Sunday, October 31, 2010


also posted at:

  As I am gradually pulling up me stakes in this often dank city - either Michoacan and the hummingbird and Monarch butterfly worshipers it is, or another tramp steamer, this time to the South Seas and then the Trans-Siberian milktrain - i wanted to assess the disappointments Seattle has presented in the field of the arts, the pros and cons, the disappointments, mostly, and a few other matters, enumerated, with a particularly Jolley one Jacking the philistine cakes of cakes, but also the few that are not, especially my feathered friends who have a long poem devoted to their feathered being on the poetry page my home page:

My first 4th of July in the city of Chief Sealth I had too much of a cold to join the toughest of hippies, Jerry Belt, on his trip to Ken Kesey's farm in Oregon, for a true hippie conclave. I tried to rid myself of the cold by walking from his huge big-beamed loft opposite the P.I. Building near Myrtle Evans Park all the way to West Seattle.  About midway, near Pioneer Square, I talked back to some crows squawking at me, and I either said the wrong thing or was misunderstood, for they decided to pursue me, and did so for many blocks. i didn't shake them until i took a route through a shed by the waterside... Since then I have acquire hordes of crow as friends, I feed them, they have never fed me, even when I  imitate one of their obnoxious babies that make demands of their parents even as yearlings - ultimately the parents always succumb to these imprecations - however, they look seriously puzzled at me at when I do my imitation of crying starving baby crow! As I would if one of them suddenly became a Mina bird and started cussing me in human language. Geese, too, have neither disappointed nor bitten, the two great horned owls on a midnight moon are beloved, ducks are amazingly trusting... how come what with all other feathered friends so skittish? My sparrow hordes are fed in the morning. Robins and I wake at the same time come Spring. Grackles swarm. Swifts above meadows and ponds are invariably swift.

Jerry became a bit of a disappointment because he never managed to drive his "Elephant" - a Bundeswehr 911 telecommunications 5 ton truck with aluminum shoulders [to fierce the jungle] all the way to Patagonia. We met during his trial run, in a date palm forest in Mulege, B.C.S. He had the Benz Barn on Queen Anne a dog's life ago - now he is repairing Benzes for the well-heeled of Santa Fe, N.M. His lowdown on some aspects of Seattle was heads-up. A minor disappointment only.

The thief Roger Downey... of translations... of Alfred Kerr reviews...who would catch him at off at this in this northwestern far-off nook [?],  one of the first persons I called to check on his wherewithals became a major disappointment, but not as a theater reviewer where he had national possibilities had he not been a gourmet, the big gay butch picker of precious morsels, who had a diabetes attack at the prospect of encountering Carl Weber at the Heiner Mueller memorial, initiated by me and seconded by him.
There are no reviewers of note now, although I thought Annie at the Stranger had possibilities if she left Seattle for a while, ditto for Brendan there. I have done my rant about Seattle theater including suggestions at
in the event of interest in an elaboration. 

Kurt Beattie looked as though he might be a live one... Seattle's own KASPAR!  No doubt he will die longing to have done Brecht's MOTHER COURAGE. I took him up on that - but it was just another bluff. And not as a cabaret piece as which both Pearson and Tony Kutcher then did it... The US of A will turn the largest tragedy into cabaret. If it says "directed by Kurt Beattie" avoid its square rigging like the plague, "false promises", forever provincial or he would no longer be here.

Arne Zaslove, too, is a disappointment, it turned out that Arne does not read. Around the turn of the past century, that is ten years ago, I gave him a copy of Handke's WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES - there existed the possibility of doing at reading at his Bathhouse Theater. Meanwhile the Bathhouse took its final bath, in large part because of Arne's foolishness in thinking he could make a killing by the Bathhouse hosting that idiot dinner theater Zan Zinni. Not that Arne had read Villages in these mounting years, although he mentioned Handke in connection with  The Empty Space in writing about why medium sized theaters had gone done in Seattle, he really hasn't read Handke in the forty years that that has been possible in English. Arne's excuse for not reading is his kid! Or he doesn't read on a computer screen, so we made a deal: I would do a read-out of my BALZAC'S GODOT and would come over and Arne would feed me. Eventually I did another read-through of this now 15 year old text and notified him that I was ready for a good Winter Borscht. First this was ignored, on inquiry I got a response that he must have missed the message, on resending no response. Either Arney doesnt want to see me who had to pick up our last lunch tab with Jack Jolley when Arne had forgotten his wallet... or doesn't want to be forced to read. At which point my appreciation of Arne's sense of humor does not suffice. 

One of the grimmest and most heinous and the one truly unforgivable act was Sarah Nash Gates' ruining the Handke Festival project, cutting the group that was organizing it from behind. Typical Seattle behavior it turns out to be.

Burke Walker as a director was anything but a disappointment!A shame his being let go by the School of Drama and their giving nitwit Sarah Bataille tenure!

Scratch any scab and the provincialism will pop out... every small group, the geese are more far ranging than, say, the Wild Goose Players. Seattlelites have gained at least a pound a year since I arrived the fine summer of 1994... some by two pounds per year, and a lot even three... Imagine all that fat accumulating also in brains... Many are so fat they cannot walk any more. Even Asian-Americans now feed their mouths all day long. The civility is entirely superficial and cannot cover the falseness...I could go on with personal disappointments... the personal fortunate encounters are so few, but then so rare and special, that they shall remain nameless. You know who you are, you suffer me and see what's good in me, or bring it out.

The papers proved their usual disappointment, the Stranger
as the best of the weeklies proved the exception in matters local politics. Udderwise... I tire of its fuck this and fuck that rather quickly. Brewster/ Mossback's Crosscut is a  sorry piece of work, it neither cuts nor is it the cross section of anything but of a certain dangerously innocuous local conservatism. And they are individually just as disappointing. At Downey's suggestion I send Mossback my rather new journalism WRITE SOME NUMB'S BITCH which derives from an experience that gave this skeleton finder  the lowdown on Seattle early on  - he lacks the courtesy to say it is not for him. At least friend Jim Krusoe understands what I am doing. At Crosscut's start-up I send Brewster some prose poems about the weather and my feathered friends from STEEPED IN SEATTLE - betters such a John Felstiner, Charlotte Chalker, and Heather McHugh are complimentary - Brewster lacks the manners to say no. They lack manners. But they keep channeling miseries such as that utter bore Joel Connelly, and basically hard-core Neo-Con David Brooks.

And the people, the demos, is generally all rights as everywhere, just don't probe too deeply to access their psychotic cores, the bus drivers, even the cops, especially by compare to the LAPD, NYPD, Chicago, Philadelphia, lots of other places, there is some soul here.

  And Seattle remains a good place to hole up and do long-term work, and but for a lot of cleaning up I just completed the 25 year long Handke project, your marathoner did.

However, I wrote this not for the above iteration, not all that unexceptional disappointments, during the wear and tear of life, but for a truly exceptional event, even now it takes me breath.

I met Jack Jolley in the course of being one of Dan Becraft's seconds during his campaign for Port Commissioner in 2004. With CitiCorp prohibiting its employees from holding public office - isn't that illegal? - and Dan dropping out instead of dropping his well-heeled job that had made him a millionaire at about age 30, I was in the sauna with him that day, I transferred to Jack, a strapping athletic multi-millionaire courtesy initially of bond trading in
New York and London. Jack was in the run-off with that smart corrupt lady Pat Davis, commissioner for life... As Jack acknowledged at our post mortem lunch at Rice and Spice, putting 50 k into radio and t.v. advertising the last week pointing out the lady's vulnerabilities might easily have erased the one point with which she squeaked.

During the campaign there was a joint candidates presentation at the civic club downtown, that was the first moment it occurred to me that maybe Jack was a bit daft. Dan Becraft kept mentioning it. I had alerted Jack I would toss him a softball during the question part of the presentation, it was: "What would you, as commissioner, do to increase Port Traffic?" Jack said, "ship loads of wine..." Maybe one ship load can be exported, wine in south-east Washington State is not like wheat or apples. I had apprised Jack to bone up on railway traffic and how it meshed with traffic at ports along the West Coast. That answer may have cost him that extra point.

Jack and I, however,  then became friends and had lunch once a month at fine very cheap Thai, Vietnamese or Latino eateries; we must have explored four score over the course of the years, and when my laptop broke and I didn't have the thousand bucks to replace it, Jack lent me the money. And we attended the few good shows, Bart Sher disappointed only once,with the soft-headed NEMESI. Stephen Wadsworth is first rate, no in New York. Although Jack had crunched numb's
all his life, he was good company at the plays, he was responding, he was touched. I've had lots worse company for lunch and play going, say that  case of cases Sam McClean. Jack belongs to a reading club. If only all other self-made millionaires who have a condo in the Cabos, but never even go to La Paz, were that venturesome!

What in a few month will be three winters ago I nearly killed myself doing an honest job of turning what had been the outline for a documentary, based on my book WRITE SOME NUMB'S, BITCH!, aborted around 2000 when its protagonist had to split town after being indicted... into an imagined screenplay, it would have been so easy to just do a pseudo documentary. Learned a lot doing so, George Malko was a patient responder although he did not understand what I was after, Once done I started sending it around, that was about the time my ancient agent for these things Robert Lantz died of pneumonia at the age of 90. Among other inquiries, I also made one of Jack whether he happened to know any local film makers, and lo and behold he did, a Chris, or Kris. So I sent both of them the screenplay. After a week or so Kris got back to us
not with a positive or negative take on the screenplay, but with the question, to Jack, about his interest in the project.

Here it comes, the flabbergaster, the Fibbermaggie and Molly McGuire, Jack Jolley's response: "I own it."...

I thought, "am I reading this right?" - I had been looking for a film maker and seemed to be owned by a producer, or a bond trader, was I a bond, whereas the only producer I had sent the screenplay to was the estimable Chris Sievernich [the early Wim Wender films, KINO USA, Armada Pictures], who actually became really interested when he heard of Jack's interest, his ownership, producers are always seeking to lay off some of the risk.

What if I already had a producer? Jack didn't even bother to ask. Wasn't it criminal to make such a claim? What was Jack doing - well, he sure must like the screenplay, but I wished that he'd have let me know in advance. As it turns out, Jack Jolley never read the screenplay, even after we had lunch and he proposed buying an option for $ 6 K and I was in the process of drawing it up Jack asked for the screenplay which by then he had had for several months. He had evidently pressed delete when I sent it to him and Kris. Now he wanted to read what he had bought. Nor did I ever hear from Kris who was only looking for someone to possibly back another film. So what was this? Jack as  bond trader investor had made a peremptory take-out bid,  he had sold me short, now he needed to cover himself. Perhaps he thought Kris wanted it and he wanted to get in on the action. I never heard from Kris whether he had even read it - Jack had put a little money into Kris's one film - and had never looked at it! Philistinism to the nth power. I send Jack our option agreement, and then make one codicil about my ability to buy it back if within five
years he had not done anything about the project. And thereupon Jack, who had not responded to my draft agreement... Jack pulled out, actually doing real damage to the project! Which finally seems to have found the right producer - I had a great British, the perfect director liking it nearly right away, but he was tied up with his own project for five years. So much for Uncle Sam owning the world! I decide never to have anything to do with Jack again, but we encountered each other at Zokas, and I am always willing to make up, even with the daft, because that is probably all it was. The world of bond and stock trading encountering another world. But it certainly is a memorable event, a one of a kind.

Some friends at Tully's introduce me to a film maker, Psychoceramic Bob, whose first words are that he is a speed reader, just what I need in my life who has spent a year reading Handke's CROSSING THE DEL GREDOS, a 350 K book, slowly, at the pace its magicking demands, three times,
and who doesn't even respond to the precis of the treatment, but tells me his tales of woe... I see him writing dialogue for screenplays on large scale pads at coffee houses.

A small time film director who conducted the first reading of my translation of Dorst's FERNANDO KRAPP WROTE ME THIS LETTER, also lacks the courtesy to respond. KRAPP becomes the last play the AHA theater puts on - due to entirely moronic reviews, of a simple enough parable, that is a staple of continental theater.

My local chapter of the Freudians, SPSI,
 is solid, the Kleinians here look to me like a cult. Not a one I would recommend there except Shierry Weber Nicholson for artists. 

Meanwhile I am at Starbuck's it is nearing midnight,the obese have left and those who only stare at their IPhones, the newest hoola-hoop, the jazz has come on, the students are at work, a certain magic sets in. But I have read this over once more the following morning.



> Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
> This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS
>  The Hubs, the Navel to Todos Handke!

[and subb-logs, handke-scholar, handke-yugo, handke-discussion; handke-watch; handke-reviews]
> "Degustibus disputandum est." Theodor Wiesenthal Adorno

> "May the foggy dew bediamondize your hoosprings + the fireplug of filiality
> reinsure your bunghole! {James  Joyce}
> "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde." [von Alvensleben]
> "Siena me fe, disfescimi Maremma." [Dante]
> "Ennui [Lange Weile] is the dreambird that hatches the egg of experience."
> Walter Benjamin, the essay on Leskov.




Posted By SUMMA POLITICO to ART CRITIC at 10/31/2010 07:11:00 AM

 "Chicquita abracas a todos"


Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society

This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS

 The Hubs, the Navel to Todos Handke!

"Degustibus disputandum est." Theodor Wiesenthal Adorno

"May the foggy dew bediamondize your hoosprings + the fireplug of filiality reinsure your bunghole! {James  Joyce}

"Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde." [von Alvensleben]

"Siena me fe, disfescimi Maremma." [Dante]

"Ennui [Lange Weile] is the dreambird that hatches the egg of experience." Walter Benjamin, the essay on Leskov. [has links to the blogs etc.
that I follow and visit regularly, weather etc.]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Da ich

1967-1970 auf der Buchmesse war, bei Unseld wohnte,
die Streitereien wegen Kommune 2 Bildern im Kursbuch
zwischen Unseld und dem von mir dann übersetzten Hans Magnus
Enzensberger beiwohnte [Bekanntschaft schon seit 1961 in New York]
und einige dieser Lektoren - Klaus Reichert, Karl Heinz Braun -
 ganz gut kannte, und dann nachdem ich und die Agentur Robert Lantz-Candida Donadio Siegfried Unseld und seinen Verlag für unvertretbar hielten weil er sich als willkürlich agierender Ober-Gauner entpuppte
der den Verlag Farrar, Straus, dem ich die Hesse Titel gebracht hatte, erpresste
die Tantiemen für die Hesse Mass Paperback Ausgaben zu ändern,
1975 Urizen Books [profit sharing with its authors, owned by its employees] gründete,
der dann 1981 hauptsächlich wegen des Nichtmiteinanderauskommen der
Partner zugrunde ging, vermisse ich in diesem ansonsten ziemlich objektiven
Artikel die Erwähnung von Verlag der Autoren, der sich als ein soziales
Unternehmen doch gehalten hat. Ich erinnere auch an H.M. Enzensberger's
Bemerkung dass Unseld jemand war der alles an sich reißen wollte, und
sein erscheinen als Monopolist in Handkes DIE UNVERNÜNFTIGEN STERBEN
AUS. Trotz dieser Kritik an Siegfried Unseld, sympathisieren ich mit ihm
wenn man daran denkt wie Thomas Bernhard ihn gegängelt hat.
Ich bin viel mit ihm schwimmen während
der Buchmesse.  Ledig-Rowohlt war
aber leichter zu ertragen als der Stalingrad Kultur Fanatiker Sieger Siegfried.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Dear PEN, and PEN translation committee,as a former member of the executive committee and of the translation committee these many years ago, I wanted to call your attention to what appears to be a theft of my work by the Canadian Stage and their new director Matthew Joycelin.
My below letter to the Canadian reviewer Robert Cushman explains the situation in sufficient detail.

This especially egregious instance of theft, however, reminded me of a situation that prevails in the field translation and adaptations of foreign dramatic works and where I am by no means the exclusive victim. For example Anne Cattaneo of Lincoln Center, is bereft of German, which however, does not keep her from appropriating Carl Weber’s translation of Botho Straus’ BIG AND LITTLE at Lincoln Center, and even having the gall of having it published under her name in
Margaret Herzfeld-Sander’s German Drama Contemporary II, Continuum Books.

That is of the work of someone who was the head both of the NYU and then the Stanford Directing Program, and who himself turns out to have an extremely weak ego when it comes to the matter of attribution. In other words: how en flagranti can you be!

Let me briefly recount other instances where the like has happened to me, and where vanity played a greater role than did financial gain. Back on the West Coast in 1986 there is a performance of my translation of Peter Handke’s THEY ARE DYING OUT [the final stage version of which I developed together with Carl Weber in 1979 for its Yale Drama School premiere, but which the German director
of this production is unaware of.] I actually have received my royalties, from Verlag der Autoren, and so am utterly surprised to see the name of the German director, who barely has English, as the translator. He tell me “that [i.e. translating] is something different.” I do not ask him why I then received my royalties. The fellow who says he derives form the group in Frankfurt around the Theater am Turm group which did the premiere of Handke’s PUBLIC INSULT in the late 60, then proceeds to do a production of a Heiner Mueller play, one of the ones whose translation I looked over for Carl Weber – and lo and behold, at the last moment, under my very eyes, affixes his own name to it as the translator. At which point, I make it a point to publicize what is transpiring.

Also while in L.A. what if there is not a performance of Franz Xaver Kroet’s MICHI’S BLOOD… in a translation by one Denise Gordon. I know Denise, while working with Jack Gelber on a producton of my translation of Kroetz’s FARMYARD at Yale in the early 70s, I gave copy of my translation of MICHI’S BLOOD to her, a graduate directing student, to work with actors, and she suggested a few line changes, and being who I was then gave her credit as co-translator when I published FARMYARD AND OTHER PLAYS as publisher of Urizen Book. Denise is bereft of German. I contact the director of the play in Los Angeles, and matters are straightened out. I could go at great length on the matter of a Mr. Roger Downey here in Seattle who once claimed to Verlag der Autoren that he had gotten exlusive rights to translate Heiner Mueller’s  QUARTET, an outright lie that is but the tip of this iceberg.

So it is my guess there is a lot more of this going on, all around the English language theater.
Michael Roloff


Dear Mr. Cushmann,
I have read with interest your and the other reviews that the Toronto Performance of Dorst/ Unamuno's FERNANDO KRAPP
has elicited among Canadian reviewers. If Mr. Joycelin think the play has anything even remotely to do with theater of the
absurd he appears to have misread as well as misrepresented it. The story dates to 1920, at which point super successful
capitalists such as Fernando could exercise the "droit de seigneur" of the now exhausted aristocracy. It is a society in a
stage of transition, also sexually. Julia would like to be her master's whore, who however puts her on a pedestal
while he slakes those desires with the servants. Power! Sex! Property! their inter-play are the matters that the play present to be
entertained by the audience. The psychiatrists come in where a vibrator would be more useful, Freud was still news
in 1920. Thus the play is a kind of tragedy, Fernando's.

However, I have a question for you. As the play's first translator the Canadian Stage asked me for it in December
of last year, but then found a copy of the book [German Drama Contemporary, Carl Weber, editor.
Johns Hopkins University Press ] in Toronto. Mr. Joycelin does not know German,
however in three months - between December and March of this year he appear to have learned German well
enough to translate the play, present it to the agent for the rights, Suhrkamp Verlag, for approval.  I heard
from someone at Canadian Stage that my translation was merely made adaptable for British/ Canadian usage.
Canadian Stage have refused to send me a copy of "their" version, which, surprisingly, uses my own
actually incorrect title.  A few of the reviews find the translation hiccuppy, your take on it makes it
seem much more the sort of thing I arrived it. Anyhow, compare what you can read in the book
with what you saw. The play premiered here in Seattle at the AHA theater in 1996, it had its first reading
at Arne Zaslove's BATHHOUSE theater, the translation was vetted by my then old time collaborator
Carl Weber, we made a single change for the performance here; and approved by Suhrkamp who'
alerted Canadian Stage not to use my translation. After my signature I append your fine review
for those who have not seen it.
Very truly yours,

 "Chicquita abracas a todos"


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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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