November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Catching up on BOOKS

Lots of books, few reviewers… So, herewith, a selection to choose from (AND MORE ABOUT SOME OF THESE LATER…)   FOOZLERRUNS   Foozler Runs, by Stephen Poleskie, Onager Editions, Ithaca, NY, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-60047-929-8$16.95

OK, so it took me most of the summer to get around to reading this book, but it rocks, so I don’t mind that I finally finished it, albeit as the dog days of August were being polluted with heavy rains… Kind of fit with the tenor of the tale, a story about a failed golf pro from a failed family who carries his failures with him in the trunk of his car. You’ll know what I mean when you get there…. Poleskie writes with a wry humor that reveals itself nicely in bits and pieces from kinky sex scenes to bovine pleasures and displeasures. Poleskie proceeds to amuse and surprise. His handling of the language is agile, colorful, and clear evidence that talent — as life — can be as multi-faceted as one chooses to make it.

— MRF

* * *

Alfredson

Players of Strange, Meaningless Games: The Art of Hawk Alfredson, with Hector Gramme. Hypnagog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781497560833. $19.95. Cover image: “August in Wonderland”. 70 color  images.

Surrealism dead? Or just become Magic Realism? And as unreal as the paintings are the writings of Hector Gramme, a Swedish writer and friend of Alfredson who wrote most of entries especially for and specific to the images with which they appear. Hawk and his wife photographer Mia Hanson (who photographed all the paintings for this book), live in New York where they once were long-time residents of the Hotel Chelsea and now live in Washington Heights.  This compilation, in addition to making for some good reading, introduces the reader to Alfredson, who shares some of the influences that helped shape his  artist’s life, and that brought him to New York. An enjoyable presentation of the art and artistry of Alfredson in combination with an enjoyable poetic read.

* * *

 Love Scars

* * * * *

Reharkening

The Reharkening, by Stephen Todd Booker, from The Black Mountain Press, ISBN 978-1-940605-90-6,  Asheville, NC.

Death Row poet Stephen Todd Booker’s poetry reflects where a man’s mind goes when his body is consigned to stand still. The several volumes and many individual poems he’s published are a casting of the web of the spider on the wall in his cell, which he visits in the pages of this latest volume, The Reharkening. Booker remains defiant in these poems, pointing out deficiencies in the system where outsiders live, a world he sees only on television, or can read about in newspapers, books and other peoples’ poetry. Thus, perhaps, the acknowledgements of numerous well-known poets. I wonder what, if anything, he would have written had his life taken a different turn and he were consigned to making a choice between living a so-called normal life, writing poetry nights and weekends when he wasn’t tending bar, teaching high school or even trading securities on Wall Street. In that case, this reviewer might want to read more.

— MRF

* * * * *

FortheLivingDead

SpecialCharacters

#specialcharacters, by Larissa Shmailo, from Unlikely Books, ISBN 978-0-9708750-8-2, Lafayette, LA. www.unlikelystories.org.

Shmailo’s poetry and prose poems present an interior and exterior life in “no holds barred” fashion that will make a lot of readers uneasy. If you’ve forgotten how to write the truth as you see it, read this book and rediscover how to tell it like it is. With the incorporation of several languages ( I don’t know if these are stolen phrases or evidence of fluency), her style and reach are impressive. Shmailo is alive in the moment and willing to share, a voice in itself that deserves listening.

— MRF

* * * 

AUDIENCE

Imagining the Audience: Viewing Positions in Curatorial and Artistic Practice, a production of the Swedish Exhibition Agency in collaboration with Mobile Art Production and CuratorLab; edited by Magdalena Malm and Annika Wik. From Art & Theory Publishing. Bi-Lingual (Swedish and English).

The next time you go into a museum or exhibition space, don’t just look at the art. Look at the way it’s displayed. Why is this painting or sculpture there? Who selected the typeface and layout on the title cards? How did the lighting get to be positioned and directed “just so”? Why are you standing where you are? Imagining the Audience contextualizes these and other considerations that occupy curators’ minds and lives; their efforts are often and easily overlooked. This book in an explanation and appreciation of their art, and the services they perform.

— MRF

4) Artistic Revolution/Art & Transformation: duda “Art can not be empty, because the history of humanity repeats itself and is frightening. It is up to the artist to manifest himself through his work, and bequeath an interpretation of his time , a message.” Brazilian multimedia artist Duda Penteado has divided his time over the last 20 years between the United States and Brazil. In recent years, he’s devoted much of his work to the issues of peace, globalization, diaspora, dual citizenship and other geopolitical and social phenomena of the 21st Century. This book, ARTISTIC REVOLUTION, ARTE & TRANSFORMAÇÃO,  focuses on the transformative power of art and presents his creative technique called ARTISTIC SYMPHONY. The book is the result of over two years of work with the participation of important art critics and writers in both Brazil and the United States, including Katia Canton, Olivio Guedes, Oscar D ´Ambrosio, Joao Eduardo Hidalgo, George N . Preston, Alejandro Anreus, Jose Rodeiro and Carlos Hernandez. Launched in partnership with the publishing company of GRUPO REAÇÃO NATURAL , this book was released simultaneously in May 2014, with a website featuring interviews, lectures, reviews and special introduction of a new art project in the Amazon. For more information, see: www.gruporeacaonatural.com.br For more information about Penteado, see: www.dudapenteado.com.brhttp://old.ragazine.cc/2013/11/brazil-transformation/ and http://old.ragazine.cc/2012/04/brazilian-art/   3) 101 Vagina: VagExhib “Dedicated to our bodies and our sexuality, our deepest desires and most delicate vulnerability.” From Taboo Books, ISBN 979-0-0874090-0-3, Melbourne, Australia. Can be purchased online at www.101vagina.com. Photographed by Philip Werner, introduction by Toni Childs and commentary by each of the anonymous women whose pudenda appear in this collection, along with a useful footnote on why the title “vagina,” and not vulva, pudenda or another term more in keeping with the body part actually portrayed. The traveling exhibition is scheduled for New York, June 3-8, 2014, and Toronto, June 14-22.   2) Biology of Luck: luck Trials and tribulations  as author Jacob M. Appel guides the reader through a New York City as seen by insiders and tourists, alike. All the while our hero, Larry Bloom, stakes claim to an unlikely romance with a young woman less attuned to wishful thinking than her immediate physical needs. Unusually articulate, this book is a day-in-the-life tale of its characters’ highs and lows that proves most days, when you pay attention, are about like any other. Elephant Rock Books (www.elephantrockbooks.com), ISBN 978-0-9753746-8-9. $16.00   1) The Great Grandmother Light

Grandma

“New and Selected Poems” by Joe Weil, NYQ Books, The New York Quarterly Foundation. 201 pages. ISBN 978-1-935520-80-1. $16.95. What you see is what you get from Joe Weil, whether in person or in print. Part professor, part labor union steward, part poet, all Irish, Weil’s poetry captures life at a personal ground zero that entertains and informs about life’s promise and perpetual denoument. Nothing is overlooked, all the strengths and weaknesses of the past come forward, as in “Weil, You Suck, or Perpetually in Right”:

The taste of failure has sand in it and there’s no way to rid the mouth of grit, and I remember loafing home after wondering why God would send seven balls to right. It was God who did it. had to be. Usually, a right fielder could pick his drawers from the crack of his ass, practice spitting between his teeth, have a zen experience watching puffs of sand blow in from second base.

But no: Seven balls, three in one inning, all rolling to the edge of the train tracks after I missed them, and mr. Zelinger telling his son’s team to hit the ball to that lame red-haired kid in right, bringing all the ruthless Darwinian exploitation of weakness to bear down on my nine-year-old head….

Personal poems that reflect the universal human condition without being a bit maudlin are not easy to find, yet they exist throughout this collection of work that goes back decades. A contemporary poet whose work will long reflect the angst and spirit of our time. — MRF Adam Fitzgerald’s review: http://tinyurl.com/kbw6r4u. Former student, friend, accomplice and fellow poet, Adam Fitzgerald comments on “The Great Grandmother Light”.