Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Olchar's Fiddlesticks 3 Report finally!


Sorry about the sporadic blog updates, if anyone's trying to read them, but we're busy as motherfuckers out here trying to keep Fiddlesticks going and attempting to get everything ready for June (especially since so few people are communicating via the blog, which of course results in more work for us). But better late than never, so here's my (admittedly basic) report on the events for Fiddlesticks #3; we'll get reports and documentation up for the next two asap, along with other goodies.

Video documentation of all of this is a bit further down the blog.

Of course, by the time this thing went down, UPS still hadn't delivered Angee's contribution, though I'd had several arguments with them concerning it over the phone. So in the meantime, we tried to give her a presence by producing a puppet play based on an episode from her comic book Mossdale Estate. Initially this seemed like an unlikely decision, and it was certainly quite different from the prototypical Post-Neo puppet play, with its cartoon voices, screaming, shouting of nonsense, vomiting, pounding mayhem; like the comic book it was (relatively, at least) understated and sober. But both in the production of the play itself and in the story that Angee sent us to (anti-)dramatize, it showed how Post-Neo can and has existed in a very wide variety of modes that despite being very different on many levels, nonetheless inform and enrich and even directly develop each other. On the one hand, Mossdale Estate and Angee's work in general is aesthetically and even conceptually very different from the most noisy and assertive tendencies in Post-Neo. It is accessible and down-to-earth; in fact it is generally not even 'absurd' at all (the same could be said of many other people who have been vital parts of the Post-Neo community--Emily Panzeri, Edward Lense, Alan Reed, Casey Bradley, Imogene Engine, and many others). On the other hand, Angee, as one of the earliest collaborators on the Mr. Squibbles films, in fact helped to pioneer the Post-Neo puppet aesthetic which was here expanded to reach back toward what her work is. So on one level this puppet play was a new direction for Anti-puppetry to exlore, while on another level it was a homecoming. And the passage that she chose for us to perform also treats this encounter of the raucous face of Post-Neo with the everyday, with 'real people': her nursing-home resident Rose has come by chance upon the album of the first Post-Neo group, Catharsism of Narcotica, and we watch her quietly come to terms with her encounter with this 'thing' that she has no way to even contextualize.

Next Warren read a poem of his own, one of my favourites from Synapse 3, and four phonetic poems by William Clippenger (no relation to Martha Clippenger as far as I know--correct me if I'm wrong; I've corresponded a bit but never met him in person). These are precisely the kinds of phonetic poems Warren excels at reading: repetitive cycles morphing slightly upon each return, plenty of open vowels that allow him to hurl his voice unrelentingly against the wall in wave upon sharp wave, with the no-nonsense attack of an a-verbal battering-ram, atavistic and throaty. I've actually not seen Warren perform per se nearly as much as I'd like or expect ince I came to New Jersey, and it was refreshing.

I myself have scarcely performed at all since I came here either, and actually this was my first solo performance since I arrived! (needless to say, Brute Salon and soirees are something else, really, more like conversing.) I did my sub-phonetic poem Prayer for the Poison-Child, the first from this body of work I've performed for over a year; and I've missed it. Due to the nature of New Jersey's particular version of Post-Neo, in which group automatism is more the focus than discreet or semi-discreet poems, plays, and sketches as it was in Britain, and also due to my having nowhere to rehearse and exercise my vocal apparatus for a few hours a week as I used to, it was a bit strained, and my breathing was especially shoddy; for the most part though I settled into the poem like an old glove (which it is), and my time apart from the score may actually have helped me to find a greater range of interpretations. Hope to rehearse and do another, longer one at the festival in June.

After all the performances we all went up and hung out in Jamie Bruno's studio, which has just about become a little Fiddlesticks tradition; talked about whatever it was we talked about (hey, it's been three weeks), did some exquisite corpses and other games while Jamie drew on her wall, and finally split about 4:30 AM or some such ungodly time.

And that was that.