works in the steadily increasing e-book format. As easy as it is to publish a paperback book these days, it's as easy, at least in Amazon's format, to put out an e-book as well. (The Nook and especially the Apple formats are more complicated.) I also didn't see that much emphasis on social media, even though both establishment media and scholars have written about the higher level of engagement among black people, especially black young people, with these sites and platforms. That led me to think that both in terms of the panels, which I didn't attend this time, and among the booksellers and authors, e-books, and related technologies, will be a greater focus in years to come. I also was surprised at the paucity of LGBTIQ authors this year; last year and in previous years, at least by my reckoning, more have been out and about.

One last point: I continue to be surprised, given the longstanding and increasing diversity of New York City's black population, which the Schomburg's affiliated scholars, librarians and archivists have documented, that there are not even more publishers and authors presenting works in languages other than English. Certainly Anglophone writers from North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa are present, but what about Hispanophone authors and books? Books in Portuguese? In Swahili? In Amharic? In Arabic? I did in fact see some books in Arabic, and in previous years I've seen some books in Spanish, but I'm surprised yet again that there aren't more.

Here are photos I snapped at the event. All are captionless they tell their own stories. Enjoy.


2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

photo

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

Art tent, 2012 Harlem Book Fair 

  2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

Outside the Schomburg Center, 2012 Harlem Book Fair

2012 Harlem Book Fair

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Photos: "A logarithm / Of other cities"

Amidst the ever-increasing glitz, the secret languages, in SoHo, or: graffiti*

Plush

Building, building

Décollage

FITSCHEN

Décollage

Street poetry

440

SoHo

Poland Spring Air

Street art, SoHo

3D graffiti

Cigarette pail

*I constantly misspell this word, but I got it right this time!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PARK Scores @ LentSpace, NYC

Two summers ago I blogged about the first version of Park, a collaborative project that combined the talents of poet, scholar and translator Jennifer Scappettone, dancer and choreographer Kathy Westwater, and set designer Seung Jae Lee in creating a multimedia public, open-air performance at the Freshkills Park on Staten Island, which had once been the notorious Fresh Kills Landfill, the largest trash dump in the US. Yesterday, in lower Manhattan, Westwater staged PARK Scores @ LentSpace, a temporary public site at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Canal Street, right near the entrance of the Holland Tunnel and just at the edge of the now high-rent but formerly industrial Tribeca and SoHo neighborhoods.

Park Scores @ LentSpace

According to the press for the event, "In 2010 and 2011, at Fresh Kills Westwater created scores that respond to and evoke the experience of the site in its current liminal state -- no longer landfill and not yet parkland. Not unlike Fresh Kills itself, PARK scores continue to be re-imagined and remade beyond the iconic site, including now at LentSpace. Owned by Trinity Wall Street, LentSpace is licensed for use to Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for temporary art installations. It is also vacant land Occupy Wall Street attempted to inhabit after Zuccotti Park."

Park Scores @ LentSpace

I was originallyunaware of the Occupy Wall Street connection with LentSpace, but I thought about it as I considered the environmental and ecoliterary aspects, of the performance. The 2010 performance had the vast, transformed spaces of the Freshkills Park at its disposal; LentSpace is far smaller and more enclosed, though it too, because of its provisional nature and multiple points of entry/exit, felt like a space that could and should be reconfigured in multiple ways, including improvisatorily, and the performance appeared to take this into account. Also, the earlier version required that the audience meet up in advance and take the ferry over to Staten Island, but this PARK score, however, had built into a far more transient audience. People could and did come and go as they pleased, some sitting through only a part of the performance, others staying as I did until the end, still others unwittingly (or perhaps they did realize what they were doing) walking through part of the performance space, which itself then became part of the performance.

Park Scores @ LentSpace

This PARK score, employing movement, play, and sound, utilized four distinct areas of LentSpace. There was the gravely arena, in which Westwater and the other dancers, in various combinations. worked with a large, silvery rectangle sheet of mylar (I think that's what it was), which became a cloud or clouds, or smoke or smog, or fog, or haze, or hills or mountains, or a lake or sea or ocean, or waves and tides, or a tent or buildings, or lungs or a heart or a stomach, or a ball or heap of garbage, or debris or anything else in any of the above places. There was a long, elevated bench, one of several ringing and enclosing the arena space, on which one dancer, first with the accompaniment of a second dancer beside her and then alone, walked on platform shoes made of tree stumps. I could only watch her intermittently as I kept praying she would not take a misstep and harm herself. The third space was a large table, draped with black cloth, on which several different combinations of dancers performed. This was hardest to see from where I stood, but eventually I walked around the ring space to see them up close. And then there was the open area around the performance sites. The musician, Shiraishi, took advantage of this and the possibilities of how the sound would carry, as he even walked through the crowd playing a piercing figure on his saxophone.

The crowd at Park Scores @ LentSpace

The performances made me think of so many things, including refuse and re-use, of capitalism, consumerist excess, appropriation and reappropriation and repurposing (including détournement), of the natural and the (human-)made, of text and context, of the body, the human and the post-human, and of process and continuous transformation within the context of art, and particularly dance, music, and performance, with their incredible capacity for presentation and representation, precision and ambiguity, ephemerality and resonance. I even thought of LentSpace itself, and of the city, changing and rapidly gentrifying, all around it. Out of something almost forgotten, but in private hands, something very temporary and offering a place of sociality and refuge had come into being, and, for one day, an even more specific and temporary event, a performance, had offered those present something quite special.

Park Scores @ LentSpace

Park Scores @ LentSpace

I was also much more aware of simultaneity and multiplicity as I stood watching, photographing and recording the performance: to give one example, there was the interplay between Shiraishi's music and the ever-changing ambient soundscape of workers, people eating lunch, the food trucks, the traffic and Tribeca and SoHo streets nearby; at the end of the one of the videos I'm posting below, you can hear what I consider to be one the signal urban sounds: a siren. It, like the performance, was a wake-up call, though nowhere near as interesting, or moving.

Park Scores @ LentSpace

The participants: Choreography: Kathy Westwater; music: Tamio Shiraishi; poetry: Jennifer Scappettone; set: Jae Lee: performers: Hadar Ahuvia, Ilona Bito Tessa Chandler, Hilary Chapman, Belinda He, and Kathy Westwater, with Tamio Shiraishi on multiple analog and digital instruments.

Park Scores @ LentSpace