Friday, June 25, 2010

Eugene Richards The Blue Room

Eugene Richards' book The Blue Room, photos of and in abandoned houses in New Mexico and Nebraska and Wyoming and North Dakota, has thrown me into a downspiral. A beautiful and melancholy downspiral.

After "reading" the book of photos, one beautiful image of death and loss and decay after the other, after the bonechill induced by the house cornered by barbed wire gone slack followed by the photo of a double bed drifted with snow through the broken window, after gasping at the prosthetic leg abandoned but still wearing its white shoe, I'm more certain than ever that the thing of which I'm most certain is absolute. Ordered systems tend to disorder. Without fail.

The photo I've found in a National Geographic article by Richards and Charles Bowden again lays the ordered systems of industrious human beings -- plowed field, barbwire fence, graded road, framed house -- against a cold and merciless nature.

Entropy is the law in North Dakota. And in the house of my brittling bones and sagging flesh.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fred Anderson

A long time ago, I heard Fred Anderson play at the Velvet Lounge in Chicago. It might better have been called the linoleum lounge, for there were no frills. The music was disturbing. It loosened up my certainties. I left there with a double CD of his work, which I play often. Free Jazz, contemplative improvisation over time that flattened out into timelessness, squeaked and puffed and blared and whispered by a man doubled up over his tenor sax, comped by a Japanese bass player of prodigious talent, and a drummer who left no real memory in my limited brain. I left the Velvet Lounge a different and better, because more complicated person.

CHICAGO (AP) -- A saxophonist whose Chicago club is known as one of the cradles of contemporary jazz has died. Fred Anderson was 81.

His sons, Eugene and Michael Anderson, said their father died Thursday but declined to offer additional details.

The Louisiana-born Anderson performed in relative obscurity until the tenor saxophonist's rise to prominence came in the 1990s. Music companies began to release recordings of his work to favorable reviews and he became a regular on the jazz-festival circuit in the United States and Europe.

Anderson opened the Velvet Lounge in Chicago in 1982. At times, he did everything from collecting the $10 cover charge to jamming on stage to taking out the garbage.

Monday, June 21, 2010

December 21-June 21

Winter Solstice to the Summer Solstice. When your state of mind depends on sunlight, when depression lurks in the darkness, when natural sunlight is your friend, you pay careful attention to the length of the days. And today, as opposed to the day the sun set in the first photo, or the day halfway between, was the year's longest.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup: Who is German?

Serbia lost to Ghana this morning. I wrote to Zarko after the game, the way we did when we were writing our books "Repetitions" and "Vampires + A Reasonable Dictionary." He and Peter Handke will be hiking in the Fruska Gora National Park in Serbia next week. Wish I could put on my boots and walk with them.

The U.S. team tied England yesterday. Plenty of anxiety for both goalies!

And Germany is about to play Australia.

The German team is made up of players with these names:

Manuel, Per, Aogo, Serdar Tasci, Jerome Boateng, Piotr Trochowski, Marcell Jansen, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Miroslav, Cacau, Podolski, Mario Gomez – you can tell by the names this is an all-German team.

Times change. This feels good. Glück auf!