|Our staff poet|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staff||29 Dec 2008 12:13 PM|
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I just want to give a public salute to our intrepid Fantagraphics staffers who have been braving Seattle Snowpocalypse 2008 for the past week or so (nearly a foot of snowfall in parts of the city, where 2 inches is considered a blizzard, with more coming tomorrow), risking life and limb in hazardous driving conditions and enduring wretched public transportation hassles to keep our office running, our customer service phone line manned (1-800-657-1100, call in your order today), and our bookstore open and staffed, while the rest of us work from home in comfort and safety. Kudos to you, brave souls!
A couple of Friday night videos for your enjoyment, consisting of footage filmed in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood (where our Bookstore & Gallery resides) in the early 1990s, and featuring sound design (and a cameo) by our own Nico Vassilakis. These are very cool. (If they don't display below, click for Part 1 and Part 2.)
Going to the Sub Pop Records 20th Anniversary Festival this Saturday and Sunday? Us too, and we couldn't be happier about it. The Sub Pop and Fantagraphics families have been deeply entwined through the years. Not only that, the festival's proceeds are being donated to charities chosen by each of the acts performing, and Green River and Mudhoney are donating their share to the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in honor of Seattle rock mainstay and former Fantagraphics staffer Tom Price.
Be sure and stop by our table to pick up a catalog and some other free swag, especially on Sunday when Larry Reid will be there to regale you with war stories of the Sub Pop/Fantagraphics family tree. See you there!
On behalf of everyone at Fantagraphics, I'd like to welcome the newest member to our extended family: Freya Blue Covey, born Friday, May 16. She and Mommy Liz are healthy and happy and beautiful, as Freya is, as you can see, beautiful and has considerably more hair than her pop, Mr. Jacob Covey.
One of many bands with ties to Fantagraphics, Fox Hollow features Eric Reynolds (the third arm to Gary and Kim) and his wife, Rhea (who used to do a lot around here but now does other things), Adam Grano (Art Director of TCJ, etc.), Kaela Graham, and Kevin Schlosser (both of whom have always had better things to do than work here).
Fox Hollow just put their slick demo online. Check it out, totally free and exciting.
Foxy Trivia: Let's Go! is no love song. "I know you're a busy man but I need your attention" is the subject line of, like, every submission that's ever crossed Eric's desk.
I am so grateful that my little girl will be born into a world where she'll think it's perfectly normal for her to have a portrait of herself done by one of the greatest men-of-ink alive.
Thank you Tony Millionaire!
(T minus 27 days til fatherhood... and I'm praying she'll have lost that stubble by the time kindergarten starts up.)
Our very own Nico Vassilakis (warehouse manager extraordinaire) has written a book, and he's having a party to prove it! Won't you join us?
WHEN: Feb. 23rd, 7:30pm
WHERE: McLeod Residence
WHAT: TEXT LOSES TIME
John Olson on TEXT LOSES TIME:
Implicit in the title of this collection is a ceremony of disintegration: shattering, fragmentation. A shedding of time. A shaking loose of the bonds of linearity and sequence. An immediacy of contact with the tools of construction so lucid and unsullied by the seductions of the future and the burdens of the past that the writing becomes a continuous doing and undoing, a joyful participation in the creation of a strange new alphabet of illimitable occurrence, a fetus of meaning in a placenta of ink.
The presentation is twofold: writing as writing (sentences, laminations, thought, “an undulant mind on soft display“), and concrete poetry -- letters arranged in eccentric patterns of visual energy. The writing is playful, probing, and provocative; sentences in paratactic leapfrog with their teasing proposals: “what restrains a superpower after guilt has lost its charm”; “as a windowsill is a place for elbows, so should a beach be a horizontal wonderment with the diesel fumes of military aggression”; “an unplugged brain is more dangerous than any taxpayer.” The emphasis with both strategies -- abstract and concrete, linguistic and visual -- is to advance an experience with language that becomes an ongoing textual genesis, Stein’s “continuous present.” It is also highly entertaining. Vassilakis is a funny guy, a postmodern Socrates with a quizzical cue stick.
This tendency toward showcasing the implements and machinery of language -- what Charles Bernstein calls “the desire for writing to be the end of its own activity, its very thatness” -- is most abundantly available in Vassilakis’s sections of concrete poetry. For instance, the configurations of letters displayed in the section titled “Rubber,” such as the entity on page 136 consisting of Os and Hs and Gs and Ss and Ts (which could spell the word ‘ghosts’ any number of times) (the letters are, in fact, rather pale) resembles some sort of wiggly-wobbly creature from the alphabet lagoon; Jean Tinguely’s Cyclops comes to mind, as do the Martians from War of the Worlds.
Wittgenstein wrote that “philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.” In Text Loses Time, language is on a holiday from time: sequence, servility, routine. We enter a hall of mirrors where words refer to one another. Where words bump one another like bumper cars, lean into the dark, return us to trance, the means by which we meander. Most importantly, it provides (I am drawing this quote from the Afterword by Nick Piombino)”, “an exit from the current pervasive cultural tendency to employ meaning and visual space according to needs and desire for personal advantage, corporate profit and social control… refuge in the microscopic details of immediate, unfiltered visual and internal perception…”