From January 31, 1984, a long interview with the late author Donald Barthelme, who was best known for his short stories.
Donald Barthelme on the term “experimental writing”:
“Experimental” is usually employed pejoratively. That which does not quite work is dismissed as “experimental.”
I don’t even much like the “avant-garde” business. In military terms, for example, the avant-garde’s function is the same as that of the rear guard, which is to protect the main body, and the main body translates as the status quo. A not-very-adventurous function, really.
Now a humble parking lot, the Washington Coliseum has seen a lot in its days. Malcolm X once spoke there, circus lions jumped through hoops there — and on Feb. 11 1964, The Beatles played their first-ever U.S. concert there.
In the 50 years since that day, a lot has changed. The building fell into disrepair after being sold, and for 10 years was a transfer station for Waste Management.
Still, on any given day, beautiful shafts of light can been seen spilling through the circular windows in the vaulted ceilings onto the abandoned clusters of stadium seating lurking in dark corners along the walls.