arts, writing

New GlitterPony: Episode 3

Natalie Lyalin and I work on a Poetry Journal called GlitterPony.  Today we put out the third episode of GlitterPony.  It’s been a lot of work both on the design end and on the editorial end, but it is well worth it.

We are both pretty dang excited about the poems and the poets.

If you are at all interested in what contemporary poetry looks like you might want to head over.  I know a lot of people still think poetry is either Robert Frost, slam poetry, or people with berets snapping their fingers, but it isn’t.

There are people doing all sorts of interesting things. I’m not about to go saying that I know what is best, but I know what I like. I think that people today would appreciate poetry more if they saw that people are still doing exciting things with writing— that is to say we aren’t all lame-o’s like Billy Collins.


Sol LeWitt Passed Away

The conceptual artist Sol LeWitt died today (2007 April 09). He was born 1928 Sept 09 in Hartford, Connecticut. He died of cancer at the age of seventy-eight. He was a pretty great artist who influenced many and will be missed.

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.

Sol LeWitt

arts, technology

Electric Slide part 2

The plot thickens! Richard Silver, the man who claims to own the silly line dance known as the electric slide is now being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of Kyle Machulis. Kyle had uploaded a video onto youTube where, among other things, folks do the electric slide for about ten seconds. Silver said they were doing it wrong and infringing his copyright, so issued a DMCA takedown notice. The EFF is now suing Silver for violating Machulis’ right to free speech as a videographer.

While this seems like it’s just another part in a story that keeps getting more and more ridiculous it is actually pretty important. It isn’t important because the electric slide is a dance that we all need rights to (I would gladly wave that right if we can abolish the dance step from all history), but because the precedent that will be set. This is something that needs attention. Seriously. The issue is fair use, which is the issue that dominates most discussions about DMCA abuses. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is terribly problematic, mostly in that it hinders fair use, and (even more absurdly) free speech. Kudos to the EFF for taking on the issue, I’m proud to have donated to a organization dedicated to ensuring people’s rights extend into our current and future technologies. Without people like the EFF the electric slide could soon refer not to the dance, but to describe the trend of our digital rights.


Sand Animation

This is kind of neat. In this video Ferenc Cakó gives a kind of performance by sculpting sand on a projector, called sand animation… but it’s much more impressive than it sounds. Some of the images he creates are beautiful. It is interesting too that each image is only temporary (in physical form anyway). Which is reminiscent of Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas, which take days to make and are then destroyed shortly after completion (in part) as a reminder of the impermanence of things on earth. Regardless of the point it’s pleasant to watch.

Apparently this took place at Sicaf in 2003. Sicaf is an animation and cartoon festival that happens in Seoul every year.

The only thing I find slightly disturbing is Cakó’s attempt at copyright on his website:

Live Sand Animation © is the idea, and the creation of Mr Ferenc Cakó. He created the Live Sand Animation Show in 1994. Nobody else did this before him, therefrore [sic] it is Copyrighted all over the world.

It seems he wants to copyright the idea of sculpting sand on a projector with a live audience. I certainly wouldn’t argue that his performances could be copyrighted, but that’s where it ends. You can’t copyright an art form. Not yet anyway. And besides, as I mentioned above, people have been creating sand art for a while now so clearly his work is derivative.

arts, music, seattle

Weekend of Readings

This weekend I saw not one, but two readings.

The first was actual music, dance, and poetry (in that order). I don’t know what the schedule is for the Apostrophe series, but I know it happens regularly at Gallery 1412 (1412 18th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122) in good ol’ Capital Hill. I like the idea of having three different disciplines coming together for a lot of reasons. For one it gets people who are focused in different arts in the same room (both audience and performers).

This weekend’s Apostrophe wasn’t as good as the last one I saw, but it was good still.  I wasn’t sure about the dance, though it should be said that what I know about dance could barely fill an index card.  The music was just boring to me. It was just a guy on a laptop playing boring loops. If I want see someone working on their computer I’ll put a mirror in front of my desk.  But that isn’t what made it boring, the loops were the culprit.  In amateur opinion I decided that the problem was that the sounds didn’t layer well. They were mostly background— missing some vital foreground to catch my attention. The background was great as a background, but it just couldn’t do all the work.  The only way I could start to get interested was by thinking of the intention (ie. what is the artist saying about background, making background a foreground, etc).  And even then I was only theoretically interested, the music still left me bored. The poetry was nic, nothing ear popping, but nice.

The second reading was at Open Books.  One of my friends read along with another woman who I am not friends with. Clearly I am not impartial, but I can say with honesty & conviction that Monica Fambrough is a great poet and was the better of the two.  Her reading was a high point for the weekend.  Everyone should get her new chapbook Black Beauty.  You can also here her digitalized-over-the-phone-voice at on weird deer (go to the very bottom of the page).

arts, seattle

The PC is Funny

John Hodgman (I'm a PC)Tonight I saw John Hodgman read at the Elliot Bay Book Co. he wrote the book The Areas of My Expertise, which has an accompanying website. He is also famous for the Mac Vs. PC ads, in which he plays the PC.

The reading was part performance, which sounds like a dumb thing to say because what reading isn’t, but what I am saying is that his reading was much more a performance than most readings. More important was that it was more a performance than most readings without becoming annoying like performance/readings can sometimes be. His sidekick Jonathan Coulton had to skip out early for his own solo performance in town, but from what little I saw of him he was amazing. He’s got a website too, though I haven’t checked it out yet so I can’t say anything more. I can say that you should listen to his song “code monkey” which you can find right now at the bottom of this post… though I must say that it was better without the electric guitar & band, but what can you do? No, seriously, I’m asking.

The short of it is that I will definitely read Hodgman’s book, though I’m afraid it might not live up to the performance. I feel safe recommending that people look at the book and I definitely recommend going to see him if you get the chance. I’ve been told you can find out where he will be next from the Area of My Expertise website, so go there if you are at all interested. Be interested. He is smart, funny, and weird. That’s a pretty perfect combo in my opinion.