Friday, July 1, 2011

STL #100: Objects of Fascination and Agents of Revelation

It has taken 8 years to complete 100 posts; that's only a little more than a post a month. With my rededication to daily writing, I hope that I can return a bit closer to my weekly rate. In any case, I have decided to mark the occasion by writing in my favorite form: the list. Following is a varied list of things, mostly works of art but a few ideas or lifestyle accoutrements,  I've become familiar with during the life span of STL.  Some of these things I've written about, but most I haven't. The most significant thing I've noticed in compiling this list is that the books are all of my own choosing: I haven't been assigned a reading list this whole time. This list might be seen as a memoir of the last 8 years of my life, but then again that might be pushing it. I'll add a bit more commentary after the list.

  1. Absu, "Ye Uttuku Spells"
  2. Belgian ales
  3. Charles Olson, Maximus Poems
  4. William Gaddis, The Recognitions
  5. Jack Green's Fire the Bastards
  6. Kill Bill
  7. Graham Greene, The Comedians
  8. Guy Davenport, Tatlin!
  9. Albert Ayler, Spiritual Unity
  10. Reality-based politics
  11. Jens Lekman, “A Postcard to Nina”
  12. Eddie Campbell, How to be an Artist
  13. "Lying In Bed On A Summer Morning," by Carl Rakosi
  14. Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things
  15. Deep Red
  16. Halloween
  17. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  18. Millennium Actress
  19. Lost in Translation
  20. Etre et Avoir
  21. The Sopranos
  22. The Wire
  23. William Bronk
  24. Watchmen, reluctantly
  25. Seven Soldiers of Victory
  26. Hendrick’s Gin
  27. In the American Tree
  28. Cy Twombly, Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor)
  29. Bread crumb eggs
  30. George Simenon
  31. Django Reinhardt
  32. Freaks and Geeks
  33. My So-Called Life
  34. Carson, NOX
  35. Lee Ann Brown, Polyverse
  36. Fiery Furnaces, Rehearsing My Choir
  37. Tori Amos, From the Choirgirl Hotel
  38. Something Said
  39. Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man, Out of Season
  40. Joanna Newsom, Milk Eyed Mender
  41. Sleater Kinney, One Beat
  42. His Dark Materials
  43. Battle Royale
  44. John Cheever's Collected Short Stories
  45. American Elf
  46. Black Riders
  47. Robert Duncan, "Opening of the Field"
  48. Gilbert Godfery in The Aristocrats [2005]
  49. Goodbye Dragon Inn
  50. Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41
  51. Team America
  52. The singularity
  53. Tender Buttons
  54. The Pound Era
  55. Three Places in New England
  56. Alban Berg, Violin Concerto
  57. Matt Fraction, Casanova
  58. The New American Poetry 1945-1960
  59. The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
  60. Immortal All Shall Fall
  61. Deathspell Omega Chaining the Katcheon
  62. Wardruna
  63. Girl Talk, All Night
  64. Lair of the Minotaur, "Let's Kill These Motherfuckers"
  65. Dope throne
  66. Modern Life Is War “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”
  67. Mountain Goats “This Year”
  68. Benji Hughes Love Extreme
  69. Heartless Bastards, The Mountain
  70. Opeth, Blackwater Park
  71. Josephine Foster, Hazel Eyes I Will Follow
  72. Cat Power The Greatest
  73. No Thanks! Anthology
  74. Haydn, Symphony 88
  75. Robyn “Be Mine”
  76. Spoon “Back to the Life"
  77. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  78. Dirty Weekend 
  79. Old Boy
  80. The Rothko Chapel
  81. “Appalachian Spring”
  82. Audition
  83. Enter the Void
  84. Y The Last Man
  85. Marcel Dzama
  86. Battlestar Galactica
  87. John Porcellino, King Cat
  88. Can These Bones Live?
  89. Wicker Man
  90. Blow Up
  91. King Lear (Russian film)
  92. Mozart, Symphony 40
  93. Brandenberg Concertos
  94. Garth Merenghi's Dark Place
  95. The Grey Album
  96. Community
  97. Song of Ice and Fire
  98. Siraccha and Earl Grey Ice Cream
  99. O Paon
A few explanations are in order. With the exception of a few pieces of classical music, everything on this list is from the second half of the twentieth century or later. That is where my interests drive me, but as I was drawing up the list I made a conscious decision to make it this way to relieve me of the obligation to include things because I felt I should. Tom Jones, some Shakespeare plays, Milton, and other things I read for the first time in the last eight years might otherwise be on here. I felt that by keeping them off would cut away pretense and help me perhaps discover more of my true inclinations.  

Each work of art on this list was chosen because it keeps drawing me back in one way or another, offering more each time I revisit it. Some of the films (namely, Audition and Enter the Void) keep their claim on my psyche, but I doubt I will ever summon up the resolve to watch them again. What the works offer is different is each case: the goofy comedy of Garth Marenghi sounds different chords than Ed Dahlberg's jeremiad Can These Bones Live?. Dahlberg I'm sure would be mortified to be keeping company with much of this list--I notice that I trend lowbrow in much of my tastes. Looking over the list, I don't feel I can make any grand pronouncements, nor do I even understand why I include half a dozen foodstuffs and only two works of visual art. As with everything I write, this turns up more questions. Here's to the next 100 opportunities to figure out the answers.

(In case you are interested, here's a census of the list: 35 items can be classified as music, 18 as movies, 9 as poetry, 9 as fiction (therefore 18 as literature), 7 as comics, 7 as TV, 5 as criticism, 4 as comestibles, 3 as visual art, and two as concepts. The music breaks down as follows: 7 as metal, 6 as classical (including modern), 6 as folk (I can't bring myself to type "freak folk," but everything in this category is moody and eccentric, and with mostly acoustic instruments), 6 pop, 6 rock, 2 jazz, and 2 dj mashups.