Pedestrian Photographs: The Walk to Poetry Scores


Last Friday, as some of you know already, was the Poetry Scores Art Invitational at The Luminary Arts Center here in St. Louis and it was a lotta fun and productive, stimulating, educational, etc., etc. ... but I hadn't arranged a ride to the show or anything, so I grabbed Julie's camera and walked.

Now, normally, I'd have taken Grand to Arsenal and gone through Tower Grove Park, but I had already covered much of that territory in the last round of Pedestrian Photographs, So I went the back way - Bates to Kingshighway and northward to the thing.

The pickins, at least to my eye, were a little slimmer than usual that evening and what with these recent early sunsets, the auto-flash kept... you know, auto-flashing. I normally never use a flash regardless of the light, you see, but I couldn't figure out how to disable that function on this camera. Whatever. I harvested a few good things on the way and had intended to shoot the goings-on all night but, about five minutes after I walked in the gallery, the battery died.


Yup. It's autumn. The surface there is one of those big, metal doors that opens up outta the sidewalk and into someone's basement. A lot of the buildings in my neighborhood have these. Here's an example of a shot I might've normally just ignored cause, let's face it, it's just a bit too precious. The whole nature vs. industry theme is pretty played out and, I don't know, it's just to obvious, too predictable. But I went for it anyway. I was just a few minutes out the door when I came upon this composition and I wasn't yet sure of my objectives for this outing so I thought, "What the hell." That's the thing with digital vs. film. With film you need to be really deliberate, really decisive. Every time you expose a frame, it's money outta your pocket. with digital, you just shoot and shoot and shoot with no real consequence to you but the time you spend in editing.

Did I take pictures of the sides of buildings? Why, sure I did. Six of em. The more I look at these, the more I like these blocky compositions. I'll be doing more of these, I think.

Up, up! Parking lot arrows, of course. I could shoot these all day.

And more text frags. A pretty lively arrangement.

"No way would I ever dream of photoshopping the sky! How dare you even suggest such a thing!" is how I captioned this over at the facebook. It's an issue I struggle with a lot, as I'm sure many, many artists do - whether to go wet or stay dry. Every time I bring an image into Photoshop I am tempted to really pretty it up with all those crazy filters I have at my disposal. I do have a standard routine I like and you'll see that employed on all these images but sometimes I feel compelled to do more and, I'll tell you, it's almost never a good idea. Here I've added extra drama to an already fading sky by adding a transparent gradient. It seemed like the thing to do at the time but now I look at it and say to myself, "Too wet."

Another circle hunt. I like giving myself this assignment. It always satisfies, never disappoints, though I think this is the least of them so far. For some reason, on Bates, it's all about drainage.

Awwww! Someone fingered a heart into the wet cement just outside the gates of the Concordia Cemetery on Bates. Read into it what you like. I think it's precious!

On the South end of Kingshighway, it's pretty much storefront after storefront and one of them is a Progressive Insurance office where, in the window, they had this lit up sign with this girl on it, Flo, their current spokesbitch. Actually, no, I shouldn't talk like that 'cause I'm really kinda into Flo. Don't ask me why. She just sorta does it for me. In fact, she's super way cute. I sometimes fantasize about us getting married in that big, white store of hers that sells boxes of air. The ceremony would be ever so dreamy, shot with Vaseline on the lens and very, very sterile except that we'd have the Geico Caveman officiate. He's ordained, right? Sure he is. Then we'd throw a huge reception and get the FreeCreditReport.Com band to play.

As I mentioned, just a few minutes into the show, the camera was useless. So this is the only piece of art I was able to shoot. This is Daniel Shown's inclusion. They're all these 4"x4" photographs, I think, and, of course, it's no mystery why I like this arrangement, though it is a shame about the glare from the flash. (Fucking flash.) But despite their lovely unity, each print got auctioned off separately. The photograph below is of the diagram sheet that Daniel had nearby to indicate to the bidder which image s/he was bidding on.

The only other thing I shot at the show was this cool, old printing press that Eric Woods had brought in from Firecracker Press and set up to print bookmarks, which was his piece in the show. He'd chosen a line from the poem and was printing it up on bookmarks live at two bucks a pop. Very neat. And if you don't already know about The Firecracker Press you should. Everything Eric and his people do is excellent, just amazing work. Check out what I mean here or fan up on facebook here.


Thanks, Rebecca, for the Library Cards

A couple months ago my good pal, Rebecca Ryan, mailed me back this camera thingy I'd left at her place in Chicago back in June, and sent along with it this note and some samples of these library cards she has.

See, Beck works at a law library for some college or university there in the city and, presumably, has access to cool stuff like this all the time. So, of course, I replied, "Yes, I'd be very interested to use these in something." (paraphrasing)

It wasn't too much later I got a big envelope in the mail just packed with these. I've got what I think are some pretty good ideas mapped out for them, too, but before I start in, I thought I'd scan and post a few of my favorite ones.

Love you, Beck!

2009 Poetry Scores Exhibition Announcement

I don't know yet if this was printed in the hard version of the River Front Times (I'm sure it was), but Chris King posted a link to this on facebook today, so I'm adding it to this archive.


Deadbeat Club

Last monday I went with some friends to the Way Out Club for Brett Underwood's Day of the Deadbeats annual event where St. Louis writers read poetry, prose and lyrics by many of the well known beat luminaries and associated writers. I happened to have a camera there, so I took some pictures of some of the readers.

For those of you not on myspace, here's Mr. Underwood's post publicizing this year's event...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Category: Writing and Poetry
7 p.m., Monday, November 2nd
The Way Out Club
2525 S Jefferson Ave
Saint Louis, Missouri
We have an enormous line-up this year. There are 17 of us presenting the message of the Beats. It will be a challenge to get everybody up to fit into three hours, but we will do it. We'll need to keep each reading under ten minutes. I am excited about this year, because we have a solid core of powerful performers that have graced the stage in the past: K. Curtis Lyle, Michael Castro, Ann Haubrich, Bob Putnam, Phil Gounis, Chris King, Ken Brown. Stefene Russell returns to us this year and is part of a sizable group of women that will present their selections, including Haubrich, Russell, Erin Wiles, Lauren Keefer and Mary Fisher (coming all the way from Salt Lake City!). Also returning are a powerful contingent from the Get Born Readings scene: Joseph Sulier, Brock Walker, Mathieu Paul, Ken "the jokes are in there, Kids" Brown and Wiles. Joining us for the first time are Sean Arnold, Lauren Keefer, Fisher and Typewriter Tim Jordan.
We'll be missing a couple folks this year due to life and death and time constraints, etc...
I know that there are many who have performed in the past that I am not including here, but have to mention that I will always miss those that joined us since I've been at the helm of the event and brought it to the stage: Hunter Brumfield (R.I.P), Ben Hanna, Bob Wilcox, Agnes Wilcox, Joe Wetteroth, Mariah Richardson, Greg Hazleton, Kevin McCameron and Cynthia Sutton.
There will be many highlights this year, but perhaps the most theatrical of the event will be that of Tim Jordan in his persona BodyBag Man while channeling William S. Burroughs.
AND, this just in: Bob Putnam is going to read from the works of the recently departed Jim Carroll. Bob brought Carroll to St. Louis twice back in the day. It seems fitting. I will pick up Herbert Huncke and leave Brion Gysin to the spirit of the dreamachine.
What's that?
Yes, James Ottolini has built a dreamachine and it will be strobing on stage or in a corner, adding to the experience.
You can read more about this stroboscopic gizmo here:

After all of that, we'll have the musical stylings of the St. Louisans of Humdrum http://www.myspace.com/humdrumsound and
Jason and the Beast
You might want to cancel any Tuesday morning activities!

Here is the lineup in no particular order:
Phil Gounis---Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Brock Walker---Gary Snyder??/Peter Orlovsky???
Bob Putnam---Jim Carroll
Ken Brown---Charles Bukowski
Sean Arnold---D.A. Levy
Mathieu Paul---Hubert Selby, Jr.
Chris King---Kenneth Rexroth
Ann Haubrich---Jack Kerouac
Tim Jordan---William S. Burroughs
K. Curtis Lyle---Bob Kaufman
Stefene Russell---Allen Ginsberg
Erin Wiles---Ruth Weiss
Mary Fisher--Richard Brautigan
Lauren Keefer---Leroi Jones
Michael Castro---Gregory Corso
Joseph Sulier---Kennetch Patchen
Brett Underwood (that's me!)---reading Herbert Huncke


"Pictures I Took Without Moving From This Spot"


... or, perhaps, "Compositions from a Crappy Room in Dutchtown Through a Manufactured, Nostalgic Haze," or possibly even, "The Most Flagrant and Desipicable Conceit: Making You Look at My Stuff," or just as probably, "The Room Closes In Around Me as I Continue to Procrastinate Learning How to Sell Shit on Ebay," or even worse than all of that, "It's As Though I Died Years Ago But No One Ever Bothered to Box Up My Things and Send Them to All of the Recipients That Were Specified in the Note and Now the Job Has Somehow Fallen to You... Good Luck."