july 17

Slept very poorly, might have been up around 3, listened to podcasts. Had to actually get up at 6, cleaned up and got coffee quickly, left w/ Bree at 8. Her appointment, the follow-up her kidney stone procedure, went smoothly - we were out of Mt. Sinai by 10. She’s back to normal on this front. She went home, I stayed around Union Square and read Green at Think ’til noon - finished it later on the train back. Stopped in the Strand, bought nothing. Came home, hot and exhausted, rested but Bree needed my help repacking the kitchen A/C we have to return. Annoying but necessary; UPS picked in up later. Napped about 3:30 to almost 6. Played through a couple of the songs I bought last night. Called Dad. Went to E77, worked on “I Ain’t Got Nobody” section from 7-9 over 1 beer. Rounded off, I think it might be the end of the chapter - which I had previously conceived as going all the way up to “I Got Rhythm.” Requires changing (and shortening, which is good) the introductory section. Thunderstorms. Had a bite, bought baking soda for Bree. Home by 10, finished Tuten - terrific book, somewhat comparable to Barthelme but even more deadpan, with a lot of found material. He quotes Engels’s “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State”:

“The making of contracts, however, requires people who can freely dispose of their persons, actions, and possessions, and meet each other on the basis of equal rights. It was precisely the creations of these ‘free’ and equal people that was one of the principal society.” (47-8 - goes on from there, on bourgeois marriage)

july 16

Up 7. Left at 8, reading Green. Therapy. Lunch in that area, then worked over coffee for about 3 hrs. Came home, should have napped but didn’t. Dealt w/ a lot of email, wrote response to Holbo. Left at 7 to meet Laura and Jeremy for L.’s birthday at Vince Giordano & His Nighthawks’ weekly gig at Iguana. They were, frankly, better than I remembered - I feel like I saw his w/ some second-call players, or doing less rehearsed material, a few years ago. They have a huge “book” and Vince can call a couple 100 tunes at least, inc. request from the obvious (full-scale “Sing Sing Sing” complete w/ drum solo) to the obscure (“Four or Five Times,” though not this arrangement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4GT9t2uRM). Not this arrangement. Also had a nice “I Got Rhythm” chart. A couple of guest turns (inc. “Charleston”) by a female period song-and-dance trio, the Honey Taps. Stayed for all 3 sets. Birthday guests inc. Rachel, Jay, Chris and his partner from the Tall Pines (we didn’t recognize each other at first), woman who books the swing series at Lincoln Ctr., a couple other people I didn’t know, and Tav Falco (yes, that Tav Falco), who hit it off w/ Bree and invited us to visit him in Vienna. Also talked to Vince’s clarinetist, Dan Levenson, and Phil Schaap.

Vince sells old sheet music, presumably duplicates and unwanted material from his collection, at $3 a pop, alongside his CDs. Spent $60, mainly on a folder marked “Black composers, professional copies,” Benny Carter’s “Rainbow Rhapsody,” several lesser Ellington tunes w/ various lyricists, a novelty song about “Queen Isabella” co-composed by “Chu” Berry, some Waller-Razaf, and Ivory Joe’s “I Always Lost My Mind.” And, outside of that folder, “Moanin’ in the Morning” (Arlen-Harburg, from “Hooray For What!”), a 1949 tune from a show I’ve never heard of by Jay Gorney w/ lyrics by Jean and Walter Kerr, a Nathaniel Shildkret song, “Just A Romantic Fool” pub’d by Ralph Peer’s Southern Music. And, the piece de resistance, even though it’s a Xerox: “Bill Johnson, the Monkey and the Dago,” Bob Cole (w/ no Johnson Bros.), 1896. 

Car back to JH w/ Laura and Jeremy. Bree has a doctor’s appt. tomorrow, so we got to bed pretty quickly after that. Stalled on the Bert Wms. book, but read a few pages of Tuten’s Mao book which looks to be a kind of collage novel. Didn’t touch the horns.

july 15

Up 7. Went out early to read 60 p. of Green. Back about 9:30. Set up new keyboard, stood old on up against a wall in my office for electronics disposal at a later date. A couple of small chores for Bree; I have a list of to-dos before leaving for CA Sat. Watched more of Che pt. II while eating lunch. Went to Lincoln Ctr. Library around 1. There aren’t any books about Marion Harris. At the point w/ this section where it feels baggy and confused. In any case, it’s 3K words as of leaving at nearly 8. Read the Bert Williams book on the train, both ways. Touched on the horns in the evening. Finished the Che movie. Did a little packing. Bought Mekons tix for CA. Lights out around midnight. [Sorry I’m saying less of interest; I’m wearing down again, will probably stop at the end of the month.] 

july 14

[Realized I’ve been heading the last several days as “jun.” It’s annoying to edit posts - maybe I’ll do it on the plane on Saturday.]

Up 7. Rec’d some comments on first 20 p. - thinks there’s potential, but has issues w/ organization. Have to think more before responding, or implementing. Went to coffee, “processed” most of Culler. (I have a pile of books I need to do this to, won’t get to much of it before I have to go to CA; and new reading continues….) Had planned to take a train to lunch, Google Maps said it would be 45 min., w/ a bus transfer, so called a car at noon. But it didn’t come; after a couple of calls, I realized that the parade on 37th Ave. wasn’t letting anyone through. So I ended up walking up to Northern, looking in vain for a taxi for a while, and finally finding the storefront of a different car service. Sucked, basically, but it all worked out: made it to lunch at a Greek place in Astoria a little after 1, w/ Jay S-G, his partner Jay, and Chris and Cheryl from the Scene Is Now. Rode w/ Jay & Renee from there to the Noguchi Museum to hear 75 Dollar Bill in their sculpture garden (part of a Bang on a Can series immediately). Very site-specific: they started by walking to the “stage” area from opposite ends of the garden, playing “little instruments” in the AEC sense — took up maybe a third of the set. Fairly sure Rick was responding to birds, but didn’t ask. Good performance, bought the new record ($30 double vinyl, yet). Saw Sue Garner and Liz Clayton (& daughter). Also wrote a bit in poetry notebook during the set. Took a very quick look around the museum, inc. a special installation by Gabriel Orozco. TBH, I’ve never devoted any serious time and thought to Noguchi - I can look at it, but I don’t know what I’m looking at, or if I’m supposed to. Jay and Renee dropped me back a train, not too back getting back. Could have gone to another Jackson Heights Jazz Festival show in Travers Park at 6, but didn’t feel like running in and out. Spent a long time reading - day’s quota of Green, & 50 p. Of Louis Chude-Sokei’s The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora. Intriguing argument, but academically overwritten - one of those books that parcels out factual material about its object of study very sparingly, and theorizes about it copiously. Went out to Starbucks at 9:30 to make myself do enough writing to check off the day. Lights out midnight.

jun 13

Up 6. Went out early, did some shorter reading: my neighbor’s paper on practical deliberation, a Kevin Killian talk I asked Mairead Case to forward me, and the latest chunk of John Holbo’s huge paper on depiction. Made a few notes on the last. Came back around 9, watched 40 min. of pt. of Soderbergh’s Che diptych. Checked in w/ Jay S-G and others about lunch tomorrow. Read Green for most of an hr., napped briefly. Did about an hr. of chores, mainly unpacking a fan and the keyboard and breaking down/taking out the cardboard + packaging. Showed Bree a card trick I’m working on - the sleight of hand works, but she found the “plot” confusing, need to clarify what’s supposed to happening. Left at 1. Worked on “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” 2-5. Spent last 1/2 hr copying some marked passages/notes from Jonathan Culler, Theory of the Lyric. Finished quota of Green on the way back (train slow and crowded). Home by 6, rested/zoned out for a while, discussed some matters w/ Bree. Fussed at the piano w/ horn ideas for the last chorus of “Untimely,” didn’t put anything in the score. It’s getting frustrating, started thinking about getting some outside help on this. Walked over to E77 at 9 to hear 1/2 sets by bassist Kim Clarke, leading a trio w/ gtr and drums. Material like “Watermelon Man,” a Kenny Barron tune, a lot I didn’t know. Really liked the drummer - could have played on any straight-ahead 50s-60s jazz record, I don’t know what she does in other projects, but you don’t hear that “classic” approach so much anymore - but didn’t catch her name. Made a forced march through the last 2 sections of the Canadian anthology during breaks — Rita Wong, & Lisa Robertson. Her interview was less about her own poetics than her relationship to the Vancouver/KSW scene; I’ve read most of the work selected from Debbie: An Epic an other books before. I don’t know just why this book felt hard to complete, but I’ll be happy to go back to single-authored collections for a while. Also worked 2 pages/days ahead in poetry notebook, incorporating ideas from Green in a general way. Chatted w/ Ken Lauterbach for a while, split for home after the sets, back at about 11:30. Stayed up for an hr., actually did put something down in the horn charts. Bree still awake, talked more. Lights out after 1.

Also want to mark this interesting post on how not to respond to “SWJ” (not a term I’d use) responses to “logic,” by a black philosopher (I think in England - not sure if he’s English or American.) https://sootyempiric.blogspot.com/2019/01/logic-versus-social-justice-activists.html (Something’s changed w/ Squarespace’s link editor, and I’m not going to figure out how a hyperlink works right this sec.)