Chet Weiner read at the Bowery Poetry Club with Stacy Doris today. Chet's reading included an exciting new piece which sounded like a science fiction film script. I spoke with him after his reading and he confirmed this. This adventurous and very abstract work transported his listeners to a dream like and phantasmagorial environment the strangeness of which was well elicited by its complex and quick flowing elliptical language. Stacy Doris read, or rather spoke and read, mostly spoke on the Bowery Poetry Club stage today. Without ever saying it, despite her wit and, wry demeanor and running patter about the microphone, which became an interesting parodic take on the possibilities and pretentions of poetry readings, how much she has missed her New York contingent was made clear today on the BPC stage. She directed her attention to her many poet friends and co-conspirators including Bruce Andrews, Tim Davis, Rob Fitterman and Kim Rosenfield. Each time she began to read she remembered something else she had to tell us. Towards the end, she read three or so poems from a book she has been working on for three years. The audience was obviously stunned by the profundity and beauty of these poems- they are quite a departure from much of her often hilarious and consistently charming previous work. She has had to move to San Francisco where she is now an assistant professor at San Francisco State University. But this summer she is going to Greece to continue work on this amazing new book of poems. While we await these new masterpieces, she will be missed.
We had to exit from the dinner afterwards at Marion's on the Bowery to head quickly over to Ocularis in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see some films by Marianne Shaneen, Mike Kuchar and others. In a group that included quite a number of memorable and suprisingly absorbing short films (I commented later to the curator how he had made a very interesting collage out of this group of about 20 3-7 minute films, a collage that finally guided the viewer and listener into some powerful moments of synaesthesia) Marianne Shaneen's films shined brightest. She discussed these films on a recent blog:
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Thursday, May 22, 2003
Crazy canadian filmmaker Guy Madden on the radio- when talking about films that influenced him he mentioned one of my all-time favorites, the 1934 version of Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Max Reinhardt (with a feral demented Mickey Rooney as a boy in the role of Puck)...
I myself made an (unfinished) film from the Reinhardt film- after seeing it the first time I was so pixelated that I went back to the theater and watched it again, taking still photos of the screen in the movie theater, and incorporated the resulting luminescent ghostly stills into re-filmed film of the original.
Marianne 4:43 PM
These films of Marianne's reveal spectral shapes of light moving in sinister ways around the screen, undulating, advancing and retreating, suggesting unseen presences among us- or presences we may be unwilling to see. Toni just read a passage to me from George Eliot's *Daniel Deronda* which coincidentally (I actually don't believe in coincidences anymore) corresponds: "But it is a matter of knowledge that there are persons whose yearnings, conceptions- nay, travelled conclusions- continually take the form of images which have a foreshadowing power: the deed they would do starts up before them in complete shape, making a coercive type; the event they hunger for or dread rises into vision with seed-like growth, feeding itself fast on unnumbered impressions." Make no mistake about it: Marianne Shaneen's films reveal as much about the power of what can be seen from within as what is normally absorbed by the five ordinary senses. This following her recent powerful reading at the Poetry Project, as well as her bold anti-war activities recorded over the past winter on her blog Froth tell us that Marianne Shaneen's vision is one of the most encompassing and challenging accounts on the contemporary scene. How she can be all this, do all this and remain so warm, charming and funny is one of those phenomena, like those in her film, that may have to remain cloaked in mystery, at least for awhile.