For the seven-course meta-dinner, I put together a five hour list of mostly metamusic. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have taken a step back to examine how I use the prefix “meta-.” Is a rock ‘n roll song about rock n’ roll — for example, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” — meta? Metaclass participants agreed that it was and Ian Latta pointed out that it is much more common for music (and poetry) to contain meta elements, references to the art form, than for fiction and film, which tend toward a more naturalistic presentation, the illusion that what you are reading or seeing is “real” and what actually happened. With stories, we want to be fooled. With music and poetry, we don’t mind being reminded that we are listening to or reading an artificial creation.
In honor of Michelle Okafo (the more or less grown-up version of the wacky poem writer), who is moving to L.A., meta-class participants and I threw a seven-course meta-dinner last week. However, I wasn’t sure whether or not the dinner could honestly be called meta. Ian Latta, I think, has been more careful in the use of “meta-” than I am. I fear I have been too liberal with the term, so I was wondering whether Ian would consider food that repeats itself meta or not. Because of my doubts, I was more inclined to call the event a self-reflective dinner. So, we had silver balloons and I wore my silver shirt and I served the appetizer on a mirror. (I wanted to cover the tables in Mylar, so we could see ourselves eating, but couldn’t find any.)