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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Flaming Eyeball


It was bitterly cold last night. Four of us trekked through the dark and dirty streets of the city to get to a small rehearsal space. I was low, maybe not lower than a snake's dick, but somewhere in the vicinity. We did a little warm up, ran lines and then worked through the first scene. It's a new Black Forest production called "the Flaming Eyeball." I'm thinking it's some of the best writing I've done, it came out of nowhere, I wrote it just for "the fuck of it," when I was working on another piece, the dreaded "rock opera" that ultimately I pulled the plug on. Sometimes it's best not to talk about a piece until it's done. The talking somehow kills it, drives a stake into the heart.

Anyway, the first line came to me awhile back, "there's a golden ball of energy hurtling through space," and then the rest (three acts) came out in a wild blast of energy. Not sure what I'm trying to say, but this one is done, and ready to find life on stage. The rehearsals, watching the actors interpret the text and trying to work out the little universe I've given bones to, is a really cool process. We go up in March.

Anyway, afterwards, I was no longer that lowly pathetic dude slinking through the city scape. I was fired up, engaged in the process of creating a mad little thing that never existed before. The three actors did their thing (three very talented, soulful women) and watching it all unfold was totally captivating. Can't wait to see what we make together.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is there life on Mars?


My friend Kris commented on my post yesterday, "you just hate being lied to." That's right, so simple, so clear. Sometimes you don't even see the baseball bat whapping you upside your head.

And the lies keep piling up every day, from every corner. Shit, I mean, we even pay people to lie to us! It all leaves me just an ornery mongrel. Grrrrrrrr!

Last night I watched the History Channel. Is there life on Mars? Didn't David Bowie tackle that subject? Anyway, there was something refreshing about seeing that big red planet, so empty, so open, just spinning around, no bullshit, no lies. Just a big old planet. Not trying to con anyone, or sell anything, or make em see a world that doesn't exist. Refreshing!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Torture Most Objectionable

The only reason one might have wanted to listen to Bush's speech last night would be to get an idea of what waterboarding is like. I mean, just the sound of the man's voice can trigger the gag reflex. Longer exposure would seize one with a primal fear of drowning in the muck of hell. One would do or say anything to make the torture stop. If I owned a shotgun, I might've done an Elvis and just blasted my flat plasma screen to smithereens. Would the plasma bleed onto the oriental carpet? This morning the sound of the man's voice is dancing on the radio waves. This is the hellish voice of BABEL! I devolve into paroxysms of tourettes-like convulsions. PLEASE MAKE HIM STOP!

Monday, January 28, 2008

SRV Channels Hendrix

My obsession with YouTube and guitar players continues. Here's another unbelievable video. Stevie Ray Vaughan channeling Jimi Hendrix (I love that strange Mexican Bandidto outfit SRV is wearing - somehow only a Texas eccentric like Vaughan could pull it off). I don't know, is it possible SRV surpasses the master? There's really no surpassing, each shines brightly in their own way. Thank God, or maybe thank the Great Technologist In the Ether for preserving this on video. Since MTV is all about reality tv losers, YouTube is the place to go for that music video fix.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

If the man had any integrity, he'd say, "Sorry, I fucked up! Sorry for the fear-mongering, death, corruption, incompetence, lies, etc."

George Bush will be giving his State of the Union speech Monday. His last such speech. He will actually stand up in front of the Senate and House and tell them how great things are going.

And they won't stone him, or shout him down, or rush the podium and take him and bundle him off to a psychiatric ward or ship him off to the Hague for a speedy start to his War Crimes Tribunal - Crimes Against Humanity!

HA, HA, HA, HA!

The joke's on us...

UPDATE: I suppose an argument could be made that if you have two Oil Men running the most powerful empire in the world, and their one and only concern is oil - the extraction, the distribution, the selling, the profiting from, etc. - all else is irrelevant: the wars, the blood, the torture, the lies, the corruption, the debt, the indifference, the arrogance, the debasement of the people. Through that prism, maybe BushCo. and their fucking cronies can be judged as doing only what they should have been expected to do.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Drive By Truckers - Unsung Heroes

I hear tell the Drive By Truckers have a new disc on the way. I love this little band from Alabama. I saw them awhile back at the Vic in Chicago. One of the best rock and roll shows I've ever seen. Three great singer/songwriters and three great guitar players. A superb band. I've loved them ever since "Southern Rock Opera" a true American classic - George Wallace, Bear Bryant and Ronnie Van Zandt from Lynard Skynard all figure in the saga. Think southern gothic, steeped in whiskey and busted dreams. And then there's the saving grace of rock and roll, filtered through cranked up amps, served up with no frills and all heart.

Here's a nice little video featuring one of their songs.

"I got green and I got blues..."

Friday, January 25, 2008

This One's for Ken!

Just in case he's checking in...

Who knew this was out there, preserved on video? Amazing! Did someone do a direct download from their Akashic records?

Take one supremely confident studio wizard, add two improbable mutton chops, a vintage Les Paul, stir in a few Psilocybin mushroom excursions, back up with a tight rhythm section, add in his little brother on keys and well, you get SKYDOG/Fillmore East 1970!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

About Saying Yes!


John Currin is an extraordinary painter working in a traditional form - oil painting on canvas, in the mode of Velasquez and Courbet. There's a great article about him by Calvin Tomkins in the latest New Yorker, (no link yet).

I came across this quote and well, it just rang a bell with me.

"I came to the conclusion that there is no misery in art. All art is about saying yes, and all art is about it's own making." - John Currin

Yes, even when you are writing about misery, there is no misery in the making. It's all about the YES!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

End Times?

The financial world is shaking. According to this guy, it's been a long time coming. It does seem like our financial sector has been totally disconnected from any kind of "reality" for a long time. Dreams of apocalypse have been with us probably since that first naughty monkey picked up a bone and clobbered his cousin and then wondered "what next." Every time you open your eyes a world appears, every time you close your eyes it disappears...

Coincidentally, I've been reading Pinchbeck's 2012, which is a long rambling book, sort of ridiculous and thought-provoking, wrapping up all kinds of apocalyptic speculations. The Mayan calendar ends in the year 2012 and that means either that the world as we know it bellies up, or enters a new positive, transformative epoch, or well, maybe nothing really happens at all. Crop circles, aliens, psychedelic shamanism and other bizzare speculations and weird phenomena figure in the book too. It's all kind of weird and makes me feel sort of "sunny," because it reminds me that Philip Dick's strange, paranoid speculations actually serve as a great template for the narrative we seem to be stuck in.

Multi-layered, contradictory, non-linear! That's the kind of world one can really sink their teeth into!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Universe is a Head Case

"A new world is only a new mind." - William Carlos Williams

UPDATE: Speaking of a new world, in honor of MLK's birthday...

In his Christmas Sermon, December 24, 1967, Martin Luther King made this point: 'And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace.

What is the problem?

They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal.

We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.'

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kick Out the Jams

It's minus 2 degrees this morning in the heartland. It's the kind of morning where you wonder just exactly why does one choose to live in a place where sub-zero temperatures are a reality. Maybe there's something about being in touch with the shadow side of things, in this case, the shadow side of weather?

There are the temperate zones where this kind of cold madness is not known. Maybe being in touch with the madness is some kind of test, to survive it, is some kind of accomplishment. Then again, maybe not. So anyway, here's the MC5, not sure why I thought of these guys, they're from Ann Arbor, Michigan, they were managed by John Sinclair one of the founders of the "White Panthers." Maybe their brand of rock and roll anarchy just warms my heart, and any kind of warmth is appreciated. So, click on the video and "kick out the jams brothers and sisters!"

Saturday, January 19, 2008

From the Author of "Death of a Fucking Salesman"


According to IMDB that was how the actors on set referred to "Glengarry Glen Ross" during the shoot. Hands down one of the greatest American flicks ever committed to celluloid; a little fugue on sales, despair, capitalism, wrecked dreams, false hopes, the whole kit and kaboodle. IMDB: "During filming, members of the cast who weren't required to be on the set certain days would show up anyway to watch the other actors' performances."

IMDB also tells us that during the film, the word "fuck" and its derivatives are uttered 138 times. The word "shit" and its derivatives are uttered 50 times. (I'm so glad somebody tallied it all!).

David Mamet is one of the great "only in America" voices. Here he is weighing in on our badly listing ship of state:

"The good news is it’s a spectacular country. We’ve been around for 230 years in spite of human nature, because that’s what the Constitution is all about. It’s saying, of course everyone’s gonna try and take control. Of course they’re gonna subvert every law that’s supposed to keep them in line. Of course the president is gonna want to be imperial, of course Congress is gonna want to become obstructionist, of course the judges are gonna be activist. Duh. They figured this out in 1787 and drew up a few sheets of paper that have kept the country in line. It’s a great place to live." - David Mamet

Friday, January 18, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

"In the church of my heart, the choir is on fire." - V. Mayakovsky

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Britney Spears Died for Our Sins!


OK, well, I know she's not dead yet, and I don't wish for her demise. But if Dr. Phil, that smirking, bald-headed, TV head-shrinker gets his hands on her, well, I predict, that's when the doomsday clock on her earthly incarnation clicks into warp speed.

So the Britcastrophe, the Britpocalypse, the Britapalooza marches on. Britney makes Elvis' career melt-down look tame. Not sure what lessons we can draw from all of this. Too much, too soon. Too little, too late. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." - Wm. Blake

Take one lightly educated white cracker, add a dollop of insane wealth, mix in some new wiz-bang chemicals, magnify by a billion cameras and eyes and well, you get Bob Dole's wet dream. If Britney has reached some kind of pop cultural goddess wisdom, it is impermeable, unpenetrable for us mere mortals out in the hinterlands.

John Rogers of Kung Fu Monkey may have hit upon the truth of the situation. (You must check this out!) Think Britney - Codename: TOXIC! World Jihad can't hold a candle to the incandescent flame of the Britney torch!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I remember getting really stoned in the kitchen with my cousin years ago coming up with shit like this...!" - sunnyjimmy

I'm thinking, of course, we truly live in a "Donnie Darko" universe. I mean, it used to be if you wanted to "blow your mind," you'd drop a tab of acid and put on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Now, for a superior, mind-bending trip, just open up the NYT's Science Times and digest.

If these cosmologists have any fricking clue, (that's a major leap right there), our universe is just one of an infinite series. And in that infinity of infinities anything and everything will happen. Maybe over and over. Truly freaky. And well, it seems we are the "freaky observers." And well, come on, really, you got a problem with that?

As per the article: "You might wonder what’s wrong with a few brains — or even a preponderance of them — floating around in space. For one thing, as observers these brains would see a freaky chaotic universe, unlike our own, which seems to persist in its promise and disappointment."

Right?!

UPDATE: I heard from my brother this morning. He has a double major, math and art (go figure!). Anyway he read the article too, and just like me, it just tickled him pink. It's wonderful to think that we really live in an incredibly wacky universe where basically anything goes. During our conversation, I mentioned that maybe, just maybe, there was some kind of typo, and instead of cosmologists, the article was actually based on views of a bunch of cosmetologists, probably supremely stoned ones at that...could it be true?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"there's something wonderful inside those jeans waiting to get out." - Boogie Nights


I did enjoy "There Will Be Blood," PT Anderson's latest flick. It's a great American Epic, which might mean REALLY BORING, but isn't. It's about the Oil Racket, and the God Racket and the Oil & God Racket and it taps into America's love affair with it's own bootstrap myths. I loved the score by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead, (what an unlikely choice), and well, the score serves as an off-kilter but satisfying sonic counterpoint. Daniel Day Lewis is phenomenal, playing the ultimate misanthrope, and if you think about it, that is our heritage and promise, hatred for the earth, for god, for humanity and self too. It's the hatred that unites us and gives us power as a country.

But you know, it's no "Boogie Nights," that great family values extravaganza, also known as the great Dirk Diggler saga, in my book (if I had one), one of the great movies of the last century (it was made in 1997). Somehow the porn business becomes a microcosm of America, and the story has all the quirks and foibles and detours that could come only as a result of using the real-life Johnny Holmes story as a touchstone, which helps drive the plot off a cliff. It's one of those flicks I can see over and over and still get more out of it. Plus the music perfectly captures a time and place. Who knew Marky Mark and Burt Reynolds could act? Of course the schlong at the end was about as real (and scary) and as important and ridiculous as Spielberg's rubber shark, but yes, I guess we really needed to see it. Didn't we?

FILM TRIVIA: This is funny, according to IMDB: "After seeing a rough cut of the film, Burt Reynolds regretted making it and fired his agent for recommending the role to him. Reynolds ended up winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for an Academy Award for his performance." Probably Reynolds best role, best performance since "Deliverance" and Reynolds fires his agent. Beautiful. I mean there's "Smokey and the Bandit," 1, 2, 3 and 4...the Reyonlds legend forges on!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Oh So Green! - OK Maybe Not!

I was screwing around with my blog, I kind of wrecked the look and feel, and then well, I decided to revamp it. Green is the buzzword. Green is good. Green is groovy. Green is the way to be. So, green it is.

UPDATE: I changed my mind, went back to the old template. I was able to fix my previous error, and well, I'm reverting! Change is good, but maybe not required. Green is good, but in this case not inevitable. Sorry for the indecsion, but what the heck!?! I was having trouble reading my own words with all that bright green in the background. And well really I don't need any more trouble...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Apocalypse Sandwich On the Menu!

"Look at the devilish engines of destruction! They are invented by completely innocuous gentlemen, reasonable, respectable citizens who are everything we could wish. And when the whole things blows up, and an indescribable hell of destruction is let loose, nobody seems to be responsible. It simply happens, and yet it is all man-made." - C.J. Jung


Check out this Czech art group's rendering of a nuclear explosion. Hat tip to Kris Cahill. For an antidote to this vision of mindless destruction, check out Kris' blog and enjoy some refreshing beauty and enlightenment @ Art & Clairvoyance.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Grinderman is My New Favorite Band!

These guys aren't pretty boys, they look like desperate men, escaped cons (no not cons, how about jaded mathematicians or burned out philosophers?) or cranky madmen, down and outers who somehow got their hands on shiny new suits. Their disc is superb, but really, what a great live act. Check out Grinderman on Letterman. I love that little toy guitar the guitar player is man-handling as if he's some debauched alchemist, he looks like a dude who escaped from the dark basement of his own delusion...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Faulty Towers

"Get hold of the main thing: that the world and the self are one and perfect. Only your attitude is faulty and needs readjustment." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Note: I was always working under the assumption that we were imperfect beings born into an imperfect world. But of course in a weird paradoxical kind of way that would really be...perfect!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Burning Question of the Day


Is free market capitalism our revenge against nature?

Is it just an elaborate suicide machine, one that we've all hypnotized ourselves to believe in, a relentless machine designed to consume all of our resources, (turn us into consumers too), cashing them all into money or "profit" (a poor substitute for the wonders of nature), which ultimately, inevitably leads to death - man, civilization, planet?

Bonus question - is death our secret desire? Or is it because nature promises rebirth, but not immortality for our fragile egos, that we secretly want to destroy nature?

Just asking...

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Medium

My 2008 started inauspiciously. I was knocked out by a bad cold for a whole week. Laid low by a germ. It was a reminder that my body is not always my friend, or if it is my friend, sometimes it's cranky, and it has it's own agenda. It also brought home the idea, no, probably better to say, the "experience" that I am (all of us are), more than my body. There's an energy or spirit that is more than just mucous and sweat, that seems to transcend the cell structure that's responsible for the moving parts. Even if I put on my skeptic's hat, this feeling of transcendence comes to me as a real (whatever that means) phenomena.

So I'm in a shamanistic frame of mind today. I am the medium (the monkey in the middle?), between the material and the spiritual. Finally the sickness has passed, and I'm feeling renewed from the Invision session (see previous post), yesterday. It's somewhat cool, or maybe even real cool to go to a place where other seekers meet to work on "another level," beyond the material.

So finally I feel the new year has begun. Last year there was much pain and blood-letting, a lot confusion and a lot of creativity and exploration too. I straddled the valley of destruction and creation (sounds like a new housing development?). Not a bad place to be.

It was good to let it all go, to open a new space for what comes next. And well, what comes next? As per some sage advice given yesterday, maybe it's best to experience whatever comes and worry about meanings later, maybe much, much later.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sometimes Clowns are scary!

The Lovely Carla and I are off to Invision today for their annual "Endings and Beginnings" ritual. It's a powerful tool to let go of last year's energy, and to create new visions and realities for the new year. It's always powerful, and sometimes transcendent. I'm going with low expectations, but with a clear head and heart. I'm feeling very positive and optimistic. I've gathered all the gloom that's kind of hovered over me and wrapped it in a little clown suit! Sometimes clowns are scary!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

"The fierce urgency of now..." - Rev. Martin Luther King

If you've got 20 minutes and 50 seconds, take the time to listen to this speech from Barack Obama. It was given before the Iowa caucus. It's truly stunning, fiery, passionate, reasoned, beautifully done, notice there isn't a teleprompter in sight.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A Shot of Love!

Pure delight. I must say, hearing that Barack Obama won the Iowa caucus last night was like getting a pure shot of love straight into the mainline! It may be a temporary thing, (I hope not!), but what a sweet high. Obama's political vision was in part inspired by Harold Washington, Chicago's great reform Mayor. Obama came to Chicago to become a community organizer when Harold's insurgent campaign brought him to City Hall, and now, many years later, Obama is the inspirer. I love his youth, his optimism, I do think he's a true progressive, and wow, what a refreshing presence. Audacity of Hope, indeed!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Radiator - On!

"The goal of life is not to possess power but to radiate it." - Henry Miller

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Most Terrible Drug

"The reader, the thinker, the flaneur, are types of illuminati just as much as the opium eater, the dreamer, the ecstatic...not to mention that most terrible drug - ourselves - which we take in solitude." - Walter Benjamin

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pure Energy


The Lovely Carla and I go to a coffee shop two blocks from our apartment. We usually go for an afternoon latte fix. There is a kid there (anyone under thirty seems like a "kid" to me now), named Jonathan, who is a true artist in the making of a latte. He tops off his exquisite creations with a little foam and coffee sculpture, usually a leaf. It's truly an amazing feat, plus hands down, the best latte you've ever tasted.

Anyway, one day not long ago, Carla and I were having a conversation with Jonathan as he conjured up another amazing coffee creation. We talked about the state of the world, the future, etc. As we were leaving, Jonathan said to Carla, "well, it's all over in 2012, that's when we become pure energy."

Jonathan was referring to the prediction of the Mayan calendar. You can find more about that here. It seems the Mayans calculated that 2012 is gonna be the big party of parties! Now for some reason, hearing these words just made me so damn happy. "Pure energy" sounds so good. I've been feeling optimistic and happy ever since. I don't have one lick of evidence to back it up, but for some reason it totally resonates with me.

I do think we are in a really dark time. Human beings are very resistant to change, and we live in a sea of change, and well, sometimes it also all seems to be accelerating, which can be sort of disconcerting, makes us cling even more to some imagined sense of stability. But hell the planet is rocking and rolling, the galaxy is spinning. We're on a goddamn circus wheel and the wheel keeps on turning!

So whether the Mayans had a clue about any of this, frankly who the fuck knows? But it's New Years Day. And this day has never happened before. And this moment is unique, and the next one and one after that too. So I guess anything is possible. No matter what, I think we are all in for a wild ride. Look out here comes 2008!

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