Darius Rejali & Martha Gies
How does one write a history of violence and torture? And once written, what does one do with such a document? Renowned historian Darius Rejali’s recently published masterwork Torture and Democracy (Princeton, 2007) explores the history of torture from the perspective of its development into a "sanitized," non-visible form of oppression. Rejali discusses his groundbreaking research and a host of other things, with friend and intellectual comrade Martha Gies.
The back room's musical guest for this evening was Tu Fawning. Tu Fawning is the new project of Joe Haege and Corrina Repp. Both Haege and Repp have been playing in Portland and abroad for many years now. However, a mutual desire to achieve something outside the bounds of their other projects, 31knots (Haege) and Corrina Repp (Repp), lead both of them to begin collaboration on each other's albums last year. One look at the liner notes finds Haege all over Corrina Repp's 2006 Caldo Verde release, The Absent and The Distant. Then the roles reverse as Repp appeared on 31knots' EP:Polemics (2006, Polyvinyl)and The Days and Nights Of Everything Anywhere (Polyvinyl, 2006). Haege has also served as Repp's backing "band" for tours they have done with Mark Kozelek and Norfolk and Western, playing drums, piano, samples and singing. This is truly when the ideas for what would become Tu Fawning began to take shape. As Corrina began to expand her songwriting abilities at a lightning pace, by way of writing and performing songs on piano as well as guitar, she also began to challenge/enjoy herself by learning to play drums. Now with Haege and Repp fully realzing their pallette of piano,drums, percussion, guitar, vocals and samples, mutually and individually, they are finally able to tell the types of stories they have always wanted to, both lyrically and musically. The end result is definitely a hybrid of their own individual sounds coming together, but it definitely feels and sounds so natural, as well as creating something more than the sum of it's parts. Its as if the frantic nature of 31knots has caught its breath and Corrina Repp has found herself finally uninhibited to sing in front of some antiquated tribal music of hymns and ballads.
PLAZM / Portland's most notorious independent art, design and publishing organ sheds the office for a back room evening about design, language, survival, protest and collaboration! PLAZM founder and creative director Joshua Berger converses with PLAZM magazine editors Tiffany Lee Brown and Jon Raymond, and back room host Stephanie Snyder. Come discover why this evening is affectionately titled: Wives, Mistresses and Prostitutes.
bill ray & christopher zinn
What is more titillating than the romance of a new friendship, or more heart-breaking than losing the confidence of a beloved friend? A pervasive nostalgia has deflated public expression of this astonishingly important aspect of our lives. Friendships transform regularly, shifting and morphing and often leading to erotic desire and dreams of jealousy and revenge. For this very special evening, the back room has invited two distinguished minds and dear friends--Christopher Zinn and Bill Ray--to share a public conversation on the nature of Friendship, perhaps the most precious and precarious of social relations.
john trombold & peter donahue
John Trombold and Peter Donahue are the editors of Reading Portland and, previously, Reading Seattle, anthologies that collect the texts elicited by these cities (dating back to their founding). Both books offer a glimpse of that most outlandish and unlikely of things: the willful self-invention of a city. They document the evolving narratives that, to begin, almost single-handedly constituted these cities, and that now function as essential tools for enacting and inspecting the meanings and possibilities of two very divergent places.
We discussed the way a city writes itself, the ways that writing can shape the future of a city, and the marked differences Trombold and Donahue found between the literature of Portland and the literature of Seattle.
Among the writers collected are Ursula K. Le Guin, Chuck Palahniuk, Sallie Tisdale, John Reed, D. Lee Williams, Katherine Dunn, Walt Curtis, Charles D&qout;Ambrosio, Carl Abbott, Kathryn Hall Bogle, Michael Munk, Beverly Cleary, Robin Cody, Lawson Fusao Inada, Rudyard Kipling, Joaquin Miller, Sandy Polishuk, Gary Snyder, Kim Stafford, Peter Rock, Elizabeth Woody, Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Raban, Betty MacDonald, John Okada, Monica Sone, Richard Hugo, Matt Briggs, Rebecca Brown, Murray Morgan, Nancy Wilson Ross (some of whom will be in attendance), and many more.
The following is taken from the Cooley Gallery website:“Marc Joseph makes large scale color photographs that explore the spaces and objects of independently owned book and record stores. Growing up in Ohio in the 1970s, Joseph was first exposed to art, writing and music in the eccentric smaller book and record shops of downtown Cleveland, where Saturday afternoons were spent combing through the stacks in anticipation of a major future purchase, like his first, "London Calling," by The Clash; or studying certain talismanic book covers like George Orwell's "Animal Farm" or Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." This was the beginning of Joseph's permanent fascination with books and records: both as public artworks and as formative private experiences.” He visits Portland on the occasion of his first U.S. showing of these works, curated by Stephanie Snyder, at the Cooley Gallery at Reed College.
paul stewart & chris riddell
Art historian and curator John O’Brian was the editor of Clement Greenberg’s papers and a close associate of Greenberg. For the back room he has written an essay on the Portland Art Museum’s hanging of Greenberg’s collection in their new Mark Building. O’Brian was also founder and editor of Collapse, a seminal cultural journal in Vancouver, B.C., where he now lives and teaches.
lisa robertson & hadley + maxwell
Poet and essayist Lisa Robertson (Rousseau's Boat, The Weather, Office for Soft Architecture) and artists Hadley + Maxwell all lived and worked in Vancouver, BC, — where a strong history of well-published occasional writing about visual art helped shape a robust culture and economy of visual art practice — during formative parts of their lives. They influenced each other in numerous ways. We spoke to them about the place writing takes, or can take, in visual art practice and a city's art culture.
Presented in collaboration with Literary Arts. Former Guggenheim fellow Mary Gaitskill is the author of a story collection, Bad Behavior (1988), and two novels, Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1991) and Veronica (2005). Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Nest, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories (1993), and The O. Henry Prize Stories (1998).