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Aug. 3rd, 2014 @ 11:05 am Harmonica.

Mar. 22nd, 2014 @ 10:01 am TONIGHT!

Jan. 26th, 2014 @ 11:56 am Laetoli.
A pure tone sung into an echo chamber was humanity's first special effect. Its lasting religiosity is also its imprint in our DNA. We'd all do well to revisit some old songs... ongs... ngs... gs... s.

Oct. 21st, 2013 @ 02:20 pm Antoinette, Suffragette.
A moratorium on use of the word "meh." "Meh" is an abbreviation of "My ennui hurts." "Meh" is one letter short of "meth." "Meh" evokes imagery of sore-eyed, over-entertained teenage shitheads whining because mommy forgot to bring home bon bons.

Ditto with "xoxo." "Xoxo" evokes an image of a lethargic game of tic-tac-toe where both players are stalemated by their own laziness.

I'd rather someone just be honest and burp.

Oct. 19th, 2013 @ 09:01 am Untitled (from "Defriendings")


A poem from my forthcoming chapbook is "Poem of the Week" over on THETHEPOETRY's site (thanks to the kind curation of Kevin Simmonds)! Please check it out here, and be sure to watch the accompanying video of the piece being read by indie music legend R Stevie Moore! I think that I want Stevie to do all of my readings from now on.

Oct. 14th, 2013 @ 01:43 pm Subliminal.


Last month, Modern Weekly, China's largest fashion and culture publication (with a readership of over 750,000!), published a feature article/interview that I did on Casey Spooner. It exists in print form entirely in Chinese, but the magazine said that I could share the English version here. I'm not sure where you can pick this up in the states, but if you can track it down, you'll see one incredible suite of photographs that artist Asger Carlsen took of Casey alongside the text. The shoot was produced by Adam Dugas, who also shot an accompanying video that is being screened as part of "A Shaded View On Fashion Film" at Centre Pompidou in Paris this week!


CASEY SPOONER
by Joseph Whitt

We live in a time of everything creating nothing, of invisible technologies and endless selfies, of algorithms autocorrecting imperfections, of singularities and sighs.
***
“Lessness,” says Casey. “Tell me what you think of that word.”

We’re standing in front of a temporary wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, wallpapered in flyers and street art, obscuring a blight of condominium construction.

“It has a nice economy,” I say.

Casey takes out a Sharpie and writes the word in all caps in a blank corner of the most compelling image plastered to the wall – a stark, impossibly contorted nude by an uncredited artist.

“You know Asger Carlsen, right? That’s his work. Look at the way he treats the body in that photograph.”

The form feels male but I’m not sure why, and reads as a hybrid of stone and flesh. There is no face to offer expression. Limbs and extremities have been turned in on themselves, deflated, or removed altogether with Photoshopped seamlessness. The result is a sort of precise abstraction of nudity.

“Lessness,” I say, pausing, my eyes darting back and forth from the word to the image.

Casey smiles and nods.

“It may be the title of the new record.”
***
I’ve been a witness to Casey Spooner’s creative process for the last 15 years, first as a fan, then as a writer, then as a friend. He is most famously the front man of Fischerspooner – a New York City-based performance art-pop collective that he founded with Warren Fischer in 1998. Their raison d’être in the early days was to deconstruct entertainment by pushing clichés of theatre and MTV to their limits within the context of itinerant spaces and art galleries. The group often included backstage preparation as part of their performances. They would enter the audience, interact directly with them, purposefully lip-synch songs badly, start and stop unexpectedly, then blow everyone’s mind with a perfectly choreographed routine. It was incredible to witness. Along the way, as budgets grew, wind machines, pyrotechnics and glitter cannons were added to the repertoire; and homemade wardrobes were replaced by requests from Parisian fashion houses to clothe Casey and his flanking army of dancers. An album of electronica followed. It became so popular that Fischerspooner’s brand of “meta-entertainment” reached mainstream music audiences on festival circuits, and then on international tours. A major record label picked them up, and suddenly Casey had to grapple with the place of performance art inside legitimate show business success.

***
“There’s a point when you create something and it escapes your intention and becomes something else.”

I’m getting a bit nostalgic as we walk further into Williamsburg. We pass a hangar-sized building on North 1st Street where, in 2004, Casey and Warren hosted a series of eclectic salons. Gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, who represented Fischerspooner at the time, provided the space initially as a stage for open rehearsals as the group conceived its second album. When the recording took longer than expected, Casey devised the salons as a solution to the question of how to extend and expand the group’s inclusive impulse. Friends and collaborators were invited to come and do screenings, readings, unveilings, and all manner of theater. This is where I began to meet Fischerpooner’s large circle of associates who seemed to be from every creative background imaginable. I also discovered that these kind of confluences were, and still are, a big part of how Casey becomes inspired and makes work.

“That was a transitional time. Our process had to change to suit the demands of a recording contract. Before Odyssey (the group’s second album), we would develop visuals – still photography and video – music, and choreography, all in tandem. After the signing, we felt a lot of pressure to compartmentalize… to work on each medium separately. I’d never worked like that before, but I learned a lot. I’ve always been a good multitasker, but nowadays, I multitask much more intuitively.”

In recent years, Casey has released a solo album and a third Fischerspooner record. In between conceptualizing and touring in service of both projects, he traveled (and continues to travel) as an actor in international productions of Hamlet by The Wooster Group, New York’s most well-known experimental theatre company. In 2012, Casey and his partner of 13 years, artist/writer Adam Dugas, co-created a feature film, Dust, that previewed at the Durban International Film Festival in Durban, South Africa this summer. And, Candy Magazine just published a suite of portrait photographs that Casey took of New York City’s emerging downtown performance crowd, many of whom he considers friends.

***
“Now you’re rehearsing for the role of Diomedes (in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida)?” I ask.

“I’m going in and workshopping for a couple weeks to see if I fit the production,” says Casey. “Wooster will preview it here in January, and these coming weeks are a bit of a test to see if I can do the part. I just have to memorize those damn Shakespearean lines!”

We agree to duck inside a coffee shop to escape the August humidity and begin an interview.

“I want to play you some of the demos that Warren and I’ve been working on (for the forthcoming Fischerspooner record). Then, let’s talk.”

So we sit down. Out comes a succession of espressos. And, I don a pair of earbuds…

Headlong, young, dumb and full of cum
You find you're all washed up
On some beach
You've pieced together from a teenage fantasy
Getting hard in the back of a bookstore
Searching for clues in a Bruce Weber volume
Dog-eared and beat up
You sneak a peek but you leave it on the shelf
A sacred tome you visit secretly

Now here you are
Now here you are”

[excerpt from “Oh Rio,” (work in progress)]

***
JW:  When we first began discussing these songs, you said that you were exploring a “new masculinity” – a kind of post-political maleness that lacked self-consciousness. Could you elaborate a bit about how that came about?

CS: I wasn't sure if I would ever make a Fischerspooner album again. I wondered if there was any relevance left in our core thesis of merging the avant-garde with entertainment. What once seemed radical had become status quo.

But then Warren and I decided to do a test last January, just see what would happen if we made a couple of songs. No pressure. It went well. We made a song in 3 days, and it was damn good. So, we knew we had to keep going. We had to admit that there was still some kind of magic between us.

Immediately after making this first song, we had discussions over a core topic. We always do this. We pick some idea to move towards. I knew I wanted to deal with love and sex and men. Sounds cliché but I wanted to reflect the new hyper-sexualized world that we live in. There has been a huge shift in the world, one that has influenced me and everyone around me. Cameras in everyone's hands. Apps to find anything and everything that you want at any time. A collective shift in what is permissible and possible. The end of privacy and an explosion in narcissism and desire.

JW: Do you think that the knowledge of always being watched makes someone behave less authentically? If privacy truly is a thing of the past, will we all end up simply… acting for one another?

CS: I find myself wanting to capture and share moments. Share them with strangers. I find myself peering into others' lives. I have feelings for people I don't know or care about. I find myself thinking in terms of status updates and posts.

But I also forget. I forget there is a camera. I forget what I have posted and where. I forget who I have met in person and who I have seen online. I am inundated with so much information that it all starts to blur. I stop caring. I give in. I over share.

I get so excited when I actually see someone in person. I get so excited when something happens in real life in real time.

JW: Your enthusiasm for "realness" is a sentiment that I see expressed a lot, especially on dating sites, in online profiles. It's often presented as a requirement in a potential partner. Yet it's also often placed alongside self-portraits airbrushed by Instagram, and checklists of rigid social, physical and sexual categories.

CS: It comes in waves. I am extroverted and connect with others, or I retreat into extreme privacy. Oddly, I am more private as of late. When I first began working on this album I was much more active online. One of the best interactions was a very philosophical chat that I had on Manhunt. I used its text in the bridge of the first song that we wrote: "There's language and coding here. Affinities and ties to others. An approach to thought that's let us both be brave. That's what a sexual revolution is, being brave and trusting." I like this sentiment. I like its positivity in describing a world that is open and free sexually. Fearless.

But this new material isn't all about technology and homosexuality. I would say that it is more in general about the emotional complexity of sexuality. Trying to show love and lust as compatible, and both as holding great depth. Finding the profound in the erotic. Attempting to understand the elusive nature of desire and how it ties back into our notions of romantic love. There is a segregation between romantic love and hard sex that exists. A strange double standard that needs to be obliterated.

JW: You're exploring the dialogues of classical antiquity, of éros and agápe.

CS: I always end up finding inspiration in art and history. It's not intentional but it is my instinct. There is usually a touchstone artwork that gives me a clue to where I am headed and what I am trying to say. When I make a Fischerspooner album I work on all aspects simultaneously. Image, sound, and text all form and influence each other. Asger Carlsen is that clue for me. His nudes tell me there is a way to deal with the body and sexuality that resonates in our fully digitized world. A bare form brightly lit that can't possibly be real. Yet somehow I can relate and connect to these bodies. They scramble my circuits and confuse my reading of the physical. They trigger feelings. They are metaphors for emotions.

Hidden and undefinable emotions made manifest in dysmorphia.

Oct. 7th, 2013 @ 08:03 pm Me. Now.

Aug. 20th, 2013 @ 11:42 am My sense of humor often gets me into trouble.

Aug. 18th, 2013 @ 02:50 pm Black Hole.

Jun. 25th, 2013 @ 10:49 pm In Vino Veritas.


My friend Wendy once placed a beer bottle on a pedestal inside a RISD gallery in 1997. With a bit of subterfuge, she fed the clinking tinny sounds of our favorite dive bar into the cavity of the glass. If gallery-goers were curious enough to place an ear to the green lip of a Rolling Rock, they would hear the last call of a conch shell, looping faintly… barely. I always considered this an act of faith – to whisper wisdom in a house of doubt. But, this is art’s function.

Maybe all real art is simply the memorabilia of a proper friendship.

May. 30th, 2013 @ 10:35 am Cénacle.


Cénacle: An Evening of Incantation and Monology Beneath the New Moon

Saturday, June 8, 2013, 8 pm

INTERSTATE PROJECTS is pleased to present Cénacle: An Evening of Incantation and Monology Beneath the New Moon, featuring performances by Joseph Keckler, Xeňa Stanislavovna Semjonová, Samantha Thornhill, Anthony Thornton, Mary Walton, Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy, and Joseph Whitt.

Taking its title from a literary coterie formed around early leaders of the Romantic movement in France, this eclectic gathering of poets and performers aims to invoke the venturous spirit of an intimate salon. The gallery’s outdoor courtyard provides the night sky as a backdrop to a lively succession of soliloquies.

Joseph Keckler is a singer, writer, musician, and interdisciplinary artist whose concerts and performance pieces have been seen at SXSW, New Museum, Joe’s Pub, Afterglow Festival, and many other venues. He has received residencies from MacDowell and Yaddo, a 2012 Franklin Furnace Grant, and a 2012 NYFA Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Work. His latest show, I am an Opera, was commissioned by Dixon Place and premiered in April 2013. He recently appeared as a featured performer on BBC America's The Nerdist.

Xeňa Stanislavovna Semjonová is a poet, artist, and translator living in New York City. Originally from Slovakia, she has performed in venues such as Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club, The Poetry Project, RADAR, SPECTRUM NYC, Strange Maine, Happy Endings, GRRRLS on FILM, and others. Her play Subtext will be presented this year at the Alchemical Theatre Lab in NYC. She is the Editor of Juice, a new publication featuring queer experimental fiction and verse.

Samantha Thornhill is a writer, poet and performer living and working in New York City. She travels the globe performing her works to audiences at universities, schools, and festival stages from Johannesburg to Budapest to Brooklyn. She teaches poetry to actors in training at the Juilliard School, and also serves as writer in residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters. Her poems have been featured in Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, Poets and Artists Magazine, Cimarron Review, The Louisville Review, Two Review, African American Review and Faultline.

Anthony Thornton is a New York-based poet, archetype-in-transit and muse. He has performed at Strange Loop Gallery, The Spectrum, Envoy Enterprises and Starr Space. He is the subject of works by Matthias Hamann and Marco Anelli, and is slated to appear in the forthcoming issue of Beauty Today. Anthony will be reading from his newest release, The Morning Star, a chapbook bubbling over with chthonic free-verse tirades.

Mary Walton is a New York-based poet. She has been a featured reader for Swingers (Codex), EARSHOT!, Turnstyle, Upstairs at Erika's and the Bushwick Sweethearts reading series. Her work has appeared in The Tulane Review, Poetry in Performance, and Promethean. She is currently at work on her latest chapbook, Beginner’s Places.

Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy (a.k.a. Victor Allen Crawford III) is an artist, designer, author, re-explorer, failed dandy, tin grandee, gentleman trespasser, bushwhacking aesthete, parenthetical naturalist, pseudo-intellectual, and a middle-aged dilettante. Having taken a solemn vow to do as little in life as possible, Whimsy was dismayed one morning to discover that he had accidentally wrote, designed, and illustrated The Affected Provincial’s Companion, Volume One (Bloomsbury 2006), which has been optioned for film by Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil. His face and his words have graced the hallowed pages of The New York Times, Interview, Frieze, Vice, Tin House, and Art in America.

Joseph Whitt is an artist, writer and independent curator living and working in New York City. His work has been presented at MOMA PS1, Eyebeam, PPOW Gallery, Deitch Projects, CRG Gallery and Envoy Enterprises, and has been reviewed in The New York Times, Flash Art, and Sculpture. His writings have appeared in Art Papers, ArtUS, Useless Magazine and K48. His debut chapbook, 09.29.12, was recently published by T.M.I. Ltd.

Limited edition publications and broadsides by the artists will be offered for sale at this event.

Interstate Projects focuses on young, emerging artists, and works to connect artists and ideas from across the country. The gallery is located in Bushwick at 66 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY 11237. Our hours are Friday – Sunday 12 – 6 and by appointment. For further information or images contact Tom Weinrich, tom@interstateprojects.com, or visit www.interstateprojects.com.

Directions: L train to Morgan Ave. The gallery is located on the first floor of 66 Knickerbocker Ave, with the entrance to the gallery located inside a gated outdoor courtyard.

May. 9th, 2013 @ 08:37 pm Don Evans, 1939-2013.
I just sent this remembrance to the Nashville Scene, who asked me to provide a reminisce for an article coming out next week:

My favorite memories of Don are from the early 90’s when I was a student in his classes in the Cohen Building on Vandy’s Peabody campus. This was when Cohen’s entrances wafted sawdust, turpentine and darkroom developer, and WRVU blasted out of tinny radios inside the studios. During class, Don would often approach me slowly, stare at my overwrought artwork for a few seconds, then either shake his head or burst into laughter. Then, he’d walk away. Of course, this would send me into a navel-gazing, sulking fit no matter how many sorority girls claimed they loved my work. Once, Don let me occupy an entire room by myself for weeks to work on a painting while the rest of the class painted a nude model in the classroom. I never explained that I secretly harbored a crush on the model and feared that staring too long at his pert splayed body would turn me gay. Don helped me dodge a bullet there. I also remember when two lesbian students built a four foot tall slippery papier-mâché penis in Don’s Multimedia class and later performed a “phallus worship” ritual. Actually, now that I think about it… that’s probably what made me gay. Another time, I did a project that required me to recite some text into a microphone and I cringed upon hearing my thick southern accent in playback. When I rerecorded it and tried to articulate my words in a more sterile way, Don admonished me, saying “I don’t like it. And I don’t know why you’re speaking like that. Your accent is really beautiful.” During my senior year, I spent spring break sleeping inside Cohen because the dorms were closed and I couldn’t go back home to my parents’ house. I’d hide from the campus police who’d patrol the buildings each night, and asked the janitor not to snitch on me. Don walked in very early one morning and found me sound asleep on a toweled pedestal that he’d made to support a life drawing model. He gasped and initially thought I was dead. But I wasn’t. And neither is he. He never will be.

May. 2nd, 2013 @ 07:23 pm A Beginner’s Guide to Little Marrowbone Repair.
I just received word that Don Evans, a man who I very dearly love and admire, is unexpectedly, gravely ill. Don is the most important artistic influence in my life. He was my first art professor at Vanderbilt, and welcomed me into his family as a student, a son, and a kindred spirit during one of the most difficult, lonely and turbulent periods of my life. I know that you're surrounded by many caring voices right now, but I just want to tell you that I love you Don. I love you, so SO much. You saved my life. I want to get on a plane and fly down to the farm right now so I can be with you and Sheryl. The inclusiveness and buoyancy of who you are is a giddy, jumping light in your heart effortlessly changing everyone around you every day. I don't want to know a world without you.

A few years ago, I wrote an article (below) about the history of his life and work for a Nashville-based art magazine. I'd like to post it here tonight:

I was nineteen, entering a room painted black, prodded by peer pressure to sit cross-legged in a semicircle around a man seated meditatively in a chair. Hushed conversations surrounded him – gasps, giggles, interrogative whispers slowly petering into total silence. The man’s eyes were gently shut, his white beard almost glowing, made iridescent from a single spotlight beaming overhead – the only light in the room. “This must be the place.” he sighed, gazing past us. “I’m Don Evans. Who are you? Really, should you be here?”

Twenty soundless seconds elapsed. And he began again, unfolding a story about a recent campfire conversation that he’d had with a handful of close friends about the nature of creative activity. He explained various arguments and responses. He noted, with an increasingly measured intensity, how the debate lasted well into the night, and that the crescendo of everyone’s efforts seemed to culminate, as embers cooled and mosquitoes feasted, in one unanimous conclusion - that “Art is... ‘I want you to be me.’”

Sixteen years later, I find myself thinking back to that sentence – my introduction to Don, a man who directly inspired my decision to “do stuff,” as he would say – to make art, to write, to build and seek out communities of like-minded friends, inventors, and instigators. His definition of art was a dare. 1991 was a different time, and to a shy sophomore nerd, “be me” was a call-to-arms echoed in the weary invitations of a burgeoning counterculture. “Our little tribe has always been, and always will until the end,” wafted from my dorm radio, into Vandy Lambda meetings, into preppy minds covered in khaki. For me, this darkened classroom littered with video cables, pedestals, mannequins, televisions and posterboard soon became a real Nirvana. And some amongst this quiet group of gawkers eventually spoke up, and invented, and became my first true friends outside of my hometown.

For many, Evans’s thirty-two year tenure in Vanderbilt University’s Department of Fine Arts remains a touchstone. It continues to influence at least three generations of student-artists and colleagues, many of whom still cite the galvanizing experience of his mentorship as a formative moment in their lives and careers.

“He was the most progressive educator I ever met,” admits Vanderbilt sculpture professor Michael Aurbach. “Don’s classes in painting, drawing, and multimedia relentlessly demanded that students stretch, improvise, and rely upon themselves. I really believe that his main educational strategy was to give students an opportunity to give themselves permission to do something. He also believed that making art was research in the purest sense, because one had to come up with the ideas and the methodologies independently. One of the things that he passively reinforced in my own teaching was that there are no cut-and-dried formulas for making art.”

Evans accepted Vanderbilt’s invitation to teach in 1969. It was a transitional year when conceptual strategies and performance were enjoying high visibility in the contemporary art world thanks to the antiauthoritarian influence of artistic movements such as Dada, Pop and Fluxus. “My interest in time and spatial composition, especially as a group effort with specialists in all creative fields, began with a collaboration that I did with electronic composer Roger Hannay in 1967,” recalls Evans. “I was completing graduate school in Chapel Hill (at the University of North Carolina), and ‘Multimedia’ as it is known now was not recognized as a genre, especially within academia!”

An affordable glut of war surplus film equipment and three years of service in the army prior to college provided Evans with the access and inspiration to stage Live And In Color – his and Hannay’s “concerto of movie projectors.” It consisted of four white screens arranged end to end, four film projectors positioned to create a twenty-foot-long composite image, and an audience. “UNC’s media center had an incredible archive of old, unused stock footage,” says Evans. “I was allowed to cut, splice and assemble it to my heart’s content. Roger provided a soundtrack which proved to be the perfect compliment. And, we shared authorship of the piece with four randomly selected audience members whom I would instruct, beforehand, to start and stop the projectors in rough synch with Roger’s music. In terms of utility, I suppose it seemed a natural extension of the training films that I’d watched in the army. To make something in this way – collaboratively and in service of people – seemed practical, instructional and less precious than anything that I’d produced in private. It certainly wasn’t easel painting. It felt like painting, but with time. Each time that we staged it, the results were different.”

In the early 70's, Evans became increasingly recognized for his cooperative “happenings.” For Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring festival in 1970, he enlisted the help of students to construct an inflatable polyethylene dome on Alumni Lawn. An improvised construction method was used that involved ironing together small geometric shapes to produce a large undulating abstraction, which soon became the talk of the campus and prompted coverage in several Nashville newspapers. During this time, Evans was also introduced to Gilbert Trythall, an experimental composer who taught at neighboring Peabody College’s electronic music program using nascent Moog technology.

“We became instant friends,” says Trythall. “At the time, Don was mesmerized by the potential of monophonic synthesizers. So, for our first collaboration, Programmatic Sensorium (1971), I composed a twenty-minute score with a Moog IIIc which was broadcast through loudspeakers that Don had placed at four corners of a silk inflatable parachute dome. We inflated it in view of a large audience, and provided remote controls which operated several slide projectors which beamed images onto the fabric.”

Two years later, the audience was asked to enter a similar inflatable to experience One Full Rotation Of The Earth – a 55-minute slow-motion opus that added a troupe of dancers from Fisk University and four film projectors to Sensorium’s media arsenal. Trythall produced a minimalist soundtrack characterized by one extended undulating note of “C,” in response to Evans’s initial desire to create an experience lasting twenty-four hours.

“Gil objected to the length, but succeeded in slowing down time anyway,” recalls Evans. “The dancers moved at half-speed, slipping in and out of the projected light. Montages of imagery surrounded the viewer, which combined with Gil’s gorgeous mantra, produced an immersive, womb-like effect. We were also awarded a grant for the piece which allowed us to tour the southeast. And, our list of collaborators expanded ten-fold.”

Evans’s creative partners became known as the Little Marrowbone Repair Corporation - a name gleaned from an experience that Evans had at a wholesale electronics store that refused to sell to individuals without a business account. He invented the name on the spot, using the street name in his home address.

“Four words,” laughs Trythall, recounting the story. “By... any... means... necessary. The people who gravitate to Don are workers, invariably of an inventive turn of mind – an incredibly diverse group of people who see fun in both the process and end result of making things happen.”

In the 80's and 90's, Little Marrowbone’s conscription reached its broadest point, enabling Evans to stage some of the most complex projects of his career. In venues as prestigious as Washington DC’s Corcoran Gallery of Art and locales as distant as Hong Kong, he continued to question revered notions of authorship by recruiting local collaborators and surrendering portions of control. The results were wildly unpredictable, and curators were often unnerved.

“At the Corcoran, I was afraid that one front row audience member was going to have to be taken out on a stretcher,” exclaims Evans. “He had a violent coughing fit in the middle of Terminal Opera (1986), which was this very somber scripted piece, and stumbled out! We’d filled the space with smoke, but learned later that he may have been asthmatic. The director was so irate, and called me the next day, asking what I’d put in the smoke – ‘If that smoke is oil-based and gets into our ventilation system, do you know what it will do to our collection?’ Luckily, we used a detergent-based smoke. But, that was one scary situation. We were always unintentionally distressing someone.”

Work on Terminal Opera began in 1981, and centered on a libretto written by Evans’s wife and longtime artistic partner Sheryl. Trythall provided a score that was fleshed out by the inclusion of a classically trained soprano and baritone.

It was also around this time that Little Marrowbone attracted a crowd nearly three-thousand strong onto the lawn of Nashville’s Parthenon to witness Luxikon 2, “the most beautiful piece that we ever did,” according to Evans. Prior to the event, local artist Buffy Holton photographed the sculptures on the building’s pediment so that they could be viewed head-on. She later hand-tinted the images and projected them onto the steps and pillars facing West End Avenue. For fifteen minutes, twenty-one volunteers stood very still in front of Holton’s projection, dressed in togas and sheets, posing in positions identical to the gods.

“It was a true tableau vivant,” says Evans, smiling broadly. “Kathie Denobriga of independent regional theatre group ‘Alternate R.O.O.T.S.’ directed all of the participants. For the finale, my friends Wendell Davis and Jack Duncan put dozens of pinwheels over a wooden lattice, attached it to a vehicle called The Buffoonmobile and drove it past the tableau during the crescendo of Gilbert’s score. Smoke bombs were thrown in front of them, and the drive-by created whirlwind rainbows in the smoke and an unreal 3D effect with the projections. Large mortar fireworks also shot up from behind the building and filled the sky as Billy Preston, another friend of ours who played Zeus, broke his pose and raised his hands heavenward. The moon was full that night. Everything just seemed to say ‘YES!’”

“Once, I told Don that I’d always wanted to ride a rocket into outer space, look back and see the Earth floating in the darkness,” grins John Hadley, Evans’s friend of thirty-six years. “A few days later he called and said that I’d better get my suit and helmet ready because the rocket that would blast me into space was already being built!”

“Did you know that he was a Unibomber suspect,” adds New York sculptor Doug Schatz, who cites Evans as an important mentor. “That is a good story. I got my state explosives license because of Don.”

Hadley and Schatz were instrumental in many of Evans’s millennial pyrotechnic projects that took place on his farm in Joelton, Tennessee and at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Thousands witnessed these events, which seemed to build on the successes of Luxikon 2 and other smaller-scale pieces staged in the interim. Burial In Space (1999), Bone (2000), and Burning Banjos I and II (2000-2001) featured thirty-foot-high wire-and-cloth effigies of guitarists, fireproof suits, flame-shooting hats, ramps, film crews, and bands playing live underneath vibrantly colored hand-painted prosceniums. Unsurprisingly, at the time of his retirement from teaching in 2001, Evans seemed more of an evangelical Pied Piper to many in Nashville’s art circles than a professor.

“Especially now, what sets Don apart is the life-confirming element of his art.” says Hadley. “People from all walks of life sense that, gravitate to that, lend their skills, bodies, hearts, souls, and time to that aspect of his personality, often on a grand scale, just because it's fun, exciting and beautiful! Don and Sheryl celebrate life like no two people I have ever known. If you are lucky enough to receive their invitation to ‘do something’ out on the farm, by all means go! You won’t be sorry. It just may change your life.”

Apr. 18th, 2013 @ 10:07 am A Valley Cottage.
Can you get through this life with a good heart? "Yes," he said. His eyes are a master class in love.

Apr. 15th, 2013 @ 10:01 pm Put the right letters together and make a better day, America.

Apr. 11th, 2013 @ 08:49 am The Dream-Life of Words.

The Dream-Life of Words
An Evening of Performance and Readings at Eyebeam
540 West 21st Street, NYC 10011
Saturday, May 18th, 2013
5:00-6:30 pm

What is the dream-life of digital words as they lay flat on a screen, quietly acquiescing? Can they be satisfied with the momentary puffs of arranged air or do they want something thicker, heavier? Do words dream about becoming sheafs of blank paper or a screen marked only by a blinking cursor? Or do they just want a body of their own? Do they want your body?

Join Wendy S. Walters, Joseph Whitt and Joon Oluchi Lee + Roddy Schrock for an evening of performance and readings exploring the dream-life of words and their electronic lives.

Wendy S. Walters is the author of two collections of poetry: Troy, Michigan (forthcoming from Futurepoem Books in 2013) and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. She was a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and her recent work has been published in Bookforum, The Iowa Review, Coldfront, Seneca Review, Seattle Review, and Harper’s Magazine. She is Associate Professor of Poetry at Eugene Lang College and a co-founder of the First Person Plural Reading Series in Harlem.

Joseph Whitt is an artist, writer and independent curator living and working in New York City. His work has been presented at MOMA PS1, PPOW Gallery, Deitch Projects, CRG Gallery, Envoy Enterprises and elsewhere. His writings have appeared in Art Papers, ArtUS, Useless Magazine and K48.

Roddy Schrock creates sound objects rooted in embodiment and the visceral impulse to communicate. He has lived and worked in Tokyo, the Netherlands, Northern California. He now lives in Brooklyn with his partner, and muse, Joon. He studied at Mills College and the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Joon Oluchi Lee is a text and body-maker. He is the author of “The Joy of the Castrated Boy,” lipstickeater.blogspot.com, and girlscallmurder.tumblr.com. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and is a professor at Rhode Island School of Design, where he teaches courses on prose-making, performance theory, and gender studies. Lee lives in Brooklyn with his partner Roddy and handbags.

Apr. 3rd, 2013 @ 09:58 am OU812.
When he slipped me his deets,
I felt like a fortune cookie,
because his name was my future,
and his phone number was the only lottery pick I'd ever need.

Apr. 2nd, 2013 @ 11:53 am A moratorium on the word "like" in poetry, please.
I've been invited by the French government to fly to the village of Montignac next month where I will be DJ'ing a blistering one-night-only set of Bjork's "Medulla" chopped and screwed inside the Apse of the Lascaux Caves. I've asked Werner Herzog to do the door. Text me for guest list.

Mar. 25th, 2013 @ 09:35 am Tanning Bed For The Ego.

Mar. 24th, 2013 @ 10:42 pm An Evening of Recitation and Song.

Mar. 2nd, 2013 @ 05:17 pm Currency.
Perhaps you've heard this before, perhaps you know this already, but inside all of our electronic echo chambers of self-interest lies a simple need for mutual understanding and belonging. The First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament (1 Timothy 6:10) starts "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." Money is a piece of paper. Money is a bit of light on a screen at the end of a swiping action of a piece of plastic. Plastics are made from oil. And oil is running out, like the world's collective patience in weathering consequences of the biggest pyramid scheme of all... the world economy. When the lights finally go out and our cars won't start and our trains won't run, we will still have each other - the people around us - and our stories, and our music, and our sex. Eye contact with neighbors will be necessary. And this will be a good thing. After all, if you have peace in your heart, your friends can see status updates in your eyes.

Jan. 21st, 2013 @ 12:31 am Magellan.

Jan. 18th, 2013 @ 10:15 am Tomorrow Night!


INTERSTATE PROJECTS is pleased to present Apple Express: A Film by Rbt. Sps. Completed in 2005, and premiered here for the first time publicly, Apple Express is a 40-minute VHS document of a virtually parentless household in Paris, Tennessee. It is a documentary in the most abstract sense, lending its narrative direction to the filmmaker’s gradual (and some would argue, dangerous) immersion into the daily lives and illicit habits of a group of abandoned, maledicted teenagers. Subject and author are blurred to such an extent that it becomes difficult to determine which artistic choices were made by Sps. and which were deigned by serendipity. Remarkably sophisticated for the then 20-year-old artist, Apple Express remains an incomparable document of a perpetually present-tense midnight of adolescence.

Rbt. Sps. (b. 1984, Paducah, Kentucky) is a multimedia artist whose specialties include video, printmaking, and assemblage. As a lifelong resident of the Deep South, Sps.’s work deals predominately with rural eccentricities and extremes viewed through an often autobiographical, uniquely analog lens. In addition to this screening, the artist’s work has also been featured in the 2008 Vienna Biennale (Austria), in Magic For Beginners (2011 group exhibition, P.P.O.W. Gallery, NYC), at Antena Gallery (Chicago, Illinois), and at Space 204 at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee). 

Interstate Projects has commissioned a limited edition print and a multi-channel video installation by the artist especially for this occasion. Both will be on view in the main gallery during the event.

Interstate Projects focuses on young, emerging artists, and works to connect artists and ideas from across the country. The gallery is located in Bushwick at 66 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY 11237. Our hours are Friday – Sunday 12 – 6 and by appointment. For further information or images contact Tom Weinrich, tom@interstateprojects.com, or visit www.interstateprojects.com

Directions: L train to Morgan Ave. The gallery is located on the first floor of 66 Knickerbocker Ave, with the entrance to the gallery located inside a gated outdoor courtyard.

Jan. 3rd, 2013 @ 09:49 am Generative Grammar.

Dec. 24th, 2012 @ 01:20 pm The Song Inside.
Being hated will do a number on your head if you're a halfway sensitive person. Being hated by your family will put you in the position of questioning why you came into being in the first place. Are born orphans to be envied or pitied? Sometimes I think that all mental illness comes from disconnectedness that has just gone on for too long. There may come a time when I have no money and no home and no friends and no lover, and I will have to rely on the simple experience of witnessing beauty to keep me alive, to have faith that time will bless me with clear mind and sunrises. Maybe we all achieve a kind of rootlessness through fault or no fault of our own, and the grand test is to still know our path forward. What am I trying to say? I know that the love and laughter that I've put into the world has made the world a better place. The flying seed of a dandelion certainly doesn't look sad. I think that it actually isn't sad, and I shouldn't be either. And neither should you.

Dec. 9th, 2012 @ 11:51 am My astral body is overweight.
There once was a time when I couldn't kill a large bug with my bare hands. My grandfather used to do it all the time in his wood shop and it freaked me out as a kid. But now I do it all the time. I don't even wince. I think this means that I have finally grown up, or at least accepted karmic hierarchy.

Nov. 11th, 2012 @ 02:39 pm Möbius Dei.
Given all that language can accomplish, shouldn't the unabridged dictionary be our holiest book?

Nov. 6th, 2012 @ 03:00 pm In Bloom.


Then one morning, exactly at sunrise, she suddenly showed herself.

And, after working with all this painstaking precision, she yawned and said:

"Ah! I am scarcely awake. I beg that you will excuse me. My petals are still all disarranged..."

But the little prince could not restrain his admiration:

"Oh! How beautiful you are!"

"Am I not?" the flower responded, sweetly. "And I was born at the same moment as the sun..."

The little prince could guess easily enough that she was not any too modest-- but how moving-- and exciting-- she was!

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Oct. 27th, 2012 @ 10:05 pm Applause is weird, when you really think about it.

Oct. 11th, 2012 @ 06:55 pm Math Club.
Paul Ryan reminds me of that guy in high school who was a grade ahead of you, you never met or talked to, was on some obscure forgotten sports team like lacrosse or intramural badminton, and in every picture in the yearbook his gawky ears and distended adam's apple never quite jibed with his misplaced expression of confidence.

Sep. 24th, 2012 @ 03:38 pm A Cappella.

Sep. 22nd, 2012 @ 06:59 pm Amuse Bouche.
"I'm no longer spreading myself thin," said the butter to the bread. "I'm made for sweeter tastes that go over your head."

Aug. 23rd, 2012 @ 09:24 pm Babel Salon.


My friend Alberto Cortes has invited me to give a private reading next Sunday as a part of his new performance series - BABEL SALON! It'll be moi solo sharing stories, poems and all manner of emotional nekidness on a couch w/ coffee. If you're in Brooklyn that night and wanna come (it starts at 7:30 pm), let me know ASAP and I'll get you on the list. I think he's capping RSVPs at around 20, and directions get sent out with confirmation.


Jul. 30th, 2012 @ 05:36 pm Alabama is a Native American word meaning "goddamn."
Every guy in my hometown is 28, is named Travis, and is "on disability." Every girl in my hometown is 22, is named Britney, and wants to be "a pharmacist as soon as the kids are old enough."

Jul. 24th, 2012 @ 06:27 pm Rumspringa!

Jul. 24th, 2012 @ 03:30 pm Siddhartha.
Who is the most famous person in this room? Who makes the most money in this room? Who married for the money in this room? Who am I surprised to see in this room? Who have I had sex with in this room? Who do I want to have sex with in this room? Who's lived the most interesting life outside of this room? How do I get out of this room?

Jul. 16th, 2012 @ 03:19 pm Irwin Chusid with the Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia, "Worship Me" (March 2012)

Jul. 5th, 2012 @ 07:44 pm Illuminaughty.


CODEX is proud to present:

SWINGERS: An Evening of Readings
featuring Evan Burton, Max Steele, Anthony Thornton, Mary Walton and Joseph Whitt


Saturday night, July 14th 2012
Doors: 8:00 p.m., Performances: 9:00 p.m. (sharp)

FREE
Open bar provided

Music: weisenheimer

This is event is strictly RSVP ONLY. If you wish to attend, please RSVP as soon as possible to codexeventlist@gmail.com. If there is space available, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to you the following day. If not, the venue has been booked past capacity.

Directions: CODEX is located at 600 Johnson Avenue., Brooklyn NY 11237 (one block from the Jefferson L train stop in Bushwick). 

Evan Burton has been writing poems since he could read. His first poem was about his grandmother sleeping on the couch on Christmas morning. It was a marginal success. Evan is completing his MFA at The City College of New York, and is a resident of Brooklyn. He is published in The Promethean, Gigantic Sequins Magazine, and Un-Mute.

Max Steele is a performer and writer. He has presented work at the New Museum, Rapture Cafe, Deitch Projects, Envoy Enterprises, and the Queens Museum of Art. He writes the psychedelic porno poetry zine Scorcher, and is an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. 

Anthony Thornton is a New York-based artist, poet and muse. He has been the subject of works by Matthias Hamman and Marco Anelli, appeared in the most recent issue of Scott Hug's K48, and has performed and exhibited at Envoy Enterprises and Starr Space.

Mary Walton is a graduate student in the creative writing program at City College and lives in Inwood, unless you need a roommate in September. Her poems have appeared in The Promethean, Poetry in Performance and The Tulane Review

Joseph Whitt is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer and independent curator. His work has been featured in exhibitions and events at various venues (CRG Gallery, Deitch Projects, PPOW, Envoy Enterprises, Starr Space), and his writing has appeared in numerous publications (Art Papers, ArtUS, K48, Useless Magazine).


Jul. 2nd, 2012 @ 04:04 pm AC 180°.
It's easy to be cynical and joke about Anderson, but I'm finding myself really just very proud of him. His letter is so eloquent and well-considered in this climate of extremes. The only reason that the Renaissance occurred is because a surge of reason reached a critical mass against entrenched superstition. Let's make it cool to ridicule the ignorant again in service of beauty. Can that be the new gay agenda? I think I'll do a Kickstarter for that.

Jun. 24th, 2012 @ 04:16 pm Pride.
In the midst of Mardi Gras, I'm the empty train outta town baby, the juicy burger when you bingeing, piano vibrato reaching carpeted floor and bouncing back with all the warmth of grandparent love into your ears, tonight.

Jun. 17th, 2012 @ 06:30 pm Happy Pappy Day.
When I was growing up, I'd watch my daddy walk in the door from a 13-hour day, smelling like a BBQ pit, put his bag down, and cradle my mother in his arms for 5 minutes. In-between kisses he'd ask my mother how her day was, what was for supper, and if she'd killed the kids yet. This happened every day. Sometimes, it still happens.

Jun. 14th, 2012 @ 09:03 pm I don't remember.


Jun. 4th, 2012 @ 09:08 am Mountains.
If what people did for a living was proportional to their rightful wage, then this is what a typical day in the life of a billionaire would look like.

May. 28th, 2012 @ 07:27 pm Untitled (1997)

May. 24th, 2012 @ 11:09 pm Endcap.
Crass and shrill
wet hen egos,
weeble-bodied prison cafeteria minds,
all sore stubbed toes,
close-set eyes and jowls.
Temper temper 
Hubba Bubba.

May. 16th, 2012 @ 10:03 pm Interview With The Vampire.
This hypergesticulation disorder only gets worse as I get older. By the time I'm 80, I'll only be able to string together a sentence if I'm voguing simultaneously.

May. 7th, 2012 @ 11:29 pm The fear of exploring folds inside my navel lest they unravel and spill my guts.

May. 2nd, 2012 @ 07:42 pm Family Reunion.

Apr. 14th, 2012 @ 10:58 pm Prior to "the downside of starting to pay attention."

Apr. 9th, 2012 @ 02:19 pm Our Mutiny.
Our challenging friendship
became the intimacy between lovers,
became the clairvoyance amongst kin,
became the illumination of all learning
that is
at its heart
a process of remembering.

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