WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Explosions in the Sky


I really like this band. They remind me a little of another favorite, Sigur Ros (less the tympanis, glockenspiels and made up vocabulary) an incredible band from Iceland. I think these guys are from Austin. Lately I've been attracted to instrumental music. My head has been a jumble of words and thoughts, sometimes it's nice just to ride the tone...plus I'm always a sucker for a good guitar lick or two.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bread

Man does not live by bread alone, but hey it's a start. One of our young neighbors is training to be a bread maker, I mean, he is a bread maker, he's planning on going to France to train with the best. In the meantime, he bakes at home, and well, he's been cooking up loaves of bread for the Lovely Carla and I, as well as his own family. I mean, this is an amazing development. Victor Hugo wrote about a man who was hounded for stealing a loaf of bread, and well, we have a Bread Angel who brings us fresh baked loaves of bread once a week. Our bread-maker has also made some incredibly good pastries and croissants. We have been honored and grateful, and well, of course I dumped the raw food diet (freshly baked organic bread - it can't be beat!), in honor of this delightful development. Today, our Bread Angel (Daniel) delivered a fresh Kalamatia Olive Loaf. It's big, beautiful (you almost hate to cut into it), warm, just out of the oven. I thanked him and in return I gave him a CD of instrumental music tracks I composed and recorded - I figured he would not appreciate the product of my meager cooking skills (tofu dogs?!), so I thought I'd give him a little taste of my music. We made the exchange, he smiled, I smiled, and together we said, "A GIFT!"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Magic


The Lovely Carla is on a business trip to Michigan. I'm here alone with the birds. I've kind of entered a void, and as Woody Allen says, it's an empty void. I'm looking for ways to fill the void. I have a lot to say, or to blog, but it's almost like I have so much to say, I just can't get it out.

I'm waiting for an answer on a business proposal, and well, yes, the waiting is the hardest part. I'm in that drifting mode, not sure where I'm going, or what I'm doing. My band is kind of on hiatus, my theater project is still evolving, I'm working on some music, but home recording is kind of lonely proposition: sunny jimmy's lonely hearts club band.

I'm good at being alone, in fact, usually, even in a crowd, I feel alone. I think I'd make a helluva good hermit. So anyway, I had this strange (it seemed important, prophetic) dream last night, one of my spiritual mentors appeared and told me that "we work from magic." I recently heard the same thing from one of our good friends on the West Coast.

Now I'm not exactly sure what "magic" is, I mean, I'm pretty aligned with the Scientific method and all. I don't think we are the center of the universe, I do think we descended from apes, I don't think we fully understand our own minds. I do think the world is a mysterious place, and there is much that we don't know and maybe never will. And, well, as per John Sebastian of the Lovin Spoonful, I do believe in magic, even if I'm not sure what it is, and well I'm willing to accept and live with the mystery, eventhough, I'm looking to shine the light of clarity in all the dark corners of my life, and well, I figure that sometimes there are unknown, unforeseen forces that we have to reckon with and it's a good and a cool thing too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Past


"The past is never dead. It's not even past." - William Faulkner.

Monday, March 26, 2007

It won't last, but...


...it's a beautiful day in Chicago. It's rare you get to write those words. I come from a city where the weather will pummel you, it will tackle you, it will freeze and stomp on you. It will also blow holes through you. It will slap, and taunt and yes, even torture you. It will make you wonder, if there is a god, why is he or she so damn cruel? You might even ask yourself, in a moment of weakness, "why does god hate me so?"

I've been on that piss-stained platform at Howard street, freezing my ass off, stomping up and down, trying to stave off frost-bite. I've ridden a bicycle down those concrete canyons downtown, where the winter winds seem to blow through you two ways simultaneously. I have slogged through snow drifts, been pelted by rain, sleet and hailstones. I have an old leather jacket and a pair of boots that carry the scars and wounds from the elements (I look in the mirror and those same scars and lines are there too!). I have also roasted in sweltering summer heat and humidity. The weather can kill you six ways to Sunday, my friend.

Then, once in a great while, the weather will carress you. It will lightly pat you on the head, it will tell you, "hey, it's good to be alive." it will give you a kiss on the forehead, it will hold you by the hand, it will whisper sweet endearments in your ear. It will make you stop and wonder at the beauty of your life and it will make you thank your lucky stars that you are healthy and happy, and well, it will remind you that nothing can stop you from living life to the fullest.

So, yes, it's a beautiful day in Chicago...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

We are those "Other People!"


This truly is a great time for music. Maybe not so much for the music business. CD sales are down, radio is a parched wasteland, but if you take a little time to look, there are great bands and artists creating wonderful music today.

I am not one of those who thinks that the "golden era" of music was way back when. There were great times and places back then - see Sun Studios in the fifties, Motown in the sixties, the British Invasion in the mid-sixties, the Punk explosion from the broken streets of Brixton in the late seventies, the San Francisco Pyschedelics on Haight in the Summer of Love, etc.

I've always tried to seek out the new, at the same time keeping close to some of my long-time favorite artists: Dylan, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Neil Young, the Stones, the Who, the Beatles, Elvis, Springsteen, U2, Jeff Beck, Tom Waits, the B52s, Lucinda Williams, Yoko, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Television, the Allman Brothers, Joy Division, Nick Drake, Miles Davis, Velvet Underground, John Coltrane, Elvis Costello, the Ramones, the Clash, Van Morrison, Jeff Buckley, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart - this is not a definitive list, just some favorites off the top of my head.

Over the years, I've also discovered great artists who are putting out superb music right now, including: Wilco, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Pelican, The Flaming Lips, the Hold Steady, Antony and the Johnsons, Bright Eyes, Mars Volta, Green Day, Beck, Yo Lo Tengo, Drive by Truckers, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Robyn Hitchcock, REM, Cat Power, the White Stripes, etc.

Yesterday, I came across one of the "old-timers" who isn't acting old at all, Ray Davies, founder of the Kinks, put out an album in 2006 called "Other People's Lives." It's witty, brilliant, funny, rocking, cathartic, quirky - Ray is a word-smith and a rocker through and through. I just love it. Plus, I love that he's a man of "experience," he's been around the block a time or two, (or three), but he still has the fire, the inspiration, music still matters to him, and yes, it matters to us too. Ray goes way back, he was part of that original British Invasion, he has an incredible back catalog of brilliant music, but hey, put this disc on the box and enjoy now! It's a real pleasure. Really, I kid you not!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The First Time Farce, the Second Time Farce


Yes, well, President Pissy Pants is starting to sound very Nixonian over this fired Attorneys scandal. His little temper tantrum press conference just makes one think that there's more dirt to be found under the carpet. This rings so many bells for me. Watergate started with a little break-in at Larry O'Brien's office. A little nothing break-in. The toxic Nixon empire crumbled; a sweating, shifty-eyed Nixon slowly dissovled right before our eyes. Little Bush just continues to shrink before us. As the years have gone on, he has become a smaller and smaller speck of a man. As one commentator (I forget who), said, "not only the worst president ever, but also a miserable excuse for a human being." He's such a little cry-baby. The more he gets mad and stamps his feet, the more you know he's fucking guilty (let me count the ways). I would hope that every dead American and dead Iraqi will come back and haunt his empty little brain cavity (not likely - there's no sign of life in there), at night. The first time tragedy, the second time farce. In this case, it's farce to farce - but shit, the joke (as always) is on us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Surfing with the Sea Turtles


The last two evenings I have been hunkered in my home studio, recording new music. Ever since our successful outing on the 15th, I've been working on some stray riffs, broken chords, and misplaced beats. I came up with my own "surf song," in tribute to my friends out on the West coast. In my heart of hearts, I always thought I'd end up in a surf shop in Malibu or Laguna, or maybe somewhere more low-down and funky. I've posted this instrumental song as a gift from me to you - Sea Turtle Surf Song. It's available as a free download (just click on Sea Turtle Surf Song, and then hit download and it's yours!), because, you know, they say the best things in life are free, although, contrariwise, that old classic rock and roll ditty reminds us, "you can save it for the birds and bees...!"

So, I've had this image of surfing with the sea turtles; out well past land, the sun shining, the ocean blue, no humans except for me, and somehow I do a kind of mind-meld with these ancient, graceful, creatures. And just how do I keep up? I ride the Stratocaster whammy-bar sound waves in my head; the pure, crystalline, mercury sound of D'Addario strings stretched out well past the point of logic; smooth and silky, kind of like a long and lonely Laguna sunset - lingering, lingering, that little ball of fire just teetering on the edge of the world, splashing color across the horizon, and...oh, wait a minute...it's gone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Originator -"where did the money go?"


Bo Diddley, his voice riding the radio waves straight into my head this morning: "we are a nation of slow understanders."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Neighbors


Yesterday, for some reason, I had Neil Young on my mind and on the cd player. I also listened to Bob Dylan and Wilco (I have really been on a Wilco kick lately - they are a band making great music, their last three cds have shown tremendous creative growth and nerve), and well, I spent much of the day, reading the paper, listening to music, and just chilling out.

In the afternoon, I went to Starbucks and bought Neil Young's "new" cd, an archive release from a concert in 1971, "Live at Massey Hall." It's a legendary show, Neil Young, alone on acoustic guitar and piano, playing a raft of newly-written, unheard of before songs, some destined to eventually show up on his great "Harvest" disc. So, I spent time sipping a latte, reading the paper and listening to Neil sing his heart out. There's no other instrument on the planet quite like Neil's mournfully expressive voice.

Later in the evening, I watched Richard Linkletter's comic version of Philip Dick's "A Scanner Darkly." It is the perfect movie for our distinctly paranoid and schizoprenic culture -written in the wake of the war on drugs, Richard Nixon's enemies list and his assault on our constitution (see "The U.S. vs. John Lennon, " for more background).

"What happened? How did I get here?" - Bob Arctor.

Anyway, in the middle of the movie, my upstairs neighbor starting jumping up and down on her floor, my ceiling. The force of her jumping was such that the little plastic fire detector in my hallway came crashing down. This neighbor (a thirty something woman) has done this kind of thing before, she starts jumping up and down, and sometimes she can be heard yelling. She lives alone, I've seen her out and about, she seems "normal," but this jumping and yelling thing is quite the strange and baffling phenomenon.

This time, (I've usually just ignored the jumping and yelling and it usually stops after a few major thuds), I decided I needed to get to the bottom of what was going on up there, so I ventured up a flight of stairs and knocked on her door. Vigorously. She didn't answer, but I could hear her stomping around and shouting. Thoughts of concealed weapons, and bloody steak knives went through my head. I stopped my knocking and started to turn away from the door, and then I heard a very disturbed snarl come from somewhere behind the door, "Neil Young is an asshole!"

I walked back to my apartment, somewhat stunned, I guess it's safe to say, she's not a Neil Young fan. Something tells me Neil's music is gonna find it's way to my cd player (I can't help myself), frequently in the coming days.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday Morn: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts


It's a beautiful day. Life is good. I'm listening to My Life in the Bush with Ghosts, the great, visionary collaboration between David Byrne and Brian Eno, two artists at the top of their game. It's a beautiful musical collage; inspiring, kind of funny, plus it's real funky. I love the bass lines, the groove, the "found" voices. If you have not heard it, seek it out, or if you haven't listened to it in a long time, I recommend you take it out for a spin. It's good medicine for the ears, the heart, and the soul.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Love - The Show


I'm still sky-high from the rock show we did last night (see previous post). It was a gloriously sweet evening. There is nothing like the kick of performance, whether it be in a theater group, or in a rock band. I happen to be working and creating with an extraordinary collection of souls. To have a great audience, who seemed to be with us every step of the way, just helps propel you into another stratosphere. I just want to give a tip of the cap to all my co-conspirators in this incredibly rewarding enterprise. We are in the business of show, but really "the show," isn't a business, it is pure unadulterated love.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"I Don't Know What I'm Talking About, I'm Trapped In This Body And Can't Get Out." - Thom Yorke, Radiohead

I'm in two bands. I find this a very happy circumstance. We have a show tonight, (both bands are on the bill), and it's all for a good cause, Rock the Cure. If you'd like to give your ears a glimpse of some of the music on tap, check out these sites:

White Wolf & Sonic Princess
TarHead (a combo of two bands, Tarpit & Head Lice!)
The Telepaths

There's also an all-girl hula-hoop group performing between and during some of the acts. If you've never seen them, you don't know nothing bout hula-hooping:

The HoopaFreaks

If you're in Chicago tonight, come by and say hello: Silvies Lounge

The White Wolf & Sonic Princess is my glorious collaboration with the Lovely Carla. We're kind of a jazzy little duo, tonight featuring my brother (Bacchus Blue) on harmonica. Not sure how to categorize our stuff. I love Carla's vocals and poetry. I do my best to keep up on guitar.

The Telepaths have been more legend (this band needs a VH1 Behind the Music episode!), than band, but with a lot of persistance and high-decibel practice, we've actually rounded into quite a tight little outfit. Think LOUD, RAUCOUS, ROCK & ROLL. We are A Motley Crew (not THE Motley Crue). We have a great Esprit D' Corp. We actually like to play together and well, hell, it shows. Plus we have excellent collateral matierial (t-shirts, buttons, posters).

The Telepaths are:
Cory H. on bass and vocals - a real R&R Star.
Peter V. on drums - think Keith Moon, John Bonham and Karen Carpenter all rolled into one heavy-handed, sweet-souled drummer.
TPM , Lead Vocals - imagine a combination of Johnny Rotten, Tony Bennet, Mariah Carey, and Al Jolson (plus, don't forget the King)?
sunnyjimmy on guitar and vocals - if my guitar stays in tune, I'm gonna be alright!

The Telepaths are the guys Brittany was hanging with when she got buzzed and tatooed up. Also, it was the Telepaths who gave Paris Hilton her first video camera (we thought it would be a good hobby?!). It was the Telepaths who set up John Entwhistle with two hookers and two lines of coke in Vegas, what better way to unwind? I mean, (what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas) who was gonna know?

Talk about bad influences.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's Party Time?

"We live in a dark and romantic and quite tragic world." - Fashionista, Karl Lagerfeld

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gimmee the Hustler


I don't know if this little encounter is true or not, but it certainly is amusing. Henry Stanley of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume," fame, met Thomas Edison, and Edison showed him his new invention, the phonogragh. Supposedly, this conversation ensued:

"Mr. Edison, if it were possible for you to hear the voice of any man whose name is known in the history of the world, whose voice would you prefer to hear?"

"Napoleon's," replied Edison without hesitation.

"No, no," Stanley said piously, "I should like to hear the voice of our Saviour."

"Well," explained Edison, "You know, I like a hustler."

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Hello Darkness, My Old Friend..."


Okay, so lately, I'm on this kick, reading Michael Frayn's book, "The Human Touch," which is basically 500 pages of text about all the things we don't and maybe even can't know, which kind of leads me into a Chico Marx kind of frame of mind, I mean, like so, "how can I find out, what I got to find out, if I can't find out what I got to find out?" So, of course, now everything I touch, do and see, kind of resonates with this mind frame.

This morning I'm paging through the New York Times Sunday Magazine and come across this article: about dark matter & dark energy. Cosmologists and physicists, and all those other glorious eggheads that are trying to help us understand the universe now believe that what we call "universe" (plants, stars, galaxies, us) is really only 4% of what's actually out there. And what's out there beyond the 4% may be beyond our powers of understanding or even perception.

Now my forte is summing up stuff that I don't really understand into some kind of form of entertainment (at least entertaining to me), this is my working method in writing plays, interacting with the world, and all the people in it, but this article (I'm linking to it, so you can see if you can make heads or tails out of it yourself) seems to be saying that we really, really don't know what we're talking about when it comes to the universe and much of the phenomena in it. We can observe lots of stuff, we can put labels on it, but really, come on, we can't explain shit!

It's kind of humbling, and well, maybe we should reflect on this as some kind of lesson. In the human realm, some of us claim knowlege well beyond our capabilities. We all need to be really careful about what we claim to know. Most of our knowledge seems to be tentative, subject to revision. Dark matter, dark energy - it's kind of like some cosmic Godzilla out there, we can't even perceive it, but it's out there, yes, we know it, and well, what's up with that?

UPDATE: I want to be clear, that I admire the folks who are trying to find clarity in the dark forests of our experience. I admire and put myself in the camp of the seekers, the questioners, even if, in the back of my mind, I think it may be a fools errand. I do think we should strive for "clarity," but at the same time, it seems clear that the more we look, the more we see, sometimes the cloudier the picture gets. The universe seems more mysterious than ever. It's not a clockwork, it's more like a living thing, a process, without any clear goal. Or something like that. It's marvelous, and beautiful, and overwhelming, and well, we are just human beings, we evolved from other life forms, and is it really that strange that we might find some limits to our little minds of rationality? And remember that little island of rationality sits in a much vaster ocean of irrationality. Welcome to the Human Race.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Andrew W.K. - Mr. Party


I don't know anything about this guy. Except he wrote a song called "Party Til you Puke." That's some heavy partying. I've been there, done that, and I guess, once you've been around the block once or twice, you realize that sometimes fun isn't really what it's cracked up to be.

But anyway, the following quote totally hits home with me. I've been reading Michael Frayn's philosophical tome, "The Human Touch," it's a big, ridiculous, brilliant book about how we are in a dialogue with the universe which in effect "makes" the universe. If we weren't here, the universe would be one big, silent monologue. Or at least, that's an example of the type of concept we'd come up with, if we could imagine a world without us in it. Or something like that. Frayn's book goes on for about 500 pages, I'm halfway through it, and it reminds me of kitchen discussions my cousin and I had back in the early seventies after a smoking a joint of primo weed.

So this morning I come across this from Andrew W.K.: "I have been very into the idea that the only way the external world exists is by you observing it, and that the ony way you can interact with that external world through that observation is to intend it to be."

Seems Andrew W. K. has been reading the works of the philosopher Martin Buber. He's also exuberant about ideas like the nature of coincidences and paradoxes and solipsism.

Sounds like my kind of guy. Other song titles he's penned: "It's Time to Party," and "Party Hard." I detect some kind of overarching theme here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Prophets Intervene


Slept in this morning. I notice if we sleep in, get up gradually, the coffee tastes even better. I truly do have a monkey on my back, but I'm willing to give him a ride anytime.

So, I'm sipping coffee and I rifle through a stack of cds and put on the Dylan soundtrack from his movie, "Masked and Anonymous." Some great cuts from artists all over the world, plus Dylan and one of his better bands. At the same time, with Dylan ringing in my ears, I'm paging through the NYTimes and come across this notice about the current Pope's qualms about having Dylan sing to Italian youth back in 1997:

POPE NO DYLAN FAN - In his book, "John Paul II, My Beloved Predecessor," Pope Benedict writes without further explanation, "there was reason to be skeptical - I was, and in a certain sense still am - to doubt if it was really right to let these types of prophets intervene."

Well, I can feature a skeptical Pope, and I do believe you have to pick and choose your Jewish prophets wisely. I'm willing to let Bobby Dylan intervene any ole time. I've never seen him walk on water, or turn water into wine, or raise the dead, I don't think he will die for my sins, but man he knows how to spin up a great lyric, some of his lines are indelibly etched into my brain. And hell, the dude can rock out too. I mean Jesus might have been a holy roller, but I don't think he was much of a rock and roller

Friday, March 09, 2007

Doors


Well, they say, "as one door closes, another opens."

Do they really say that? Well, if they do, whoever they are, I know what they mean. I've lately had doors slammed in my face. It is not a good feeling. But then again, new doors have swung open wide, and well, what's a good boy to do? I'm gonna take a chance on door number one, two and three. That's a deal I can't refuse.

Spring is in the air here in Chicago today. The days are starting to get noticeably longer, and well, hope springs eternal. My life has taken a few wrong turns lately, but surprisingly, these wrong turns may turn out to be right. Isn't that just a kick in the pants?

I've never really been good at planning things. My life just seems to keep on coming and well, I take it as it comes. You can't keep sunnyjimmy down. Not when the coffee is good, and the sun is shining, and well, you find a few like-minded souls who know that everything really is magic.

So, yes, a door...and a window and an escape hatch, and a trial balloon, and a life raft, a getaway car, a rocket to Russia, a jet pack, a parachute, a saftey belt, a bungy cord, anything that keeps the game moving forward. I'm in.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Eye in the Sky


This line has been going through my head this morning: we re-make the world with every blink of an eye.

We truly are in a dialogue with the universe. If we weren't here to observe it, would the universe just be an undifferentiated oneness?

It's kind of spooky and strange to think that in one sense (at least) the universe would not be here if we weren't here to observe it. I mean, I guess there'd be something here if we weren't, I mean, we can imagine a universe without an observer, but without the observer, what really do you have?

Without imagination, what would you have?

Space, time, number, language, causality. We made these things. We apply them to the world. Sometimes they fit, sometimes not. We get to decide. Or not. It's a heavy responsibilty we have, don't you think?

We make the world with every blink of an eye...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A California State of Mind


The Lovely Carla and I spent nearly six days in California. It was a great, enlightening trip. Here are some highlights, in no particular order:

1. Flying in the air at 35,000 feet, looking down at a great mountain expanse. It's comprehensible and incomprehensible at the same time. I mean, air travel is not magic, a mountain is just terrain, but then again, if you really start thinking about the billions of years it took to create that terrain, the vast chain of humans it took to conceive of flying, to invent a plane, building one and letting people buy a ticket and fly. All this just so I can get to California in a couple of hours? I know what a mountain is...remind me, what's a mountain again?
2. Sunset Boulevard. The human show in all it's mad, ridiculous glory.
3. Los Angeles, the city of angels, there are now so many angels, they can no longer fit on the head of a pin. They're all jammed up on the 405. A freeway is not free. You sit in the endless traffic jam and you think that this way of life is not sustainable.
4. Hiking in Griffith Park with our good friends Kris and Noel. Four hawks flying above us. We marvel at them hovering in the air, effortlessly, do they marvel at us marvelling at them? There's magic in the air. We look down from the trail to a see a thriving metropolis. We are overwhelmed by the sky, the sun, the purity of nature. Beauty. Absolute.
5. The Griffith Observatory. James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo; they were here.
6. Santa Anita, in the shadow of the mountains. I missed being the king of the world, by a nose. But the thrill baby...yes, the thrill!
7. Morning in Laguna Beach. Sipping a cappucino, watching a group of dolphins dancing in the water. A big, old pelican watches me, watching him. Later in the day, a grey whale comes into shore to rub the barnacles off on a rock. The beach scene comes to a complete hushed silence. "A whale!"
8. Sometimes man overwhelms nature; sometimes nature overwhlems man. In the California frame of mind, this dual overwhelming happens simultaneously, all of the time.
9. The vagaries of a life: yesterday, running on the beach, sun is shining, 70 degrees, ocean lapping at my running shoes. This morning running next to the frozen lake, kicking up snow as I go. Home again. And yes, well, why do some of us live here and not there? Yes, and well, tell me, what's a mountain again?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Here Comes the Sun?


Heading out to the west coast today. Still no laptop, so blogging may be sporadic. I wonder what's in store?

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