Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fred Friction to join me & Roy Gokenbach at Chance Operations reading

Fred Friction exhibit, in The Skuntry Museum, Library & Beer Cellar (i.e., my basement).

I'm excited to perform some poetry tomorrow night (Nov. 28) in St. Louis at Duff's, 392 N. Euclid, on a Chance Operations bill that also includes Drucilla Wall and Julia Gordon-Bramer. Doors are at 7:30, there is a $3 cover and an open mic follows the three scheduled readings of 20 minutes each.

Like I was saying the other day, I am performing my poems with my friend Roy Gokenbach on guitar. Roy is a big deal, though you wouldn't know it. He was a founding member of a jazz trio that launched the best vocalist of this generation in St. Louis -- Erin Bode Group -- and has a feature role (Leroy) as an actor in St. Louis' greatest independent movie, A: Anonymous.

Today on an impulse I called my old buddy Fred Friction and successfully added him to the bill on spoons. Like Roy, Fred already had agreed to back me up when I release my new chapbook of poems, The Shape of a Man, at Mad Art on Friday, January 6; and this morning I suddenly couldn't figured out why I had not asked Fred to do the Duff's gig as well. So now Fred is in.

Fred is going to back me up on the spoons. We go way back in that regard. Fred used to sit in on spoons with the band of my youth, Enormous Richard. He was on the gig with us at our first-ever road gig at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago the night Operation Desert Storm broke out (January 17, 1991).

Today I decided I'll read three poems I found, by chance, in a box as I was sorting my archive (otherwise known as cleaning the basement) this weekend. I'll read a poem with Roy on guitar, then a poem with Fred on spoons, then come back to Roy on guitar; and then if I have time left in my 20 minutes I'll invite Fred to lead one on spoons. He is one of my very favorite writers in any medium.

Here is a highly poetic song from Fred's debut solo record, Jesus Drank Wine, as good as anything ever released in this rock music scene.

"La Morte D'Amour"
(Fred Friction)
Fred Friction

My set list for Chance Operations, Nov. 28, 2011
1. Object: your desire
(with Roy Gokenbach)

2. What did she do
(with Fred Friction)

3. One of the most mysterious of all the intangibles in life
(with Roy Gokenbach)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'll be performing my poems with Roy Gokenbach on guitar at Duff's

Roy Gokenbach at the Poetry Scores prop shop, borrowing the WPA Guide to Missouri, which was used as a prop in our movie Go South for Animal Index.

Self-promotion is the curse of the independent, and I should be starting to tell anyone who'll listen that on Friday, January 6 I'll release a new chapbook of poems, The Shape of a Man, at Mad Art Gallery as part of an art exhibit of the same name (initially organized by Amy VanDonsel).

But before then -- like, next Monday, November 28 -- I'm part of a Chance Operations reading and should tell the people about that first.

I've company at the Chance Operations event, to be held Monday at Duff's, 392 N. Euclid, with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. and it costing you $3. The other poets are Drucilla Wall and Julia Gordon-Bramer; their names link you to Chance Operations posts about them (my man Tony Renner understands this self-promotion curse). I take it this becomes an open mic night after the scheduled poets do our things.

Even when I'm performing, I'll have company. I've invited my friend Roy Gokenbach to play guitar as I recite my poems. Roy is kind of a trip. He was the founding guitarist in the Erin Bode Group and also has a choice small role (Leroy) in Daniel Bowers' A: Anonymous, which I take to be the best independent movie that will ever be made in St. Louis.

Roy also used to be my barber at Wyoming Barber Shop when I lived on South Grand, inevitably just before South Grand became hip (I know, now it's not really hip anymore, again). He can really play that guitar. I really enjoyed rehearsing my poems with him at the Poetry Scores prop shop last week. I didn't record that rehearsal, and though I borrowed Roy's only copy of the Erin Bode Group CD with the intention of excerpting some of his playing to post here, I've not done that either.

So you'll just have to come down to Duff's next Monday and hear us for yourself. We'll be performing selections from my chapbook The Shape of a Man, which Intagliata Imprints will release Friday, January 6 at Mad Art in Soulard.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Occupy St Louis responds to Mayor Slay's eviction notice

Official Press Statement

Hey Hey, Ho, Ho: The Occupiers Will Not Go!

On November 10, 2011 Occupy St Louis received notification from the city of St Louis that we have 24 hours to remove all structures and obey the city curfew laws before they would forcibly remove our non-violent occupation from Freedom Square (formerly known as Kiener Plaza). Since October 1st, we have maintained a peaceful occupation in this public space, founded on the principle that large corporations have too much influence in the actions of our government. Mayor Slay and his Senior Staff have once again validated this by bowing to pressure from the Downtown Partnership of St Louis to restrict our First Amendment Rights to peaceably assemble.

Since its inception, Occupy St Louis has been a model of cooperation and non violence, and has made Freedom Square a safer, cleaner place. The city claims that in addition to violation of curfew that the tents and supplies we have in Freedom Square are a direct violation of city ordinance and provides a safety concern. We strongly disagree and believe that our encampment is a valid form of political speech justified by the First Amendment. Additionally this precedent has been set in other occupied cities across the nation.

On November 10, 2011 Mayor Slay stated in his personal blog that the city would be creating a space for a 24/7 public demonstration. On November 9th, senior members of the Mayor’s staff attended our General Assembly to propose this space to us as a possible alternative to Freedom Square. This was not a proposal, but rather an ultimatum to Occupy St Louis. The City had already made up its mind on the course of action that it would be taking. This new space would not allow for tents or occupation, which we feel are a valid forms of political speech. This proposal was blocked by a consensus of our General Assembly. The General Assembly uses consensus as our decision making process. It allows for all participants to have an equal voice. Occupy St Louis maintains that just because one states they are using the consensus process, does not mean that they are actually using it.

Occupy St Louis hopes that Mayor Slay realizes that our freedom to assemble is not limited to one space, but guaranteed to all people, in any public space, at any time. We believe that we are engaged in a vital attempt to restore the cornerstone of American ideals: equality, unity, and social mobility. St Louis City must recognize that Occupy St Louis is not mutually exclusive with public safety and the common good, but an ally in promoting social justice and in preserving order downtown. The medium is the message and our medium is occupation.


Image from Annapolis Political Science.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Evidence of penpal relationship with Natalie Merchant (for Michael R. Allen)

My friend Michael R. Allen and I don't talk nearly as much as I like, but when we do, even in evanescent social media banter, it's often about Natalie Merchant, the great songwriter, singer, bandleader, and poetry scorer.

And I never banter about Natalie Merchant without bragging about being her penpal before everybody knew her name and threatening to produce evidence, which I never produce.

Well, I am sorting the archive, which is indistinguishable from cleaning my basement, and in the laying on of hands on everything that I have not thrown away or lost already, I laid hands on my archive of manuscripts, autographs and letters yesterday. And there was this from Natalie Merchant, the first letter received in 1986, which survived the ravages of time and between-home-lessness.

The penpal relationship never got much deeper than this, though I prized having the back channel of her mother's home address. Now I approach the great woman through her publisher, and have not heard back lately. Oh well, we'll always have the autograph with the quirky "private private private" coda.