May 20

Up about 6.
Read Moten, Myles, and Molly Nesbit interviews in Earnest (no pun intended).
Watched (started last night) Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry 2014). Don’t think his style and concerns are for me.
Left at 10, worked on email for an hr at coffee.
Therapy; changed day/time starting next week.
Took notes on several (previously read, overdue) books at Lincoln Ctr. Library, 2-6: Ira Gerswhin, Lyrics on Several Occassions, Jeffrey Melnick, A Right to Sing the Blues, Gerald Bordman’s Youmans bio, Jack Sullivan, New World Symphonies, and the passages on song form in Gerald Mast, Can’t Help Singin’. Paid fines and returned those and other books, renewed Edward Berlin’s little ragtime research monograph and Roholt, Groove. A pretty concentrated 4 hrs. of work, if not “writing.”
Scrabble at Jean Cook’s (David was at a co-op meeting, their son Leonard spent the evening being Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony), her neighbor Jeannine + her junior-high age son Gabe, and Steve Silverstein. Took some cheese and dried fruit from the renovated Essex Market. Listened to a couple of Rogerio Duprat LPs (brass arrangements of mid-to-late 19th c. Brazilian instrumental music), Henry Threadgill, and a “spectralist” setting of Un coup de des (don’t recall composer).
Train home. Listened to Mayfield/Impressions off and on during the day.

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.

May 18

Up 6.
Finished Gunnhild Øyehaug, Knots.
Read 50 or so p. of The Ten Thousand Leaves v. 1, trans. Ian Hideo Levy, and part of the introduction.
Read about 100 p. of Jarrett Earnest, What It Means to Write About Art (interviews w/ critics).
Listen to one side of an LP reissue of Amos Milburn sides (postwar R&B), and most of the 1st disc of a Curtis Mayfield collection.
Forced myself to work down through inbox, dealing with every email in order, for an hr. Have to do this until it’s manageable.
Listened to an interview w/ Jay Garfield, a Western expert/advocate on the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna. He’s the guy who co-wrote the controversial NYT/Stone piece on non-Western philosophy; given N.’s views on contradiction and the division of logical space (or G.’s interpetation thereof), it’s not surprising that he’s in Graham Priest’s cohort.
Went to St. Michael’s cemetery for their annual Scott Joplin tribute (not birthday); walked from Jackson Heights, about 40 min., but had a hard time finding a place to cross the BQE, so missed Edward Berlin’s talk. Enjoyed the band, the Uptown Ramblers, nonetheless — nice mix of Joplin, other period music inc. waltzes played straight and ragged, the clarinetist’s vocal turns on “You Tell Me Your Dream, I’ll Tell You Mine” and “If You Were the Only Girl in the World,” the pianist’s solo "Carolina Shout,” and the final graveside performance of “Maple Leaf Rag.” Met up w/ Jay Sherman-Godfrey, Paul Lukas, their partners and Renee and Mary, and another couple who brought a thermos of cocktails.
Got home about 6, rested for a while, did some of the reading above later in the evening.
Lights out 11.

April 2019 reading

Diane Ravitch, The Language Police
Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Meadow Slasher
Arthur Sellings, The Power of X
Steve Dickison, Inside Song
Shane Vogel, The Scene of Harlem Cabaret
Aaron Kunin, Character as Form
Johanna Skibsrud, The Description of the World
Kate Briggs, This Little Art
Victoria Balfour, Rock Wives
Greg Hewett, Blindsight
Astrid Lorange, Pathetic Tower (chapbook)
Gregg Bordowitz, Untitled (I Am a Man)
Neil Aitken, Babbage’s Dream
Ross Williams, Theodor Adorno
Francis B. Gummere, The Popular Ballad (1907)
Jennifer Nelson, The Centaur Who Stole Your Wife
Raymond Roussel, The Alley of Fireflies and Other Stories
Dwight MacDonald, Masscult and Midcult
Eric Tyler Benick, The George Oppen Memorial BBQ (chapbook)
Armand Schwerner, The Tablets I-XV 


Up 6. Not running around so much today. Breakfast, visited w/ dad, watched an episode of Law and Order. Finished Ravitch around noon. Spent another hr. or so getting the rest of dad’s tax materials in order. Called Bree. Went out at 2:30, found a few things at Upland Library book sale + worked through some email at Rad Coffee. Read about 1/2 of Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Meadow Slasher, “Book 4 of the No Volta pentalogy,” per a baleful front-matter note. Home at 5, played a bit from Bartok’s Mikroksomos. Dinner, Jeopardy w/ dad. Read craft interview w/ Maxine Kumin from a book of same, based on transcribed tapes of Pearl London’s class at the New School. (Both this and the Wilkinson from Claremont library - where I also found the 3-song CD-5 of NPB’s “Swivelchair,” of which I’m not sure I still have a copy.) JL cancelled evening plans; quite tired, in bed just after 9.