The Mudd Up Book Clubb rolls into 2015 with a Chinese communist crime novel about a poet-cop!
We’ll meet on Sunday January 25 to discuss Qiu Xiaolong’s Death of a Red Heroine.
Set in early 1990s Shanghai, the novel uses the form of a police procedural to portray Chinese society in transition, old Maoists and new money, with lots of Tang dynasty poetry quotations and T.S. Eliot allusions thrown in for good measure. There’s a healthy attention to food, too. Central character Inspector Chen is a Modernist poet and translator, not unlike the author…
Qiu Xiaolong was the first person to translate Eliot into Chinese. He was in the US working on an Eliot book when Tiananmen Sq broke out, prompting him to stay on to remain out of trouble… He still lives in St.Louis. As explained in this interview, Qiu writes his books in English, despite the difficulty–and censors scrub politically sensitive phrases and all specific place references from the Chinese translations!
Death of a Red Heroine. Go here to buy it from local publishers Soho.
Last selection of the year: Hungarian writer Ágota Kristóf’s hypnotic, powerful (and short) debut novel The Notebook. Published in 1986 it is a bracing language bath, narrated in first-person plural by limpid & disturbing young twins in the midst of wartime scarcity. First part of a trilogy (whole trilogy is great). Kristóf’s stark minimalism reads simply (the stylistic opposite of fellow Hungarian Krasznahorkai’s baroque apocalyptics) but after a few paragraphs the awe piles up and, subsumed in her grip, you realize how deep it all goes.
A stone cold classic (that’s impossible to discuss at a holiday party without alienating your peers)! So–
We’ll meet on Sunday December 21 to talk Notebook. Mudd Up Book Clubb.
NOTE: This post went live on the Dutty Artz site 2 weeks ago, a few hours before a deep glitch sent the site offline, so although the Hong Kong trip has already happened, nobody got to read this preview writeup. Check back in a few days for the recap.
I’m about to hop on a 16-hour nonstop flight to Hong Kong (via the Arctic Circle?), where, timeslipped 13 hours ahead into my sleep-deprived Eastern future I’ll step off the plane and head straight to lead a workshop with a half-dozen traditional musicians from HK and my man Chief Boima. What’s going on?! Continue reading HONG KONG pt. 1 : Beyond Digital 852
The Mudd Up Book Clubb rides again. I’m trying to fit in 2 more meetups before 2015 arrives, so to that end:
On Sunday November 30th, we will meet in Manhattan to discuss Jo Walton’s My Real Children. Published earlier this year, it’s an incredibly moving novel about an elderly woman with dementia who remembers two distinct lives, which the book traces out as intertwined narratives.
There’s an understated cumulative power at work here, within an elegant structure. Aging/dementia, sexuality, parenting, also gelato, and a glowing background of divergent geopolitical realities… Continue reading MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: Jo Walton’s My Real Children
I CAN’T STOP TALKING! Come join me this Friday, November 7th, as a I present on soundsystems & audiences at Union Docs in Brooklyn. From my experiences dancing to jungle back in the day to thoughts on Koranic recitation & improv, robots who love shape-note singing, and maybe some Billy Joel. This forms part of a series on spectatorship curated by Mathilde Walker-Billaud.
Here’s the description for my talk, called When God Is In The Room:
What’s so special about experiencing sound in a packed club? Why does music sound better when God is in the room? How did supercomputers listening to geology improve pop music? Jace Clayton (aka DJ /rupture) will explore these questions and more. From personal stories of after-hours dancing in Boston and Jamaica to a discussion of Koranic recitation in Egypt. Listening audiences considered from the body, the earth below, and the heavens above. Jace Clayton will play music, show videos and images.
Union Docs is a great space with interesting programming — if you haven’t been then you should remedy that this week! Friday, Nov. 7th, 2014. 7:30p. $9. 322 Union Ave., Williamsburg
On Tuesday October 28th I’m giving a free, open-to-the-public talk at Cooper Union. It’s part of their Interdisciplinary Seminar speaker series. Expect discussion of Sufi Plug Ins, Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ, and, if the clock allows, my thoughts on nonlinear time vis-à-vis databases, Aztec loop music, and Christopher Columbus’s faulty biodiesel clipper.
I was asked to assign brief readings for students in the course, and gave them this:
Jace Clayton, “The Voice of Huitzilopochtli” Frieze
Jace Clayton, “Something New: Cairo finds a voice in festival music” Fader
Lev Manovich, “Database as Symbolic Form”
This weekend we’re bringing The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner to Toronto! I’m happy to make the project’s Canadian debut at the Music Gallery’s Avant X Festival, which is hosting all sorts of interesting events, such as the JEMD afterparty event with Dutty Artz’ DJ Ushka and our Quebecois point-man Poirier!
Things begin on Saturday at 5pm, when I have a free public conversation with Marcus Boon. Then JEMD at 7pm, and the party with Ushka, Poirier, and special guest DJ happens after we take our collective disco nap.
There’s been a nice buzz of preview press for the show, including this article by LBBTQ mag Xtra: “Jace Clayton Honours A Gay Guerilla.”
VIVA LOS ANGELES!
On Saturday October 11th, we bring the Julius Eastman Dinner to Los Angeles with a performance at REDCAT! Very excited for our West Coast debut. Eastman fans are in for a rare treat: the evening begins with Amy Knowles presenting her interpretation of Eastman’s “Crazy Nigger” for looped electronic percussion.
Two days before that, on Thursday October 9th, I will speak at the Art Center in Pasadena. The talk is free and open to the public. info PDF. OK gang — see you in the sunlight.
Remember the color-coded Homeland Security Threat Level system?
Remember how it made you feel?
My latest project is called Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ. It’s a participatory music performance transforming security threats into spiritual renewal. It debuts on Thursday September 11th, the Ethiopian New Year (Ethiopia uses its own calendar system) in Washington D.C. Continue reading ENKUTATASH እንቁጣጣሽ
Back in April I did a video for Sarah Urist Green & John Green’s Art Assignment, PBS Digital’s weekly series where artists devise ‘assignments’ for the viewers to complete. My assignment was: take a stroll until you find the quietest place within walking distance and document it with photo or video, sharing the results on social media via #theartassignment. Amazing documentation poured in from all over the globe.
Ssshhhhh – YOU PEOPLE ARE GREAT. ‘The Quitest Place’ received a record number of responses, several of which are featured in this highlight reel:
And here John riffs on my assignment in an airport for his wildly popular Youtube Vlog Brothers.
“attention has become so fractured on the internet that there is no longer room in YouTube videos for any silence”