May 19

Up at 6.
Finished The Ten Thousand Leaves, read another 50 p. of art critic interviews (C. Kraus, R. Krauss, Lucy Lippard). Not sure I did anything significant for a couple hrs. after that. Also read a few pages of Deborah Cook, Adorno, Foucalt, and the Critique of the West, a bit later.
Left at 1 to write at a co-working space near MoMa, which is nearly empty on Sundays. Not so great. Managed a few sentences, but got sidetracked looking at early grafs of section. Really need a new approach; this is a task I have to work on seriously over the next several weeks. Read online about procrastination as a form thereof. Got an email from Laura Cantrell asking if I wanted to play a show at Pete’s Candy Store she’s been offered but can’t do; told her to pass my info to the booker. Also got a request for an online interview about my book of poems from Rob McLennan, for his long-running blog — happy to be asked, spent last hr. drafting responses to the 1st couple ?s (the same for all his subjects). Shiny object, perhaps, but both of those exchanges made me feel less obscure and defeated.
Left just before closing at 5, took train to 14th, poked around in a junk shop on 16th that actually had some decent records, though I wasn’t of a mind to spend, e.g., $30 on Monk’s live Misterioso — which I used to check out of one of the local libraries in h.s., and which includes the Johnny Griffin solo on “In Walked Bud” that Christgau writes about at length (arguing for its R&B content).
Met Bree for dinner nearby as planned, before a “Secular/Sacred” concert at YIVO. David Lang’s Little Match Girl Oratorio, which crosses the Andersen story with liturgical writing derived from St. Matthew’s Passion; effect was a bit Roomful of Teeth-y. Book of Doubt/Book of Faith, another primarily choral work, a premiere in fact, by Adam Roberts. I wasn’t getting much out of it, and then had a weird attack of (best guess) heartburn and general discomfort; felt the need to go outside until intermission. Fortunately, it subsided for Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, which was why we came. I have the piece on an LP, but really didn’t know it at all well — much shorter than I anticipated at 25 min., esp. relative to some late Feldman durations, and if I ever knew the uncharactistically direct violin melody, conventionally harmonized by an arpeggiated xylophone pattern, that comes in 3/4 or so through, I’d forgotten it. Excellent performance. Felt good enough by the end to stay for a panel w/ the 2 composers from the 1st half, and two of Mark Rothko’s children; succinct and less self-congratulatory than many such talkbacks (though in fact there was no Q&A). Lang made a nice point comparing the “chutzpah” of his piece, and Rothko’s willingness to take on a commission for what was initially intended to be a Catholic chapel, to Berlin’s writing of “White Christmas” (though less positive readings of the assimilationist function of all this weren’t likely to come up in this venue; cf. Michael Rogen and the less judicious David Melnick).
Home about 10:30, made myself spend another hr. on email. Unsubscribing to a lot of things, but my current definition of “dealing with” entails reading or listening to whatever linked material made me keep the message in the first place, so an hr. doesn’t always get me through that many. Also checked in w/ Dan Clucas about his visit here in late May/early June - I’ll see him play at least once.
Lights out 1:30, later than usual.