Try not to look back
in anger or grieve again
live 2 see the dawn
Archive for the art Category
Try not to look back
I had been worried about David Bowie for months, since I saw Blackstar, the profound and haunting music video he released in anticipation of his album that came out last Friday.
Juliette@ElusiveJ actually sums up how I feel about it best: We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.
I began rehearsal with a moment of silence on Monday. I was already going to base Oberon on Jareth but I’m going to be much more explicit about it now. Maybe I will base all the fairies on a different Bowie .
It’s a few days later. I based all the fairies on different Bowie personas.The costume and makeup people are besides themselves with joy.
You should buy the new Bowie record. It’s amazingly good but I am not an objective critic and in any case I’ve only listened to the song ‘Blackstar’ repeatedly this week. I started to watch the ‘Lazarus’ video but I turned it off. I wasn’t ready for it yet. I’m going to dole out the new songs over the course of the year.
Tonight I held a long moment of silence for Alan Rickman.
Alan Rickman was a tremendous actor.
He played the sort of villain you wanted to root for, which is a real trick, and he embodied Severus Snape with the sort of humanity that made him the most interesting character in a series full of very interesting characters. He was an actor’s actor; an original.
One of my favorite films is ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’; if you want to understand the difference between Hollywood films and independent film, watch it along with ‘Ghost’. They were made around the same time with a very similar premise but could not be more different films. Watch it this weekend.
everything is just as new as before
& only our perspective shifts
creating the illusion of change
slide across planes
of experiential phenomena
& believe in the ride
for the best effect
sincerity makes all the difference
all i want all i need
is the oyster of everything
is what the gospel choir
sang in my dream
with drums pounding beneath
all i want all i need
is they oyster of everything
sung languid and slow
frantic rhythm below
all i want all i need
is the oyster of everything
always the moment of potential possibilities
quiver & quaver with shimmering anticipation
& seeing change is a matter of perception
always the moment of the pearl of everything
& the endless giving of upspin to charm
& the never of stopping & the lever of time moving
always the moment of now is beginning
& the movement of the arc of the galaxy
& the timeless light of ancient stars
always the moment of now is forgetting
where ideas are born & becoming the real
& everything emerges from nothing
So, a Catholic Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The Priest orders a glass of red wine and blesses it. The Rabbi orders a glass of Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine and drinks it. The Imam has a Diet Pepsi. The Mormon waitress condemns them all.
A man with a monkey on one shoulder and a parrot on the other rides a horse into a bar. The bartender says, “Get those filthy fucking animals out of here or I’m calling the cops!”
So a Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and says, “make me one with everything.” And the hot dog guy says, “Aren’t you supposed to be a vegetarian?”
I was just telling someone about how for your birthday one year we went to the Field Museum to see the Darwin exhibit, when we were standing in front of a collection of the species of carnivorous plants and I said, “well, that kind of blows the concept of vegetarianism to hell.”
The other guy in the exhibit laughed.
I marvel at how light a quarter century feels; It was around that long ago we went walking around your old high school while you felt nostalgic for four years earlier. Then we got even more very drunk; God, do you remember that breakfast? We had all slept for forty five minutes and were still reeking of booze when we threw on suits and had breakfast with your family. Wulf didn’t take off his sunglasses the entire time. Then we went and got your ass married to that lunatic. I mean, she was a beautiful lunatic, and I was making the exact same mistake with Persephone, after all. I’ve told you about how I proposed to her, didn’t I? So, we were at her sister’s wedding which was at the Park Ridge Country Club, and Persi was the Maid of Honor. We were like, twenty at the time. So, the wedding was in the morning but the reception wasn’t going to start for hours so nearly everyone left to get lunch or whatever and the wedding party went to go take pictures. I had nothing to do but sit at the bar all afternoon. By the time the cocktail party started at four, I was loaded. By the time dinner started at six English was pretty much a second language. By the time the speeches at finished and dancing started I was proposing to Persephone. I don’t remember much else about the night.
Do you remember how we used to drink? Neither can I.
Right now the shuffle brought up ‘Ring of Fire’ as covered by Wall of Voodoo. It’s pretty cool, actually. Julia is binge watching a terrible show called ‘Reign’ so I threw on headphones and I’m listening to music and writing to you. We are relishing quiet adult time while little dude sleeps. He just turned four a few weeks ago and we had a big party for him at our house. There are elements of the castle here in our house. We have an (inoperable) fireplace with built-in bookshelves alongside it in the living room. Julia has painted the rooms in vivid colors and they are filled with books and toys and musical instruments and our art on the walls. We have a corner lot with a big yard. I’m six minutes away from work. Mom and Dad are good; Tony calls them Nana and Coco.
Toilet training has been kind of emotionally brutal. I am taking a Zen approach but it can be exhausting. We’ve tried it all and are kind of stuck in a good cop bad cop cycle with him and I don’t think it’s good but it’s the dynamic we keep reverting to and I can’t help but be good cop. But then its all over and we are in bed singing to him. There’s a lullabye I’ve been singing to him since he was probably two years old and now he demands I sing it to him every night and it’s the highlight of my
day life; first I sing it by myself, then Julia and Little Tony sing it with me. We end up doing it three times at least before you do Mama’s songs. It’s to the tune of Silent Night and I came up with the words over time. He calls it ‘Sweet Little Boy’.
Sweet little boy
Dear little boy
I love you
You’re my joy
I love you more than all words could say
More every night and every day
I love you so much
Oh, I love you so much
I know it’s doggerel but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever written because it’s the first song my son ever learned to sing.
I know that there will be a day when I won’t be singing him to sleep anymore and it makes me indescribably sad.
It’s the next day and I’ve gotten home from work for a little bit before I have to go back out and they’re out and I’m listening to Bjork’s ‘Army of Me’ and writing to you. Here’s the thing about having a kid; I’m doing more real writing than I ever did when I was single. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been blogging very regularly; I’ve written over 20,000 words of a novel this year as well as producing some of the best paintings I’ve yet done while working full time at the Clown Factory and I am still a fully present dad who doesn’t miss dinner or night night. And the Clown Factory is just going smashing, with a kind of Imperials vs the Rebellion vibe giving things an extra spice to my days. Plus I had a meeting last night for the little theater company I’m helping start up; I’m directing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ this winter.
It’s the evening. I got home late but not too late to sing him down to sleep, so hooray for that and Captain Spaulding. Julia is still watching this terrible show. It’s like if the CW did the War of the Roses. I have to tell you brother, I never have known a woman quite like her and that is why we work. We bring out good things in each other. And even though she usually has awesome taste this show is so terrible I’m putting on my headphones and ‘We Love You’ by the Stones is on my shuffle; it’s such a great psychedelic tune and has a certain distinction because John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing on the chorus and Lennon’s voice is very clear at the end of the song as he seems to knock over a glass. I don’t understand why it never seems to get played anywhere.
I’ve read several excellent books lately. If you’re in the mood for some light magical realism I really enjoyed ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. My friend Wendy has gotten me reading memoirs and I discovered I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing; ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a deeper piece of writing than you would think. The problem is that the film is a story of a pretty white lady taking an extended vacation and falling in love with a hot older man which completely misses the point of the book; it is her writing which is relevant, not the narrative. ‘The Way of the Samurai’ by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Hesse, and ‘Brave New World’ are all books that somehow evaded me until this last year but are now nestled into the Core. Speaking of, did you guys see ‘Inside Out’ yet? Little dude loved it almost as much as me and Mama did. Pixar consistently makes not only some of the best family films but some of the best films of all time.
I’m sorry my reply to your email was so brief. I didn’t know what else to say and have been thinking about you since I sent it and I’m hoping they figure it all out. The hospital sucks except for how they perform miracles of science there. Hopefully they’ll have you out by Monday. I just wanted to give you a little something to read. Get some rest and give my love to those around you and yourself.
As people such as Jacob Canfield and Sandip Roy have noted, Charlie Hebdo could be obnoxious and rude, and the magazine’s humor could be characterized as xenophobic. Neither of these writers are suggesting that the victims in this case deserved to be murdered, but that it is inappropriate to share their work in the wake of the murder as these cartoons are terrible, no-good, incendiary, racist, sexist, homophobic, and even more regressively reactionary than the Three Stooges. They have judged them to be Bad Satire because of their offensive nastiness and extraordinary rudeness; furthermore, they have judged the creators at Charlie Hebdo to be ‘racist assholes’ and characterized their humor as ‘punching down’ at the marginalized and oppressed. At this point I would urge both Jacob and Sandip to take the pearls they are clutching and shove them deeply into their rectums, whereupon they should slowly withdraw them one by one while furiously masturbating so as to produce a toe-curling orgasm that might help them clear their heads.
I don’t see how it is ‘punching down’ to mock people who are willing and able to kill you. I don’t see how the ‘Love is Stronger than Hate’ cover is homophobic. I don’t see how mocking violent fundamentalists is somehow wrong, nor do I see mocking religion itself as a wrong thing to do; in fact, I believe these are necessary and good things to do. Mocking the violent believer is not mockery of a religion, and mocking a religion does not mock God. Besides, blasphemy, or mockery of the sacred, serves a higher purpose; if a belief cannot endure the breeze of laughter then one should not try to cling to it. Lies are polite and the truth is rude; this is what makes blasphemy cut so deeply into the minds of fundamentalists. Trying to maintain a primitive mindset in the face of modernity is ultimately futile but that does not make the primitives any less dangerous as they are willing to use modern technology to recreate the idyllic Dark Age Fantasylands or bring about apocalyptic daydream Tomorrowlands. People who reject reason and embrace violence in the name of their imaginary friends need to be mocked in the hope that they will hear the truth in our blasphemy and come in out of the wilderness.
The ministry of Jesus was blasphemous from the Parable of the Good Samaritan to His healing of the sick; it’s why He was killed. My answer to the question, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ is ‘go drinking with hookers and bust up a church’. The teachings of the Buddha are blasphemous, as they reject notions of good, evil, or God running it all. Mohammed was blaspheming against the old tribal gods of his people when he had them removed from the Kaaba and reconsecrated it to Allah. Martin Luther, Galileo, and Dr King were all blasphemers, speaking unspeakable truths to their fellows. The Charlie Hebdo cartoon of a fundamentalist terrorist beheading the Prophet who he is accusing of being an infidel is spot on satire that speaks an unbearable truth to the religious terrorist; people who do violence in the name of the Prophet are doing violence to the Prophet.
I understand the taboo against portraying Mohammed or for that matter, any representation of a human being in Islamic art; that taboo does not apply to non-Muslims. I also want to point out that one of the police officers who was murdered by the terrorists was a Muslim and that countless Muslims and Islamic have condemned the attack in the strongest terms possible. When I talk about a primitive mindset, I am talking about individuals that believe images have some sort inherent power or magic about them; there is no racial or other bias in this word as the primitive mindset can be found everywhere. Just months before the Taliban was blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan with rocket launchers, Mayor Giuliani was trying to get a painting of the Virgin Mary removed from the Brooklyn Museum. The primitive mindset does not belong to any particular religion, race or whatever; it is embraced by people everywhere who think that they can make the world a better place if they burn this book or that painting, or that by killing they are doing the will of God.
Either everything is fair game or nothing is. Bad satire makes you feel comfortable and smug; good satire unsettles and goes places you’re not supposed to. This is not to say that being offensive is equivalent to being good satire because it takes no effort to be crude, thoughtless, and juvenile. It does mean, however, that in order to protect the good satire we have to protect that which is crude, thoughtless, and juvenile as well. If Charlie Hebdo was merely thoughtless crude racism produced by assholes they would have fled after the first firebombing or would not have even been targeted in the first place; it is because their pens found their mark that the madmen came to kill them. But in doing so, the primitive minds of the killers only made Charlie Hebdo more powerful than they could possibly imagine, because from now until the end of my days every time I hear the name of the Prophet Mohammed, this will be the face I attach to it: