Pavilion Digest: October 2005

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Pavilion Digest: October 2005

Postby admin » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:08 am

The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of October 2005.

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Postby Lee » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:08 am

Name: Lee
Source: unca20051120.htm


Whether you are a bricklayer or a poet, I think one tends to do what one is good at.

As for who you do it for: art needs both artist and audience to exist at all.

The beauty of doing it is in the connection moving through you.

Its a way of being more than just yourself.

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Postby ReverendTed » Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:01 am

Name: Reverend Ted
Source: unca20051120.htm
Quoth Steve Barber
> Nearly everyone on this board does something artistically.
> My question: For whom do you do it? Yourself, or the
> anticipated audience?
I submit that sometimes the process is undertaken not for the artist or the audience, but simply for the art itself.
A work that takes on a life of its own, becoming an entity unto itself, directing its development without regard for (though not necessarily contrary to) the whims of the artist or desires of any potential audience.
Whether this type of art has no soul, or a truer soul than art performed for the inspiration of an audience or for the satisfaction of the artist is not for me to judge, though I suspect there are probably examples from both sides of the comma.

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Postby robochrist » Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:42 am

Name: Rob
Source: unca20051120.htm
Life is a lot simpler for ME. I just FORCE my stuff on people, beating them senseless if they try to shuffle away. Saves me the trouble of figuring out who my audience should BE.

Steven Utley

How Harlan Helped to Make Me the Bookworm I Is Today

Postby Steven Utley » Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:21 am

Name: Steven Utley
Source: unca20051120.htm
In my paragraph below about STUDS LONIGAN, the line should be "both Farrell's work and Dos Passos' just kick" -- not "kicks." Clearly, when I wrote that, I had spent just a little too much time hanging around the pool room with a bunch of hooligans who'd tell you that subject-verb agreement is for pansies.

Today I am trying to decide what to take up next. There's Fitzgerald's TENDER IS THE NIGHT patiently waiting on the big bookcase in the living room (the one with Harlan Ellison titles in the upper lefthand row and Barry Malzberg in the lower righthand row), as well as a coupla novels by Faulkner (I shamefacedly confess that I've read only his short fiction thus far -- but, oh, "Dry September" and "A Rose for Emily"!) and a collection of Captain Future stories by Edmond Hamilton (high and low art determinedly meet smack in the middle of my brow). My books, arranged alphabetically by author, snake through the house, with A through Ellin in the office and Rushdie through Zola in the master bedroom, where I also keep a television set hooked up to a VCR so that I can watch movies. I watch no TV programming, however, in part because Harlan said it would rot my brain. There are things I miss -- THE SIMPSONS, the History and Discovery channels -- but reading is my chief pasttime. I'm uncomfortable in houses that contain no books. And if there aren't books in the afterlife, I say the hell with it.

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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:48 pm

Source: unca20051120.htm
STEVE UTLEY, you ole snakefucker, how the hell are ya, kiddo?

If I indeed saved your brain cells from monkeynut rot by just keeping you away from The OC, Fear Factor, American Idol and The Anna Nicole Show, then let me plead with you to cop to my recommendation now that you run, not walk, that you R--U--N to the nearest cut-rate whereat you can obtain the first season of a programme called LOST, and scarf up the boxed DVD set of Season One. That's ... L.O.S.T. LOST.

Steve, in 57 years of watching, studying, reviewing, commenting on, and abominating television, I have seldom (if ever, even counting my faves) encountered Art at such a level. LOST is to television as MOBY DICK and HUCKLEBERRY FINN and GRAVITY'S RAINBOW are to the rest of American letters. LOST is to wildly inventive and utterly mesmerizing narrative as CITIZEN KANE, THE MAGNIFICENT 7 and THRONE OF BLOOD are to cinema since Edison's "The Kiss." LOST is to artistic creativity and damn skippy inventiveness as Smithson's "Spiral Jetty," Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" and Richard Dadd's "Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke" are to painting.

Smithson said: "Create enigmas, not explanations," and though there is a good-meal-satisfing abundance of the latter (unlike "Twin Peaks" or even "The X-Files," the two great American TV cockteases, each of whose ass was unaware of each's elbow, entangling the viewer, then abandoning high and dripping wet), the sheer intelligent bravura creation seriatum of the former is a high-wire auctorial phenomenon as hypnotic and compelling as, hell, I STRADA!

Rush out. Now, Steve. Get the first season, last season, on the boxed DVD set. Watch it at a dead run. You'll have to accomodate your dropped jaw at every turn, but you'll find yourself watching it a second time, straight through.

The new season started two, weeks ago. If you RUN OUT. NOW. You'll be ready for this season's third episode next Wednesday.

I cannot plead with you more urgently. Do as I suggest, and you will have one more excellent reason to look upon me with adoration.

I can handle it if you can.

Yr. pal from back in the day in Austin, Harlan

Michael Zuzel

LOST hours, indeed

Postby Michael Zuzel » Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:32 pm

Name: Michael Zuzel
Source: unca20051120.htm
What Harlan said.

And a little more, though lacking his eloquence:

The return of LOST a couple of weeks ago was that rarest of things for American episodic television: a season premiere that actually fulfilled, and then far exceeded, the promises and mysteries of the previous season's cliffhanger. Last week's episode was even more surprising -- it actually went BACK to the events depicted the previous week and filled in the blanks from other characters' viewpoints.

This is crisp, challenging, unpredictable, thought-provoking storytelling, filled with fascinating, multi-dimensional characters who utter (and this is the best part) Dialogue That Doesn't Suck. Another rarity.

I've been smitten by a few shows over the years, and usually later ended up feeling snookered, abused or simply dumped. Maybe this time too. We'll see. But so far, this feels like the real thing. Yippee!!


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Rabbit Hole

Postby Tom » Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:34 pm

Name: Tom Morgan
Source: unca20051120.htm
If you are still concerned about delivery times I received RH#38 in Orange County today. Could you put me down for one of the Hemispheres? Thanks. And while Harlan has asked for a move-on allow me to add my personal apology to you for not responding when you were insulted. I post here seldom but read often and saw it. I assumed the deafening silence of reply was actually most peoples reply. I now realize now that the philosophy of "Only reply to those who merit a reply" is far out-trumped by the philosophy of "Always stand up for those who merit standing up for". I feel like one of the New York apartment dwellers looking out their window in "The Whimper.."

Tom Morgan HERC M456

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Postby BrianSiano » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:01 pm

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20051120.htm
_Lost_ has been a favorite in the Siano household since Day One. My housemates tend to like the series with continuing storylines, so the TiVo gets loaded up with stuff like _Veronica Mars_, _Alias_, _Lost_, _Battlestar Galactica_, and much more. (One of them likes _Yu-Gi-Oh_, but he's a math teacher, and has to stay up on what the kids are doing.) I don't get into too many shows, but right now, only _Lost_ and _Galactica_ are drawing me back week to week.

There's just one thing that bugs me about _Lost_. It's the possibility, the _very real possibility_, that the show might sputter out its mysteries and leave us with something utterly _limp_.

The aforementioned _Twin Peaks_ and _The X-Files_ were improvised, week to week, and they'd spent so much time establishing so many mysteries that they _couldn't_ come to anything like a satisfying conclusion. No, they didn't have to _explain_ everything. But they could never come up with a conclusion that would make the mysteries seem like cheap mindfuckery.

_Babylon 5_ succeeded _because_ it had an ending in sight. Those of us who watched it knew that JMS had an ending, something that made sense (we hoped), and something that was, even if ambiguous, at least _satisfying_. _The Prisoner_'s ending didn't need to make sense: it launched the series into orbit, almost literally. It can be done, people.

So _Lost_ has me worried. It's so damn _good_ that I worry that it'll sputter and turn foul like the others. I'd hate to think that the great backstories, the compelling performances (especially Terry O'Quinn, whom I've enjoyed since _The Stepfather_), and the amazing Events, Clues, and Mysteries established amount to _something_ beyond a grab for my attention. Right now, the writers sure seem to have something truly great in store for us. But as much as I love the show, I'd feel cheated if it turned out that the whole thing was an incoherent improvisation designed to keep me watching the commercials.

Please, oh please, let it all be Worth It...

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Barney Dannelke
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Crunch Time in the Boardroom

Postby Barney Dannelke » Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:54 pm

Name: Barney Dannelke
Source: unca20051120.htm
There is a moment in the hyperactive and wickedly smart comic book series TRANSMETROPOLITAN where Spider Jerusalem, the futuristic political journalist and militant gonzo activist, having just suffered a crippling stroke of some sort, is informed by his Doctor that he has contracted something called I-Pollen Degenerative Disorder, and that in the coming few months as this vicious brain cancer deus ex machina progresses he is going to lose all motor and cognitive skills. As the Doctor reels off the horrible consequences of this, Spider starts grinning, and by the time hes done Spider looks about as happy as a shark about to eat a baby penguin. When the Doctor asks him why the hell hes grinning, Spider responds in the royal we of editors and people with tapeworms, So weve got a deadline. We can do deadlines.

Hallelujah. Indeed. Writers can do deadlines.

Id like to tell you about a little adventure I had this past weekend. At least for me it was an adventure and a bit of a revelation. I think for others it was probably as fun as learning what flop sweat is like after they thought they had a part nailed in a play or coming face to face with a blood sport Hemingway liked to call boxing Turgenev.

The setting was Foolscap VII up in Bellevue Washington. The programming had a nice little break from the usual panel fiascos such as Circular Quest Fantasies: Threat or Menace? and Do Wookies have G-spots? Instead, off to one side, minding its own business on Saturday at 3PM was Show Me A Story: A Workshop moderated by Harlan Ellison with Manny Frishberg, Sandra Odell and Amy Thompson. When I saw this on the programming schedule I foolishly assumed we would bring in some finished material that would be tossed around for some tough love and suggestions for a final polish.

Ha! Ha ha ha. When Im wrong, boys and girls I go right off the rails. Youll see.

Friday morning I approached the Con chair and was told that the workshop was booked in advance and the event could only accommodate sixteen. Damn. Still, it was reasonable. Even sixteen story critiques in an hour and a half would be pushing it. Still, I clutched my Twain pages and my little horror story to my chest and said, Well, if anybody drops out or theres a seat on the wall, let me know. Ill be quiet and keep a low profile.

First we lie then we write.

The panel rolls around and they had three or four dropouts. Like a questionable character in the third reel of a heist film, suddenly, Im in. And heres how it went down. Rainier is a conference room thats just about ALL table. The ambitious dozen take their places and suddenly all I can think of is 12 Angry Men. Looking back on that moment Im not sure that being verbally abused by Lee J. Cobb would have been so bad in comparison, but that feeling quickly passed. Aside from the four already mentioned, there was Kristin Ruhle on my right and Doug Lane and Amy Kosten-Jenkins from Webderland on my left. Also present was Kathleen Retz who ran the Foolscap art show. If Doug or anybody else wants to cough up the names Im missing Id appreciate it. Im moving on with apologies to those whose names Ive misplaced.

At this point Harlan laid out the ground rules. Ms. Retz had a folder and in it she had color reproductions of art she had pulled off the Internet. Im told that much of the art was pulled from

Ok. I have just been to this site and there are over 600 galleries, each with dozens of pieces so Im not going to even try to cite the individual works. As I write this I have a query out to Ms. Retz and may know more later. Im sure Doug and Kristen and Amy remember their pieces. In fact, I suspect we all have our art burned into our brains for good or ill. Adrenalin does wonders for memory.

Back to the rules. Harlan said that we were each to pick a piece of art, and then we were going to sit down and WRITE A STORY in approximately the next half hour. These we would then read aloud, and a brief round-robin critique of the story would take place. As Doug likes to say, Holy Jeebus! Now you, sitting in front of your monitor at home may square your shoulders and say to yourself yeah, sure, big deal, I could do that, but Im telling you Im real glad I had the medicine man bless my bulletproof tunic and make me invisible for good measure before we started. This may not have been for keeps but it sure felt like it.

So after a lot of sighing and tooth gnashing and hair pulling and crying and drooling and knuckle chewing [the proceeding 14 words brought to you by Street and Smith and worth 7 cents if appearing in TRAPPED in 1957] we all picked our art. Harlan picked LAST from the four or so remaining pieces. And we began.

Now a note to the cynics among you on how Uncle Harlan is a big stinky cheater. Let me TRY and head you off at the pass. Could Harlan have seen all the art in advance? Could he have then sat down and cobbled up rough story ideas for 16 pieces of art so that he had something to expand on no matter what was handed to him? Could he have worked the room like some sort of double-brained Kresken, hypnotizing and pushing and cajoling us into taking the other pieces and leaving a pre-chosen piece for him? Yeah, sure, I suppose. But I was there and Amy was there and Kristin was there and Doug was there and thats not what happened. We all picked our poison and Harlan chose last. Moreover he picked a piece, that while extremely well executed, I pegged as about the last thing he would want, as it featured, well, youll see.

Thus armed with inspiration, or the poison of our own choosing, we began. Most of us used pen and paper and committed our sins in long hand. Good enough for Shakespeare and Neal R. Stephenson, we figured it was good enough for us. One person had a PDA-keyboard configuration that I thought was keen looking, but a bit too small to work on with out going blind. Harlan pulled out an old manual typewriter provided by the convention and we were off to the races.

Have I ever told you all what a complete and perfect dick Harlan can be? Really? Well, he starts pounding away at this thing and all I can think is word word word word word, now hes FIVE ahead, word word word word word word SLAM! carriage return, now hes ELEVEN ahead, word word word clack clack clack pause, scratch forearm, fold arms over chest, glare a bit, pause hand over keys, then whack whack whack spacebar spacebar spacebar WORD WORD WORD and hes off again. After a minute or so of this I think we all tuned it out. In fact, in a weird way, very quickly I found it, if not restful, at least sort of focusing. I work at a PC and WORD and MS Office are my friend, but that thwacking ratchety sound IS the sound of creation to me, the way a loud KA-CHING is the proper sound of a cash register drawer opening. So I stared at my painting, chewed my knuckle and started plotting my little story.

Im cutting a few paragraphs here. Suffice to say I ended up writing a vignette. Approximately 290 words in 25 minutes that told the story of that moment in the painting:

and gave some back-story and set up some conflicts for scenes to come. At best, it is a crippled fragment that will never see the light of day. First draft, under the stopwatch is NOT my friend. At least Barry Malzberg had bourbon to see him through this in the 1970s. Who works like this?

Later I was talking to Harlan about the value of this kind of kiln-style writing and we agreed that it was unnatural BUT it does do two things. First, it forces you to finish something. The world is full of project starters who never get around to finishing anything. I know because Im one of them. The other is that after the pain is over, it can be and should be a tremendous confidence booster. It illustrates what Harlan has said for years, that Art or art isnt really created in ivory towers on crystal mountaintops; its usually hammered out by people in basements and attics or sheds behind the house (John Gardner) or even an upright plywood coffin standing like an airless isolation chamber in an otherwise normal living room (Lester Del Rey). The lesson is like the ubiquitous Nike slogan. Just do it.

Back to Harlan being a dick. So, were all of us writing to the best of our abilities and some of those abilities ended up being pretty remarkable. Im recalling Mr. Frishberg and Mr. Lane and the one by the woman to Mr. Frishbergs right whose name I dont recall, when Harlan slams his carriage return for the last time after typing they were all run over by a bus. The End. or some such shite, and gets up and steps away from the table like a guy with a winning hand who has called all in and good night and good luck and your twenty is on the dresser, see you later kiddo, I got a train to catch.

Seventeen minutes. Last to pick. First to type. First to finish. What do you call that?

So Harlan gives us another 10 minutes. Then he gets a drink and tells us when we hit the five-minute mark. Then time compresses to auto-accident Ballard time and were done.

We each read our pieces and offer up some critiques but I dont think our hearts were into the criticism. I wont savage you and you dont savage me was rule of the day and worked out fine. For a LONG and accurate description of workshop dynamics there are essays in the Clarion anthologies that go into exquisite detail on how this can play out and go south quickly when people dont play well with others.

Besides, we all knew what we were waiting for. Harlan had written a story. A NEW story. Right there, in less than twenty minutes. So, we sat back and said well, lets see what the oldest enfant terrible has got. He read his story.

Let me be clear. Harlan said this to me after the workshop and I completely agree There were NO failures in that workshop. Everybody produced something and everybody learned and everybody took something away that they could use. That almost never happens in a workshop or any teaching situation for that matter. Moreover, a couple of pieces could probably be published virtually as is, or given a polish and then sent on their way. Two out of twelve would have been a very good day in workshop land.

But it wasnt two out of twelve because Harlan read his story and showed us how its done. Mohammed Ali said, it aint no brag if you can do it. Boy was he right. And I didnt even have to get punched in the head by a heavyweight to learn that lesson. Or maybe I did and Im still taking a standing eight count and wondering just where my corner is.

Either way, I could tell you about it, but its 350 words and youll read them before too long. Its called WEARINESS and will almost certainly feature the art of one Hubert J. Daniels who I am told is a young student at the University of Warsaw and I suspect is about to become a made man if thats what he wants.

I asked Harlan how this compared to Clarion, where the writing assignments were overnight affairs and he told me theyre analogous but in a compressed sort of way. Its sort of like comparing a good piece of buttered bread to the finest French toast youve ever had. Both worthy in their own way.

So there you have it. Cost of traveling 3,000 miles to see some friends and stay at the Bellevue Sheraton for four days and attend a small science fiction convention? About $850.00 Having your ass and ego handed to you by a paunchy old man with a battered manual typewriter with nothing to gain and no need to prove anything to anyone?


- Barney Dannelke [12:09AM]
Composed in 2 hours 11 minutes / 2,160 words.

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Michael D. Blum
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Location: SeaTac, WA

Why not?

Postby Michael D. Blum » Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:11 pm

Name: Michael D. Blum
Source: unca20051120.htm
STEVE BARBER: Your question of why we make art is one that I have asked myself many times, one that I think every artist SHOULD ask themselves and I dont think there is a simple answer. I know that when I am on the stage acting that my goal is at least partially selfish, the ego-boo of applause, but there is also the great joy of challenging oneself to create a performance that will reach people, that will create a moment of insight or emotion in the viewer. Directing, however, is entirely about the audience; about transforming the words on paper to create a reality that will inform or amuse or enlighten, to CHANGE the viewer in some way, great or small. There are also several intangibles in the creative impulse as well ideally, art should reflect some truth that the artist feels is important, and hopefully that impulse is to change the world for the better, even if its just one person. Then there are those times when the art itself drives the artist, when some piece or performance or whatever demands that you take action.

So I guess the short answer is: both.

This from me having just stepped off a stage in front of 700 people not an hour ago, for what thats worth.

Best to all,

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Harlan Ellison
Harlan Fucking Ellison
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 10:24 am

Postby Harlan Ellison » Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:28 pm

Source: unca20051120.htm
Paunchy old man? Cold, muthuhfukkuh, stone cold.

Written in 9 seconds, in tears / 7 words

Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 10:23 pm

Postby KristinRuhle » Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:49 pm

Name: Kristin Ruhl
Source: unca20051120.htm
Aww, Harlan. Barney says wonderful things about you and all you see is three hurtful words? Well I can imagine how it might have hurt; I hope he didn't really make you cry...we know you haaate those extra pounds that won't go away and who doesn't? I saw you show off your arm muscles too lest anyone underestimate you.....loved every minute :)

Barney, I loved that workshop critique of your work..."gratuitous profanity." (I forget if it was Harlan or one of the other people there who said so, but HE agreed)
Harlan's stories (and speeches) aren't exactly all rated G, but a seasoned professional of proven talent can get away with things a newbie or wannabe absolutely cannot! Think of all the amateurs trying "typewriter tricks" a la THE DEMOLISHED MAN or several Harlan stories I can recall....playing with your computer fonts (ridiculously easy with a Mac or even a PC these days) is the surest way to get your slush-pile manuscript thrown in the trash. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

LOST...the show has been praised by many, many intelligent people; I'm not surprised Harlan is among them. (Although praise from him is considered pretty high praise by those familiar with stuff like THE GLASS TEAT.)Hmm...can you get the DVDs from Netflix? We're thinking of doing that even though my brother works at Hollywood Video and can get the family video rentals for free....mostly with television you either have to buy it all or rent 1-2 episodes at a time; whole series take too long to watch for traditional rentals to really work.

Wednesdays. Just like with Babylon 5 which I had to catch up on in the TNT reruns mostly (depriving myself of sleep for weeks) to have seen it all in time for the 5th season....wednesdays is just not my tv-watching night; it's when I like to gather with fannish friends, and i oftne have to fight over th VCR too, or don't have time to watch the tapes! OK, let's say i get hold of the season one dvds; know of any good online episode guides for catching up with missed episodes?

So many EVERYTHING, so little time. (Barney, can you let me know when your essay on slash fanfiction comes out? I want a copy, although it's not in the the sort of publication you'd find me subscribing to.)

Harlan helped me find "Doctor Who" years ago

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Chuck Messer
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Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Postby Chuck Messer » Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:42 pm

Name: Chuck Messer
Source: unca20051120.htm
I've been following every episode of Lost (except a couple of times when I had a little trouble with the opposable thumb thing when setting the timer on the vcr a couple of times) since I saw the premier. One of the things I've appreceated about the show is the way they allow those of us who are memory-impaired when it comes to setting the infernal recording machine to catch up. Repeating the second season opener, for example. That one recap episode that gave you what has happened so far in a compelling nutshell. An absolute necessity for this show.

One program I've missed since I had to give up cable back in '03 is Monk. I've managed to get to the end of season two now thanks to Blockbuster Video. Monk is one of the few things I still miss about cable. Assuming it hasn't jumped the shark while I wasn't watching.


Brad Stevens
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Postby Brad Stevens » Sun Oct 02, 2005 1:02 am

Name: Brad Stevens
Source: unca20051120.htm

"LOST is to wildly inventive and utterly mesmerizing narrative as CITIZEN KANE, THE MAGNIFICENT 7 and THRONE OF BLOOD are to cinema"


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