Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goes Without Saying

Tonight at Kafe Kerouac it's another Writers' Block Poetry Slam.

You know what that means?

Fresh Pain!

this has some not safe for work language

Starts at eight.

Admission is five bucks.

Did I mention the pain?

And it's fresh.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rob Gordon Laughed

There are so many rabbit holes you can fall into on the internet. Days are lost when you remove yourself from them.

It's music for me right now. Not just surfing youtube either, streaming websites, reviews, biographies, touring information.

Then there's downloading, and the ethics of it.

I'm not even going to get into the RIAA's 75 trillion dollar lawsuit against Limewire. That money is a farce, but money is being lost. Lots of it. In some ways I feel sorry for the record companies, the industry is dead.

I heard an artist on the radio recently, within five minutes I had the goods, biography, band members, tour dates. I got all this by googling the lyrics of the song I was listening to. I did not even know the artist's name.

It's crazy, if you heard a song on the radio twenty years ago you had to wait for the DJ to tell you who you were listening to. If you did not get that, you could call the station or you were out of luck.

It's so easy now. Too easy.

The hunt is no longer about going to a record store, asking the owner what was new, what was good, if they had such and such a record. There's little pleasure in clicking around the internet looking for that Warren Zevon album. Much of the fun of record collecting is not knowing was in that bin you were flipping through. Now, you have an artist, a song, a video and it's there, within seconds.

There are over 5,000 songs on my iTunes, and there's room for a lot more on this hard drive.

Lately I've been finding demos, live recordings, unreleased albums that would have completely freaked me out if I found it on record or tape thirty years ago. Some of this music was rare, really impossible to find. Until the internet I had no idea it even existed. Now, one click. Scares the shit out of me how the commercial aspect has been completely removed from the situation.

Then there's the new material that has not even been officially released, the music I'm listening to right now that has a drop date more than a month from now.

What the hell?

Still, I look around online. Looking at the usual sites I've bookmarked for something new, or unusual. Google a concert date and hope for a hit. If anyone knows where I can find a Warren Zevon concert from Columbus in February, 1990, the link would be more than welcome. I know it's not going to be found at my local record store, and certainly not at Best Buy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just Hold My Hand While I Come to a Decision on it

Last night a couple of friends and I ventured to Skully's to see The English Beat. In all my time here, it was my first visit to this venue. We went in, one of my friends immediately sold one of her two extra tickets then we went to the stage and a stop to the smoking area - where I took this picture of a drum box.

After they had their nicotine, we proceeded to stand in front of the stage for the next hour and waited for the place to get crowded. It did not. My friend sold her other extra ticket!

Got this picture of Dave Wakeling's guitars. Hey that one on the left is the same as in the "Save it for Later' video!

At just before eight the band took the stage and proceeded to put a great groove on for almost two hours. It was a very impressive display of chattiness by Wakeling. He took a few minor digs at Margaret Thatcher, talked about how generous the young people of London were in looting presents for the royal wedding and extolled the virtues of coconut water. He clearly enjoying being there and the rest of the band showed great enthusiasm for the material.

Directly in front of us was an eight year old girl with her parents. It was her second time seeing the band and Wakeling kept looking down at her and smiling. At one point he and the Ranking Roger substitute gave her water to keep her hydrated and at the end of the night he even bent down and handed her his guitar pick. Very sweet man.

There were no other members of the old band with Wakeling but they played well together. Not a phoned in performance among the sextet. As you see, I managed to get some crappy pictures off the iPod Touch camera. It's been awhile since I've been that close to the stage for a show. I liked the venue more than I thought and have a snippet of I Confess posted to youtube. It has an excess of bass drum. I'm not going to embed it because it's not a great quality clip, but you can see it here if you want.

There was no opening act and at just before ten the band called it a night. They did just about every English Beat song you'd want (save for Soul Salvation) and even threw in Tenderness. A fine set. He shook a few hands, signed my friend's CD cover, with my pen. There's a picture on Facebook of me handing Dave Wakeling a pen, famous!

After the show my friends needed one more smoke so we went to the backstage smoking area. Wakeling came out and talked to some fans and I got to simply shake his hand and say thank you. Again, he is quite genuine. The show exceeded all expectations.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What are you trying to tell me, I don't know

I was listening to BBC6 on the iPod this morning. Liz Kershaw was putting together some nifty sets then she put something that was new to me on. It had a fair amount of bombast along with some compelling ambiance and atmosphere. Plus, a solid vocal that reminded me of Siouxie Sioux and P.J. Harvey.

I tried googling some of the lyrics I was hearing and right by the time the song ended I made my discovery. Her name. Anna Calvi.

She's got a cool style going with the flamenco gear. There's a lot of buzz for her in the UK.

I think she justifies the hype, and she covers Piaf.

Brian Eno thinks she's, "The biggest thing since Patti Smith." High praise indeed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hello, Glad to Have You Aboard~

Woke up with this in my head. Another proof of a happier life through television.

Oh it can core a apple!

In other news Elton John is 64.

One of the greats. First single I bought was Crocodile Rock.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Again, Four and a Half Years Later

This morning we took my son to a local hospital's feeding clinic so he could be evaluated concerning his eating issues. We did the same thing for him back in August of 2006, and many of the same doctors and therapists examined him today. Weird, I can't seem to find one LJ entry about this.

We found out why the clinic discontinued its in-patient program, because insurance companies would not cover it.

My son or I could develop a drug addiction and be treated for rehabilitation, but if an eight year old has an eating disorder, it is considered medically unnecessary.

You need me to go on about this?

He was looked at, observed, evaluated - the therapists watched him eat. Then they tried putting some finely crushed graham crackers into his pudding, to give it a little bit of texture. He took one bite and started saying, "Gotta get away."

We have our work cut out for us.

We're going to hear back from them in a couple of weeks with their full evaluation and recommendations. There's probably going to be some occupational feeding therapy involved. If insurance covers it there may be a conflict with his vision therapy in that there's a cap on visits during a year. He's got to start eating. If this is the case the vision therapy will have to be temporarily abandoned.

Hard, crazy choices we have to make in this modern world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

William Shatner is Eighty Years Old Today.

Two of my poems have been published in the online journal The Legendary. Fifth name down on the left if you do not know my name. There is also audio for one of the poems. You can do a lot with an iPod Touch.

It's exciting, something I've wanted to do but never quite had the gumption. Saw they were accepting submissions, found a couple of poems and sent them in. A couple of days later they contacted me and accepted both poems. Not the prestige of having your work put into a book, but this is a start. A small but significant goal achieved, you may say.

Here is an old poem. From late 1998, right after a divorce. I've been thinking of home poems recently as so many other poets have been writing them. I've primarily lived in three places in my life and feel a disconnect to all of them. I miss the one I lived in the shortest amount of time the most, and the one I lived in first not at all. I've more or less been in Columbus the longest, there are often times I feel like an outsider, even in my own community.

Islip Terrace in the Seventies

you could smell the salt in the air
when the wind came from the south
it was the only time you ever felt
if you were on an island
in the fall, or spring
when the night were cool and mist filled
and lots of thickening fog
late at night
i'd put on my raincoat
and walk
through the suburban streets
houses all looking the same
washington, jefferson, garfield, roosevelt
who in the hell was stellenwerf?
the streets where i came from
i'd walk, and see the lights
of neighbors no one knew
going off as others prepared for
the next day
mine had just started
in the summers i'd be on ten speed
riding, riding in the darkness
through the mosquitoes, crickets, and squirrels
searching, fruitless
for one who didn't exist
those were my better times
i was fast then
i could run
rueful, brooding, wistful
i was best when alone

There's not much from the 1997-2005 period that I would consider revealing today. That was a long time ago.

Here's a Live Journal post from three years ago in which I call stardom for Florence and the Machine.

Got that one right.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Schedule in My Head

Probably looking too far ahead, and thinking way too much, but that's how my brain is working this morning.

As it already was, even if I got on the WB Nats team, I could not go due to my son's day camp in the summer. It's more of less impossible for me to do this right now.

Looking at IWPS. I'm going to be out of the country for the last week of qualifying and am arriving back in Columbus (a scheduled arrival at that!) at 6:15 the night of the Grand Slam. Even if a miracle happened and I was the WB representative I doubt I could manage taking the time off to even get to Cleveland after not working for about three weeks in late August/September.

All of this assumes I get enough points to qualify. You all know how assumption works.

Plus, if that was not enough, I'll be out of the country on Labor Day and will not be at the Upper Arlington Arts Festival.

In spite of all this, there's going to be fun on stage this spring and summer.

A couple of people recently asked about songs for children that are not child songs, as well as influences on current artists like Lady Gaga. Somehow Nina Hagen entered my head. I do not know much about her other than she was riding high on the punk wave in the late 70's and became a bit more a an outsider artist during the eighties and forward. She has range, depth and is full of surprises.

I'd like to see Rebecca Black take that on.

She's quite adept at covers.

At 55, she's still out there. She has had a bit of a recent religious conversion.

I love the reaction shots of the girls in the audience. A combination of WTF and this is awesome. Katy Perry got her wardrobe from Nina Hagen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drive Out Saturday

We went up to Glacier Ridge last night to watch the rise of the Super Moon.

It was no Comet Kohoutek, but it was no Hale-Bopp either.

A largish moon rose over some Mcmansions while we heard a lot of geese, ducks and birds preparing the moon to rise. Not much else happened. It did not tear a new one into the planet. We could have just as easily sat in our back room.

Auditioned for Arts Fest yesterday afternoon. I knew Scott Woods was going to be one of the judges, but I did not know Rose Smith was too. They sat there, very serious, buttressing two other judges all silent and shit. It was as if we had to impress them even more because it was such a lovely day out, and if they had to be inside then you had better give some damn good poetry.

Thought I did a decent reading. I was Poet 13, which made me laugh a bit, but just a little. It was a real audition and people were taking it seriously. Even the poet who had guitar backing and had the Five Stairsteps as a chorus.

Needed to get away from stuff after the audition so I drove east to a Bar-B-Q that my friends keep writing about on Facebook. Tried the pulled pork sandwich. It was good, but good enough to drive all the way out east for? I'm not sure. Drove south and got myself lost, in a way that did not induce panic. Turned left, then right. Waited for a familiar road name. Saw a few farms, and too many industrial parks.

Felt alright to get away for a couple of hours.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wet Feet on Chambers Street

Edited a six minute poem to three while following my southeast brackets complete destruction last night.

Michigan State ran out of time after falling way behind and St. John's - all I can say is that a team I picked for the final four is out.

Shame and failure after picking both Morehead State and Richmond.

We'll see how the poem goes, better than the brackets please.

Yesterday was a series of anniversaries. Ice sculpture hatred. Wedding excess craziness. New York craziness.

It's also the day of a storm, a snowplow racing down a street causing Brooklyn valets to run for cover and scream about a 'tsunami of snow!'

I took a cab in the snow to the train station, and waited with others for nearly an hour, maybe more. It was cold and I had no bearings in the half foot of snow that had fallen. I asked for directions at a bodega and discovered I'd walked past the place.

I've been there ever since.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You See a Blog Post, I See A...

There was a variety of magnificence on stage at Writers' Block last night. Post WoW there's been some discussion about the 'safety' of slam and poetry venues. I do not think any bar or place where the general public is invited is a safe place. A comfortable place, yes. A familiar place, yes. But not safe.

There was bravery as a poet came out on the mike. There was acceptance this poet perhaps could not get anywhere else, than at WB.

There was booing and thumbs down after one poet read. There was a drunk poet. There was a non-drinking poet. There were Girl Scout Cookies.

There was agreement after another read a strong piece about the confederate flag.

And there was what may have been the best first poem I've heard. This guy went on some Nintendo Red Bull fueled all nighter of Grand Theft Auto and proceeded to mow down the universe. "You see an old woman. I see a nude woman in her prime." "You see a complex mathematical equation, I see blow jobs. You see an apple, I see blow jobs," and on and on. It was very impressive.

Afterward, there was a political discussion about political protesting. It got heated. No one got hurt.

You see a poetry reading, I see blow jobs. Yes, it writes itself some nights.

I love what we do.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irwin Allen Thought of this, Right

So there's this ginourmous earthquake, it's followed up by a massive tsunami that killed more people than the earthquake. You see, the people prepared for the quake. The buildings were structurally sound, the people knew how to deal with a quake. But the tsunami, on top of the quake, that was too much.

However there is this nuclear power plant near the coast that got messed up by not only the earthquake but the tsunami as well. No one was prepared for the back up power to fail. Disaster scenarios and models did not pick up those developments. So a team of about fifty people were left there to try and put out the fires in the nuclear plant, risking their lives due to massive exposure to untold amounts of radiation which may or may not have already contaminated the area.

How would anyone be able to live through these events? Thousands dead, hundreds of thousands displaced, your land potentially unusable for generations.

Puts Ohio's budget situation into perspective.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Editing a Budget Cut

Started writing a poem yesterday. A topic that has been on my mind a lot recently. I had sketches and fragments, which were written weeks ago and started with that. Then added more, and more.

I knew it was long. Showed it to my Scottish Wife, she asked me how long it was. I did not time it until last night.

The poem is six minutes long.

This is very unusual for me. Most of my poems end up in the one to two minute range.

Obviously this is not acceptable for slam, but I'm happy with it. A director's cut.

Editing this is going to be a worthy chore.

No, it will not end up being two, three minute poems.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Year Over, a New One Just Begun

Another Women of the World slam has come to an end. From all I hear and read on the Facebook, it looks like Columbus put on another successful event.

Due to some illness, burn out and overall exhaustion, I was unable to attend most of the events. What I did see though, was rather impressive.

First off congratulations to all of the organizers, volunteers and poets who made this event possible. You all worked your tails off to make WoW a great event.

I do have to single out one person, whose efforts and organization were a paragon of professionalism. Well done Louise Robertson.

Only saw two events, a prelim and the finals. Saw some great poetry by some poets I've seen and have never seen.

Franny Choi is a fresh voice on the scene. Only a sophomore in college from what I understand. Hope she's around for a long time.

What provided the most excitement overall was that a Columbus poet earned her way on to the finals stage. I'm proud to say she's my friend. Rachel Wiley came in fourth place, and it was so awesome to see her Mom and Dad in the crowd cheering her on.

Gypsee Yo gave me a lot to think about during the one poem I saw her do at last year's event. To see her do three poems last night were nine minutes I'll long treasure. Such energy and determination took her to second place. An amazing poet.

Theresa Davis impresses me each time I see her perform. That she was even in the slam this year was a small miracle. Another poet could not make it and she was first on the waiting list. That's how she got in, and worked her way onto the finals stage. She did three poems of honesty and power and ended up winning it all.

The judging was consistent. I only think one poet, the last one in the first round, Joanna Hoffman, got robbed - but that's me quibbling.

It was also great to see poets seeing other poets again, all the hugs in the theater were beautiful to watch. Weird how some of us gathered in almost the same seats as last year. Gina, Teri and Kym were sitting in front of us again. Sean, Marshall and Ali were behind us. Rachel and Calvin sitting next to me. Linc from Dayton on one end of the row, Paula and Michael all the way on the other end. Organic family fun.

Simply an amazing week of poetry in Columbus. It's a shame WoW will be in Denver next year, it should be here every year. Ok, maybe not, but some national poetry event should. Columbus gives good poetry.

Time for me to get back to some writing. Seeing the local and national home pages of news websites brings me down. So much turbulence to suck a person into. So much outrage. Plus, I have the Arts Fest audition on Saturday. I should be working.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Red Light on West Mound Street

This morning while driving to work I was stopped at a light less than half a mile from my home. In the rear view mirror I saw a car pull up behind me that looked very familiar.

It was the car that hit me in December. The Mustang had very distinctive striping and a vanity plate. I let the car pass me to confirm, and it was her – in a repaired vehicle

We were going the same route, to I-70 East, to 315 North, past the same spot where the collision took place.

I kept my distance, and watched out for white SUVs. I bear her no ill will.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Other things to be excited about

My son has been more like himself than he's been in weeks. His teacher is noticing he's less in his own world too. Maybe it was winter? The constant cold, dark and seasonal affective disorder. Something to remember for next year.

He's become very fond of the iPod Touch. While the app is not great, it was free and he's enjoying pressing the buttons and looking at the faces. I'm still looking at other apps, and presenting them to him to see what he thinks. For now, he merely likes pressing the buttons for the reaction, without getting much meaning.

In other news we have booked our trip to Scotland. Flying out in late August for nine days. Found a very good deal on tickets. Had to act now because prices have been so unstable. Saved a few hundred bucks by adding an additional layover in Amsterdam. So we fly out from Columbus, to Minneapolis, to Amsterdam and to Glasgow. No time to see any of the city, and I've been told the airport is very Dutch efficient and customs should be easy to get through to reach our connecting flight.

We're looking forward to having funs in the olde country.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blocked, Lazy and Distracted

The actual writing has been on the back burner for the past couple of weeks. Nothing more than fragments. I have been doing some writing work, preparing for the audition for Arts Fest next week. Also been accomplishing things writers do, waiting for the right time to let that out. It's good stuff.

Slowly starting to feel better, whatever I had really took a toll. It's giving me a cough now, which is fine during the day but not at three in the morning.

My son is feeling better, which is quite the relief. We all went grocery shopping on Sunday, a full shop and we did not put him in the cart. He walked with me the whole time, up and down the aisles, very well behaved.

He had an excellent therapy session last week. His therapist was working with him on facial features and identification. She drew the figure on the lower left then helped him draw the head and eyes on the lower right. He, all by himself, drew in the nose, mouth and he carefully put the ears on.

Last night he pooped in the toilet so he got some iPod privileges. I have an app of facial emotion indicators that he likes. Why he laughs hysterically at the sad emotion is very amusing and disturbing. I try to get him to press on the face that corresponds with how he's feeling, he presses on sneezy, or gassy. Then I ask him to show me happy, and he presses on that one.

He also bounced heartily on the yoga ball, better that than my knees. Last night with him tonight after an exhausting two straight weekends with him. This last weekend though, more joy than challenges.

WoW starts tomorrow night. Last chance slam at Barley's. Starts at eight. No excuses, unless you're too chicken shit to confront truth.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Women of the World Poetry Slam

For the second consecutive year Columbus will be hosting WoW - Women of the World Poetry Slam.

World is not just hype here. This year poets will be coming from all over the United States, as well as The Sudan, Albania and Australia.

Information on this year events and schedules can be found here.

My thoughts on last year's finals can be found aqui.

This week's Writers' Block on Wednesday night will be at Barley's Underground with the headlining event being the Last Chance Poetry Slam. Women will be competing for one last slot in the WoW slam. Last year's was excellent!

I'm sure there will be a couple more posts on WoW as the week progresses.

Friday, March 4, 2011

While watching the Blue Jackets Fall Apart...

I'm returning to the land of the healthier while having a Genny Cream and watching the Blue Jackets' season essentially come to an end in Calgary.

More loss, but it's only a game I have no stake in.

I've been listening to a lot of soccer over the internet the past few weeks. It's become so much easier to find a match through my Tunein Radio app than find a video link online that may get cut off, could be of middling quality or a wonderful Veetle feed that takes up all the RAM so you can't do anything else on the laptop.

While sick on the couch Wednesday I could have listened to Arsenal beat the crap out of Leyton Orient but I found a station similar to ESPN radio and dozed to reports of gambling odds interspersed with updates of the live matches. So I got to hear the reports of the Scottish Cup match when Neil Lennon acted like a thug. Yes, it's an Old Firm match and tempers are in the red zone, but Lennon's really got to tone it down if he's going to be manager long term. The guy's already facing a four match ban.

Watched Nowhere Boy last night. A decent look at John Lennon's awkward teenage years. Most of the film took place during the time he was just beginning to listen to rock and roll and before he met Paul. Aaron Johnson did a good job at portraying Lennon. Thomas Brodie-Sangster was outstanding as a teenage Paul. Just looking at his resume I see that he played Sam, the kid in Love Actually.

Kristin Scott-Thomas was very effective in playing Aunt Mimi, who essentially raised John. The weak link in the film was Anne-Marie Duff, who gave Julia a bit more vacancy and cool mom vibe than was necessary. I'm not going to quibble about historical accuracy, but John's eyes were brown, not blue. First time director Sam Taylor-Wood did a good thing by including a rendition of the opening chord of A Hard Days' Night into this film's opening. She and Johnson also fell in love during filming.

Another film we just watched was The Secret of Kells. A fictional, animated rendition of the writing of the Book of Kells. The animation was gorgeous. The story held together quite well. But this is one I would have liked to have seen on a large screen, the colors and details are a treat.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Coming back

Still coughing, my mouth is a chapped mess. Do not want to be around anyone.

Did go back to work today. My body is not made of lead weights anymore.

There is improvement. Slowly.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Number Five, Number Five

It is an anniversary today.

Tonight is my fifth year being a part of Writers' Block. It took a couple of years for me to finally get up the nerve to read poetry, my own poetry, onstage.

So on March 2nd, 2006 I went to the Columbus Music Hall and did it.

Life has not been the same since. There have been so many changes, so much drama that has calmed down and WB saw a lot of the good and the bad of those episodes.

Who knew I'd be going to Berkeley as the IWPS rep back in 2009? Not me.

Who knew I'd be doing features, slams, appearances around the county and coming in second place at the Columbus Arts Festival? Not me.

Unfortunately I'm really sick today and am most likely not going to make it out tonight. Wanted to give an electronic thanks to all of you from my deathbed.

Especially you.

See you at Barley's next week as the Women of the World Poetry Slam returns to Columbus.