Ustream: Stephen Tully Dierks and Steve Roggenbuck
Ustream is a place where you can do lifecasting, or, as Steve Roggenbuck say “Live your Life” but this time on the internet with people watching. Some political events on Ustream get a lot of attention. It is those smaller events that really change the world. Remember the first Velvet Underground concert? You probably don’t, since you’re reading my blog. But you probably are aware that in the first Velvet Underground concert only about 100 people were there, and they all either became musicians, rock critics, or some other part of the great rock n’ roll machine.
Sunday, April 17th at 8:00 CST could be easily compared to that first Velvet Underground concert. Everyone in the chat either was a poet a writer or a critic (Am I a critic? I feel I may be considered one). All of us are going onto bigger and better things, but this might be the first time we truly interacted in a meaningful, semi-anonymous way. Keep in mind the cooler things are the ones that don’t always get the most attention. Though small in number, we were strong in spirit. We are boykittens, hear us meow.
You could taste the anticipation. Part of the anticipation came from the Ustream’s various technical difficulties. It was interesting staring at Stephen and Steve’s faces showing expressions of disappointment. As Dierks went off in search of a more cooperative computer, I learned a lot about Roggenbuck’s face. Staring at it, the calm polite Midwest accurately depicted in Steve’s eyes, I felt reassured. Everything was going to be okay. This wasn’t going to be an ordinary poetry reading. When Dierks busted back into the room, I knew things were about to get real.
Things got very real. I’ve never heard Dierks voice before, but it was a powerful reading voice. A voice like that used to do the morning announcements in High School. You pay attention when that voice reads an excerpt from “Naked Lunch” even if the material strikes you as a bit unsettling. Suck it up. William S Burroughs would’ve messed you up if he had the chance and needed the money. Burroughs was addicted to heroin, so that may have been a common occurrence.
Inside their apartment felt strange. MTV, if you’re reading this, perhaps you could do a “Cribs” about the sort of bling online poets have. You can look through their fridge and freezer, gasping at the multitude of vegetarian eating options. As was their wont, they decided to list off all the food they had, as if to show off their ability to cook, a skill I lack completely (excluding microwaving).
Roggenbuck did not disappoint with his physicality. I feel Steve is an extremely active person, twisting this way and that. Whenever I see Steve perform a poem, I think of James Chance’s song “Contort Yourself”. Unlike lazy people staring blankly at their computer screens, Steve probably engages in some sort of physical activity while he’s flarfing. See his YouTube videos which teach us the importance of poetry, micro-flarf, gaining twitter followers, and so on.
Many important questions were asked but not answered in the chat. Questions about David Foster Wallace, popping popcorn (which was shown in vivid detail), Omar De Col, LetPeoplePoems (a poetry site I’m very fond of), Zen Buddhism, writing, ‘A Walk to Remember’, problems with being a teenager in love, Pauly Shore, Live Tweeting of “The Notebook” and others. They were perhaps too numerous to even mention, you had to be there. I was there.
Allegedly I was “dominating” the chat. I’m not entirely certain if this was true. The poems might have moved me, such as the visceral reading of “So Hawny” which makes you think: if given the chance, would you fuck a jar of peanut butter? Or is such an action kind of nuts? Beauty doesn’t have to be based on physical attraction, it could be textural.
Watching them, I wanted Cassandra Nguyen to join them. I thought it would be funny to urge both sides to have Cassandra join the reading, despite the fact neither party showed a remote interest in letting that happen. Thankfully they both found it a humorous, bizarre proposition. Apparently my lewd comments were considered the most successful but they were so of the moment that to republish them would lose the context. Suffice it to say someone mentioned the act of “spooning” with questions arising.
Together Stephen and Steve worked together to interact with the chat audience. Usually this is done to a large degree on Ustream. Somehow the couple managed to make it work when conventionally it shouldn’t have worked. Running in and out of the closet, removing footwear, it was a true rush to be there, if only electronically.
Pop Serial is a literary magazine run by Stephen Tully Dierks. Steve Roggenbuck is such a multi-faceted creature I’m at a loss of how to describe him, other than awesomeness personified and unleashed onto the internet, creating joyful abandon. I was there to see it all.