lipstick

S F U R N X T C

Julie Patton - "Alphabet Soup" (4'15"). Letter names, sung and spoken, in English and French, with acronyms and abbreviations fair game, are the compositional elements of this lovely, live-recorded piece by brilliant and elusive performance artist (by which I mean maker of things and situations) Julie Patton. The mic bangs about a bit as she settles it into a holder while singing the title (and ominous subtitle) and warming up her voice on alternating first and second person pronouns, then we're off. The first minute or so is a paean to a "you" whose attributes, surpassingly delicious, are spelled out in desirous detail. Assorted Greeks arrive circa 1'45" and stay a while (Odysseus on the Aegean Sea [a g n c], Eurydice, Eleusinian deities). Responding to the babble of an infant in the audience Patton improvises the phrase "itty bitty bee-ee" at 2'05" before resuming her score (the object as I remember it: an artist's book, heavy cards bound by thread along the top margin, a multiplicity of inks and typefaces, at which Patton glances only now and again). Around the three minute mark the address to the second person shifts from amorous praise to invective and insult ("u r m t...m t s m t v") and the tempo quickens as strings of abbreviations unspool across dialects and discourses (medical-pharmaceutical, juridical-penal), leaving dis-ease as final word and abiding affect. • As was perhaps fitting. Inaudible in this track, the circumstance: nine days after 9/11, flights and airports barely back in operation, a certain rent in the symbolic fabric that Patton decides to perform in (cancelling would have "made sense"), and does, without suture, without "9/11 poem," taking event as silent interlocutor, addressee of noise and voice, a "plus one" added to the actual audience headcount. As response: hesitancy, testing, dissonance. And scintillations of beauty (spelled: b / u / t).

Friday -- 09 June 2006 -- permalink

The Lipstick of Noise is a product of the Third Factory • Inspired by the music blogs • And by Paul Blackburn's reel-to-reel deck. Intending to make good use of PENNSound and other sources of digital audio files of poetry • Comments welcomeXML.