The first blog post for my resurrected online journal, Entasis. Kiss those once cold lips and tell me what you think.
There were times when I didn’t think my literary journal, Entasis, was going to come out again. Editors quitting, romantic disputes, all the dramas that come with collaboration. Yet after a lot of work, and some luck, it finally happened and it’s beautiful. I’m biased, of course; I’m also not the designer, so I can’t take credit for the way it turned out. Below is my editorial note as a teaser. Please take a look.
The monster lives.
After a stint in the morgue and various reconstructive surgeries that include the transplantation of complete body parts and organ systems, Entasis is back. To satisfy an (mostly) American audience used to unrestricted calorie counts, we’ve supersized her, with more words and arts than at any time in her multiple past lives. Many years ago as I bellied up to the smooth rail at the deeply mourned Expansion Bar in pre-war, pre-Google, pre-ruined San Francisco, I watched a fat man down a double shot and declare, ‘I feel so good, I should be two people!’ Here then, are many souls compressed into one web body where the possibility of expansion is infinite, the perfect American frontier. Our issue theme, #nofilter, has led us to work that explores singularity and we have no problem rolling up our sleeves for a bar brawl; anything to defend the individual talent expressing itself with little compromise to the mooing of the herd: Cynthia Mitchell’s chill story and poems, Lisa Douglas’ LA chronicles, the volcanic artworks of Zoo Lion and Dawn Frasch. Heady stuff, with a groin kick or two thrown in, because the agony is the ecstasy. Thank you for sticking around. They also serve who only stand and wait.
Alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème. – Karl Marx, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’
This was the world where the struggling young artist found him (or her) self in 1850s Paris. A version of this underworld survived in New York City through the 1990s. No more. The New York City where young artists lived in slums and mixed with the working (and not working) poor has vanished. This transformation of the milieu where artists make their work changes the kind of work they make. A show like Girls demonstrates how isolated these striving artists have become from anyone who isn’t like them. They’re just weird wing of the professional classes.