Mystery Theater Poetry Archives
Organized With Anthony McCann
Date & Time
March 3June 20
Machine Project

As part of a major 2013 architectural installation by Chris Weisbart, artist Joe Seeley and a team of hearty volunteers installed an 18­ seat victorian opera house in the basement of Machine Project.

The theater’s suitability for close listening and its aura of idiosyncratic endurance inspired this audio archive, which we began compiling this Spring. The overlapping social spaces of the theater and of the audio recordings made in the theater became emblematic for us of Machine Project’s core interest in the different ways of being together in time and space that art allows us to explore, and of the social space of poetry itself, ­­a space that Peter Gizzi, who gave a powerful reading for this project, has emphatically called “100% real and 100% imaginary.”

Each of the literally underground recordings we made was attended by a small secretly gathered audience. Each evening was casual and intimate, yet the uncanny formality of the space—and the powerfully effective if make­shift sound­proofing box that descended upon the head of each reader like a helmet (see images below)—framed this intimacy, instilling performative distance, metonymic of the eerie intimacy and necrodistance of audio recording itself. From these original basement gatherings where they were recorded, it is our hope that the poems presented here will continue to radiate outward and gather new listeners into their occult assemblies of sound, image, feeling and thought.

In fidelity to the original gatherings that each recording session was, we’ve arranged the readings here by date. In my ceremonial capacity of “Machine Poet Laureate” I curated the majority of the recordings, the exceptions being noted. Thanks to our guest curators: Joseph Mosconi, Dolores Dorantes, and Machine Project Founder and Executive Director, Mark Allen. Extra special thanks to our marvelous Sound Engineer Chris Candelaria for making these recordings sound so good, to tireless and ingenious Machine Project Operations Manager Lucas Wrench for making sure these recordings actually happened, and to the Tang Museum of Art for providing much needed support.

Anthony McCann


All readings curated by Anthony McCann, unless otherwise noted.

March 3rd, 2015

Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Rebecca Wolff

Aaron Kunin

Douglas Kearney

April 4th, 2015

Andrew Maxwell

Harmony Holiday

Corina Copp

April 17th, 2015

Peter Gizzi

April 18th, 2015

Anthony McCann

Kirsty Singer

Evan Burrows

Cedar Sigo

April 24th, 2015

Curated by Joseph Mosconi

Kristen Gallagher

Feliz Lucia Molina

Joseph Mosconi

Chris Alexander

June 20th, 2015

Curated by Dolores Dorantes

Dolores Dorantes

Juan-Manuel Portillo

Román Luján

June 27th, 2015

Diane Ward

Martha Ronk

Will Alexander

June 28th, 2015

Molly Bendall

Brian Kim-Stefans

Daniel Tiffany

July 31st, 2015

Kelli Noftle

Amy Gerstler