WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chasing the Dragon

How many brain cells will I willingly, yes, even gladly, sacrifice for the sake of having fun? Lots and lots and lots. Whiskey?! Holy smokes.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A strange hybrid

A very satisfying show last night. We do it one more time tonight. Kind of a short run. I like the focus and intensity. We had a nice crowd.

We are in a new place with our work, not really theater, instead, a strange hybrid - utilizing music, video, monologue and movement. Nothing all that radical, just an emphasis on slowness, stillness, poetry and a quiet, engulfing, shimmering sound.

At least that's what I think we're doing. Others may see and hear something different. That's really part of the thing. Each participant brings something and takes something of and for themselves.

And what makes a show successful? The little things. Batteries, cords, guitar stands, pre-show latte. Details. A hundred little details. And somehow, someway they add up to something.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"She knelt in the dust, in the shadow of the rose, the rose loomed above her, like a shelter, a canopy, a container of love."

Our theater company, Black Forest will be doing it's last show at the Peter Jones Gallery tonight and tomorrow. The show is called "The Thorn and the Rose." Music, video, live performance. It's a real hybrid.

Peter Jones Gallery will be closing after over 20 years of existence (we been doing shows there for about 9 years). Kind of a sad event. Something I haven't really processed yet. It's maybe sort of emblematic of the era we are in, lots of endings and uncertainty.

So the gallery is complete chaos, there will be a big rummage sale, and everything is sort of cluttered and chaotic. Except for our performance space, a clean, open space, where we will put on a show.

We are trying to create something beautiful, mysterious, unknowable in the middle of a crumbling, disappearing world. That's kind of been our mission from the beginning, except we didn't really know it.

Now we're living it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A World Cracking...

We were out in the city last night. To and from our show. When you are working on a show it's all about the show. Like the show is the important thing. Whether it really is or not doesn't matter.

The show is the show!

Last night, if you paid attention you could hear the world cracking. Around the margins. Things breaking apart. People falling. A madness seeping into the cracks. An accelerated disintegration. It was there, the sound, the feeling, you could sense it if you paid attention.

It's a strange time. Maybe always has been, but the signs of dissolution seem to be piling up.

One false step and you are toast.

If you don't pay attention you are gone. That's how it works. You can be taken out any moment. Pay attention. Attention must be payed. And even then some will cash out without a moment's notice.

That's the ticket. Take the ride.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Knowing

We think we know, but we don't know what we don't know.

And what we don't know is bigger than what we know.

Which is something good to know.

Except we don't know it.*

* Or as Chico Marx once said: "How can I find out what I got to find out, if I can't find out what I got to find out?"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Replica!

I'm not gonna see Opie's new movie. I didn't see the other one either. Still, I love this little "factoid." I think it says something about our culture.

Opie wasn't able to film at the actual Vatican in Italy, so instead, they built a replica Vatican in the parking lot of Hollywood Race Track.

Kind of says it all don't ya think?!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Raging!

I had a long, restful sleep.

Still, there were crazy ass dreams raging away in my head.

Dreams.

And what do they all up up to?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Paint it Black

We're getting ready for another theatrical production. We have been working on our set. The watchword is "minimal." Kind of like the famous Director Peter Brook's idea of "open space." That's really all you need to put on a show.

Our latest combines music, video, monologues and movement. It's kind of stark and ethereal. Not a lot of words. Which is where I'm at lately. Not a lot to say. It seems like a time just to "see."

So we were lugging, and sweeping and painting. I was painting everything black. A chair? Black. A stool? Black. A wall? Black. A platform? Black!

The actual piece is full of life and color. But the set is basic black.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts for a Sunny Day...

I am sometimes stunned by the substantiality of my physical being. I am also sometimes stunned by the insubstantiality of existence for the living.

Our bodies seem to have their own agenda, written in the genes, and beings come and go every second of this life in the universe.

So basically I'm often stunned. Maybe not the most useful way to navigate the slipstream.

And when we "go" it's sort of stunning to think that everything else just continues on. Almost like we didn't exist in the first place. That's a stunner too.

These were thoughts that were swimming around in my head on a sunny afternoon. Still yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day. Good to be alive.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kobe Time

I love watching NBA games. Playoff time. I usually skip the regular season. I do think professional basketball is the best sport to watch. It's a great game for TV. Baseball for instance is a lousy game to watch on TV. It just looks bad.

I think I can thank Michael Jordan for my NBA addiction. The Jordan years were absolutely extraordinary. Chicago was the center of the sports Universe. In my book, Jordan is the best player to have ever played the game. He always hit the clutch shot, he always wanted to be in the pressure situation, and he always excelled. And he did it all with maximum style and grace.

There are lots of good players today too. In fact, the next best thing to Jordan is Kobe Bryant. It's funny, Jordan's long-time coach, Phil Jackson is also Kobe's coach. I don't think it's a coincidence. Phil Jackson knows his shit.

Kobe and company took on Denver last night. It was a great game. The Lakers are a fascinating team, they can be had, but they are plucky and tough, the roster is like the U.N. Denver is young, and brash, a bunch of upstarts. Kobe had his hands full last night. He and Carmelo Anthony battled all night long. It should be a wonderful series.

Kobe came through in the clutch. He took the ball to the hole. Could not be stopped. Very Jordan-esque. He hit his free throws. A true sign of a great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dreams Die Hard

I like to think that I'm practical, that I see the world around me with clear eyes. But I've always had "the dream," out there in front of me. It has always been one of my "drivers" the reason I get up in the morning. Ever since I was a little kid.

The dream always changes. And if I look at things clearly, the dream is usually some weird mirage of success and happiness and validation - a "day dream," a fantasy. I mean, not that I don't realize those things, but they always come in other forms. The specifics of the dream can be big, or little, it doesn't matter. Sometimes it's just something to "tickle my fancy" or sometimes it's a grand life-changer.

Dreams.

There are times when I think the dream is just baggage. The burden of dreams.

Much of my creative work seems in the dream realm, and I'm always expending energy to bring dreams into the "real world." Still the dreams always evaporate. Sometimes I think they vanish without a trace, but probably not, just their brief appearance remakes the world in some weird alchemical reaction. At least on my better days that's what I think.

I sometimes wonder should I just toss these dreams over-board, but then something happens that tells me the dream can be real, it can be realized. That's part of the eternal seduction of the dream.

Even as I take my last breath, I'm sure there will be some dream dancing on my brow. Maybe that's just another dream I can't give up...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big Chief Questions!

And what of the Chief without a tribe?

Who does he lead?

And what of the Chief with a strong anti-authoritarian bent?

Does he rebel against himself?

Chief of the Lone Wolves is a lonely occupation.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Telepaths

The Telepaths played at the Mutiny (check out the famous Mutiny urinal) yesterday afternoon. It was a r&r BBQ. Kind of a can't miss combo. I thought we were playing a little hole in the wall place, but it turned out to be a beautifully laid out classic Chicago-style bar, with cheap beer and eats.

The sound system and sound guy were probably the best we've worked with so far. And the band itself was in great form. Our new drummer and bass player have opened up a new door for us. Both are incredibly accomplished musicians and our r&r IQ has gone up tremendously.

We played for nearly an hour and the audience cried for more. I was ready and willing to play another set, but it was our lead singer's birthday, and he was ready to delve into the party scene.

We all reveled in the good vibes of a show well done. It's great to watch this little creative enterprise continue to evolve.

The Telepaths Rock!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Punk Rock Planet

We played Cal's last Thursday night. A true Chicago landmark. It was a great night. WWSP really upped the ante. The Lovely Carla and the Lovely Sara dressed up in "costume", and they truly brought some excellent r&r brio and dazzling energy to the performance.

Sara billed it as our "Punk Rock Show."

It was all such tight quarters. About 30 people meant the place was totally packed. High energy. High. I think I was riding on the fumes of all the spilled beer seeped into the bar and floor of the place over the last 50 years. I thought it was a major coming out for us. At the end of the show I blew my amp (and voice) out. I take that as a good sign.

Maximum r&r. We owned the room. The Lovely Carla was dressed as a "naughty nurse" from some punk planet. She was channeling a Patti Smith High Priestess vibe.

I wore a funny hat!

For some reason, I thought of the great CBGB's in New York (never went there except in my imagination). I was thinking Cal's might be Chicago's version of that classic hole in the wall. It is the real deal. Been around for 50 years or so.

The spirits are behind the bar and in the air. Awe-inspiring.

P.S. The Telepaths followed WWSP. It was the first show of the band's new lineup. Sanjay, our marvelous drummer from WWSP is now a Telepath too. He joins The Professor who holds down the bass groove. Suddenly we have a rhythm section that rivals Entwistle and Mooney. Wow. Some how some way we need to capture that live rock sound on tape. Haven't done it yet!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Fledgling Life

One thing that is kind of strange in my life, I've been around for a while, walking around in the world, putting some miles on the body, but still I always feel like a "fledgling."

As per the web definition:

newcomer: any new participant in some activity
fledgling(a): (of a young bird) having acquired its flight feathers; "a fledgling robin"
young bird that has just fledged or become capable of flying
young and inexperienced; "a fledgling enterprise"; "a fledgling skier"; "an unfledged lawyer"


I've had a theater company for many years, but each production is like a newly hatched chick. I've played with a couple bands over the last few years, and still I feel like an "unfledged guitar player."

My professional career (if I have such a thing) is always in a state of fledge. My life is basically a constant state of fledge.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing. I've got these feathers for flight, I'm capable. But still I'm often bumping my ass on the ground.

I've got the state of fledgling down cold!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hall of Mirrors!

Supposedly we have these "mirror neurons" in our brains. You eat a banana, and in my brain, I mirror your action, these neurons allow me to empathize with your action. I'm eating the banana too, but I don't get the calories!

Maybe this explains the whole porno industry. Tommie Lee has sex with Pamela Andersen, and well, let's just say, I "don't get any on me!"

There are some people who have more mirror neurons than others. This may explain mind-reading, empathy, imitation. Monkey see, monkey do.

And what does this say for artistic types? Someone like Bob Dylan is a mirror to the world. He mirrors the world, and the world recognizes itself in his mirror. If he puts on mirror shades, he mirrors the mirror, which mirrors the mirror, or something like that.

I mean, I guess the whole she-bang, the shooting match is like just one big hall or mirrors. To paraphrase Mirror Man Dylan: "I'll let you be in my mirror if I can be in yours."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Debt-Eater

Supposedly there used to be a guy called a "Sin Eater." But now sin is so passe. Instead we have debt. Mountains and mountains of debt. We have built our empire on debt. So I guess now what we need is a "Debt Eater." We're going to need someone with a fucking insatiable appetite.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The High Society

The MC5 are on the CD player this morning, reminding me that "We are the High Society." No doubt.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Many Viruses Can Dance on a Head of a Pin? Lots!

And what about all those people who don't believe in evolution? Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Like a bunch of close-minded monkeys...

So anyway this article talking about viruses tells us:

"The sheer number of viruses on Earth is beyond our ability to imagine. “In a small drop of water there are a billion viruses,” Dr. Wolkowicz said. Virologists have estimated that there are a million trillion trillion viruses in the world’s oceans."

It's true. We are not alone! Adopt a virus today!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Entropy in all fields of human endeavor...

I think fundamentally I am an optimist. But maybe by being fundamentally optimistic, I can entertain myself with pessimistic views of the world and not get seriously twisted. I can't explain it. Sort of contradictory. But there it is...

I am seriously impressed with John Robb, who has a fundamentally pessimistic outlook on the future of the current system...

"So, we can expect to see an increase in entropy in all fields of human endeavor; expressed as chaotic forms of pollution, warfare, economic crisis, and societal discontent. Worse, this trend line can't be mitigated with even with best of management (if we were only so lucky) at the national or global organizational level, since the only process which might accomplish this is organizational fragmentation/death."

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Break-through

Last night we had a great band rehearsal. WhiteWolfSonicPrincess is going to play a show at Cal's Liquors next week, and we want to bring the maximum rock groove to that little dingy Punk club.

It's been awhile since all four of us have been in a room together. And for some reason, everything aligned. Our band has never sounded better.

At one point we just got into a long extended jam, and the Lovely Carla did a sort of poetic, stream of consciousness monologue over Sara's throbbing bass groove, Sanjay's exquisite drumming and my broken chords and mis-placed riffs. It was a new thing.

It just sort of happened. A nice rambling looseness. Most of our songs are very tight, well-constructed, actually pretty complex. We've been able to take that complexity in and just play.

It's the result of some intensive work. The good work.

And it was certainly a break-through for us! Ride the vibe!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Be Here...

Yesterday everything clicked.

It was one of those days where everything I did seemed like the perfectly right move at the perfectly right time.

Almost like I was meant to be here.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lords of the Bling

Maybe it looks attractive, but maybe celebrity in all it's glory is actually like contracting a horrifying, totally transfiguring disease.

And those that don't have it, think they want it, but really, they are lucky they don't have it.

And the ones that do have it try to pretend it's not so bad, or that it's really great, but really, it's horrible.

But like any enterprising disease it wants to spread.

And a world of celebrities is like a plague. And maybe that's where we are headed and we should all be doing our best to be anonymous, keep our heads down, live simply and try to live lightly on the land.

Then again, we all love the bling, baby! "My precious..."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Annoying Autobiography

I don't really know why, but I'm in the middle of reading Eric Clapton's autobiography. It's not a very uplifting read. Clapton comes off as the "accidental tourist." Someone with a great gift, who is just sort of walking through the rock and roll universe in a drug-addled, alcoholic haze.

And Eric doesn't really make anyone else look very good either. It seems his circle was filled with a lot of a sad, needy people.

I'm kind of amazed. I get much more enjoyment playing guitar, writing music, playing for a lot of empty clubs and rehearsal spaces then Mr. Clapton seems to get from playing to the world. You'd think the guy was "sitting on top of the world" but instead he seems like a very unhappy, kind of twisted, tortured, not very deep or enlightened human being.

Maybe there's a payoff later in the book. But it's kind of a slog reading it. I guess there's something to be said for cold honesty. Maybe it's the Oprah-ization of the world. Living a wasted existence, owning up, and then happy, clean and sober in the end. It's just kind of sad and annoying to see someone whose work I admire come off as such a hollow cipher. Maybe Clapton should sue the author for defamation?!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Keep Your Hand on the Plow"

I brewed the coffee and read yesterday's paper.

I'm usually a day's paper behind.

The Lovely Carla got up and made a beeline to the CD player. She said she had a song going through her head and she needed to hear it first thing this morning.

Mahalia Jackson came out of the speakers singing: "Keep your hand on the plow, oh Lord."

Okay. I get it. Loud and clear!

UPDATE: And what song is going through my head this morning?

Ramones: "Beat on the brat, beat on the brat, with a baseball bat..."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Serpentine!

I do think it helps to just fill your life up with activity.

Keep moving.

Speed and velocity.

Less time to think.

Less time to worry.

Serpentine!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Magic is the Method!

I'd wager I was the only being in the universe yesterday, all dressed in black, wearing the dead man's military boots, sipping an iced mocha latte, listening to Roxy Music's first album on an iPod, taking the train to heart of Chicago to bet the Derby.

I exist!

And if I didn't would someone have taken my place?

I almost didn't make the trip. Before I got on that train, after all was said and done, all the research, making my picks, counting out my money, I hesitated, thinking, "Do I really want to battle the ponies today?" I mean, I actually said the words out loud. The Lovely Carla heard me and replied, "What happened, did you lose your MOJO?"

I decided right then and there, that no, my MOJO was still intact. Of course I was gonna bet the Derby!

And I went down in flames! All my horses were left in the mud. Running backwards! Humbling. No, I did not need that lesson, again.

And looking over the Racing Form this morning, I must say, I still wouldn't bet on the winner, Mine that Bird. Not in a million years. It just doesn't add up. I mean, I guess knowing what I know today, I'd bet on him, but only because I know he won.

There's nothing that you can point to to say, "This is my horse!" Nothing really to recommend. I mean, he does have four legs, and they all work. Still, on paper Mine that Bird should have come in just about last.

But there's the race, and as Godinla says, it was a great race. Mine that Bird, a little scrawny kind of horse, found an opening on the rail and bolted for daylight. Left the field well behind. A rousing performance. Everything had to be just right. And it was.

And guess what? The Lovely Carla picked him. Before I left I read off the names of the horses and she listened and then said,"Mine that Bird, bet him $5 to place." I did. And she won. Big time. $5 to place and she's gonna collect $135!

That's the way you do it! Freaking Magic! There's another lesson in there somewhere...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Leap of Faith First Day of May

Some habits die hard. Especially the bad ones. And sometimes those bad habits are the ones that kill you. The first Saturday of May means The Kentucky Derby. I can't help it, I have to make the trek down to the betting parlor and give it a go today.

It's not exactly the best investment strategy in the world, although, all those Wall Street investors went down the tubes on some bad bets too.

Yesterday I plunked down my money to buy a Daily Racing Form. The only bible I believe in. So I'm already in the hole. It's all in black and white: the times, the conditions, the speed ratings, the jockeys, the breeding, the medications, etc. So many facts and so little intelligence with which interpret them.

I like the challenge of looking over past performance to predict future outcomes. It's like pretending to be Sherlock Holmes for a day. Inductive reasoning. There's the facts of the case and then we derive general principles. But of course, sometimes those general principles don't add up to a pile of manure.

Usually the fastest horse wins. Sounds simple. 19 or 20 horses running today. As always this race is wide-open. 3 year olds who have never run this distance before. And don't forget "racing luck."

And then you wonder, is what happens, the only thing that could happen? Is there some kind of destiny? Or is it only destiny after the fact?

Beats the hell out of me. I don't like touting horses. My personal idiosyncrasies should not be spread amongst the population. I just want to be on the record. I'm going with Dunkirk. A pricey yearling who is lightly raced. Looks to be getting better every time out. I'll be putting him in some exactas and trifectas too. If it's muddy I'll also include Friesan Fire in some combos.

Anyway this is what's called a Leap of Faith. I'm making the Leap! Look out below. Leapers fall hard!

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Spiritual Journey

Yes, I think this is probably a spiritual journey, but of course, we need to bring our bodies along for the ride. And maybe that spirit/body duality is a false picture. We are complicated beings in a world of complicated beings. And there's all kinds of competing expectations and agendas. It's a long, strange ride. And there's no place to hide!

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