Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anything but Britney...

If you're star-obsessed, but sick of Britney, here's an event for you: "Andy Warhol: In His Wake," a poetry-laced art opening celebrating the 20th anniversary of Warhol's death at The Carrozzini Von Buhler Gallery, 407 W. 13th Street (between 9th and Washington), on Thursday, Feb. 22nd. In addition to a group exhibition by Factory exes Ultra Violet, Taylor Mead, Billy Name and Ivy Nicholson, the event features poetry by Patricia Carragon, Taylor Mead, Star Black and the fabulous Jackie Sheeler (curator of the Pink Pony West Friday night series at Cornelia Street). The readings run from 6-7:30; the opening sprawls until 10. If Sienna Miller wasn't enough for you in "Factory Girl," get a whiff of the real thing.

In other news...Three Rooms Press hears rumors of a nationwide surge in female baldheads. Sinead O'Connor, you were so way ahead of your time!

Pictured: Andy Warhol, by Billy Name, photograph

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When the going gets tough...

...the tough go to P.J. Clarke's. There's no better hamburger anywhere. Took a luscious bite of one today and--presto!--our worries were over! Not that there's much to complain of, in the relative scheme of the world. Maybe it's really just an excuse. "Oh, I feel bad. I've been treated unfairly. I better go to P.J. Clarke's..." Any old excuse can do--even hunger! This gem on 55th St. and 3rd Ave. is truly one of a kind. They are--to the hamburger--what Paris' divine Pierre Gagnaire is to French cooking. As our mother used to say, "If you're going to do something at all, do it right!" And, indeed they do.

P.S. If, for some unearthly reason, a member of your party does not eat hamburgers, the hidden treasure at P.J. Clarke's is the Fish and Chips, featuring a Flintsone sized portion of fish, cooked to a tender, juicy perfection in a crisp fried batter. A little vinegar and you feel almost as good as your friends eating their hamburgers.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another day

Sometimes you wonder what the draw is of living in a big city. Then you step outside your humble abode, absorb some of that energy, get inspired and realize that even the most mundane task can be full of adventure. Going to the local deli to get the paper in the morning. Out there, the air is icy and the only people on the streets are attached to dog leashes. Except an idling black town car, sitting at the corner every morning at this time, rain or shine. Who are they waiting for? What benefit do they get for being endlessly prompt in the wee small pre-dawn hours? Is it worth it?

A burly middle-aged businessman, hair freshly showered, rushes out of a building and into the car. Shortly after it drives away, a sexy younger woman in high-heeled boots, long hair flowing from beneath her hooded parka, wanders out of the same door. She waves to an older woman up the street, who's walking a dog. Walks up, pets the dog. Surreptitiously passes something to the woman, then waves goodbye and wanders off. The woman with the dog goes into the door the other two just left. Hmm... Is there a story there, or what? Maybe it's just all coincidence. Maybe not...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Off now to the White Horse for a poetic encounter with Dylan Thomas. Depending on whom you believe, the White Horse was either his last stop before his final trip to St. Vincent's Hospital and subsequent death, or simply a favorite watering hole during DT's final DTs.

Regardless, his energy definitely exists in the place. Every time we go there, we feel inspired, even before the first ale is consumed. Can energy outlast a life? Does it exist at all? For answers, read Maureen Dowd's humorous op-ed column in today's New York Times. Regardless of her opinion, WE opine that there is definitely a creative aura at the White Horse. Maybe it drew Dylan Thomas there? His New York Sonoma...

Current favorite Dylan Thomas line from "Twenty Four Years":

I advance as long as forever is.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's all a matter of perspective (and snow)

Snow changes everthing. It makes even the mundane, even the ugly look beautiful and makes the beautiful look magical. To the left, the stairs down to a basement in New York. Looks scary, frightening. Like the steps to a dungeon. The steps to doom. "Down there?" the bewildered visitor asks. "You want me to go down there?" Images of torture chambers arise. Women in leather masks. Rusty chains on bloodied rings on the wall. A fingernail on the floor. Thumb screws. Socks with holes.
Then it snows and everything changes. Same steps, on the left look like they are leading to something magnificent! A heavenly wine celler well stocked with magnums of Château-neuf-du-Pape, cases of La Tâche 1990 and first-growth Bordeaux. A woodshop, filled with gorgeous, lovingly-made children's furniture. A poetry studio, where denizens of the local village gather to discuss history's finest penmen and women, as well as establish new works of art sure to outlast their lifetimes.

But--you say--(always one but-ter in every group)--but of course the perspective is different because it is a different image with snow. The snow changes more than just the perspective; it actually makes it a different PLACE.

Hmm... maybe that's why I missed it so much, and welcomed it this morning by walking in it for hours.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Banner Week

This was a banner week for Three Rooms Press. It started on Monday, when we discovered we'd won the pool at a local pub for the Super Bowl. Our numbers were 7 and 9, but we weren't sure which team had which number on Sunday, so when we wandered in Monday morning, all we knew is that we had a 50-50 chance of winning. Not bad these days. We asked Bob, the bartender, "Are we lucky?" He said, "Yes!" and handed us an envelope with what we assumed was $500. Wrong. It was twice that! What a trip! We immediately celebrated our good fortune with a leisurely lunch at that most-distinguished restaurant, The Pink Tea Cup. Lunch Special: Soup, salad, collard greens, black eyed peas, pepper steak AND dessert: $7.95. The rest of the week was more mild successes: a brother who snagged a great job at a large Public Radio station in L.A., Robert Burns singing and a big art show. But then it was Friday, and all broke loose.

On Friday, we discovered that myspace is not just for teenagers and child molesters. Here's what happened:

The Post announced on Friday that the band, Mnemonic Devices was playing in Brooklyn at Pete's Candy Store. In our punk rock days, we used to be pals with the MDs and, so we decided to confirm the story be checking out myspace to see if they had a website. They did! And it was amazing, because in their "friends" section, it was like a class reunion of sorts. Every other "friend" was someone we used to hang out with it the distant and more recent past. We spent much of Friday and all day yesterday writing to people that we haven't seen for 20 years. Most of the time, it was just guesses as to whether or not the "friends" were actual acquaintences. Was "Sonja the Red Haired Menace" actually THE Sonja that we went to Austin with a few times? Turns out, she was! How about Monte Vista: was that Tom, the lead singer of first rate lounge act lovingkindness? Sure nuff! It was a dream come true. How often we've thought about these people, with no way of getting in touch with them, due to lost address books, and the moving shuffle so many have gone through. Pictured here is "ours truly", left, with the lovely former lead singer of the Mnemonic Devices (and a hell of a fiddle player), Ann DeJarnett, in Austin, circa 1988; those were the days when we both had legs!

The funniest thing is--the band that was said to be playing in Brooklyn wasn't even the same band, just the same name.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Robert Burns update

The Robert Burns festival continued last night with magnificent fervor!

Linda prepared an amazing feast of a sausage-carrot-cabbage collage, strawberries with chocolate and hot toddies with GlenFiddich: "the malt that wounds." But the food was secondary to the words of the master--especially his songs.

Burns was the Neil Young of his day and age, penning verses that could either be read or sung. And sung they were--and sung they are--you can find numerous versions of his poem/songs on I-tunes, including a hardcore Pouges-like rendition of "Red, Red Rose" by Bob Hay and the Jolly Beggars, to many great versions of "The Banks of' Bonie Doon" (spelled 14 different ways!). The latter we sung at our meeting--before, during and after the meal. It's such a sad, beautiful song:

Ye banks and braes o' bonie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu' o' care!
Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro' the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o' departed joys,
Departed never to return.

Aft hae I rov'd by Bonie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine;
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! he left the thorn wi' me.

Kind of makes you wonder, though, if Burns wrote this version of it (there are 3) for a woman to sing, or if this hard-drinking womanizer had a secret life that didn't require child support payments (see last line of second stanza).

Afterwards, still singing, we wandered a few blocks to the art opening at the Salmagundi Club, to take on a BIG art opening featuing 48 painters. You get 48 painters together, you got a crowd. You get their friends too and you have a HUGE crowd! It was packed and full of good vibes. Highlights for me included a giant (16' x 6') brand new painting by Charles Yoder of a forest glen, which invites the eye to wander through it's parts and whole for hours. Also interesting work by John Bowman and Anne Shostrom, plus a really amazing ink and watercolor piece by Pier Consagra feature mad satyrs galavanting about (possibly in a forest glen). The show is open daily from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at 47 5th Avenue.

Friday, February 9, 2007

brand new song available!

Three Rooms Press Audio is pleased to offer a brand new song, just for you! This little ditty is called "Drummer Boy" and it's a ambient number designed to inspire your creative muse! So don't delay, click the link, have a listen and create to your heart's content.

Choose an Illusion

I sway in a small New York café. Onstage
David Byrne is playing guitar. I am moving closer
drawn in by the sound. I am at the stage now.
He comes down. We dance.

It is only a dream. I wake up. Life's the same.
It is Friday. At six, I enter again a New York café
to read a few poems. He is there. David Byrne.
Just like the dream but our roles are reversed.

I am onstage; he moves to my words. Drifting
closer and closer, drawn in by the sound. He is
at the stage now. I come down. We dance.
It is only a dream. I wake up. Life's the same.

Yes, except this time I'm really awake.
And it really is Friday. But what do I know?
Whispers my mind: the dream ends at death.
Whispers my mind: deal with it.

by Kathi Georges

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Easy Hot Tip

Blogging may be the most basic form of web site creation, but here's a hot tip to make it better:

If you have a link in your blog, the last thing you want is for a reader to click on it and never finish reading your fascinating post. So, you can insert a simple code to make a new window open, keeping your window right up on the screen for easy return.

Just go to the "Edit Html" tab, look for the html coding for the link (it starts with the letters href, and includes the website address). After the website address, but before the last ">" symbol, type in the words below, and you've made it happen:

Robert Burns Friday + Art

Friday we're off to part II of a lively discussion of the work of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, best known as the author of Auld Lang Syne. Burns' work at first glance may appear simplistic, melodramatic and too "cute" for modern tastes. But in-depth analysis brings to light a subtle genius and a great invitation to the "everyman" to acknowledge such philoshophical musings as pantheism (To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough), universal brotherhood (Tragic Fragment), and psychology (Remorse). And half the poems are songs, like half of the best poems of the past 50 years (see Rolling Stones, Beatles, etc.). We'll be discussing Burns at The White Horse, that stalwart NYC establishment that proved to be the undoing of Dylan Thomas, who, according to Wikipedia, "collapsed (there) on November 9, 1953 ... after drinking heavily while on a promotional speaking tour (and) later died at St. Vincent's Hospital." We hope not to suffer the same fate Friday, because after the Burns study...

... it's off to The Salmagundi Club for what's sure to be a fantastic show of 38 fantastic living artists. Opening is 6–9 Friday, Feb. 9th, at the Salmagundi Club, 47 5th Ave. (between 11th & 12th). And it's free...

Monday, February 5, 2007

LaGuardia--Angel of Snow

Children, gather round--it's time to talk about something mommy grew up with: snow. In the old days, winter came once a year and not only was it cold, but there was this funny white stuff that came out of the sky and fell lightly to the ground. We called it snow, back then. It was made up of millions of tiny snowflakes, and--Yes, Tommy?--No, it didn't come out of a machine, it fell from the sky. And it was very beautiful, and--No, BillieMae, I'm not making this up.--Tommy turn off your cell phone and pay attention.--Snow was fun to play in, during my day. My own mommy used to walk six miles in it to school--barefoot--but we got smarter after she grew up and started wearing shoes--No, Janice--we never wore our Manolo Blahniks. We didn't have Manolo Blahniks when I was growing up. We didn't even have cell phones or myspace.--Yes, Cherylisse--How did we survive?--We just did. Now be quiet and listen, class. Class! Get away from those computers.--No, we are not going to look up snow online and find out who invented it! No one invented it! It just came out of the sky and fell on the ground. Trust me! I'm your teacher, for Christ's sake! No, I'm not as smart as a computer! But trust me anyway! Why would I lie about snow?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Groundhog Day

The groundhog has spoken. Yesterday, that little devil did not see his shadow, and thus the prediction is that it will be an "early spring." Since 1887, the groundhog, "Punxsutawney Phil" has seen his shadow in all but 14 years, predicting a "late spring." Is it true? Who knows? Is global warming true? Who knows? What is true is that the Punxsutawney folks (probably fueled by their increased noteriety since the 1993 release of the movie Groundhog Day) now have gotten serious about their endeavor and have even added a poem to their prediction.

Phil Says Spring is Right Around the Corner!

Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/07 at 7:28 a.m. at Gobbler's Knob:

El Nino has caused high winds, heavy snow, ice and freezing temperatures in the west.
Here in the East with much mild winter weather we have been blessed.

Global warming has caused a great debate.
This mild winter makes it seem just great.

On this Groundhog Day we think of one thing.
Will we have winter or will we have spring?

On Gobbler's Knob I see no shadow today.
I predict that early spring is on the way.

Which just goes to prove how much poetry is a part of everyday life, even here in America. Interestingly enough, the groundhog day habit stems from European tradition of Candlemas Day, and the grounhog was chosen by Pennsylvania's early German settlers because it resembed the European hedgehog. For more fascinating facts on this fabulous day, click here. And just remember, it could be worse.

Friday, February 2, 2007

On Sexton

Last night's poetry group centered on a lively discussion of the work of Anne Sexton. The big surprise of the evening was the rediscovery of "The Jesus Papers," a collection from Sexton's "The Book of Folly." These are funny little bits, more stand-up comedy than poetry, that take a whole new turn on Jesus. Take "Jesus Suckles," a kind of love poem from JC to Mary:

Jesus Suckles

Mary, your great
white apples make me glad.
I feel your heart work its
machine and I doze like a fly.
I cough like a bird on its worm.
I'm a jelly-baby and you're my wife.
You're a rock and I the fringy algae.
You're a lily and I'm the bee that gets inside.
I close my eyes and suck you in like a fire.
I grow. I grow. I'm fattening out.
I'm a kid in a rowboat and you're the sea,
the salt, you're every fish of importance.

No. No.

All lies.
I am small
and you hold me.
You give me milk
and we are the same
and I am glad.

No. No.

All lies.
I am a truck.
I run everything.

I own you.

Compared to these and later pieces, such early work as "You, Doctor Martin" and "Double Image" begged the evening's big question: can Anne Sexton's work be considered purely for its poetic value, or does it's confessional content draw readers in, like lechers at a peep show, titillated by the "National Enquirer-esque" tell-all tale of an educated rich white woman?

Surely in poetic terms, her early work was
technically superior. The later work is all idea and content, with a fat, sloppy style that big themes obscure. While not entirely unappealling, the later work is much more broad in style; metaphors tend to be more common; poetic structure, when used, is primative as nursery rhymes. Amazing what happens when poets are forced to make a living by teaching those snot-nosed Harvard snobs. Without enough time to perfect every line, Sexton's later work is far less electrically charged.

By the way, Anne Sexton can be seen on YouTube reading "
Her Kind" which is purrty darn cool.

Tonight it's off to talk about Robert Burns. He and Anne have so much in common.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Poem in Every Song

Sometimes when Three Rooms Press staff members attend the City's plethora of poetry readings, we're fully impressed by all the great work that's being created. Other times, we wonder how so many people came to write so much bad poetry. The answer is their source: pop culture. Every Thursday, the Three Rooms Press blog will bring you pop culture lyrics from one of our "favorite" songs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and Today!

This one's a dandy: Shannon. The theory remains that this is about either writer Henry Gross's or Brian Wilson's (Beach Boys) dog, Shannon, who ran into the ocean and never came back. So sad. Oddly, the 1976 song was a BIG hit, getting up to No. 6 on the charts, with 20 weeks (yes, 5 months!) in the top 100. Henry, a Brooklyn boy himself, was original lead singer and guitarist of Sha-Na-Na. He's still active and hopefully reading this Right Now!! He just finished up work on documentary, "One Hit Wanderer," and a CD of the same name featuring music from the film. If you see him, say hello. Otherwise visist him at the Henry Gross website.

The lyrics of Shannon:

by Henry Gross

Another day is at end
Mama says she's tired again
No one can even begin to tell her
I hardly know what to say
But maybe it's better that way
If papa were here
I'm sure he'd tell her

Shannon is gone
I hope she's drifting out to sea
She always loved to swim away
Maybe she'll find an island
With a shady tree
Just like the one in our backyard

Mama tried hard to pretend
things would get better again
Somehow she's keeping
It all inside her
But finally the tears fill our eyes
And I know that somewhere tonight
She knows how much we really miss her