Friday, July 18, 2003

Went to see Bodas de Sangre {Blood Wedding} in Chelsea last night. Amazing. The play was held in Mary O'Malley Park which is on the Mystic River. In the park I watched three futbol matches. Teams played on large boundry-less fields, each trying to hit the truck of a tree (marked by clothes hanging on the boughs. A few players were skilled & fit. Most were one or the other. Few if any fouls were called. The game was mostly about flow, though once the ball got near the marked tree the defenses (often seven or so backs) fell into a tight zone formation, making it very difficult for the attackers to squeeze the ball through. The players w/ the ball came up w/ some pretty inventive--if not always successful--solutions. Oh, & I forgot to mention that the trees were not necessarily in a line. They were just at opposite ends of the three large naturally shaped fields.

From the park I also saw various large freight carrying vessels. I could also see the Back Bay skyline.

But the play! The play!

The production of Bodas de Sangre (performed in Spanish, tonight it was to be performed in English but because of the rain earlier today they decided to hold it inside & by the time I got to the theatre there were no more seats--alas) took place in three locations w/in the park: on an outdoor stage (not raised), under some trees down toward the dock, & on the dock (w/ the Tobin Bridge looming ominously above us not a quarter mile off).

More comments still to come.

{For those interested--& I highly recommend the experience even for those w/o much Spanish since the plot is quite simple--the last show is tomorrow night at 730. Check out this link.}

Thursday, July 17, 2003

New on the blurb blog...

This Creeley blurb (of sorts) was sent in by Jim Dunn. Creeley wrote it in response to a war poem by Jim.

Thinking of your thoughtful poem, I loved the classic line from Blake -- "Fire delights in its form..." -- which years later a friend told me came from Blake's French Revolution and referred to the gathering mob. But fires are lovely in that dancing as you say. Energy doesn't know what it's doing -- but it is, as Blake again says, "eternal delight." I guess it's up to us to keep the occasions specific. Onward!
Long conversation w/ Patrick Doud, Ken Irby, Gerrit Lansing & Chuck Stein last night about weblogs (& the internet more generally). Sparked by Mark Lamoureux's comments about the ghost city and ghost intimacy which interested both Gerrit & me. At the end of the post (Saturday 7/12), Mark asks the key question: "As the ghost city grows, does the soft city {one's experience of the city} shrink? Anyone?"

For me, not yet. My "soft city" continues to expand here in Gloucester & even more so in the Boston-area {though that hasn't been *my* city for eight years}. I've been talking to my grandmother, who grew up in Somerville, about her soft Somerville & comparing it to mine. {Again I'm a visitor--though a frequent one--& she lived there.} Perkins Street is my next Somerville destination. I also plan to walk from my greatgrandparents' first house in West Somerville (shared by relatives) to the next house in East Somerville (shared by even more relatives after layoffs). Here's to soft cities! I want to hear (either in the ghost city or the hard city) about yours!

My ghost city has expanded too. I read weblogs & visit websites created by people whom I will never meet anywhere but in text. This ghost city, however, serves a specific function in my life. When I'm working at home or at school, it provides a quick escape up into the friendly observation tower of a ghost city. The computer screen is a window out from my classroom box or study box onto the ghost polis. I peer over the shoulder of friends typing on their keyboards at home & work. I read the *underground newspaper* of the *ghost city* over the shoulder of commuters, profs, hipsters, grandmothers, immigrants, tourists, etc. in the ghost subway. (Jim's recent astral projection review of the Silliman/Berger reading was not entirely unlike something from the dream newspaper in Ben Katchor's Julius Knipel comics.) But then I set this world aside & return to grading papers or reading Italo Calvino's _Invisible Cities_ or driving/walking through the hard city. There are other escapes from the boxes. Opening a window onto the ghost city is one.

If given the choice I'd still much rather talk--eat, drink, walk, throw a frisbee on the Cambridge Commons, watch kids play with a box of toys at Gerrit Lansing's house, marching w/ tens of thousands through the Back Bay, etc.--in the hard city, while contemplating my (& guessing or asking about your) soft city than peer into the ghost city from my window in the observation tower. But there is a risk of spending more time w/ the later than w/ the former.

The risk of ghost intimacy is less real to me. My soft city (cities) is (are) filled w/ people w/ whom I am intimate in one way or another. Growing & changing intimacies keep this port city interesting--but I am also lucky to have a measure of stability too. I'm very thankful for this. I wonder what others think about all this. Mark's question is a very important one; it cuts to the heart of the polis.
O.K. off to the library: {an integral part of my soft city.}
Oh before I forget...I plan to return to the class thread at some point but I first want to read _The Hidden Injuries of Class_ which I've just borrowed.
Lorca's Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre Free!!!
I plan to go tonight (for the original Spanish) & tomorrow night (for the English translation). I'm very excited! {Many thanks to Aaron Tieger for mentioning Macbeth on the commons--which reminded me of Bodas de Sangre on the Chelsea Waterfront--otherwise I'd've forgotten.

Here's the information:
These free performances of Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca are July 11-19, at 7:30pm. The production is staged environmentally in three locations in Mary O'Malley Park, Commandant's Way, on the Chelsea Waterfront (Admiral's Hill). English performances are Fri. July 11, Wed. July 16, and Fri. July 18. Spanish performances are Sat. July 12, Thurs. July 17, and Sat. July 19. In case of rain performances will be moved indoors to the Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea Square. For more information email us or call 617-887-2336.
from Blood Wedding
“This character does not appear in the cast.”


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

This from Mike County in response to my Creeley blurb blog request.

Creeley on Bill Berkon's Serenade:

"Serenade manages to make a track of immaculate clarity through all the too familiar fogs of habit and human illusion. With generous affection and unflagging wit Bill Berkson never misses a step-or the words that, again, say it all"

On Joe Lease's Human Rights:

" a remarkable accomplishment, telling a complex story of human rites and their often painful authority with a range of resources any poet would be blessed to command. This singular book marks the beginning of what promise to be in all senses a brilliant career."

On Blackburn's Selected:

"...was the city poet par excellence....the range and authority of his own gifts, both as poet and translator, claim a company with Olson's, Duncan's, Levertov's....the power of his heart yields to none."

On Whitman's Leaves of Grass:

"Some really fucking long lines here. I enjoyed it, but liked the film better. Very human."

Would that it were so--that blurbs were like this last one...even sometimes.
I read in the Globe yesterday that most Americans want unbiased reporting.
The Globe article also said that most Americans want patriotic reporting.
More from Gloucester History:

Fear of the French (1692-style)
or "Spectral Marauders"

Ebenezer Babson & his family reported hearing strange noises. People seemed to be running through their house. No one was there.

Later, Babson saw two strange men leave his house and disappear into a cornfield. He heard the men say, "the man of the house is come now else we might have taken the house."

Later still, Babson (who, Pringle--a Gloucester historian--writes, "seems to have experienced a monopoly of these occurences in the town") saw two strangers who looked like Frenchmen. Then, he saw six. He caught up to two of them & tried to shoot them down. Mysteriously his weapon misfired. Then he saw three. Successfully one was surrounded {by whom???} but as B. approached the body disappeared.

Soon Babson was to hear frenchmen walking about the garrison & talking loudly in the swamp. He was also shot at.

Ipswich sent sixty men to Gloucester to help subdue the "spectral marauders." Six women were imprisoned.

When the hubbub died down in Gloucester (& elsewhere), the women were released. None had been killed.

Reverend John Emerson issued this statement; seems everyone could save face:

"All rational persons will be satisfied that Gloucester was not harmed for a fortnight altogether by real French and Indians, but that the devil and his angels were the cause of all that befel the town."

& now, 2003, the French are boogeymen again.
{Whereas the role of indigenous peoples as boogeymen in the euro-imagination as proceeded unceasingly since first contact.}

Source: Pringle's History of Gloucester