June 6

Slept poorly. Up for good at 9. Post office; dry cleaner; some groceries. Lassitude in the lat am/early afternoon. Read the first item in Graeme Greene, 21 stories. Bree on the phone a lot trying to make an appointment to consult about the kidney stone. After that was settled, left at 2:30, went to a Think Coffee near Canal, worked on Gates/Signifyin(g) for about 3 hrs. Walked (v. close, hence choice of cafe) to Archive of Contemporary Music, made a quick pass through their record sale, spent $62 on the 2CD version of Dylan’s Trouble No More, some Trane, Hawkins, Ethel Waters, Eddie Cantor, 4 Brazilian CDs, a comp of 70s Venezuelan rock-psych, and an unfamiliar Billy Strayhorn LP. Went up to the Parkside Lounge to hear the Sam Phillips/Jules Shear tribute night Tom Shad and Dave Foster put together, with a bunch of good singers. Had 1 beer. Came home, finished listening to Unrest, Imperial f.f.r.r., read a few p. of Foot. Home 11, spent a while learning Everything But the Girl, “Each and Every One,” lights out 12:30.

June 4

Up at 7. Left at 8. Read Berman on train. Therapy; was a few minutes late. Had salmon/avacado toast and coffee, worked on the McClennan interview for about 90 min. Headed to Lincoln Ctr. Library. Got to work at 1:30. Drafted, trying to move quickly w/o too much correction, more of the race section. Accidentally closed the file w/o saving about 800 words in. More or less did it over, probably without losing anything brilliant (these are ideas I’ve been striving to get down for a while, however expressed), and went on a bit - saved around 1200 words at 4:40. Home around 6. Bree had gone for an ultrasound for her GI problems today, and they found an unrelated kidney stone! Strange, b/c she’s had no pain or other symptoms, and drinks more water than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. Waiting to schedule treatment. Rested for a bit, chatted w/ Bree, eventually got around to reshelving books together. Got several boxes emptied/off the floor/broken down, one box of smaller books and some strays left (as well as 2 boxes to sell, CDs that are also a storage problem, an amp I have to sell, and Bree’s unpacked/unhung paintings. Went out for a bite and bottled water for Bree, came home and finished Give Us The Ballot. I understand anti-electoralist arguments, but haven’t quite gotten myself to the place where I think of e.g. John Lewis as a dupe. Put on Matt Mitchell, Phalanx Ambassadors, but fell asleep pretty quickly. Lights out midnight. 

June 3

Up around 8, listened to some music on shuffle. Read more of Give Me The Ballot over coffee, and off and on after; made it to 250 by end of day. Bree was out for the morning. I started watching a lesser-known Errol Morris documentary (Tabloid, 2010), realized it was virtually a podcast with faces, so I kept it on while I rearranged some of our sheet music/LPs/books on the new shelves. Bree will need to organize her own stuff, but I got some piles off the floor. Had the call w/ writing coach from 2-4. Personable, asked some questions based on what I’d sent her, gave a kind of preliminary diagnosis, is supposed to write up a more formal response in the next 2-3 days. Won’t go into everything, but she’s confirming some things I know to some degree: I don’t have as much external support (e.g. trial readers) as I need, am probably guilty of “hoarding” work-in-progress, and should think seriously about how to cut down the scope of my project. (Painful, this last.) Headed downtown to meet some folks to hear Luc Sante read at Club Cummings (an East Village spot owned by Allan Cummings - not as glam as it sounds). Ran into David Nagler on the street on the way. Luc was great: a short piece on summer, and a longer one on the LES ‘80s moment (clubbing, drugs, music), and aging out of it. Also the poet Laura Sims, who has her first novel out, a very odd singer/pianist going by D. Treut, who interrupted simply structured songs with somewhat grandiose modern-classical/clustery passages, all while wearing a Metallica shirt and a Billy Jack hat, and - unannounced, but I’d been told, Deborah Harry, reading about her experience of 9/11 from a forthcoming memoir. Wanted to take a picture, but felt it gauche. Went w/ about half-a-dozen people for soft-serve ice cream and a nosh at the Odessa. On the way back, listened to most of Paul Bley, Complete Savoy Sessions (early trio recordings, largely of Carla Bley and Annette Peacock tunes, which I’d like to learn someday). Read another 10-12 p. or so of Tynes. Home just before midnight, collapsed pretty quickly. 

June 2

Up 7. Furniture assembly, w/ hired help about 9-12; moved stuff out of the way and broke down/took out packing material while they put it together. Made facebook event for June 8 show. Went to the corner to watch some of Queens Pride – saw a good synchronized cheerleading routine. Went to the corner Spent the later afternoon in Mt. Vernon for Brian Hartman’s 50th b-day; Jenny hired a brass band to surprise him at a neighborhood barbeque. Read (mainly on the train) another ¼ of Give Us the Ballot, listened to Olden Yolk, Living Theater (above average current indie-pop duo, sounds home recorded, didn’t really register the quality of their lyrics, but the female singer sounds a bit like Beth Kaplan from Salem 66, esp. on “Castor & Pollux”). Crashed hard when I got home around 9 – exhausted, overheated. Eventually read 20 or so p. of Jen Tynes, Hunter Monies. Good ear, elliptical but unpretentious in tone, otherwise not yet leaving a strong impression. In bed/lights out or good by 11:30.

June 1

Woke up too early again; heartburn mostly gone, but had a headache later on. Weight is down a bit. Took out recycling. Brought back a coffee, napped before I drank it. Started Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot. Narrative history of the fortunes of voting rights after the 1965 act, and decades of mainly Southern attempts to subvert its provisions. Unconfusing, workmanlike prose, which is totally fine. Made it to about p. 80 over the course of the day. Home tasks. Went out after 4, got another coffee at Devocion in downtown Brooklyn (don’t know what else to call the part of town around Hoyt-Schermerhorn), wrote some bits of the race section of the preface. Swiss-cheese, but got something down (after skipping 2 days; must do better in June). No wi-fi, which probably helped. Had time to kill between the cafe closing and the show I was going to: Looked in a Goodwill and found an academic book called Byron and Greek Love (i.e., homosocio/sexuality). Might not be involved w/ questions of form, but might be interesting in light of the relationship of “Byronic” rhyme to Tin Pan Alley craft (w/ its connotations of queerness and “wit,” esp. in Larry Hart). Skimmed, standing there, poems by Peter Gizzi and Thomas Sayers Ellis in a Tin House anthology - reminded me that I’m a little surprise Ellis’ project Heroes Are Gang Leaders is playing at the Vision Festival. I’m not going that night. 

Sat on a bench and read Craig Watson, Motes, entire. (Not a feat - 2 poems, each a title and 1-3 lines, per page [top + bottom]; if you printed 6/page, the book would be about 11 pages.) Afterword by Grenier, an obvious inspiration. Also early Coolidge, Adam Saroyan, & so on. Could imagining setting these as very short art songs (could project the titles). 

Henry Flynt at Issue Project Room. Well-attended. Amplified violin over loudish monochordal backing tracks, one Velvets/Krautrocky (though one of the main melody lines sounded like “Norwegian Wood”) the second (after a long intermission) drony. Had some sheet music up there, so I don’t think it was entirely “modal improvisation,” though those were elements. There’s an element of hokum to this whole crowd - Young, T. Conrad (who owned up to it more) - which is fine, but at this level of presentation/execution, hearing this kind of work isn’t a high priority.

Listened to Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille Devotion on train. Crisp - the more angular heads and clustery harmonic idioms stand out, though there are also extremely consonant passages. Douglas is the main composer, but he doesn’t play until the 2nd track, and Caine is at least as out-front overall. He goes into a cracked stride mode on “Rose and Thorn” (dedicated to Mary Lou Williams), w/ period woodblocks from Cyrille. Who’s very together, but subtle and economical - nothing to prove. Good record.

Home not long after 10. Took an aspirin. Read a bit more Berman, lights out 11.