Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I used to be a hater of Van Gogh.

Some time ago I went to the Art Institute of Chicago. I had been pegged as an “outsider artist” at that time, and kind of embraced it because I didn’t have a choice, and didn’t want to be associated with the “insider artists.” My impressions or feelings on Art at that time in my life, were not special emotions based on any kind of educated theory really. They were the identical impressions or feelings I spread thinly across the board for any given topic or scenario. Its fair to say I was super sardonic, and not a thing or a creature was safe from me.

So on this one particular day, I went to the museum. I don’t even remember if I went alone or not. I can tell you that I was scared. I was embarrassed. And I was secretly elated to the point of distraction. But over these dumb histrionics, was a more discriminating force within me, Anger. And Anger, was definitely along for the ride that day. Anger, was just radiating from me and I may as well have been a red light. I am going to attempt to explain what it is about me, that made me feel that way on that day. I don’t think it was a sunny day, but I don’t remember rain.

I wanted to be invisible so that I could walk through all the rooms without eyes on me, while I had this experience. I could hang my nose within an inch of the exhibits and no one would arrest me. I could lay down and just stare at paintings. Its almost as if I was suddenly a barbarian, for the amount of one dimensional energy I poured into just desiring these basic actions. The problem was that I had so much to learn, and so many limitations. Me Vs Me. One on one. Anger.

So you see, I wasn’t angry because I hated the modern institutionalization of the arts, from some kind of twisted outsider perspective, like you might assume. I was angry because I knew this was going to be a deeply personal experience and I had two hours or some shit to have it in. I would have to be institutionalized if that was even possible. The task before me, was to experience miles and miles of these exhibited objects. Objects made with unknown meanings, by men and women long ago dead and buried. Men and women who were legends and lived during very different times. Men and women who had to create things to the extent that they would rather die than live without that right. How can you be critical of Art? And, what’s your point?
Don’t cheat yourself.

During this phase of my life, I seemed to have chosen the sad ability to remember approximately one memory for every few months of my life, and I was a sober individual as I made my way through the years. The reason for this horrible lack of memories can be blamed squarely on the fact that my emotions and my heart were running the show like a fucking death squad, spraying every experience with blinding sentiment. Which is why, I can only tell you about one piece of art that I saw on that day. The one piece of art that made me want to cry.

I never understood why Vincent Van Gogh was famous. I don’t suggest that I understand now, in any total way why he was famous. I thought his paintings were ugly. The content didn’t even excite me after learning about his life. He was an artist who was part of the Art 101 Outline, and I preferred the works of other artists. I didn’t think that I would leave the Art Institute of Chicago with a broken heart because I saw one of his paintings. But I did.

I saw his Self-Portrait. The paint was literally swimming like pixels. Every inch of the canvas was alive with his ageless spirit, and thats not something I have ever said, or ever hoped to say honestly.. but... It crushed me. I could feel my anger being zapped by compassion. I have nothing but compassion for Van Gogh now because I truly experienced his artwork up close, and it marked me. I had been deceived by the whole world for so long. I had deceived myself as well. Van Gogh was amazing and how could I have missed that? One on one. Experience.

Even though I know there was serious art all through the museum for me to get with, I am satisfied with my experience there. I’d love to go back for a second chance, and it would be great to hit The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia again while I’m at it. These places play a crucial role in our society, which in greener days, I would have shot the bird at. I learned something very important when I visited these Museums. I can’t tell you what that is exactly, because I am still cultivating it, and its final yield escapes me still. I do know, that I am no one to be judging, and maybe, you aren’t either.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Bounty of Contexts

"Deconstruction came along and said, basically, you're all wrong. (It's very hard to trump that.) Deconstruction maintained that all meaning is context-dependent, and the contexts are boundless. There is thus no way to control, or even finally to determine, meaning-and thus both art and criticism spin endlessly out of control and into the space of unrelenting ambiguity, never to be seen from or heard from again."

"Postmodern deconstruction, it has finally been realized, leads precisely and inevitability to nihilism: there is no genuine meaning anywhere, only nested deceptions." -Ken Wilbur-The Eye of The Spirit

Yeah. Ok. So.

Who I am, is totally the creation of my destruction, by way of X .

I like to call the brief swatting at their heads, comraderie.

My heavy noise and my heavy heart beat.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ididereven at the Final Frontier

Voice over courtesy of James Earl Jones all rights reserved.

Anchorage, AK December 6, 2006

There are reported to be several bad traffic accidents around Anchorage this morning after an estimated 25,000 music fans hit the streets, braving one of many bad storms of the season to get their hands on the new Jewel release. But the chaos didn't stop there. Fans then crammed into cars, truck beds, tractors and even produce trucks to make their way to the state fair where Ted Nugent was to make his annual appearance playing the smash hit "Cat Scratch Fever" and offering 200 free 1953 Russian SKS rifles with bayonettes as a door prize. Also fans claim there was a large turn out because Gallagher had brought a reported 1000 watermelons.

Spokesmen for tribal organizations across the state are asking for prayers and calling this spate of unfortunate accidents the work of the devil. Inuit tribal member, Clifford Paul, stopped his sled dog team outside of the Anchorage Daily News to make a comment. "This senseless death reminds me of the 1980's with the satanic popularization of the acid rock movement and even the Beach Boys before that. We have to be strong for our young people now as in the past. We should demand parental control over music distributed and performed in Alaska. We have to ask ourselves, "Can we afford to lose our children to the dark vices of this overhyped music?" How long before we discover our babies dead from self-inflicted wounds, clutching copies of god-only-knows-what terrible noise next. When will we realize that it is music that is killing our children and not our sorry ass consumer driven self serving souless society?" Mr Paul had actually just pulled over to pop his hypertension pill but thanked us for the opportunity to comment. We hope he doesn't get blindly angered on the Iditarod.

Not really, but it could still happen.

Hysteria and persecution is truly not new to music. Who is shocked by witch hunts anymore? Not I. Disgusted by the ineptitude of some of the public to identify real "evil", sure, but at least I'm not going to blame anything in life on fucking SLIPKNOT. The drummer is great! Who cares if he believes in god? Obviously it doesn't matter, because God believes in Slipknot. "A common pitfall that many fall into is to associate horrendous "real" events with certain artists and their songs/music," my mother says. I wholly agree. For example, music from the seventies reminds me of murder. And if you asked me to reference a song to that fact, I would cough up "Right down the line" by Gerry Rafferty. I can't tell you why exactly, but if I ever make a film, that song will be playing during a homicidal rampage. Because that song is the epitome of sinister for me, and therefore Gerry Rafferty is the devil because he somehow channeled the devil. Now I am sure that the song means something TOTALLY different for you, and now I am your antithesis and so on and so forth until every human has picked their totem song and created their totem neighborhood. See how easy we... coagulate?

Every artist is not MAYHEM. The real bad guys are us to be sure though. Meaning ALL OF US. We have managed to rock with our cocks out all over Mother Earth. Aren't there innumerable cases of unjust poverty and violence and famine and disease worth fighting or am I on the wrong block? But let's not focus on what's really killing us, let's slam Mozart. Mozart was possessed apparently because he wrote the canon, "Leck mich im Arsch recht fein schon sauber (Lick my Arse nice and clean)" for friends.(The Köchel number of this canon is 233). When will this absurd persecution of creativity end? Didn't the gift he gave mankind earn him any credit? What is the source for this closed-minded hate?

"There is NO music ever used or approved in the worship of a SPIRIT... You will NEVER find music used in the spiritual worship of a Holy Spirit God. You will ALWAYS find that attemting {sic}such worship is many times in the Bible and always in paganism telling the Patriarchal God Jehovah that you WILL NOT listen to His words and teach them as they have been taught." Yes. You can click on that link for more. One argument is that music causes us to go into a frenzy and a state of ecstasy, and is therefore bad. Even though music does indeed course through us in imaginitive ways, my record collection never ruined anyone's life. It made my rent late sometimes, but It actually saved my life and I can think of a million more. I want to be clear here. I don't deny that there are plenty of people, from all manner of spiritual inclinations, who support all kinds of music. What I am talking about right now, is the significant smattering of twisted anti-music fanatics who are just enough in number, for me to care. True sociopaths like Kenneth Sublett who I quoted above. And to address controversy, I can think of far greater terrors committed by men than tearing up a photograph of the Pope. Try me. Try yourself for that matter. In the end, I guess music is reserved for angels with trumpets during judgement, and dead virgins with harps. Hark. You got me.

Sometimes I take anti-depressants which make me think that the arts will save us, but if every creature is intrinsically represented and bound in the arts (which I believe) then we will continue to be the same Earth-with the same residents, with the same hang-ups- just like the totem song example above. The other day I stumbled across the new generation of music witch hunters while hanging out with my "cyber buddy" (the computer)... Introducing Mothers Against Noise . They target musicians like Cabaret Voltaire, John Cage, Psychic TV, and even Radiohead. It brought me back to adolescence. Back to the hick woods in Texas. Back to the age before Internet. I like to refer to those nubile days as the Dark Ages. Lets pull a "U"y and go there.

I was 13 and styling in my wicker fedora (actually straw) and turquoise jellies. I remember tuning the radio dial as far left as it would go. It was one moment in time that ripped life wide open for me. I heard "Harrass County" by SNOT. I got all tingly and wondered if some alien transmission wasn't coming through my am/fm radio. I honestly went to school the next day with a secret that gave me a power I never had before. I couldn't wait to get home and search my radio for more. And it wasn't because I was blissed out by the dark side as I meditated on scalping my neighbor for Satan. It was because I felt like I was going to make it now. I felt like there was somewhere I could go to get away from my neighbors before they scalped me. I was a vindicated prisoner.Thank You, Chuck Roast of Turmoil in the Toybox for helping me survive with your radio show. And thank you MAXIMUMROCKNROLL.

Speaking of Inspired music

I can remember growing up in Texas in the Eighties, where uneducated bible-whoring busy bodies spent every second of their day looking for the devil under every bed in the county. It was our music they found. I was kicked out of school by a veritable modern day lynch mob for being a devil worshipper. (Absurd story if you care to ask it.) I was not then, and am not now, and have no intentions of worshipping anything. It's pretty telling that the rock giants who were on trial for all of us in the Eighties now have their own television shows, without one single apology from the moral majority for their troubles? ( I guess being popular is a kind of justice.) Some would suggest their popularity was a sign of the end of days... And Rob Halford is gay, my husband likes to point out. Why didn't he tell the world that then? Maybe he wasn't born gay. Maybe the music made him gay. He could have really used this bon bon in the trial. They would have thought him too soft to orchestrate strings of suicides, child murders, granny rapes, and animal mutilation. Or maybe they would have super persecuted him for being a deviant. Deviant or not... Halford was certainly no Varg Vikernes. Even Motley Crue wasn't safe singing "Shout AT the Devil." during this time. Ridiculous. I'd laugh, if it wasn't like cancer.

I can tell you a handful of gruesome homegrown tales from the back woods that raised me, making the world of devil worship look like Candyland.

It was during this time that serial killer, Coral Eugene Watts, was on the loose. James Byrd was dragged to his death in Jasper Texas. Henry Lee Lucas was in court, there was the Lubys cafeteria shooting, the Branch Davidian fiasco, Charles Whitman shooting from the UT tower... Aileen Wuornos kindly trying to balance the scales for us... And DNA had yet to play a large role in deterring crime. I distinctly remember feeling a sense that the world was a horrible place where anything was possible. And that "anything" had nothing to do with going to college or having a happy family. That "anything" was a dark overforested pathway exacerbated and stimulated by the collective witch hunt that seemed to run parallel to our lives... as we tried to escape into music from the local PTA. I don't even mean a specific TYPE of music. I mean any music from the dawn of time-until god was young, up until tomorrow. Music made the horrors of life bearable. I loved the scene in Footloose where Kevin Bacon pulls into the high school parking lot blasting Quiet Riot. Find a new devil. This one is retired.

The trail left by James Byrd

20 years later, here I am in the Aleutians... apparently still hung up on the trials of the PMRC. I guess there's been some progress in the collective appreciation of the arts. It is kind of like how my 2 year old, Electra, comes to me with her own shit on her finger, held up in front of her face and she says, "Yucky." I'm mortified that she has feces so close to her mouth, but I'm proud she has finally made the connection. And the twinkle in her eye says she is too.

There are four musicians on this island. My husband, myself, our naturalist friend who works at the native corporation and an Aleut resident who plays spoons and accordion. Her last name is Bear, and in a sad ironic twist, her first born was taken by a grizzly less than two decades ago. This may contribute to the fact that she plays the spoons like a speed metal drummer. Our studio space overlooks the Swede's junkyard. We can see the whole village from the loft window. The school, everyone's house, the docks facing the Bering sea and Pacific ocean, the clinic (where I work), the mayor's chambers and the cemetery. The cemetery has four people buried outside of the gates for not being Russian Orthodox or for having committed suicide. This heavy thread of religion is everywhere, and I guess how could you avoid it? 40% of the graves are unidentified. Nonetheless, our band has been called "Aleutian Delusion" and "The Darned". I am the drummer, mostly because I can't stand to hear anyone else "keep the time" as they refer to it, and I probably wouldn't be in the room long if I had to play with someone else on the drums. This doesn't mean I am even remotely good. I am currently in therapy/counselling so that I can overcome my trepidation and huge hang ups of using the electronic stinger pads in conjunction with the trap kit. We work out of the studio in my house here. We have some older material incorporating live and programmed instrumentation. I lost the battle when trying to call us Earthpussy, so if anyone wants the name....

I had originally planned on linking several Alaskan artists here but decided that it's probably best to refer people to the The Anchorage Press for information on music and the arts rather than rely on me. I'm totally out of it. I live on the edge of the planet and far from civilization. Though, my own travels through the state have introduced me to a large variety of artists who have so many different tastes. Here's one of my favorite songs by Joe Jim Paul. The native American population is poorly represented in the music industry in general and I'd like to see some interest generated wherever possible.

Thanks to Kilian for allowing me to guest spot in your lovely corner of the web. You guys are a really great read. I recognize many of the contributors here and it is nice to see everyone healthy and thriving. I was one of a handful of angst ridden live-in bar wenches at the Axiom/Catal Huyuk for a spell in Houston, just prior to it closing, and I remember fondly singing "Fame" with Bloodfart at #'s. Here's to old friends. And seeing that image of Malcolm posted here reminded me of a couple of stories of his debauchery. Locking a young man in a crawlspace at POWERTOOLS... And one night after a poetry slam or something, I was waiting for Malcolm to pass out as I gave him free tap beers. His eyes would go glassy as he talked about ghosts in the building. I had my own impressions of ghosts there,(a long and creepy tale if you ask it) but I remember waking up to yelling downstairs. A young local had passed out on the couch, and had awoken to Malcolm tying a string around his balls. Ahhh... The Dark Side. Thank god I wasn't an alcoholic then.


This month I rented and watched these dvds... They arrived on a Cherokee...plane.

X: The unheard music. I was totally annoyed that NAUSEA was not on here. There was some good quality older material worth checking out if you liked this band.

Theremin An Electronic Odyssy: Breathtaking in a terribly introspective kind of way. Seeing an old Theremin walk New York's streets at night almost made me cry.

Fugazi: This is a good representation of who I remember them to be for me. I enjoyed the footage of people waiting outside venues for their shows.

How to draw a bunny. Ray Johnson: I watched this movie as we erected our Dr. Seuss christmas tree. I consider it to be interesting and it captured the artistic sensibility of days long past.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston: You be the judge. I think he's like this unbalanced part of each of us, and I wish we could have no judgment for long enough to make a reference point worthy of notice.

Shane McGowan: If I should fall from grace: Alot of great footage and interviews. Evidentally, I hallucinated that I saw Shane McGowan perform with Nick Cave in Hollywood when I was 17 ...Thanks to an old friend in FRACAS. He just confirmed for me that there was no Cave/Mcgowan duet.. False memories prevail... Either way, I liked this dvd. The "Dirty Old Town" footage was great.

I am located at the star on the map below, and my house is between the two docks in the second picture. I'm commonly referred to as "Peter Pan Claire". Our island is Unimak. Our town is False Pass. We have an island population of 35.


Wishing you Fair winds and following seas.

That was like an epic saga... Thanks god its over.