Festival IV June 29–July 8, 2007

+ Erik Burns + Adrian Coburn + Kristi Elkins + Heather Gordon + Cole Heinowitz +
+ Saralyse Kissler + Laurie Koh + Tania Lanfer + Sarah Miles + Kirthi Nath + Tom Ontiveros +
+ J.H. Prynne + Bruno Ruviaro + Marcia Scott + Erik Ulman +

The following is a brief journal attempting to reconstruct the main events; as before, many of the most memorable experiences happened outside of the schedule—dinners (initially prepared principally by Kristi Elkins, later mostly by Tom Ontiveros), private conversations, time at the river. Much has been omitted here; but this will give some sense of the week.

Friday (June 29)
People arrived over the course of the day and ate and conversed.

Saturday (June 30)
In the morning Heather Gordon read from her poetic sequence The Word and No Gasping. Lunch was followed by much general conversation, and in the late afternoon Kirthi Nath showed three of her recent films and videos. After dinner Erik Ulman talked a bit about the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet; after looking at excerpts from Pedro Costa’s Ou git votre sourire enfoui? and a documentary on the filming of Chronik von Anna Magdalena Bach, we watched and discussed Nicht Versöhnt.

Sunday (July 1)
We had agreed the previous day to schedule frequent readings; so after breakfast Cole Heinowitz read from Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. Then Erik discussed his cello piece L’Extase de M. Poher; since its title and structure derive from a poem by Jeremy Prynne, Erik read this before showing a video of the work’s premiere, as performed (magnificently) by Séverine Ballon at Musiques démesurées IX in Clermont-Ferrand. After lunch, Marcia Scott showed and discussed her video work in progress, which stitches together several incomplete pieces. (Over the week she would also make a number of film portraits of Poto participants.) After Marcia’s presentation Jeremy gave a summary of his recent book Field Notes: ‘The Solitary Reaper’ and Others, a long analysis of Wordsworth’s poem, its context, meaning, and reception.

Monday (July 2)
The morning reading, by Cole, was from Isaac d’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature. Much of the day was relaxed, spent in conversation, rehearsal, and by the river. Then, as a lead-in to a viewing and discussion of Pedro Costa’s Colossal Youth scheduled for later in the week, we watched a purported influence on that work, John Ford’s Sergeant Rutledge. This film provoked a vehemently critical response from Jeremy, which initiated several hours of discussion.

Tuesday (July 3)
Cole’s morning reading was of Byron’s “The Age of Bronze”. In the early afternoon, Erik gave a presentation on the work of Bernd Alois Zimmermann, concentrating on Die Soldaten and Musiques pour les soupers du Roi Ubu; and then Tom Ontiveros led a tour of the ranch, pointing out various striking effects of natural lighting. (Throughout the week Tom had a number of his photographs on view, largely documenting his work in theatrical lighting design.) In the evening, Jeremy and Cole read Shelley’s “Mont Blanc,” having arranged for Erik to write and perform a musical prelude to the poem on violin, and for Bruno Ruviaro and Tania Lanfer to create a postlude, for which they used piano and a laptop (in which progressively distorted fragments from Mahler were recognizable). Finally, we watched the first two acts of a video of Die Soldaten.

Wednesday (July 4)
In the morning Bruno presented his Anomia cycle, in a concert recording by Inauthentica, discussing his interest in quotation. In the afternoon were two readings: Erik read Gertrude Stein’s “What Are Master-pieces and Why Are There So Few of Them,” and Jeremy responded by reading Francis Ponge’s “My Creative Method.” Since it was July 4, Marcia’s parents and the Kisslers came out to barbecue; and then Marcia, Jeremy, and Tania went out on the Scott family boat to see the fireworks. The others stayed behind and, after a night walk, did vocal improvisations together. Finally, Erik performed John Cage’s piano piece One5.

Thursday (July 5)
Early in the morning, Marcia and her mom went out again on the boat, with Tom and Heather. Cole gave the day’s first presentation, reading a number of recent poems and discussing work in progress. In the afternoon, Heather read more of her writings, this time from three sequences collected as Here. After discussion, we listened to Heidegger’s reading of Hölderlin’s poem “Der Ister”. Then we went to the creek, where Erik read Hamburger’s translation of the same poem; then Jeremy read the translation of “Bread and Wine.” After dinner Marcia presented Costa’s Colossal Youth, which we watched and discussed.

Friday (July 6)
In the morning Saralyse Kissler conducted the first of two yoga sessions. After lunch Jeremy read his most recent poetic sequence, To Pollen, which was followed by extensive discussion. After dinner there was much informal musicmaking (reading especially through Brahms, Mahler, Bartok…; rehearsals for Saturday’s concert had been going on throughout the week); and then we watched Straub and Huillet’s film of Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron.

Saturday (July 7)
The main event was the afternoon concert. The program was:

a Bartok arrangement of a Hungarian folk song, performed by Adrian Coburn, voice, accompanied by Bruno at the piano; a collaboration between Cole and Bruno, in which Cole orally improvised a text and was recorded by Bruno, so that she could improvise another layer of response; a repeat of the video of Séverine Ballon’s performance of Erik’s L’Extase de M. Poher (followed later by Jeremy’s recitation of his poem); Cole and Heather’s reading of a collaborative poem called “1, 2, 7” (for numbers of lines allotted to each reader in turn); two vocal works by Christian Wolff: a solo song, After a Few Years (text: Rosa Luxemburg), sung by Erik; and I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman (text: Susan Griffin), performed by Adrian (reciting voice), Erik (violin), and Bruno and Tania (piano); and, finally, Adrian (voice) and Erik Burns (piano) performed a song whose music had been composed by Erik B. and for which Adrian had written Poto-specific words.

After the concert Saralyse conducted a second yoga session; and, after a last trip to the river, there was a concluding feast, prepared by Saralyse and Erik B.

Sunday (July 8)
In the morning was clean-up and departure.


Festival III June 28–July 7, 2006

+ Carolyn Chen + Jason Federmeyer + John Mark Harris + Cole Heinowitz + Sarah Miles +
+ Tom Ontiveros + Sabina Piersol + J.H. Prynne + Marcia Scott + Yaron Sokolov + Erik Ulman +

The Third Poto Festival took place between June 28 and July 7, 2006. In the past we’ve posted a schedule of events; that is less useful this time around, as there were fewer official events and more free interactions among the participants. Instead, I’ll offer this very abbreviated diary: it leaves unsaid what is most important, the actual content of the exchanges, and their lasting, developing effects; but that’s not something I can quickly summarize.

One of the happiest features of this festival was the presence of the poet J.H. Prynne, who joined us from England a few days before Poto, and who stayed on in Los Altos for a few days after. On Tuesday the 27th, Marcia, Jeremy, and I drove to the Kissler Ranch in Grass Valley to begin setting up; this continued on the 28th, supplemented by some time spent with the film Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet made of Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron: we discussed the mechanics of serial technique, as well as the opera’s larger significance and Straub and Huillet’s interpretation. On the 29th other participants began to arrive. First were the poet Cole Heinowitz, from Bard College, and the pianist John Mark Harris, from San Diego; then the composers Jason Federmeyer and Yaron Sokolov, from Stanford University; and also lighting designer and photographer Tom Ontiveros, from UCSD, and masseuse Sarah Miles, the two of whom invaluably took upon themselves the bulk of the cooking duty. Much of the day was spent in conversation: about poetic practice in the afternoon, focussing on Cole’s completion of her sequence The Rubicon; and about global politics in the evening.

On Friday the 30th, more formal presentations began. In the morning I played recordings of my Thoughts on the Esterházy Court Uniform and my Third String Quartet; the former is based on a poem by Jeremy, which I read and which helped to orientate discussion. In the afternoon, Cole read The Rubicon, which again led to lively conversation; in the evening, John Mark gave a beautiful recital:

William Byrd: The Eighte Pavian (pub. 1591)
Carl Ruggles: Evocations (1943, rev. 1956)
Henry Cowell: The Harp of Life
Claude Debussy: from Preludes, Book II (1912)
........La Puerta del Vino
........La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
Morton Feldman: Last Pieces (1959)

On Saturday the 1st we had the densest collection of people and events: poet Sabina Piersol arrived from San Francisco, as did composer Carolyn Chen from Stanford, travelling in with Kristi Elkins, who had cooked and supported us in the previous two festivals but could this time around spare only one night. Several friends of Sabina’s came as well, to camp and observe. In the morning Jason presented a recording of his piece Irredenta and discussed his current (and elaborate) compositional processes and concerns. In the afternoon, John Mark and I gave a miniature recital, consisting of the violin and piano version of Franz Liszt’s La Lugubre Gondola and John Cage’s final piece, Two6. Then Yaron explained his new work in process, Kedma; discussion centered on his microtonal scales and the implications of his allusions to Baroque and Middle Eastern practices and traditions.

Marcia’s parents Mark and Cathy Scott prepared a marvelous barbecue dinner for everyone. In the evening, Marcia showed her recent work in video and film, Suspicious and A cup of tea for Carolyn. The latter was made in collaboration with Carolyn, who presented her own version, Still. Afterwards, Tom demonstrated possibilities of light projection outdoors. The night was capped off by a group reading of The Gangsterlode, a new and obscene play by Raul (The Pole) Colbert.

On Sunday the 2nd the first event was designed by Sarah. Outdoors in the grass she led us first through some stretching exercises, and then into a blindfolded exploration of the space, opening new awareness of senses, environment, and personal contact. Jeremy accompanied us on the recorder. In the afternoon Jeremy gave a rare and memorable reading, first of his fierce poem Refuse Collection, and then of his sequence Blue Slides at Rest. In the evening Carolyn showed us more recent video work; and finally we watched Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop.

Sunday night and Monday morning some of our core constituency left; and the density of collective events decreased, while smaller engagements continued. The main event on Monday was my presentation of the work of La Monte Young, concentrating on an analysis of the Trio for Strings. Later there was more time spent at the creek; and after dinner a viewing of Fritz Lang’s The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse.

Tuesday was July 4th; in the late morning I presented an overview of the music of Dieter Schnebel, focussing on für Stimmen (missa est) and the Schubert-Phantasie. To celebrate Independence Day, Sabina, Jeremy, and I read some great American poets--various shorter works by John Wieners, Michael McClure’s For Artaud, and then Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger, Book One. Much of the evening was spent outdoors, again exploring the magnificent landscape.

Wednesday the private discussions continued, with more time at the river as well; and we began to put things back in order for tomorrow’s departure. In the evening we watched Todd Haynes’ Safe, which provoked from Jeremy a very strong critique. And on Thursday morning, we finished cleaning and rearranging the furniture, and the last of us headed back to the Bay Area.


Festival II June 28–July 7, 2005

+ Carolyn Chen + Anna Coburn + David Coll + Kristi Elkins + Christopher Jones + Brian Kane + Grace Leslie +
Sarah Miles + Tom Ontiveros + Sabina Piersol + Bruno Ruviaro + Marcia Scott + Erik Ulman + Ann Yi +

Tuesday (June 28)
9 pm: Film: Charles Laughton: The Night of the Hunter

Wednesday (June 29)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Brian Kane: Pierre Schaeffer and the Acousmatic
12 Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Improvisation and Rehearsal (Christian Wolff: For Five or Ten People)
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Erik Ulman: The New American Cinema 1943-63 (Deren, Anger, Markopoulos, Brakhage, Jack Smith)

Thursday (June 30)
8 am: Breakfast
9 am: Boat Trip with Mark Scott
12 Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Rehearsal (Franck, Fauré, Bach...)
6 pm: Dinner
8 pm: Film: Jacques Rivette: Céline and Julie Go Boating

Friday (July 1)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: David Coll: Recent Music
12 Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Informal Presentations: Marcia Scott: drainage; portals; and a non-absorbable suture
.................................................Brian Kane: Figura
.................................................Grace Leslie: Landscape #1
3:30 pm: Rehearsal
6 pm: Dinner
8 pm: Erik Ulman: Polyphony in Film:
  ............................D.W. Griffith: Corner in Wheat
  ............................Jean Rouch: Gare du Nord
  ............................Kenneth Anger: Invocation of My Demon Brother
 .............................Raul Ruiz: Les Divisions de la nature

Saturday (July 2)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Bookstore Trip, Ames’ in Grass Valley
12 Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Rehearsals (Wolff, Cage)
6 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Reading: John Ashbery: Litany (Erik Ulman, Sabina Piersol)
9:30 pm: Film: Jean-Pierre Gorin: Poto and Cabengo

Sunday (July 3)
9 am: Breakfast
11 am: John Cage: But What About the Noise... (at the meadow)
12 Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Bruno Ruviaro: On Galina Ustvolskaya
4 pm: Improvisation; Rehearsal (Wolff)
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Film: Alfred Hitchcock: Under Capricorn

Monday (July 4)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Christopher Jones: On Erasing De Kooning
12 Noon: Lunch
1:30 pm: Rehearsal (Wolff)
2:30 pm: Cornelius Cardew: The Great Learning, Paragraph 7 (at the meadow)
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Reading and Discussion: J.H. Prynne: For the Monogram
10 pm: Merce Cunningham: Selected Videos

Tuesday (July 5)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Anna Coburn: Recent Work
11 am: Carolyn Chen: On Ineptitude
12 Noon: Lunch
4 pm: Erik Ulman: On My Third String Quartet
6 pm: Dinner
8:30 pm: Tom Ontiveros: Recent Work in Design, Photography, and Video
10 pm: Films: Raul Ruiz: Colloque de chiens
  .....................Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin: Letter to Jane

Wednesday (July 6)

9 am: Breakfast
Noon: Lunch
2 pm: Rehearsal and Improvisation
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: John Cage: Two4 (Erik Ulman, violin; Carolyn Chen, piano)
10 pm: Films: Emile de Antonio: Painters Painting (excerpts)
  ......................Josef von Sternberg: The Scarlet Empress

Thursday (July 7)
Cleanup and dispersal

Poto wishes to thank Kristi Elkins for her philanthropy and cooking; Bruno Ruviaro, for recording events and for technical help; Tom Ontiveros, for his photography, additional cooking, and general technical support; David Coll, for sound equipment; Sarah Miles, for making her massage work available; and Mark and Cathy Scott, for additional donations of time and recreation. Poto is sponsored by Intersection for the Arts’ Incubator program.


Festival I June 21–27, 2004

+ David Coll + David Dilworth + Kristi Elkins + Aya Kawaguchi + Michelle Lou +
+ Joanna Martin + Sarah Miles + Ryuta Nakajima + Tom Ontiveros + Sabina Piersol +
+ Dana Reason + Marcia Scott + Eric Simonson + Erik Ulman +

Monday (June 21)
6 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Film: Jean-Pierre Gorin: Poto and Cabengo

Tuesday (June 22)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Dana Reason: Navigable Structures and Transforming Mirrors: Improvisation and Interactivity
12 Noon: Lunch / Boat Trip with Cathy Scott
3 pm: Rehearsal (Improvisations, Cornelius Cardew: The Great Learning, Paragraph 6)
5:15 pm: Ryuta Nakajima: Recent Paintings
7 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Erik Ulman: Narrative and Form in Cinema I: Ford, Bresson, Straub/Huillet

Wednesday (June 23)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Erik Ulman: Pound, Olson, and Musical Composition
12 Noon: Lunch
3–5 pm: Rehearsal
5:15 pm: Aya Kawaguchi: Recent Paintings
7 pm: Dinner
9 pm: Erik Ulman: Narrative and Form in Cinema II: Griffith, Rossellini, Altman, Ruiz
10 pm: Film: Raul Ruiz: On Top of the Whale

Thursday (June 24)
7–9 am: Boat Trip with Mark Scott
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: David Coll: Recent Music
11 am: Eric Simonson: Recent Music
12 Noon: Lunch
1 pm: Marcia Scott: The Dance of Merce Cunningham, Steve Paxton, and Nancy Stark Smith
2 pm: Marcia Scott: Recent Music and Dance
3 pm: Rehearsal
6 pm: Dinner (Barbecue with Mark Scott)
7:30 pm: David Dilworth: Recent Paintings
9 pm: Electronic Music: Eric Simonson: Tambo and Bones; Karlheinz Stockhausen:
...........Gesang der Jünglinge
10 pm: Film: Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet: Nicht Versöhnt

Friday (June 25)
9 am: Breakfast
11 am: Marcia Scott: Dance Rehearsal
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm: Erik Ulman: The Poetry of J. H. Prynne
3 pm: Rehearsal
5:15 pm: Erik Ulman: Realizing Stockhausen’s Plus Minus
7 pm: Dinner
8:15 pm: Tom Ontiveros: Design in Theater and Photography
9:45 pm: Erik Ulman: Narrative and Form in Cinema III: Brakhage, Anger, Warhol

Saturday (June 26)
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Sabina Piersol: Recent Poetry and Translations
12 Noon: Lunch
1 pm: Marcia Scott: Dance Rehearsal
3 pm: Rehearsal
4:30 pm: Dinner
6 pm: Public Concert (see below for program)
9 pm: Michelle Lou: Recent Music

Sunday (June 27)

Concert Program
June 26, 2004
6 P.M.

outside: Dance Improvisation................................................................................Marcia Scott, organizer

Homage to Pauline Oliveros

drainage; portals; and a non-absorbable suture (2003)........................................Marcia Scott
...................................................................................Erik Ulman, violin

Group Improvisation I

Poetry Reading.....................................................................................................Sabina Piersol

The Great Learning, Paragraph 6 (1969).............................................................Cornelius Cardew

Maples (2004).......................................................................................................Eric Simonson
..................................................................Eric Simonson and Dana Reason, piano

Group Improvisation II

Duo Improvisation
...................................................................Dana Reason, piano; Erik Ulman, violin

Group Improvisation III, with Sabina Piersol, poetry

Homage to Pauline Oliveros

Musicians: David Coll, voice and panpipes; Michelle Lou, voice and guitar; Joanna Martin, voice and flute; Dana Reason, voice, piano, and percussion; Marcia Scott, voice and percussion; Eric Simonson, voice, piano, percussion, and panpipes; Erik Ulman, voice and violin

Concert design: Tom Ontiveros

Poto wishes to thank Kristi Elkins for her philanthropy and cooking; Ryuta Nakajima for his postcard design; Tom Ontiveros, for photography, additional cooking, and technical support; Sarah Miles, for making her massage work available; and Mark and Cathy Scott, for additional donations of food, time, and recreation.
Poto is sponsored by Intersection for the Arts’ Incubator program





Site designed by Marcia Scott.

All content © copyright 2004–12 by Poto or other copyright owners as specified. All rights reserved.

Festival V July 1–July 9, 2008

+ Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + Adrian Coburn + Kwami Coleman + David Coll + Kristi Elkins +
+ Jason Federmeyer + Evelyn Ficarra + Heather Frasch + Heather Gordon + Cole Heinowitz + Grace Leslie +
+ Michelle Lou + Greg Lukianoff + Reiko Manabe + Sarah Miles + Anjee Nero + Tom Ontiveros + Sabina Piersol +
+ Israeli Reichman + Paola Santoscoy + Marcia Scott + Jeffrey Treviño + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

Tuesday (July 1)
The first of us arrived and set up.  (This account will be skeletal, and won’t include the many conversations among the artists, nor the rehearsals, impromptu music readings, etc., that filled up much of the week.  I should also note, thankfully, that once again Kristi Elkins would take charge of the kitchen, contributing the bulk of the food and labor; she would be assisted by many, but primarily by Tom Ontiveros and, later, Anjee Nero.  Michelle Lou and Israeli Reichman also each prepared a special dinner.  The photography of the gathering would this time be both Tom and Israeli’s work; Israeli would also shoot many portraits of participants over the course of the festival.)

Wednesday (July 2)
After an introductory meeting to set a rough schedule for the festival, Jeff Treviño gamely gave the first presentation, presenting his research on old recordings and changing interpretative standards.  After lunch, Erik Ulman briefly introduced the work of the Judson dance group, after which Marcia Scott presented some videos of Trisha Brown’s early choreography.  She would teach one piece, Primary Accumulation (1971), to volunteers for performance at the end of the session.  After dinner, we viewed Raul Ruiz’ On Top of the Whale (1982).

Thursday (July 3)
Adrian Coburn presented her work with just intonation, including a brief singing workshop.  Then Greg Lukianoff read from his novel in progress, X.  After lunch, Carolyn Chen presented three recent pieces.  After dinner there was a showing and discussion of Andy Warhol’s film The Life of Juanita Castro (1965).

Friday (July 4)
In the morning Erik gave an introduction to the music of Wilhelm Killmayer.  Then Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo discussed his own recent music and his thinking about the “imperceptible.”  After lunch Kwami Coleman explained George Russell’s “Lydian chromatic concept of tonal organization.”  After dinner David Coll presented his recent music; and Cole Heinowitz gave a dramatic reading of some favorite texts (Weil, Sade, Shelley…), alternating with vigorous ragtime piano performances by Jeff. 

Saturday (July 5)
Video artist Ian Winters and composer Evelyn Ficarra began the day with a screening and discussion of their collaborative work in progress 12 Short Films about Water.  After lunch curator Paola Santoscoy presented the work of several contemporary performance and installation artists.  Then Sabina Piersol read her recent poems.  In an annual tradition, the Scotts and family friends joined the Poto participants for a barbecue dinner.  After the festivities, Erik presented Pedro Costa’s film about Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (2002). 

Sunday (July 6)
Masseuse Sarah Miles began the day by giving a workshop on massage technique, performed on the body of Grace Leslie.  Then Jeff presented recordings of his recent music.  After lunch Cole read her poetic sequences The Rubicon, first presented at Poto two years before, and the new Songs of Joy.  She was followed by Heather Gordon, who read a new sequence, come down winter, and splenic chord.  During dinner Greg read a short story featuring a woman with a strong animosity towards cats.  After dinner Grace played a recent electronic piece and discussed her current work with sound spatialization; and Ian showed a video projection made for and at the pond with audience participation from Juan Cristóbal and Heather G. Finally there was a showing of another Ruiz film, La Vocation suspendue (1978). 

Monday (July 7)
Erik began the morning with a presentation of his recent music, focusing on the Fragment for Jules Olitski and Ocean.  Then Jason Federmeyer presented his newest piece, to end…to begin.  Following lunch we gathered at the creek for a reading:  Adrian first read from Alain Badiou on politics and community; Cole and Erik then read Cesare Pavese’s dialogue “The Lady of Beasts,” from the Dialogues with Leucò; Erik followed with Hölderlin’s hymns “Mnemosyne” and “Patmos,” in the Richard Sieburth translation.  The Pavese was a preparation for a viewing of Jean-Marie Straub’s film Le Genou d’Artemide (2007); which was followed by an outdoor projection of the Fischli and Weiss film The Right Way (1983).  Sometime during the day Paola and Juan Cristóbal created an almost imperceptible creek sculpture. 

Tuesday (July 8)
Erik read Heidegger’s essay “Overcoming Metaphysics,” prompting Jeff to read some John Dewey.  In the afternoon Carolyn gave a presentation on “courage and awesomeness” in contemporary music.  Before dinner Marcia, Paola, Carolyn, and Adrian performed Primary Accumulation in the meadow.  After dinner there was a musical performance—Erik and Jeff played the two Louanges from Messiaen’s Quatuor pour le fin du temps as well as the premiere of an untitled duo by David; Jeff and Juan Cristóbal performed Steve Reich’s Clapping Music.  Then there was a group reading of Cole’s libretto for a Western opera.  Then all went down to the barn, where Tom, with Anjee’s assistance, had prepared a video projection.  At night, after some participants had left, there was one further film viewing, of Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943). 

Wednesday (July 9)
Those remaining cleaned up and, hastened by a fire that had broken out at the edge of the property, cleared out.



Festival VI June 30–July 9, 2009

+ Ellen Burr + Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + Adrian Coburn + David Coll + Andrew Dieck +
+ Jason Federmeyer + Evelyn Ficarra + Heather Gordon + Orin Hildestad + NIck Hoff + Maia Ipp +
+ Saralyse Kissler + Tania Lanfer + Michelle Lou + Sarah Miles + Michael Newton + Tom Ontiveros +
+ Stacey Pelinka + J.H. Prynne + Bruno Ruviaro + Paola Santoscoy + Marcia Scott + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

Here, belatedly, is the summary of Poto Festival VI.  As always much is not included here, such as a description of the excellent meals, prepared mostly by Michelle and Orin, or of the many conversations, visits to the creek, and impromptu music-making that enlivened the afternoons and evenings.  Given the large number of participants, we deliberately left more time open and unscheduled; so this record will look more skeletal than was the experience.  I apologize for any inadvertent errors or omissions; my records are incomplete, and I’ve filled in some gaps with possibly faulty memory.

Tuesday (June 30)
People began to arrive.

Wednesday (July 1)
Bruno shared several recent pieces, for acoustic and electronic media, and his further thoughts on appropriation and détournement, which would prove a recurrent word in this festival.  Stacey then performed music by Bach and Sciarrino, following this with “Pearls & Eyes,” an Awareness Through Movement lesson of Moshe Feldenkrais, the relevance of whose research to performance she also discussed.  (Throughout her stay, Stacey volunteered numerous Functional Integration lessons to grateful Poto participants.)  In the evening, David showed a video of the Paris premiere of his multimedia work 1968, discussing not least its relation to Isou and Debord.

Thursday (July 2)
Carolyn presented some of her recent work, including a recording of her percussion sextet Hamlet.  Then Nick presented related poems by Pindar, Hölderlin, and Celan, demonstrating their continuities and use of the sublime tone and discussing issues of translation.  After lunch, Tania discussed her development as a composer, focussing on her duo for saxophone and percussion, Lai de Bisclavret.  In the evening, Ellen presented a video of her opera FIVE, in which Adrian had performed, and discussed her work as a flutist, improviser, and composer.

Friday (July 3)
Michael read his poetic sequence Crbn Cnty, in impressive regalia, interspersing this reflection on Carbon County, Pennsylvania, with relevant excerpts from Paterson and Maximus.  Then Juan Cristóbal presented first his thoughts on Octavio Paz and then his recent piece siempre otra cosa (estación violente).  After lunch Jeremy laid out several examples of scripts from China, including a lexicon of the pictographic language of the Naxi people.  Later, several people were introduced to the ropes courses of the Kissler Ranch by Adrian & Pam Kissler themselves.  In the evening, Paola showed us both René Daalder’s documentary on the Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader and examples of Ader’s own work.

Saturday (July 4)
Erik shared examples of his recent music, including a new recording of L’Extase de M. Poher, made live in Stuttgart in May.  Then Maia presented both some of her poems and her translation of a story by Marguerite Yourcenar, “How Wang Fo Was Saved.” After the traditional Fourth of July barbecue, succulently prepared by the Scotts, Ian and Evelyn presented an impressive multimedia installation at the barn on themes of water and submarines, accompanied by the headlights of traffic returning from local fireworks.  Then came the first-ever Poto dance party, with lighting by Jeremy, which was cut short only by a power outage.

Sunday (July 5)
This day began with two readings:  first from Andrew, offering recent work based on internet sources and anagrammatic procedures, and then from Jeremy, sharing his new sequence, Streak~~~Willing~~~Entourage Artesian. After dinner, as night fell, there was a performance in the meadow of Carolyn’s performance work The Confusion of the Stars, followed by an outdoor double feature, of Marcia’s silent short video Bolinas and Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr, which was enjoyed by those hardy enough to withstand the cold.

Monday (July 6)
Adrian performed by painting five works in charcoal, water, and lemon on brown paper.  Then, after clean-up, Jeremy read Pound’s Homage to Sextus Propertius.  In the afternoon, at her request, Heather’s “Come Down Winter” was read by Carolyn, her “Toward Writing” by Erik, and a selection of shorter poems were read by miscellaneous volunteers.  Heather then showed several short recent video works.  In the evening, Paola and Juan Cristóbal curated a selection of scientific films by Jean Painlevé.

Tuesday (July 7)
Jason presented the not-wholly-ideal recording of part of his fingerless, beneath a curtain and discussed the theoretical principles of his recent dissertation.  Then Paola presented video work by Melanie Smith, and discussed her impending collaboration with her and Rafael Ortega on a film of Edward James’ architectural folly at Xilitla in central Mexico.  In the evening, Orin presented a recital of contemplative violin music, including a work by Michelle.

Wednesday (July 8)
Paola and Juan Cristóbal relieved Michelle and Orin of their cooking duties, fixing us an authentic Mexican breakfast.  Then Michelle played her contribution to The Dialogue Experiment, a collaborative work written for Ensemble Ascolta.  Then, at the river, was a reading:  Nick read from Homer, in Greek; Erik responded with Stanley Lombardo’s translation of the extant fragments of Parmenides; Jeremy read Keats’ The Fall of Hyperion; and Andrew concluded with an excerpt from Heiner Müller.  In the evening came a concert:  Ellen played her virtuosic solo Syukhtun and joined Carolyn and Erik for a three-person reading of Cage’s Two; Juan Cristobal played the first movement of Schubert’s D. 960 piano sonata; and Adrian & Andrew joined the other four to interpret some of Ellen’s improvisational Ink Bops.
.....Throughout the week David had been preparing his interactive installation of sheet metal and electronics in the barn; and after the house concert, this was unveiled, coupled with video projections, shot during the day by Marcia, Heather, and Michael.  After this extravaganza, Carolyn’s The Confusion of the Stars was repeated; and then, at the house, was a reading of Gertrude Stein’s Accents in Alsace and a number of shorter pieces, which Jeremy capped with a recitation of part of Stevens’ “The Comedian as the Letter C.”

Thursday (July 9)
All who remained cleaned the premises and left.



Festival VII July 1–July 9, 2010

+ Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + Andrew Dieck + Kevin Dockery + Jason Federmeyer +
+ Evelyn Ficarra + Eric Gladstone + Brian Griffeath-Loeb + Cole Heinowitz +
+ Marcia Scott + Alexander Sigman + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

Here is a bare summary (omitting informal conversations and activities) of the Seventh Poto Festival.  Once again the Festival could not have happened without the generosity of Kristi Elkins, who, although she could not attend, again donated the bulk of our food and drink.  And we are grateful to Jason Federmeyer, who (excellently) did the bulk of this year’s cooking.

July 1
People arrived; and in the evening, as the first part of a memorial tribute to Dennis Hopper, we watched Curtis Harrington’s Queen of Blood.

July 2
After breakfast, Erik presented Dieter Schnebel’s cycle of choral and organ works, für Stimmen (missa est); then Marcia led the first of two Feldenkrais “Awareness Through Movement” exercises.  After lunch, Cole read from and led discussion of John Mason’s Fade to Prompt and from Philip Whalen’s Scenes of Life at the Capital.  In the evening we listened to the Adagio from Mahler’s Tenth Symphony (in the Sinopoli recording), followed by a viewing and discussion of Jean Genet’s film Un Chant d’Amour.

July 3
Brian gave his first presentation, analyzing spatiality in the opening sequence of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West; and then Alex presented recordings of several recent pieces, including the mixed-media detritus I and II.  In the afternoon, Erik presented some of the Mallarmé settings of Debussy and Ravel; after which Cole played George Oppen’s recording of his “Of Being Numerous.”  Over the course of the day Ian built an interactive video installation outside, which he unveiled in the evening and which became the site for the night’s conversations.

July 4
Evelyn played recordings of recent works for piano and for string trio with electronics.  In the afternoon several courageous Potoites conquered elements of the ropes course; and, as has become traditional, we celebrated Independence Day with a barbecue prepared generously by Mark and Cathy Scott.  After dinner, Jason played a new recording of his ensemble work fingerless, beneath a curtain, which showed the piece in a more advantageous light than had been possible a year ago; and Ian’s installation continued for a second and final night.

July 5
Andrew read from his new poetic sequence Totally Normal; and after lunch Cole read, both from work in progress and from her earlier sequences The Rubicon and Songs of Joy.  In the evening Alex presented several Peter Greenaway shorts; and then we watched Louis Malle’s film Black Moon.

July 6
We began the day with two readings about plucked instruments, by Mallarmé (“Une dentelle s’abolit”) and Shelley (“With a Guitar.  To Jane”).  Then there was a reading and discussion of Eric’s screenplay for his upcoming DMA film.  Carolyn followed, and playing at the piano from her variations after Sweelinck’s Mein Junges Leben Hat Ein End (in progress).  In the afternoon Marcia led a second Awareness Through Movement exercise, after which there was a fair amount of sight reading (Debussy, Schubert, Schumann, etc.), especially by Erik and Alex.  After dinner Carolyn presented a recording of her ensemble piece Cut Up Sleep Red Stars Round Me, after which we watched Jacques Rivette’s Duelle.

July 7
Cole read from Stein’s “The Gradual Making of The Making of Americans” and “What Are Master-pieces.”  Then Juan Cristóbal gave a presentation:  he began with a reading of Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos letter, and then played recordings of Réplica and Contra-Réplica.  Erik followed, presenting recordings of Canto XXV and Study for Eurydice.  In the afternoon Kevin led a field trip to the Yuba River; and at night was the second part of our tribute to Dennis Hopper, a viewing of his The Last Movie.

July 8
Brian presented his recent music, including a long work in progress for speaking pianist based on a short poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade.  Then Cole read The Rubicon in its entirety.  After lunch was the traditional river reading:  Erik read Auden’s “In Praise of Limestone”; Cole read two sections from lectures by Coleridge, on allegory and on religion; and then Erik and Cole read Trakl’s “Siebengesang des Todes,” in German and in English translation.  The final evening’s event was a group reading of a play written by Cole in collaboration with Jack Collom, with appendages.

July 9
We cleaned the premises and departed.



Festival VIII June 27–July 6, 2011

+ Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + David Coll + Sean Garner +
+ Eric Gladstone + Andrew Greenwald + Brian Griffeath-Loeb + Heather Gordon Cole Heinowitz +
+ Michelle Lou + Marcia Scott + Jeffrey Treviño + Erik Ulman + Rachel Vandagriff +

As usual, this is only a bare sketch of the session’s activities, and doesn’t attempt to detail the many conversations, casual music making, fine meals by Michelle Lou, pool playing, and other activities that made up so much of the festival.

June 27
The first participants arrived over the course of the afternoon.  In an evening visit to the creek, Erik broke his finger, necessitating a trip to the local hospital; and the original movie viewing plans were suspended in favor of informal conversations.

June 28
After more informal conversations in the morning and at lunch, presentations began in the afternoon:  Erik introduced and briefly discussed recordings of Sibelius’ Tapiola and the second movement of the Sixth Symphony; and Juan Cristóbal showed a short film by Argentinian filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer about rural pottery makers.  After another excellent dinner of juicy ribs that slid right off the bone, corn, and a green salad with beets prepared by Michelle, who cooked for us throughout our gathering, we watched Godard’s Weekend, which stimulated lively discussion.

June 29
In the morning Cole introduced and read Shelley’s Alastor, in preparation for her later presentation on Shelley and Spicer.  After lunch we watched a documentary on Philip Guston, also discussing his work with reference to the new anthology of his collected writings and interviews.  After dinner, we watched Cocteau’s Orphée, again with reference to coming discussion of Spicer.

June 30
As a morning sermon Cole played a recording of much of Spicer’s first Vancouver lecture, which details his theory of poetic dictation.  Then Brian led the group in a meditation which he had designed; and Juan Cristóbal presented his new ensemble work Lucha.  In the afternoon, Marcia led the first if two Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement lessons:  Chanukiah, freeing the shoulders from the ribs.  After dinner Carolyn presented videos and recordings of a wide range of recent work, from multimedia performances to her orchestral piece Wilder Shores of Love; to which Erik responded by showing Ron Rice’s Chumlum.

July 1
Erik read as a morning sermon two poems from Olson’s Maximus, “West Gloucester” and “Celestial Evening, October 1967.”  Following this, Cole read her paper relating Shelley and Spicer and their views of poetic inspiration.  Andrew then shared two new works, Sofrut and Hasofer, discussing their principles of generation and general aesthetic concerns.  In the afternoon, Carolyn played a recording of her epic piano piece My Young Life Has an End. Michelle and Juan Cristóbal's delicious carnitas tacos, shrimp ceviche, and jicama salad put us in the mood for a Poto dance party.

July 2
Brian shared a number of recent experimental compositions, and discussed their relation to his more central concerns; and then Erik presented recordings of two recent pieces for flute, Styx and this until.  In the afternoon, Cole introduced a documentary on Charles Olson, Polis Is This, followed by outtakes from the 1966 NET profile of Olson.  In what has become a yearly tradition, Mark and Cathy Scott prepared the evening’s barbecue dinner, which was followed by a screening of Philippe Garrel’s Le Lit de la vierge.

July 3
David showed the development of his music over the last few years with 1956-1958, Muthologos, and Dérive; and Marcia led a second Feldenkrais session, this one concentrating on sensing the structure of the mouth and the patterns of the breath.  Erik was inspired to show Samuel Beckett’s Not I, as performed by Billie Whitelaw.  After lunch Cole read and discussed her new poems, “Understanding Heraldry” and “The Trade,” as well as the neglected poetry of Peter Seaton.  Coontinuing the celebration of American poets, after dinner Cole and Erik read Michael McClure’s play The Beard, followed by a viewing of Monte Hellman’s The Shooting.

July 4
In the morning session Jeff gave a first presentation, concentrating on his recent computer animations.  To celebrate the 4th, in the afternoon Cole and Erik read from and discussed an eclectic selection of great American writers—Jeffers, Spicer, Seaton, Stevens, and Burroughs.  Some of the Poto participants climbed some of the high ropes course elements.  Continuing the patriotic theme, after dinner there was a double feature of George Waggner’s anti-Communist Red Nightmare and Howard Brookner’s film about Burroughs.

July 5
Cole gave a second reading, clarifying the grammatical structures and associative mechanisms of her recent work; and in his second presentation Jeff shared rare footage of Soviet experiments in sound production through optical technological means (on celluloid, a proto-UPIC…), with other experimental fusions of sound and image.  On this final afternoon we took a field trip to the Yuba River.  In the evening we read through some music by John Cage:  a simultaneous version of Atlas Eclipticalis with Winter Music and the Solo for Voice 45, and one of the Song Books and the Piano Concert.  Since we had just received by phone the sad news of Cy Twombly’s death, Erik prefaced the run-through with a reading of Cy’s only published statement on his work, from l’Esperienza moderna, 1957.

July 6
We gathered our things, cleaned up the premises, and went home.