Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ivanhoe on Last Wednesdays

Every last Wednesday of the month, the Ivanhoe Arts Mosaic in Paterson hosts an open mic with music, poetry, dance, etc. within spitting distance of the Great Falls. Pictured above is the current president of the Ivanhoe, Don, and its music director, Mike, both of whom we've heard from in previous entries. I especially like Mike's piano playing. Mike on the Ivanhoe piano: "Playing that piano is like pushing a Buick up hill all the way. You press a note, and it plays 3 seconds later. That piano defies physics." I'm always a sucker for crappy pianos. Check it out tomorrow night if you're around.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Anywhere is Everywhere

The Flux Factory project in Paterson, which I participated in for the last month and a half, finally settled on a plan for a monument to Paterson, the city. What you see here is the plan of a walking-path, created by imposing the design of a spiral on the city (nods to Smithson’s Spiral Jetty), and then tracing the streets that the spiral intersects. During the meetings leading up to this particular solution, I would get tired and headachy because it seemed like the initially proposed paths were so inclusive and conceptually vague that I felt it would be better just to go to the gas station, buy a map of Paterson, hand it to the mayor and announce “here is your monument!” This path is still overwhelming, especially because of the territorial nature of neighborhoods in Paterson . . . people don’t usually cross into areas they “don’t belong” . . . not to mention its sheer length. Regardless of whether the path has the powers to somehow wear away these invisible borders, I think it can at the very least be a good template for an urban mapping project a la Yellow Arrow or Google Maps, with anybody able to input data for points along the path. Also, to create a more palpable, virtual sense of a monument that strains even the most dogged psychogeographer’s good will, there will be a mini-version that can be placed on the floor of the museum or other space in Paterson. In much the same way that medieval labyrinths provided a place for pilgrimage when actual trips to the holy land were difficult to realize, this unicursal floor maze will provide a way to think about the territory and the map in dynamic relation.
Click here for Patersonian Don Kommit’s poem commemorating the project.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

End of Discussion!

Before we were able to begin our last discussion of Paterson in Paterson, we were locked out of the Ivanhoe Arts Center for about an hour. We took the time to slowly get stoned on Smirnoff Ice while gazing intently at the falls of the raceway. Was this the true experience of Paterson--following the twisting braids of the waters, focusing on this layer, now that, as the patterns fell into their destined pool? Once inside, perhaps begrudgingly, we took up the discussion of bird mnemonics, Williams' virgin-whore complex, pastoral poetry, and Alexander Hamilton's final demise on the Weehawken shores (the subject of Williams' unfinished Book VI, and pictured above). The discussion series ends with a rousing version of "But Not For Me" with Mike accompanying on the piano. This mp3 is another long file, perhaps best suited to loading onto an iPod and listening in traffic. Or you can just go to the end of the file to the "musical number," which includes includes the brilliant intro that no one, except maybe Bobby Short, sings, because of the all-pervasive influence of the Chet Baker version or its dated reference to Beatrice Fairfax.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

It Is Silent By Defect of Virtue in that It Contains Nothing of You

The cost, the cost; Beautiful Thing; fire, wind and mind; tightrope acrobats across the abyss of the real; wax fetishes and tin ears; the library's discontents: it's all here in Book III. "Come tatterdemalion futility." Click here for our most recent discussion of Paterson in Paterson.
Last chance to stop by in the flesh, for a whirl through Books IV, V and the unfinished sixth, is July 9 at 7pm.

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