Art does not seek to describe but to enact. —Charles Olson

Festival VII

July 1–July 9, 2010

+ Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + Andrew Dieck + Kevin Dockery + Jason Federmeyer +
+ Evelyn Ficarra + Eric Gladstone + Brian Griffeath-Loeb + Cole Heinowitz +
+ Marcia Scott + Alexander Sigman + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

Here is a bare summary (omitting informal conversations and activities) of the Seventh Poto Festival.  Once again the Festival could not have happened without the generosity of Kristi Elkins, who, although she could not attend, again donated the bulk of our food and drink.  And we are grateful to Jason Federmeyer, who (excellently) did the bulk of this year’s cooking.

July 1
People arrived; and in the evening, as the first part of a memorial tribute to Dennis Hopper, we watched Curtis Harrington’s Queen of Blood.

July 2
After breakfast, Erik presented Dieter Schnebel’s cycle of choral and organ works, für Stimmen (missa est); then Marcia led the first of two Feldenkrais “Awareness Through Movement” exercises.  After lunch, Cole read from and led discussion of John Mason’s Fade to Prompt and from Philip Whalen’s Scenes of Life at the Capital.  In the evening we listened to the Adagio from Mahler’s Tenth Symphony (in the Sinopoli recording), followed by a viewing and discussion of Jean Genet’s film Un Chant d’Amour.

July 3
Brian gave his first presentation, analyzing spatiality in the opening sequence of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West; and then Alex presented recordings of several recent pieces, including the mixed-media detritus I and II.  In the afternoon, Erik presented some of the Mallarmé settings of Debussy and Ravel; after which Cole played George Oppen’s recording of his “Of Being Numerous.”  Over the course of the day Ian built an interactive video installation outside, which he unveiled in the evening and which became the site for the night’s conversations.

July 4
Evelyn played recordings of recent works for piano and for string trio with electronics.  In the afternoon several courageous Potoites conquered elements of the ropes course; and, as has become traditional, we celebrated Independence Day with a barbecue prepared generously by Mark and Cathy Scott.  After dinner, Jason played a new recording of his ensemble work fingerless, beneath a curtain, which showed the piece in a more advantageous light than had been possible a year ago; and Ian’s installation continued for a second and final night.

July 5
Andrew read from his new poetic sequence Totally Normal; and after lunch Cole read, both from work in progress and from her earlier sequences The Rubicon and Songs of Joy.  In the evening Alex presented several Peter Greenaway shorts; and then we watched Louis Malle’s film Black Moon.

July 6
We began the day with two readings about plucked instruments, by Mallarmé (“Une dentelle s’abolit”) and Shelley (“With a Guitar.  To Jane”).  Then there was a reading and discussion of Eric’s screenplay for his upcoming DMA film.  Carolyn followed, and playing at the piano from her variations after Sweelinck’s Mein Junges Leben Hat Ein End (in progress).  In the afternoon Marcia led a second Awareness Through Movement exercise, after which there was a fair amount of sight reading (Debussy, Schubert, Schumann, etc.), especially by Erik and Alex.  After dinner Carolyn presented a recording of her ensemble piece Cut Up Sleep Red Stars Round Me, after which we watched Jacques Rivette’s Duelle.

July 7
Cole read from Stein’s “The Gradual Making of The Making of Americans” and “What Are Master-pieces.”  Then Juan Cristóbal gave a presentation:  he began with a reading of Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos letter, and then played recordings of Réplica and Contra-Réplica.  Erik followed, presenting recordings of Canto XXV and Study for Eurydice.  In the afternoon Kevin led a field trip to the Yuba River; and at night was the second part of our tribute to Dennis Hopper, a viewing of his The Last Movie.

July 8
Brian presented his recent music, including a long work in progress for speaking pianist based on a short poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade.  Then Cole read The Rubicon in its entirety.  After lunch was the traditional river reading:  Erik read Auden’s “In Praise of Limestone”; Cole read two sections from lectures by Coleridge, on allegory and on religion; and then Erik and Cole read Trakl’s “Siebengesang des Todes,” in German and in English translation.  The final evening’s event was a group reading of a play written by Cole in collaboration with Jack Collom, with appendages.

July 9
We cleaned the premises and departed.

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