Friday, December 26, 2008

Yesterday and Today

This post needs pictures, but I am not going to upload them now. It is a miracle that I have even written this post.


I ate the last of the eggs in the fridge before heading to meet Tom in the Mission and go to Tartine, where I ate bread pudding and he had a croque monsieur. Someone offered us drugs almost immediately after we got out of the BART, which made me happy--no one has tried to sell me drugs in years! Then we walked around and went in many used clothing and consignment stores and bookshops. We bought some dust masks to wear to the SPT Poetry Spectacular event. I saw the SF branch of Yoga Kula, the Anusara yoga studio that I'd love to be taking classes at--but I can't do everything in one trip. Then we walked up Mission for a while and parted ways near where all the streets bend and run northeast-southeast instead of north-south. Tom went to Haight street and I kept walking up Market street all the way to the Embarcadero, which took a long time. I bought an actual mask for the reading. I bargained it from 26 to 5. It is an ok mask--but no one seems to be able to explain this supposed "San Francisco tradition." My plan is now to wear two masks and excessive eye make up.

At the embaracdero, I bought several olives stuffed with various cheeses and nuts and a roll, then I made a sort of sandwich out of all that and ate it for lunch while staring at Treasure Island and the bay. After some writing and some down time, I met Dodie at the Samovar Tea Lounge where she treated me to some chai and some soup and some excellent conversation. I felt relaxed, nourished, and warm. There's more to be said about our conversation but it will have to be said later, since I really just writing notes now of the days, not detailed reflections.

After dinner, we went to Dodie and Kevin's apartment and hung out a bit. I petted Sylvia, who was very friendly and out and about. Quincy was hiding, but I did say hello and she seemed pretty content. As most of you know, I live with a parrot, but I grew up with cats, so I always enjoy the chance to be around them.

Kevin and Dodie kindly drove me to Sara's apartment. Tom had been to Amoeba Records and had had a beer somewhere (maybe Pop's?). Anyway, we met in front of Sara's apartment building and went in together. I always feel like readings in SF are so...private...probably because many of them are in people's private homes. But Sara's apartment is nice. It is circular, so the socializing doesn't stagnate, and people, well, circulate around quite well. I was glad to see Tyrone Williams again and hear him read, and I was glad to meet Julian T. Brolaski, whose work I find I like quite a bit--it was very aural and watery, with plenty of energetic torque. It wasn't floating off the page.

Sara was there, of course, since she was host, and so was David Brazil. I met them very briefly in LA, but it was good to talk to them when I was a bit more sober and not competing with the intense coolness of the Mandrake in Culver City and an overly briny dirty martini. Erika Statie was there, and I was very glad to see her again, and I also met Cynthia Sailers, though I'm afraid I must have been a bit of a dork when she told me that she is a therapist. I said, "Oh. Um. Now I am going to be careful about my metaphors and word choice. What do people usually say to you when you tell them that you are a therapist?" She said that they usually either want to tell her about their problems or tell her about their therapists. A bit like how people behave if you tell them you're an editor. They want to show you their work or they want to complain about their editors and publishers.

I also met several people in person that I'd only known virtually-- François Luong and Johannes Göransson. Joyelle McSweeny was there, too. I've meet her in person before, and it was good to meet her in person again. I also met Anne Lesley Selcer. Anne and François were kind enough to show me how to get back across the bay from Haight street, so we chatted the whole time. More about that conversation later, too, which was fascinating, mostly because we all share similar interests in procedural and conceptual art. Etc.

Ashby is vaguely sketchy, but not nearly as sketchy as some places I've lived. I felt comfortable walking home. The racoon made another apperance, as it probably will tonight. I was so happy an hyper last night that I stayed up late and had to write and drink mint tea to calm down.


Today began more calmly with coffee and morning buns from the Berkeley Bowl. I also bought a role which I brought home and made into a sandwhich with some cheese and leftover grilled vegetable tapenade to pack for lunch. Eventually, I wandered over to Juliana's place to visit with her, Bill, Charles, and Sasha. Sasha was in good spirits, running around and playing--he seems like a happy little boy. Patrick Durgin was there, too, looking very hip and wearing and especially cool tie. I don't think I'd seen Patrick since MLA was in DC. A long time ago.

I had to run back to the house to get something, but we all ended up on the same train across the bay. The Hilton was full of MLAers looking professional, frantic, and desperate. I called Lisa and Bill Howe's room and hung out with them for a while in the hotel. We ranted, we raved and we did yoga. I ate my sandwich for lunch. We weren't exactly relaxed, but it was great to see them. Tom came back from some museum excursions. We continued to rant and rave, but we also called everyone else we could think of.

Finally we left to get some dinner in the Tenderloin--Vietnamese. Yum! Then a brief stop at the Goodwill next door where I almost bought a Russian children's book with creepy illustrations but did not. Lisa got a very cool jacket, so the whole thing wasn't a waste of time. Tom had to head back home, but Lisa, Bill and I went in search of a bar. I vetoed the first one, which was too small and had no name. I liked it better than our second option, a Korean sports bar. If I were big or a man, I would have been all over it. But since I am neither, I was not. However, we did find a good medium. A very small Korean bar called "441 Cocktail Lounge." It was quiet and they had a pool table. Lisa ran back to the hotel and ended up meeting several people in the looby. Meanwhile, Bill and I played pool. Drinks were reasonable enough given that, well, even if it's the Tenderloin, it's still near MLA, and nothing is ever cheap near MLA.

After Bill and I played pool, then Lisa and I and Bill played pool, Bill played with some of the Spanish speaking guys at the bar. After two drinks, and with interviews tomorrow for some of us, we went home. We did not manage to meet Mr. Daniel Gutstein, but no doubt we will tomorrow.

There was a football game, so BART was full of drunk California Bears fans. We all survived, though.

Tomorrow is the big reading for out of town folks. We are also going out for Dim Sum.

I think someone should throw a party on Sunday or Monday night.

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