Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reading Report. Brandon Brown, Farrah Fields. Studio One. Oaktown.

I've decided I'm going to try to report occasionally. I don't know how, I need to learn. Thanks.

Last night's reading at Studio One in Oakland: out of the way, impossible to find, wet, & then cold inside but it's a great space for a reading, especially because of the out of the way/hard to find aspect, also the longish approach to the front doors, then a horizontal vestibule, then glass doors, then the small, low-ceilinged auditorium, with white walls, narrow low-set windows, and track lighting. Exactly like the side rooms in synagogues where I used to "study" "hebrew". I like the trouble it takes to get there.

Brandon read some of sixty translations of Catullus. BB made a joke at the beginning which has got to be a direct translation of Barrett Watten's opening bits at 21 Grand two months ago. At that reading, Barrett said, I'm going to read (whatever that Paterson project is called), and it's in sixty parts. And one could feel the whole room give a ripple of both anxiety and of self-satisfaction, because there'd already been a pool drawn up, so I'd heard, for How-long-will-Barrett-read-tonight? I was happy, I'd eaten dinner for once and was wearing comfortable clothes and was prepared to sit happily for nine hours if necessary. Then all of the parts were really short. And after the reading, all anybody said was, Ha ha, when he said SIXTY PARTS! I thought we'd be here ALL NIGHT, but then all of the parts were really short! Eh. Barrett became my favorite right then. That was the greatest joke ever played on an audience. It required context, contiguity, reciprocal conditioning, and affection.

So anyway. Brandon said, there are sixty of these translations of Catullus, and I'm going to read them all, and it's going to take an hour and a half, and if you want a drink get it now because don't you dare get up while I am reading. Then he said, just kidding, I'm going to only read some of them and it will take fifteen minutes. (I think it actually took about twenty or twenty-five minutes.) Brandon's been covering the terrain of collapse of performative, translative, and narrative of 'poetry reading' and of 'poetry' and of 'translation' and of 'tale-telling/gossip' so that its constituent parts become less and less distinguishable---I mean where the *joins* become less and less distinguishable, and last night's version of this was the most seamless I thought of the three recent attempts. These three recent attempts being, last night's Catullus, the David-Buuck-house reading on gossip, community, 'friendship' & love, and the Canessa Park reading where he started by totally jumping my train but gave such an amazing freaking reading I didn't care and could only love and admire. But last night's reading was a new cohesion. Inside the translation is the translation of performance of the construction of the book as reading as writing, as "dedication", simultaneous to the reading. I'm sorry, I know this isn't very clear but this is not a paper it's a reading report on a blog, given by someone with no dressage.

Brandon's "translations" were very funny, and really hard to take. Which is why someone in the audience was also crying. And some in the audience who weren't paying attention were laughing at really wrong times, or at things that were not at all funny, even though what Brandon was saying was very funny. There were lovebirds, and they were in a bad situation and doing some really hot and terrible things to each other and with others. There was a bridge for gamers. There were bald predators. Assholes too hairy to get fucked. Nests. Branches? No coin that I recall but a lot of piggy bank. See you later, lovebird. Did everyone else last night remember SEE YOU LATER, PIGEON?

Farrah Fields is sexy and works that fact for all its Worth. Obviously I can only write this because I didn't actually meet or talk to her and so feel no compunction at all about describing her this way. She was wearing a very thin white cable-knit sweater over an orange tank-top, and this was a pretty sexy and alluring look. She has long curly hair and a southern-ish way of talking and she read poems about her sister getting murdered and about asking her boyfriend to use two fingers and there was a pretty interesting long piece which she said was about four girls who run away from home because their mother is an orgy-having witch and I think there's a detective on the case who has some kind of inappropriate sex with the girls? I lost track, I was too interested in the way Farrah Fields' mouth made the shapes of words and how she sort of looks like Andie MacDowell, and how I was thinking maybe I would start writing murder poetry, and later on someone said to me out loud something I'd already felt terrible about letting it cross my own mind, about using your sister's murder as an it-happened-to-me-gimmick in your poems.

I hate the word 'poems'.

Lovebirds, I love you SO MUCH.

1 comment:

rodney k said...

Hi Suzanne,

You're a natural--dressage galore. This part especially fit so well what Brandon did in Portland but that I wouldn't have thought about in this way till your post:

"Brandon's been covering the terrain of collapse of performative, translative, and narrative of 'poetry reading' and of 'poetry' and of 'translation' and of 'tale-telling/gossip' so that its constituent parts become less and less distinguishable---I mean where the *joins* become less and less distinguishable ..."

Hope you'll keep them coming.