Saturday, July 16, 2005

ArtBeat, Somerville and Poetry

I've been neglecting this blog of late... busy with work, often hitting three sites a day. There's usually a couple of guys on a painting job and I'm out hanging pictures. Went through $100 worth of picture hangers one recent week.

Anyway... today ArtBeat, Somerville was held today in Davis Square. A street festival celebrating the local arts. A couple of stages presenting ALL sorts of music, Brazilian and Rock n' Roll were about all we took in. Booths up and down the streets with the local artisans flogging their wares... jewelery, clothing, painting, prints, photos, pottery... and other booths giving info from Amnesty International, The Peace Corps and that sort. A great area with kids competing on strangely modified bicycles... (pretty cool watching them go in tight circles around their own, dedicated traffic cone for one hundred laps). Food, of course... Indian, Barbeque, hot dogs and sausages, ice cream. Probably not much different than most street festivals... but this one does have a certain Somerville flair.

Meanwhile, I'd noticed on Geoff Huth's blog, that he'd be here performing some of his poetry. Not really related to the ArtBeat thing, but coinciding with the date. Occuring at the Nave Gallery in a church some decent walking distance away. I was unaware of this gallery and was glad to discover it. Also on the short list of performers was John M. Bennett, so this was a double treat.
We arrived just as they were getting done with some "round table" discussion. Soon enough the performances started led by Matt Chambers, who read poems while wearing masks of the poets... Robert Duncan, Frank O'Hara, Gertrude Stein, Ginsburg and more. Delightful concept, but he was nervous and he read a bit too fast, his voice was shot from previous performing and he had a bit of trouble with his masks. Tighten it up and it'll be great.
John M. Bennett was next. A wonderful rendition of the disassociated words and syllables that are so undecypherable on the handwritten page. Geof mentioned that he hadn't expected the inflections of voice... but for me, it sounded pretty much the way it looks.
Last was Geof Huff. He passed out booklets, so we could follow along. Starting with a poetic journey through medieval book production, followed by a stream of conscious poem about leaving Rome. On to a poem of the dreams of a fishwife as she slowly wakes up... delivered in a Celtic tone that Geoff said that he didn't notice until it came off the page. Instructions as to how to read the more graphic work. A poem illustrated by Egyptian hieroglyphics. An algebraic poem. More instructions about making parchment and ink... finishing off with a song bit that turned into a primal scream at the end.
There were less than twenty of us in the room. Sylvia and I were amoung the few not intimately related to this group. I'd hoped that we'd see Reed Altimus, as he's collaborated with both Bennett and Huth... but that didn't happen.
I'm glad we did this and it was great to meet these guys.

Friday, July 08, 2005

My Five Questions

Roger Stevens said...

Here are your five questions, Jonathon.

1.Your work involves hanging artwork in people’s homes. What’s the worst assignment you’ve ever had?

By far, the worst are walls full of family pictures to be hung in the "salon" style... that is, a lot of different sized photos to be installed with some kind of logic. You don't want people facing into the corners. Sometimes there's family politics involved. (I had an interior designer once tell me that the more family pics in the public areas of a home, the more dysfunctional the family)... I keep an eye on that and find a bit of truth in it.

2.You like a pint. What’s your favourite drink? And where in the world would be your favourite place to drink it?

That would be the Guinness. Was brilliant to drink it outside at the Fiddlers Elbow in Florence... but these days, I'd rather be back on my stool at the Plough and Stars in Cambridge (MA).

3.Are you a frustrated artist?


4.If you weren’t an artist what would you like to be?

In retrospect, I might have been able to dance (with training, of course... which I never had). Or a Rock n' Roll singer (I've been in a few "no go" bands). Or, just for a change, something that makes money.

5.This is a boring question, I know. But what three things could you not do without if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?

That'd be the Sylvia, Guinness, and a decent newspaper... with a good puzzle.