WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Friday, July 31, 2009

We are the Circus!

We are working on our funky little storefront space. Still, lots to do, cleaning up, re-configuring, then there's the plumbing, electrical stuff, painting walls and floors.

We have help - which helps.

It is amazing how much attention we have attracted in our neighborhood. I guess there's something about clearing out a new space. Everyone wants to fill it up.

We have our own plans - music, theater, art gallery.

It is really cool to have a project. I actually love working with my hands. I'm especially good with a sledge-hammer! Breaking stuff is my forte!

So it's like we're getting ready for the circus to come to town and the anticipation is building. It dawned on me yesterday that we are the circus! We are our own high-wire act, we are fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, bearded ladies!

We are the freaks! And it feels good.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wild Horses

As Charles Bukowski once reminded us, "The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills."

And some days, you are riding that wild horse.

And some days, you are trying to get that wild beast to drink some water.

And some days, that wild horse just runs right over your sorry ass.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fallback Position

And then after I bump my head against the wall a couple times, I remember how baffling and incomprehensible I find it all, and I fall back to a posture of Ecstatic Mysticism.

And it feels right...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny How it Works That Way

If you think all things come from the same source and all things go back to that source, well then, you see how everything is connected. And if you think everything is connected, you see connections everywhere you look. And if you think that everything is wrapped in meaning, well, then you are surrounded by meaningful things. And if you see connections and meaning everywhere you look, then the Universe really does seem like a magical place where amazing things happen all the time.

I guess if you don't, you don't...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Eternal Being

Sasha Frere-Jones was writing about Sonic Youth in the New Yorker a couple of issues back, but I think he was describing my life in it's current incarnation:

"... all the dragons and feathers and firecrackers and water pistols get to run free."

It's kind of messy, but it's a life...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Satan's Band

These are cool books. So far I've read two of them (about David Bowie's Low and My Bloody Valentines' Loveless), working now on Erik Davis' take on Zeppelin's nameless masterpiece.

These books are written by music obsessives for music obsessives. I'm in!

At the moment Erik Davis has me convinced that the reason Zeppelin's fourth album didn't have their name on it (only obscure magic symbols), was because Zeppelin didn't actually write the music in the grooves.

No, a deal dark had been done at Boleskin, the estate Page took over from the Black Magus Aleister Crowley. And you ask...

Who did write the music???

That's easy!

SATAN!

For definitive proof: Watch Jimmy Page use his magic wand on his Les Paul.

Daemonic!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Little Bit of Divinity

I played with the Telepaths last night. It's always a kick. There's something about plugging in my Telecaster, cranking up my Fender Bassman Amp (a killer 90's reissue), and letting it rip. That combo of guitar and amp is divine. And I get to ride a little bit of that divinity.

The guitar and amp were truly made for each other. And my little guitar modifications really hot-rodded the sound of my guitar* - my Telecaster employs Custom Texas Tele pickups which I installed and soldered (messily!) myself. Maybe all that excess solder gives the guitar something extra?! Who knows!?

I do love that sound!

* This is for the guitar geeks: My Telecaster is a Mexican-made Thinline, mahogany, natural finish model. Fender discontinued making it. It's super light, and it's well-built. It's not a collectible (not a Vintage, American-made axe), I bought it at Guitar Center in 2002 for about $600. It's got a fine maple neck, it always stays in tune no matter how hard I beat on it. I installed brass saddles which I think gives it a little more bite and response. I think the hollow-body not only makes the guitar comfortably light, (good for my back), it makes the guitar extra-resonant, I can creatively use the feedback! I think because it's kind of a "cheap" guitar, I play it with more abandon. Sometimes I take it for granted, kind of like a great pair of worn boots. It's got personality. A trusted friend.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Going Backwards into the Future

Okay, maybe I'm going backwards. I'm big into my iPod and everything. Still, I've been wanting to re-connect my phonograph, and play some of the old vinyl. There's a neighbor down my block who has an amazing analog system. Totally kicks ass.

I do think something gets lost when you convert to digital ones and zeros. There's something about a big, black, vinyl platter, spinning around with a little needle riding the grooves. Maybe it's the materiality of the thing. Still amazes me that moments from another time and place coming blasting out the speakers.

So I ordered up a new needle for the phonograph. Can't wait to get it, pop it in, and start spinning. And those old album covers were an amazing art form, they were the perfect vehicle for separating the seeds and stems.

What next? A rotary phone?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Bloody Valentine in Fuji

I've been listening to My Bloody Valentine's great record "Loveless" quite a bit lately. And I picked up this little book to find out more about how it was made, and what exactly happened to the band. A fascinating story. An artistic obsession pushed to the limit. With unbelievably breath-taking results.

Kevin Shields is an amazing guitar player. He really re-thought how to play a guitar, how to make a big, oceanic sound. And Bilinda Butcher's voice is haunting, beautiful. Here's a nice clip of the band playing Fuji in 2008. Exquisite.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fish Stories

The myth of my existence. I'm caught between two fish. Somehow in the world of business, I have always been in a "scalable" endeavor. Lots of expending of energy now, for a possible future boxcar payoff and valuable prizes later.

It's actually kind of a hopeful way to live. Not always fulfilling, but hopeful. It amazing how easily I can gear myself up for the battle even though my track record has been uneven!

I am book-ended by two fish stories. The one where a guy named Ahab finds his big fish who takes him to the depths of hell. The other an Old Man who has a great fish on the line, and the sharks come and tear it apart piece by piece before he can get it into the boat.

Neither story ends well.

I want to write a new myth. I get the fish in the boat and it's FISH STICKS for everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rare and Vital

Did you ever have one of those days where everything seemed perfect?! No guilt, doubt, worry? I mean, there might have been reason for guilt, doubt and worry, but none of that bad juju seemed to stick?

That was my yesterday.

And I wondered why it didn't happen more often: just to be happy to be alive, with being alive being more than enough.

Remember all those millions or maybe billions of years when you weren't a sentient being? And how about all those millions or billions of years after you are dead and gone?

Kind of makes each day you are alive kind of rare and vital.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Great Evanston Flower Massacre!

My two favorite Guerilla Gardeners are getting a lot of press lately. The Lovely Carla and the equally Lovely Charlotte lead the Guerilla Gardening Group "Trowels on the Prowl."

They seed-bombed a local lot in our neighborhood. All kinds of beautiful wildflowers were beginning to bloom, and then someone mowed the lot.

I'm calling it the Great Evanston Flower Massacre. I'm thinking we need Arlo Gutherie to write a song about it sort of like:

"You can do anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant."

So then we put up signs that asked, "Who killed the Flowers?" "Please Don't Mow!" "Let the Meadow Grow!"

And then the press got involved. You can't stop the flowers. You can't stop the flower bearers! I'm expecting another seed-bombing some time soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Apotheosis of Pop

I remember when Walter Cronkite still had a job. He was not only the "most trusted" man in the news biz, I believe he may have been the "last trusted" man in our pop consciousness.

I haven't really thought this all through, but I do think we've become completely unmoored from any kind of reality. We have hypnotized ourselves with our pop culture and everything is faux, pseudo, etc. Kind of like in that movie "The Matrix."

I mean we know there's a hardcore reality. This ground, this tree, this dead guy. They are real enough. But we've kind of willed them to be something else. And our world of fantasy, the virtual reality of the internet and TV and movies and the dream world that we all want to live in dominates our consciousness and permeates our beings.

Cronkite wasn't really a celebrity, (or I guess he was), but a news man who happened to be multiplied on millions of screens. It seemed like he only told us the truth. But of course that was his show. He was so un-show-like, but really his trusted-ness was just another pop culture trope.

Now everyone is a celebrity. The live ones the dead ones. And since we all know that celebrity-hood is a kind of show, everyone is in show biz. Some of us have grand shows and some kind of meager. Still it's all show. And because we can't totally brainwash ourselves, we know it's all show, we are cynical about everything and everyone. It's all just for show baby! It's all about the money, the bling, the celebrity. Trust, honesty, truth, they are just props used to fool us. And if we fool ourselves really good we're sort of happy. But still, deep down, we know...

And the show isn't really real. But we don't care. We want the un-real show, not the real reality. There's a certain cynicism that goes with that, I mean we eat it breathe it, swim in it, but that's okay. It's the Apotheosis of Pop. And it sort of pops. And we know it's basically false, a lie, but that just more pop trope stuff. Throw it in the hopper. It all comes out in the wash!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dunderheads Unite! Act Now to Save the Earth!

The Age of Stupid sounds like a movie worth seeing. Might have to pin my eyelids open like Macolm Macdowell in Clockwork Orange to actually get through it.

I just read this review of the film in the New York Times. Not sure when it will open in the heartland. As always, the film industry seems to think we're just a bunch of dunderheads (might be right!) here in the Midwest.

According to Stephen Holden the movie is a "frightening jeremiad" about Climate Change. And then there is this:

"Others may find the challenges to humanity posed by the documentary so daunting that “The Age of Stupid” (the Archivist’s sarcastic nickname for our time) may convince viewers that, practically speaking, it is already too late to act. Cynics may assume that the ethic of consumerism is too deeply instilled in us to be changed, as is the faith in capitalism, which depends on continuous growth. If so, we might as well put the coming horrors out of our minds and live for the moment, while hoping for a miracle."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Window Farms!

The Lovely Carla reminds me that I'm not actually a guerilla gardener, since she does the gardening. It's true. But at least I live with a guerilla gardener, I am friends with guerilla gardeners, and I am sympathetic to the cause.

There is a new movement brewing. People picking a piece of land, maybe the backyard of an apartment building or a parkway, or an empty lot and planting flowers and vegetables. People are doing this for aesthetic reasons (beauty) , and practical reasons (food!) and just for the hell of it too.

It may become essential that we grow our own food in urban environments. People are doing it now. How about Window Farms!? Yes, why not!?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Iggy Pop Goes French

I am so pleased that Iggy Pop exists. If he didn't, I'd have to invent him. This little trailer for his latest album, a message especially for the French is an absolute classic.

Iggy dismisses the "idiot thugs" wielding guitars, and jumps into the arms of the French-speaking peoples of the world. Love it. Plus there's a dog in the story.

Who doesn't love a dog?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Golden Orb

I had this vision. It was crystal clear, like I was really experiencing it, and if you think that psychic energy is no different than any other kind of energy, then well, I probably really was. If you know what I mean.

Remember in Woody Allen's Sleeper, when he was pretending to be a robot and he was a waiter at the party and he and all the guests started fondling the Golden Orb?

Well, in my vision, I was fondling a Golden Orb! It wasn't an orgasmic kind of thing, but sort of elevating, or enlightening. And as my great teacher over at Psychic Everyday tells me, yes, you must honor your visions. They are a gift.

And ever since all kinds of cool things have been happening. People giving me money, and gifts, and helping build our new arts space. I have lately been showered with good will and money and positive vibes. And well, I'm doing my part too. I'm accepting it all with wonder and grace.

Nice vision.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scott Walker Speaks to Jesse Garon

I have been focusing my creative laser pretty intently on David Bowie and Brian Eno lately. Two quite interesting innovators in the pop universe. I was inspired to write a "play" based on Bowie's time with Eno in Berlin, and I also came across Scott Walker who it seems was a major influence on them.

Walker was a pop star in the late sixties, early seventies, but his band the Walker Brothers kind of imploded after a few albums - lots of personal demons and over-indulgence.

I get the impression the Walker Brothers were pretty big in England, not so much here. I totally missed them. None of them were really named Walker and they weren't really brothers anyway. They finally broke up and Scott Walker began making solo records. Walker started as a pop star and very soon he took a detour into very experimental music.

There's a really good movie just out on DVD which tells the whole Scott Walker saga called "The 30th Century Man." It's quite good. Walker comes across as a committed, avant garde artist making seriously whacked music.

I found this clip on YouTube. It's kind of a strange incantation. I think Walker is speaking to Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis' still-born twin. Now that's the kind of twisted shit I can really get behind. Listen to Walker's powerful baritone voice, you will hear a little Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Nick Cave, Antony & the Johnsons and then again, Walker is taking his vision to the outer reaches of the musical boundaries.

Totally inspiring, creepy, dark. Strangely beautiful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Long Life

My Aunt Helen, now long gone, God bless her soul, who, I'm told when she was young was "hell on wheels," used to say:

"If you don't smoke, drink, or chase girls you will live longer. Or at least it will seem longer."

Makes me sympathize with these rhesus monkeys. They suffer with a starvation diet so we can concoct some new miracle drug that will let us stay fat, lazy and live forever.

You have to hand it to the humans. We assume not one of us could actually be disciplined enough eat less on our own.

Bring on the DRUGS! Better living through chemistry baby!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cheney and the Assassins

Well, if it was secret it had to be a good one right? I mean I guess this one was such a good one, no one except Cheney and a few CIA operatives were in the know, and Mr. Darth Vader Cheney, well, he made sure everyone kept it on the down low.

No reason for Congress, or the American People (the great dim bystanders) to worry their fool heads about it. You just know Cheney had our best interests at heart. Sure.

Smacks of the worst kinds of abuses of power. Somehow Cheney was able to turn one of the hollowest of office jobs (Vice President - he's the guy who waits around just in case the other guy up and dies) into a little fiefdom wielding all the great dark powers known to modern man.

No sense comparing him to other masters of abuse, Cheney really is in a class by himself. He thrived in the shadows, answerable to no one, except Junior, who really didn't seem to know his ass from a hole in the ground.

We desperately need some dedicated investigative journalists to do some digging. Here's hoping. My money is on Seymour Hersh to help find the bodies and make an accounting. For those of us who still have a dim hope for our teetering democratic experiment, okay maybe it's not teetering, maybe it's already basically crashed and burned, still can't we pick up the pieces and try to re-make it?

From the ashes the Phoenix rises. Or do I mean the Phoenix Program? Such a shameful legacy. The American Karma train is packed with bad faith and dead bodies.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Arts Beat

On the arts beat, I've just finished a new theater piece, called "The Drugs," inspired by the book "Bowie in Berlin," which we will debut at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins Fest in August.

I'm pretty happy with the first stab at the script. It all just kind of came together in my head, and then when I actually got to the writing of it, well, it all came out fairly quickly and painlessly. I'm thinking it was just pure inspiration. It's actually one of my more optimistic pieces. Which was kind of a surprise.

And Bowie and his record "Low" really carried me along.

The other news, we found a new home for our little theater company. The day we moved out of the Peter Jones Gallery we had no clue where we'd end up. In short order, we found a little space, and quickly sealed the deal. It's small, really small, needs some work, but it's ours and we want it to be a multi-arts space: art gallery, theater, and music space.

Today we're going to knock a wall down. We need to do some plumbing and electrical work. We've found a circle of folks who all want to roll up their sleeves and help us. If all goes well, we'll have our first opening sometime this fall.

As Macbeth found out, sometimes the forest does walk. Black Forest one step at a time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Morning Report

Clearly we are insane. Michael Jackson is our King Tut. And that 24 karat gold plated coffin is just such a nice tribute. I guess you couldn't really find a better symbol for the madness of our pop consciousness.

And we're gonna cook ourselves in Carbon Dioxide. Think of Carbon Dioxide as Crisco, and well, the continents on this little blue planet are french fries, and we're gonna leave the frying time up to chance. Sounds like a great recipe for charred planet.

So there's this Global Warming thing, and like a bunch of Penguins sitting on a melting ice floe we're not really gonna do a damn thing about it except tut tut.

We are not only insane we are really, really dumb. The animals we're gonna take down with us are actually smarter than us. But most of them don't have hands or thumbs and they are captive to our stupidity.

And if we thought ooo baaa mmmaaa is gonna save us all, well, maybe it's time for a re-think. Except really thinking isn't our strong suit.

So, that's the state of things this morning. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Duality of the Dead Fish!

Dear reader, can I actually get three posts out of the Alaskan Dingbat's comment about dead fish?!

Yes I can!

Flow, what is it good for? Well, I remember reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience in the 90's too. And it was one of those profound, eye-opening experiences.

And I didn't even need to take off my pants.

So anyway, back to the dead fish thing. Going with the flow, being in the flow is an optimal experience. It's what I crave. And I can heartily recommend it to all you truth-seekers out there.

So yes, let's learn the lessons of the dead fish: glassy-eyed, slack-jawed, white belly pointing up to the sky. Do not struggle - surrender, let go, give it up, ride the slipstream.

And just what does a dead fish do? RISE UP to the surface to meet a new reality!

Of course, there's also a downside - a dead fish is stinky and of course, dead! But hey, no one promised us a rose garden! Viva la dead fish!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

dead fish!

As Godinla reminds me, "icebergs go with the flow too." And they are "powerful and meaningful... with potential beneath the surface."

Yes. All good points.

Still, I refuse to give up on the dead fish.

Alaskan Dingbat vs dead fish... I'll take the dead fish every time.

A game of horse? dead fish!

A game of chicken? dead fish!

A street fight? dead fish!

An IQ test? Not even close - dead fish!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Guess I'm a Freaking Dead Fish!

Some dingbat in Alaska said "only dead fish go with the flow."

Shit, that is my whole modus operandi.

Belly up and floating in the slipstream...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Saga of Disillusion and Enlightenment

Another of my favorite bands is Chicago's very own Wilco. They've been putting out really excellent music (Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, A Ghost is Born, Summerteeth, Blue Sky Blue) for quite a few years now. They've had plenty of lineup changes, but their addition of the amazing Nels Cline on lead guitar a few years ago has propelled them to a new level.

I haven't seen them live, but I do own "Kicking Television" a live set that captured them burning down the house in Chicago. It's quite good.

Anyway, there's a nice write-up about them in Sunday's New York Times. Seems Jeff Tweedy, their front man, lead singer and songwriter is in a good place. Clean and sober and maybe sort of "happy."

He's kind of an anti-rock star - no white gloves! Or as he told his young son (a drummer in his own band): "You are not a rock star. You get to do rock star things." Susan Miller (Jeff Tweedy's wife) says about Tweedy: "I think he's very comfortable with himself now. I think it feels good to be a good guy."

And this from Jeff Tweedy himself sort of sums up my view on existence too: "It seems more romantic now to acknowledge that you're committed to a mystery. You're pledging allegiance to an ongoing saga of disillusion and enlightenment at the same time."

Amen Mr. Tweedy!

Here's a great clip of them doing "Impossible Germany" from their last album Sky Blue Sky...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Great Vampire Squid!

Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article "The Great American Bubble Machine" takes on Goldman Sachs.

Matt shows that Goldman Sachs is very much like The Bavarian Illuminati as detailed by Robert Anton Wilson in his glorious The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

Matt is truly a great writer. He's looking under the covers of our corrupt Oligarchy and finds gold. The story begins...

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

Folks we've been swindled. Over and over again. The bubble machine is relentless! Takes your breath away!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

King of Pain

It turns out the King of Pop really was the King of Pain. Even though he may have brought a lot of pleasure and joy to billions of music fans around the world, he seemed to reside in his own very private hell.

That's a premise for a novel, or movie, or maybe just a trashy TV mini-series. But we don't really need to see it. We all know way too much about this particular King, although, really, most of us never knew the man. Can one soul ever really know another?

This same King had way too many eyeballs on him. Way too many cameras flashed on him. There's way too much video. A universe of images. The images are not the man, not the same thing at all. The images have life of their own. And they will continue to spin out for a long time. There's money to made. Fortunes to build. Some people are worth more dead than alive.

"Authorities are investigating allegations that the 50-year-old Jackson had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants."

And this is not a surprising development. Sometimes I think the Pharmaceutical Industry is an incredibly seductive criminal enterprise. And if you have enough money and pain, with Doctors on the payroll, well, there's a prescription for every ailment, real or imaginary.

This happened to another King too. A bloated whale of a man. So different, almost the reverse mirror image of this latest version. And it didn't turn out all that well for that guy either. Until he died. And then well, the King becomes a Deity. And we worship at the altar of fame and fortune and untimely death. We turn a sordid and sad life into pop cultural myth. It's a strange and amazing thing of necrotic beauty.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Acupunture!

Acupuncture!

How can sticking little needles in your body help you heal?

I don't know.

Ancient Chinese secret.

Let's say you have an ailment. Sore elbow. Sore tendon. Sore knee. Oh hell, let's say your complete body is just one big soreness.

Find a reputable practitioner and volunteer to be a pin cushion. Add a little electric stimulation and open those channels. Get the "chi" flowing.

Fuck pharmaceuticals. They only lead to dead celebrities.

As my Psychic Everyday Says: Healer, Heal Thy Self!

We are the Placebo!

Acupuncture! Works for me!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

"The only truly heroic act is to enjoy the very simple act of being alive." - David Bowie

I have been swimming in Bowie. And finding great inspiration. Hopefully my next theater piece will emerge from sinking deep into my Bowie studies.

I have been listening to Low and "Heroes" quite obsessively. My new favorite song of all time is an old one. A towering song, now "so last century," about lovers in the shadow of a wall that no longer exists.

Last night the Lovely Carla and I tried to work out an arrangement of it to play at the upcoming open mic. Breaking the song down into parts, trying to make it fly. Sort of a daunting task.

Beautifully written, the chords are simple and flow so easily one to the next. Any interpretation really is a reduction. Still I love it and want to do it.

Here's Bowie and band making it fly live:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

WWSP - Lady in the Sand

You never know what you'll find on the Internet! Yesterday I came across a video posted by the Lovely Sara, our fabulous bass player. She had uploaded a video of "Lady in the Sand" at our WhiteWolfSonicPrincess (WWSP) show at the Red Line Tap almost a year ago.

I didn't remember it as a totally successful night. I think we were having problems hearing ourselves, but the video actually sounds pretty good. The Lovely Carla is on vocals, Sanjay on drums, Sara on bass, and jimmy jammer in the funny hat!

We were trying out a new song, (why not!?) and I think we did it justice. In the foreground is the incomparable Charles, our very own interpretive dancer. He puts on quite the show. Maybe my favorite part is the empty glass in the left hand corner, sitting there clear and empty waiting to be filled with... sonic something!

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