03 June 2013

ants and collaboration

So I was warned by the bookshop owner at Calamus Books in Boston that reading Eminent outlaws by Christopher Bram would lead to a list of books to read. No problem. I went up to Herrick Library this afternoon to get Just above my head, the last novel of James Baldwin. I left with three other books as well: Prater Violet by Christopher Isherwood; The dream of Arcadia: American writers and artists in Italy, 1760-1915 by Van Wyck Books; and Fictions of masculinity: crossing cultures, crossing sexualities, edited by Peter F. Murphy. On leaving the library, I was meandering home in the lovely but cool sunshine when I spotted three ants pushing along a one-inch long piece of something. I couldn't tell if the object was a twig or perhaps a caterpillar carcass. The two guys at the ends were walking sideways and the guy in the middle was walking backwards, and they were moving at a good clip. When they got to the edge of the sidewalk, they shifted to moving the object lengthwise instead of broadside. Under this blade, over those blades of grass. Quite amazing how fast they were progressing even in the grass. The grass appeared rather alive with ants so perhaps more were assisting in the more difficult territory.

Walking on, I ran into Lily and told her about the amazing ant show and she said she'd just been watching a video about ants and emergence, about collaboration. A search on Google for "ants emergence" will get you a bunch of responses so I'm not sure what exactly she was watching or reading. Still, it was amazing that we were both enthralled at the moment about the great collaboratory of the ants.

daughter, thought her, water and Sherman Alexie

Doug sent me a link to Sherman Alexie being interviewed by Bill Moyers and I am enjoying his reading of a couple poems: one about Yo Yo Ma's cello and another about Facebook. Now you can guess part of why Doug sent me the link to the interview but it's also interesting to listen to his words about being bi-cultural and bipolar and bi-political. Poetry is sometimes more about words than prose and rhyme is clearly word-y. And that brings back the wonderful rhymes of yesterday's concert of the Penn Yan Community Chorus. These words from the Neighbors' Chorus from La jolie parfumeuse by Offenbach especially thrilled. I loved the rhyme of daughter, thought her, and water.

Was she a very rich man’s daughter
Who showed that she was not all you thought her?
When with your songs of love you sought her,
Were you dowsed with water poured down from above?

Corita Kent and sig files

Our VRA Upstate Chapter meeting included a curator-led visit to the "Someday is now: the art of Corita Kent" show at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. I vividly remember seeing some of the works as they appeared in the later 1960s and 1970s and was a bit distressed to find that they read like sig files now. How is it that wonderful statements can be trivialized by being repeated at the bottom of people's emails? The work above is, however, from the Market Basket works which resulted from her art classes, still related to her good works on social progress.