Monday, September 29, 2008

FavoriteThingsThisWeek




Much of Paul Auster's work contains metafiction. As his novels collect upon library shelves, it seems that this prevalence of metafiction has become what many critics have locked unto as a negative. So much so that one must almost consider the negative mention of Auster's meta tendencies a critic cliche. Whereas one might point to mountain of critic discontent as verification that Auster has run dry as a valuable contributor to the American Literary Experience, I think it is more endemic of a failing upon the nature of current literary criticism in the main being too quick to roll its eyes at a literary device rather than the story being told through the device. There is much more ink to be split attempting to devalue potential literary heroes than not. And, to dismiss Man In The Dark as merely a recapitulation of Auster's lifelong obsession with meta devises is to my mind an unfair appraisal of a rather good book.

Man in the Dark is a meditation on how the results of the 2000 presidential election and Sept 11th attacks have impacted the imagination and psyche of Americans. In it we have an insomnia stricken writer who fights off dark memories from his past by composing a dystopian science fiction story in which he is a seemingly omnipotent presence responsible for having manifested a second American Civil War in a parallel universe by merely thinking the war into being. If one sets aside the mobieus strip of reasoning that is Auster's framing premise (stop asking which came first the chicken or the egg) and focus on the story he is actually telling there is an actual compelling yarn for the first 140 pages followed by what could be called a fictive contextual postscript concluding the book while illuminating its reason.

Does the American Intellectual feel a certain culpability to the death toll and chaos that has plagued the 21st century? Have we acquiesced? Are we sitting on a fence? What happens to one when they hurl themselves into the fray? Can your average American Intellectual even bring himself to some kind of action, if that action is violent? Is it absurb to believe that any one man could dream up such devastation and that the eliminating of that one man would/might change the world? These are some if the questions Man In The Dark's metafictive narrative poses.

I enjoyed this book very much, but then again I am a Auster fan, and have been seen reading his New York Trilogy years back.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

John McCain draws a line in the sand

In a statement made earlier today McCain makes it very clear, "Until certain per-conditions have been established, I will not meet with leaders of hostile nations like Iran or the David Letterman show."

Friday, September 26, 2008

3 variations upon theme of a politican's character

A single act of courage in one's youth does not counterbalance any deception or duplicity discovered in old age.

When I place such an individual's character upon a scale, the accumulate weight of corruption committed in one's seniority sinks steeply so much so that the interia of the drop rockets any previous sacrifice outside the boundary of relevance.

The bravery of a young man does not pardon the selfish ambition of the senior citizen bordering upon confederacy of criminality.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Fellow American Artists

After careful consideration, I have decided to suspend my blog until we are past this economic crisis which threatens to handicap our nations' ability to express itself intelligently, coherently, and in a manner which permits us as artists to maintain the status quo with other of our fellow Americans.

I call upon Don Hall, Scott Walters, Issac Butler and any other blogger that I have ever expressed opposition to their viewpoint to join me in this absolutely pointless gesture.

For once lets set aside our differences, reach across the aisle and come together in this time of mutual need.

And, even though I will have posts and comments going up in the upcoming days and weeks, let me be perfectly clear. These posts are not blogging. They are at most blogging about not blogging.

I am aware that my critics will attempt to paint a picture of this response as reckless and opportunistic. But in this sort of 9-11 economic/blogospheric scenario partisan blogging is only going to serve as part of the problem. It is not the sort of thing that a self styled Maverick blogger like myself can engage in any longer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Thoughts

Today I see pictures from Galveston TX while I hear government appointees still vying for unregulated bailout.

It is frightening how close the Apocalypse could be in this country. We could in a matter of months have no infrastructure what so ever turning the federal government into something more of an abstraction rather than an actual governing body.

Question, how would any of this be playing out in a non-election year? The situation is serious, but why so serious these past 2 weeks?

On the floor of Wall Street trade, is there an actual straw that falls and break the back of the economy like the proverbial camel?

I started reading more than just headlines today about the crisis, and it seems that beneath it all there is so much more than merely unchecked greed. Underneath all of it, I fear there is the demon of war, a vicious force that seems in check by the veil of civilization, but can't the veil of civilization be torn asunder in a world of unchecked fear and aggression?

It seems that there are policies based upon cultural notions...media mouths actually suggesting that it is fault of minorities and banks that lend to minorities...

Who knows of new tools that we will need to survive... is our civilization potentially at risk here?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Plays I'd Like To See - Four Years From Now the Series

The Future of Terrorism Detection is Now!

From Boing Boing

The technology know as MALINTENT is not just for airports. MALINTENT technology has many applications in the private sector as well.

The most recent and irony MALINTENT installation was at the Harold Washington Chicago Public Library. It is essential that people feel safe when they are attempting to obtain information from our government.

P.S. dear reader - I know this is a little crazy, but I am just trying to figure out some sci-fi stuff and I'm using the blog to think outloud. Forgive or Indulge which every you are so inclined.

Play's I'd Like to See - Four Years From Now Series

Madame President Palin has suggested that the dramatic increase in tent cities over the past 3 years has less to do with the economy and more to do with folks re-embracing this country's park districts.

Recent controvesy occured when the Governor Shwartzeneggar had police officers in riot gear escort people out of Yosemite National Park.
"Ve Cant Toorn Aour National Paarks into Hoovavilles".

The Governor had been reluctant in previous weeks to take any such action, but Homeland Security surveilence had picked up what was referred to as "significant chatter" from cell phones and high power wifi connections from within the park.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have You Ever Tricked Someone Into Viewing Your Art?

For example - Got some one to play a friendly hand of poker, only to realize that you have illustrated the face side of every card in the deck?

Suggested that someone come over for a beer, but then made them listen to a song you just wrote?

Been invited to a rolling skating rink only to realize it is a poetry recital on wheels?!!

Thought you were watching something lurid and dirty to suddenly final out your perceptions about something other than sexually gratification were being challenged?

Bit into a baked good only to find some sort of haiku inside?

Rather than Christmas Cards, send someone a red/white/and green colored manifesto?

offered burlesque titillation, but did a switcheroo and started talking about a woman's right to choose?

Have any of us ever done anything so consistently creative in how we drew an audience in? Total hucksterism?

Friday, September 19, 2008

NaNoWriMo 2008! No? Really...Think about it...

So, this is where I attempt to talk anyone listening into doing the NaNoWriMo with me. For those of you who don't know what it is goto nanowrimo.org. This will be my third year in NaNoWriMo. In my first year, I succeeded in passing the 50000 word goal. I created a novel entitled Seven Snakes (which is in some serious need for a rewrite/edit). In year two, I got about half through a second Novel entitled Puppets, Peyote and Porn. I intend to revisit and reattempt to complete this novel. basically I had gotten to a place where I just couldn't figure out where the characters were going to end up and so starting putting them in terribly offensive lurid situations until I got distracted by other literary pursuits. Some of the problems I couldn't write around last time have sort of been solved in my head. It is just the joint distraction of CLAY CONTINENT online as well as storyboarding MEATLOCKER that has kept me from getting back to this terribly offensive story I've been trying to tell about 2 brothers, One a puppeteer, the other a pornographer... and the disgusting ways in which they are forced to collaborate.

So, this year I'm trying to figure out what to write. I have been flirting with the idea of a story about a Cuba.

Why do I love NaNoWriMo? Well, I found it in a time in my life when I really needed something like it to help me make it through the day. It was one of the few things that really kept me going while I was stuck in Georgia dreaming of Chicago. That period was a very dark dark time for me. My employer at the time was constantly requesting that its employees hold off on cashing checks, there was a total breakdown in moral and trust at that office. It seemed like every week someone either threatened to quit or just walked away. Bonuses that had been discussed never arrived, and I was consumed with the notion that I was isolated from everyone and everything that meant something to me. Travel was a big part of that job, and I never knew if the company card was going to be declined while I was on the road (which despite the boss's assurance happened twice during my employment there.) The stress and depression hit my body like a mack truck, I felt crippled with pain and anxiety. I wore braces on both knees and ankles in order to help me walk and my back was in so much pain, I visiting a chiropractor 3 times a week and icing my back daily and in my sleep. I had made the decision to leave Atlanta and return to Chicago, but I still had two weeks till I was going to give my notice, and with the financial difficulties the company was having being obviously shrugged onto the employees, it was essential to my escape back to Chicago plan, that I get paid till the end of the month.

I needed something desperately to take my mind off the anxiety, too help me get through each long painfully and fearful day that month of November before I made a desperate run back north in December. Enter NaNoWriMo. I had been trying desperately to start writing again, anything. I had been able to finish a play that was over 2 years in partial drafts (The Meatlocker), but was unable to figure out what or how to begin another project. I bought a book with a silly sounding title "No Plot, No Problem" and was inspired by both the liberty in approach that the book put forth, the way in which it spoke to motivation and deadline, and I also enjoyed the idea of this wide network, this community of people all over the country, indeed all over the globe sitting down at their computers and notepads for the month of November, all trying to do this desperate, wonderful thing...writing a novel.

So, anyone out there who feels the clamp of writer's block seize upon them, or just can;t find the discipline or focus to write that story, that they know they have hibernating inside them, I strongly suggest you read "No Plot, No Problem", and I invite you to consider doing the NaNoWriMo this year. It was a major turning point in my creative life, and I am so excited to start it up again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OK This is my very first NotFavoriteThingsThisWeek

I came across this blog, maybe some of you know it?
http://www.artisticfailure.com/.

Man this is a depressing site! And it is so through!

From the site-

The Chronicle of Artistic Failure in America is, as the title suggests, a look at how art is failing in this country—told from a number of different vantage points and examining various aspects of the phenomenon.

Ehhgad! And, I thought theatrospherians could be morose! Knowledge is power, so in that regard I suppose I can't knock it, but wowser?!

Plays I'd Like See

FOUR YEARS FROM NOW

US National Guard Units have been deployed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan State where a disenfranchised populace has advocated Succession from the Union. Their rationale for this is that the government has already refused to recognize their legitimacy as Americans due to denying them a right to vote in both the previous 2008 election as well as potentially in 2012 due to their foreclosures. After the economic collapse of 2009, foreclosure in the state of Michigan was at an all time high of 19%. One in Five homes were foreclosed and even though a number of Michiganders were still in residence at these properties, Republican advocates challenged their right to vote in certain districts claiming that they were legally non-residents in those districts.

Reportly the UPPM (Upper Peninsula Michigan Militia) and US National Guard Forces are at a statemate. Neither party will disarm. Nor has either party made any significant offensive stance. The Governor of Michigan made it clear in a statement - "If I or any other government representatives order military action against fellow Americans over the issue at hand, then everybody loses. What should have been sorted out as electoral discrepancy turns into civil war. I will not order or communicate an order to troops to engage in any explicit offensive act. However, I will also not tolerate any sort of armed aggression towards our troops either. make no mistake, even though I will not fire the first shot... I will not tolerate aggression towards our soldiers. They have standing orders to defend themselves if the UPMM takes any sort of aggressive action." The UPMM has made similar statement. The problem of course is with so many heavily armed parties in such close proximity and emotions running so high, how long can a cease fire be sustained?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plays I'd Like To See

A continuing performance series entitled FOUR YEARS FROM NOW. The premise is a series of shorts and one acts dramatizing forecasts based upon projections of possible outcomes of current social/political/civic action/events/discourse.

Example -

From their ocean based studio fleet, recently constituted GNN aka Google News Network conducts an interview with the former press secretary of Madame President Palin about chronic flooding in the regions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana since the Gulf of Mexico has had to sustain 2 to 3 hurricanes annually that reach category 3. Among the items discussed, President Palin's joint border patrol/interstate irrigation projects. Structures that act both as a system of perimeter to keep out newly converted Mexican Muslim Extremists while also acting as a system of levees for this recently too often submerged region.


Anyone else have an interesting synopsis for a short play/one act for such a series?(satirical, serious, hyperbolic, realistic)?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is there a lacking commitment to the theatrosphere?

There has been a sharp decline in the amount of theatre talk lately. This is something I perceive to be all over the blogs I frequent. There are some well viewed blogs that I tend to visit highly infrequently (why bother naming them since it will at best produce a pissing war)... But, I'm not so concerned with the places I don't go. I am concerned with the sites I know and habituate as a reader/commenter on a daily/weekly basis.

This week there has been some grumbling from Scott Walters about the tone and content as of late. I agree that there is something missing lately, I'm not sure I agree at all with his manner in which to address it. Whether you call it vitriol, invective, or passion... the tone got to a place where people took it personal... and I don't know what to do other than to throw my hands up.

We all have agendas here. These agendas are multifaceted and leveled. Sometimes our various pet causes and issues run parallel and sometimes they don't. But each and every one us while we are committed to our ideas must also realize that some days, when it comes to the things that we decided to take on, we have to carry our own water. Well can passionately cry out or shout out for someone to speak to us on that which we care about, but we must also be wary of biting at those with whom we wish to commune.

I have been scolded in the past often for my 'glass is half empty' take on the assumptions/perceptions/ and to my mind misuses of the word community. But, if the theatrosphere is to become and remain a community, we have to find ways to challenge and cajole each other that show some sort of appreciation for that end. If the tone of our debates, etc reaches a pitch where it seems like we are rather exiling certain folks from the community of the theatrosphere because of a distaste or impatience with their approach or their path... well then what to we get? A bunch of angry individuals instead of a system of support or community.

I am not saying we must play nice. Hell, anyone who looks through my talks with Don Hall or Scott Walters will know, I aint interested in tea time talk. But, at the same time, let us encourage more than we scold. Let us not lose our sense of humor, and let us aim more often toward fraternity rather than condemnation.

We must always strive to be supportive as often as possible. And where we disagree we have a duty to expound on it, without attempting to digitally exorcise that which we find distasteful at the expense of our community.

The direction of inquiry this week I fear leads to a place where people share less, skulk and bray self admiration at the expense of others more, and we all lose.

Perhaps a page has turned in the system of blogs I think of as our theatrosphere. I hope not. It was a source of great joy, provocation, and community for me.

Hey, you know, if I'm using that ....gulp word... something must be changing.

lets make a push to talk to each other more often. Let us share more!!! Share more people!!!

Ask for more if you want more!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Whatever?!!!! WHATEVER?!!!

It is not essential that we find vitriol every day or even once a week (although I am not opposed to vitriol).

It is not imperative that we weight in on ever item brought up by every article writer pining for some provocation (although I am not against provocation)

If we can not share our struggle with each other, can we then at the very least find more effective and more fulfilling ways to share our joy?

What is so troubling to me is the vast silences where once there was a cacophony of noise related to the thing I love.

You don't have to write me a monologue every night about the shows you are working on, or the progress you are making in your writing or projects...

But, I would love the equivalent of a postcard, more often.

So, I will echo Scott Walters at the very least in this... As of late, I have wanted more (yes even from myself). There has been a sharp drop in both content online about our various projects, hopes, and dreams as of late... as well as seeming less engagement with each other.

No condemnation from the devilvet....more of a plea... give me more... especially from the folks I haven't heard from lately.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FavoriteThingsThisWeek


Some images at the link below are awesome but NSFW


Monday, September 01, 2008

Art, Travel, Isolation, Randomness

Do you ever get that feeling that life is passing by too quickly? I have been mired in it lately. Sort of temporarily stuck, sort of knee deep in the mud of investment towards something happening in the tomorrow-morrow land. You know that this statis is a price you said you would pay, but that doesn't mean you aren't punching various body parts against the wall in boredom while you wait to get there.

I have an incredible Fall season ahead of me. This could be one of the best autumns of my life. But, laying down the foundations for it is tough (or perhaps seeming tougher than usual).

I have to hold off from getting back to rehearsal/workshop so that I have the cash to both partake of my massive roadtrip in October and after that head into my photoshoots for The Meatlocker Graphic Novel. Both are going to be excellent pursuits, but both have built into them a certain amount of isolation...and I wonder if it this isolation that makes me feel sometimes life is passing me by. The isolation of a road trip is almost a religious sort of experience for me. Being able to drive through the Redwood Forest in a convertible alone is going to be worth the pricetag of this trip. Having 7 days to cruise 700 miles of California, Oregon, and Washington Coastline is going to be wonderful. Then capping the whole thing off with 3 days in Seattle...again...I am a lucky lucky guy!

But, you are your own company on a trip like this. And that is a good thing. I've been trying to figure out how to elucidate the benefit of that sort of isolation, but I am sidetracked into the to the random thoughts that escape into this keyboard right now. Don suggested that I get some audiobooks for the trip. But, I got to tell you that is cheating. I will have a couple mixtape/CDs filled with some Neko Case, Handsome Family, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, PJ Harvey, and hmmm perhaps Beethoven. My life doesn't need an audiobook so much as a soundtrack. The music focuses the event of big drive and also endows the minor moments with in, the dozen or so tiny drives. I have done this trip before 3 years ago just before I fled Chicago for Atlanta.

People all around me are living, sweating, forging ahead, getting married, getting divorced, having babies...Me, I write, I dream, and I try not to blow all my cash on eating out. I care about and talk to my family often, but they are a thousand miles away. I have a huge amount of affection for most the people I work with at my day job, but once I get on the bus for my apartment they are gone, gone living their lives..engagements, home owner ship, shopping for college with their kids. Why is it that I sometimes feel like my life is somehow less? Somehow less valid, less "real"?


Being back in Chicago, which should seem like a given now (in December I'll have been back for 2 years)...anyway being back is a wonderful thing, but I can't escape the feeling that I'm not yet doing enough, not yet taking full advantage out of every day.