Sunday, October 14, 2012

Crackerjacks


Today was a crackerjack day both literally and figuratively.

I watched the film, Beauty is Embarrassing, about the life of the artist Wayne White (more on this later). Then I took my dog for a walk at the park, read the genesis and half of the script to the 1967 flick, Point Blank (love this blog, love that film) and then, jack, my head filled with lead cracks and I collapsed beneath waves deep and dark as Alcatraz.  

Sweet Heaven, what a tagline!

Has light ever speared your eye socket? Has sound ever become fire that burns the sweet cilia of your ear canal? Have time and space ever folded into a black hole directly inside your skull? If not, well, then brother you haven't really lived!  When brain becomes blender thoughts become drowned, volatile ghosts.

Twelve hours later and something like a mind has slowly re-congealed in my skull.  Right before the explosion, I had tried to write Wayne White's wife a note, I fear I did a rather poor job of it.  The documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing , chronicles White's artistic journey from pastoral Tennessee life to moving to NYC to success with Pee Wee's Playhouse to LA disillusionment to metamorphism into a fine artist. Despite, or maybe because of the lingering traces of darkness in his soul, traveling with White is a glorious often times hilarious and moving adventure. I would defy anyone who watches the film (and you should, you really should) to try and not fall in love with White, his many artistic raconteurs and his family. The explanation of the title of the film, which is taken from one of White's live presentations is worth the price of admission alone.

I had first become aware of White's work after seeing an article about his paintings in Juxtapoz magazine, so I had come to the documentary with only the expectation of learning more about an artist whose work I was curious about.  However, the family aspect of the film was something that resonated with me on a far deeper level than I could have expected.  The film shows the sacrifices that Mimi Pond (White's wife and a talented artist in her own right) has to make to support White and raises their quite lovely children. That this should be the case, is not overly surprising; sacrifices are made in order to keep all long term relationships intact. 

So what is it about this aspect of the film that my mind keeps chewing on? Staring at a box of crackerjacks on my kitchen counter my eyes alighted on the phrase, "Prize Inside" and the answer came to me.

What I think it is and that which I failed to convey in the email I sent to Mimi Pond is that belief is the fuel that powers the engine of creativity. Without belief, how could any creator step out upon the precipices of imagined worlds, journey across the tundras of their souls to express what is right, and true within themselves? Wayne White plays the banjo, dances a mean Charleston shuffle and is a fantastically gifted artist, craftsman, and humorist. These things are innate gifts of his imagination that no one had to give him.

But there is a demarcation line between imagination (acts of the mind) and creativity (acts of creation) and I think it is belief given freely from someone outside ourselves that allows us to surpass our internal boundaries and bring forth into the world truly creative endeavors. And, yes, it may be true there is a power to be had in disbelief as well.  When you are alone, with no one to believe in you or when people tell you that you are worthless, it's natural to respond with rebellion to scream and rage and tear forth from your soul acts of creation.  But I feel that there is an intrinsic difference between these two forms of creation. So, while I'm sure Wayne White's life would have been a smashing success if he had never met and married Mimi Pond, I'm also just as sure that the things he would have created on this altered time line would not have been as filled with light, and life and humor as his current career trajectory. 

This, then is the idea that sticks with me:

If you remove the terms marriage, religion, relationship, you remove the art, remove the success and the fame, what you are left with is the story of two people who chose to believe in each other and in doing so changed their worlds both internal and external.  That, in itself, is an act of creativity, an act of creation and that can be the prize inside of each our lives.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Harmageddon

Ever have one of those days where, instead of being a gift, sentience is a vacuous time prison with bars that poke your loamy, soul-meat to make their presence felt?

Does it ever seem that the God of Climate Change has set its boot on the neck of Summer? And with the remorseless eagerness of a meth addicted executioner stomped the once beautiful Summer into a featureless mass of cold, gray shat?

If so, this is called Sunday.

At first, as means to escape, I dove deep into the online info-dump hoping to muckrake the abyss long enough to sponge away all the bitter, drizzle of existence.

Idly flipping through the junk society digi-dump I came upon in no particular order: a student who spiked his teachers drink with 'butt enhancing drugs', a sex tape scandal involving Hulk Hogan, and oh yeah, a nearly naked Liam Neeson sitting on a throne waiting to be drenched with water all while wearing a pink speedo, to, you know, fight cancer. All of which were mind blowing in that just 45 minutes earlier I thought I knew that:

- A well formed bottom was like a personality a thing that if you weren't gifted with at birth you could never hope to purchase

- Hulk Hogan was something of badass who had once played  Frisbee with Rocky instead of complete douche who treated women like valueless sex-bags.

- That Liam Neeson was an ACTUAL badass who... actually, Liam Neeson is still a complete badass. I mean to drop trou in front of an audience full of women while wearing a pink speedo? Balls of steel that man, great big balls of Irish steel.

As exhausted, filthy and self-disgusted as that time I had the lusty dream about the brothel inside of a garbage dump staffed by rejects from Freaks I decided to switch to the one surefire caretaker of the spark of continued creative existence:

So right, so very RIGHT!

Japanese Cartoons!!!

The day's selection: a true classic of psychic, galaxy, spanning combat: Harmageddon (Genma Taisen)!!!

In the years since I last watched Harm, things like The Matrix, and Push, and Jumper have all entered the blood stream of the main stream and it seems impossible to me that many of these projects were unaware of thee visual or thematic similarities they share with it. 

There's just something about seeing a group of insanely designed psionic warriors battle a millenia old expression of pure, evil, hate, destruction and death that leaves you feeling just super-terrific.

Harmageddon, it's hot cocoa for the soul, it really is.

Everything is going to be ok, or if not, it could be worse, much, much, much, much worse.

Thanks for the pick-me-up Harmageddon!!!!



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Everything inside of everything.


Everything has an inside and inside of everything is yet another thing.
This process continues and continues and continues until...



I don't know what.



I don't even know where to look for the inside of the inside of the inside.



These are MRI'S of food taken by Andy Ellison over at Inside Insides. These dancing black and white images have penetrated through edible depths to show that, yes, in fact, even the inside has an inside.

Today a person I work with, who I must confess I have never taken the time to know particularity well, announced to the world at large that they had gotten engaged. Their were shrieks of delight and admiration. As if the joy of one was so great it had blossomed beyond them, grabbing reality, spreading out to become a physical manifestation: sound.

Something that was felt, was then heard, something that was inside came out into the world. As I watched this process unfold I was captivated by the knowledge that I would never know this person and that, that was wonderful.

Wonderful in that there are so many layers inside of reality, so many stories born in every instant, and as much as we think we are a part of everything, every thing for us is only one  fraction of a fraction of a fraction of EVERYTHING. Inside of one universe there is one world and inside of one world their is one species and inside of one species there is one soul and inside of one soul is but one story.

So, today, for one instant, in one place the story was that someone was given a ring and a promise and a taste of something called love. This is a good story, told often, but never it seems enough.

Just one story of everything inside of everything inside of everything.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Sith Lord and the Rabbit.

Pondering the innumerable variance, the subtle convolutions, the flux at the heart of the universe, Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith, saw the truth of his existence inside the eye of a small brown mammal.

Darth Vader was kind of a dick.

Thanks for the smile today, Kelly Kerrigan, your paintings rock!

Customer Care Representatives

In which, your ever humble friend, is challenged by a form letter (in email form) to write 2000 words on a unique paragon of human excellence: The 'Customer Care Representative'.

"Please feel free to provide any additional feedback that you think would improve our service, or to provide accolades to the Customer Care Representative who helped you."

"Over the years I have had to deal with many Customer Care Representatives, however, and I mean this sincerely, this Customer Care Representative was one of the best Customer Care Representatives that I have ever, and I dare say that anyone has ever had the privilege of being customer care represented by. If I had to name one thing that this Customer Care Representative had that other Customer Care Representatives don't it would be simply that some Customer Care Representatives don't seem to have a feeling for the work of a Customer Care Representative while this Customer Care Representative seemed to understand not just what Customer Care Representative should do but what a Customer Care Representative can do not only in service of his or her Customer Care Representative duties but to further the field of Customer Care Representation to the highest degrees that any Customer Care Representative could ever hope to.

In summation I feel that this Customer Care Representative is perhaps the best example of a Customer Care Representative working in the field of Customer Care Representation. I hope this Customer Care Representative, whose name, sadly, I do not know rises through the ranks of Customer Care Representatives until his name is known on the lips of every Customer Care Representative throughout the Customer Care Representation field as I believe, and I mean this sincerely, that this is a man that has within him the ability to alter, refine, and evolve the status of Customer Care Representative, into perhaps the single most important field of human endeavor, study or design that has or will ever be attempted.  Customer Care Representatives are a much maligned lot but only because most people don't have the chance to interact with Customer Care Representatives of the quality, warmth, and personalized service that this Customer Care Representative was able to squeeze into a scant few minute conversation. As Customer Care Representative experiences go this = AMAZING."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Muzan

- MUZAN - 
"...something which expresses the impossibility of attaining stability or change for the better..."
Yoshishige Yoshida


So, one of my favorite Japanese film websites Midnight Eye has returned with new content along with a newly designed site after a months long hiatus. While browsing through the site I came across THIS 2010 interview with film director Yoshishige Yoshida.  In it, among other interesting and illuminating concepts Yoshishige-san talks about muzan, as defined above. 

It's a relief to think that the ingrained story structures of film that are part and parcel of studio blockbuster weaned audiences (of which I am part) is something that directors have been struggling with for over 50 years. That there is the possibility of destruction, of chaos, of a realm beyond the immutable three act, A to B to C story structure is... liberating. 

But beyond even this, the point of differentiation between the poetry of cinema and cinemas AS poetry is not lost on me, or rather even if it is lost on my intellect's ability to parse it, it resonates to such a deep degree with my soul that I feel like I have gleaned something of value anyway. Any story can be filled with beautiful or even haunting and macabre 'poetic' images but to try and step beyond this veil into the messy unstructured realms of real human experience and create poetry that is indeed a life pursuit worth admiring and aspiring to.


Still from Yoshishige's Mizu de Kakareta Monogatari or A Story Written with Water


Racist Cupcakes!

This is a photo of a good friend of mine cameraman Dave Fields. I think he may be one of the hardest working people I've ever met. Here, we are celebrating the fact that we are not racists with cupcakes. Sometimes, it's as good to celebrate the things you haven't done, (for example hating someone simply because of race, color or creed) as it is to celebrate the things you have done.