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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black Forest State of Mind

It's a long story, maybe the story of our times. A guy buys a block of buildings. He's gonna tear them down and build condos. But then the bank forecloses on the guy, he's bankrupt.

So the old building sits there unoccupied.

Then our little arts group Black Forest gets a sweet deal to occupy one of the little storefronts. In the meantime, the bank then goes belly up and the FDIC seizes it. The assets of the bank then get assigned to another bank in Ohio.

We carry on doing our thing. Shows and rehearsals, parties. Living it up! The community loves it.

Finally the bank in Ohio wakes up and decides they want everyone out. Eviction notices are posted. We go to court to get more time. The Judge gives us more time. We do our Lennon Bash, the best event ever.

And now we have to vacate. So this weekend we are taking it all down. Lights, fabric, projector, musical equipment. Everything must go. And then it's just an empty space. May sit there empty for a long time. Still, once we vacate (flee!) it's just a little, sort of shabby space, a dingy little storefront - a tiny little void in the hood.

It was really the vibe we filled it with that was extraordinary. It was us. We filled it. Our art our music, our creative vibe! The people who came to share that vibe made it something...

So now we exit. We are on the hunt for the next space to fill. Where do we bring that vibe next? The Black Forest State of Mind is a mobile thing! What location do we haunt? Where will we land?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Secret to Slickness

A woman told me yesterday that she described me to another woman thusly: "He's a gentle soul."

And I thought, "Honey, you don't know about the Tornado inside of me."

So last night we dressed up and played a show. I slicked back my hair with Brylcreem. "A Little Dab Will Do You." Very shiny.

I guess I must have looked dangerous or adorable. A Bad Boy. Women were brushing up against me every which way. Looking at me with bedroom eyes. One even asked for my autograph.

Love that Brylcreem. I checked the tube. The ingredients are a secret! But of course, you can find them on the web: water, mineral oil, beeswax, fragrance, calcium hydroxide, BHT, dimethyl oxazolidine, magnesium sulfate, and stearic acid.

Friday, October 29, 2010

All Roads Lead to This Bad Actor!

Can one company stand in for all evil? All of what's wrong with America? Can one company be so completely despicable, with a hand in all kinds of mischief and bad blood? Can one company and it's affiliates have it's dirty fingers in all kinds of tragic pies: Iraq, Afghanistan, BP Oil Spill, etc.

Can one company spawn so much death and destruction? And did it really pay off our own Dr. Evil Dick Fucking Cheney? YES IT CAN!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chip On Your Shoulder

And that chip on your shoulder... where'd you get it? What are you gonna do with it? And just who are you mad at anyway?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Will To Live

Hesse got me thinking about will. I suppose you can impose your will on yourself. And if you change yourself, do you change your world? But it's a little harder to impose your will on the world. At best it's a collaboration.

And your partner has more than the kitchen sink in it's arsenal. And it seems to delight in throwing obstacles in your path, maybe just to see you dance.

And so you dance. And you improvise. Always improvise. And try to be light on your feet. Like you have a hot-foot, or you're dancing on stars...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm on a little Hermann Hesse kick. Just finished Demian, written in 1919. What's kind of interesting and maybe surprising, all the themes and questions in the novel, are still relevant today.

If Siddhartha was a story of Eastern enlightenment, Demian is very much a European, a Western Journey. I swallowed it whole. It's seems like a fever dream, and my dreams became more vivid while I read it.

What's funny, much of the language of the novel is inspired by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche and yes, even that Jesus Dude... it's the search for the authentic self... it seems like the essential work...

But now 100 years later much of that language has been replaced by Neuro-biology, by drug therapy, by pharmacology...

It seems people today in our culture no longer search for the authentic, instead they fill their lives with POP CULTURE and PRESCRIPTION DRUGS... I wonder how that all works out...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wikileaks vs. The Empire of Lies

Secrets. I was always of the opinion that a free society, a Democratic society should not have secrets. And of course our Dark Empire has many, many secrets...

So I guess I am happy that there are people willing to risk it all to reveal the dark secrets of a Dark Empire. People like Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange.

If the acts of an Empire can't stand the light of day, then that Empire will rot from the inside. Let the facts out. Let the truth emerge. This is not about "personality," it is about the truth.

If we can't handle the truth then we must accept that we live in The Empire of Lies...

And if Bush was the instigator of much of this darkness, Obama is the caretaker. It must stop!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm thinking I should "monetize" this blog. Jimmy Dumps disagrees. He will not participate. But Sunny Jimmy is all for it. To that end, I'd like to list some of Sunny's favorite products.

He can heartily recommend the following. If any of these companies want to slip him a little cash in return. Well, no one is stopping you...

1. Wallaby Vanilla Yogurt! - No kidding. This stuff is amazing. I can eat a whole container in one sitting. I live for this stuff. Not sure what it has to do with Australia, it's made in California, but it is creamy and delicious.

2. Intelligensia Coffee! - These guys take their coffee seriously. And it's serious stuff. I can testify to it's beneficial effects. This is rocket fuel.

3. Suhr Guitars! - I don't own a car, or a house. The finest thing I've ever owned in my life is my Suhr Classic. It's an American made Strat. Signed by John Suhr himself. And yes, there really is a John Suhr. Quality guitars. No one makes them better.

4. Beans! - Yes, beans. Legumes. Lentils. Garbanzos. Pintos. Black Beans. Kidney. Yes, beans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guitar Mods.

You know when I'm researching wiring diagrams, and heating up my soldering iron, trouble is brewing...

Friday, October 22, 2010

When I Don't Have Anything to Say...

The Lovely Carla tells me: "You want sugar? Go for protein.... Jumbo Peanuts? Elephants like them!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A New Form of Courting...

Sometimes you got to wonder...

OK. Let's say you're a famous NFL Quarterback. You're revered by many. You come from a small town in the South. You have a beautiful wife, a couple daughters. You make big time money flinging a pigskin long distances. You are 40 years old.

So anyway, you're at training camp. You're feeling sort of lonely. You see a young lady who seems kind of appealing. And, well, in order to get her interested in you well, why not, you e-mail her pictures of your penis. Makes sense right?

Must be the new way of "courting." I mean in the old days maybe you buy her a box of chocolates, or a bouquet of flowers, ask her if she wants to go out to dinner. I mean, it's not surprising that you're thinking of fooling around on your wife. Hell, shit happens.

Still there's something a little "forward" about snapping pictures of yourself without any pants on and sending them off to the girl. Kind of presumptuous. You must really think your silly looking little dingy is quite the thing. And maybe if you could look at the pictures objectively you would see that it's really, really, really not.

I mean, you'd see it actually looks freaking ridiculous. Silly. Maybe it would have made a better impression with a little helmet and uniform? I mean, maybe you dress that sucker up a little!?! Maybe then she would have come running like a little deer ready to go a couple quarters with that thing?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It was the cover. Black and white. Picture of a Buddha. A stone statue Buddha. A slim volume from another time. A 1957 edition of "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse. New Directions paperback $1.25

I grabbed it. Read it over the last two weeks, a little bit each night right before sleep. It reads like a simple fable. Don't know if the simplicity of the style is Hesse's or if it's as a result of the translation (Hilda Rosner 1951).

It's an easy read. But so much happens in such a short time. I found myself re-reading passages frequently. Don't know how I missed this one so many years ago in my serious Zen phase - Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Siddhartha was written in 1922 but wasn't translated into English until 1951. It seems like a seminal novel that must have inspired the West goes East movement for the Beats and others.

It's a book of "wisdom" but as the text tells us wisdom has to be experienced. To speak the words makes them sound foolish. Anyway, the book hit the bullseye for me. Right message. Right time.

Listen to the river. Yes. And last night, in deep sleep, I heard these words from an unknown source... "I have always been here."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Killer Gay Marines!

Since I'm on a political kick...

So yes, as a Green Democrat I'd dismantle our military behemoth. No more wars of choice. No more preemptive wars. Major cuts in the Pentagon's budget. The 2010 budget is $663.8. I'd slash that sucker by at least 10%. Maybe every year for a number of years until it was a much leaner and meaner force. And of course we'd still have the largest military in the world, the largest military ever known to man, a military almost 20 times larger than any other force in the world.

It's a tremendous drain on our country. It explains how we have bankrupted ourselves. It doesn't make us stronger, it weakens us. Instead I'd increase Foreign Aid. More money for the Peace Corps!

And another thing... this "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" thing is total madness. I'd kill it. And well, since some folks are so afraid of Gay People, I'd establish an elite force of Gays for all the Services: Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines. Quentin Tarantino should make a movie about the Killer Gay Marines! Holy Shit! They are hitting the beaches in full force, and they're singing Broadway show tunes to boot!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It Takes a Village to Raise a Billionaire!

Yes, so the Greens, I mean, I don't want to be down on them...

We need the Green Party. Their agenda is my agenda. I just think that in good old U.S.A. that the Greens probably should fold themselves into the Democratic Party. Change that sucker from the inside.

If I had the gumption I'd run for something as a GREEN DEMOCRAT! There is a need for a truly progressive force not afraid to champion the little guy: alternative energy, a progressive tax code, MORE social services, single-payer health care, more money for schools.

SOAK THE RICH! That would be my campaign slogan. Maybe wear a shower cap and wield a big back scrubber. The Rich have been getting a FREE RIDE! They wouldn't be rich if it wasn't for a middle class that can read and write and shop. They wouldn't be rich if we didn't have a government: if we didn't have cops and firemen and a freaking military protecting their interests.

The Rich should be grateful they live in such a great country. They owe it to all of us to give back at least and maybe more than their fair share! It takes a village to raise a Billionaire!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green Party Quixote

The Telepaths played a short set at the Green Party's party in our neighborhood. We had a new drummer sit in for the show and we have never been better. Plus FREE PIZZA for all! Can't beat that. We rocked out and listened to some speeches. It was all quite good.

I'm mean, I'm totally in line with what the Green Party stands for: more money for schools and social services, a fairer, more progressive tax code, alternative energy.

And yes it's totally scandalous and debilitating to our society that the wealthy are the ones getting a free ride! SOAK THE RICH! Viva la revolution!

Still it was kind of sad. One certainly got the impression that the Greens in this neck of the woods are a distinctly minority party. Kind of like an idealistic hobby. Sort of like collecting stamps. These are the folks out on the beach with their metal detectors looking for trinkets.

Almost can't really bring myself to root for them. It's kind of like rooting for Don Quixote to really beat the shit out of a windmill.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Sometimes a day is going from one thing, to another thing, to another thing, to another thing. Until you run of of things. And then the day is done.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Dog Biz

Things I've learned in the Dog Biz:

1. Every step counts: a 3rd floor apartment is Mt. Everest.

2. Names matter: a dog named "Happy" will be irredeemably sad. A dog named "Peaches" will be a killer of little things, and won't want to take her medicine. "Gypsy" will be flighty and playful and with thrill at getting rough with squirrels. "Olive," an angry-looking Burmese Mountain Dog, will be afraid of it's shadow. "Homer" will be the doggy reincarnation of that ancient, blind, poet, and he'll really, really hate puppies. "Buddy" will be darkness, he will not be your buddy. He will barely be alive. He will be a character in a Samuel Beckett one-act. "Annabelle" will be a dream dog. She will want to chase sticks all day. You will become expert at throwing sticks. She will be your best friend.

3. You will know the weather better than any weather man. You won't be able to predict the weather, but you will know every ray of sunshine, you will absorb every drop of rain, you will reverberate in every breeze. You will be glad you live in Chicago, where the weather is always mimicking an improv class.

4. Your concept of the value of money will be translated to dogs. A latte will be 2/10ths of a dog. A meal for two at your favorite Indian restaurant (tip included) will be approximately 4 dogs. You will become "dog frugal."

5. You will live with less stress, less money, and more shit. And it will seem like somehow you beat the system.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


This political season they've let the nuts out of the can. And it seems the angry nuts out in the heartland are gonna vote for the nuts running for office, and then we'll have lots of nuts in Washington D.C. representing the nuts across the nation. Now that's just a hard nut to swallow!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Well there's addition by addition.
Then there's addition by subtraction.
And then there's addition by substitution.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Wow, let's do it again..."

You do an event like the Lennon Bash, and it's smiles all around, and everyone in the neighborhood is buzzing, and you are feeling flush with vibes of success, you are riding a cloud, and then you think, "Wow, let's do it again!"

Not so easy. I mean, Lennon's next big birthday would be in about 30 years, probably won't be around for that one, and if I am, maybe you can just scoop me up in a tin can and put me on stage?

And there's no one else quite in the Lennon spectrum. I mean, there's Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, but each of them is kind of a narrower thing - not as much "consensus" about their impact and value on the culture.

Lennon and the Beatles certainly stand on a unique mountain-top. I mean, my good friend Mr. Mo. suggested a Harry Nillson night. And yes, I get it, I love Harry, he has an incredible catalog of songs. But I just don't think it will have the Lennon-like impact we all just experienced...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Scene

We have gone from making plays and songs to making scenes. That's kind of cool. This is a quote from one of our band members. An amazing person and fabulous musician, someone who has made great music for many years. He nicely sums up the scene we have lately conjured up...

"The reason is that the philosophy of forming a community of artists is appealing. The crowds that we've been attracting are a testimony to that vibe. In my past experiences, it was about ego and $. This the opposite, where people are welcomed, without judgment, and where $ is not the objective of creating art. It seems simple, but I've never found it before now!"

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Up early, my head is still fuzzy from a rollicking good time at our Lennon Bash. Our little storefront was over-stuffed with people last night, the crowd was so large folks spilled out into the street.

It all went pretty much without a hitch. The music flowed, the beer flowed, the good vibes spilled out and enveloped the space. We have definitely created a little scene.

The music was superb. All those great songs reflected through so many different performers. One of those unique events. Unrepeatable... I think John would've liked it!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Lennon Celebration

We're doing our John Lennon celebration at our little storefront space tonight. It's all spruced up and ready to go.

I changed all the lights, it's all greens and blues and reds. No white light.

Kind of a little dreamscape. And the sound system is tweaked, great acoustics. Plus a mirror ball. Lots of performers, lots of songs.

It should be pretty cool...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dogs & Guitars

My life has been filled up with Dogs and Guitars. That's not a bad thing...

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Either things are going to get better or they are going to get worse. Or maybe they'll just basically stay the same.

And no matter what happens, we're gonna have to deal with it.

Hopefully with grace...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lennon Bash

We've been playing Lennon songs in anticipation of our Lennon Bash on Saturday. It's been quite the challenge.

On the one hand, you can't really out-do the man. One of the great rock and roll voices of all time. And the songs are absolutely iconic. It's about what he is saying or not saying and the way he says it.

On the other hand, the songs are so good, you can't really screw them up. And putting them in a new frame actually brings some of them to life. Some of the songs are deceptively simple. And the simplicity actually makes them harder to perform.


Anyway we will be hosting a pretty cool event where the spirit and the words of the man will be channeled through lots of different performers. It's amazing how many people of multiple generations were touched by John's music.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bad Theater

Standing in the court room. Watching bad theater. All the roles stereotypes. There's the Judge, long-suffering, dignified, swimming in a sea of paper and broken lives.

There are the lawyers. Suited up. Used car salesman. Shuffling papers. Shills for the corporation, or stand-ins for their desperate clients.

There are the "simple people." These are the ones who stand in lines, wait for their turn to be humiliated, the people who suffer, who flee, who ask for mercy.

The words "In God We Trust" in big, blocky, fake gold letters, tacked to the wall just above the big, round-faced clock.

The clock blindly ticks away...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Clock Tick Tock!

Hey, no matter what you believe, and if you believe, more power to you brothers and sisters, you are finally left with - "How do you fill the time in your life?"

Do you fill your time with positive acts or negative acts? Do lean to the light or hide in the dark? Are you a nay-sayer, or a doer? Do you ride with the changes or do you fight tooth and nail against them?

Do you love life, or hate it? Or are you ambivalent about the whole thing? Or are you all things all the time? The freaking clock just keeps ticking...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Neil Young Delivers

I dug deep into my pocket and bought a copy of Neil Young's new record, "Le Noise" on vinyl! It seems so retro, so contrary to prevailing trends to spring for vinyl. A big platter, thicker than a pancake - can only play it in one room.

It just seems so right. It's a really special record and buying the vinyl makes it singular. I have to fire up the old turntable, place the needle in the grooves, flip it over to hear the other side. Ritualistic!

Plus to my ears it sounds super good. There's something about the old technology, more air or space. And it's Neil Young at his best. Certainly a masterpiece. For an excellent review check out the Music Tablet. Yes, Neil delivers! It's a great collaboration with another impressive artist - Daniel Lanois!

Here's Lanois talking about the making of "Le Noise."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Meeting the Pastor

I was sitting in our little storefront speaking with "the Pastor." The "big man," conferring with "the big man." How many big men can fit on the head of a pin?

Now of course, "the Pastor" was a little older and seemingly wiser, closer to God, don't you know? But it was me who was holding court, telling him the way it was, the way it was going to be.

It was like a little scene in a movie. And I was in the movie, and well, shit, it wasn't really a movie at all, it was my life, it was not just entertainment, not just a scene for the audience to cluck over; no, this was my life, one moment that would never be repeated and I was making the most of it.

But even as it was happening, I was wondering why it was happening, how did I get here? Was there some larger meaning? Did all the moments of my existence, previous to this one, lead me to this moment? Was there some blueprint or grand plan that brought me to this time and place?

And then like that, it was over, and I was back on the street. Tending to a dog eat dog world.

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