Chinese New Year's Eve 2010

Susanne Messmer and George Lindt, Beijing Bubbles (2005, although my box says 2007).

As the fireworks have been constantly going off in my parking lot all day, I thought it might be the perfect time to watch Beijing Bubbles, a documentary of the punk and rock scene in Beijing around 2005, when the band Joyside was releasing their Ramones sounding album "Drunk is Beautiful". There are a few overlooked bands [Brain Failure, PK-14 and subs(human)to name a few obvious omissions and the entire metal scene] but this docu does a good job of showing how being a (punk) rocker in China is different (when the lead singer of Sha Zi says, "This is a place where a lot of bad ideas come from" in front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, that's most likely prisonable) and the same as the West(as when the bassist of the same band says, these people are too consumer and money oriented that they have lost the capacity for critical thought [although in China this is helped along by the brainswashing media[[oh, we have that too, right]]]).

Google has a link to it on Youtube here: but I don't know if it works because Youtube is blocked. I'll look for a link I know that works soon.


February 11, 2010

Felix Feneon, Novels in Three Lines, trans. Luc Sante (New York Review of Books, 2007).

When I published some of the works of the Feneon Collective in WORK no. 10 (on the sidebar), I bought this, but have only recently had time to go through it. I wish I had read it sooner. Each news snippet pares a story down to the bare essentials, leaving a stark, often haunting, minimalist text. Feneon's political leanings are also clearly represented throughout:

"It was believed that work would start up again today at the steelworks in Pamiers. A delusion" (116).


February 9, 2010

Geof Huth review's JD Mitchell-Lumsden's chap here: [2/1/10 entry]

sorry I can be more exact, I'm working with a proxy that scrambles everything for good reasons.

February 8, 2010

Anne Boyer, Art is War (Mitzvah Chaps, 2008).

Two interesting things about Boyer’s approach to writing:

1. “The advantage of writing down Ideas is that these Ideas neither have to be one’s own [. . .], nor is one required to embrace, understand, or even necessarily be interested in the Ideas one writes down” (“A Brief Essay on the Writing Down of Ideas”).

2. I like the participatory nature of her “Difficult Ways to Publish Poetry” project, because it invites readers to continue where she leaves off, coming up with other, unlikely, and difficult ways to publish poetry themselves. In this way, it’s a very generous project.


February 3, 2010

John Steinbeck, “The Harness” in 50 Great American Short Stories, ed. Milton Crane (Bantam, 1965): 336-48.

I started a “Book Club” class for the more advanced students at my school. The idea is basically a book club but with short stories for advanced ESL learners. I plan on having it once a month, and slowly going through some of the more interesting short stories I have available to me.

I began with Steinbeck’s “The Harness”. I wanted to start with F Scott’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” but it’s a little long and because of how scheduling works I couldn’t give the students that much time for advanced reading. “The Harness” proved the right length.

At first, the students were a little dismissive of Steinbeck: “This story is very simple.” But with study questions and getting them to look at how Steinbeck used language (how does he use the word vinegar, for example), they slowly got into it. When I asked with just a minute to go whether or not Peter murdered Emma by his “business trips”, they became much more intrigued in the story and more interested in the idea of Book Club.

Will let you know what develops.