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Drew Burk — Jumbled recap.

08/18/2010

There was an event. A party we threw. It was nice, it was cool. It was fun, and it was way too long. In some senses, the party, the release of Spork 9.1, the literary dance machine thing, it was practice. I wanted to see how the event could work, see how it would work so we could do it again, do it somewhere else, do it right.

Let me tell you a little about our event.
     There was, of course, the week leading up to the event, which we spent in a window on Congress St., kind of in front and to the side of the Rialto, making books. Friday: silkscreen the covers... Saturday: fold and drill and sew... Sunday: repeat the stuff from Saturday, but also make some covers... Monday: do the same as Saturday and Sunday but add to the list the putting the covers on the competed blocks. Then Tuesday: repeat all of the above.
     Oh yeah, I forgot also Sunday: give up due to exhaustion and cross the street and go do some Karaoke with Ander Monson. I sang, both with and without Ander. I sang Bowie, all by myself, and spent the rest of the evening getting high-fives from people who do karaoke (and high-fiving, I assume, an activity of which I heartily approve [though describing approval in clunky sentences I approve of a bit less]) a lot. We intended that we'd pop in, breeze through and wave hi to Ander then breeze out, but it didn't work like that. We sang a lot. Imagined that our tuney yelling was support, discovered that when we sang along we weren't deriding anyone, we were, in actual fact singing along and not over as I'd originally thought I was, and maybe this is all Ander, because he's into the whole community idea, these things we do together, these charming absurdities that make for wonderful essays when it's someone like Ander writing them... and maybe it's the exhaustion or maybe it's that the karaoke felt less serious and at the same time more heartfelt, fun but not jerks doing it badly because they're jerks and they're making fun of the karaoke thing but instead people singing whether they could or not because they wanted to, and nowhere was that guy in his special sweater, his magical singing sweater, that guy who arrived hours early and dominated the list and sang and sang and sang and made everything just that little bit gross and that lot bit sad. In the end, it was long after 2AM when we stumbled home; 10:30 when we left the window. A complete and utter fail at breeze-through.
     The sweater doesn't sing. For the record. The man wears the sweater and believes he sings better with it.
     The event itself happened Wednesday, and it happened pretty much between 7 and midnight. It should have ended at 11, we should have had just one band (just B4Skin), and they should have brought the curtain down on our little game. We started at 7, with a 2-hour audio collage made up of stories and poems that Spork authors have recorded for us. Two stories, Beth Toëner's "Sheila Takes That Bow" and Amy Hayek's "Neko Utsuru Koretoonaji" were chopped up, one sent to the right channel, the other the left, trading places in the soundtrack, with poems and shorter stories, recorded in a variety of ways (voicemail, a couple) taking up the center channel between bits. Because I'm a jerk, I threw a sub-bass thrum that phased in and out and up and down beneath it all, making everything rumble, making it all seem dark and odd, making the lovely older folk who'd come to see just what the hell we were doing just a little uncomfortable. About 30 minutes in, the DJs (OWLS) started messing with it, looping and inserting beats, doing weird DJ stuff with their magic toys and attachments, at which point things went from unsettling to disturbingly surreal. While things were slipping from unsettling to disturbingly surreal, we were in the middle of the floor making a huge copy of Drew Krewer's Ars Warholica—the pages were printed on five 40-foot sheets, which we accordioned then stacked then sewed then glued into the cover, which was heavy, big, glittered and completely unwieldy and totally unreasonable and wrong for the application we were using it for. Which, I think, is kinda what I was shooting for. A huge book, completely unreasonable in all its aspects. People loved it to death. I intended that it leave the building with us, but folk got drunk, folk got excited—and if you've ever had a drunk excitedly pull your arm so they could show you this superawesome somethingorother, you can understand how our book felt.
     Around 8:30, a steadier, building beat was mixed into the audio collage, building till 9, when the collage ended, and the music started. It was just dance music at first, while folk milled and got their drinks and bought their books and stood outside and smoked (some people paid admission, walked in, then walked out and spent the entire event on the curb, smoking. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, but I wasn't surprised), and then at 9:30 a bunch of sexy librarians swept through the lobby, into the theater, and up on the stage, where they did their sexy librarian dance. The stripping was nice.
     Immediately following the dance we launched into the part of the program which was the entire point of the whole thing: the literary dance party. It went like this: there'd be a song playing, right? And people were dancing, and then the DJs mixed a beat into it, then looped that beat and dropped the other song out and then there's these risers on either side of the stage, and when the loop kicked in, someone'd read from one of those risers. And people danced to the poetry, and it was right and proper and what I'd hoped for. Reading's over in a few minutes, and immediately there's a song, or a video, which we made from songs which we made from people's reading their stuff over here in the studio, then a song or a song we made, and then on the other side of the stage, when the next loop started, someone else reading something else... and so on, and so on, a reading every 12 to 15 minutes.
     There was a band and they came and they played and they sounded nothing like their recorded music and they drank all our beer and they ate all our pizza and they drove everyone out of the theater and they were made to be finished after two songs.
     That was the mistake. We should have just plowed through and onward and forward with the plan, no stopping, no breaks, nothing. Just dance dance dance. After the band thing, we did the reader-song-video-song-reader thing again for two more cycles, and then B4Skin played and I felt done. Felt like we did what we set out to do and I started trying to find someone who could call a halt, put an end, let me go home. I didn't find anyone, and people kept coming in, even though the event was pretty much done... I've spoken to people who said, "Yeah, I went to your event. It was boring. I got there at like midnight and nothing was going on..." I like that conversation a lot.
     There's pictures. I know there are. The funny thing about the pictures is though there's hundreds of people there, the space was so huge that no matter how many folk we had, it looked kinda sparse. That was the other thing. I'd wanted it in a smaller venue, but the big one's the one we got.

And now there's a to-do list that grows, and one of the items on there is get the studio organized. Things are a wreck here, and they'll just get worse if something isn't done quick. We're shipping out all the orders of 9.1, which is clearing up some space. If you ordered a bunch of chapbooks, that'd clear up some space too, though not as much as if you ordered a bunch of Sporks. Or this huge painting that's just kinda in the way.

Expect to see an updated commerce page on the Spork site in the next day or so, where you'll be able to buy all the chapbooks, so you can do your part in the making of space in our space.