Sunday, September 8, 2013

Here's one of my "lost" works that was never discovered in the first place. And some praise:

I really can't remember the last time I read an extended work in one sitting. Vernon Frazer's Commercial Fiction is a great book, a book I've always felt someone should write, thinking maybe I would do it at some point--and now I don't have to. Vernon Frazer taken the shallow, mind-numbing world of mass communication and used it against itself, appropriating its techniques and making them work as fiction, as a text that can inspire intelligent reflection rather than consumer idiocy. At the same time, he's taken the possibility of media critique through fiction and shown that it's already trapped in precisely what it intends to subvert. Yet he makes this work as an aspect of the critique, since his position as meta-author is ultimately outside the pseudo-maelstrom of commodity capitalism and its image system. Or is it? By spilling past the putative closure implied by his meta-authorial perspective, Frazer forces us to confront the possibility that any "victory" over mass imagery is dubious. And Vernon Frazer makes it all so much fun. I blew snot repeatedly. I loved the monster movie references at the end. And the transformations, juxtapositions, the shifts in levels of "reality" that occurred throughout.

---Stephen-Paul Martin
Author,Changing the Subject

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vernon Frazer and Thomas Chapin Live at the Middle East 1992

Over the past week or so, I've posted segments of a 1992 performance Thomas Chapin and I gave at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA early in 1992. I've tried to keep the flow of the performance going from segment to segment to show the kind of interaction Thomas and I shared

Thomas and I enjoyed a seventeen-year friendship, during which I wrote about his music and attended his performances not only to listen to his music, but, eventually, to hang out with him during intermisson, as well. In 1986, he became my first collaborator in a nine-year project of fusing poetry with music, primarily from the jazz spectrum. His work helped shape the sound of my 1988 LP recording, Sex Queen of the Berlin Turnpike. He also played on occasion with the poetry band I ran from 1988-93. In 1991, Thomas and I performed our first duet at the Knot Room in the orignal Knitting Factory. We enjoyed playing together so much that we played the Knot Room several times more, then added the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Downtown Music Gallery to our roster of performing venues and tried to find performing opportunities wherever we could. 

This performance shows the kind of rapport that made performing with Thomas such a joy. It's the only video I know of that documents the period when fusing poetry with music was my primary focus. Over the past twenty years, my poetic style has changed considerably. I hope you enjoy this event from two decades ago. The links are below:

Part One --
Part Two --
Part Five --
Part Nine --

At this time, the Chapin family has begun fundraising efforts for a film on Thomas Chapin's life and career. He died at age 40 from leukemia, before he had truly peaked, and just as he was about to headline events that would have brought him the acclaim and attenton he deserved. His legacy includes music that no saxophonist has surpassed since Thomas has been gone. I enourage you to support the project:
Tax-deductible donations for the film are being received by Akasha Inc., a nonprofit organization furthering music education and the musical legacy of Thomas Chapin. Go to to donate with a credit card.

Checks or U.S. money orders should be made out to "Akasha Inc."

Send to: Akasha Inc. P. O. Box 721032 Jackson Heights, NY 11372 USA