Urbanthology: Recorded Live at Cafe International, San Francisco, March 21st and 22nd, 2001. Vol. 1, No. 1. Eskimo for some unknown reason likes the homeboys on this homespun cd, especially Royal Kent on "The Have and the Have Nots": "The haves have the have nots in knot, the haves have all while all others have nought, the haves have the have nots doing everything but what they ought." However, Eskimo thinks the girls are out of control on this double cd. There is way too much girl howling and strange moaning especially by Monique Marquisa De Magdelana who screams while she has "Hitler's Baby." There is also way too much whining about their "thick thighs," i.e., "I am beautiful even though I have thick thighs." Eskimo recently heard a homegirl with this same line at a poetry reading, so Eskimo has decided that this line has become a cliche. No one has ever complained about Eskimo's thick thighs and actually she has been told that most men prefer Tina Turner thighs to toothpicks. Elz says, "I wanna feel your inside music," but somehow she doesn't sound as sexy as she thinks she sounds. And then there are the singers. Some of them are singing quite well, but this makes them singers doesn't it, not poets. A stoned blues boy recently called Eskimo late at night and she asked him to tell her the what difference is between poetry and music. He said that songs are just superior poems. Eskimo begs to differ. Perhaps the main difference is that songs are sung and poems are spoken. The first definition of a poem that Eskimo came across about ten years ago was in her Norton Anthology: "A poem is a composition written for performance by the human voice." A song is usually written for voice AND music. Much poetry is read on the page, not heard, and so the words themselves must create their own "music" via rhythm and meter--a series of stressed and unstressed syllables. Often songs, without music, sound trite, such as "Love, love me do" because these words were written "to" music. And try as she might, Eskimo has never been able to boogie to "Howl." This cd covers the entire spectrum of poems and songs and halfbreeds, so you can listen and muse yourself. The musical "bridges" in between the poems are what Eskimo prob'ly likes best about this cd. Eskimo has read at Cafe International and was a little disappointed 'cus the place seemed kind of shabby and broke down. But the muse-ic generated here, as testified to by this compilation, creates an ambience as rich as guatemala antigua coffee.
Polliwog: music composed, performed and produced by Chene Watson, Jason Pehur, Linda Rao; lyrics by Kit Chell. This is the only locally produced cd on which you will hear a plastic fan and sticks. Eskimo recently had the pleasure of listening to pre-show Polliwog live whilst she was finishing the last few pages of The Death of Artemio Cruz. Live is always better--this goes for music, sex, and eating, with the exception of Eskimo phone sex, which technically is binary. This cd is the theme song to "Hamlet's Women," and Eskimo particularly likes the slice, "He Loves Me (NOT)." This voice music eerily re-creates the tingling that crept up Eskimo's lengthy spine while she was watching Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet." Listening to this experimental electronica mixed with analog, Eskimo could picture Ophelia floating in a wave of sound and feel Hamlet's cacophony of brainwaves. Dark and serene as the ocean on a cold Arctic night, Eskimo says listen to this cd and you'll dream of whales.
The Taco Shop Poets - "So many tattooed teardrops, she looks like a domino." So far, these are Eskimo's all-time favs. She doesn't understand how she can be infatuated with five guys at once, but they make it all possible. And they even respond to Eskimo's emails. Adrian, Jason, Adolfo, Tomas and Miguel lay some poetic/rants down on "The Taco Shop Poets En Vivo." Sexy voices in Spanglish, San Diego screaming, freeway noise fried, spooky doo bass notes--if you unfortunately listen to polite pedantic poets who inspire you to lay down and go to sleep, Eskimo begs you: "I don't care if I'm your wet dream or your worst nightmare, I just want you to wake the hell up and listen to TSP."
Charles Bukowski, American Hostage, on rhino cd. Recorded live during a reading at The Sweetwater, Redondo Beach, CA, April 1980. Eskimo gives this cd 2 out of 4 snowflakes. Eskimo first encountered Bukowski while watching Barfly with a drunken poet who had just proposed marriage to her after three months of dating. Unfortunately, after Eskimo replied, "Don't be ridiculous, I don't even know you," the drunken poet shortly thereafter slept with his best friend's girlfriend. This is the kind of behavior that Bukowski would engage in. And Eskimo's first impression of Bukboy was "Who the hell is this misogynist drunken old guy?" Eskimo's next brush with the big B was when a drunken surfer poet came to town for the weekend with the sole intention of, in his words, "bagging Eskimo." Apparently, he had mistaken Eskimo for a partridge and Eskimo only allowed him a snuggle. Surfer Boy gave Eskimo her first book of Bukowski, "Run With the Hunted." Eskimo then fell in love with both Bukow and Surfer Boy. Eskimo herself very often feels "hunted" and only Bukowski is capable of laughing grittily with all the hunted of the world--bums, miscreants, whores, and toothless poets. Eskimo forgives B for his womanizing ways mainly because of the way he says, "Baby." Best place to buy B books is at Sweet Briar Books, 654 G Street, Davis, 530-750-Book. And, now, what you've all been waiting for, the love story of Monkey Boy (aka surfer boy) and Eskimo Girl written by Monkey Boy especially for Eskimo. Excerpt from Bukowski poem.
ruth weiss, Poetry and All That Jazz, an AWAREHOUSE production. In 1993, Herb Caen called ruth, "The Goddess of the Beat Generation." Eskimo has heard ruth in Sacto coffeehouses, bookstores, S.F. jazz joints, and North Beach streets. This woman has truly led an incredible life, starting out in Nazi Germany and then wrapping her soul in the sounds of mid- to late-century AmeriJazz. The piano, drums, and bass on this tape are boppin' and professional. ruth once heard Eskimo read and later Eskimo learned that ruth had wanted Eskimo to come out for drinks. But alas, Eskimo had disappeared into the black Sacto night. Eskimo poem for ruth weiss.
Coming soon - reviews of Leonard Cohen, Jayne Cortez, Galway Kinnell, Jorge Luis Borges, Dylan Thomas.
Email Eskimo your favorite poets on black