Tuba Contest Finale
The instant I heard the first note I knew. I had never heard such a tuba player in my life. This guy didn’t triple-tongue, he quadruple-tongued, he octa-tongued. This guy played variation on variation on variation—what do you think he was playing? “Caprice.” He was playing it better than the composer could have played it.
I just watched this guy with sickness coming up up up, and then he was through. I heard the great roar of applause coming out of the auditorium and then I was pushed out on stage. I walked out and sat down and began to play. I have no idea whether I hit any note or I hit all of them. All I know is that I sat numbly and I played “Neapolitan Nights” and “Caprice,” and it was done. All over.
Instantly they were giving out awards and this kid won all available cups, he won badges, he won buttons. And the Yankees signed him to their farm system. They quietly handed me my second place ribbon, the kid behind me his third place ribbon, and another kid a fourth-place ribbon, and they told us to go home.
Ever since that time I have known that for every good thing you do there are fifty-thousand better things that somebody else can do with his eyes shut.
Those with sufficient memories, will note that the idea of this story–
that there’s always someone better than you–Shep expressed in his sorehead/
Mark Twain/Morse Code contest story transcription that I posted
a while back, and my shorter description of it can be found in my
Excelsior, You Fathead! pages 357-360.
Continuing Table of Contents for
Artsy Fartsy book manuscript
HOKUSAI’S “Views Along the Sumida River” Getting to own and fondle an original of the greatest work in the field of Japanese wood-block-printed books.
SHUNGA Japanese erotica—a description of the books, with expurgated examples.
“MONS V.” “Shunga” tribute–one of a kind original for general audiences.
NETSUKE Paean to a major Japanese artistic expression, and the experience of holding in hand the world’s finest example of this little-known art form.
ABSTRACT VISUAL RELATIONSHIPS
ROWENA REED KOSTELLOW Tribute to a sublime design instructor who proclaimed, “Pure, unadulterated beauty should be the goal of civilization.” The book encompassing her teaching describes her as “an immensely influential teacher who spent her life developing and refining a methodology for teaching what she called the ‘structure of visual relationships’ underlying all art and design.”
LANDSCAPE AND DESIGNED ‘SCAPES
VILLAGE CHURCHES A description of experiences in religious spaces—little, big, awesome, spooky, comforting.
SCULPTED LANDSCAPE Description/appreciation of some man-made structures that are inseparable from the land into which they were designed. Machu Picchu, Falling Water, Vietnam Memorial, Scottish golf links, where expert humans interact with a stylized, slightly rough-hewn, and robustly alive nature. And so forth. (In two parts.)
LA LA LAND Arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, what’s the first thing one does? I hailed a cab and directed the driver to proceed to the Watts Towers. Now take me to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. Yes, I’ve got my priorities right.
A bookshelf headboard. Unpublished novels, a couple of published poems and a large, focused miscellany. Librarian or Nobel Prize Laureate—failed wannabe.
UNPUBLISHED BOOKS Bound manuscripts anguishing on shelves. Reading novels, to artists’ books, to graphic novels,
READING POETRY, WRITING POETRY—A visual “poem.”
ARTISTS’ BOOKS INTRO
What are they and how far back does the genre go? Mexican Codex, Books of Hours, Tristram Shandy, William Blake.
WARJA LAVETER—In 2 parts: Stories in wordless symbols and Sketchbook–the history of art from caves to our day in a continuous historical artwork.
FOUND IN TRANSLATION Part 1 “A Throw of the Dice”—a designed poem by 19th century Symbolist poet Stephane Mallarme, and by a 20th century artists’ book enthusiast.
FOUND IN TRANSLATION Part 2 “La Prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France” by Blaise Cendrars-=text; Sonia Delaunay-Terk=art. With a written and designed tribute to the Long Island Rail Road.
FOUND IN TRANSLATION Part 3 A Humument. A “treatment” of a corny, 3-decker Victorian novel, described as “An 1892 Victorian obscurity A Human Document by W. H. Mallock,” transformed into a modern artist’s book by Tom Phillips.
FOUND IN TRANSLATION Part 4—Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, a dystopian novel of the future told by an English Huck Finn, interpreted/transformed into a deck of black and white images.
ALCHEMY & MARCO BULL by Tim Ely & by Lois Morrison: A hand-painted, mystical, alien, fold-out map; & a hand-sewn travel story done in thread and cloth.
WILLIE MASTERS & TURN OVER A visual dissertation on using words and using no words at all. Comparison and contrast.
ACCIDENTAL ARTISTS’ BOOKS A Scottish lady’s beautifully augmented fishing diary & a fake Native American Indian’s history of his people illustrated in a ledger book.
ARTISTS’ BOOKS IN CD JEWEL BOXES Small format artists’ books: thirteen of mine, just showing the covers.
POP-UPS Robots, horrors, a large and empty cardboard box, and other wonderlands. Paper engineered in three dimensions and sometimes sound!
FLUX WORK A no-words and no-image book, a pure, intellectual concept, a wordless mini-essay on the nature of what we so casually make books out of. Bewilders and captures the mind by its simplicity.