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Garett Strickland

http://www.unwin-dunraven.com

Garett Strickland lives elsewhere. He's the artistic director/producer at Unwin-Dunraven and the editor of PLINTH (forthcoming). He records and performs in a conceptual jazz-noise ensemble called CLOTHES. He's a metaphysician. He makes books and tapes.

THE ZAMBRENO DOLL

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TWO WEEKS AGO I saw on Facebook a comment Kate Zambreno made regarding a review of James Franco’s new book that mentioned Kathy Acker, presumedly in reference to Franco’s ventriloquizing River Pheonix, possibly others. (My exposure to the book is limited to Michael Silverblatt’s Bookworm interview with Franco.) Zambreno’s position was that this comparison is really dumb, completely off-base. In the comments thread, I posted: “Altars are altars.” I was immediately unfriended by Zambreno and thus occluded from the conversation and any subsequent threads, a chess move that — tho clever — strikes me as a bit ridiculous, considering the neutrality of my statement.

The Word is The Word.

I re-requested her friendship and sent the following message:

Probably that Franco & Acker are both Americans of ambiguous sexuality writing within the same 100 year period and using similar devices within hybridized genre is reason enough for it to be mentioned in a review, is my thinking. .. Guarantee Acker got at least a few dozen readers she’d never have had otherwise if the reviewer hadn’t dropped the name, erroneous tho the comparison may be within the world of our specialized knowledge. .. This, admittedly, appealing to that ‘Oprah does good for lit’ kind of sensibility.

Considering I received no response, I regret having put even as much thought as this into a comment placed in tangent with a request to participate in a conversation I’ve got as much right to as any other human being, regardless of the seemingness of my being white or male. The notion of feeling obliged to ask permission to express an opinion, no matter who or what you are, is humiliating. And tho I find the prospect of humiliation somewhat exciting, my conviction to challenge hypocrisy and reductionist thinking — in this case, ongoing invective generalization practiced with impunity — wins out.

: : : : :

Barred from this particular temple, I sit down outside the gates and I weep. What is the cause of my tears? I wonder, palms slick and face hidden from the priestesses streaming in arrival and departure from the pylon. Is it envy? and of what? Have I not got my own good things to feel glad about? Must I access *every* goddess? Why is it I care so much..?

These questions — or simply the act of questioning — are enough to stop my crying. I pick myself up, dust myself off, and return to the keep of my Citadel.

: : : : :

The Zambreno doll arrives in the mail. Part of the ‘Iconoclast Series’ I’ve been collecting. Perhaps one day I’ll be similarly immortalized, tho I have my doubts. I read the copy on the box: “Speaks Over a Dozen Variations of Reactionary Polemic Toward History’s Majority Shareholders”. This seems in bad taste for a number of reasons.

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Massive People / 166 Comments
December 11th, 2013 / 8:50 pm

FIRST BONERS: an awankening

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THE OTHER NIGHT I had yet another great encounter in the Nod House. She and I were both in and outside a film, making out, when I became aware that soon the dream would be over and I’d once again have lost out on an emotionally & physically rewarding relationship. I asked her what other films she’d been in, so I could look her up on IMDB once I was forced back into wakefulness. She went on to list a few, none of which I had heard of — the most interesting of which was a horror film about a toilet with a set of eyes embedded in its tank, facing the wall, which no one ever discovered were there.

In any case, I woke up, sighed, and went about the business of trying to figure out what the fuck planet this *is* anyway.

: : : : :

It would often seem that the women I meet in my dreams, divorced from the sheer mechanics of fantasy, have at times provided a fuller, more complex, and healthier array of experiences than those I’ve been romantically involved with in the waking world — tho certainly not for lack of hope or trying. I’ve fallen in love, been married, known passions unexplored otherwise, and had weepy moments of self-reflexive conversation in which we addressed whether our interaction was founded on past lives, cognitive magnetism aspiring toward actualization, or simply the phantasmal workings of my mind alone. I’ve written of experiences of this sort before.

Regardless, I’ve recently been considering my personal foundations for attraction, no matter their plane of operation. Everyone has their first crushes, grade-school infatuations and the like. Personally, I can’t remember a time when the romantic impulse didn’t thrive inside me. In kindergarten, there was a girl named Leanne Wolff. I tried to convince a friend of mine to help me build a net to use to catch her so she’d marry me. In first grade, braving mutual embarrassment, I knelt and kissed a girl’s hand in front of our entire classroom. Then in second grade, my first official girlfriend, Crystal Shepherd, and, next year, Crystal Lakes. I’ve been steadily heartbroken ever since.

Sexual awakenings, of course, are of a different sort entirely.

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Random / 1 Comment
December 9th, 2013 / 12:40 am

THE GREATEST POEM OF THE 21ST CENTURY SO FAR: Lukas Moodysson’s CONTAINER (2006), the thing in itself (Pt. ONE)

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SAYING EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

Film & Word Spaces / 4 Comments
December 2nd, 2013 / 8:03 am

ALLOW ME TO MANSPLAIN

Random / 1 Comment
December 2nd, 2013 / 7:14 am

THE GRATITUDE TRAP (ThXgiving ReduX Y1)

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[Originally published almost a year ago.]

SOME TIME AGO I had a breakthrough: I discovered I could hate my food. I was at a bar and ordered a burger I knew was a good one. I’d ordered it before and had every reason to look forward to it. I was in a shitty mood tho, so when it arrived, I made it the object of my disdain and aggression. I h(ated) the fucker GONE, right out of existence.

You always hear people say things like, “I demolished that pizza,” or, “I murdered that salmon mousse,” but how often does the appropriate emotion coincide with the act of eating?

Boldly I say, Fuck Sustenance.
Nutritional, cultural, social, or otherwise.

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Craft Notes & Random / 3 Comments
November 29th, 2013 / 4:04 am

WITCH BECKETT: Ben Wheatley’s A FIELD IN ENGLAND

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HERE’S ONE FOR the year-end lists.

Few things are more pointless than commentary on minimalist works. In approaching their skeleton we ourselves are stripped in our arrival, so tho we may have hoped to drape those bones with what little flesh is left, none holds. It slops to the ground. These bones don’t require our witness. They stand just fine on their own.

Similarly, there’s little I can say about A FIELD IN ENGLAND (dir. Ben Wheatley) that won’t in some way color the experience of watching it when it needs no color at all, even in its psychedelia. The film is excellent, and no doubt would lend itself well to studies of altered states and sidereal space.

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And if by chance the film invites or inaugurates a genre?

Let’s say, WITCH BECKETT. I’d gladly welcome more like it.

Here’s the trailer for a taste.

Film / 3 Comments
November 18th, 2013 / 3:45 am

GROT CONCERT

Music / 1 Comment
November 17th, 2013 / 2:03 am

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WHAT GETS YOU OFF ???

O MY MILEY

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CELEBRITIES ARE REPOSITORIES and filters for mass projection, sacrifice and god-form for the global majority who live for the most part vicarious — a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

Miley Cyrus is doing a good job.

I’ve never heard any of her songs, neither now or in her previous incarnation. But neither have I ever heard Sarah Palin’s voice. Those just aren’t the circles of media I move through. It was only yesterday that I learned, for example, that Taylor Swift is not a boy. Some may find this hard to believe. That’s good. I’m bragging and I earned the rights, having passed precariously through more than one minefield of shlock.

A few years ago, when everyone was losing their shit over Lady Gaga, I couldn’t have cared less. And yet, suddenly, I care deeply about what’s going on with Miley Cyrus. Why?

For starters, I grew up in Appalachia where Billy Ray was a household name. I imagine, if I heard the beginning of one of his songs, I would be able to sing along til its end in the same way people have the pledge of allegiance committed to memory. This is not to say I have any enthusiasm for the man’s work. Only that there’s a familiarity I can’t ignore.

As far as the Hannah Montana phenomenon is concerned, I wasn’t privy to any of that either, short of hearing the name amidst the rabble — the case, as stated before, with a great deal of other type pop culture whatever.

Coming back to the point, it takes a special individual to stand up to this much attention. It takes, as well, a lot of careful scheming to stage drama in a world where staged drama is all that happens. And while the publicists are the true unsung heros of anything that grabs our fought-for dismissal spans for the split-fucking-second it takes to click next, it takes no small amount of bravery to say, Sure I’ll be your avatar.

What with the perils of maintaining stature as a scapegoat straw-woman, absorbing and absolving the disgusting crud of our collective pathos and (ugh) zeitgeist.

What with the unsavory realities of child-stardom and being fingerblasted by media moguls since before her pupa stage.

Hannah my Cyrus
Miley mon Always

what your haters truly feel is the guilt of a sexualization that began long before you approached the blurred line of adulthood, and the subsequent resentment of a culture that refuses to own up to it.

Boldly you face forward, a full-fledged woman doing things that grown-ups do. Never apologize. You are not the victim that America in its grossness wants or expects. A triumph, as you are nonetheless our vessel.

Never stop.

Massive People / 1 Comment
November 12th, 2013 / 3:14 am

BEYOND PROPHECY, MY WILLFULNESS, or Nietzsche Destroyed by Fire

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Special thanks to Mathias Svalina

Random / 9 Comments
November 4th, 2013 / 6:26 pm