pixel revolt: a user’s guide
by john vanderslice
one very late night in february, I was watching preston sturges’s 1930’s farce “the lady eve” when my satellite connection got strange. the screen froze, then stuttered, as henry fonda moved in stop motion, barbara stanwyck slowly came unglued, her face distorted by square wave digital artifacts. entire scenes were lost somewhere in that winter sky.
when I woke up I had the title of the record.
1 letter to the east coast
last fall, I fell in love with an elaborately wired home security system. no, that’s not right…
last fall, I fell in love with a magnificent house high on a hill. I camped out below, waiting for a sign the security alarm was off and I would be welcome in that glowing warmth.
people came and went. I waited.
it was a long and cold winter.
a few times I got in, free and clear. inside, the house was all I imagined. but after a few minutes, the red strobe of police cruisers echoed off the walls.
wait a minute.
let me start again.
last fall, I fell in love with an elaborately wired home security system. or was I in love with the house?
title given by david berman.
2 plymouth rock
the strongest convictions can be overturned in a second if real life offers up contradicting evidence. does a tracer bullet count? yes.
a private is shot the second he jumps off a UH-60 helicopter on his first day of battle.
tuwaitha is in central iraq, south of baghdad, and was used for the production of uranium.
3 exodus damage
an erstwhile anti-government militant regrets his shaky commitment to the cause. but is his emotional connection to a mentor about more than politics?
for every dozen michael fortiers, there is only one timothy mcveigh.
title from "black and brown blues" by the silver jews:
"rub out the catlight,
rub out the village
red and white exit light
that’s exodus damage
why don’t people think of who they use?
why don’t you try and come and get me: black and brown blues"
4 peacocks in the video rain
love and desire continue, even if you try to shield yourself from the outside world. sometimes those feelings get projected onto a safe, distant figure. how about a pop singer?
title given by david berman.
5 trance manual
a western journalist makes a meaningful (and metaphorical?) visit to an iraqi prostitute.
6 new zealand pines
a love letter to my ex-girlfriend, terri olson. she’s a brilliant clothes designer and runs two minnie wilde stores in san francisco.
the song takes place at the strybing arboretum, in golden gate park, on a foot path between new zealand and brazil in the temporate gardens.
7 radiant with terror
adapted from robert lowell’s brilliant “fall 1961.”
"Back and forth, back and forth
goes the tock, tock, tock
of the orange, bland, ambassadorial
face of the moon
on the grandfather clock.
All autumn, the chafe and jar
of nuclear war;
we have talked our extinction to death.
I swim like a minnow
behind my studio window.
Our end drifts nearer,
the moon lifts,
radiant with terror.
is a diver under a glass bell. …”
A father’s no shield
for his child.
We are like a lot of wild
spiders crying together,
but without tears."
there are four detectives: thomson, foley, reiger, and me.
there is a serial killer, who has just turned up dead.
the killings continue in the same manner as before, using methods known only to the investigating police.
the detectives are now suspects.
9 dear sarah shu
yes war is dangerous, but our emotional life, especially love, is more so.
an epistolary apology/warning to my successor.
10 farewell transmission
having advance knowledge of your demise doesn’t necessarily help you avoid it. it may be the reason you’re heading that way?
title taken from magnolia electric company’s "long dark blues."
if a lost bunny can’t survive these mean streets, maybe we can’t either.
magnolia blvd is located in the san fernando valley.
12 dead slate pacific
no one can save you, but believing that someone can may save you
13 the golden gate
the golden gate bridge, art deco masterpiece, shining symbol of freedom, hope, and the promise of the west, is also the world’s leading suicide location.
almost everyone jumps from the eastern side of the bridge, facing the lights of san francisco.
14 crc 7173, affectionately
better living through pharmaceuticals.