wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gloriously Sad and Mournful!

So I'm working on Neil Young songs for our special show in September. It is pure pleasure. Something about his music and sensibility just resonate with me. Some people think he's sad or mournful. For me, even the sad, mournful songs, or no, maybe especially the sad, mournful ones just always give me an adrenaline kick. Maybe something to do with my obsession with death?!

I picked a bunch of tunes to do without thinking too hard, they are just some of the favorites that immediately popped into my head. Upon reflection, I'm thinking there is a theme. Here are my picks with my capsule descriptions:

1. Needle and the Damage Done - a short acoustic ditty about heroin addiction and early death.
2. Tonight's the Night - a haunting D minor tune about heroin addiction and early death.
3. Powderfinger - a haunting, mytho-poetic novella in song-form about violent death on the river.
4. Down By the River - a lament, and an extended jam about violent death on the river.
5. Fucking Up - a raucous rocker about fucking up!
6. Cowgirl in the Sand - a glorious anthem about (I think!) a relationship gone south.

That's the mini-set. Should be a raucous night of good fun! Gloriously sad and mournful too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This Life-Time it's Hair!

The Lovely Carla has convinced me that I have come back this life-time to work out my "hair issues." This life-time it's all about hair for me.

Maybe I was bald in another life. Or, maybe I was beheaded. Or maybe I had curly hair, but badly wanted straight hair. Maybe.

My hair has a mind of it's own. And I'm always in battle with it. It doesn't matter: long, short, or medium length. It is unmanageable! And it always sort of looks silly. Like it doesn't really belong on my head.

I guess I should just be grateful that I have hair. Although, ever since Michael Jordan it seems like a shiny bald head is pretty cool.

Still I have my hair, and I must live with it. It's my mission this time around.

A Bodhisattva is an enlightened being who comes back to this realm to help other beings find Nirvana. That seems a little ambitious, I am trying to get my hair to behave!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grand Consciousness Changer!

Seems we are always rooting for the UNDERDOG! Must somehow be imprinted into our neural networks. Or... something ...

So we were in the kitchen on a Sunday evening talking about the state of the Universe, the state of Humanity, and the all twisted knots with which we have tied ourselves up.

There is a pervasive bleakness that sort of envelops us like a big, black, cloud during any conversation about our wacky modern (Or is it post-modern?) situation.

When all is said and done, there doesn't seem to be any elegant way out of the muck. Finally we are left to root for some kind of GRAND CONSCIOUSNESS CHANGER, some kind of new period of enlightenment, something we can't even imagine, that will descend upon humanity, and then suddenly everything will change, humanity will improbably and finally see the light!

Seems sort of unlikely, but that is where our hope hides out... we root for the unlikely, the unseen, the unknown; we root for the UNDERDOG view to over-take us and to transform humanity and it's view of the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Rocked, We Soared, We Played to the Trees!

Our band, Whitewolfsonicprincess (one word!) played a unique show last night. A church picnic on the lakefront! We were accompanied by a raging Lake Michigan. The wind off the lake must of have been whipping at about 20 miles an hour or so.

So anyway, it was sort of like playing in a wind tunnel. We were in a little grove, and we played to the trees! I must say our band was superb! We have gotten tighter and tighter, which means we are looser and looser too. Strange, but true.

We sang and played with total confidence, and a little abandon too. Our little P.A. did an admirable job against the elements. We were happy all around.

I tried out these new guitar strings on my big old acoustic guitar and I am just so pleased with them. They are called Elixirs! They are coated with a thin film of Gore-Tex. Weird. They feel smooth, silky, and supposedly they last longer than normal strings.

I play so hard, when I get into it, I bring lots of passion to my playing and I hit the strings with major force and velocity, think Pete Townsend; and I do have a propensity to break strings. So far the Elixirs have been great. No problems last night! We rocked, we soared, we braved the elements. And weren't intimidated in the least by the Church People!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

R&R Distortion Master!

One of my favorite things to do in the world is put on a Neil Young CD and play along in the kitchen. My neighbors probably don't love it, I like to crank my little tube amp, turn up my overdrive pedal and jam away.

And now that we are planning a Neil Young night in September, I have extra motivation to play Neil Young songs. I'm a big fan of Tonight's the Night, On the Beach, Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Ragged Glory, etc.

Last night on the radio two rock critics "dissected" Neil's great Rust Never Sleeps. Usually I don't agree with those two guys. And even when I agree with them, they just seem so damn annoying. Still, I did enjoy their discussion of Neil's great album.

Neil's music is so powerful, so emotional, so mythological. I'm so in awe of the man and his music. And I have always loved his great guitar sound. Neil is both the sensitive singer-songwriter, and the combustible rock and roll distortion master. Love that beautiful dichotomy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Watch!

Maybe some days you just don't ask any questions.

And you don't venture any answers either!

You just hunker down and watch!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Convenient!

We emerged out the the elements of the Universe.

We then invented God and Religion to explain things to ourselves.

We then pretended we didn't remember, or we intentionally forgot, that we invented God and Religion.

How convenient!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Mystic Trinity

How to deal with the post-event blues? Throw yourself head-long into another event! We are working on another night of music dedicated to one of our favorite inspirers. The idea is simple. Pick a musical artist that has a great catalog of songs, and then invite a bunch of solo acts and bands to pick songs to play.

First we did a John Lennon night, then it was Bob Dylan. This time around we have settled on Neil Young. And really for me that is some kind of Mystic Trinity.

I propose it goes like this: Dylan is the Father, (he truly is an Old Testament Character) Lennon is the Son, (the Chosen One, the One who Died for Our Sins) and Neil is the Holy Ghost (he works in mysterious ways combining a shaky, haunting voice with glorious over-driven r&r.)!

NeilYoungPoster

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Flip-Side

It is inevitable. You have moments of transcendence, but then they dissolve. You can't hold on to them, can't prolong them. You realize you live for those moments. But they are fleeting.

That reality used to really send me into a tail-spin. Now, less so. The hollowness that follows is just part of the process. The flip-side that always comes along for the ride.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not the Thing Itself!

One of the things I love about "theater" is that it can't be contained or "commodified!" I guess I mean, you can't reduce it to a video or a picture. Videos and pictures of a theatrical performance are notoriously flat, static and bad.

We've made some videos of our theater work, and frankly they seem dead. So in order to fully appreciate the work, you have to be there; in that room at that moment. It's a multi-dimensional phenomenon, sort of like life.

The other thing about our theatrical work in particular: we are always trying to resist explanations, labels and simple meanings. I guess this reflects our sort of grand "philosophy" or world view. The belief that life is ultimately mysterious.

So our work is sort of schizoid, abstract, puzzling, because that is how we perceive the world we live in. And the work and our perceptions of the world are also fleeting and evanescent. So you perform a piece, it is a focal point of energy for a short time, and then it dissolves, disappears. And any record of it is only partial and paltry, and "not the thing itself!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pure Joy!

We performed at the Abbie Fest last night. A packed house. It seemed like the audience was with us. They pretty much tracked with us, and if they didn't track with us, well, they just went along for the ride. Can't really ask for more.

It wasn't a perfect performance, we had a few glitches, but we didn't panic, kind of held it together, and carried it through. I do think you can rehearse a show to death, (which in this case we didn't, if anything we were a little under-rehearsed) and still when you get up on stage in front of a real live audience, it's a new thing. We were riding the energy of the room, which was a big rollicking beast.

I do love the Abbie Fest. It's a true celebration of theater, art, creativity. And it's overstuffed with people and talent, and energy. And it's a mad, crazy ride! Pure joy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One Shot. Signifying Something.

Last night watching theater at the Abbie Fest, I couldn't help but think I was losing the grand narrative thread. I mean to life, not theater. Was there ever really a grand narrative thread? I don't know.

Anyway, it made for a sort of unsettling evening. Lots of sound and fury. Signifying something, but not sure what.

Which is not a bad preamble for our show tonight, a new piece, a little blast of madness, sort of characteristic of our work over the last few years. It feels like we have found a form, a sort of Waring Blender of elements, all whirring around together, adding up to something.

We perform at the Fest once. One time. One shot. I think that's appropriate too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Talking to People in the Heartland

The last few days I've talked to some folks that I usually don't talk to. A couple Midwestern Moms. They are bummed out. Worried about their much less valuable houses, worried about their constantly vanishing 401Ks, worried about their just going to college kids, worried about a dim future.

I know Moms are worriers, but these particular Moms have typically been happy, dynamic, funny and friendly. I detected a little bit of panic in their voices at how things are rolling out. I think when a country loses the Midwestern Moms, it is in big time trouble. You sort of need people to believe that the future will be a better place. Not a yawning black hole of death!

And then that little Dude with the beard keeps hammering on how we haven't learned a damn thing from history or economics. When there is panic in the air, people cling to their prejudices - and this goes for politicians and economists too.

Lots of stupidity, lots of denialism, lots of blinkered thinking. I think that's how a country goes off the cliff... look out below!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strangled by The Bow-Tie!

This Bow-Tie post by John Robb is revelatory. We kind of intuited that the Global Financial Network was a rigged game, but didn't know if it was just another manifestation of our normal state of paranoia!

It is great to see that someone actually studied the network and presents the evidence. How scientific and real world of them!

So while the politicians dither, and kick the shins of the poor people of the world, we find that the real problem is a "cancer" at the heart of the global system!

"It is in effect, the world's first super-organism. 147 trans-national companies that the global core that is owned by itself (3/4 of the ownership of firm's in this organism are owned by firms in the organism). This organism is beyond governments. If it is self serving (and this shouldn't be too hard to assume), it is the equivalent of a biological cancer that has metastasized." - J. Robb

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't Worry It Won't Go to My Head!

So we were in the middle of another intense mixing session at the recording studio. Tweaking one of our tracks. As I've noted before, the more you listen, the more you hear. It's uncanny!

I have come to love the process, it's sort of like wandering around in a sonic hall of mirrors. There is an alchemy, a chemistry of sound. Very cool.

And we were talking about one of my guitar tracks. And then the Recording Engineer (a virtuoso guitarist in his own right) said the following:

"I love the sound of your guitar... it has a liquid, Hendrixy feel..."

All I can say is "Wow!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Branding the Band!

We had some guests for a couple days. "Gradual students" doing a road-trip across the country. They are "couch surfing" their way across the land. They started in New York and will end up in Seattle.

Turns out the guy is a musician who is majoring in business administration with the goal of starting his own music publishing company. He was a fount of knowledge about music, and "branding" a band.

We were interested because we are in the midst a major step forward from our self-recorded efforts; a professionally engineered, recorded, mixed and mastered set of WhiteWolfSonicPrincess music. According to our guest, we need to tell people who we are in a couple nifty sentences. This has been a problem for us, our band's sound is pretty expansive and we're probably too close to it.

We played him a few cuts from our "work in progress." He described our sound this way: Uncle Tupelo/meets Cowboy Junkies/meets Gillian Welch meets Woodstock Nation where The Jefferson Airplane/the Grateful Dead/and Santana sit in for jam session.

Other people have told us they heard influences like The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue and Tori Amos ?!?!

When we told him our band name WhiteWolfSonicPrincess, his eyes just sort of glazed over. This happens all the time. I think it's because it's just too many syllables. Six syllables! What were we thinking?!

Think of all those two and three syllable bands: The Who, The Kinks, The Beatles, Wilco, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Santana... the only outlier I can think of at the moment is The Red Hot Chili Peppers (7 syllables probably takes the cake!).

So we have a name problem. But on the other hand, the upside, if you Google WhiteWolfSonicPrincess, or White Wolf Sonic Princess, we are the only thing that comes up!

And just why did we pick that name? Sounded good at the time. A Male/Female, Yin/Yang kind of amalgam. It is one thing. One thing! Can we get people to remember it!? Once our disc is finished we want lots of people to hear it. And to remember it. Will it happen? I guess we will find out...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pictures on the Wind

We rehearsed ourselves into a solid state of bleary-eyed-ness, and made significant progress on our little performance piece yesterday. Seems some folks are actually looking forward to seeing what we do at Abbie Fest this year.

It's always surprising to find that people do remember us, and remember some of our previous efforts. We have sort of found a form - we mix music, monologues, short scenes and poetry and keep it all moving quickly.

The last three or four pieces seem to me like excerpts from the same long-form work. It might be cool to put them all together at some point. We are making something, but it's funny, we get up on stage, do our thing and then melt back into the audience.

It's kind of like writing pictures on the wind...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"All of this shouldn't be here."

We visited the Mary Archie Theater last night to do a "tech run" of our show. We stepped through our piece and worked out the lights and sound. It was thrilling to be back on the Mary Archie stage. It is a great little space. The definitive black box theater. A place of good work and magic...

Afterwards we had a impromptu chat with the founder and proprietor of the theater. The man is a Wild Dog for sure... he said something that is still resonating with me this morning...

"We shouldn't even be here. All of this shouldn't be here..."

For some reason, I took this as a profound statement about our existential existence! And unaccountably, it was an exhilarating insight!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Coutdown to Abbie Fest

The countdown to the 23rd Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins Fest is now 6 days. The Fest this year runs August 19, 20 & 21, pretty much non-stop from Friday evening to the wee hours of Sunday night.

It has become a tradition for us. And we are not big on traditions. We wrote a piece called "You Must Believe" especially for the fest. This has kind of become our modus operandi! We used to do scenes from "works in progress" but lately we've not been doing lots of work, or making lots of progress. So we've risen to the challenge of writing in the moment for the moment.

Yes, and of course, the world is in turmoil: wars, famine, politicians dithering, people dying, people pissed off, markets up and down, whatever. And if you are in the "creative arts" ultimately all that "toil and trouble" is just so much mulch, fertilizer, and raw material for the "good work," whether it's a theater piece, a song, a poem, whatever...

People ask me, "where do you get your ideas?" I guess the best answer is "open your eyes!"

Our new piece is definitely a "zeitgeist-catcher." What do/must we believe in, in a world where believing in anything looks like a mug's game? At least I think that's what our piece is about.

Other people have described our work as "off-kilter," "abstract," "rock and roll theater." That's pretty good!

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Experiment?

It seems last century pretty much discredited the whole communist experiment.

It seems like in this century we are witnessing the discrediting of whole capitalist experiment.

Maybe it's time for a new experiment?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall!

Maybe we forget that everything "man-made" fails. And of course, everything "nature-made" fails too. Failure is built into the fabric of existence.

We build systems and think these systems have a life of their own, but they don't. They are our tools. They are the tools we build things with, but the tools and the things we build crumble and fail too.

And the bigger, more complex the systems we build, the bigger and more complex the failures we unleash upon ourselves.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boat-Loads of Free Money!

Give the people, the little common ones, boat-loads of FREE MONEY! I agree with Atrios. That was always the simplest, easiest and most direct way of "fixing" the financial crisis.

Maybe it sounds stupid. And people will tell you that it just can't be done. Smacks of socialism or something, but of course we ended up printing up boat-loads of money and then shoveled it to the Banksters, and then they basically hoarded it for themselves.

And the people continue to spiral down. And now all this talk of "austerity," and "budget cuts" is really a way of punishing "the people" for the sins of the wealthy elites. And, of course, as Paul Krugman points out, austerity in the face of this kind of economic down-turn is the worst kind of medicine.

"I’m still trying to make sense of this global intellectual failure. But the results are not in question: we are making a total mess of a solvable problem, with consequences that will haunt us for decades to come." - Paul Krugman

You might think the people in charge are just idiots, everything they are doing is actually making the problem worse, not better, but I think they are also greedy, unhappy folks who don't want to admit they don't know what they are doing, and they want to make us all suffer. Just because they can...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Coffee Round-Table

At the neighborhood coffee round-table, everyone noted the "panic" of the markets. One of the coffee-talkers announced that the panic was "irrational." When I suggested that the market is "irrational" when it goes up too, silence descended.

When I further suggested that the market has been "disconnected" from reality for a long time, someone else decided to change the subject, as if to suggest such a thing was beyond the pale.*

The conversation then turned to Mary Tyler Moore. Was she a "feminist role model," or just a "meek, submissive schlub?" It seems the knock against her was that on her show, she always called Mr. Grant, Mr. Grant.

That phrase "disconnected from reality" stuck with me for the rest of the day...

*BTW - This all folds in nicely with my theory that human beings are essentially "irrational" and that we pretend, or put on the mask of rationality when it's convenient. So it's not surprising that markets are irrational too, since the market is made up of many irrational actors. The problem with politics and economics is that we assume that people will act rationally when it comes to voting, or spending money; but I think it's clear that this is a false assumption!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Theater Magic

Well just how does theatrical magic begin? A script. A boom box. A small empty space with a cheap linoleum floor. Two people stumbling through lines and songs. Lots of hope and good intentions. And a determination not to suck.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

D2 is Materializing Before Our Eyes!

John Robb is another one of those "go-to" guys. He always has a forward-thinking view of the world. He is a strategic thinker. He's been talking about the failure of the nation-state for a long time now.

And also the over-complexity of the global market. I think his basic point is that the global market is too complex for us to regulate and make work to "our" benefit. It's just too big, with too many conflicting and contradictory forces. He's been predicting a a major failure and re-ordering of the landscape for awhile now. His predictions seem to be materializing.

Robb is not just a doom-sayer. He is an advocate for a new order based on resilient communities. He's calling the 2nd Global Depression D2... Catchy!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Long Live Krugman!

Sure he's kind of wonky. He is a professor and he's got beard. Probably wears those suit-coats with patches on the elbows, but if you don't read Paul Krugman, then you are missing out on the only guy on the planet who seems to know what he's talking about.

He's a liberal, which is out of fashion, and he's a Keynesian, which is also I guess out of fashion, especially with the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago school of Economics. Turns out being out of fashion means you have the finger on the pulse of what's happening in the economy and in the political corridors of power...

Long live Krugman! And what is his secret? Clear seeing, clear thinking!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Our Essential Dupe-hood!

You watch our "democracy" at work and wince. It's hard not to be cynical. You still have hope. You still vote. You still stay engaged. You feel that if you don't vote and aren't engaged you are just a Dupe. But then again, you vote and stay engaged and feel like a Dupe too. Maybe that's why it all seems so pathetic. We have all achieved a complete and certain Dupe-hood...

Or as Matt Taibbi puts it (speaking of our hired representatives):

"But to a bunch of hired stooges put in office to lend an air of democratic legitimacy to what has essentially become a bureaucratic-oligarchic state, what good does such advice do? Would it have made sense to send the Supreme Soviet under Andropov or Brezhnyev a list of policy ideas for enhancing the civil liberties of Soviet citizens?"

You mention the Soviets and it all seems so clear. Here in the American Aquarium it is all so murky. But "bureaucratic-oligarchic state" rings so true...

And then the market tanks, and you know you probably shouldn't root for it to crash, still you kind of think it might be a good thing. Maybe the Wall Streeters need to feel our pain. Maybe then the stooges wake up?!

You vow not to hold your breath on that one...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

American Exceptionalism

I don't want to down-talk America. But I was thinking about this concept of American Exceptionalism...

Some folks have put us up as an example of the shining city on the hill. But it is conveniently forgotten that our nation was founded on genocide (once we cleared the land of "Native" Americans and bison, we raped and pillaged the land!) and slavery.

I guess that is kind of exceptional. But maybe not in the way some people use the term.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Internal Monologue No Voices Required...

Now we can get back to normal...

Normal? What are you talking about? There is no normal.

Well now we can get back to the way things "used to be..."

There is no "used to be." That's a figment of your imagination.

Well now...

Get used to this... there's nowhere to go back to, there is no normal. Never has been. We are in uncharted waters. Always have been. All you can do is keep swimming and try not to drown in the stupidity.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Voracious Consumers!

As a diversion from the madness, we got into watching The Walking Dead a series that runs on AMC. We are watching it on DVD (no commercials) and are 4 episodes into it. It's kind of gory. Lots of blood, shooting and chasing. But it does seem pretty well-made and intelligent. To me it seems like some grand allegory.

I mean, there's these VORACIOUS CONSUMERS who are over-running the country. They are just plain hungry all the time. They are bloody, mindless, super-consumers. Remind you of anyone? I mean, did Putin just call the U.S. a parasite?!?

And then there's a small group of "survivors" who by luck and pluck are trying to make a new life. These are sort of an example of John Robb's proposed "resilient community." I guess these are the good common folks who are just trying to make it.

Suddenly all the things of advanced civilization have fallen by the wayside and these folks have to summon their courage and any skills they may happen to have, and use them to the best of their abilities (maybe that in itself is some kind of self-empowerment fantasy?!).

I'm reading it all as some collective dream or nightmare that our culture is having right now. Maybe by imagining the worst that could happen we deflate it, or forestall it, or maybe it's some kind collective premonition of what's coming.

It is sort of entertaining to watch people carry on in the face of the horror. Maybe that's a fantasy we all need to get our heads around!

Monday, August 01, 2011

An Instructive Suckiness!

What's really going on? The Empire is crumbling. Why? As John Robb tells it...

"... we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces. A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth. The result was inevitable: gross misallocation across all facets of the private economy."

And what about that deal our "leaders" have negotiated to solve a crisis of their own monumental stupidity?

As Kevin Drums tells it... "It sucks!" Which shouldn't be surprising.

And shouldn't lead you to despair. No, my positive spin for the morning is that of course the deal sucks, but don't worry it's an instructive suckiness! Our leaders are over-matched. They reflect the conflicted and unrealistic hopes and dreams of the citizenry.

The nation state is a failed state. The game is over. We will need to abandon our failed institutions and start over from a healthier grassroots-led movement based on love and happiness - not capital! Not bad news. Good news!

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