23rd March 10
Settlement: The Park and "this space cop."
The most rewarding thing about the Internet: sometimes you write a bunch of hooey about space cops, of all things, and wake up the next morning to find someone else has taken it and turned it to something thoughtful and beautiful. Logan Antill writes:
In both Space Cop and the future we’ve fashioned our protagonist is long dead. He died in space, floating above the city, floating above the world. The supporting cast’s discussion of his actions takes up much more time than did his actual living. Looking solely at screen time, the film isn’t even about the main character. This space cop. For all of his flare and promise he dies alone in a spaceship he can’t began to understand or operate.
The photo above is one he has held on to for several years, of a helicopter crash in Arizona. “The future,” he writes, “is a well-dressed man guarding a bonfire.”
Assignment: Put together a Movies in Frames-style imagining of Space Cop, using public domain and creative commons photos.
3rd March 10
Do teenagers still listen to Joy Division? Do they still smoke clove cigarettes? Do they hang out at Perkins, or Denny’s? Are there still Perkins or Denny’s left where they are allowed to smoke clove cigarettes indoors?
Do teenagers still form strategic alliances with teenagers affiliated with other subcultural groups? Do punk teenagers and goth teenagers still hang out sometimes with hippie teenagers and rave teenagers and have earnest, probing discussions about the benefits of affiliating with their respective subcultures? Do teenagers still go to raves sometimes?
Do teenagers still wear hoodies? Do they still shop at Hot Topic? Does Hot Topic still sell Joy Division t-shirts? Do teenagers still wear Doc Martens? Where do they buy Doc Martens, if they do? Do they buy them online, or at a mall? Do teenagers still go to the mall?
Do teenagers that attend Catholic schools still make imaginative alterations to their uniforms? Do the boys still try to tie their crappy acrylic-blend neckties like members of the Jam, or characters in old Martin Scorsese films? Do the girls still wear sweatpants under their plaid skirts?
Do sweaty, unpopular teenage boys still wear trench coats and fedoras? Are there some teenage girls still wear black lipstick? Are there some teenage boys still wear black nail polish? Do they still wear backpacks with one strap? Do they write song lyrics on their backpacks with permanent markers and Wite-Out?
If so, would Joy Division lyrics (“my illusion, worn like a mask of self-hate, confronts and then dies”) make the cut?
9th February 10
Elizabeth at Locomotive Hootenanny was recently taking requests for drawings, so I asked her if she’d draw Spalding Gray, Patti Smith, Lester Bangs, Susan Sontag, Steve Prefontaine, Tania Hearst and (somewhat incongruously) Lord Byron. Imagine my surprise and delight when she posted this, and had drawn them all together!
It’s great! What a crazy dinner party! Tania Hearst is looking at Pre like she’s going to shoot his beautifully mustachioed Oregon face full of AK-47 slugs for being an imperialist jock pig, and Lester Bangs is all like “No, Pre! Lord Byron do something!” Moreover, that is the most adorable representation of Spalding Gray I have ever seen.
Imagine all six of them, with the ghost of Lord Byron, snowed into a poetry reading in St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery together in 1975. I guess Tania Heart would be on prison work release. I’m not sure why Prefontaine is at a poetry reading in New York when he should be training for the Olympics, but we can figure something out.
20th January 10
Part two of me reading Erich Segal’s Love Story to you on the phone. Nate calls halfway through, but I let it go to voice mail, because Nate is the only person in the world who still leaves voice mails. Also, please pardon that gratuitous editorializing at the end. I was overcome with emotion.
Also, to my readers in Boston: please take photos of the piles of flowers that are bound to start showing up all over Harvard’s campus and submit them here.
30th December 09
Here is a photo of me that was used in a Crown Royal print advertising campaign appearing in the November 1964 issue of Esquire magazine. The original ad copy has been lost, unfortunately, so I leave it to you the reader to leave suggestions for new, appropriately swingin’ ad copy in the comments section.
Best entry gets a special secret swingin’ door prize mailed to them from S. 12th World Headquarters!
18th December 09
This is a problem many of you readers probably don’t have, because many of you (most of you?) have iPhones and Androids and other nice non-drug phones that you didn’t buy from a combination Western-wear store/semi-legit wireless franchise on Lake Street.
I, however, did buy my drug phone from a combination Western-wear store/semi-legit wireless franchise on Lake Street, and that is something I am OK with. I like my drug phone. But I do run into certain problems sometimes, the sorts of problems that I anticipate have been resolved by owning a nicer, more internet-oriented type of phone device.
The problem is text messages.
What do you do with yours after you’ve read them?
Do you delete them? Living the sloppy, sentimental life I have chosen, I get awfully misty-eyed about certain text messages I have received over the years. I have dozens of them, sitting on my SIM card, transferred from drug phone to drug phone, that I just cannot bear to delete. Some date back to 2007. I’m running out of room.
What do I do with all of them?
Do I just man up, so to speak, delete all of them, and accept that I will have to live my life without these small tokens of friendship and love? Do I forward them to my email address and keep them in a folder labeled “texts,” where they will rest forever in the warm, all-remembering bosom of Mother Gmail? Should I write them on 3x5 cards in a calligraphic script, purchase a vintage Rolodex or coupon box on eBay and store them chronologically in my home office?
And what is at stake here, exactly? Could I live without holding on to Abingdon, Virginia native Peter Morgan’s breathless text from November 4, 2008, announcing that Obama had Virginia “on lockdown”? Nate’s outraged all-caps missive from Louisville that his favorite downmarket neighborhood grocery store had renovated their meat coolers (“DO THEY THINK I COME HERE TO FIND THINGS CLEAN AND BRIGHTLY LIT”)? Herbach’s various songs of devotion over the years, sent to allay minor crises in life and work? Kissy-kissy, possibly tipsy mash notes from various romantic interests? Is living without these even a life at all?
I don’t have answers to these questions, reader. As our pal Stephanie recently pointed out, “”Imsa justa faarrrm boy.” Hyuck, hyuck! Like I said, I don’t have answers, but maybe you do. Comments section, post-haste!
26th October 09
Here is an excerpt from a reader’s (presumably negative) two-star customer review of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America in
Arabic Farsi (thanks, Age of Dhool!). If anyone speaks Arabic Farsi, I would love to know what specifically is being singled out for criticism.
صید قزل آلا در آمریکا نوشته ریچارد براتیگان یک رمان پست مدرن است. براتیگان در این اثر که شاهکار او محسوب می شود نگارش داستان را تکه تکه پیش برده است که هر تکه را می توان به عنوان بخشی جدا در نظرگرفت و به این دلیل ظاهر این رمان شبیه مجموعه داستان کوتاه است و داستان ها را می توان مس.. صید قزل آلا در آمریکا نوشته ریچارد براتیگان یک رمان پست مدرن است. براتیگان در این اثر که شاهکار او محسوب می شود نگارش داستان را تکه تکه پیش برده است که هر تکه را می توان به عنوان بخشی جدا در نظرگرفت و به این دلیل ظاهر این رمان شبیه مجموعه داستان کوتاه است و داستان ها را می توان مستقل از همدیگر و بدون در نظر گرفتن ترتیب آنها خواند. نشانه هایی از قبیل داشتن یک فرزند خردسال و مسافرت با شریک زندگی که در بخش های مختلف کتاب آمده سبب می شود به راحتی نتیجه گرفت که راوی در بخش های مختلف داستان یک نفر است. ضمنا نقل تکرار شده داستان درباره فردی با نام کوتوله صید قزل آلا در آمریکا که به گفته راوی یک الکلی آس و پاس است را می توان به عنوان رد پای راوی یکسان در همه داستان ها در نظر گرفت. با هم در نظر گرفتن کل رمان از راوی داستان که صید قزل آلا را در مکان ها و زمان های مختلف نقل می کند و حوادث مختلفی برایش پیش می آید داستان را بهتر در ذهن خواننده جا می اندازد.
12th October 09
On October 12, 2008, I posted the above photo of a JFK cutout in my uncle’s foyer in Cincinnati — the same house my dad grew up in. This was the first posting to southtwelfth.tumblr.com. One year old today!
What an auspicious beginning, too. That photo summarizes so many of the recurrent themes here at S. 12th:
Probably more, too, but I’m so gut-wrenched with utter excitmement that my critical thinking skills are failing me.
That is why, on this most exciting and mindless of anniversaries, I am flinging the brass-beknobb’d front door of S. 12th wide open to you, the reader. Come root around in my foyer and mess with my uncle’s JFK paraphenelia. I have activated the “submit” feature, meaning you may click here and post your thoughts to this very tumblelog about the many ways S. 12th has inappopriately touched you in the past year. Happy first year, reader!
6th October 09
Here are some photos from HHH, the one-night exhibition-slash-Metrodome commemoration party I co-created this past weekend at Art Of This. As you can see, Pete, Brennan and Sam rigged up the incredible recreation of the Metrodome’s roiling Teflon ceiling, and somewhere in the background, there’s an inert blue Baggie spilling onto the floor. Sam built a hot dog stand, and Michael played organ all night.
I set up the merchandise table you see in the first photo above, where I sold commemorative programs and T-shirts of my own devising. In fact, I still have about seven of the programs left over. They’re 5.5 x 8.5”, with ten pages of notes and drawings, all hand-lettered and illustrated by me. If you’d like one, send an email to email@example.com with your address, and if you are one of the first seven to write, I’ll get it out to you this week.
(Incidentally: a “twin dog” is made with a large hot dog bun sliced twice on top, and with a hot dog resting in each slice, so that there’s a layer of bread between the two dogs. It’s Sam’s invention, and it’s incredible.)
24th September 09
The wonderful Minneapolis poet Dobby Gibson has discovered a
mysterious silver star on First Avenue’s legendarily star-spangled facade, and posted a photo of it on his Facebook. Conrad! Who is/are he/they?
YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Tell me who Conrad is. Wikipedia doesn’t know. There’s all sorts of things I don’t know about Minneapolis, though, despite stomping around all the time and loudly pretending that there isn’t. So there must be a story behind Conrad’s place on the wall. Like the editor says at the beginning of Citizen Kane: it’s probably a very simple thing.
UPDATE: It turns out, like, everyone knows who Conrad is (read the comments for some excellent descriptions of who Conrad is, or read this or this). What a jerk I am! I had better just go ahead and relinquish my Minneapolis citizenship for the day.