Monday, September 28, 2009

California Love 

Yeah, California. Earlier this month, I delivered poems face-to-face with members of the West Coast po-tribe for the first time in my life. I couldn't have asked for more. It was energizing and inspiring. The active engagement & sincere generosity that Conrad & I experienced will certainly manifest itself in some form of wonderful magic in future days. It was great to meet so many folks who I've only known through their writing, as well as seeing a number of old friends. So, first and simply, to all the SF & LA peoples that came out- THANK YOU.

Our 9/11 reading for Small Press Traffic was in the California College of the Arts. Samantha Giles is the new Executive Director for SPT. She made everything happen that night, including one of the best intros I've ever gotten. Andrew Kenower did a great job with the sound. He recorded our readings, which you can listen to here-

Frank Sherlock & CAConrad on A Voice Box.

The next day, SPT partnered w/ Nonsite Collective to host talk-lab/play-shop/discussion (aka an atypical "workshop"), where we talked about macro-SOMAtics, spatial practices & psychogeography in relation to The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems. The Nonsite Collective is doing important work, bringing some brilliant & interesting writers around a table to not just listen, but engage & continue the conversations that are launching new & evolving ideas. Some of the people who made it a great discussion were Rob Halpern, Taylor Brady, Wendy Kramer, Lauren Levin, Samantha Giles, David Buuck, Erika Staitie & Tonya Hollis. And it was a great pleasure to finally meet Stephen Vincent, who took the photo above. He also did haptics for each of us as we spoke.

CAConrad Haptic (<<<<<<<<left)


Frank Sherlock Haptic>>>>right)

David Buuck warned us that our stay in LA would be full of boar tongue & other offbeat meats provided by our Poetic Research Bureau hosts, Ara Sirinyan & Joseph Mosconi. Given that we're vegetarians, we decided to eat as much as we could before we got to Los Angeles. But our fears were unfounded. Joseph & Ara were incredibly generous and accommodating. They even took us to an "only in LA" kind of place- a beer garden that grilled the best Vietnamese veggie sandwiches we'd ever had. Awesome.

The PRB is a great space. If you visit Los Angeles, definitely check it out. It's a bookstore/theater space across from the landmark Seeley's furniture store. It was great to meet some of the LA poets I'd only known in print, as well as seeing some faces from Philadelphia, like
Chris Natale Peditto who goes back to the days of the Bacchanal. Brian Kim Stefans was also in the house- someone we've missed since his move out west.

A lot of us partied back at Ara's house post-reading late into the night. Sadly, we only spent 24 hours in Los Angeles, but I definitely want to get back soon to explore the city. Despite the dissing from the occasional East Coaster, I find LA to be one of the more interesting cities in America. Because its framework has yet to be defined, it continues to grow in unexpected directions.

A special thanks to Carol Mirakove, Jen Benka, David Buuck & Ara Sirinyan for having us.

Philly LOVE,

Frank Sherlock

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