Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some words for Dave...

Here are some words I read for Dave Nolan's funeral on behalf of the 92nd St. Y this Wednesday afternoon at St. Mark's Church. The service for Dave was sublime. I am still reeling from all of the lives he touched, the immensity of his circles...

Dave Nolan was both a friend and my colleague at the 92nd St Y on the Upper East Side. We worked there together for what would have been four years this spring. Dave was a loved person at the Y. Loved for his friendliness and collegiality, and for his unique fashion sense (I will never forget the signature cowboy hat coupled with business attire and Hippie accessories). I would look forward to having a conversation with Dave usually at my desk about archival issues related to our jobs, but also about Downtown poetry and music, and the social histories surrounding St. Mark’s Church and The Bowery Poetry Club.

Dave and I worked on a project together at the Y to digitize the Unterberg Poetry Center’s collection of audio recordings from the center’s ongoing literary events series. Through Dave’s example as an archivist I learned a lot about archivism both as a profession and an art. Not only did Dave teach me to think about what the job of the archivist is and how properly to perform it, but also about archivism as an ethical relationship to cultural materials. Without the care and dedication of rare people like Dave we wouldn’t have archives, and therefore would lose our relationship to the past, to history, and to possible futures. As a result of Dave’s efforts, many hundreds of the Y’s programs are preserved for posterity. Likewise, Dave was instrumental in creating an infrastructure for further preservation projects across the Y’s many departments and programs.

To take on many of the archival projects that Dave undertook, made him that much more rare a person. This past New Years day right here at St. Mark’s Church Dave recorded yet another poetry marathon for the Poetry Project. This is a work of love. To attend local poetry, to attend poetry culture as a marsh for more visible cultural expressions and forms, to attend poetic language as a glue which binds us all. Dave served poetry and poets through his work at the Y, but also through his work at Poets House, Bowery Poetry Club, and The Poetry Project. Poetry will miss him and so especially will I.

World Remaking in Kathy Westwater's Park (@ Brooklyn Rail)


While there were many memorable moments about Westwater’s highly episodic work, two particular moments of the performance struck me as particularly evental. The first occurred when dancers Rebecca Brooks and Ursula Eagly rolled out a large sheet of Mylar over the studio floor and proceeded to walk on the Mylar in shoes fashioned from wood logs. Gradually and in synch, Brooks and Eagly walked towards each other, turning at the center of the sheet to face the audience. They then walked towards the audience until they were nearly at the front row. As Dan Hurlin rightly pointed out at the beginning of the post-showing Q&A, the ritualistic walk was “mythic,” conjuring simultaneously both dryads (tree nymphs) and some kind of evolved humanoid creature of the future. Crouching before the audience, the dancers transformed themselves into something at the limits of the human. Their slow movements and pronounced breathing patterns struck me as otherworldly and strange.

Rachel Levitsky's Neighbor (@ Harriet)


Something which attracts me to Levitsky’s book are the narrative qualities of the writing. How a sense of scene or episode is always erupting into philosophical/theological speculation and lyrical play. From the start of the book, there is an almost scholastic quality about Levitsky’s thinking, whereof she contemplates the “levels” in her head. Also from the start of the book, there is the sense that the voices of the book do not just belong to a singular person, but represent the person subjected in specific ways. That there is someone that calls itself “I” in Levitsky’s book is crucial. And that this “I” is self-conscious of itself in relation to neighbor(s) enables Levitsky to establish a continuous meditation on ethics, geopolitics, and sexual encounter/desire. The “I” of Levitsky’s book disjunctively narrates her (and our) own interpellation by local, national, and global functions of power. Neighbor as Other, but also as interstice of public/private, exterior/interior, becomes the site where person and subject cleave.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

David Nolan 1962-2010 (via Poetry Project @ St. Mark's)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our longtime friend David Nolan. David suffered a heart attack last Thursday, February 25th. The funeral will be held this Wednesday, March 3, here at St. Mark’s Church. The service will run from 4pm to 5:30pm. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall from 5:30pm to 7pm.

Many of you know David through the countless volunteer hours he spent at Project events helping us with sound and guiding us through technical knots. He spent all of New Year’s Day, this year and last, along with David Vogen, making sure each performer everything they needed for their performance, and making sure the Project always got the highest quality recording. It was clear that he got a lot of joy from the work that he did for us as well as so many other organizations he was connected with. He loved being here and we loved him and will miss him dearly. Look for an extended obituary in the Fall issue of the Newsletter. Our deepest condolences go out to David’s family and friends. His family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made in David’s name to one of the community and arts organizations that he worked with during his life.

East Village Community School – 610 E. 12th St., Rm 205, NY, NY 10009 Attn: Mary Talbot

Poets House – 10 River Terrace, NY, NY 10282 Attn: Jane Preston

Theater for the New City – 155 1st Ave. NY, NY 10003 ATTN: Crystal Field

WBAI – 120 Wall St.10th Fl. NY, NY 10005 ATTN: Morning Dew

The Poetry Project – 131 E. 10th St. 10003 ATTN: Stacy Szymaszek