Friday, March 30, 2007

On Hosting the Pink Pony West Reading

Minutes after guest hosting the Pink Pony West reading at Cornelia Street Cafe, and feeling good about it. Thirty-one open readers and only one bugaboo that was begging for, and received, the hook. The overall experience brought back to mind the many, many poetry reading/events I've hosted over the years. Cafe of Dreams (with Mark Carranza) at Diedrich's Coffee Shop in Costa Mesa; the Blue Monkey Cafe Reading Series in San Francisco; the whacky reading for metalheads at Zatar's in Hollywood with Mike Mallone, guest hosting the Paradise Lounge reading for Jen Joseph in SF. On and on and on it goes.

You know the best thing? In a world where everything changes, the open mike poetry reading--in my 15 years of experience--has not changed!! It's comforting in a weird way. The material is always different, but the thread that runs through it is the same "good, mediocre, occasionally brilliant, occasionally horrible" mix.

If you get a chance on Fridays between 6-8, you should definitely check it out. It's five bucks, you get a free drink and it's a pleasant way to pass the time, at the bare minimum. God forbid--you may even be inspired!

Thanks to everyone who was there in support! Appreciate it, as you may well imagine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Omigod! It's Spring!

You walk outside today and in less than 2 seconds, your blood is pumping, your fingers are stretching and something inside you, recently dormant awakens as your brain announces the obvious: It's spring!

Everything is suddenly full of hope and possibility. Once-trite things shimmer with a radiant glow. The food at the diner isn't what you've order twice a week for the last year. No, today it's all capitalized and exclamation-pointillated: Grits! Sausage! Eggs! Toast!

All those projects you've been putting off seem to now be back on the front burner. You make fresh appointments. Set meeting dates. You get ready to Get Things Done!

And if you need a soundtrack, here's a recommendation, picked up yesterday from Bleecker Bob's: Mo'hawk by Alan Hawkshaw. It's a totally groovin' collection of swingin' tracks from one of the top session musicians of the late 60s-early 70s. This amazing organist played on--get this!--7,000 sessions between 1968 and 1973. There's only 1,825 DAYS in those 5 years. Do the math! He's still hard at it--for a sample of his style, check out the Blow Up myspace site.

Happy Spring!

And by the way, if you're looking for action this Friday, March 30th, come to the basement of Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street (between W. 4th Street and Bleecker Street) where Three Rooms Press' own Kathi Georges will be the guest hostess of the Pink Pony West Poetry Reading. Featured reader is Randall Horton. Sign up before 6 p.m. to read up to 3 minutes of your own vision. Reading runs 6-8 and is $5 which includes a FREE drink!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

I've devoted every (rare) spare minute available in the last 3 days to read the incredible 2005 novel by Zadie Smith, On Beauty. I can't remember the last time I've been so moved by a novel. This work is sheer genius. Incredibly compelling. A masterwork of our day and age. I know, I know--you've heard it before. And every time you trust someone who describes a movie, play or book with such high accolades, when you finally take the time to check it out, the results are disappointing. But--trust me!!--this reviewer is telling the truth!

It's hip, it reads like a dream, it's powerful--great god! I feel like I'm describing a new car!

Let's put it this way: I have ZERO spare time for the last 3 weeks; for the next month. None. Nada. Zip. I work constantly. I barely sleep. My father's ill. One family crisis after another. I have EVERY excuse in the world not to read this book. Why am I telling you this? Only to let you know that it is worth whatever miniscule amount of time you have available to READ THIS BOOK!!!

Google one less person a day. Do one less load of laundry. Put off that trip to Macy's for their sale (they have sales every weekend, for chrissake!). All of this is not a form of sacrifice--it's a way of making your life more fulfilling--by READING THIS BOOK!!

And then let me know what you think...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bob's Bios

Went down to Reade St. last night to experience Bob's Bios, an all-new band featuring members of Band of George & The JDs. The unique thing about this trio is they play only biographical songs! This set featured songs about Nancy Reagan, Bobby Darin, Audie Murphy and the mysterious Violet Gibson (pictured), who on either April 7 or 8, 1926, shot Mussolini, injuring him slightly, in a failed assassination attempt. They say she was crazy. Hmm...

I almost hate to give a link to Ms. Gibson, because--despite this being the information age--a quick survey of 50 websites shows almost the same information, word-for-word, about her. How can this be? Had her deed been successful, it could have changed the world as we know it. Yet all the online reference material has the same, exact six sentences. Are we really expanding our knowledge, or just making it easier to find out what is agreed to be the truth? And what is true? How is that the only real difference in any website (in English) about Violet Gibson is the date? Some say April 7, some say April 8. Doesn't anyone actually know? Aren't there RECORDS of assassination attempts? Where are they? ONLINE???

Which reminds me--sadly--of a quote last week in the paper. After last week's terrible shooting in Greenwich Village, the police called the girlfriend of the bartender to inform her that he was dead. She said she didn't believe it was true until she saw it on the TV news. "That's when I knew it was true."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An interesting dinner

Had dinner with the world's foremost authority on Samuel Beckett the other day. Last year, this incredible man staged a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Beckett's birth in Paris, featuring over 300 performances of every single Beckett play. He said attendance was incredible, though fundraising--even in Europe--is getting increasingly more difficult with significantly less government funding for the arts.

Other guests included the phenomenal composer Raphael Mostel, who played a CD of a work for brass quintent that he was commissioned by Holland to write to commemorate the anniversary of the overthrow of the Nazis in Holland. How he was able to make trumpets sound like bombers buzzing through the sky is beyond me (I'd love to see the notation!). Remember his name. He'll be a force in contemporary classical music soon; as well as Sally, who founded the Film Society, is on the board of every major arts organization in New York, and--true story--met Groucho Marx at the Academy Awards when he won his honorary award. Also a woman redesigning Twyla Tharpe's apartment. Also a woman who's soon to be (hopefully) programming a brand new "artistic" theater on 23rd street. Also a woman who's an expert in speech communications. Also a couple of playwrights from San Francisco.

The dinner was a culinary delight--crusted Chilean sea bass, Baby Bok Choy!, fennel, salad, baby potatoes, and best of all--a fabulous dessert called Mont Blanc, made with sweetened crushed chestnuts and fresh whipped cream. I drool even as I type these fairly nondescript words! If you ever see it offered, see a recipe or hear of someone who knows how to make it--trust me--drop everything until you taste it!

Photo: Portrait Photograph of Samuel Beckett, not dated. Gelatin silver. ©2006 Jerry Bauer, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

It ends, and then it begins again

Mindless paid activity has kept Three Rooms Press off the blog circuit for nigh-over a week now, but we are back in action now, and the hot topic of the day is:

The Arrest of the Westchester Dominatrix

She rented a house and filled it with whips.
In New York it's legal to let men submit.
But her make up artist--that clever chick--
deduced that her boss must have also sold sex

or else how would she come up
with the three grand a month
that the synagogue charged
for rent on her lodge

not that they knew
not even a clue
Of course I believe them.
Of course, you do too.

Tsk, tsk said the snitch:
Tell the cops about this.
And soon secret detectives
Hurled "Yes, mistress-es."

and one--wearing a wire--
hidden somewhere--
Where was it hidden?
Why do you care?

Wearing a wire, down on his knees.
She said, "Obey." He said, "As you please,
And, by the way--ahem--you, you--little tease--
How much do you charge for--ahem--'quickies'?"

No joke. In New York, paid-for beatings are lawful.
But charging for sex--why--that's just awful.
Busted! Oh, mistress! You can't be too careful.
Submissives obey: make them pay rent in full.