Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Workshopping is Weird

I've decided to think of workshopping as like a reading where one doesn't always read but people tell you what they think in detail anyway.

Currently reading, for class Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Woot!

It's raining.

Filmed today. Editing tomorrow. Using a camera isn't as awkward as I thought it would be.

I had two vaccinations yesterday, and my arms are sore. Ouch. Ouch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aliens! Desert! California!

I want to visit the Integratron! And it's all because of someone in my documentary class, whose name I can't now remember, who brought it up. How can I not have heard of the Integratron!

According to its website, the Integraton is " an acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine sited on a powerful geomagnetic vortex in the magical Mojave Desert." Van  I've never even been, but I already want to write about it--like the Salton Sea, it's one of those places that, well, if I could kind of understand it and write about it, then I feel I might understand something essential about Southern California. The history, briefly:

George Van Tassel was an aeronautical engineer and test pilot who worked for Lockheed, Douglas Aircraft and alongside Howard Hughes at Hughes Aviation. After retiring from his aviation career, Van Tassel and is family moved to a place called Giant Rock--a 7-story high, freestanding boulder--in the Mojave Desert near Landers, California, where they opened an airport and restaurant.

Van Tassel initially learned about the rock from a prospector and desert dweller named Frank Critzer, who had created a cave-like dwelling under the boulder. Because Critzer was a prospector, he always had a lot of dynamite, and one day he died in an explosion. Van Tassel eventually acquired the land surrounding the boulder from the Bureau of Land Management, and went on running the airport and the cafe.

Until....he began hosting/conducting meditation sessions in 1953 in the rooms underneath Giant Rock, which "led to UFO contacts and finally to an actual encounter with extra-terrestrials when, in August of that year, a saucer landed from the plant Venus, woke Van Tassel up and invited him onto the ship. There the aliens gave him the technique for rejuvenating living cell tissues."

Aliens! Desert! California! Prospectors! Meditation meetings! Men in the aeronautics industry! Huge boulders! UFO conventions that were eventually held at Giant Rock! The word on the street that Giant Rock was a sacred site for the Native American people(s) who originally lived in the area! The weird utopian, anti-government, anti-tax subtext of so much UFO literature!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My happiness is largely dependent on my ability to express negativity and to feel crappy

I don't trust people who don't express negative emotions. Of course, there are a variety of ways of expressing negative emotions that don't always involve heated arguments or punching and being punched.

I have similar feelings about sarcasm and irony--both tend to make me feel comfortable because they're a form of sharing social negativity and combining it with humor. Humor itself has to do with social and aesthetic values. The world is full of incongruities between our understanding/expectation and what actually happens or exists. When I'm sarcastic and someone else gets it, we're having a moment of a shared understanding of some particular incongruity or another. What could be more comforting?

But I've been thinking about all of this a lot recently, especially in light of my feelings about my residency here in the San Diego region. There are numerous things I deeply dislike about my life here, but this weekend has been a good weekend, because it was a combination of almost everything I love: talking with friends about stuff that is irritating and stuff that isn't, time outside, movement, art and food. The only thing missing was a poetry reading--a big gap, certainly, but also offset but the fact that the art show was good.

It was also a three-day weekend.

Happy hour on Thursday! I won't sing the praises of D Street Bar and Grill in Encinitas. It's big, it was in a good location for most of us, they serve a variety of different drinks, have solid food, and a reasonable happy hour. So, it's fine with me. Happy hour is a perfect environment during which to express negativity in an energetic, friendly way. Dinner again with friends on Friday--more talking, more friendly negativity. Stayed up too late.

All that socializing and friendly negativity put me in a good mood for Saturday: Mark and I went to Batiquitos lagoon for a leisurely walk and some birdwatching: unusually peaceful crows, a juvenile northern harrier, a very large flock of semipalmated plovers, whimbrels, several terns (maybe Caspian? I couldn't tell), lots of little bushtits, a golden-crowned kinglet, several brown pelicans who were fishing, and an anna's hummingbird. We also saw some other kind of hummingbird--I couldn't identify him, but I know he was a male because he was doing display dives. He'd fly up really really high and then dive down really fast, making an ark at the bottom and a kind of whistling sound.

That afternoon, I went to Swami's Beach for a hoop class and jam. I had a gorgeous time and learned a variety of new ways to break--but now I have weird bruises on the insides of my upper arms, very similar to the kind I used to get on my hands when I started doing more off-body work. Next weekend I'm going to a workshop with Julia Hartsell at the Circus Fund in Del Mar. If I had my way, I'd be taking just about every class they offer there!

On Sunday I saw the splash from a whale breaching (I missed the actual breach), but a few minutes later s/he did a fantastic tale slap.

Today, we somehow avoided the rain (well, almost) and took the train down to see the Tara Donovan exhibit at MCASD Downtown. I'd seen the piece made with pins before, and I still love it, but my favorite was Haze, made entirely out of clear plastic straws, and completely beautiful:

After the show, we walked around, and I eventually ate a hamburger. On the way home from the train station, it rained and rained. We actually got soaked.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Now, I use it with some regularity--when appropriate.

1. Before moving to California, I never used the word "motherfucker."

2. A new quarter at UCSD has begun. I am taking 1) a multi-genre workshop that all MFAs must take with Anna Joy Springer 2) The second class in the movement for theater sequence, still with Charlie Oates, 3) a seminar in the Visual Art Department on subcultures with Ruben Ortiz-Torres.

3. Beyond that, I'm TAing for an intro poetry class with Michael Davidson and still RAing for the New Writing Series. And I'm teaching online, and doing bits of contract work here and there.

4. I have blisters from playing Zen Chaos in movement for theater. Someday I will describe Zen Chaos in detail, and write down all the rules. It's a bit like ultimate frisbee with two hacky sacks instead of one frisbee, and cartwheels are a regular part of the game.

5. In the multigenre workshop, I said that my goal was to make my work somehow a combination of the Bee Gees and Sun Ra. I got very excited.

6. No doubt you have all seen the video of "Stayin' Alive." But just in case you haven't: