jul 19

Up 5:30. Coffee around 7, a little Williams (Sokei, but I keep forgetting his name), poem. Read the first poem in Vincent Katz, Swimming Home. Came back, relearned “Each and Every One,” “Signed Curtain,” and “Model Worker” for Sat. Tried to figure out some details of “Our Hearts Do” on the piano - fooled w/ this off and on during the day. I feel like I had the bridge changes a while ago, but something doesn’t gel when I play it now. Spent some time with Bree, left for library at 2:30, had a bite on the way, worked on chapter ending 4-6, though I mainly went to return books and copy a couple p. from Edward Berlin. (Looks like I’m writing 1500 words about James P. Johnston’s “Charleston” for Sound American, and Willie “the Lion” Smith’s comments are relevant.) Headed downtown to meet Drew Boston for an adaption of In the Penal Colony at New York Theater Workshop - his idea (he’d gotten the tix for his birthday), but he got stuck at work, couldn’t even meet me after for a bite. Saw it anyway - performed entirely by 3 African-American men, undifferentiated for the first 1/3, which opened w/ them singing Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” and some athletic dance/mime (I mean: boxing, basketball), before settling into an impressionistic but recognizable adaptation of the Kafka story, and then back out into the framing material. In sum, an interpretation of black incarceration and, a bit more confusedly, spectacular mediation; I don’t think I understood a closing speech on punishment, but the director’s notes had a reading list of The Fire Next Time, Citizen, and related titles. All in all, not completely effective, but it doesn’t bother me that it somewhat literalized the source material as “political”; the more ambiguous prose version (which is also a Christian allegory) still exists, and this is one thing theater does. Waited for Drew at Vesalka until he texted that he wasn’t making it, ate at Blue Ribbon closer to F train instead. Hot and humid all day, pretty sick of the walking. Ended up managing to read all of the short edited volume Adorno’s Dream Notes I’d intended as a birthday present over the course of the day. Humanizes him (not that I’m sure he’d have liked that). The essay at the end (by a German critic, can’t recall name) is fine, but much less engaging. Pretty much collapsed upon getting home around 11; read a few more p. of Katz.