Distribution Automatique

Friday, April 8

"Suppose I was to postulate that being a writer is absolutely ludicrous"

is one of my favorite lines from Richard Foreman's current play
*The Gods Are Pounding My Head (AKA Lumberjack Messiah).*

Another line that makes me think: "In bad times the best that can
be done is to fail (is that what I believe. Even if I believe...)"

I kept jotting lines down from the play throughout, because in
this work, more than in any I can remember, Richard Foreman
appears to want to address the current circumstances
of life, in words, more directly than in any of his plays I can remember, going
back to the late 60's. "How can I activate my heart?" is another
line that surprised me. "Don't touch the big heart. Why can't
I see it?" "The action is elsewhere....Wake up into a world
where people are thin somehow." This line, which repeats
throughout the play, hits the nail on the head of contemporary
existence, for me. Also, throughout the play, two words are repeated
again and again, in varying contexts. These are: "tendency" and

Yet it's important to add that in this work, as in all his plays, words
and statements themselves are problematized. All of Foreman's plays,
perhaps a little less so in this one, make it clear that we
are always saying the same things, but these things are constantly
meaning something else. "We can never go into the future which
is behind us," and, "It's the world itself making these choices
on your behalf," are two paradoxes worthy of the description
"koan." The fact that everything said is also clearly directed to
himself makes this playwright worthy of the title philosopher, and this
line clinched it: "OK Richie, what do we do
with these things?"

Wednesday, April 6

Pancake People

Richard Foreman included some notes in the playbill that will
be quoted extensively here later when I have the time to write
more- in a rush right now. But think about this: "...today, I see
within us all (myself included) the replacement of complex inner
density with a new kind of self- evolving under the pressure of information
overload and the technology of the 'instantly available.' A new self
that needs to contain less and less of an inner repertory of dense
cultural inheritance- as we all become "pancake people"- spread
wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information
accessed by the mere touch of a button."

The Gods Are Pounding My Head (AKA Lumberjack Messiah)
by Richard Foreman is a joy to behold. Sadly, I have no time
to write about this further now, but if you do nothing else today-
call and make a reservation for this play- reputed to possibly
Foreman's final contribution in this form that he has been working
in since 1968- the completely live staged play- and towards
a form that includes more multimedia elements. We'll see about
that- but either way- make sure to see this wonderfully performed,
gorgeously staged, intensely thought-provoking work.

ontological-hysteric theater {click here}

Monday, April 4


"If, as is often said, you can't win, it is perhaps because
when you do you have so much to lose. To put it a
little gloomily winning could be called the mark of Abel.
It would be beautiful to photograph the winners of anything
from Nobel prize to booby prize, clutching trophy or money
or certificate, solemn or smiling or bloody, on the
precarious pinnacle of the human landscape."

Text for a project on winners from
Diane Arbus 1962 notebook (No. 8)

[Copied at the Diane Arbus show now
up at the Metropolitan Museum. A
must-see without doubt!]

Sunday, April 3

*Blade Runner* Rides Again

I was at home sick with a aching, sneezy cold
on a gray, incessantly rainy day and
happened to have gotten to the library recently
and pulled a book off the shelf that wierdly
felt like I already knew all about it, and
in a way, I did. The book is resonant with
concepts of deja vu, and problematizes
memory in ways that Proust is famous for,
though sadly I find that eminent author impossible
to read. This book I found is the kind that
can make you glad you have a terrible cold, almost.

Also, if you're a Phillip K. Dick fan, or
a *Blade Runner* fan, you definitely will
want to check out

Los Angeles {click here}
by Peter Moore Smith, a novel
I enjoyed almost, but not quite, as much as Grant Bailie's *Cloud 8* and
for similar reasons. First of all, it's a page turner, and secondly
it deals with a lonely figure whose effort to figure out love,
life and the world takes you into unexpected regions. In
this case that region is Los Angeles, a mythical Hollywood
that exists as much in the imagination of the world as it does
in the mind of the central character of this striking second novel.
The main character is an albino who is misogynistic, drug
and alcohol addicted, but, in his own way, as charming as Salinger's Holden
Caulfield. One of his quirks is leaving *Blade Runner* on
on his TV all the time, something I nearly did myself for many years
(the Ridley Scott movie came out in the early 80's).
Who knows, Angel may become this generation's "Catcher in the Rye"
(of course, this one is 30, not 16)
whose attitudes cut right through all the contemporary platitudes about
money, love, religion and politics. What happens is that rich, lonely albino Angel
(his father is a fabulously wealthy movie director) gets visited by
sultry, electrifying, black Angela, who then disappears,
making Angel (himself, a putative screen writer) a
Blade Runner in reverse; he has to find Angela to save her.
His travels take us through the underside of Hollywood as a metaphor
for contemporary existence, most pointedly, family, memory, and the agonizing
process of maturation. The tough, noir language is as irrisistible
as a second scotch on a lonely night. And it's as hard to book this book down
as it is for Angel to put a bottle of pills down; the trip is wild, and worth it.