07 August 2011


When I met a recently-graduated Modern Literature major at Art Murmur (Oakland's "First Friday" art walk/street party), I totally guessed that Infinite Jest would be his favorite book. I don't know why other than that it was on my mind because I had just checked it out that afternoon with my new City of Oakland library card after having searched all over the Central Coast for a free or used copy for the better part of the summer.

I'm loving this novel. David Foster Wallace is - was - a masterful writer. I'm only fifty pages in, and he has already commanded so many voices - from the all-too-keen and accidentally acerbic Hal to the sensually-challenged roach-asphyxiator to a young and disempowered black girl -  whose stories I can't wait to see the connections between.

This guy Charlie also recommended William Gaddis. He's on my list, somewhere between Stein and Scalapino. I have to balance the poetry with fiction, not to mention a healthy dose of National Geographic articles and the East Bay Express.

Another lesson I learned at Murmur was to wear comfortable shoes. The red suede heels were no problem for biking, but after walking around for four hours looking at art! art! ART! then going to a couple of bars, I would have been shocked not to find blisters on my pinky toes this morning.

But it was worth it. I've never seen so many folks with glasses assembled in one place (and for once in my life I fit right in)! And not just any glasses, but all sorts of really cool frames. The scene looked like a convocation of self-aware nerds. Artists. Artists like my friend Campbell, who was as floored by the amount of people who were out to look at the fruits of all this creative labor as she was by the wall-size oil paintings at Mercury 20. That was after the warehouses, the lofts, the side rooms and hallways and courtyards of galleries and the breakdancers, crowds gathered 'round, on 23rd Street. And food trucks, and beer and wine and ice cream, and people, people everywhere, and by the end of the night, you'd seen people you knew and recognized and maybe even left with a few new friends.


marcello said...

I started reading Infinite jest a few weeks ago, on a train headed to Lucca, where Arcade fire were playing that night. I'm still at page 400 (I'm kind of a slow reader). Sometimes I hear the expression "bigger than life", I think I know what to use it for now.
Huge book
Huge concert

Maya said...

ooh, train to lucca and arcade fire both sound really nice...

CW said...

Art Murmur looks like a very lively happening!