Monday, October 17, 2005

jwcurry's "Messagio Galore"

On Saturday, September 24th, a group of nearly two dozen of us were treated to a rare and important reading by Ottawa poet and publisher jwcurry, the first in his Hit'N'Run Lecture Series, called "MESSAGIO GALORE take II," framed as "a performance by jwcurry of sound & related textu(r)al materials with additional vocal aid by Max Middle," and held in the vacated bookstore space underneath his Chinatown apartment on Somerset Street West (see also post-reading reactions by John MacDonald, Wanda O'Connor and jealousies by Daniel f. Bradley, who couldn't make it). The second version of a performance "in an extremely different configuration with the vocal assistance of Maria Erskine (call it Take I)" at Gallery 101's Factory Reading Series (sponsored by span-o) on February 26, 2004, this is an extended variant on the reading he decides to do every year or two, depending on his mood, moving back into the public sphere for a moment, only to return to his desk and his work for another quiet period of months (a year or two he announced he wanted to remove himself from the world, and stop allowing his work out of his apartment for other publications). Called "the best concrete and visual poet in Canada," curry is also one of the few who has been regularly working in the realm of sound poetry, working, producing and collecting for two decades (working his bookstore, Room 302 Books, curry has also been called the third largest collector of small press in the country, after Nelson Ball and Nicky Drumbolis (through his Letters Bookshop), and has for years been compiling the bpNichol bibliography, over 20,000 items large).

MESSAGIO GALORE take II

part 1

(2) Frank Zappa, "How The Pigs' Music Works"
(1)Toronto Research Group, DEVICE FOR GENERATING A CONTEMPORARY ESSAY TITLE
(1) bill bissett, what fuckan theory (scattered throughout part 1)
(2) jwcurry/Qaani Lore, getting there rapid
(3) jwcurry, Againful Deployment
(1) jwcurry, notes from an imaginary journal
(2) Wharton Hood, " ant "
(2) Victor Coleman, DOPPLEGANGER SONNETS
(1) jwcurry, Copro*Lite
(2) Frank Zappa, JAZZ DISCHARGE PARTY HATS
(1) bpNichol, Generations
(2) jwcurry, " 7 unravelled KNOTS "
(2) jwcurry, IN VOCATION
(2) Toronto Research Group, Collaboration No. 2
(2) jwcurry/Peggy Lefler, SHIFT 3
(3) Herbert Stencil, "Forcible dislocation of personality"
(2) Richard Truhlar, BERLIN ABSTRACT
(2) jwcurry, LAND IS DOWN

part 2

(3) Four Horsemen, Another Motive
(1) Toronto Research Group, DEVICE FOR GENERATING A CONTEMPORARY ESSAY TITLE
(1) jwcurry, TRACT
(2) Steve McCaffery/bpNichol, 16 Part Suite
(1) Mike Patton, Ma Meeshka Mow Squoz
(2) jwcurry, OPIUM MARBLE
(3) Four Horsemen, Hare Pronounced Hair
(2) jwcurry, THE CONCRETE TELL
(1) jwcurry, ONAN'S MANOLECHCTURE
(1) Toronto Research Group, OF GRAMMATOLOGY

(1) solo performed by jwcurry
(2) duo performances assisted by Max Middle
(3) trio performances assisted by Jennifer Books

Framed as an essay on non-verbal, non-syntactical and non-linear poetics, the first half of the piece was even interspersed with bill bissett's "what fuckan theory," an essay he wrote on the subject (I believe, in the 1970s). Before the reading had started, curry took the text as a roll out into the audience and held it to his chest, asking random people to cut him (no one actually did, to his disappointment; see the photo of poet Wanda O'Connor cutting on John W. MacDonald's blog). The resulting cuts made the fragments of the essay curry would read between each of the pieces in the first part of the evening (after the cuts, curry used the scissors to cut a slice of his own hand, since no one else had).

curry and Max Middle even performed a couple of pieces as one-offs, in the late night hospitality suite of the ottawa international writers festival, including a performance of the Four Horseman piece "Hare Pronounced Hair" with the assistance of Carmel Purkis, seasonal staff of the festival bookstore, Nicholas Hoare, taking place of the third voice at the original event, Jennifer Books. In many ways, Purkis worked the piece better than Books, without the exhalation of extra breath after each new inhalation, working the "8-9, 8-9, 8-9" metronomic as such, instead of the "hate-9, 8-9, 8-9" that came out at the original (working the Steve McCaffery part of the piece). It has been interesting watching Max Middle evolve through his association with jwcurry over the past year, from his own performances in sound through his own Max Middle Sound Project, or his own print work, such as in his chapbooks A Creation Song (above/ground press, 2004; out of print, but reprinted with an interview in the first issue of ottawater) and smthg (above/ground press, 2005), or his inclusion in the new Canadian poetry anthology Shift & Switch (The Mercury Press, 2005).

And now MacDonald is saying that curry is planning another event, with another secret special guest? Will any of us know in time? If I do hear anything, I'll be sure to email the information out to anyone interested.

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