October 31, 2005
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Bruce

We went to see Bruce last night. Much fun: he's a guy who likes his work. Dream Baby Dream, the last encore, was a remarkable example of pure performance energy.

In a recent New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl speculated that difficult art (he's thinking of the graphic novel) is inherently for the young:

The difficulty of graphic novels limits their potential audience, in contrast to the blissfully easeful, still all-conquering movies, but that is not a debility; rather, it gives them the opalescent sheen of avant-gardism. Avant-gardes are always cults of difficulty—Cubism, “The Waste Land”—by which a rising generation exploits its biological advantages, of animal health and superabundant brain cells, to confound the galling wisdom and demoralize the obnoxious sovereignty of age.

People used to assume that comic books were dumbed-down books with pictures to aid the marginally literate; it's refreshing to see this appreciation of the way images can make the work more ergodic.

Yes, Espen, if you're reading this, that sentence goes out especially to you. Let's face it, reader, you stumbled over ergodic, didn't you? A little? Admit it. I stumbled, too. If you're a new media expert, you know that ergodic describes art that requires work from the reader. But can work be more ergodic? You know, I've got a degree in Chemistry around here somewhere and, unlike most new media people, I spent an entire semester learning Thermodynamics (though Peter Thomspon might still have a contrary opinion on that particular subject) and while I think I understand the concept of the ergodic trajectory of a system in phase space I have absolutely no idea whether something can be more ergodic. The phrase is almost a google whack, and those who have boldly gone before include Julianne Chatelaine and Stanislaw Lem, so either way I'm in good company.

Anyway, Bruce is a fine musician and he's always been a terrific performer, and his songs are always very fine, but nothing new holds a candle to the stuff he wrote back in the day.

And Bronx's best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware:
Everything stops,
You hear five quick shots.
The cops come up for air.