Friday, June 18, 2004
I had twenty minutes between this & that so I turned on the television & was flipping through the channels when SpikeTV, which often has the worst imaginable programming on when it isn’t doing reruns of Star Trek, turned out to be showing The Godfather. It was just a brief passage – it began with Marlon Brando telling his associates that his boy Al Pacino was now in charge & continued up to the start of the baptism scene (in which the infant is played, if that is the right word, by Sofia Coppola in her film debut). My wife looked up from the other room and I told her, “It’s like Macbeth – you can pick it up anywhere and just watch for a scene or two.”
“I know you like it. Why don’t you own it?”
“Because it’s on TV so often that I don’t need to.”
There are poems and books of poetry like this – not just Macbeth or Lear, either. I’m not sure, for example, if I will ever read Richard Sieburth’s new edition of Pound’s Pisan Cantos cover to cover because that is a text that, at this point in my life, I’m quite content to dip into not unlike watching a 20-minute snippet of the clan Corleone:
Out of Phlegethon!
out of Phlegethon,
art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?
with Buxtehude and Klages in your satchel, with the
Ständebuch of Sachs in yr/ luggage
— not of one bird but of many
That is, as it happens, the entire text of Canto LXXV, save for a two-page transcription of the violin part of a 16th century piece of music “abbreviated” in the early 20th century by Gerhart Műnch. It is Műnch, a native of Dresden, who is being addressed &, tho it is never mentioned as such, it is precisely the carpet-bombing of that city by the Allies that is being discussed.
Pound’s juxtaposition of high & low levels of discourse, the not-quite synonyms of satchel & luggage contrasted with the – in this order – 17th century composer, 20th century anthropologist & 16th century singer, is a typical strategy for Pound. He does an effective job conveying the jumble of Dresden’s cultural treasures that its refugees presumably attempted to rescue from the onslaught of bombings.
Because I don’t read music I’d never really noticed that the score that follows is Műnch’s abbreviation for violin of Francesco da Milano’s 16th century arrangement of Clément Jannequin’s Chant des Oiseaux, literally “Song of the Birds,” until I’d read Sieburth’s notes. And I certainly had not noticed that there is a tiny Chinese ideogram at the end of Olga Rudge’s transcription, tho I can see that it’s there not just in the Sieburth edition, but even in my 1956 The Cantos (1-95), the oldest of several copies I have of different portions of this work.
In most of The Cantos, a seven-line passage like this one would represent just a passing moment & there are plenty of other such passages in the Pisan suite as good or better. Yet picking up a book like this – and it can be almost any book that you’ve grown up with as a poet, so I would include Williams, Zukofsky, Oppen, many of the New Americans & more than a few langpos as offering comparable experiences for me. Stein less so, simply because it took me longer to get into her poetry & so I come to it always already as a much more fully formed reader. Sometimes it will be just a line or two, or a couple of stanzas:
Parts – the prudery
Of Frigidaire, of
I’m quite serious when I say that one could spend a lifetime just considering these lines. Their hesitations, their sense of enjambment & of vocabulary – that remarkable contrast of prudery with Frigidaire, the palpable physicality of Soda-jerking. Thus / Hides the / / Parts – George Oppen here in only the second section of his great first book Discrete Series announces his fundamental concern with ethics, that will focus him as poet & citizen all his days. Further, that verb phrase with its cognitive dissonance as to number, working as it does as if coming after – it calls to mind the very syllogistic machinery it violates – will always pull me in. As much as I love coming upon new poems & new poetry, books such as this are not so much ones that I will, in any strict sense, ever read again so much as pick up & read into. From the vista of those lines, the whole of Oppen is available to me, just as one can turn almost anywhere in The Godfather to find a detail (the way Troy Donahue’s foot goes through the windshield, the shattered glass spidering & rendering his death half veiled) from which the whole of the trilogy feels almost inevitable. Is there any way for an art to do more?
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Here is the seventh question in the 9 for 9 project, and of course my response.
Have your sleeping dreams ever influenced your poems? And/Or, have you ever dreamt that you were writing a poem? If so, did you remember any of the lines after waking? If so, can you please share?
Sometime around 1980, I was visiting Bill Mohr down in Los Angeles when he asked me how come, if I included everything plus the kitchen sink in my poetry, there was so very little evidence of dream imagery in a work like Ketjak. I mumbled something about not remembering my dreams, but that answer was more a means of side-stepping the question than anything else. I wasn’t remembering my dreams precisely because I was using alcohol as a mechanism for “getting past” my chronic insomnia. The same glass of wine or three that was helping me to unwind each evening was functionally suppressing whatever interactions I might have with the dream world.
It had been the reaction of my dreams to my initial exposure of working with American prisoners – the recognition, really, that the sadism of Abu Ghraib was as American as apple pie & about as common – that had triggered the pattern in the first place. The group I was working with, the Committee for Prisoner Humanity & Justice (CPHJ), had been founded to support a wrongful death suit at San Quentin regarding a man by the name of Fred Billingslea who’d been having a psychotic episode in a his isolation cell. Tear gas was fired into his cell, the canister hitting him in the throat. With Billingslea now unconscious & unresponsive, he was taken to the prison hospital by being dragged by his feet down several flights of metal & concrete stairs, his head hitting every step. Within a month of my arrival, another prisoner with whom we were working was beheaded by a fluorescent lightbulb used as a sword by another prisoner. Events like this were commonplace – I mean that literally – but I quickly learned that I couldn’t even talk about these things to my new roommates in the Haight – the details were too lurid. But holding that in turned my dream world into something from Brueghel or Bosch.
In December, 1984, a good seven years after I stopped working fulltime in the prison movement, I stopped drinking. A few months later – and it literally did take months – I began to notice dreams for the first time in over twelve years. In order to confront this more directly, I began a practice of writing poetry as soon as I woke up, really before the phenomenal world of day had taken over. At least two sections of The Alphabet– “Hidden” and “Ink” – were written almost entirely this way. Both also confront the two most problematic relationships of my life, the first with my father, who abandoned my family when I was two, the second with my grandmother who helped to raise me while struggling with mental illness. That connection wasn’t intentional &, until this paragraph, I’d never really thought of it in those terms. Since those two pieces, it’s been less programmatic, but every once in a while a sentence shows up fully formed in sleep that will make it into whatever I’m writing at the moment.
As Kerouac & others have known & noted,writing at the instant of waking is a process that, carried on daily, will actually help you to remember more and more of your dreams. Carried out on a regular basis, it sometimes amazes me what shows up – why, for example, did I wake this morning with the tones of Cher singing, literally, Half Breed in my sleep? Just thinking about this question has helped to bring this week’s dreams to the fore.
Related to the idea of remembering & using one’s dreams in one’s writing, is learning to be aware in the dream itself, lucid dreaming as I believe it’s called. Like taking a feature that seems to show up in a number of dreams – a door that one fears will open, for example – and trying consciously to be aware of the door the next time it shows up so that you can open it yourself to see what lies behind.
I find that I don’t so much dream that I’m writing as I do dream that I’m discovering a journal or manuscript that is already written – there is that old poet’s formulation, “I am given to write,” rather than “I write.” When I find passages, sometimes ideas for whole poems – and a poem in my case can easily take a year or two to bring to completion – in my dreams, it’s these journals & scraps of calligraphic vellum I’m bringing forward.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
One of the more curious aspects of Anne Waldman’s new In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985-2003, is the starting point for this hefty 500-page tome. By 1985, Anne Waldman had already been a major presence in American poetry, dating back to her days as a Bennington student first meeting Lewis Warsh at the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965, an event that led to the founding of Angel Hair, a primary publication for the New York School’s second generation. Indeed, by 1985, Waldman had already played a major role in shaping the Poetry Project at St. Marks, had written Fast-Speaking Woman, the Mary Sabina-inspired poem that brought her to a wide readership, and had co-founded with Allen Ginsberg the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, one of the first writing programs in the world not embalmed in the aesthetics of the School o’ Quietude.
Anyone who has ever worked as a college administrator knows just how daunting that task is, in & of itself, but to create a program like the one at Naropa out of whole cloth & good will is an act of going against the forces of capital & institutional inertia in this society of almost unfathomable difficulty. Nobody ever taught at Naropa to get rich or have an easy, or even secure, life. In fact, just the opposite. It’s something you do for the love of poetry, of the people there, the place & the idea that something like this can exist at all. Somehow in the midst of all this, Waldman has found the time to write enough poetry that simply a 20-year selected slice comes to 479 pages of poetry, plus indices, notes, etc. Anne Waldman makes James Brown seem slothful & Charles Bernstein positively indolent. She’s not only paid her dues, but yours, mine & that of more than a few other people as well.
So perhaps unsurprisingly – given that she’s always done the work of least three superheroes – there would seem to be at least three Anne Waldman’s as well: Anne Waldman, the NY School Poet; Anne Waldman the Beat performance artist; & Anne Waldman the legendary arts administrator. If anything, Waldman’s public persona is so powerful that it may serve to get in the way of a thoughtful reading of the texts that emanate from the still center of this human whirligig.
Reading In the Room of Never Grieve in some ways doesn’t make this project any simpler. Waldman is not only an ample & very fast writer – you can feel the speed of her thinking & doing constantly in her work – but she’s thoroughly social as well, incorporating aspects & elements of almost every writer she has ever liked into her ongoing project. There is a lot of Phil Whalen here & more Michael McClure than I would have anticipated, and of course Ginsberg, but here’s Olson & there’s Joe Brainard, even William Carlos Williams – one senses at times a style that is almost that of a Whitmanesque band leader, bringing all these tones forward with her into the future.
It might be easier to read this as the Beat queen Waldman & it’s true that the aura of St. Marks Place feels pretty distant from these texts, but Waldman was, even in the mid-1960s, the NY School poet closest to Ted Berrigan’s version of that ever ongoing textuality we associate more readily with Ginsberg or Phil Whalen. Her relation to, say, the perfect post-Ashbery lyrics of a Bill Berkson or the tightly contained wit of a Ron Padgett is not unlike that of the other poet who seems to inhabit both the NY & Beat spaces, Ed Sanders, partly an accident of proximity & partly there to remind us that all these divisions into schools is so much hoo-hah on the part of compulsive mapmakers.
But compulsion is an interesting term to raise here. It’s a dynamic that feels close to Waldman’s work to me. Thus I find it more than a little interesting that the title poem of this large book is both one of its quietest lyrics, but one also that offers a very clear-headed view of the poet:
a last judgment
cheetah under her skin
one window on the sunny side
still life with stylus
still life w/ daggers
size of a postcard
no harm will come to the dolls
of which I am queen
ghosts gather –
This is a lyric, to call it that, of pent fury, of a will to omnipotence, which is – in the same moment – generous & even optimistic (“one window on the sunny side”). But “cheetah under her skin” feels very accurate to these poems, whether focused on the most intimate of moments as her chronicles of love & marriage, or the most public, as in the poems that spell out the murderous venality of our time.* “register / & escape / the traps” might indeed be a project for this poetry as well as an instinctive guide to survival.
If I have any problem with this book – beyond the too-short snippets of Iovis it includes – it’s that the book oversells itself. It’s not truly a selected poems, so much as it is a selected poems of what is hopefully only the middle period – I keep thinking of it as her Middle Kingdom – of a great life work.
* See the long list of “-cides” on p. 287.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
It sounds like an exercise from acting class. An actor sits at a table on which the primary props are cups of coffee, an ashtray and a pack of cigarettes. A second actor is ready to join the first. They are given relatively little to work with – maybe some shreds of dialog, perhaps a bit of back story. Then they’re told to go to work and the camera starts rolling.
That, in essence, is the sum of a six-minute motion picture short that Jim Jarmusch filmed originally for Saturday Night Live & released in 1986 called Coffee and Cigarettes, featuring the then-unknown Roberto Benigni & SNL’s Steven Wright*. Jarmusch, who had had a “breakthrough” hit as a director of independent films with Stranger Than Paradise in 1983 – a film you may remember for its numerous performances of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ Put a Spell on You. Benigni was in the U.S. to portray the Italian tourist in Jarmusch’s next feature-length project, Down By Law, which also featured Paradise lead actor & saxman John Lurie (at the time a neighbor of Hannah Weiner on what was reputedly “the worst block on the Lower East Side”) & the great American songster Tom Waits.
When it was released, the six-minute film listed Jarmusch, Benigni & Wright as co-authors, meaning that it was largely improvised. And it looks it. There is virtually no action possible in this setting: Benigni and Wright trade chairs, then trade back; Benigni offers to go the dentist “for” Wright, so Wright gives him the appointment card. At one point, the camera examines the coffee table from directly above, rendering it almost a pop version of cubism.
While this may have been little more than some inspired fooling around at the edges of a larger, more comprehensive film project, Jarmusch had the idea of replicating the process, eleven versions of which were released this past year under the same title, Coffee and Cigarettes. For reasons that are completely opaque, this plotless, formalist black-and-white film was playing this past weekend at a cineplex in Edgemont, PA, which is rather like having Basquiat do a show in Nyack, or Dodie Bellamy read in Hillsborough. It’s a theater given more to Harry Potter type films & if I report that a quarter of the audience baled on the show my wife & I attended, I mean that two of the eight people in attendance took a hike.
C&C is a project not unlike watching the same short film done eleven times with different actors, in different settings & with different specifics & dialog. It is not, however, like watching eleven filmmakers realize the same project, however, given how visible Jarmusch’s trademark directorial style is in almost every one of these pieces. Jarmusch is a bricoleur of the underbelly of American culture, close kin in spirit to photographers like Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark & even, in spots, Cindy Sherman. If he were a writer, Jarmusch fall somewhere between Kathy Acker & John Rechy, tho of all the people in these little comparative lists, only Sherman really shares the sweetness of Jarmusch’s sense of humor.
Nine of the eleven versions are filmed in diners or cafes that range between low-end to off-the-charts (Bill Rice & Taylor Mead, the only characters to identify their setting, do so as “The Armory”). More than once, the cigarettes in question are roll-your-own. In every setting, at least one shot gives a top-down view of the table, its elements reduced to an abstraction almost as simple as these tales. One of the questions, inevitably, becomes how to identify a diner or café in a film. Is it the presence of a jukebox in the background, as it is for Meg & Jack White? Several of these settings may well have been simply a dusty corner in a warehouse that had been converted into a sound studio for whatever production Jarmusch was working on at the time. Only two – one involving Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, the other with Bill Murray and GZA & RZA of the Wu Tang Clan – appear architecturally to really have been shot in diners.
Jarmusch adds to the formalist quality of this remarkably anti-narrative anthology of shtick by building in elements that resonate from section to section. Tom Waits tells Iggy Pop that he’s had to perform roadside surgery after coming upon a four-car accident that has made him late to his encounter. GZA & RZA likewise combine music & medicine, dispensing some very unreliable advice to Bill Murray. Alfred Molina tells Steve Coogan that genealogical research has revealed that they’re distant cousins; Cate Blanchett plays both a prim, even prissy, version of herself as well as a resentful just-this-side-of-lumpen cousin; GZA & RZA actually are cousins, although I don’t believe they mention that detail. Coogan is totally standoffish to Molina until he thinks that the latter actor is taking a phone call from director Spike Lee. Lee’s real brother Cinqué and sister Joie play twins in other version (Joie is actually five years older) & Cinqué shows up again as kitchen help in “Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil,” in which White Stripes members Jack & Meg White initiate another thread concerning Nikola Tesla & his theory of the earth as a conductor of acoustic resonance (a precursor perhaps of string theory). The Tesla theme finds its resolution, or at least final reiteration, in the last segment, when it is recounted again by Bill Rice to poet Taylor Mead. Meg & Jack are a once-married couple who have on occasion “in real life” introduced themselves as brother & sister. It’s hard, here, to keep all these threads straight, particularly since not all are voiced explicitly & none leads, literally, anywhere. The thread is not a detail in a narrative here, but rather just what Jarmusch suggests, an acoustic resonance, to be heard & examined on its own terms. The film is immanent in the way that much of Robert Creeley’s poetry is – pay attention to what is in front of you here.
In a project of this sort, the actors & their ability to improvise and play off one another is exceptionally important. Waits & Pop do a great job bouncing off one another’s wariness, two pros who know each other more by reputation than as friends. Molina & Coogan do likewise, for similar reasons. Conversely, Reneé French’s vignette – she’s the lone person who is solo at a café, her interactions restricted to an intrusive waitperson – may be the most static performance on film since John Giorno in Andy Warhol’s Sleep. The gap between professional actors (Benigni, Molina, Coogan, Blanchett) and the non-pros – many of whom are musicians, tho none plays an instrument on camera** – is the largest & most obvious dynamic, tho the ability of RZA & GZA to hold their own against Bill Murray, who is in take-no-prisoners scene-stealing mode, produces the best single moment in the film.
Jarmusch has given us 11 ways of looking at a café table, a project that could not be further from the psychic roller-coaster rides of films like Hellboy & Spiderman. Indeed, the scenes themselves go nowhere, unless you take Benigni’s appropriated dental appointment for a major thematic resolution. But that’s in the first of the 11 bits. In the last, Bill Rice and Taylor Mead – himself a veteran of the old Warhol scene – envision themselves listening to inaudible (tho we hear it too) music, Mahler’s “I’ve Lost Track of the World.” That’s one point Jarmusch wants us to get.
* Steve Wright, for my money, will always be known as the author of the great line, “I was reading the dictionary the other day. I thought it was a poem about everything.”
** Iggy Pop’s Louie Louie, I should note, resonates from the soundtrack. It’s the song (and version) that you will waking up humming the next morning.
Monday, June 14, 2004
The other day I got an email that asked, and I quote, “I was wondering what your thoughts are on revolutionary poetry after poets like Dalton, Castillo, and Cardenal. I think Jack Hirshman and Curbstone do a superb job of brining the best "political" poetry into English.” Well, it’s Hirschman, not Hirshman, and I’ve known Jack I guess for some 30 years, a generous & troubled soul just like the rest of us. I knew Jack first as a translator from the Russian and as somebody who had been a supportive teacher to Clayton Eshleman in college. Jack the supermarxist street poet handing out retro-futurist poem-paintings at large antiwar gatherings came later, tho not that much later, any that’s the persona I suspect most readers know him as today. Of the three Latin American poets listed above, the one whose writing I can genuinely say I’ve always liked is Ernesto Cardenal, a writer sufficiently undoctrinaire as to translate Ezra Pound, that old lefty, into Spanish. In fact, if I recall right, some of the very first poetry I ever tried to make out en español were Cardenal’s renderings of The Cantos in El Corno Emplumado, circa 1967 or ’68.
But the focus of my own politics was never honed in on solidarity with third-world nationalist movements, as such. There was (still is) far too much to do at home, plus, as so many of those movements have come to demonstrate over the decades, (a) Marx was right, not Stalin, & that the idea of socialism in one country is not do-able, and (b) that if your movement is put under extraordinary & sustained external political & military pressure – the strategy of “containment” that can be traced back to Woodrow Wilson’s reaction to the overthrow of Czarist Russia – the forces in a society that necessarily come to political power will be the most military & brutal, whatever the optimism & well-meaning of the movement’s political leaders. The result – not an accident – was always that “actually existing” socialism looked a lot worse than the textbooks. That was an observation that, in the early 1970s, took me into the work of Antonio Gramsci, Walter Benjamin, the Frankfurt School & western Marxism generally. I try to imagine Adorno reading Roque Dalton. Even more, I try to remember just how Dalton died, executed as a traitor by the military arm of an organization he had helped to found, the sort of incestuous political paranoia that is a predictable consequence of the conditions of a relatively small group of people having to confront the military strength of the U.S. and its client regimes over any extended period. Not unlike Ho Chi Minh executing the Trotskyists in Vietnam.
I’ve always been amazed at a left that is not willing to be critical of movements that let themselves get backed into a corner & then behave lethally to one another. Similarly, the logic behind the anti-offshoring campaigns today strike me as the most thinly veiled xenophobia conceivable – essentially arguing that since the US absorbs a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth, it should continue to do so forever, rather than actually address what it would take to put together a genuinely global coalition of wage slaves, the only sort of labor movement that could ever avoid being sliced & diced at will by the divide-&-conquer machinations of capital. You call that The Left? It’s enough to make anyone who has ever read a history book cry.
So I turned instead to the latest volume by my favorite revolutionary poet in search of solace. This is the man who, in a review in Monthly Review decades ago, first called my attention to the swamp formalism of the late great Frank Stanford. But also a poet who, back when he was in college, was the lead singer & lyricist for a blues-rock band in Queens called The Bankers. The line “silverfish morning, bedbug night” still runs through my backbrain, tho I’ve long since given him my only copy of The Bankers one LP, a demo disc. Here is the poem “Whale Song”:
You just don’t now
How hard it is
To be uncivilized
You think that everyone you eat
Deserves to be eaten
Lunch for me
Means someone ain’t coming home
If breakfast might have been
The tuna that found a cure for cancer?
Damn sure was tasty!
Lorenzo Thomas – and you figured out this was a lead-up to me telling you how great Lorenzo Thomas is a few paragraphs ago, didn’t you? – Lorenzo Thomas is the kind of poet who writes a text just this simple that manages to borrow and allude not only from the New York School poetry of his youth, but Jack Spicer (that whole second stanza is an elegant little homage) & the projectivists (both Paul Blackburn & Robert Creeley figured in that final “So what”). Layers & layers here, and yet utterly straightforward. If this was the first poem you ever read, it would not hurt to not recognize all these other domains of richness that Thomas handles with almost preternatural ease. Note that the poem exhibits politics alright, but also the angle at which this exhibition is balanced.
Not every poem Lorenzo Thomas writes works as effortlessly or as well as this one, but virtually all of them try to do at least this much & often when I find some stanzas that strike me, say, as excessively sentimental (the final movement, for example, in “Journey of 1,000 Li”), it’s usually out of an excess of aesthetic ambition on Thomas’ part, he so wants to do it all as a writer that all the failures are themselves noble.
Dancing on Main Street from Coffee House Press is Thomas’ latest book & it’s as full of mysteries & glories as his earlier works – this is not somebody who has an impulse to let up even in the slightest. A Panamanian born poet who grew up in New York, served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, & who has lived for years in Houston, Thomas is as alive as any poet I know to not just the presence of ambiguity & irony, but to their political value as well. So the answer to the question as to my “thoughts on revolutionary poetry,” is that, when it’s well written, I like it just fine.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
It’s a two-fer. Both David Nemeth of New Castle, Delaware, and Jay Slone of Delray Beach, Florida, claim to have been the 150,000th visitor to this blog. Even more impressively, both submitted screenshots to back up their claims. Both will get signed copies of Woundwood.
Progressive Poetry Calendar
June Croon edition
13, Sunday, 2:00 PM: Tom Devaney will lead tours of the empty house of Edgar Allan Poe, coiner of the phrase “School of Quietude,” 532 N. Seventh Street, (215) 597-8780. RSVP please.
14, Monday, 6:00 PM: Linh Dinh, reading and signing from Blood and Soap, Borders, 1 S. Broad Street, 215-568-7400.
16, Wednesday, Noon-7:30 PM: Bloomsday, a reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses on the 100th anniversary of the day on which it was set, The Rosenbach Museum, 2010 DeLancey Street (which owns Joyce’s typescript & will sell you a bound reproduction for $200 & change). If you would like to read, please contact Katie Samson, Bloomsday Coordinator, at 215.732.1600 or email email@example.com
then riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, to
16, Wednesday, 7:00 PM: Concert for Kerry, emceed by XPN star & the godfather of folk Gene Shay, with special guest David Bromberg, So’s Your Mom, Psych-a-Billy, Beaucoup Blue, Mike Miller, Jazzmin, Saul Broudy & Frank Malley, Finnegans Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Streets, $12 online or $15 at the door. Take back the White House for Bloomsday!
19, Saturday, 2:00 PM: Tom Devaney will lead tours of the empty house of Edgar Allan Poe, coiner of the phrase “School of Quietude,” 532 N. Seventh Street, (215) 597-8780. RSVP please.
19, Saturday, 7:00 PM: Molly Russakoff reads from Naropaland, at Molly’s Bookstore, 1010 S. 9th Street, in the © of the Italian Market, 215-923-3357
20, Sunday, 2:00 PM: Tom Devaney will lead tours of the empty house of Edgar Allan Poe, coiner of the phrase “School of Quietude,” 532 N. Seventh Street, (215) 597-8780. RSVP please.