"Now Dig This" at MOMA PS1 is a damn fine exhibit. The sculptures and assemblages of Melvin Edwards, John Outerbridge, David Hammonds, Dale Brockman, etc. are a marvelous nexus of the political and artistic without sacrificing the important qualities of either.
On through March 11, 2013
Good morning Cal! What’s it like to get ass fucked by a chick? Sandy’s her name, ain’t it? Tough to maintain your placidity when you’ve been raped by a gal? Geez Cal, I know it’s not kosher to ask what foolish words you might have uttered in your willful naiveté or to suggest you were asking for it, but I’d be lying if I weren’t jubilating just a wee bit (whoop-see: wee, piss, rain, water - childish, I know). Be happy to dial the crisis hotline for ya, but I’m guessing all we’ll get is a busy signal.
Yeah, you deserved it and I hope you don’t forget it! Consider it a blessing in disguise. A wake up call. Cal, you’ve been worshiping at the alter of false equivalency while having the brass to call ol’ Walt...what were the words now, let me think...”obsessed!,” “el loco!” It’s easy, gutless, when calamity’s a distant stranger, when you’re flipping through disaster porn on Instagram. Now you’re the extra in a snuff film.
Who’s the philistine Cal? It’s penance time and the imposed daytime darkness the perfect ambience. (Anyhow, the dim bulb in your skull is the one most in need of electricity.) Repeat after me: Hysteria is a form of self-defense. Hysteria is a form of self-defense.
You fell for the delusive “fair and balanced” trope. Perhaps in some small sense were victimized by it. They are slick motherfuckers. I’ll grant you that. Contest almost anything with enough cash and coercion and mirabile dictu you’ve got a “debate.” All of sudden every douche bag with a pen or opinion fills the airwaves with magical thinking. I hope Sandy’s broken your spell.
Ok, sermon’s over Cal. I'll Fedex a tube of Anal-Ese. Keep it on your mantle as a reminder the next time you feel the urge to tag me as a lunatic.
In Hudson River Park
bricks abut stone
adjoin meticulous lawns
Terra firma of hexagons befriend
right angles and wooden planks
Toddlers howl in laughter or tears
brightening wide the eyes
of widows held tightly
by dark skinned women
attuned to other hardships
Passers-by float on a
A tableau of flesh and thread,
a symphony of cheer and woe
suspends time long enough
for me to imagine
the warmth of a lover's caress
That I too have a
place to call home -
until the unforgiving
theft of refuge.
...is to invent it." Scientist Alan Kay
Kay's wisdom has me musing on Thelonious Monk's 95th birthday this past Wednesday, Oct. 10th.
The well intentioned folks at Arts Brookfield, counting down (or is that up?) to Monk's centenary, presented a diverse group of pianists at World Financial Center's Winter Garden with the intention of celebrating his indomitable vitality.
Sadly, most of the artists, talented and well intentioned, missed one of Monk's axiological principles: make it new.
Kneeling at the altar of his legacy is inadequate. Monk spent his creative years toppling shrines and expected others to follow suit.
In Monk's singular cosmos veneration is commensurate with radical originality applied to the lexicon of his off-kilter rhythms and melodies and discharged with sublime economy.
There are two artists who've recently released recordings that succeed in paying homage through the filter of their individuality: pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome.
Drop me a note and it'd be my pleasure to spread the gospel on my dime.
For "In the beginning, God" go directly to the widely available source (simple as googling his name).
I suggest a dual pilgrimage.
Monk was ass backwards in many ways...and I mean that as the highest compliment.
"You've got to dig it to dig it, you dig" - Thelonious Monk
The Jester's Chapeau (for Elena)
The best predictor of
got the best of me,
again, last night
shining shimmery blond
in the moldy chaparral of last
century’s gilded lard
pirouetted like a ballerina
amidst the глупость of
let them eat cake decor
and blusterous leaden chatter
until I could see her eyes,
benignly grin at the crook in her nose,
and feel Koalemos place atop my crown
the jester’s chapeau
Jubilant against geriatric opposition
Emboldened by whiskey's fortitudinous mirage
Staggered by the glare of her sunlit acuity
Admiringly disdainful of her need to self-protect
I, as Icarus, set alight
by antics in excess
of impotent charms
watched her exit in haste
shredded business card
to the table tossed
I went to bed dreaming
it was fire proof
The ex is vacationing in Paris. I'm back at the old house. The one I used to own. Now hers, deservedly so.
I’m on son, bird, and dog duty in an 18th century village right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
This idyllic hamlet with bucolic vistas, cobble stone streets and one of the country’s last five and dimes (founded 1930) is a breed unto itself. Distinctly not an exurb. Proudly so.
Diminutive and contented. A damn fine place to raise a kid if you’re of a particular persuasion.
It’s where mowing the lawn and raking and piling fall leaves 4, 5, 6 times a season provides a man with metaphysical continuity (“dig in the earth, delve in the soul” so to speak) and filling coolers with ice cold beer for football after obligatory Sunday mass is a sacred ritual not to be trifled with under penalty of excommunication.
My damnation was preordained. Had no chit-chat gene. Couldn’t gracefully slide into a conversation amongst a group of neighbors walking the kids to school or saunter into a backyard barbecue. Was inept in the art of front porch gossip. Christ, to this day I don’t know how to grill or properly light a fireplace. I’d as soon weed the shrub beds as feed the dog. “Tight end?” “Wide receiver?” Uh, I ain’t thinkin’ sports. Unforgivable, I know.
Was awkward for my wife and son to say the least. The passage from oddity to outcast was swift.
Long story short, I moved out, Malachi, my son, survived (dare I say - with pride and anguish - is thriving) and the bird and dog moved in. Probably best for everybody. You know what they say, it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Pulitzer Prize winning Motherfucker Junot Diaz (oh don’t worry, he’d approve, he’d encourage, he’d be proud) just won another big enchilada! - a MacArthur. The GENIUS award. That’s 500,000 dineros spread over five years to further contemplate the Dominican Republic’s triumphs and travails, blow it on llello, spend hours pondering the universality of the human condition or pad a stash of mujeres in style.
Something strange is going on inside me. Something unseemly, delicious, vulgar. An ecstatic delirium of politically incorrect swagger. It’s just plain wrong. Oh god! please don’t let it end.
I’ve just finished Diaz’ new collection of short stories This is How You Lose Her and his literary juice is pulsing through my veins like blood during the stiffest erection.
"Plenty of people talk about of having a flow, but that night I really heard one, something that was unbroken, that fought itself and worked together all at once."
I might be the whitest cocksucker north of the equator but reading this book has darkened my skin, given me at least the illusion of stepping in rhythm, and I’m using Spanish in all kinds of dumbass ways (I called a Latina friend a “puta” thinking it meant something fly but the only thing that flew was her shoe as she pointedly informed me it meant “whore.” You ever been hit in the head with high heels? That shit hurts.)
In context, outta context, I can’t stop riffin’ like the little white boy who wants be the big black rapper. Diaz has made me envious of the main protagonist, Yunior - and you ain’t seen tragic till you’ve met this redeemable perdedor. It’s irony in overdrive.
"Man, he muttered, she’s so fine I’d lick her asshole and tell you niggers about it."
Diaz’ has got me gleefully flippin’ the bird to his more serious subtexts. (No, read the goddamn book and enumerate em’ yourself, I’m not riskin’ my dick going limp just yet.) The layers of meaning are thick, the soil rich. And though I can sense the erosion underneath my feet and know the reality of the too-true-to-life struggles of the immigrant experience will start to sink in, his stories are so slathered in wicked humor it’ll be weeks before I discover I’ve committed mortal sins in a whole buncha diasporas.
"Instead of lowering your head and copping to it like a man, you pick up the journal as one might hold a baby’s beshatted diaper, as one might pinch a recently benutted condom. You glance at the offending passages. Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby you say, baby, this is part of my novel.
This is how you lose her."