Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With

I was disappointed in this Jeff Garlin movie! I had been looking forward to the DVD release of I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With for about a year. I love him on Curb Your Enthusiasm and had read that he holds a lot of creative responsibility for the show.

But this just didn't seem to hit its mark. It's about the love life of an overweight man who lives at home, is marginally employed and has a good natured albeit passive attitude towards himself and others. There were some cute moments, but they failed to be more than that. I didn't laugh once. It's tone was bittersweet, wistful and wry. But the problem with bittersweet is that if it is less than near-genius it will always leave you unsatisfied.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Last night I watched most of Margaret Cho: Assassin on Netflix Watch Instantly while eating steamed broccoli and shrimp. It was funny at first and then it dragged, her bits going on too long. She over-relied on a stereotypical bitch-fag voice that began to seem... well... not funny.

Two weird things: 1) throughout she had very noticeable camel-toe; 2) I swear there is something wrong with her pinkie fingers. They each only come up to the knuckle of her ring fingers!

Friday, April 25, 2008

(Soma)tic Midge

I loved this Faux Press chapbook, (Soma)tic Midge by CA Conrad. I read it just now, after watching that horrid Cloverfield. I loved it, but I've been reading poetry all day and can't think of anything else to say.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


This movie sucks so hard. It's total ass. I kept checking my email every two minutes. It wasn't scary at all. It was very annoying. Filmed with a hand-held camera by one of the characters, a la Blair Witch, it documents a disaster where a giant monster lands in New York. The characters that we are stuck with are so fucking annoying I couldn't wait for them to die. They wouldn't shut up, they went on a ridiculous mission to save one of their ridiculous friends. It was just dreadful.

The Pill Book

Ah, I just read Jeni Olin's brilliant, beautiful new chapbook from Faux Press. The Pill Book is perfect. I loved every poem because every Jeni Olin poem is packed with the most intense imagery, the strongest saddest most smartest voice.

Some favorite lines (from all different pill poems):

"I press toward your dirt nap, sobbing amid fireflies,"

"I've got a brain like soaked coral."

"See, I don't know what's worse: my karma or my credit."

"My mom is vast and handsome."

"... Guess I'll grow
Up to be pink & mean like God."

"'The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful."

"Though the days are gentle I have one of everything."

Deviant Propulsion

I read Deviant Propulsion this afternoon, which I got last night at CA Conrad's reading. Oh my God, he's my new favorite poet. The raunchy lyricism was just what I needed to day, when I've had a heavy emotionally sickly feeling. It lightened it a bit, but not too much. He's funny, raw, "real", sexy, smart, "creative" -- Ah, I am an asshole. But it's okay. I'd quote some of my favorite lines, but don't feel like it right now.

CA Conrad at the Project

I was so, so fortunate to hear CA Conrad read at the St. Mark's Poetry Project last night! He gave a FABULOUS reading, hearty rich and witty. I usually don't care all that much for the between poem banter at readings. I mean sometimes it is okay. But this guy was fucking brilliant, I love it when who the poet IS bleeds into what the poet does. It's truly Olin-esque Personism. Anyway, here's a poem that is in his book Deviant Propulsion (which I just bought) and which he read last night:

i'm falling in love
it's nice

i think i won something
but i'm not sure

i always think
i'm winning things that
aren't there

Marwan fucks
me in the front
seat of his
taxi cab which
isn't easy in
Philadelphia while
making a turn onto
Benjamin Franklin
Parkway at 3 a.m.

it's Daylight
Savings Time i'm
angry i'm losing
an hour

he says "tomorrow is
April Fool's Day
ask me to do
something we'll
both enjoy"

i ask him
to back
his ass onto
the gear shift
until it feels
good and
he does

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Man Who Knew Too Much

I just watched the end of this Hitchcock film which I started last night. It was the perfect for the early in the afternoon on a chilly, overcast Sunday. I had seen it before in probably the fifth grade. They showed it at school for some reason. I remember us sitting on the floor in the little gym watching it. Not the whole school, just our "house" -- Armstrong. I couldn't follow it at the time. The only thing I remembered was Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera.

Anyway, this time around I totally enjoyed it. I think it would be a good one for someone to remake. How would I cast it? George Clooney of course, as the Jimmy Stewart character. Who for Doris Day? And the evil kidnapping couple?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Anna Karenina

I was blown away by Anna Karenina. I've been reading it for a long time; I got very distracted from it for a few weeks. But Tolstoy's writing is just amazing, the psychological realism was so intense at times, and the richness of all the different characters. I was most caught up in the story of Anna and her lover, and the demise of that affair. I was pierced by their miserable relationship, described so, so vividly. At times I was equally drawn to Levin's story, which was really the more important story. But there were so many long descriptions of various political issues and details about farming that I found myself impatiently skimming chunks. His internal struggle, however, the intense scenes at his brother's death and his son's birth, moved and gripped me. I was also deeply moved by Karenin, another vividly drawn and realized character.

As I said, the death and birth scenes were particularly intense. I was also kind of shook up by Levin's final existential crisis, and even slightly, if wistfully, convinced by its resolution.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pride & Prejudice

I watched Pride & Prejudice with the laptop literally sitting on my lap. (It's my work laptop, of course). I didn't mind watching a movie this way. You just adjust.
So, this was okay. I began to get very absorbed but for the longest time the acting felt stiff and strained. Also, the book is very funny, and I think I've seen movie adaptations that captured the humor. But in this version it didn't work for me. I got involved in the love story but the comedy of manners part fell flat. Maybe it's just too familiar a story.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat

(ugh, I hate the "search inside" thing!)

My grade school virtual reunion inspired me to re-read Rimbaud's A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat (Une Saison en Enfer et Le Bateau Ivre) which I first tried to read in 8th grade for a report. I think I had chosen it because I was into Patti Smith at the time, but I'm not sure. This copy was lent to me by a school mate's mother and the fact that I still have it is a source of guilt.

I read this at another time later in adulthood. Again I found myself taken by the language and passion, and yet confounded by the narrative, the critique of reason and Occidental culture, etc. What the fuck is he talking about? Well, it doesn't matter; the intensity, the poetry, that's what counts.

"The honesty of beggars sickens me."

"To whom shall I hire myself out? What beast should I adore?"

"As for me, my life is not heavy enough, it flies and floats far above action, that precious focus of the world."

"Satan, you fraud, you would dissolve me with your charms."

"I was in his soul as in a palace they had emptied, so that no one should see so mean a person as oneself: that was all."

"I became a fabulous opera; I saw that all creatures have a fatality of happiness: action is not life, but only a way of spoiling some force, an enervation."

"Slaves, let us not curse life."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New O'Hara reviewed in last week's New Yorker

A new Frank O'Hara Selected Poems is now out, edited by Mark Ford. I just read about it in the New Yorker, and it sounds great. Although I'm not sure what was wrong with the Donald Allen Selected from '74. That's a classic. The review, by Dan Chiasson, mentions how unwieldy the Collected is, and I feel so vindicated by that. I always feel inadequate because I can't get through collecteds. Even some selecteds are too much for me. Too sweeping, too unfocused.

But I love Frank O'Hara and have felt guilty for not getting a copy of the Collected. So I'm now looking forward to getting this new Selected. It might be a great way of re-entering familiar poems and re-hearing unfamiliar ones.

From Chiasson's review:

... O'Hara's first real accomplishment was his personality, which became famous long before h is poems did. but his personality was always a brilliant contrivance, practically a work of art: improvised, self-revising, full of feints... Someone with O'Hara's presence could afford to regard the writing of poetry as a secondary act, a transcript of personality.

... Imagine the person who begins a poem, "I live above a dyke bar and I'm happy."

... the pleasures of reading Ford's edition of O'Hara are the pleasures of the zigzag. ("My quietness has a number of naked selves," O'Hara insisted, elevating, as always, the protean over the stable.) He swerves toward autobiography, then away; he veers toward intimacy, then corrects toward abstraction.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


About a year ago I watched season 1&2 of Entourage on DVD and found it really enjoyable. Shallow, silly, obnoxious, but completely watchable. It also gives you a sense of being an industry insider, regardless of how realistic it is or isn't. But last night I watched the second part of Season 3 and was kind of bored. I just felt like, so what? More of the same... I do always love the music at the end credits...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anslem Berrigan at the Poetry Project

Went to a great reading tonight. Anselm Berrigan read from two long pieces, both brilliant and special. One unfinished, and one called Have a Good One. I loved them both and can't wait till Have a Good One comes out as a chapbook very soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Human Behavior Experiments

I showed this Sundance Channel documentary to my students this morning. It covers the Milgram obedience experiments, the Stamford prison experiments, as well as some smaller experiments having to do with the Kitty Genovese stabbings. It discusses these frat boys who hazed someone to death and Abu Graib.

This program has excellent value in the class room. I've used it before to bring attention to the power of the situation and how dependent morality and character can be.

This was my third time watching it. I'm always sort of creeped out by the guy who was the ringleader of the guards in the prison setting.