29 June 2010

An Undisturbed Moment: Fire Escape

With Yuliya Monte

Yuliya Monte's second album, The Momentary Affair of St. Dare and Mme. Caution is what I'm listening to--I'm sitting on my fire escape on one of the hottest days of this summer so far. My cigarette was just lit and two drags into it, I give out one big sigh of relief, I guess I've been waiting to get here since I woke up this morning. Break Up with Me in Helvetica is the song currently playing and Yuliya's bluesy voice, thick like tree sap yet delicate like moth wings arrives at my favorite line, "I wouldn't feel so lonely if only you were my only." Her voice almost cracking, almost breaking open when she reaches the O in the first "only". I smile and my view of the South Bronx isn't too bad for the blush of sunset, and the far off reminder of Manhattan, raising buildings like volunteering arms announcing participation.

I left work early and got home late enough to miss Daphne, whose cigarette butt still warmly bowed into the living room ashtray. I couldn't stand to hear her voice today, Yuliya can tell me everything she can't, I wouldn't feel so lonely if only you were my only, that was all I was willing to listen to. If its wrong, won't you break your back right to show me 'cause I wouldn't feel so lonely if only you were my only...

I wonder about that line as I stare into the promise of evening, slowly swallowing the sky. Its Tuesday, so Daphne is at the gym and I have the place to myself for about a good three hours. The song ends, I push one button twice, it plays again. My phone is in the bedroom, just inside the window, it rings twice and then stops, a persistent red light blinks.

In my opinion, Yuliya could mean one of two things by this line. One: I wouldn't feel so lonely if only you were my only - I wouldn't be so alone if you were enough for me, if I could be satisfied with just you. Who knows what satisfaction is--I mean, maybe its just a word, an idea thats empty, endlessly empty but despite its abysmal nature retains definition. One that could be learned, recited, rehearsed, repeated, taught, placed in a sentence, coupled with adjectives and nouns, made subjects for thesis papers and themes for novels and scripts; it could be used in campaigns, on t-shirts, bumper stickers--Everyone can say it but no one can practice it, like immortality. Strange how the loneliest people are usually the ones surrounded. If only you were my only; but I have many "onlys" so many that among them all, I lost one person I couldn't do without--Needle in a haystack I guess. Yuliya Monte has written a song in which I could see an impression of that person.

Two: I wouldn't feel so lonely if only you were my only - I wouldn't feel so alone if you were the only failure I've experienced; if you were the only person who didn't want to be with me.

Which do I choose? The song ends, I press one button twice. I'm on my second cigarette, the view on the fire escape oversees a backyard, beyond the backyard, a cliff drops into the adjacent avenue. Cars pass, young kids walk and lights change; a summer day feels the first refreshment of breeze--I think of Daphne.

I'm almost finished with the fire escape and I feel like a shower. I reach through the window for my phone, but before I press one button to view my messages I stop and so does the song. I decide to listen one last time before heading in.

28 June 2010

Aggressive Expansion

The following is extremely geeky. I wrote this after my second viewing of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. I understand how ridiculous it may seem for me to make such an analysis of a super-hero film, but The Dark Knight is more Christopher Nolan than Bob Kane. Its themes are products that have been followed throughout Nolan's films; obsession, deceit, and perspective are three of the most apparently reoccurring. Therefore, my analysis is one of a theme vehicle found in a Christopher Nolan film, not one found in comic book characters. Even though I'm using Batman and The Joker to illustrate what Batman Begins and The Dark Knight have created for its theme of Order and Chaos, I am excluding anything that these characters are and have done in any work (medium) that is outside these two films. My exposition will precisely limit itself to the plot of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight; but this may include expounding logical speculations based on what's provided by each film's plot.

Now to say more on the ridiculous nature of my subject, my advice to the reader who could not, for a moment, open his/her mind passed the fact that I am talking about Batman and The Joker--Who cannot maintain that Order and Chaos are my real subjects and Batman and The Joker are simply avatars to these concepts--My advice to the reader would be, to read my analysis and regard the source material as mythology. Pretend you're reading an essay about the themes found in a myth starring Zeus and Cronos. Pretend I'm comparing and contrasting Osiris and Anubis. And why not? Comic Books are in fact the obvious descendants of Mythology, the Gods of this and that have been replaced by the heros of this and that, both with supernatural powers or extraordinary capabilities based on various motives. This might help you to understand that its what the characters represent within there stories that I am interested in, not the characters themselves.


When An Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object

In the Gotham before The Batman, corruption was a permeable entity, deeply embedded within the infrastructure of the city. So bad, was this corruption that a certain League of Shadows wished to destroy Gotham in order to restore balance and allow for a new beginning. Like God seeing what Man had become and deciding to remedy the ills of the earth with water, a cleansing of Gotham is what The League of Shadows sought to supply. This did not occur and the failure of Ra's Al Ghoul became the birth of Batman.

Batman from that moment on, became the drastic catalyst to evolve Gotham's Justice against Corruption. To understand the extremity of that Justice, you must consider that the state of Gotham before Batman was introduced, was a state beyond the reach of any conventional means to tip the imbalance. The imbalance being Corruption overwhelming, thus outweighing Justice. The city's judicial-criminal imbalance created Batman, one drastic extreme created the other. Had the scales met closer, had the difference between "what was to be fought" and "who was there to fight it" not been so radical, perhaps Bruce Wayne could have contended himself as a law official-- a lawyer, or possibly district attorney over time. And perhaps he could've gone this route within the Gotham he in fact, knew--the one that created The Batman and consequently, The Joker. There were probably other ways of helping Gotham City but such success from these less extreme methods were nowhere near manageable, at least not by the time frame that Bruce Wayne could endure the innocent preyed upon by predators. Remember that, Bruce was orphaned by such a predator, psychologically altering the then, ten year old boy forever.

Gotham, as introduced to Batman had reacted as Batman had hoped; the introduction to an extreme method caused an immediate redistribution of weight. Corruption had finally been moved, a force had appeared with the key amount of mass and velocity. Batman was an amplification within an uneven formula, he was either the increase of force, mass, or velocity. Note, he was in fact a hyper-amplification, exceeding reasonable into the realm of extreme. So the scales did not balance out. Equilibrium is, however, not what Batman seeks.

Just as Gotham's escalation of Corruption led to the escalation of the force necessary to combat it, namely Batman; this force in itself being an imbalanced escalation caused another escalation. The Joker is to Batman, what Batman was to Gotham's Corruption, an extreme reaction. Batman represents an Order through a force necessary to redistribute imbalanced weight. The Joker is a product of this Order--as the order itself is a hyper-amplification that does not support equilibrium, rather just another imbalance. Plainly, Gotham is so strongly attacked by an avenging hero, who preys on criminals who have no means of fighting back--just as the innocent before Batman, had no means of fighting back against the corrupt--Gotham, under this imbalanced state produces another reaction.

The Joker is Batman's antithesis, he is a counterpoint; equally as smart, resourceful, and fearless. Fear is an important factor in Batman's methods which The Joker, as the name alone should imply, does not take at all seriously. And here is where the escalation stops or is temporarily balanced. Because Batman, regardless how extreme a force, is still governed by a rule. This rule is like a law to his method and because of it, he refuses to be judge, jury, and executioner of the corrupt. Batman's function is to move the immoveable, without balance--as the extreme reaction to the imbalance that created him. However, his aim is to create Order but Order has limits and boundaries. The Joker has no rule. Earlier I described Batman as an increase to either force, mass, or velocity; this was the cause of the uneven formula of the judicial-criminal state of Gotham--The Joker's function is to even out the equation; ironically, it is his chaos that produces order to Gotham.

Batman won't kill The Joker and The Joker won't kill Batman. Batman is in fact the creator of the extreme Order The Joker wishes to disrupt by instilling Chaos. He needs Batman to create more Order to enable him to create more Chaos. The relationship is symbiotic, as in turn, further the Chaos, further the Order.. Escalation would occur if Batman were to kill The Joker or vice versa but as long as both are in their current state, there is a balance to Order and Chaos.

Before Batman, Gotham City was not at its environmental equilibrium. Batman was an extreme solution to an extreme problem, this resulted in nothing more than shifting the balance unevenly once again but in the opposite direction, so Justice out-muscles Corruption. The Joker is the final agent that balances the solution. He is the immovable object to the unstoppable force. This equilibrium, once initialized cannot be broken--in the case that it is, only extreme imbalance can result.

As even when Batman's influence on Gotham's law officials escalates them into able enforcers to finally balance the Corruption that created Batman, even here Batman must remain a part of the formula. One would deduce Batman as unnecessary at the point when Justice and Corruption are finally, fairly matched. However, The Joker will not cease Chaos simply due to the absence of Order. Without Batman, Gotham's law officials would face yet another force beyond their means of combating; much as Corruption was before The Batman.

With Batman as an agent of Order and The Joker (and all the maniacs that follow his example) as an agent of Chaos, Gotham is now established into a "normal" state. The city can now battle Corruption due to those who have gained the resources to fight against it; but this remains possible insofar as the force that brought about this redistribution of weight continues to protect this Order. Especially since, there is overwhelming and potentially overweighing Chaos that consistently continues attempts at destroying Order. Better stated, Batman saves Gotham but he has to fight the freaks since he is a freak; and more so because the freaks are an escalated reaction to him and only him.

Where does Harvey Dent/Two-Face fit into all this Order/Chaos mess? Well, Harvey is the representation of chance; he also happens to be Batman's other half. He's a district attorney as Bruce Wayne might've been under simpler circumstances; he accomplishes during the day what Batman growls and grovels for at night; he's even dating and possibly marrying Bruce Wayne's love interest. Harvey Dent is a non-extreme who becomes an agent of extreme Order. My apologies for the unavoidably cheesy line approaching--Harvey is The White Knight, Batman is The Dark. The escalation of Gotham is what causes Harvey Dent to become Two-Face; the evolution of balanced Order and Chaos within Gotham calls for extremes to strictly pertain solely to their corresponding agents. Extreme Gotham is a playground only Batman and The Joker may play in, everyone else enters at their own risk. Harvey as a non-extreme agent of Order, in a city that currently calls for more extreme methods does not and cannot stand against Chaos. He bends, he coils, he is distorted. Harvey eventually is twisted into an escalated version of himself, as an extreme agent of Justice (not Order). His faith in his previous moral code has been stained and discovering a flaw, Harvey develops its correction. This correction is what grants him entrance to the playground, to Extreme Gotham. And operating under Chance, which is Chaos working through Order, Two-Face illustrates an interesting possibility.

Previously I wrote that escalation would arrive instantly, once again to the balance of Order and Chaos, if Batman killed The Joker. Well, Two-Face is what Batman would become if he killed The Joker. Harvey Dent was the lighter, brighter side of Batman; Two-Face is the darker, heavier possibility to a Batman that would escalate his methods, by disregarding his law that creates the temporary stand-still of power between Order and Chaos. This new hyper-amplification, by the way, would also inspire a Chaos reactionary force far above The Joker, one maybe that, Order might not be able to balance.

Gotham for the time being is at a judicial-criminal balance. That is until Batman or The Joker becomes Two-Face. Meaning, that is until Order or Chaos finds a flaw within its modus operandi. At that point a cycle renews and either Justice or Corruption will be overwhelmed and overweighed by the other. As extreme as the current homeostasis can be called, could we imagine an escalation from it? How much weight on either side can a scale hold, before the weight snaps the chain and falls? And without a counter balance, the opposite weight ends in the same spot as its antithesis; is this to say that escalation will eventually lead to a point where Order and Chaos are indistinguishable? Would this not imply a neutrality usually found at a point of origin or a restructured default state; very similar to what The League of Shadows intended for Gotham, before failing at the success of Batman.

23 June 2010

Worship and Tribute


Paul was talking to Edward, with Margot they formed a Bermuda Triangle of conversation. Art was being baptized by their tongues, licked half-way to death, they were licking Art like a fancy stamp to paste onto their chest, wear and point to. Tim hadn't arrived yet to be awkward and make everyone uncomfortable, so I guess I had to warm his seat.

"This is Tammy," thus I was introduced. Paul continued, "she's a really good writer, very experimental as well as instrumental to our last project, she wrote all our content on the website--" Paul paused, and positives adjectives were offered as nouns by the isosceles listeners. "Cool...nice...sweet...awesome, etc."

I loved Paul but he made every rock into a diamond, even the ones that loved the generality of just being a good, heavy rock. Its a shame that some diamonds don't know that they're in fact, just rocks. A person like Paul isn't instrumental in helping them reach that revelation. I chose just then, in the middle of my narrator's description, to turn my head round and take yet another view of the main room of ABG. The table at the left corner was serving red and white Rossi; Tim is going to love that, he'll find at least one person tonight to talk to about biodynamics. Most likely it'll be me. Boring!

"--She seriously wrote a magnificent critique on the Modernist view and pin-pointed the exact moment when Modern became dated...Tammy is going to be one of those writers who will not let you off easy, and I love that...Personally I support anyone who will put shit right up to your face and make you notice it, too many people want to suggest instead of state. Thats what we need more of--Honest, un-compromised statements."

The main room was long but narrower than the paintings would have like. It was easy to form spontaneous social knots anywhere between either end of the room. The lighting was good, the hip-hop was okay, and the crowd kept swelling. Most of the artwork was by Juxtapoz hopefuls, who jerked off to Shepard Fairey and usually looked far more interesting, in appearance, than the work they produced. Edward, for example, wore a trim fitting, dusty-gray tuxedo with pink keds and his blonde dreads neatly locked and falling back over his broad shoulders. Meanwhile, Edward drew circles, too shyly with pencils and painted around the lead spheres with acrylic dipped in elmer"s glue. He named his work dramatically, "The Last Heartbeat" or "Killing Death to Avenge Life's Suicide." The same barely seen circle and dark, blotches of bored paint were also "Dream is Irony's Insomnia" and his favorite, "If Life Were Easy Then God Would Be Alive." Same stupid, scared circle and unfinished acrylic fills.

"David Lynch, Allen Ginsberg, and late night, drunk White Castle invasions! Thats all you need..." Laughter, pause, point to Art on the chest, lick the corners that were beginning to free themselves of saliva and fabric. "Fuck the MoMA, if the exhibit offers audio guides then you know what kind of mainstream bullshit you're visiting; its just fucked up that those are the only places you can view certain masterpieces."

I did enjoy some of the pieces, John Kerner's portraits were "close-ups of faces, just an eye or a slope of nose, ambiguously like an impressionist haze, they looked more like pieces of horizon during dawn or dusk." The 4" x 4" sextet that formed a kiss was hung half-way into the room, "joining the lips of one side to the other." Marsha Leigh Kenji's woven, multi-chromatic threads onto canvas created "complex cubic forms that were simple and just pleasing." Tim would enjoy her work when he gets here, especially her color choices; "navy blue, black, cloudy gray against carnation pink, mozzarella yellow, and bruise violet." Margot had descriptions for everyone.

"What do you think about Sammy's piece?" I was asked.

"I like it..." I thought about something else to say, scanning the hanging sculpture of an eagle's wingtip. "Very...good." I laugh to end the topic.

Tim finally arrives and immediately is sucked into a session of dialogue with Margot. Essay writing is the topic and whether to be direct or cryptic. Tim, who happens to sound like a talking rubix cube is surprisingly in favor of direct, straightforward compositions. Margot wants to make her readers earn understanding, for comprehension to follow incomprehensible intrigue. Tim gets nervous and shows it thus:

Intense Eye Contact: Like he's attempting to move her with telekinesis. He's barely blinking and nods like he's being given instructions rather than rebuttal.

Unnecessary Agreement: He ejects the word "right" at the end of Margot's every sentence, especially as an alternative to just listening.

Open Sentences: Throws away the period and lets the sentence hang in mid-air, as if waiting for someone to finish the thought for him. "Especially this day and age, everything needs to be more, uh...immediate--if for no other reason than..."

I enjoy the growing tension in Margot's face as she's beginning to notice that Tim sounds like a crazy person. His loud hand gestures, and chronic laughing, his face jerks around at any sudden movement around him. God bless you Tim, I hope you find a wine geek among these normal weirdos. Tim is tall, and boney, Jack Skeleton with an under-developed beard, wavy blonde hair and a crooked nose which he always manages to explain was from playing wrestling as a kid without ever providing details.

Why did I come here? Sammy isn't here, she might not even come. Paul is by one of John's pieces and Sue is clicking her iPhone over The Kiss, they exchanged a word the way couples often did after they've been together for so long as they had. I didn't notice when Sue arrived but she made me note Sammy's absence. Tim wasn't with Margot when I scanned back to where a funeral now progressed and buried a pointless five minutes of nothing. I walked over to where I found him, reaching his hand out to accept the plastic cup of Rossi Chablis. He smiled and looked over to me. "Cheers," I say to him and he takes his first sip.

"I am beyond the point where I'm smart enough to be interested in what this guy has to say." Sammy was beautiful. "He's talking to me about art history and museums and the elite, blah, blah, fucking blah." If I looked like Sammy I'd punch people. For no reason. I'd deck the fuck out of anyone and if they dared return the message, I'd bet I could make a murderer out of any hero, provided he was stupid and had a cock.

"I wanted to tell him I'm sorry but Art is gay and so are you." Sammy shrugs insincerely apologetic; wrinkling her face and pouting her lips. "Niggas be beastin' like just cause I'm an artist doesn't mean I want a fucking art lesson...and if I did it won't be from you nigga, straight up all I need is Bob Ross--" We laugh. "Furreal, with his sexy ass chia pet fro and tree fetish." Index finger marking her word, "Now...thats a man!"

I was ready to leave by the time Sammy arrived, we were all outside. Paul and Sue were talking with an older lady, a photographer--They discussed living in Canada and languages, Sue had a major in Linguistics and European History. Tim had left before me and Margot was still upstairs; sometime after her conversation with Tim she met John Kerner and the two were probably engaged by now. Edward and I were sharing a cigarette. He talked a bit about the rain and I told him about Tilda Swinton as a modern day Lady Chatterly. "Io Sono L'amore at Sunshine," I wanted to suggest it as a film I knew he'd appreciate but I recalled it too soon. "Read about it," I chose to say instead. Sammy was on her Blackberry, texting with a cigarette between two fingers as her thumbs writhe over the keypad. She laughed suddenly, looking up to me with her wide eyes and whipping her dark bangs away from her brow. "I just notice I haven't even been inside yet!" Her dress is a yellow ridged-miniskirt with a silver, string-strap top. Her shoes were stilettos with ribs that cage her small, pedicured feet.

"Eddy!" Edward smiles at Sammy and taps his pink keds with her heels. "i hate opening receptions--I want to get some food." Thats probably what we'll do. I suggest a place. "Fuck yea dude!" She was about to tell me something else when a song jumps out of her phone until she answers it. "Hello...Oh shit, what's good?" This bitch is Art, the kind you can't stick on your chest with saliva. "Whatever that shit was lame-a-zoid!" Thats probably all she'll ever say regarding ABG; I'll be surprised if she even returns to pick up her eagle's wingtip.

21 June 2010

I Have Lost My Origin

A solid transparence, the day

is caught between leaving and staying

-Octavio Paz

Dear Beth,

I want to leave this place. I want to live as a man should live, free. I want to find the world and see what it can make of me. I want to succeed or fail, its no difference when compared to the death I've to settle for if I remain in this place. I know above all people you'll understand me. You'll know that I'm not running away, that fear is not keeping me from staying but rather gripping me from going. I've nothing to remain here for. Things like family, career, and home mean very little to me; I've known this for far too long without acknowledging it. Its caused so much conflict in my identity, its wrapped me in coils and networks that are now bindingly severe to loosen myself from. And perhaps I'll lose friends, perhaps I'll not have support or strength of faith from those who may straighten my back but with a word; and perhaps I may lose the one chance at love. But I must go, before the last of my passion blows away; if one has at least one inch of fighting breath to curse with, it should be used as a pick for a lock, a brick for a window, or a blade for a guard. All that matters at anyone's finish is that they got there on their own terms; that they didn't settle and hopped aboard a ride provided for them--provided for them in exchange for the surrender of some form of truth or another.

Beth you must know that I have never said a word to you that I didn't mean but I have at moments, kept words from you that I did mean, and became a coward when the time came to say them. I look upon the life I've lived and there is nothing that should present itself reason enough to keep me here. That is, nothing until I think of you. You once told me of a dream you had in which we were living together, happily and comfortably; maybe even at peace--I never had such a dream, though I have imagined it and lived it there in the cinema of my thoughts. And its as lovely a picture as it is a possibility but were I to dream, were I to allow my subconscious to spell out my true desire when in regards to you, it would be in the shape of a life abroad. A holiday, you and I with a world under our feet, no home only places to see, people to meet, words to say or hear. You and I sharing what it is to live on a world unlimited to our eyes.

If I could take you with me I would--I know if it weren't for your health you would go. As I know that you would never hold me back, never request me to stay even if I wanted you to, you would perform that kindness for me; love would be the leading role. You'd understand that I'd be no good to you if I stayed behind, there is no future for me here, at least not yet. Everything you love about me is dying! Time is a horribly exhausting law, and things bend eventually at the consistency of such a force as Time. Its almost a matter of self-preservation. All this place has to offer has been used up, dried out, depleted and licked down to the marrow.

But perhaps you need me...Staying on at your side because you can't do it alone. This isn't true and you're 60 feet tall in strength, you're a dangerous spirit, 50,000 years in the making and when I return or if you get well enough to jump out into the world and find me, I'll never let you go. Beth without you, I'd be wandering with half my eyes, half a heart, half a mind, and ultimately half an experience, half a life. But even this cannot keep me back, because half the life is still twice of what I'm living now. You are the only person whose understanding I need.

Keep me in your heart, its the closest thing I've ever known to a home. Goodbye.

All my love and its future,

-a name you'll hold again

20 June 2010

And Return to the Perpetual Beginning Anew


Because her name is a harp strum, because I've known her since the opening of this design. Days follow days down the corridors of centuries--millennia; and its never clear where the path may lead us. This stream of direction that perhaps finds us lost, guides us astray into one another, two mazes tangled into one, unsure of limits, boundaries, entrances, and exits. Whether we're coming or going, facing evolution or extinction, whether space is space and time time, I stand there with every uncertainty like an atmosphere over my thoughts, dancing with randomness and matching its rhythm, a language that fits my tongue...I go to where we're most solid, most rooted and open the back of my head and remove my very first thought, a reprint of the synapse, the wavelength, and the biochemical ingredients. I hold the thought with two digits, its the size and shape of a strawberry, Nerves like branch-like antennae stretching from it, reaching in all directions, hungry for sensation.

At our most concentrated, indistinguishable blend of labyrinth, where neither you nor I can tell one apart form the other, I bury my first thought--In the soil that feels like skin I find a pore in which to softly inject the fruit, the parasite, the yawning root of a desire's morning. I watch the microscopic sparks like a bacterial fourth of july, information declaring its independence, twining and wrapping itself within our convergence, appearing like a blushing bruise, slightly set aglow by every second that clots our past.

Because she walks my DNA like a spiral staircase; because my voice is her map and her hands my eyes; because we walked 17 cells apart onto the first fathom above origin--Because of the iso-tropical cancer of nature between two binding threads, it felt not as if I were offering her a gift but more like I was returning a part of herself she had long forgotten. This is our game, our pastime, she and I returning parts to one another, things that had been separated from us since when our lungs were made of wet clay and tongues made of fire and sand. From when dust grew to mist, collected into stems of chalk or cooled into sheets of algae. Because there was a moment when there was no us, simply because we were much more closer than that.

Within me for days to days, down the corridors of centuries--millennia; into the folds of cross-hatched infinities, I near the shores of definition by the elements she returns to me--Like jigsaw statues with each cell itself being a jigsaw puzzle within a puzzle, loving her is the meaning that no word could be the word for.

19 June 2010

Too Many Instruments Drown the Vocals

On the Visual Ambition for Kelis' Acapella Video

Acapella is the new song from Kelis' upcoming album. The song begins with David Guetta's kick drums and electric toms, that reinforce the song as its skeleton onto which the rest of the song is framed. Serving its purpose the driving dance beat makes your head nod, feet tap, hands clap, shoulders bounce, etc...But there really isn't anything new about the music, if heard as an instrumental, it wouldn't strike me as anything other than just another dance track, that when combined with a right euphoric club crowd will successfully initiate a trance. That being said, Kelis' voice is the true star of this song. Without her contralto sensibility, Acapella would pass right by me, unregistered--Dismissed as another Gaga, Pink, or some other voice that means nothing to me.

Watching the video for Acapella left me with mixed feelings. Its overloaded with non-sequitor images, all of which are visually inviting on their own but irresponsibly jarred together, seemingly desperate to impress the average ADD viewer. The video in my opinion suffers from its visible need to out-do Lady Gaga, who is considered the top example for today's pop visual conceptualization. My problem with both this video and Gaga is that they exhaust themselves trying to come across as transient and hyperactive, and no doubt they do achieve this but I holdfast to an idea that song and moving image should unite in holy synergy. That this parasitic symbiosis should be the goal of the music video medium.

Had Acapella kept only 25% of what actually made it pass the editing room; had the final product been 100% materialized out of that quarter, a better video would stand before us. The music, the lyrics, even Kelis' vocals which I love on this song, none of these elements are complex enough to compliment the disarray of visual information tossed across the camera for Acapella. And the song itself is about the contrast between a full circumstance and one that is missing its elements--The instrumental factors that make all the difference when determining whether a person is living life a cappella.

I don't fault Kelis, in fact I congratulate her daring, her courage and faith. She seemed out of place in some of the shots, out of her comfort zone but its great nonetheless that she attempted something she's never done before. Who ever conceptualized the video however, seems to be overzealous--Someone who insincerely utilized an opportunity as a platform for ideas they've selfishly executed at the expense of sound/visual coherence. To this person or persons I say with the help of an analogy fitting to the song's title, this is like producing a track around recorded vocals with no regard for the tempo or structure of the intended song.

There is a video for the Saul Williams song DNA. It is a perfect example that one: less is more and two. its all about understanding the song and how to communicate this information visually. Now to avoid being pegged as biased to any commercially mainstream artist I'll site two other examples from artists generally more familiar to the radio-faithful masses than Saul Williams. The first is the video for Beyonce's recent Why Don't You Love Me;.the second is a Kylie Minogue single from 2003 called Slow. Both of these follow what I've stated for the Saul Williams song--a successful music video understands conciseness and relativity. A successful music video does not overwhelm itself, does not use filler content--It practices strength in decision and knows when to say no. After all, muscle with no brain is either a spasm or paralysis.

To briefly quote from one of my favorite films,

"Destroying is better than creating when we're not creating those few, truly necessary things...Better to quit and strew the ground with salt, as the ancients did to purify the battlefields. In the end what we need is some hygiene, some cleanliness, disinfection. We're smothered by images, words and sounds that have no right to exist, coming from, and bound for nothingness. Of any artist truly worth the name we should ask nothing except this act of faith: to learn silence."

17 June 2010

An Undisturbed Moment: Young Woman with Ice Grapes

Mildred De Gavilan

As the phone rang in the De Gavilan residence, one could survey the entire empty apartment to justify it going unanswered. That is, justified until reaching the kitchen, where Mildred De Gavilan sat opposite the phone, eating frozen grapes. The kitchen, set a-blazed by a window's attempt to swallow a sunset, was beautifully golden and warm. A modern Vermeer painting could be produced using Mildred and the De Gavilan's kitchen as models. "Young Woman with Ice Grapes." or perhaps "The Phone with the Pearl Ringing."

Mildred plucked cold, pale-green cells from their stem, almost by the command of the phone itself, the way she stared with blank commitment at the cordless--planted sternly on its charging base. Much like the age of trees, stubbornness was on this afternoon measured, by the amount of rings. The caller's unwillingness to accept an empty home, equally matched Midred's unwillingness to answer the phone in her parents' apartment; doing so would by participation, reintroduce her to the household. She had moved out a season ago and had more than earned the right to not answer the De Gavilan's family phone when it rang.

The frozen grapes were excellent. Sweet and full of spritz, Mildred swore she tasted a trace, a slight sting of alcohol. When the caller finally caved, Mildred collected her victory humbly. Smiling only at the icy bursts that took place in the secret of her mouth, while the sunset withdrew light from the kitchen. She was finished before Evening fully folded the day away. A familiar South Bronx craved her attention from just out the kitchen window. Yet, the nerve-like blank stem of the grape cluster could not afford to share Mildred's undivided attention. She sat and watched fixedly at what reminded her of a bronchi branch. Her eyes followed along the stem like a maze, attempting to reach one end from the other. She thought about music concrete, biodynamics in wine making, and electric circuitry. The entire time, the phone had not rang again.

14 June 2010

Washing My Face at a Mirror

Through a Glass Darkly

I tell myself, don't lose sight...its not futility, there is something at the end of all this digging. Day after day, week after week, its ultimately for a reward...once enough money is saved...and relative independence declared. You'll see, I say to him, who stares back from the free side of the mirror...with heavy eyes that carry over night after night and all the accumulation of deprived sleep hangs there. A few months from now, a year from where we began--thats when you'll have that angle from which to determine whether we're progressing or not.

His silence condemns me, I can't rationalize anything against that gray countenance, haggard and honest. My face, through that glass shows me exactly what I'm doing to myself--he leaves nothing out, not even for the sake of politeness, for the sake of self-endurance, the kind of endurance inspired by a somatically, blissful ignorance. My body hates this job, hates these days, quivers with tempest and then with every muscle, bone, and cell--it repels this plea for condition. My mind is at once the lonely director with a cast of disenchanted players, quick-tempered actors assuming roles and guided along without full assurance of exactly what direction they're being driven. If only they could be patient, patient and confident, trusting themselves to me...Don't they know that to slight them is to slight myself, I'm in no hurry to make a fool of either of us--If only they could hold on until the end, then they'll see what I've been organizing.

And again the eyes just sit in the hollow caves of sockets and stare. It could be worse, I tell him...I tell him, there are jobs that ask far more than what your current one barely requests. No movement but he's farther away than before. Behind that glass that seems to have gotten thicker between us since we last spoke. I can't help but answer for him...I can't help but know his reply, his answer to my desperate attempts to neutralize the burns of our circumstance--He realizes the danger in placing to the peripheral, that which should always be attended to. One must always be aware of certain sensibilities or they fade away into ambivalence and there, find a cozy dark corner on which to fester and reproduce fungus. To become comfortable and sedated, retired somewhere in the obscure recesses of unconcern. Securely tucked within an advantageous blind spot...He fears this is where our alarm will be hidden, held hostage.

Consistency, the face finally says back to me. Consistency is how you'll convince me. Theory placed into successful practice, all you"ve to do is show me that something is different--that something we did before, any of the elements that lead us to where we became listless and sterile, have been jettisoned.

Come On and Let It Out...Before Your Body Disappears

The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

Yet another film to add to my to-watch list.

In a physical exorcism we excite outwards all our inhibited tensions. Movement is the song of stimulation. Action is the release of mind in tangible form. A series of nerve signals encoding a choreography of out-bursting reaction. Adrenaline, intoxicating heat and accelerated pulse; sweet, sudden explosion of primal resolution...when conscience does make Hamlets...sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, with all channels of release shut and restraints unbearably burdensome and risking to lose the name of action, id must become the entity, attain full identity and untie the knots.

As sometimes a thought can plague, mock through its echoes every single fold of the brain; a thought can spread like a tumor, a Macchiavellan Prince with cancerous influence; all this when, action is the death of a thought. There are some engaged portions of mind that are only completed at the hands of a body, this is where the sentences of such thoughts finally resolve and attain that period that punctuates the diffusion of conflict.

Beware of too many tangents, the accumulated abuse of the ellipsis. Because when an idea of action is stifled and made to remain an idea of thought, it gains weight and heavier lands the blow, if and when the action forcefully exits.

Youth: To Pick Things Up and Throw Them Away


And there are the young girls who entertain themselves lovers of Men. Blooming goslings, darlingly daring creatures with rose lips full of words--Syllables and letters that make up nouns and verbs they've not learned meaning of yet; too hasty for adjectives that come later as a side effect of experience. And there are the young hearts of young girls who become lovers of Men--each beat, an explosion in their bosom echoing tremors throughout their soft, newly discovered, uninitiated bodies.

Try as they will to control this tremolo; this perpetual shiver of emotion--Their cleverness and subtlety, in romance--far beyond them, they imagine they carry their love in their young heart like a candlelight vigil, unaware of the neon advertisement that cloaks their secret truths. And they are the young girls with big, wide eyes open like mouths--awaiting a meal! Spoiled in their lack of patience and young hurry to prove they aren't young--As if youth wasn't incriminating enough of an evidence; as if youth were a disease, desperately sought cure of, or a torn, hostile emigrated country from which its emigrés desire refuge.

13 June 2010

Beneathe Language Lies the Surface of Thought

Language is not a law. We must remember that above all, the main function of Language is communication. And if we can agree to the generalization of communication being the external exchange of internal ideas, then Language can be thought of as a social technique we humans utilize for individual expression, as well as the comprehension of one another. Its the announcement of self just as well as the auditioning of others; Language is how you inform others of who you are and simultaneously, how others and yourself examine this information from one another. Generally speaking, this is the main idea of Language, so that if Language did contain one law, it would be communicate.

Communication being the law, what can we then say of expressions? Would it not be accurate to say that any expression that communicates can be accepted as Language. An interesting concept to note here is Grammar. The Constitution of Language. Thats where we find the rules, the dos and do nots of the tongue, vehemently imposed on Language like authority onto a police state. At this point let me address my stand as not being one against Grammar. Language is a beautiful medium and Grammar makes it all the more lovelier for its application of dynamics and contribution to the balance between restraint and freedom. It also brings to mind what one of my junior high school teachers used to tell me, "learn the rules before you break them." As a writer I've learn nothing other than the fact that there are many ways to express yourself through words. Furthermore, if anyone understands any of your expressions, however densely cryptic or laconic, then you've succeeded in communicating.

Lightness, the first of Calvino's six memos to us from the closing of the last millennium, should not be forgotten.

...above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and language.

Lightness from the reception of Language into the mind, unhindered by Grammar, so that any word that expresses and communicates a thought from one mind to another is a successful transfer. Its the undefined, gaseous truth that preserves the DNA of an idea, without the solid capsule shells of spelling, pronunciation, or context. "U" instead of "you", conversate where the meaning of converse is expressed, or any example of slang where words and phrases seem independent of conventional context; if these "errors" of Language do indeed communicate then wherein does the error truly lie?


Welcome. If you are here, and if you are reading, then it is to you that I write the following. Whether friend or foe, whether in accordance or friction, intensional or accidental; spectator, participant, follower, voyeur, critic, or simply most chronically curious; if you are here then to you and I, will I present my Self.

This blog is the movement from past to future. Just as my present past has from far behind found its home, leaving me to journey forward, so will this future present, one day become a past. And within these entries, I hope a secondary peripheral subsets. A subtle layer, not quite discernible until enough time ferments and results in an additional perspective, a by-product, the way yeast on grape juice creates wine. At finally after the journey to the end of the night, you and I may look back and "my dust will tell what my flesh would not."

Soon this space will be too small.