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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Samizdat Blog: The &NOW Awards: Shop Early!

Samizdat Blog: The &NOW Awards: Shop Early! And buy the anthology that includes the full text of "In the beginning is," recently published in collaborative video mode on Drunken Boat. While the book contains many fine works by experimentalish writers, there are some that (imho) don't belong in an anthology of "best innovative (gawds do I hate that word) writings."

So -- I returned Sunday from the &NOW conferval (conference or festival, or both) of "innovative" art & lit in Buffalo, NY. Events began on Wednesday, the 14th; my time slot was (allegedly) 3:05. My attempt to perform a powerpoint presentation of my 3 part story "Little Red," with brilliant music by Don C. Meyer (Prof, Lake Forest), & powerpoint techno & artistic assistance by Alla Watson, didn't meet with absolute success, as the ppt refused to transfer to the screen. Nevermind. I read the story (really a metafiction) dramatically, inserting Don's leitmotifs and intro's, and the reviews were kind. It's a fun story in 3 povs: Act I is in the 1st person, Act 2 in the 2nd, Act 3 in the 3rd.

Personal highlights of the festival included reunions with good friends Yuriy & Karina Tarnawsky, Martin Nakell & Rebecca Goodman, the acquisition of new friends, including my room-mate Beth Couture, Michael Peters, Christian Lorentzin, Matt Robison, and Terry Wright, and more time spent with several writers I'd met before: Mark Spitzer, Steve Katz & Steve Tomasula, Wendy Walker, Tom LaFarge, and Kim Chinquee. I also met quite a few lovely contributors to MHR, former editor Kane X Faucher, and a bunch of facebook friends. And I enjoyed meeting the talented and extremely patient and kind organizers of this year's conferval, Dimitri Anastasopoulos and Christina Milletti.

I was there primarily to network for purposes of collaboration and journal contributions, reunite, and view new media and performance projects. I wandered into a few readings. My favorites were an interactive poetry event curated by Jennifer Karmin, and the Exquisite Corpse Anthology reading, starring writers who really know how to read their works dramatically; unfortunately, many if not most writers do.

There were many "critical" panel presentations I avoided; an exception was the panel on surrealism that included Yuriy, Steve Katz, and Dimitri. Though it was rather upsetting to note that this was, like many others, an all-male panel. In any case, the vast majority of the well-populated conferval consisted of professors, instructors, and students. I would have loved to see more new media and performance presentations. More about the ones I did see ... anon.

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