I ate all I said about sun and moderation. Again.
The sun ball's chucked into the sky, you're working under & beside it, ten hours, head down to the soil, lightens your hair, gives you a new coat-of-many-colors for your skin, God handing you a new outfit to break in. A new uniform for an impatient future. God gives you a gulp of air on the house. It's an earned exhaustion where every aching muscle is a thank you thank you thank you; every touch a thankful texture. Systems of movement, whole summoned atmospheres and drunknesses aside.
Can't wait to start composing, constructing. (Can't wait for ballet season to start too). Luckily I already have waited.
3: ripe abundancy /
one reluctant poverty /
tiny hero on sand path.
speedway over broad Indian swathes,
squirming & squatting on throttle;
pulling bars to hips flying 'cross ribbon red strips
Elephants toil churning leafy lilies swampside;
looking unspecific but needn't-ask-them;
needn't be presumptuous, I've my own tasks.
to me they are large hills-
peaky, killing, lively, capped;
jarring jutting points,
I'm of the lowlands, you've vantage of these.
All my dreams, flying to see,
would you ever do the same?
You are marvelous and existing.
Determining judgments and certain endearments,
you are the lawless law; the fearless exhale,
flit-from-branch ankle and carefully kissed.
Written about a month ago.
Solid greyscale haphazard and famous cowboy songs
Bleeding into eachother predictably,
O lucky number, O ink stones;
Forgetting hows, sure,
Laughably lost: my odes,
strikes and sustains,
tones or octaves and singular color,
a universe in fugue,
(a vague and careless complexity),
breadth of bolt-across-shoulder,
a glow to echo up trunks, across branches,
All brushes when dry;
I find them always.
Recalling old language, like common sense in chess;
Dashing through a swirling ravine
I have borrowed a dream and lost the medium.
Someone asked me what was keeping me up. "Whatever's supposed to," I replied.
When I lived in Galveston and still an active graff writer, I frequently explored the ruins of a former theme park called Sea-A-Rama on the seawall. I called it home.
It was an unfolded, round concrete structure two and a half stories tall, which an enormous cylindrical tank in the middle, with an semicircular auditorium out back for dolphin shows. All surfaces not striped with rust were exposed any sixteen shades of sea-milk aqua the place had been colored in the 40+ years of running, in every degree of wear; and at the most worn edges, crimson red from the opening day. It had been the refuge for any drug-addled idiot, hobo or gang member with 99c trash paint, something to say and dead family member to tribute.
And I, too, in loving the deceased Sea-A-Rama, paid tribute to it, as a family member, with some of my best work to line halls, former dining rooms, hollow gift shops, vaults, and stages. It was a vast derelict of former happiness. How many family pictures were taken there, childhoods forged, savings blown?, I wrongly wondered. That was irrelevant. Its present and future were all that concerned me. The Salvation of Sea-A-Rama under aerosol murals of Majestic12 and crew.
To my understanding, it had shut down from years of running at a loss and lawsuits by animal-rights organizations by probably justified accusations of dolphin abuse. It had been sitting for over twelve years when I found it.
In that time, it had hollowed and refilled. Facing the gulf, it smelled of black saltwater mud, overexposure, seasalt. A thousand persons inside had been replaced with one to three. It was a built environment which purpose had been restructured by its own ecosystem of kalaidoscopic interests, to become a joint art gallery and aviary, home to me, sparrows, swifts, finches, and barn owls(whose silent, enormous, unannounced presences were nigh-hallucinogenic). No one had designated what it was to do, so purpose, being hard-wired into nature, found a new home.
I was strolling the ruins of failed ideas, renewing them with my own.
The thought returned. I held a job one summer where I was to wander Houston for a day at my own expense(it was a bad job). Through it, I found a large complex of empty construction sites in the middle of the city- vast, incomplete and lifeless. I discovered it was a multibillion dollar centralized luxury living complex, with hirise lofts planned, dedicated connected shopping/restaurant hubs, the whole nine yards- all felled b the first wave of the credit crunch! Now the whole site was at a Mexican standoff! No one knew who owned it, deserved to own it, billions of dollars imagined and conjured, to literally less than nothing! I thought, how wonderful!
What better example, pre-collapse of an empire, could you find of these ruins of failed ideas? At what scale could these be imagined, then re-purposed, habitated?
What a brilliant metaphor to live if you were to find a whole borough of post-construction, abandoned? After a collapse of credit-- simply put, a bad Idea come to a head-- leaving a literal structure and skeleton, deskinned literally and figuratively from the stucco-opulence of modernity? You could arrest this artifact from the failures of your bygone culture, a sketch of what almost was, but logically could never be; correct it, renew it.
Running in a similar vein as the third world recycling the remnants of the first world- what if there were a sideways first world- just as Native Americans are to the wilderness- what if there were 'urban natives' living in the hollows of these collapsed and forgotten branches of civilization, colonizing them in micro-sovereignty?
Unite collections of individuals under like-minded moral efficiency in the neglected micro-wilderness of postmodern urban density, Kowloon founded on integrated moral principle. There could sprout micro-entrepreneurship and bountiful resourcefulness of the third world for a post-institutional neotribalism to thrive in new forms thanks to the niched infrastructure of the past, like fertile soil after a volcano. Not to revert to something simpler, but to step sideways, in lost spaces, to reconstruct framework for urban habitat; looking for all the world to be a slum. Microcivilization.
The premise is core in developing my silent movie Cull. A borough of this re-created microsovereignty: a rebelling rogue tribe: a thriving community entirely based on the premise of highest worship- moral efficiency in creation, utterly removing the ideas of classic hierarchy in all cultures before it, founding a new city (nearly anarchotype) to replace the first archetype- a new kind of Babylon.
Massive skeletal hi-rises skinned in new aluminum cantilevers, like feudal Japanese castles, exploring open-air architectural solutions- maybe with self-sufficient biomaterials- a massive network of microfactories. A hanging garden in the middle: DIY genetics having tapped acoustically responsive genes into wholly new strains bioluminescent algae, coating the vines and trunks and greens soaring up what were once dead post-construction skyscrapers(the obsolete 'grey'-technologies), music filling the core of a new civilization, compelling all life to a literally living Fantasia over a hundred feet tall, throbbing brilliant lights in as many colors as the same kaleidoscopic hue of moral imperative & creation that preceded it.
Like Gideon tearing Jericho down with trumpets, this rogue tribe of new Gideons reject failed ideas, rehabilitating the ruins of that impossibility to pioneer relentless celebration of the individual human self; thereby worship; creation-as-obedience to God.
Sea-A-Rama is gone now, but the successful ideas it spawned and spontaneous purposes realized within its halls live on, like the ocean inside a conch shell.
You've only the ears to hear.
"Imagine a child playing in a woodland stream, poking a stick into an eddy in the flowing current, thereby disrupting it. But the eddy quickly reforms. The child disperses it again. Again it reforms, and the fascinating game goes on. There you have it! Organisms are resilient patterns in a turbulent flow—patterns in an energy flow.... It is becoming increasingly clear that to understand living systems in any deep sense, we must come to see them not materialistically, as machines, but as stable, complex, dynamic organization." -Carl Woese
“If certain words are banned, then that has to be written up on every box of crayons or paints or on every pen. There needs to be a warning on everything I use to write with that says, ‘Do not write these words, or we will put you in jail.’ ” Maya paused. “And if that’s what America is, then the American people should know that.”
Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) on art and censorship in controversial new NYT profile. And of fashion as uniform-
The girls showed Maya one of their dresses, a slinky column in shades of gray. “No dresses,” she said flatly. “I want to invent an idea for this album, and that idea is based on a uniform. A jumpsuit is like a uniform.”
Maya seemed to be going for a combination of sexy and militaristic. She showed the girls her fabric ideas on her computer, and they were amenable. “Nike is the uniform for kids all over the world,” Maya said for no apparent reason. “And African design has been killed by Nike. Africans no longer want to wear their own designs.” The designers said they thought that was terrible. “The best sportswear is on Blackwater operatives,” Maya continued, referring to the agents who were clandestine guns for hire in Iraq. The designers nodded, but they clearly had no idea what she was talking about. “I want to have a uniform like theirs.”
The oddity of using a garment linked to mercenaries to convey a very different message seemed to elude Maya. As we got ready to leave, she became surprisingly strict with the designers. You are part of my team, she seemed to be saying. And, as part of the team, you must live up to my vision. “I want everything on this album to be a collaboration,” Maya said. The women looked both proud and nervous. They were now recruited.
I like the cut of her jib.
faint under canopy glow
filled in between unfocused shade
dim green, toes reveling in floors of leaves
heels sunk, walking,
all centers of mind consulted, petitioned
from one bit lip or earlobe to another
firing away amidst underbrush, below gold cones,
scattershot ending the sprays of pine;
hung tree, ignored root and stream
a small hilly one unstretched
a meadow coated in firm hills, lifted and covered
placid dips and strains
winding shoulder in the sun,
back torqued against the ground
whole skies consumed, or left alone.
My oldest brother just bought a 1981 Honda Trail 110 for $500 at a swap meet in Dallas. a one-owner creampuff, it had 1,500 miles, the unopened engrished owner's manual, and being an old Honda, starts with half a kick. He has ten motorcycles in his garage- all dirt or dirt-biased, ranging from 50cc to 990cc, and his latest was plainly the most lustworthy, to me. I've always loved old Honda Cubs and CT110s(which is like a Cub dualsport) in the same way I admire the AK47- not the best at anything, but it will always work, it will always endear itself to you, and is the epitome of efficient, simple, enduring technology. It is the vehicle as solution, as liberator. I look at a Cub in any form and I see heroism.
Plus, there's the basic aesthetics of it. Riding one feels like riding a rifle, it has the same looseness, but direct mechanical certainty, the clicks and function. It rattles around, but within guided, measured tolerances. As such it gives it a feeling of static but breathing life.
When I got my Ruckus, I proved all my internal mullings on moral efficiency, all that 40mph in a world of interstates could offer. The most with little. There's been fewer more satisfying experiences in my life than what owning it meant(which's taken months for the weight to settle on my floors)-- it wasn't the two-wheeled-free-air thing, which is the only value the experience has socially (frequent old-guy "I remember my first motorcycle when I was single and free" bullshit). It was how much life unhindered could be lead with 49cc and a spaceframe. When I sat on it, I almost doubled the weight. It was a moral, Lotus solution. And I did it. (As anyone in the room will glibly suffix, Until It Got Stolen, fuck you 2009, et. al.)
So seeing a harem garage chocked with fast dirtbikes and lusting after the slow little red rifle slotted inbetween didn't seem abnormal. Rade's just as crazy as I am, only with the job and mechanical sense to make the craziness function, so as soon as he pulled it out of the garage as we were talking about its condition, he said some offhand "thing's a beaut, it'll head to Colorado right now." Wrong thing to say. I lit up, chalking up its fuel capacity (3, 3.2gal) approximate mileage(100+mpg), distance ("Can't be more than 1100, 1200 miles can it") fuel cost("!") top speed (55mph) total time to ride up (solid-ass two, two and a half days serious riding) how I could stay occupied (how would I charge my iPod on the road, anyway) where would I stay (tents are fun, it would be like camping only it would actually be camping) thoughts of finding country shortcuts, long-form Italian Jobbing across the landscape, would I have to get more streetable tires, guess I'd have to take a whole week off, huh, and so on.
The phrase "Young & Enough" popped in my head right before "Sideways Ambition", that terrible adversary. Rade wasn't serious. I think I was. Fuck it.
"I'm young, I'll never have enough" symmetrically opposed to "I'm young, I'll never have enough."
“It seems that one man’s destiny in this world is quite as much a mystery as it is likely to be in the next. I never thought of acquiring rank in the profession I was educated for; yet it came with two grades higher prefixed to the rank of General Officer for me. I certainly never had either ambition or taste for a political life; yet I was twice President of the United States. If anyone had suggested the idea of my becoming an author, as they frequently did, I was not sure whether they were making sport of me or not. I have now written a book which is in the hands of the manufacturers. I ask that you keep these notes very private lest I become authority with the treatment of diseases. I have already too many trades to be proficient in any. Of course I feel very much better from your application of cocaine, the first in three days, or I should never have thought of saying what I have said above.”
- Ulysses S. Grant in a letter to his doctor, dated July 8, 1885. I found this on Tumblr, sorry didn’t track where, and sent it to my high school history teacher friend Chad, explaining that I didn’t track down a source but thought it funny out of context. So he provided me context in a prompt reply:
“Very good and most probably accurate. By this time Grant was in the last two weeks of his life. The pain of the cancer he died from was likely so severe that he was incoherent from the constant hurting most of the time. He authored an autobiography because, some few years earlier, his agent had stolen all of the fortune that was awarded him after he affected the Union victory in the American Civil War. Since he was peniless, friends convinced him to write a book, which became a national bestseller, to provide for his family after his death. This it did.”
This is why we will meet for five plus hours at a time.
Fell asleep with Mono in the earbuds last night, window open by my side. Luckily it was You Are There, and not One Step More And You Die so I didn't have Beethoven dreams, but they were needless to say active. I don't have very structured dreams, integrated ones normally, but falling asleep to the music that really touches, always has results, a narrative, a
needful needed, wantful pursuit.
- Tchaikovsky dreams are sieges, swords, tai chi, brushes, lyric dances, ivory necks, leaping, secluded groves.
- Gabor Szabo is flight, tapdancing, a speeding 2CV across the desert with 'lil GP.
- Gamelan orchestras are Chinese lion dances, the old demons; unstoppable hares filled with stars shooting through the underbrush like lightning.
- Schubert is the rolling sea and roiling river.
- Riceboy Sleeps is a tea party with the menagerie at the floor of the same sea.
- Mono, however, produces whatever is in me, the strange fixations and seldom discussed elements besides. Mono seems to be the only music that brings the Stratos.
And there it was, in the middle of the night, alone and tracing continents; somehow That Damn Woman(in a rare appearance) was agreeing, hugging, laughing, stepping on the shell fragments from her birth; I profusely thanked a journalist with KPFT for a brilliant segment on seasteading, and Godzilla was there, as He is, blessedly destroying nations; fleeing on a Triumph(but drab) speeding through a tempest to the girl, that queen (who handily usurped La Impossible in a matter of moments I'll have you know) as she waited for me and the alleluias I have that she can exist(Darling Not For The Idea Of You, But You; et. al.). It was a narrative of joy around those untouchable demigods. I hesitate to call them idols. That's probably what they are.
So I might not do that again.
Until I forget to. Again. Here's to forgetting at the right time.
THE GREATNESS OF THE WORLD.
Through the world which the Spirit creative and kind
First formed out of chaos, I fly like the wind,
Until on the strand
Of its billows I land,
My anchor cast forth where the breeze blows no more,
And Creation's last boundary stands on the shore.
I saw infant stars into being arise,
For thousands of years to roll on through the skies;
I saw them in play
Seek their goal far away,—
For a moment my fugitive gaze wandered on,—
I looked round me, and lo!—all those bright stars had flown!
Madly yearning to reach the dark kingdom of night.
I boldly steer on with the speed of the light;
All misty and drear
The dim heavens appear,
While embryo systems and seas at their source
Are whirling around the sun-wanderer's course.
When sudden a pilgrim I see drawing near
Along the lone path,—"Stay! What seekest thou here?"
"My bark, tempest-tossed,
I sail toward the land where the breeze blows no more,
And Creation's last boundary stands on the shore."
"Stay, thou sailest in vain! 'Tis INFINITY yonder!"—
"'Tis INFINITY, too, where thou, pilgrim, wouldst wander!
Eagle-thoughts that aspire,
Let your proud pinions tire!
For 'tis here that sweet phantasy, bold to the last,
Her anchor in hopeless dejection must cast!"
Lil ainjil dreamed she kissed me,
lil ainjil draw your best--
pursuit of that which crosses y'most
in supine dawn manifest
Lil Ainjil I dreamed you kissed me
Lil Ainjil I ran 'em down
everything soon plain like daytime
breaks once denied get found
Lil Ainjil swathed in ermine
Lil Ainjil wrapped in mink
like Richard the lime hearted's polar fate,
crowned,but soon to abdicate.
Lil Ainjil, I dreamed you're with me
Lil Ainjil o'er the winds o'the north
bear the burden of your benevolence
on this widower by the sea;
for tonight I am a widower
in this cottage by the sea.
Heppy evva evva evva afta-wids
the sky now seems to small.
Finest horizon just can't commit
love's captive ain't we all.
sinister symbol of sin, 12-gauge over the wind
n' the moon- you know the moon! that she should lend
her aid; came then to our moon a cloud, O lord
(fox's arrows, for rabbits)
raise Elil's cry to be abhorred.
She could scarce believe her sweet brown ears
when she saw her Queen--
Mommy on a winged Brough steed
with silver threading to retrieve.
"Why's mommy up to golden heights,
rung Apollo's neck this morn?
Shooting lightning bolts from her two black Colts
Why's mommy's guidance to never fail?
is by her beauty, the sun led?
Onward to her praise I'll wail,
Her rice & ale to keep me fed!"
Some George-Herriman-fuelled poems found from late 2007- that last one I love best. Stumbled upon some old writings and things while listening to Mono's incomparable Moonlight in a thunderstorm. Recommended.
I love you all. Can't tell you how much you've all touched me.
A friend asked me to list my three favorite albums. If I had been asked my favorite, it's Coltrane's Love Supreme; if who I thought was the greatest music, Tsaichovsky; top three albums, the following.
Gabor Szabo - The Sorcerer
A Hungarian jazz guitarist's 1967 live outing is pure music, specifically and literally, as in music that is pure. The greatest music, the apogee of it, is entirely itself and comfortable in its medium. It doesn't require words or images to supplement its power or creative thoroughness, it requires no accompaniment- optimally, it demands no accompaniment other than ears and a mind between them. The Sorcerer is such an album. There are no distinct emotions in it, yet it is more richly emotional than much else I could imagine(and I mean those words). There is no track on it that could be "happy" or "sad" or "melancholic" or "reminiscent"- appropriately, VERY appropriately, because there are not any such emotions. They are vast, nebulous, certain, beautiful vibrancies in us that music is the best medium to express, and that Gabor was able to match our species is notable in a way only listening to it can explain.
I am an Extremely Visual Person, who needs to conjure some sort of Fantasia-esque dance to visualize my listening experience, to make it internally tangible; this album needs none. It allows none. It will not allow me to complete it. It is sovereign art and I love it.
Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
The Lord told us to make a joyful noise and indeed they have. The songwriting reminds me of family and my kiddo in every word, the arrangements simple and raucous, it dances. We need more dancing. Emotionalism(and Mignonette) are the old hollow oak floors of music, a great place to stand but best barefoot. It's friendly and sincere, which is necessary to be friendly. I don't think there are many other albums in the world that really want you to know all the words and sing along in the same spirit as the creators as Emotionalism. What growth, what understanding, what an insight into human volition. Emotional in a way that seems to share both the spiritual and rational. It expresses a positive sense of life that any Christian or Romantic Realist should embrace. SO LITTLE MUSIC OR ART WANTS TO BE HAPPY. Happiness is a choice and the Avetts seem to have made it.
Mono - One Step More And You Die; Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined; & You Are There
Admittedly a trilogy of albums from this Japanese postrock band, but intended in the same way Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy is three "books" in one work. Actually, they're structured the same- One Step More And You Die is like the Inferno- dark, heavy and foreboding and necessary, weighing thick with waves of rolling intensity like Beethoven.
Walking Cloud is like Purgatorio; a blanket, a pantheon, a guided tour for an ascent; meeting distant heroes and figures you've heard of and wanted to feel, or would-be loves and comrades; the closest foggy mountain Nostalgia can get to not being in Hell.
You Are There is undoubtedly that glittering multifaceted triumph of Paradiso, swirling and rising into the inevitable epoch of victorious cacophany; to the intense, luminous chorus for the incomparable Beatrice before Empyrean.
Mono produces the best raw music I've come across since Tsaichovsky or Rachmaninoff, and that is why they are my favorite band. To know them is to require silence in every way Kubrick's 2001 does, a ellicit reverence for the work so you can devote every cell in your body to absorbing a Creation, as all great art should enrich and seek to enrich; to turn your entire body into a listening organ, peering into what spiritual depth it is enabled to.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I take my art seriously and happily. WHAT ARE YOURS?
Noticed 2001 or the Stratos inevitably gets mentioned whereever I talk about my favorite things.
DISCLAIMER: These were practically done over my nonexistent lunch so I didn't adjust line weights or anything. Nor had I cleaned my tips from the night before properly so there's bleeds, smudges and so on GET ON WITH IT ALREADY fine.
Stage One: So You Got A Slump
As soon as you figure out why you can't draw, because there is something called a Slump growing inside your terrible rotten organs, you may hear the bleating of lambs and gnashing of teeth while occasionally throwing a shoe at the wall, or roommate. Creating additional Pandora stations for inspiration seems to only make it worse. Chewing on your pencils may occur after you admit there's nothing suddenly off about them.
Stage Two: Begin to Hurt Your Body With Delicious Things
At this stage you will start lighting cigarettes with matchbooks because you feel the flame represents your impotent anger against the universe you have undoubtedly wronged.
Stage Three: Overstimulation on Questionably Legal Drugs
It's a good idea about this time to run around an enclosed space drinking far too much coffee. It unsettle your nerves further and simply make you impatient towards the pretentious, overrated art film you will select for your salvation. Often this leads back to stage one. Try to reign in carefully-prepared-coffee-usage when, incited by your staggering consumption, Congress holds sessions to question its future legality.
Bonus: at this stage, enjoy your newfound penchant for Indonesian gamelan bell-orchestras. May the cacophony of dischordant sounds familiarly echo the misfiring synapses you hate so dear.
Important to note a stupid misconception: seducing the occasional girl affects not the Slump.
Stage Four: Pandering to Subdieties
It is in this valuable stage you will tie your hair up in a bun, stick it with numerous feathers, twigs and leaves of many colors, lock yourself in a room under firelight, drink almost enough tequila and paint yourself with warpaint half-naked as a plea to anonymous earth-gods of your Injun ancestors. This is the stage where you will get your best scrawling of ancient daoist talismans with paint on your walls done, to later be ashamedly obscured by donated furniture.
A big plus for this period is running through frigid woods incoherent, naked and barefoot on Halloween, welping madman Apache war-cries while easily outpacing marauding policemen behind you. After all, you know these woods better than they do, and remember: the Wasichu devils can't take your land twice.
Stage Five: Pretending to Stab Your Cursed Eyes With Cigarettes
By now you will no doubt have consigned to being digested by a malevolent universe. Bit of a misnomer for this stage, because as any artist will tell you, you will literally stab your eyes with cigarettes. Be sure to hold your hair up so as not to become soaked in the gutwrenching stench of your burning flesh: It will be difficult to explain at parties. The eyepatch will simply be a conversation starter for years to come.
Stage Six: Diligent Youthful Worship of Speed
Having put all of your self-esteem eggs in the artistic production volume basket, and tormented by ideals of a woman who assuredly can't exist, it's now time to find where-ever they have hills in east Texas, clutch drop nearby and speed off & back onto them at 100mph. Soaring through the air in a seemingly indestructible little car will give you temporary chemical relief in ways you found all of the delicious things that hurt you could not. When the police chase you again, don't fret. Stay in high-revs third gear, watch those blind corners and hope they don't identify you from Halloween. It also helps to have antilock brakes for last-minute fakeouts.
Stage Seven: Going Insane, Hiring a Mercenary Force To Stage a Coup De'tat In A Third World Country and Rebuilding It In Your Honor
In this final stage, having gone insane, you will shave your head into a mohawk, float some junk bonds to hire a crack mercenary force to stage a coup de'tat in a third world country and revamp its image in your honor.
This fulfills many longtime dreams: arming several hundred members of your cavalry with Honda Super Cubs, espresso and AK-47s, enlisting them to chisel effigies to your greatness from border to border, openly threaten the UN, tattoo yourself with Schiller's Ode to Joy, naming the Concorde the national bird, mandating each citizen consume five pounds of flan a day and making the national slogan The Tears Of The Philistines Are The Nectar Of The Gods; and so on.
Fun fact: French Romantic painter Paul Delaroche, in a slump after making his masterpiece la jeune martyre, single-handedly conquered at least five known French colonies including Algeria, which he named after his cat, which was actually a goat. This madness acutely expresses the genius he will ever be remembered for, however wikipedia has been falsely manipulated.
At this point the Slump will subside naturally, or end its arch by swing-dancing with a three-year-old, trying a new medium, reading a good book, or a chance meeting with a woman impossibly and unaccountably better than the ideals who couldn't possibly exist. In the case that it doesn't end, try to not run afoul of the foreign policy of your landlocked neighbors.
Anyway, I'm out of mine.
There's a new biopic on the humble beginnings of America's Painter of Light. If you want a really, really in-depth look at it, peer no further. Some highlights:
On The Christmas Cottage’s commentary track, the artist tells a story he’d probably rather have people recall when they look at his work. He says that as the son of a single mother who worked late, he often came home to a house that was dark and cold, especially in winter. The “Kinkade glow” represents what he wished was there instead. He tells the story more than once, which raises a question or two: Didn’t he maybe just want to burn the place down? Is his art really a form of arson?
The way Kinkade sells his paintings certainly bespeaks a desire to make people pay. At a time when massive numbers of homes are going into foreclosure all over the country, Kinkade’s sales method seems designed to drive buyers further into debt. A big sign in the Kinkade gallery in Placerville promises Wells Fargo Financing—12 months interest-free—$0 down—15-minute approval. And again.
The insights arrive, incessant.
The plate-glass display window of the Kinkade gallery on Main Street in Placerville features a big painting called “Nascar Thunder.” The painting is detailed and complicated, featuring a termite-like mound of Nascar fans filling stands that recede into the horizon as jets and a blimp fly in formation overhead and fireworks explode in the sky. This painting is in Kinkade’s lucrative-commission style, not in the gemütlich-unheimlich style of his cottage paintings. It’s a vast fictional panorama that uses items from reality to gauze up a location of idealized American spectacle that never was and won’t ever be.
A thorough search of Placerville’s walls and hoardings turns up no mural of the town like the one young Kinkade paints in The Christmas Cottage. The woman who runs the Placerville Historical Museum tells me the mural does not exist and never existed. The closest thing, she says, is the painting he gave to the town’s library. She hands me a xeroxed copy of a skeptical article about Kinkade from a 2002 issue of Newsweek she saves for tourists who inquire about the artist. “Given that art’s value is predicated on scarcity, how can anyone create an appreciating market for mass-produced ‘limited editions’?” the article asks, before letting readers know that Kinkade’s factory “churns out 10,000 pieces a month, each signed by a ‘DNA pen’ containing drops of Kinkade’s blood.”
As corrupt, rotten and incestuous as the art world of today has been satisfied with making itself, it takes a special man to draw such ire. The author then drives to Hiddenbrooke, the seemingly vacant gated community designed after Kinkade's aesthetic:
Being there is like being in a Children’s Fairyland version of Omega Man. The place is as depopulated as one of Kinkade’s cottage paintings.
He identifies himself as Mr. Jensen. He moved to the Village at Hiddenbrooke with his wife when the development opened, he says, because she’s a Kinkade fan. They have some Kinkades they’ve put on their walls. He tells me most of the people here decorate with Kinkades.
The article goes downhill from there. We form the Harley-Davidson of artists: economic-boom business centered around plastic aesthetic promoting nostalgia for an America both long gone and wholly imaginary; crippled by a simple collapse of credit, if not suburban gullibility.
Whatever his value as an artist, he has used his own experience to create a business that predicted and in some ways replicates the current mortgage crisis. His paintings of quaint houses with burning interiors substitute nostalgia for values and hope for community. The idea that these reproductions, gobbed with points of light, are a good investment isn’t any different than the idea that flipping gated, golf- coursed mansions is the way to get rich. Kincade is a living testament to how the triumph of kitsch values has repercussions in the marketplace, outside the world of taste.
Going to name a chili after my middle name, because it should suit.
Current iteration, formed by following EVERY HUNCH I HAD on previous wrecked experiment:
Put about a tablespoon of corn oil or olive oil in the bottom. Almost brown a pound of ground lean turkey breast(soo much less fat and sooo much more protein than other [ground] birds), drain, add a chopped whole yellow onion(though sweet Texas 1013 onions often work better), put on low-medmedium heat and cover. Let the onions soften and transparentize theyselves for a few minutes, then add:
1/3 cup of chicken broth
Full big can of Cento chef's cut tomatoes and little can of Cento tomato paste(Cento uses Italian tomatoes-- fruity, mindblowing, Rich) (try a lovin' spoonful GOOD LORD DON'T EAT ALL OF THEM I KNOW IT'S TEMPTING)
1 whole zucchini
1 whole yellow squash
1/2 a mango, deskinned, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp + a dash paprika
1 tbsp fresh chili powder
1 tbsp Chachere's
quick light pour of black pepper
dash of clove
dash of sriracha and/or Tabasco (depending on how spicy you like it, I have a delicate palate so I just like a nice zing, tops. I still use both)
light drizzle of honey
and whatever I'm forgetting.
Stir the hell out of it, bring to a boil, reduce heat to 2/10ths and cover simmerin' away for 45 minutes. I like my chili as chunky and "full" as possible. If I were making soup I'd make soup. Instead, I like food. I'm not recovering from something. Anyway, this reheats really well and will be my dinner for a solid 3 or 4 days. Does anyone have tips for ground turkey? I know there's a narrow knack for it I'm missing. Oh, but I don't always check my comments on here, so email me or catch me on twitter.
a conch shell unlistened
hymns bells love and solitude
I place it to my ear
If I were Don Quixote, the Dakar race and the Stratos would be every book I've ever read.
There is nothing more romantic. There is nothing to match Dakar in speed, endurance, effort, mechanical challenge, epic scale or spectacle. Four thousand visceral miles of half-charted terrain. The drivers carry sixty gallons of drinking water and a small fortune in various currencies & bartering goods in case they get stranded. Less than half of the vehicles finish. Up to ten hours a day of strafing the distant terrain- being five minutes behind the next fastest guy considered a close result. The supply trucks have their own racing class. Last year, a motorcyclist broke several vertebrae landing a jump and had to be helicoptered out, another was killed in an ambush from bandits. This year, first day, a spectator was killed. The race was only moved out of Africa when Al-Qaeda directly threatened it, now shooting point to point in Argentina and Chile. French, Spaniards and Americans actually competing on equal ground. Fall in love at 1:30.
There is no sport less tamed. Next to it, there are no sports. While the rest of the worlds' motorsports are trying to figure out how to improve passing, seeking approval of corrupt Italian bastards who order gangly young dynasty Brazilians to crash on purpose, argue about the "ethics of tobacco sponsorship", putter on glass-smooth Tilke arithmetic tracks, skeletal series that award production-line championships to great drivers with no competitors, and everything NASCAR; a Gauloises-branded KTM fires 120mph across the Sahara and buries itself in a god damn dune.
Dakar would be just as strong if one person competed with himself rather than the hundreds that enter now. This is its greatness: It renders mediocrity utterly impossible. It makes the mundane extinct.
"To find somebody who believes in something as much as I."
-VW driver Mark Miller on the greatest difficulty in sport
To the greatness in man and the blood under our skin: salute.
okay sure yes yes yes of course baja is great cool too
TO the garden the world anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious here behold my resurrection after slumber,
The revolving cycles in their wide sweep having brought me again,
Amorous, mature, all beautiful to me, all wondrous,
My limbs and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for
reasons, most wondrous,
Existing I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present, content with the past,
By my side or back of me Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.
Echoes specifically the last pages of Paradise Lost, with staggering optimism and striking joy. Who looks up and sees the joy of being exiled from paradise? Who sees an opportunity in such unimaginable and unprecendented loss? Who could be first to coordinated sin, and see a future afterward? Who could be the first orphan and fall in love with the world- the promise of the world? Who could imagine a promise? The promise is the word. What else is the Word? Who could love such an Idea as the word?
No less astonishing. What greater lesson?
My sister has noticed my ambivalence to the now and future holiday season(for all of the reasons), and the morning after the realization, asked me what I really wanted for Christmas.
I've extolled the virtues of want for a few years now, how specifically wanting is better than need, want achieves while need sits, but was myself surprised when she asked me this. All I could conjure from whatever Want cogs that hadn't churned in a coon's age was the essential, core, age-old Wants: the Canon XL2S and the Macbook. Not with the weather and lense packages, and not even the Pro. The Ural didn't even pop up. Of course, in my classic sideways ambition, have consigned these coupled yearslong lusts(even these!) to "multi-thousand-dollar purchases", therefore their own particular brand of assumed impossibility; my life has been so focused on closing the Needs, this neverending manifold samsara of Needs and expenses the latter half of the year, it has worn on my youth, I guess. Not to say I don't want anything for Christmas. Just everything I want without wheels and legal boundaries is fifty cents, fourteen dollars, or one to two and a half grand.
2009 has weathered me such that I've crumpled into crucial grownupisms. The grownups have, for the moment(any moment!), claimed a part of me. It is the classicist, existentialist, surrendering core of spiritual grownupism in society that will tell you it cannot be done. You can only need base need, for want and profit are immoral or untouchable. Grownupism is something that is very healthy to hate, but still I have bought into it and have uttered to myself its tenets. This is beyond the typical cyclical fits of despair: this is a sense, a whole different kind of bullshit, a reigning idea. An idea.
I can't quite tell where this terrible conditioning came from. Naturalistic fiction I might read and watch maybe. Circumstances. The mind is very dependent on circumstances. Though it's counter-mind. Fuck. This is pessimism. I'm not used to it and I don't want to be. It isn't who I am.
My sideways ambition is something been discussed before and it's still a problem to be dealt with. These new irrational impulses are another ballgame entirely and I badly want to burn the stadium down. Anyone tells me to assume more debt to go to college, at this point, will be guaran-damn-teed set on fire.
I just want Juliette for Christmas. I want to wake her up in the morning and lead her downstairs to a warm living room and lights and a rug to sit on and a great big fir with books and wooden things and paper under it. It's all I've ever believed.
Big world. Jesus Christ.
On the plus side, my name is still an assertive predicate. No bones about it: that is bad ass.
From the east she comes, her love and the rising sun, and I pray each time it comes it's not the last
Some sort of frontiersmen, semiurban, men of reason, efficiency, self-sacrificing to no sacrifice of self, heroes, carbureted, clean, stripped but never built, accurate, revolutionary, peaceful, solitary, riflemen, (happy,) silent, content with Gods, men who lead with no followers, untrumpeted, epic, private, sparse, trusting only of God & themselves, patient, timely, natural, solemn, Rebellious, unscheduled, wise, uncontent, complete save for their damnable youth.
Uncentralized, in their center. At home in themselves.
Bandits in the hills of us.
Tribes of sparks.
They, scattered in the branches,
We are briars on the ankles of their chi.
"If the only peace humanity has ever enjoyed depends on unconscious victimization, the consciousness that the Gospels bring into the world can only destroy it.
The image of Satan-“a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44)—also expresses this opposition between the mythical obscuring and the evangelical revealing of victimization. The Crucifixion as a defeat for Satan, Jesus' prediction that Satan “is coming to an end” (Mark 3:26), implies less an orderly world than one in which Satan is on the loose. Instead of concluding with the reassuring harmony of myths, the New Testament opens up apocalyptic perspectives, in the synoptic Gospels equally with the Book of Revelation.
To reach “the peace that surpasseth all understanding,” humanity must give up its old, partial peace founded on victimization—and a great deal of turmoil can be expected. The apocalyptic dimension is not an alien element that should be purged from the New Testament in order to “improve” Christianity, it is an integral part of revelation."
Rene Girard asks Are The Gospels Mythical? and finds an answer in "disruptive consequences" of ideas. Emphasis mine.
"And he dies, paradoxically, because of this perfect innocence. He becomes a victim of the process from which he will liberate mankind. When one man alone follows the prescriptions of the kingdom of God it seems an intolerable provocation to all those who do not, and this man automatically designates himself as the victim of all men. This paradox fully reveals “the sin of the world,” the inability of man to free himself from his violent ways."
Startling implications on original sin. At least, for me, because of my hardcore stance against it.
Elsewhere: revelation, human nature & Clausewitz' On War(!); hope created by the apocalypse; and "The paradox can be put in a different way: Christianity is the only religion that has foreseen its own failure."
Error running style:
The pure contralto sings in the organ loft;
The carpenter dresses his plank—the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp;
The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanksgiving dinner;
Four years ago this morning I was camping in Fredericksburg there in Texas hill country, picking pecans under the trees with my pregnant wife, walking our dog Holly, and about to eat with my mom.
The marriage has long since dissolved, Holly's gone to chase varmints on some New Hampshire farm, I don't really laugh like I used to and Mom's passed away- but I saved the pecans. I spent the morning with those pecans, which have floated with me from home to erstwhile home three or four pounds in a ziploc bag. It was a meditation. A good one. God is that God that put poison in the blacksnakes, teeth in the wolves and shakes honey from the leaves: the year's been a bad season of life, a country song, the one that lands home a little too hard, singin all that misfortune fate & mistakes. A kind year of damn it. The pecans were a tiny trumpet of warm hiding all this time and I was thankful for them. They have that love in them that was so easy to do. It wasn't nostalgia- listen to me, nostalgia is tantamount to the gaping maw of Hell- it was a bell that called me home. Life is all about renewal. Christ was about renewal. The earth is renewal. The kid is renewal. An injun cigarette for incense, black Houston-roasted coffee to warm my hands and sweet four-year-old Texas pecans are renewal.
And now I have a daughter. Last night, I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox with her for Thanksgiving, bringing a lifelong love of cinema, Roald Dahl and foxes to roost on a heart's banquet. Today is just a meal with family, which I appreciate, I Love; but last night was my feast, communing over art with my life's work, my masterpiece and love, Juliette. The rest is just great food and familiar faces. There is nothing other than sharing and loving Creation with her, my creation, my tiny creator. That there is a holiday made specifically for necessary recognition of blessing is essential absolutely goddamned complete and delightful. Do you understand this?
The Good Lord has not generally been willing and the creeks have risen. But I'm still there knockin' at your door.
Our minds ever look at something so utterly immovable and immutable as time as something that can be changed. Quarter-century reflections are only part of it. Gratitude is all of it. Happiness. Thankfulness. Thanksgiving. You: Individual, I call to you: there is so much of you, and there takes so much to fill you. Reflect, fill, bless, seek, turn, revel in Creation.
Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain'd by the
Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,
Torches shine in the dark that hands on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,
Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grandsons around them,
In walls of adobe, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day's sport,
The city sleeps and the country sleeps,
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.
Praying for Wes.
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