Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 14: Pacific Coast Highway, Museum of Jurassic Technology, Late Night Snack

Santa Monica Pier
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
[I accidentally deleted this post and after figuring out how to recover it I don't know how to put it back in sequence on the blog. So, here's one from the archive.  Originally posted October 14, 2007]

Knowing we would not have enough time on Friday to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to SF and do a reading in the same day, we decided to drive a little ways up the coast to get a feel for it. This led us through Malibu and a little beyond, I think into Ventura. It gets real nice once you pass all the gaudy mansions. Gets a little dizzying, too. I kept thinking about all the old movies I've seen that involve car chases and murders along this road.

After returning to SM for lunch, we took a walk along the Santa Monica Pier, then ventured down to Culver City, LA for a visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. First of all, this museum has nothing about it that is recognizably Jurassic, and very little by way of its exhibits about technology. That said, it is one of the more memorable museums I've ever visited, mostly because I couldn't figure out how anything in the museum was related to anything else and nearly broke my brain trying to do so.

Here's a list of some of the exhibits we saw:

1. A collection of decaying dice
2. A series of portraits of dogs that flew in Soviet space missions.
3. A collection of microscopic collages made of insect wings.
4. A library of books on Napoleon.
5. A series of dioramas about mobile homes which claims they descend from Noah's ark.
6. A room full of old folk remedies and superstitions.
7. A collection of collections from collectors who happened to live in mobile homes.
8. A Proust-inspired memory box containing a Madeleine, a tea cup and something I don't recall (ha ha!), all of which were apparently connected to air tubes that when uncovered blew scented air out into your nose, I believe with the intention of inspiring a reverie a la In Search of Lost Time.
9. Many dioramas that make use of holographic technology for various inexplicable reasons, the most entertaining of which was a piece of taxidermy (some kind of cat, though I can't recall if it was a bobcat or something else). When you look through the holograph screen thereappears in the center of the animal's brain a seated man who barks like a dog. Not to be missed if you happen to be in Los Angeles -- but beware the general freakishness of the streets outside. I stepped out to put a quarter in the meter and was accosted for the second time in as many days by a lunatic who started screaming at me.

We met up with Sesshu Foster and Jane Sprague for dinner at a Filipino restaurant in Chinatown, then wandered over to betalevel for the reading. Of all the reading series I took part in on this tour, I have to give props to Harold Abramowitz and Matthew Timmons for putting on the most entertaining and unique one. "Late Night Snack" advertises only the date of each event, and then tells you on their website what happened after the fact. What happens is that, starting around 10 p.m., a number of performers of many stripes: poets, musicians, performance and visual artists, and whoever else wants to participate put on 15-20 minute performances. On this night, 4 poets and three musicians performed.

Gerard Olsen, a young poet read a breathlessly surreal essay about Los Angeles; Michael Smoler paid homage to Ted Berrigan by reading one of his poems and then followed with a tender reading of some of his own; Catherine Daly, who'd I'd known of and corresponded with but had never met, read from her factory school "Heretical Texts" book, as well as from a new piece called, I think, Kittenhood; she was followed by Laura Steenberge & Heather Lockie, a violinist and accordionist respectively, who did a hilarious sort of improv musical/narrative work, which brought down the house; I finished off the poetry readings with selections from both books; and the evening was closed by banjo/guitar player singer/songwriter Emily Lacy.

It was also the second of four Buffalo Poetics reunions on this trip, as Logan Esdale and Lara Odell showed up to cheer me on. By the time we got back to SM that night it was 1:30. All in all, a great night.

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