WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Innocence is a Relative Term

Of course, innocence (see previous post), is a relative term. What if you are kid today and other kids are selling heroin in the halls or parking lots of your grade school?

Or what if your fellow school mates are carrying knives or guns with them to school? Or what if drones fly in your neighborhood? Or car bombs explode often? And your mom isn't at home, or you don't have a mom, or a home? And you don't know if you will have a meal today or not?

Some kids don't really get to be kids. And innocence is a relative term, a relative state of being.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It was a more innocent time, because we were kids...

Yes, this is so obviously true, it's easy to miss.  When we think of the past, we think of it as a more innocent time. This is because, if we were lucky, it was, for us. We were children then. And if you were a kid growing up in suburbia, (especially), you grew up in a sort of sheltered utopia.

Your needs were few, and they were met. Your desires were simple. Your mom fed you when you were hungry. You spent lots of time playing, daydreaming and wandering the neighborhood.

Now there's lot more to think about and do.  Still, things also seem a little crazier today. More people, less resources. More information. Less understanding. But if you are a kid, you still live in the world of kid things and one of those things is a semblance of innocence.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Rosemary's Baby" - It Extends Backwards and Forwards!


We saw "Rosemary's Baby" at the Music Box Theater on Sunday. It's not really a "scary movie," at least not when you see it today, it's more of a "social satire," it's a supremely well-made movie, one of Roman Polanski's finest. It's about "selling out," a kind of quaint concept now that basically everyone is already sold.

You can "read the movie" as a self-contained document, or you can look at it as a pop culture crossroads, a map of our culture.  Here's what I mean...

The movie is about the Dakota. A big old building just off Central Park in New York. When it was filmed, (in 1968) it probably was just a cool old building to use. But of course today it's a famous building. Yoko Ono lives there. John Lennon was murdered in front of it.

The movie is about an actor selling his first-born son to the devil for a Hollywood career. But this character is played by John Cassavetes a stubbornly independent, avant garde filmmaker who never compromised with the Hollywood machine.

Mia Farrow plays his wife. Mia spent time with the Beatles in India, the Maharishi supposedly made a pass at her, and Lennon wrote "Sexy Sadie" as a result. He also learned finger-picking from Donovan on that trip and wrote "Dear Prudence," about Mia's sister.

Mia is so young and child-like in the film. She seems too young, too innocent to be a mother. She also is a dead-ringer for "Joan of Arc," and an early silent film about that Saint. Mia was also "sainted" by Woody Allen later in a movie called "Alice." And of course Mia ended up in a blood-feud with Woody Allen when he ended up in a relationship with Soon Yi, a girl Mia had adopted.

The movie came out in 1968. In 1969 Polanski's wife was murdered by the "Manson family," a weird, satanic-like cult that resembles the cooky satanic cult in the film. Sharon Tate, Polanski's wife was pregnant at the time of her murder. Polanski did "sell his soul" to the Hollywood machine for a few years. And he made some great movies, including "Chinatown." Later he fled Hollywood when it was discovered that he had had sex with an underage, child-like girl at Jack Nicholson's house.

The film is filled with all these amazing character actors. It's kind of a history of film with Ruth Gordon chewing up every scene she's in like the shark in "Jaws." Plus there's Ralph Bellamy, Elisha Cook and "Gladys" from that old Andy Griffith show. 

The movie seems like a document of Polanksi's fascination and horror with working in the belly of the beast of Hollywood. It's a tribute and an indictment.  It's a weird movie to see today. It extends backwards and forwards.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Will Miss Lou Reed - Linger On

This morning, on the radio, I hear that Lou Reed has died. I first heard Lou Reed on the radio in the early seventies. I remember being a kid, listening to the FM radio station in my room, the Velvet's "Rock & Roll" came on the radio. I had never heard anything like it. It sounded so "New York," smart, edgy, raw, kind of funny, sort of trashy, a little bit dangerous too. So un-Beatles.

I remembered that moment! It was one of those records that opened my eyes and ears. There was a big world outside of my little world and the Velvets and Lou Reed came from another side of the world. 

Lou Reed was never a role model when it came to life-style. He was the rock & roll animal. You wouldn't really want to do drugs like he did drugs. You probably wouldn't want to have sex with the people he had sex with. You didn't want to live inside his head.

But the music, the lyrics, the voice, the dedication to making rock & roll songs that mattered, yes, that kind of artistic integrity was admirable, and inspiring. In that respect he certainly was a role model.  Lou Reed was a major force in r&r and a major voice in my life. And his music still means a lot to me.  I will miss Lou Reed.

 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Age of Bullshit, and Bullshitters

I do think this is the Age of Bullshit. And of the Bullshit Artist.  There are whole industries devoted to churning out bullshit. And there are fortunes being made founded on the apotheosis of bullshit. It's a business model, a way of life.

There are media empires, governments, churches, multi-national corporations, book clubs, financial advisors, business savants, all dedicated to the power and glory of bullshit.  Check out Hollywood too -the dream factory of bullshit. And the music industry - the snappy pop of bullshit.

We swim in the stuff. Live it, breathe it.  It's overwhelming. And amazing too. Lots and lots of people believe their own bullshit, and the bullshit of others. It's hard not to join the herd of bullshit. It's fun. And lively, and seductive to just submit. And churn up some of your own.

Bullshit rules!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Always...

At least you can tell yourself...

"I don't always lose."

"I don't always win."

"I don't always do anything."

"There is no always."

And maybe you can be happy anyway... but probably not always...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Descends and Lifts

The black cloud descends. And it seems like it's always been there. Hovering, smothering. Making everything dark.

The black cloud lifts. And it seems like it's never been there, it never existed. There is only sunshine. And a fresh breeze. And everything is bathed in light.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don't Go Down There!

"Don't open that door. Don't go down there. That's where the bodies are buried. That's where all the broken stuff ends up. It's not pleasant down there. There are ghosts, phantoms, spiders, snakes. Don't open that door. Don't go there. You go down there, you may never come back..."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't Bogart!

Are drugs a scourge on our society? Yes. Should marijuana be legalized? Yes. Will it happen nationally in our lifetime? Ask Kevin Drum, he predicts it will be legal by around 2020. 

I'm definitely for a sober, clear-eyed existence. But some recreational mind-altering seems fine to me. I think the pharmaceutical industry is disgusting, and that the medicalization of drugs is a big problem. And I think prohibition of drugs has just made for a thriving underground market. 

Drug addiction should not be "criminalized,"but treated as a "disease." Seems simple. It would save us lots of $ and heartache, and free up lots of prison space.

It's all a long way from Country Joe and the Fish... maybe this smacks of a more innocent time... but really come on, don't Bogart that joint my friend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Hard Streets are Harder

There is this sense that the hard streets are harder. That people are more cynical, sarcastic and cutting than ever. That the drugs are more effective, and more prevalent. That there are more guns, and more people willing to use them.

That the bonds of society are frayed. Less loyalty. Less trust. Less love. More money, less well-distributed amongst the herd. Everything seems faster, more connected, and less fulfilling or enlightening. Huge gobs of money are lavished on people who maximize human trivialities - see the radio charts, the movie charts, the Wall Street fat boys.

Maybe it's just a sign of "growing up." Of getting older and seeing things with a colder eye. But the hard streets seem hard, really, really hard.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Doing is the Meaning

I suppose if you are thinking of, looking for "meaning" you are already lost, but sometimes being lost is just fine, maybe essential, and not a bad state at all.

Lost means you've dropped some of your preconceptions, you've kicked them out the door, and you are looking with new eyes.

Maybe it really is as simple as finding the meaning in the doing. And you don't get hung up on meaning, you are just in the doing, and the doing is the meaning.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Enjoy the Music, Change the World!

Yes, earlier this week our band whitewolfsonicprincess released two digital albums to bandcamp. One is our debut CD as a band called 10+1...

And the other one is a 5-song EP of a live show recorded at a nearly 100 year old church with other-worldly acoustics... Very happy with both albums and love bandcamp. It's just a great little ecosystem for bands, every kind of music available from all over the globe. 

We are also putting a little of our idealism into action, 50% of all proceeds from our digital albums will be donated to the Earth Network's Canopy Project. Their goal is to plant 10 million trees in 5 years in impoverished communities all over the world. Stunning. Cool. We are honored to give back... Our new motto: Enjoy the Music, Change the World!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Day, My Song!

I'm declaring today, "my day!" So yes, it's my day and I'm gonna just enjoy it. Every moment. And my theme song is gonna be this one. Alex Chilton mangling "Sugar, Sugar." Yes, he totally mangles it. Glorious, isn't it!?@!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Pure Poetry on the Tongue!

Pure poetry...

Some think Byron, Keats, Shelley. Or maybe Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti... or Shakespeare, or Dylan, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, Jim Morrison...

This morning I think Intelligentsia's copywriters: "Organic Kurimi Ethiopia - intense floral aromatics are typical of Ethiopia coffees, though rarely as well articulated as with this coffee. A remarkable perfume of hibiscus and rosewater on the nose leads to a delicate cup with a silky mouthfeel and soft pomegranate notes."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Royal Scam!

False Idol. If your highest value is the almighty buck, if money is everything, and everything is money, if every thing can be bought and sold (and dear Pilgrim this seems to be the state we live in), well then, everything is basically flim-flam. We live in the midst of the Royal Scam. And we are over-run with scammers, flammers, and con men. Then everyone is just working an angle. Everyone is on the take. If all you can trust is the buck, well then, trust is paper-thin! And maybe not even worth the price of the paper!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paper With Some Nice Pictures On It

It's kind of funny that it's a band of right-wing lunatics, elected by a bunch of right-wing lunatics that is making good old USA look like a big, flimsy, teetering behemoth.  You wonder if a deal will be hatched before the deadline. And it all just looks like an accounting fiasco. And the all-American dollar looks like a little piece of paper with some nice pictures on it. And it's not some exotic foreign power that threatens to bring the country to it's knees, but a group of homegrown fanatics who claim to know what's best for everyone else.  It's kind of funny and pathetic and a sign of the times.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crazy-Making Ideas!

And what makes us so crazy? (See previous post).  Well, I'd venture two things primarily drive us completely nuts.

1. We know we are going to die. We don't want to die. For some wacky reason, we think we want to live forever. Stay young and live forever. We kind of hope death will overlook us. This is impossible and life is always reminding us that this is impossible. And probably not even good for us. So we live with the irrational hope and the rational reality. And it makes us nuts.

2. We think we are the center of the universe. I mean, again, it's obvious we are not, but we want to be the center of the universe. And we want everyone to worry about us, and make love to us, and care about us, and well, think of us as essential.  And again, life kind of puts the lie to this idea. We are not the center, not even close, we are just beings, lucky to be alive for a short time (a blink of the eye) in the grand scheme of things. So again we live with the irrational hope and the rational reality and it makes us crazy...

At least that's my theory this morning.  You can find much more in the literature from Freud and Jung. They have lots of cool ideas about all of this too!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Irrational as in Not Rational!

Yes, I do think the stalemate in Washington D.C. is instructive. It kind of proves one of my favorite ideas about human behavior, that we are all essentially irrational. As in "not rational," not reasonable, not clear thinking.

Even (maybe especially) well-dressed, successful people, people of distinction and accomplishment - crazy! Now of course, there are levels of craziness. And there are ways to disguise the crazy.

People rack up degrees and awards, and reward themselves with prizes and possessions, but still, when it comes down to it, deep down, they are irrational little children.

Rationality is a game we play, a mask we wear. And we can play the game, in fact in polite society we need to "play rational," but it is a game and often the mask falls away and there is no hiding.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Both Are Essential


Maybe you are lucky, or maybe you are unlucky. Whatever. You find yourself up early, on the lakefront, and you see the sun rise over the lake. This happens every day. But you are there this morning. And the actual experience is not quite captured or completely digested by your intellect.

Yes, you know the earth rotates around the sun. And that it's all a matter of angles and circumferences, and physics. But the actual witnessing of that burning round object ascending over the lake is still mysterious, and a little awe-inspiring.

And it's funny. On the one hand it makes you feel small, just a tiny being observing this massive rotation in the sky, but on the other hand it makes you feel connected to something big and important. There is a sort of "one to one" relationship with that big burning orb that confers some kind of meaning or profundity on you too.

There is the observed, and the observer. And they are in a weird way equal. They need each other. And both are essential, at least for a few moments...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Well-Received!

Well, yes, my little documentary about the Windy City Rollers was very well-received by one of the founders of the league... and what's my secret? Turn the camera on, point it and shoot!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Klan without the Hoods, Fascists without the Brownshirts, the Taliban without the Beards

Should I pile on the debacle that is the Tea Party? Sure, why not? What a revolting political movement. So retro, so backward, so blind. Think of the Klan without the robes, or the Fascists without the brownshirts, or the Taliban without the beards. It's a backward looking fundamentalist movement that is at war with the modern world. It is a movement that is so clearly racist, sexist, bigoted, irrational. Calling it crazy is maybe being too kind. There is a rationale to their movement, but it is a rationale based in fear, in hate, in denial of basic reality. That's the Tea Party. Here's hoping it has finally run out the string...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gibbering in the Street

"Nobody sane likes the GOP anymore." I think it's true. Harsh. But true. The whole Tea Party thing is just the crazies banding together, trying to deny reality. The country is beyond them. And they can't feature that. They are in denial, big time. And they are clinging to their vision like crazy people. You can't negotiate with crazy people. You have to tune them out. Still, there's lots of them, even if they are a minority of a minority of the population. But their craziness is sort of their strength. And they have commandeered one of our political parties. It's pathetic. And terrible. And lots of people should hang their heads in shame. They have empowered the crazies. And the crazies are just crazy. They are racists, sexists, religious bigots, nuts. There's no there, there. No point. And we can't go back, and won't go back, and their vision is actually completely mad, crazy, dead-end.   The non-crazy need to isolate these crazy creeps... walk away, leave them gibbering in the street.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What Do We Care About?

Yes, I think we should be awake. And aware. Of everything. I mean, maybe we are, whether we want to be or not. But then to what do we pay attention? What do we care about?

There is power in willful ignorance. Power and weakness. What we ignore can bite us in the ass. And what do we care about, and what do we not care about? 

You filter things out, you choose to care about some things and not care about others. This is a tricky business, but it is essential.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Confederacy of Under-Achievers

Have you noticed it's the Wall Street traders who broke Wall Street? And it's the politicians who broke government? And it's the capitalists who broke capitalism? And it's the Priests who broke the Catholic Church?

It's "the leaders" who put the lie to the idea of following anyone (or anything). And the people who put the lie to "wisdom of the crowd." Think Confederacy of Dunces...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Demon Out!

Yes, our local Episcopalian Church does an annual "Blessing of the Animals." People bring their pets over to get blessed. Very open-minded.

We missed our chance to bring our little blue bird, a parakeet, who we call Mr. Pink, to the church. We don't need that little sucker blessed, no, he needs an exorcism! His head spins. He's always chattering and spitting out venom. Chases the other little birdies.

Mr. Pink, I'm talking to you!

"Demon Out!"

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Not Like Those People

"I don't eat like those people. Or think, or dress like them either. I don't have any of the same habits or tendencies. It's like we are different species, although, really, we are not. They are human beings. I am a human being. I don't know how it happened. And there's no bridging the divide. Really. And that's OK. As long as they keep their distance. We are cordial. We are not hostile towards each other. They go their way, I go mine."

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Connected & Disconnected!

You are never as connected as when you are alone. On the beach. Eyes closed. Meditating. Connected to everything.

You are never as disconnected as when you are clicked into the social media. On the web. Eyes open. Swimming in the stream of word and images. Unconnected, disconnected to everything.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Two Videos about the Windy City Rollers!

So yes, pleased to say that I've finished up two little movies about the Windy City Rollers. Two nights. The initial call-up for Roller Girls at the Cork Lounge and a followup get together at the Liar's Club. Both are about 20 or so minutes long.

Music plays a big role in both videos. In the first one, all the songs were played on the jukebox that night, and amazingly the music works perfectly with the images. This was just a happy circumstance. I'm pretty pleased with the sound quality. I have an old Cannon video camera that has a really good microphone on it.

I added music to the second video at the Liar's Club. Songs from Sonic Youth, Sigur Ros and Iggy Pop. I got a little arty on this video. Slow motion shots matched up with some of my favorite music. Very happy with how it came out.

So yes, two little films, both with very different vibes. And that's part of the story too. There's hope, optimism, excitement, and darkness and loss too. Right? There's always the edge of darkness, and sadness, and time lost with just about anything.  This happened, and now it's gone...


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Dysfunctional State of Mind

Dysfunction. It's a big part of life. Things fall apart. Things fail. Abnormality and impairment? Check.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Yes, that's right...

Fragile (easily broken or destroyed) & Resilient (able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens)? Yes, that's right...

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

WCR First Call!

Yes, well, I finished it, a video record of the first official public event of the Windy City Rollers.  I hope to deliver it to one of the founders, Juanna Rumble, in the next week or so.  It's a little documentary, about 23 minutes long. I have given it a title: WCR First Call.

It's the first ever public call for Roller Girls. It's kind of ancient history now. Lots of interviews, some drama and humor, and well there's even a soundtrack. Throughout the night the jukebox was playing, and some cool songs pop up during the film. Music from Journey, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel.

I forgot just how much I loved Peter Gabriel's album "So."  Here's a track that has haunted me the last few days...


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