Flashback: Article on National Glamour Archives in Washington City Paper

city paper-art amsie

That time my article on pin up painting collector Art Amsie’s National Glamour Archives appeared in Washington City Paper (February 16, 2001). The “archives” was an informal room in Amsie’s condo with a brag wall of oil paintings by many of the major figures of vintage pin up art. Think Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas, Joyce Ballantyne. The kind of stuff you see in calendars and coffee table books. Amsie had another claim to fame in that he had been an amateur club photographer who snapped shots of Bettie Page. Rather good shots, actually. Amsie passed away in 2006; I don’t know where his collection resides today. You can read the full article here.

Gonchlog at 400

IMG_3996Progress Report

The Gonchlog documents the discovery of “gonch” in commercial and consumer magazines. Letters that spell the word “gonch” are clipped and pasted onto accounting paper; the magazine title, date and volume number is then noted. The intention is to draw out that key nonsense word from these commercial propaganda vehicles in order to find a way forward. Or something like that.

As of this point, the Gonchlog has reached Volume 9 and over 400 entries, most of them unique magazine titles. Some of the latest examples are shown here.

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Flashback: Article on Anarchist women’s collective published in Washington City Paper

city paper-tute nere

That time Washington City Paper published my article on Tute Nere, a DC-area anarchist women’s collective. You can read the full text here.

Somehow I learned that Tute Nere was publishing their own fanzine to promote women’s participation in radical anarchist activity in the area. That was the hook I needed to get City Paper to accept a short piece on the group, a part of my effort to document the more unusual underground activity in the region.

Flashback: Article on poet Buck Downs in Washington City Paper

city paper - buck downsThat time my article on DC poet Buck Downs and his poetry postcard project appeared in Washington City Paper (June 26, 1998). You can read the full article here.

Buck has a distinctive style of gnomic, fragmented poems that hint at deeper mysteries and insights. Third party presses (Edge Books, Furniture Press) have brought out collections of his work, and he has self published chapbooks, on-demand books, and his postcards. I still get poems on postcards from Buck, always a great read.

At the time, I was still trying to establish myself as a freelance writer, and I was frustrated by the lack of coverage for really cool stuff going on around town. This was a window of opportunity, of course, and this article on Buck’s postcards was one of several pieces I managed to place in the weekly alternative rag. The editors typically shoved these pieces off in the “Artifacts” section, with word counts not exceeding 500 words. Nonetheless, these little articles served as some form of documentation that interesting stuff actually happened in DC.

Flashback: “Rusty Love” wins Fourth Place in World of Poetry contest

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That time my poem “Rusty Love” won Fourth Place in the World of Poetry contest. When I wrote this one, I deliberately tailored it for what I perceived WoP would like: something rhymed and sentimental. The title was cribbed directly from the name of an actual person–the property manager of the apartment complex where I lived in Winter Park, Florida. If I’m not mistaken, the real Rusty Love was retired, like most of my neighbors there, but she seemed pretty cool, driving a convertible and wearing youthful looking clothes. Her evocative name suggested the outrageous conceit that leads off the poem: “My love is like a rusty nail.”

Here is the whole piece in all its horrible glory:

Rusty Love

My love is like a rusty nail:
It is old but will not fail.
Tender is the tree, and I am wet;
Rain falls on me, but I won’t weaken yet;
We’ve years to go, and miles, more miles,
than can be counted on the branches of its head.
Quiet times, and times that break a smile;
Animal times, and times of flying fowl.
Quickening times, hears and times that part meanwhile.
I never doubt my love’s location;
She is in me, and I am her vocation.

As you can see, the opening analogy leads to an even weirder one, ad it spirals our of control for a while. I have no illusions about this award, either. Given World of Poetry’s modus operandi, I was probably one of about a thousand (or even more) “fourth place” winners.

This article has been delayed for months because I couldn’t track down a copy of “Rusty Love.” Finally, while going through a box of old postcards, photos, and junk, I found an index card with a pencil draft. It’s possible that I revised the piece when I typed it; the middle section, where there is no rhyme for “head” or “fowl” seems like something I might have fixed. Or I may have decided it was “good enough” for the purpose of competing in a World of Poetry poetry contest.