Memories of Cornershop
I Remember when Cornershop was just a corner storefront with no
one occupying the space. Anya drove me by the site on our way to
Friday fish fry. It was way over on Lafayette Street, and it seemed
so far from "The Elmwood Strip." I wondered about Anya's
safety but then cursed myself for being so bourgeoisie.
I Remember feeling very bad that I didn't help to paint Cornershop
or to get it ready for its first exhibit. I thought to myself, you
just missed your opportunity to be a part of history.
I Remember before Cornershop that people sat around, drinking in
bars (Guinness and whisky mostly) and talking at length about how
desperately Buffalo needed a space, and specifically, how desperately
The Poetics Program needed a space downtown. (The University of
Buffalo is located about 15 minutes by car from downtown Buffalo.
Downtown Buffalo, apart from quite a few bars and The Elmwood Strip
where there are quite a few restaurants, is basically a ghost town.
The idea was to create some kind of a context for the community
that would link the poetic activities of the university with the
artistic and poetic activities of Buffalo. We didn't want to be
poetically pontificating into the void; we wanted context, a place
where our work could be heard by others aside from ourselves.)
I remember that Anya was able to distribute her energy equally among
her video and visual art friends, and her poet friends. It was her
ability to synthesize all these interests that made Cornershop such
I remember how people marveled at the success of Cornershop, specifically,
the way that Anya could so seamlessly blend together visual art,
film, poetry, performance. The way she brought all the disparate
I remember setting up chairs at Cornershop and drinking several
glasses of wine poured from a jug-o-wine.
I remember a feeling
not unlike Astral Projection that I experienced while watching a
Peggy Awesh film at Cornershop.
I remember some rather boisterous poetry boys who wanted to take
over Cornershop and make it all poetry, all the time. Luckily this
I remember the creaky floor and how the walls were always getting
cleaned. I remember setting up chairs at Cornershop, but not really
doing much else.
I remember standing outside in the freezing freezing cold Buffalo
winter, smoking a cigarette outside of Cornershop, talking about
Karen Finlay and how the NEA was cutting funding to the arts.
I remember midnight on a beautiful summer evening, after a poetry
reading, talking about Olson.
I remember driving to Cornershop in the rain, hoping that I would
find a parking spot not too far away.
I remember walking home from Cornershop at 6am on a Sunday morning.
I remember when Vincent Gallo came to Buffalo to do auditions for
Buffalo 66. He probably stopped by Cornershop.
The cities I have lived in are now maps within my memory. I can
draw you a map of Buffalo starting from Cornershop and ending at
Niagara Falls. The still point is Cornershop and the wheel that
moves around it is Niagara Falls. This is all you need to remember
about the laws of motion.