Saturday, May 12, 2007

Moments in Love (Live 1986)

Do It Again

Much web discussion of the apparently disappointing 2007 Heavy Rollers tour setlist. So, here's Steely Danodyne's contribution to the burgeoning genre of "fantasy setlist," featuring a smattering of deep cuts and solo material:

[Re-edited Sunday morning in response to email from fellow Daniacs]

Band Only Jazz Intro: St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins)

The Boston Rag

The Caves of Altamira
Do It Again
The Nightfly (Donald Fagen)
Bad Sneakers
Green Earrings
Mary Shut the Garden Door
(Donald Fagen)
Jack of Speed
Don't Take Me Alive


The Steely Dan Show
(fun participatory audience sing-a-long)
Here at the Western World
Book of Liars
(Walter Becker)
The Old Regime
Glamour Profession
The Second Arrangement
What a Shame About Me
Tomorrow's Girls
(Donald Fagen)
Razor Boy
Reelin' in the Years



Encore #2

Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)

Band Only Jazz Outro: Last Tango in Paris (Gato Barbieri)
When I Die, I'm Going to Haunt the Fuck Out of You People

"[D]on't even get me started on what's going to happen if family members take pictures of you when they visit. Those pictures are going to have some weird discolorations, you can bet on that, and some of them may even contain forms that look sort of like faces. Whose face? Yours truly: Byron, avenging spirit from beyond the grave."
Peter Halley interviews Sturtevant, Index magazine, October 2005:

HALLEY: Would you go back to the work you were making in the mid-60s and describe how you came to those decisions?

STURTEVANT: Well, that work was the result of some very long-term thinking. It was not something that just popped into my head, that's for sure. See, in the 60s, there was the big bang of pop art. But pop only dealt with the surface. I started asking questions about what lay beneath the surface. What is the understructure of art? What is the silent power of art?

HALLEY: How did you translate that concern into making, say, your Johns Flag?

STURTEVANT: If you use a source-work as a catalyst, you throw out representation. And once you do that, you can start talking about the understructure. It seemed too simple at first. But it's always the simple things that work.

And, later on:

STURTEVANT: [T]he reviews for that show were the same as always -- that I was reviewing history, or that the pieces were all copies, blah blah blah. I realized that if I continued to work and get that kind of critique, then the work would get diluted. So I decided to wait until the mental retards caught up. And indeed they did.

HALLEY: What were your concerns during those ten years?

STURTEVANT: Oh, I played a lot of tennis, Peter.

Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, B.C. Depicted: garry oaks, common camas, dappled sunlight, the blue mainland in the distance. Not depicted: mule deer, rabbits (lots!) and a little stuffed cat, ready to pounce.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Pulpfiction Books presents

An Evening With Clint Burnham and Stuart Ross

Wednesday 16 May 2007, 8-9pm
2422 Main Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Admission free. Everyone is welcome to attend.

(Co-presented by Anvil Press)
Today's soundtrack: [old] New Order, "Bizarre Love Triangle," all stuttering keyboards and brief orchestral flourishes
Someone writes to ask if the plant photographs are art. Short answer: no, they're representations of things I've seen, which I'm trying to learn about by photographing and IDing back at home. I hope they are good likenesses of the plants in question, but they definitely lack art's conceptual, self-reflexive dimension, and are largely engendered by simple curiosity. A walk in the woods, or above treeline, or through a warm West Coast spring afternoon is a good reminder of the limits of one's knowledge. That brown bird on the powerline, the one going too-whit, too-wee? Not a clue. Those huge green leaves in the drainage ditch, the ones that look like a cross between rhubarb and a triffid? Dunno. Why are there four...wait, six...eight...twelve rabbits on that farmhouse lawn on Hammond Bay Road? Je ne sais pas. Are those really oysters just below tideline all along Departure Bay's western edge? And why are they scattered loose in among the rocks, instead of being attached to them? "I don't know, but I should try to find out" is a powerful phrase in the mouth of anyone willing to risk briefly looking like a dumbass. And in my experience, people typically ask fewer questions than they should. I see this all the time behind the desk at the bookstore, folks who expect that I'll just magically know what they're talking about.

CUSTOMER: Do you have anything by Oscar Eckenstein?

CJB: Never heard of him, sorry. What can you tell me about him?

CUSTOMER [theatrical sigh]: You don't know.

CJB: Nope! What can you tell me about him?

CUSTOMER: He climbed K2 with Crowley. . . .

CJB: Really! What else can you tell me about him?

Which, if applied consistantly, and in good faith, and with a certain wide-eyed Platonic sincerity, produces one of two responses:

CUSTOMER: He was a railway engineer for most of his life - well educated, and insufferably arrogant (some said). He was not one to mince words, and a long feud with the Alpine Club caused many of its members to denigrate him. Nevertheless, he was a brilliant technical innovator and laid the foundation, with his love of bouldering, of modern British crag climbing. He is credited with designing the modern crampon and developing a short ice axe, as well as analyzing both knots and nail patterns for climbing boots.

Or, rather more often:

CUSTOMER: I dunno. My friend just said I should check him out.

The psychologically interesting response is the long theatrical sigh from the mouth of the guy who, two or three sentences later, turns out to not be fully dialled-in, either. I think this has to do with socially distinguishing one's self, and probably with insecurity, too. I used to encounter this response all the time in the Vancouver art world, most memorably at a Dan Graham lecture at SFU Harbourside:

DAN GRAHAM: Any questions?

MUCH YOUNGER CJB: Yes. That slide of the stack of red plastic chairs that you showed...looked like a "found" Judd or Lewitt sculpture. In making that slidework, did you mean to establish a critical relationship between mass-produced commodity objects and American minimal sculpture?

I remember the words "mimimal sculpture" dropping off into a huge silent void. I had just fucked up, though it was not immediately apparent how. The audience's silence was a collective version of my customer's contemptous "You don't know." Dan Graham, on the other hand, took my ignorance completely seriously, and delivered an arresting and uninterrupted six minute monologue on minimalism, amateur photography, his friend Sol Lewitt, the John Daniels Gallery, & etc.

Charles T. Munger: "Rationality is not just something you do so that you can make more money, it is a binding principle. Rationality is a really good idea. You must avoid the nonsense that is conventional in one's own time. It requires developing systems of thought that improve your batting average over time. . . ."

Amen, oh yeah, says CJB, looking up vascular plants with multi-leaved purple flowers on E-Flora BC, and learning, among other things, that camas bulbs taste like pears when slowly roasted over a charcoal fire.

Two Figures, 2007

Camassia quamash, common camas, Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo, B.C.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Sunlight slanting in through the blinds, cats awake and blinking at the racketing birds and green leaves moving in the wind.

Day off today. So I thought, do something different: something that you don't have to do, but that you want to do. Something you've never done before.

So I'm going here. See ya!

[UPDATE: Within 2 minutes of posting the above, an out-of-town pal writes in part: "...the same old thing...[you're going to] walk, take pictures, and read on the ferry."

Heh. Busted. So, for the record, accompanying me on the ferry as ballast in my backpack:

Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Robert Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power
Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero
Dominion Citrus Income Fund 2006 Annual Report
Robert BolaƱo, The Savage Detectives
Perennial hiking partner Rose T. Cat
and the Nikon

Someone else writes to ask what's become of all the mountaineering posts. The short answer is that I have badly trashed my right knee, and have been taking it slow for a few months of what coincidentally has been the coldest, wettest spring in years. Team Cat's regular schedule of relentless latte-fuelled elevation gain should resume mid-next week, once the "new old car" is in house, and my new mountaineering boots are broken in.]

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Legacy Supplement, 2007

5:39 a.m. on Glen Drive. Steve helpfully intervenes with the VPD, who, true to form, arrive like clockwork at the sound of the Nikon powering up:

YOUNG OFFICER: Oh, "art"! No problem. We thought he was praying.

STEVEN TONG: You could say that, I suppose...

Source images here and here. Legacy is a sequence of five 11" x 14" pictures arranged in a column, like a Judd stack. LS is a slightly off-size "addendum" meant to be displayed alongside the column, or in place of the picture you like the least.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yesterday's Lepiota rhacodes, plus butter, garlic and low heat, courtesy Chef Jeff at Aurora Bistro (above right).
Astonishing warm wind, kicking up leaves off the sidewalk, sending gum wrappers, cigarette butts & etc. bowling through. Warm slant sunlight falling on the plastic rats in the window, on my hands, mirrored in the laptop's screen as I type.

"Chain Lightning"'s sly rolling blues beat.

Thousand Dollar Car

Yesterday evening I bought a new car, a silver 1989 Taurus Wagon, to replace the ailing Legacy, which, at 352,000 km., has finally had enough of life and is preparing to settle down for a long, well-deserved nap. The upside of the purchase is no longer worrying that my principal source of transportation will spontaneously burst into flames in traffic. The downside is that the new car's arrival will mark the end of a photographic project that's occupied me since October 2005. So, it should be pretty easy to figure out where I'll be at 5:38am tomorrow morning, and at 5:37am on Thursday.

Mike Grill, Firewood, 2003
Monday, May 07, 2007
Occasional role model Hank Garfield gets it:

"People will put you down for being into what you're into. They want to stop you. They just want to talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. But when someone 'does it,' then it's bad news."

Professional 'shroom rustler Gene displays a very tasty Lepiota rhacodes, shamelessly pilfered off some citizen's lawn

Inland Empire's at the Vancity Theatre on Seymour until Wednesday, coincidentally one of my rare nights off. Warm grey mist this morning, smell of the sea and of off-Broadway gardens: compost, cut grass, cedar chips. Someone spreading manure. Rain beading on the tiny red leaves of the Japanese maple on the corner. Crows in the tree outside my window, short fluttering branch-to-branch hops. Charlie Munger's advice to systematically reduce risk, to think rationally about one's business, to take long-term debt off the table. All those plants and flowers? "Vaster than empires, and more slow."

"Joy before the object," 16th & Carolina
Sunday, May 06, 2007
IGY Unplugged

24 year old Swede delivers a sensitive, swinging version of this long time favorite
Through the open door:

"I didn't blow you off! I left you."
"He who lives for an encounter with the unseen becomes an instrument of the seen: he who would quarry the earth becomes the spokesman of its surfaces, the surveyor of its shades."

(Paul Auster, "Pages for Kafka")

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