Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flux Sucks.

(Eleanora playing at Club Bart, 2010)

Maybe it doesn't help that I'm listening to Vic Chesnutt's last release before his untimely death, and that I'm drinking merlot, and that my apartment is a mess. But the news that's been hitting lately is throwing my moods into difficult spirals. First, we heard with less than a week's notice that the Belmont was closing. Well, no, actually, first we heard that the Burton Theater was moving. That was a bummer, considering its promise and the fact that I'd only been there once, to find out the night's show was sold out. Then we heard the Belmont had been sold and that there would be a last hurrah on June 11th. I was directly impacted by this, because I was supposed to have a solo art show at the end of July. I didn't attend the closing party because of the competing Lager House filming. Now, with only four days notice, Ferndale's online world has become aware that Club Bart will close and await a transformation into what some are saying will be a French bistro. I was told that last bit a day before it was published, but I thought the bearer was sorely misinformed. He wasn't. I'm devastated.

(Hanging out at Club Bart, 2010)

Of course, everything is in flux, especially when it comes to Detroit musicians, artists, DIY-ers, and young entrepreneurs; the target market hangs at financial threads itself most of the time. I know half the shows I've been to in the last three years, I couldn't afford the cover. I can't say that my own shmuckiness didn't contribute to these places shuttering. I can't say that it wasn't due to poor management, shady employees, asinine customers, or simple geography. In most situations, I guess it's a combination of these, flicked into oblivion by bad luck. It must be expected, I suppose, with stability a rarely used word in the Detroit arts, that our mainstays are not always staying.

While everything around our culture shifts, we must keep tallies on the memories we've shared with one another and the places they're attached to. Being a part of two filming sessions at the Belmont, wearing a beard at Club Bart, passing out 'til dawn on the couches at Trowbridge House of Coffee--these memories, the grittiest, most Detroit, most genuine and at times most frightening moments of my life, lived at bars that worked for years to make sure stupid kids could do stupid things at will with the caveat that they achieve something brilliant once in a while. I think some of us got to those moments. Perhaps the best we self-proclaimed helpless bystanders can do when our little dives and venues disappear really is to realize that that $3 can of Cream Ale was totally worth it.

(Trowbridge House of Coffee, 2009)

(Belmont music video shoot, 2009?)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things about me at which my friends are amazed when disclosed.

  1. I've never seen The Big Lebowski.
  2. I come from a Polish family but never had polish food 'til college friends who live in Hamtramck educated me.
  3. I once wanted to be a preacher.
  4. I once loved really shitty country music. (No, like REALLY shitty.)
  5. I've never had collard greens, ribs, or any form of duck, rabbit, or elk.
  6. I know how to change oil.
  7. I really believe that the government is tracking us through RFIDs and other such things through vaccines and other tools. (Though they just need facebook, already proving useful to them)
  8. I still weep when I hear a young voice sing an incredible aria in an incomparable tone.
  9. I've never been south of northern Tennessee (other than Hawaii, which I was sick for half of and it's like going to another country so it doesn't count), or west of the Mississippi (read above).
  10. I hate. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No, I'm not posting lyrics.

I realized today that I write far too many "lyrics" to ever put to music. The problem with these little couplets, stanzas, one-liners and phrases is that they would look ridiculous as poems. And the ideas that are deserving of their composition are so varied that they could never be put together in a single "clever" song like Dylan has done well time after time. And so they collect in little notebooks mixed with drawings and exhibition concepts that I hope will overtake the bookshelf eventually, crowding out the leftover textbooks and old Juxtapoz rags that junk it up now. But these are inactive words.

Here, now that I've given you a readable, interesting paragraph, let me confuse the shit out of you and myself and go completely off topic.

The problem with the era of the simulacra is that language and valuable/meaningful action are so vastly set apart that language becomes its own hyperreal action, set apart from valuable/meaningful action. An easy (albeit, very superficial and non-interesting) example of this is the popular facebook copy/paste status that is intended to raise awareness for one thing or another. we've all seen (or posted ourselves) that "90 percent of you won't repost this, but 2 billion people die every year of horcruxes. If you know someone who's been affected by horcruxes, put this as your status for one hour and I'm sure so many people will all of a sudden cry a cure into existence." Thing is, it's an easy way to tell people that you care. The digital world is a funny thing (here I'm jumping ahead; follow me!): you can renege on just about anything you type by indicating your tone wasn't taken in the right light. This is different from previous print-based communications because it takes place on a more immediate context and in much smaller sentences/fewer characters. Twitter statuses can be taken as poetry because they are packed with as much information as possible that anyone with a bit of wile can use to invite all sorts of interpretations. ...Hence, trolls. It's like a triple dog dare to be a troll. And anyone can do it at any time, because there is no font for sarcasm and the anonymity of the web gives so much power to play with serious people. The internet segregates and separates people just like "IRL" because it's language-based, and language is the origin of segregation. So you have well-educated people (who have been shown the tools to use language in a wide variety of ways) and poorly-educated people (who have not) communicating on a single platform--not to mention all the age differences, and they often will separate from one another, or when they clash, more virulent results are seen than when they clash IRL, because of the mask and immaterial nature of digital communication (no bodily risk is associated, usually, with online bickering). The cleverest wins online, and seems to be the ultimate goal of modern Homo Sapiens. So this is the contemporary problem. A platform for an ultimate world community to congregate is invaluable and utopian, but when it is immaterial, the results will ultimately be immaterial. ...Right?

If you actually read all that, then I congratulate you upon your mapping of my brain.

In keeping with the theme, TL;DR version: OMG the world sucks and is awesome too and it's all the internet's fault and it's just like real life dood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What To Do, Part Two of Infinity, Or: Zombie Dreams Abound

I keep having zombie dreams. Last night I had one for the first time in months. In these dreams there are rarely zombies; in fact often times there are only half a dozen or so people at all. Mostly they consist of the struggle to ransack and seek out everything that will be useful, starting from my own home and then moving with a friend or two to a camp. Many times they are more about exploring houses, and the dreams have a very whimsical aspect. Once in a while, like last night, there will be an element of danger, but the danger isn't zombies (even though they are the reason for this societal meltdown), it's the people who scour the houses for anything useful, rob anyone who might be there, and kill them. Last night I hid in an attic at my parents' house with someone until these people left. Then it was all business, grabbing what to me were the most important items to take in whatever car we were going to find. Almost always, the people I am with, who are allies or camp-mates, are unspecific; that is, they have no identity that I know of. Last night's dream took place near the beginning of the apocalypse, but I have had some where I had been wandering the countryside with a few "friends" (no one I know in real life), mostly in cars, for perhaps years. One dream took place at night, in winter, and we searched for a house that we could settle down in for good, now that the threat was over. It was so peaceful, looking down that line of houses, some porch lights lit (which in the dream just meant that the power grid for that neighborhood was functional), and knowing that there were worlds of architecture to explore with barely any people to get in the way.

What To Do, Part One of Infinity

Is it better to have a goal and no means or means and no goal? I don't know. 

What am I supposed to do in life? What do I want to do in life? Could the twain meet? These are the three most important questions I could have about my future (and my present and past, for they have everything to do with it). "A certain practice of life" ...have I ever done anything exceptional in my practice of life that includes art? Nothing comes to mind. I've made individuals happy while making pictures on canvas or paper, and I've felt joy in imitating shape, exploring texture and context and concept and implication and color and light, but is that really what I want to do? I think not. However, a life devoid of creative expression is a dull death. How related, entwined do my life and my art need to be, though? No matter what I do, I can't imagine it including all the facets of what I love doing. The whole life would mean my work (career!) was meaningful (as the theorists say, meaning is a tricky concept) and inextricably tied to who I am and how the world is. As much as I want to pretend that my happiness is independent from pressures of peers, family and authority, it is not, and it isn't independent of the general social statuses of cultures and facets of groups around the world (and it shouldn't be).

Maybe at my pit I will always be an absorber, an observer and listener. I will never be a teacher. I would make a horrible teacher. I will never be able to relay information to children or adults unless it's trivia. I will never be able to debate anyone. I'm too flustered, distracted, speech-impeded, and sensitive. I can have discussions with people, but cannot successfully confront debate. I could never manage or own a business (for pretty much those same reasons).

I have all sorts of romantic ideas about abandoning everything I own and everyone I know and traveling the globe doing good and learning all I can. They are frivolous ideas, but I can't dismiss their value in helping me decide what I'd be best suited to do. The free consumption of time--that's what I've really learned is ultimate freedom. I'd have to exist outside of the society as I know it in order to be such a pure consumer. More romantic ideas. Seems quite a selfish goal, when it comes down to it, right? I want to do good things. That's all I know. And I don't want to do them in the way that most professions can be twisted to say that they do good. I want to do them in impactful, empowering, direct ways. And I want to be a professional learner. A student of the Earth.

Well, I've gnawed a little bit away at this. Here's to the first step.