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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The pitch for Transcendental Meditation that we heard over the Memorial Day Weekend came heavy from the science side of things. Not a bad pitch for us Westerners. The Director of the Maharishi Univeristy, John Hagelin is a Quantum Physicist, and much of his rap about the Unified Field not only referred to the Upanishads but also the Big Bang, Super-Strings, Quantum particles and wave-forms, illustrated by a couple mathematical equations that made my head hurt. Some people need a Shaman to guide them, some of us need a Physicist. Hagelin actually seems a little of both.

One of the other presentations was about the brain and Neuroplasticity, the idea that our brains are malleable, and they can be molded by the things we think and the things we do. That's what we call "mind over matter."

So let's say you take up juggling, the act of juggling changes the brain, the act actually changes the connections in that mysterious globby hunk of matter. New areas of the brain "wake up." This happens even if you just imagine juggling.

I really latched onto this idea (I mean, I guess for many people this isn't news, but the idea slapped me upside the head and I had kind of an "aha" moment!). Meditate - change your brain. Play guitar - change your brain. Learn a monologue - change your brain. The things we do, changes our brains and by changing our brains we change our world. For some reason, I thought this was the best news I have heard in a long time. Our future is in our hands, in our heads, in our acts, in our thoughts. No time to brood Bunky --- as that old Nike ad encouraged us - "just do it." And in the doing you are remolding your brain, your world. Ain't it the truth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Random Notes on Fairfield - Where's My Rose Garden?

I'm still processing some of what happened on our little trip to the Maharishi University (see last two posts). Here are some random notes:

1. I'm so in line with David Lynch, his approach, the way he talks about his creative process, his intuitive method. I was glad to learn that he's still a smoker. I know, like me, eventhough he is searching for enlightenment, he is strangely attracted to the darkness. I asked him a question about this subject, but he kind of ju jitsu-ed me. Probably a good strategy in an open forum intended to encourage people to try TM.

2. I've always thought that it's the wrestling with the dark angel that leads to my best work. Watching "Blue Velvet," you can't help but think that Lynch intuitively knows this too. I'm sure he sees some of himself in Dennis Hopper's Frank Booth and that's where his creative genius lies. "Mommy!"

3. Donovan's told us that he get his inspiration from the Goddess. He also implied that he's in touch with the Greek Poetess Sappho. Really? What a load of shite! During his performance I saw the ghost of John Belushi in "Animal House," straining to grab Donovan's guitar and smash it to bits. During "Jennifer, Juniper" I couldn't help hearing Joey Ramone singing, "beat on the brat, beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah!"

4. Our first Maharishi meal in the gymnasium on Friday night might have put me off health food for a very, very long time. Not sure how you can make food taste so cheap and tasteless. It was one of those meals where in order to get through it (I was so damn hungry!), I had to keep telling myself, "this is so good for me."

5. I need to set up an opposition between Lynch and Donovan to figure things out for myself. I could see a real difference between the two men, and their approaches to the art and how they talked about it. Lynch's style totally resonated with me, Donovan's repelled me, but still, when Donovan sang for us, there were moments when you were amazed how good one voice, one guitar can sound. When Donovan sang "Hurdy Gurdy Man," he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

6. At the same time, he told a story about how George Harrison (Donovan had to keep reminding us that he used to hang out with the Beatles!) gave him a line for "Hurdy Gurdy Man," but it didn't make the recording, and well, even that story annoyed the shit out of me, I mean, FUCKING GEORGE HARRISON gives you a line for a song and you don't use it?! Donovan did sing it for us that night and well, it was a quite nice lyric after all.

7. I do think Transcendental Meditation is a great tool. My moments of bliss and enlightenment have been fleeting at best, but hell, no one promised me a rose garden.

Monday, May 28, 2007

It Shall Remain a Mystery

Back from a short excurison to the verdant Iowa farmland. We took a little road trip to Fairfield, Iowa (see previous post), and all in all it was a great trip. We saw David Lynch and Donovan and we learned about the brain and meditation and creativity and the unified field. The unified field is kind of a big deal. It's something many people from many cultures over many thousands of years have discovered and written about, and it's part of that whole transcendance thing, one of my favorite subjects, and well, we got a full overview of Transcendental Meditation and, I actually took the training many years ago back in the 1970's, so it was a reaffirmation and a rediscovery and some kind of weird time travel for me. And well, I can't say I've been a devoted TMer, but I do meditate often and I have experienced moments of bliss and transcendance, and I'm sure it's changed me and influenced me in ways I'm not even aware of.

I think it's safe to say that everyone in our little group enjoyed the trip. There was something for everyone and there's just something good about getting out of your little routine, pointing a car in a new direction, firing up the cd player and blasting off into the great heartland of the American dream.

And what did I learn? Well, the human game is strange and complicated, but we have everything we need to transform and transcend the madness of our little human dramas. Sitting quiet, closing our eyes, finding a calm center - it's easy, simple and well, it can change everything. This is available to us all. Transcendance is in our heads, or maybe as Stevie Winwood once sang in the classic Traffic tune, "heaven is in your mind."

All the great insights seem to me to be simple acts, not really the intellectual lightning bolts, just the simple moment, the simple act. And so, we asked David Lynch some questions, we listened to Donovan sing, we slept well and kind of recharged. Not a bad way to spend a couple days...

The only unasked mystery question, the only one I just didn't have the heart to ask David Lynch, as per Billie Bob Thornton in "Dead Man": "how do you get your hair to go like that?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Guru, No Midget, No Pie?

We're taking a road trip to Fairfield, Iowa. Three of the Telepaths and their significant others. Now why would we urban warriors be heading to the middle of basically a desolate flat cornfield (I'm projecting here - it might be a lovely place) this long Memorial Day weekend. Ah, yes dear pilgrim, we are looking for peace and enlightenment and the source of the deep well of creativity. Plus we're thinking we might catch a glimpse of a dancing midget, or maybe a towering giant, or possibly we'll find a divinely sweet slice of pie.

We're heading off the Maharishi University, the North American mecca for Transcendental Meditation, and we're meeting up with David Lynch and Donovan. I kid you not. Both of them will be there giving talks on meditation, creativity and songwriting. Two of us are bringing guitars, I'm hoping we can get into some impromtu jams (Cory H. is looking to get Donovan to sign his guitar) and some inspiration - it comes in many flavors, and well you can never get enough.

If you're thinking this could be the beginning of the Telepaths "white album" phase, well, all I have to say, the first time tragedy, the second time farce. And maybe everything happens twice, or thrice, or until you finally get it right, and if so, well, someone else in another guise (maybe it will be all of us) will make a trek like this some else in a land far, far away, and well, they'll be walking these same steps and looking for these same answers. Then again maybe not. Should be an interesting weekend.

I don't have a laptop, not sure if I'll be posting during the weekend, but I'm sure I'll have something to say afterwards. I'm looking forward to that too. Bought some new cds for the trip - a compilation of different bands doing Yoko Ono songs, the new Wilco and Mavis Staples and Ry Cooder...should be good for the ears and the road.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lars Von Trier - Master of the Universe

"Forget all the excuses - the 'childish fascination' or the 'all embracing humility' - for this is my confession: I, Lars Von Trier, am but a simple masturbator of the silver screen" - Lars Von Trier.

He makes provocative movies (the ones I've seen: Dogville, Dear Wendy, The Five Obstructions, The Idiots, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark), in a time when that's actually a rare feat. He has a new one, and this is a description from a review in the NYTimes...it sounds like a world I'm quite familiar with:

"Like all of Mr. Von Trier's films, "The Boss of it All," is a cold, misanthropic work that places no faith in institutions and in humanity itself. But it's also very funny. Those at the top of the corporate pecking order...are liars and manipulators. Below them are self-important fools, the blind leading the blind, playing walk-on parts that they delude themselves into believing are starring roles."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Three Amigos

I went to the lumber store this morning with Black Forest's set designer, Davey J. It's a ritual we haven't, for various reasons, done for awhile. It's usually one of the first steps in creating a new theatrical production. Davey J. designs a set, based on conversations he's had with me, and the Lovely Carla, then he builds a little model, (a remarkable work of art in it's own right), which he passes by us, and after we all kind of agree, Davey J. figures out the wood and masonite required. It's the first step in the "magic." I mean it. The set provides the foundation, it's the first real tangible "thing" in the process. This time around we've kind of kept an open-ended creative process. We will build a set at Davey J.'s studio and then rehearse and film various scenes and monologues. Not sure where it's all headed. I have been very reluctant to put this piece in a box. My motto this time around, "there is no box." Which also goes with my original concept which is only a tiny seed, but it is the beginning, a director named Elston Gunn is working on a movie, he can no longer decide what needs to be in the frame and what needs to be outside the frame.

We may end up with a series of little videos, or one big video. I've got a couple of set pieces written and ready to go. The Lovely Carla too has written a monolgue and scene. Once we go through the filming process we will take some or all of it to the Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins Festival in August, for a premiere theatrical performance. Then in the fall we will present the whole shebang (whatever it turns out to be) at the Peter Jones Gallery for a full theatrical run. It's an exciting time. It's all preparation and expectation. I haven't a clue how it will all come out, and that's part of the kick. The main thing, it's all in motion. Now's the time to hang on tight, be open to the creative process, and well...damn the torpedoes!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It Feels Like "11"

TPM the lead singer of the Telepaths had a birthday yesterday. About 30 or so of his friends came to our gallery space to celebrate. What a turn out...I mean, I might know 30 people I could invite to one of my birthday parties, but I'd probably have to put a gun to their heads to actually get them to come!

Anyway, it was a great time and an opportunity for the Telepaths to play in front of a crowd. So we fired up our amps, put the drum set together, cranked the PA, and roared through our little set. We've now got quite a good mix of covers (you should hear our version of Steely Dan's old tune, "Dirty Work" - it is a sonic mudbath!), and originals...we still haven't played our signature tune "Area 51" the same way twice.

It was a good time all around. I mean, it's one the best things in the world to do. Turn up you guitar amp really loud (up to 11), and sing and play your heart out as if your life depended on it.

And after the set, drenched in sweat, fingers still on fire, sipping a Stella Atrois --- best feeling ever!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

An Audition

Perhaps inspired by Noel, my actor friend in L.A., I had some free time (remember Satre tells us nothing is free), so I trekked across the cityscape to audition at a Talent Agency. It was quite the Colonel Kurtz experience, traveling the snaky EL line into the bowels of the City, walking down the broken boulevards, taking in the mad bustle of a midwestern city on the make. Chicago really does have it all, and on an unseasonably hot and sunny day, it is resplendant, a sight for sore eyes.

I made it to my appointment on time. I was prepped and sweaty. I entered the office space, there were two nice-looking women waiting ahead of me. I had a monologue ( a bit from one of my plays), and a song (an old whaling song I learned from when I saw Arlo Gutherie and Pete Seeger at Ravinia about 30 years ago). I was carrying a headshot ( a recent picture - I look kind of like a fractured, smiling gent on the far side of a slow decline) and my acting resume (heavy with my own work with with my own theater company, doing my own stuff, very much on my own).

So, I got in there, (a little office with a chair for the actor and a couch for the agents) and there were two women waiting for me to do my thing. The two ladies were kind of stone-faced, bored, it looked like you could put sticks of dynamite under their asses and well, nothing was gonna impress them one bit. I was strangely nervous (I mean it was strange to me - I had actually nothing riding on this audition - I mean, if I got something out of it, I would really be surprised) and for one brief moment, before I started, I blanked, I mean, nothing was in my head, I didn't know my name, rank, serial number, much less my monologue or song.

I took a moment to "prepare." It was a nice pregnant dramatic pause and then the monologue came out in a torrent. Maybe not my best effort, but it was lively, dynamic, short and sweet. Then I did the song, a ridiculous old tune about a sailor named Ruben Ramso. I finished, and well, there was a brief and akward silence. Then they thanked me and I was out of there.

Kind of a strange process. Anyway, I headed back home, a little lighter, a little unsteady, kind of wondering to myself, just what did I think I was doing with myself, with my life...? And well, I don't really have an answer...I arrived, I said some words, I left...I walked these particular streets, and I rode this particular train, and well...that's about all there is to the story...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Where are the honeybees? I first heard about this phenomenon from David Byrne, ex-Talking Head. It seems there is a mass honeybee disappearance going on across the United States. This is not considered by those in the know to be good news. According the the NYTimes there are no bee corpses to forensically explore. "The bees are simply flying off by the billions as though into the void." Could this be a sign of an impending disaster?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar

I took the plunge and ordered this CD on Amazon. It arrived two days ago and I've been playing it continously ever since. Three discs of Frank Zappa guitar solos. It's exhilarating, exquisite music. Really powerful, beautiful, dazzling. Technically amazing, but soulful too. Zappa has an incredible body of work. I'm familiar with only a small portion. He's gone, but of course, he lives through this music. Rykodisc has done a great job of keeping this stuff in circulation. What's really cool about our pop culture, there's so much out there, just waiting to be discovered. By the way, here is a really cool site for all things Zappa.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Where I've Been

I got lost on the highway. I took a detour on a new little theater piece. In moments of free time, I've been writing a new scene. I forgot all about blogging. Two characters started talking. I just hung on for the ride. Not sure where this is going, but I have decided to ride the wave. It's something that has been percolating in the back of my mind. The clincher is when I actually had a dream where I saw this scene being performed onstage with some actors I've worked with in the past. Talk about a hint! My favorite little ancedote is when Jasper Johns had a dream about painting an American flag. He woke up and painted it. And well, the history of art changed forever...

So, who am I to stand in the way? We'll see if I can sustain the inspiration. I have been working on disparate pieces, and well, maybe this next theater piece will be all these little inspirations kind of bolted together...or maybe no bolts...or more like lightening bolts...a flash in the sky, and then another...and another...call it a night!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Compassion is Not Just a Word

I'm still riding the Dali Lama Vibe...but there's nothing like getting out and about with your fellow beings to see how far many of us fall from the standard set by the latest manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion.

We live in a complicated world. Just take a ride on the Red Line on a typical evening. First get a whiff of the urine-stained platform at Howard Street. Then listen to your fellow passengers harangue each other, looking for advantage, trying to hustle each other out of a buck.

Then disembark at Wilson and inhale the spectacle of the teeming masses - needing, wanting, grasping. Listen to the taunts and insults, listen to the derisive laughter, the sarcastic quips, endure the cold stares.

Hey, it's just a typical night in the city. Now is when that un-biased compassion is required. It's easy to feel good about the Dali Lama, and maybe not so easy to feel so good about the guy next to you, reeking of alchohol and cackling like a madman.

The Buddha is there too, right? And if you hear others are talking you down, it's of no concern...it's just another reminder that the world needs more compassion not less...

No one said it would be easy, but hey, there it is...what would Dali do?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Right Man, Right Time

Yesterday, by any measure, was a remarkable day. I think it will resonate with me for a long time. It really kicked into gear when the Lovely Carla and I found ourselves standing on Jackson Street waiting for the betting parlour to open. There was a small group of "wise guys," waiting to get in, either to cash a ticket (I was one of those) or to get a good table for a day of racing. It was an odd collection of lone wolf type dudes (the Lovely Carla kind of stood out). Are these really "my people?" I left the place with a cool $225 (I bet $71), thanks to my horse, Street Sense.

Then it was off to Millenium Park to see the Dali Lama. What can I say? It was a beautiful program of music, chanting, a few nice preliminary speeches and then with very little fanfare, the 14th Reincarnation of the Manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion walked onto the stage. What a humble, graceful, funny, profound, beautiful human being! One really got the feeling you were in the presence of grace. It's hard to convey the feeling that snuck up on me. I came with an open mind and heart, but I had no clue that this little dude would touch me so deeply. I can't explain it, but the Lovely Carla and I both shed a tear or two (no really, to be honest, I cried a couple of times, the sadness welled up, brought on by the beauty of the choir voices and the simple honesty of the Buddhist way) listening to the wise words of this extraordinary man.

He makes no grand claims, he's not really "selling" anything. He talked about the need for "unbiased compassion," and hope. He smiled and laughed and joked with the audience. Here is a man who "walks the walk," he has been banished from his country, and well, he's now not just Tibet's Dali Lama (Ocean of Wisdom) but the world's. I don't think it was a coincidence that the music, and the choir, and the dance troupe were all populated by children. Really hope is always invested in the world that could be.

It was three hour program that flew by. We were both kind of stunned. I really did kind of float in a sort of bliss. It's rare to see an event that celebrates the best of us. And that's a sad thing too. The final image of the Dali Lama as he bowed and then walked off stage...a contingent of secret service agents, covering him, hovering, looking for the bullet or blunt instrument. Yes, that is the reality of the world we live in.

There are actors in the world, doing "bad" things. We must have compassion for the actors...they are fellow human beings. If we give up compassion, hope, well, then we are lost...

I do love this concept of reincarnation, whether it's true or not, it would mean that you should care about the future, because you may be coming back, and what you do today will determine if you come back and in what type of incarnation - a slug, a rat, a human being, a Buddha...but as one of the Buddhists said yesterday..."if you like what you hear, take it, if you don't, leave it." Sounds just about right to me.

The Dali Lama is a rare combination, a man of belief, but a believer in the small things, practical things, a man with a great curiosity and trust in science. A wonderful combination of East and West. He truly is a man of this time. And we need human beings like him...yes, we do.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finding Inner Peace in a World Full of Turmoil

I don't often get to write this sentence: the Lovely Carla and I are going to see His Holiness the Dali Lama today. He will be giving a speech at Lincoln Park.

It's been an exciting weekend, what with the Kentucky Derby (I'm a winner - I'll be heading to the betting parlour to cash out later today, for a brief moment yesterday, nursing a hangover, I was the "king of the world"). My pick, Street Sense made a powerful move from the the back of the pack, skimmed the rail, broke free heading for the finish line and powered through with a flourish. That's two in a row for me. I'm willing to chalk it up to racing luck, but I did do my homework, and I could, if you indulged me, give you about four or five reasons why this particular horse was the one.

Anyway, the Lovely Carla was a little ticked off with me that I seemed to be more excited about the Derby than the Dali...but it's not true...I love the perfect symmetry of the Derby/Dali Dichotomy. And you know, the Lovely Carla has been giving me little tidbits about the Dali Lama - he used to have a drinking problem, he's reportedly back to being a vegetarian, but he has eaten meat too, and well, this is the kind of Dali Lama I want - A HUMAN BEING, with all the flaws that a flesh and blood can claim as a birthright.

I'm not looking for no stinking saint...the Dali Lama, warts and all, is fine with me. I'm thinking of renting Scorcese's "Kundun" tonight, just to carry the theme to it's logical conclusion. I wonder if the Dali Lama has ever read Michael Moore's book, "Dude, Where's My Country?"

The big thing I love about the Dali Lama - he smiles a lot. He looks genuinely happy...and yes, it really is a world of turmoil, hell, the Chinese kicked him out of his beloved homeland, and well, you must say he's made the best of a bad situation. Not a bad example for all of us to follow...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Night was Moist

It's one of those mornings I'm paying the price for too much of a good thing. The Lovely Carla and I stayed out late playing music and drinking wine at the Flatiron Building. I parked myself on the couch in my brother's studio, pulled out my acoustic guitar and played like a madman for a couple of hours. It was quite the experience. I caught a wave and rode it into the fog of oblivion.

So, this morning, I am frail and gentle and I step lightly, trying not to harm myself. I floated in a warm tub of water reading Nick Tosches "Unsung Heroes of Rock n' Roll," (it's quite a good read) and came across this in the chapter on Stick McGhee: "In life, one encounters very few truths of the absolute sort. The sages of Hellas enumerate but three. The first: Everything flows, nothing abides. The Second: Give them an inch, they'll take a mile. The third: All things can be reduced to moisture, whence they came."

So I ventured out to the betting parlour before our little musical excursion last night. I braved the smokey confines and laid down my money on the Kentucky Derby to be run later today. I bet on a horse called Street Sense. I'm not all that confident I have a winner (I'm not touting the horse - that's the kiss of death!) and I hedged my bets with some exacta boxes...Street Sense needs to show up either first or second for me to cash a ticket. And well, sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do...but well, that's what we call a life, right? And I think it's true all things can be reduced to moisture and well, you got a problem with that?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Big Red

The fastest finish (1:59 2/5) ever in the Kentucky Derby was in 1973. The horse that made history that day was Secretariat. I guess a case could be made that he was the greatest athelete (if you were open-minded enough to include all of the animal kingdom) of the last century. Some names you could also casually toss on the list, in no particular order: Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Peggy Fleming, Muhammad Ali, Ted Williams, Bjorn Borg, Mark Spitz (?), Joe Namath, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Martina Naratalova, Ty Cobb, Sandy Koufax, Arnold Palmer, Wilt Chamberlain, Shamu, Flipper, Rin Tin Tin...etc. Maybe add to the list for this century so far: Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Shaq (if only he could make his free throws), and maybe Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds (check with your local pharmacist first on these last two!).

I'll go with Secretariat. They really don't make em like that any more. The racing industry has become a high stakes breeding industry, where breeders try to breed speed with speed, and well, horses are fast, but they are fragile too and there's a unique set of factors that make a horse special and I think there's art and science and then there's mother nature and it's a complicated story. Secretariat had whatever it takes to be great. Not only did he set the record in Kentucky, he also holds the track record at Belmont (the longest of the Triple Crown races - 1 1/2 miles).

As Rod Stewart once said, "Every picture tells a story." The photo shown here is Secretariat winning the Belmont by 30 lengths...it was a blowout! Anyway tomorrow is the Derby (always the first Saturday in May), (Hunter Thompson once described the event as one long debauch) and I intend to get my Racing Form today and try to "figure it out." It's one of those Sisyphean tasks. I did win last year on the ill-fated Barbaro (a great horse too who took a wrong step in the Preakness), but many a Derby has been a lesson in futility for me. But there's nothing like day before, armed with a fresh Racing Form, all is hope and possibility, and I can already feel the adrenaline coursing through my body.

There's something about the optimism, the strange cantankerous thought that somehow looking over past performances weighing all the factors like class, breeding, trainer, jockey - taking in all the variables - track condition, training methods, maturity, geography, whatever...somehow, some way...you can pick a winner...it's kind of like believing in magic...I guess it's safe to say I believe.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Telecaster Time

My father, not one for quoting Chinese proverbs, used tell me that there was a Chinese proverb about how time spent fishing didn't count against your time on earth. Not sure if there really is such a Chinese proverb, but if there isn't, there should be. We'd sometimes (not enough times) used to go to the old fishing hole on a lazy summer afternoon and plunk our lures in the water. We'd watch as the sun slowly faded into the west - it marked the passage of time, but at the same time, it was like time stood still. My father was a "catch and release" man. He'd file down the hooks so if he caught a fish it would easily be "uncaught" and put back in the pond. He really didn't want to hurt the fish. Just maybe distract them for little while...

I do think there are some activities we do that are "out of time." One of my meditation teachers would say that in meditation you get to a place where space and time do not exist. Sometimes, when you are "in the moment" time stretches or bends, and you can sink in, and well you lose time, lose yourself, and maybe that's when it doesn't count, because well, it really counts, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I kind of feel like when I play guitar, I can also get to this "no time and a space" place, and lately, I've been playing a lot. The guitar pictured here is my Fender Telecaster Thinline, kind of an "uncool" piece. It's a "cheap" Mexican made guitar, not a collectible, but it plays beautifully, and when I first picked it up, it just felt right. One of the pickups crapped out on me awhile back, and I totally gutted the guitar, I bought new pickups and wires, got out the diagrams and soldering iron, and well now it's kind of a rare instrument. It's got personality. There's a part of me in this thing now. Kind of like my boots (see previous post). So sometimes with this guitar in hand, time seems to stand still...do the Chinese have anything to say about time spent playing guitar?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

These Old Boots

I bought these old Timberland boots back around 1990. They've been through the good times and the bad. I retired them recently. I had read in the "Laws of Power" that one must always be impeccable in appearance in order to gain the respect of others. Since lately I haven't been getting much respect from my fellow human beings, I thought, maybe it was time to let these old boots go. So, I put them on the shelf for awhile. But recently, I had a change of heart. Yesterday, I re-taped them and put them on. It was like welcoming dear old friends returned from a long journey. These old boots are so much a part of me. I wore them when I was a bike messenger, I have worn them when I've been up, sky high, floating on the clouds, and I have worn them when I've been down in the dirt, lower than a snake's dick. They are broken in, beaten up, cracked-open, scarred, there are holes and seams and creases and wrinkles and cuts and drops of paint, and blood and sweat, and yes, well, tears too. They kind of remind me of me. Who I am, and where I've been. Banishing these boots would be like banishing my arms.

So anyway, I was once told by a close friend that when they lived in Sante Fe, New Mexico they used to see someone about town who also taped up his boots - turns out it was the playwright and actor Sam Shepard. Now this is a coincidence that I take to heart. I began writing plays because of Mr. Shepard. So, the idea that we have both used tape to hold our boots together, makes me feel like I'm part of some secret tribe. Old Sam and I have something else in common - crooked teeth, but maybe that's a subject for another blog post.

It's amazing the looks I get when I wear these boots. Primarily from women. I mean, it's noticable. These boots are an attraction. It is not my imagination. For some reason, these beat up old boots make a poor impression, or some kind of crazy statement. Probably something to do with power and respect...and well, maybe only crazy people are supposed to wear boots like these? I guess I'm kind of declaring, "Not such an eligible bachelor!" or maybe "Loser!" or "Lookout, this guy will be speaking in tongues any moment!" I don't know...but anyway, they are my boots and I have a feeling I'll be long gone before these old boots give up the ghost, or before I run out of tape.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Soulful Place

I can't help it, I am fascinated by Bjork. I saw her on Saturday Night Live and she was prancing around barefoot on stage, singing about being an "earth intruder." It was quite strange, other-worldly. I loved it.

I read a little profile about her and her new cd "Volta," in the Sunday NY Times. She's kooky and inspiring, doing very edgy, avant garde work, but in a pop music context.

She talks about her approach: "I was quite conscious that I wanted permission to be able to be sad and funny, and human and crazy and silly, and childish and wise, because I think everybody is like that."

And she expounds: "I believe in that place where you plug into the zeigeist, the collective consciousness or whatever. It's very folk. Soulful. Not materialistic. I believe in being a fighter for that soulful place."

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