Nature Walk, German Avant-Garde, and Borderland Poetry

It was 75˚f of total perfection today, and I'd been contemplating the idea of starting to discipline myself to do some one-on-one botanical illustration at the UC Botanical Garden. So I just wrapped-up work after lunch and headed to the hills. I didn't end-up sketching because it felt so good to just walk around in the nice weather. But took pictures and made notes of where the good spots for sketching were.

Later headed to catch the Kurt Schwitters at the Berkeley Art Museum, which I highly recommend as it is very comprehensive, exhibiting some beautiful compositions, including a recreation of "Merzbau," a room-size installation. Like most modern artists living in Germany, Schwitters fell victim to the rise of the Nazi party and the systematic campaign against avant-garde art in the 1930s. His work was confiscated from German museums, and Schwitters spent his life in exiled in Norway, and then England, escaping the Nazi invasion.



It made me happy to see new work I wasn't expecting that I really liked too. Like pieces by Berma Otoya, Jeremy Burleson, Desirée Holman and others. It was really worth my while to stop by the neighborhood museum.


I've also been witnessing some really powerful poetry readings and/or spoken word lately. Although I've been to poetry readings where I've admired the artfulness and complexity of the crafted word, this is so much more than that. The two times I've experienced good borderland poets I've actually shed uncontrollable tears at points. I just recently stumbled upon these at the UCB multi-cultural department and P4P, but through poets I've been learning about more gatherings, so I'll try to post them beforehand in case anyone else is interested.

Next I'm going to The Greenhouse Effect, v.2 at the San Francisco conservatory of flowers. Update Monday Sept 5: Pretty locale for readings. The potluck and bands performed outside juxtaposed the impressive conservatory facade, and the reading was held indoors in the green house alongside the current exhibit at the conservatory "Wicked Plants." Pros: it was a beautiful set for performance and there was an overtly friendly crowd. Cons: I was mostly unimpressed by the writing, it seemed a tad dated, even when some people tried to go eccentric or avant garde. For the exception of Iranian writer Siamak Vossoughi's work which I liked, at points I felt as if in a Shakespearean A Midsummer Night's Dreamiesque — cat-lady and all — scene, which was a little frightening. I guess from going I realized I tend to like more contemporary culture poetry that speaks to me, but it doesn't necessarily have to be of urban nature. And I can appreciate canon inspired poetry/lit but just as a preserved art form, from a distance, as ancestry.  

Next I was invited to the Luggage Store on Sept. 11 from 7-10PM, but readings go on there every second Sunday of the month. LS is located at 1007 Market Street (nr. 6th St.) in San Francisco
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