Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Scene is in a underground rock club. Two friends, Ian and Pete, stand, beers in hand, waiting for the act to come on stage. Ian is clad in total hipster gear. He wears a faux-hawk, Buddy Holly/Rivers Cuomo glasses, dirty white Converse All-Stars, tight worn jeans, a studded belt, and a really tight used chartreuse sweater even though its 80 degrees in the bar. Pete’s wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and Dockers.
Man, Ian, I’m so glad you finally brought me to one of these concerts you’re always talking about. I mean we’re really good friends, but I feel like you’ve never totally let me into the musical life that you have that’s so important to you.
No problem, bro. Just act cool, that’s all. Do you want another Pabst Blue Ribbon or maybe a Schlitz? They’re only four bucks here.
No, I’m cool. I’m still working on mine. Four dollars doesn’t really seem like such a great deal for a beer that costs like a quarter in
Dude, you’re in
Tell who? I’m not even from
Well, you’re not from
I know. I’m from
Whoa, whoa, whoa Pete. Those guys are so mainstream. Everybody has their album.
They’re not really mainstream. They’ve only been around for 8 or 9 months and they self-released their album. They’re pretty much the opposite of mainstream.
Yeah, this coming from a guy wearing a “Jimi Hendrix” t-shirt. What are you trying to do embarrass me? That guy sucks.
Embarrass you? We don’t know anybody else here. And Jimi Hendrix doesn’t suck, he’s one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Guitars are so mainstream.
Nevermind. Tonight’s going to be great – monumental, in fact. It reminds me of the time that I saw Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s the first time they played there.
Dude, that was 1984. You would’ve been two.
Whatever. Tonight’s going to be monumental.
Yeah, what’s the deal with this band again?
They’re called Luminous Emptiness. Yeah, that’s from Buddhism. They’re so frickin’ indie.
Rad. I can’t wait.
[The lights dim and the crowd cheers. One single spotlight illuminates a microphone. Another lights the drums, a guitar on a stand, and a bass on another.]
Alright, here we go. I’m so glad I’m here. This is going to be sweet.
Yeah, monumental, whatever.
[Pete and Ian stand there along with the crowd and wait. There’s nothing but total and absolute silence. Pete keeps looking over at Ian who stares at the stage. More silence.]
Dude, what’s going on? When are they coming out?
Shhhhhhh. Dude, calm down. Look, look up at the stage.
[Pete looks up excited waiting for the band to come out. More silence. Nothing happens.]
[Whispers.] Ian, Ian.
Dude, nothing’s happening.
No way, man. Something is happening. Everything’s happening.
[Pete stops, looks around at all faces who are looking at the stage. He’s amazed. ]
Ian, there aren’t any people playing instruments which is what a concert is.
Just free your mind and see what you’re not seeing. Just live in the moment. That’s from Buddhism.
You mean this is it!!? This is the concert? Nothing!
Shhhhh. You’re disturbing this for everybody else. God! These guys are so indie. They’re more indie than indie.
They’re nothing. They’re nobody. Nothing’s going on. This isn’t creative or indie or anything at all.
I thought you were cool, dude. I brought you here thinking that you could grasp how monumental this experience is. Don’t you see that this is a commentary on music today and society at large? It’s all empty, devoid of meaning.
No, I see it more as a waste of 15 bucks.
Why don’t you go home and listen to Guided by Voices or some other sellout band?
Why don’t you go home and listen to Ashlee Simpson?
What are you talking about?
I found your private CD collection when I was looking for my shoes the other day.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Yeah, you do.
[With this, Ian runs onstage and grabs the microphone.]
Sheep, here my voice! This is insanity, we all know that this has gone too far. We have to stop the madness!
[Nods and a little bit of cheering from the crowd.]
Alright, yeah! We should all be able to listen to the type of music we want to. We shouldn’t make people feel badly for liking one band and not liking another. And I’m tired of Chuck Taylors and sweaters!
[Small chant of “Luminous Emptiness” builds.]
No, no. I’m not Luminous Emptiness. There is no Luminous Emptiness. I’m just a guy and I like to listen to Mariah Carey albums!
["Luminous Emptiness, Luminous Emptiness, Luminous Emptiness."]
Stop it! Stop it! Alright whatever.
[Pitches the microphone and climbs off stage to back slaps and approval from the audience. Two guys walk by Ian and Pete on their way out.]
That was so indie they should make a new word for it like Hindi or something. Man that was indie.
Dude, let’s go get the new Mariah Carey album.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Egon Schiele - St. John drives the lane, fakes a behind-the-back pass, goes up, NYArts Magazine comes out of nowhere...DENIED!
Egon Schiele’s exhibit at the Neue Galerie defines incompletion. Most of his paintings, drawings and watercolors are portraits missing an arm or lacking a torso; most are sparsely colored. In particular, his male studies (including of himself) are emaciated shadows of real men. Is it fitting that Schiele’s life, too, was interrupted. He died of influenza at the age of 28.
It isn’t that Schiele’s works aren’t fully realized. They are. He trained at the
Schiele never had to search for subjects. In art school, he drew the people of
Schiele’s focus on the human form gets draped in black in his staggering portrait of Max Oppenheimer. The svelte painter’s gaze is haunting, as are his fingers that hang from his arm like a wet mop. Though Schiele’s lines of ink and black crayon are sparse – as are his watercolors and gouaches – they’re full of weight. Schiele’s Self-Portrait with Arm Twisted Above Head is true to style. His naked body is starved. His bones and eyes poke out from under his skin.
Schiele was one-of-a-kind, and remains a distinctive voice from the past. Like his themes of emptiness, starkness and wasting, today’s world of art is less full for his early death.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Nacho Libre Review - Brady took down trailersnobs.com where films were reviewed solely on the basis of their trailer. Thanks, Mike.
Leave it to a couple of Mormons, a Scientologist and a Jew to condemn the Catholic Church. Jared Hess (Mormon) directs and writes (along with one of his wives, Jerusha), Beck (Scientologist) helms the soundtrack (experimental), and Jack Black (Jew) stars (he’s a “star” now, right?). Their film, Nacho Libre, is ultimately a condemnation of the bureaucratic and morally corrupt abusive Roman Catholic Church.
Jack Black, in a dramatic twist, plays the Mexican monk Nacho, who, in the footsteps of Hulk Hogan, aspires to be establish Nachomania. In his way is the Rowdy Roddy Piper-like character Lou Chador. But, Hess has set up an elaborate metaphor. Nacho is poor, stupid and has a killer ‘stache. Lou is rich, powerful and wears an ornate gold mask. Nacho represents the humble and the authentic part of Catholicism left and Lou is the gilded, aristocratic empire. Let the WrestleMania the XXIII begin!
Nacho is living under the thumb of the empire and he wants to free himself from its authoritarian dogma by way of a Wittgensteinian Spinning Sitout Double Underhook Facebuster. Nacho’s approach to Catholicism is summed up by Ludwig in Culture and Value: “If certain graphic propositions for instance are laid down for human beings as dogmas governing thinking, namely in such a way that opinions are not thereby determined, but the expression of opinions is completely controlled, this will have a very strange effect. People will live under an absolute, palpable tyranny, yet without being able to say they are not free. I think the Catholic Church does something like this.”
Chador ascribes to the Catholic tenets of antiquity, but also modernizes his approach with a Rahnerian Upsidedown Powerslam once in a while. Chador and Karl Rahner: In it together. From Foundations of Christian Faith: “If, then, there are very many Christians today who basically regard the different ecclesial communities as equally legitimate churches, this relativistic opinion in ecclesiology presupposes either that the church of Jesus Christ as he willed it does not exist at all, or that in spite of the divisions among Christians it exists to such an extent that it does not really have to be brought about.”
This is an ideological and religious war all wrapped up in the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling style and Hess is in the middle of it all - making a name for himself in stirring the religious waters. His first film, Napoleon Dynamite, features a main character who is a dead-on latter-day Joseph Smith. Shunned by others, he eventually gets his message across by dancing his way to the top. With Nacho Libre, Hess takes on the two sides of the new Crusades and cements himself as a contemporary theological voice. Ohhhh yeaaaaah.
"Reelin' in the Years" Would Be Best Song Ever, If Not for Chorus
Cats Mad at Randy Jackson
Kid From Small Town Can't Make It Here, Anywhere
Area Man Just Found Out What His Craigslist Roommate's Summer's Eve Is
Bush Replaces Hastert in Allstate Ads in Effort to Boost Approval Ratings
Classic Fugazi Album Name Changed to "15 Songs" for iTunes Re-Release
Scientists Consult Easter Candy Manufacturers for Anti-Aging Techniques
V for Vapid
As a 23-year old male resident of
The last people that Americans want to recognize as being forceful or even relevant are the French. John Tierney’s column last week dismissed the French as suffering from “low self-esteem” and “not feeling empowered.” But, what is more empowering than being young and angry? Granted the French protests may not be for all the right reasons. Maybe the French could use less slacking on the job; maybe more Frenchmen need to be fired. What Tierney failed to realize is that a protest against a protest against complacency is better than no protest at all.
And that’s where we come in. According to The Los Angeles Times, some seven thousand students, mostly from middle schools, walked out of classes last week in protest. It’s something, but it doesn’t really amount to much. These kids have either been told to walk out of school by their moms and dads or are doing it to get out of class. It’s hard to imagine that a 12 year-old understands the complexities of our immigration laws; he/she just understands that what’s going on is “a bad thing.” It is something, but what does it say when middle school children are showing more zeit than the contemporaries of les etudients?
Those who should be analyzing and deconstructing, and most importantly caring about governmental policies, don’t seem to be. The complacent college student of
That film that has been viewed by countless numbers of Generation Apathy has a tagline that reads, “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” The government of the
But isn’t our country the one that’s lost? Isn’t our identity more confused than
It is, of course, our fault. We don’t vote, so the lawmakers continue to make the debt, social security, the environment, and the clash of civilizations our problem. And then, we don’t protest and it only gets worse.
One of V’s jukebox tunes is a Velvet Underground number. Lou Reed, always the rebel, has apt application, here, too. Not the first and certainly not the last to say it in his refrain to “Perfect Day,” Reed warns over and over again: “You’re going to reap just what you sow.”
The Years of Living Dangerously
When speaking in sweeping generalizations about a general contemporary mindset, there is no better blanket term to have as a starting point than Zeitgeist. Commonly defined as “the spirit of the time,” it is much more than just that. The German zeit translates as “time” or “age,” and the geist as “spirit.” Geist’s translation as “spirit” also implies an otherworldly quality. And when speaking of a generation’s ideology, it is in accord with Jungian archetypical relationships. So do we, as a generation, possess a binding consciousness? And, if so, there is but one simple question – what are we thinking about?
Buddhism claims that all human beings have an unnatural attachment to the future and the past and that everyone needs to do their best to focus on the present. Siddharta Guatama must be rolling over in his - well - reincarnated form, because my generation is particularly awful at living in the now. We mismanage our zeit: our minds are completely focused on what just happened and what is going to happen, not what is happening. When we don’t want to think about it anymore, that’s when we get completely fucked up. It runs the gamut. Rich, white college kids with trust funds are thinking about what area of investment banking they want to get into and poor, black high-school dropouts are thinking about how to make their next dollar. One is thinking about how he could’ve done better in his squash tournament and the other is pissed about his last game of Cee-lo1. To escape time, white boy’s gonna rail some remis2 and aspiring 50 Cent is gonna drink a forty3 (I prefer the latter).
This is not to say that the only way our generation escapes is through drugs and alcohol, but we are quite proficient in our usage. Religion, partisan politics, sex, and money are all vices when abused and are all part of our modern day escapism. We, as a generation, are utterly confused. And when we are confused we escape. Take the last election, for example. I so wanted Bush out of office that I wrote some articles for my college newspaper that were, in retrospect, not considerate of the other side. The College Republicans brought Anne Coulter to campus, a person who defeats her own arguments by being so unabashedly malicious towards people who don’t think like her. Both sides are guilty of escaping the moment by not listening. Truth be told, anyone who really championed either of the douchebags4 running last time was really just mad at the other side or was/is a deuchebag, too. As for those caught between the political tug-of-war, there is a growing majority that checks “apathetic” under the “political views” section of The Facebook5.
But can you blame the confusion and the escapism?
Certainly, the blame does not rest solely on the shoulders of the giants. But, as we saw with the recent Katrina events, there is something to be said for looking to the top for answers and working our way on down. My “blame game” follows a Bush-Blanco-Nagin three-tiered approach as well: First of all, we have to look at the bureaucratic branch. These aforementioned deuchebags are the ones who, as of recently, rob from the poor to give to the rich. Secondly, we have to look at what I like to call the great celeb mindfuck. US Weekly weakens; it’s cliché to say, but the women of this country have been completely robbed of their self worth and the men are paying ten bucks to watch their future governors splatter alien brains.
The third level is the most important. I think there’s an age old adage that goes something like, “If your friends and family are fucked up chances are you will be, too.” I have to qualify this, though. The religious right has been talking about “values” forever, but they don’t really know what true values are. Jesus really knew what he was talking about, but his message has been so perverted that we’ve got Pat Robertson ordering hits out on people. What I mean to say is if your parent(s) and friends are good people, if they like to help others out, if they like to smile and have a laugh, and if they love you, then chances are you’re going to be alright. If your parents are money-grubbing assholes then chances are you’re going to be a money-grubbing asshole, too. My parents are divorced and my dad’s gay, but they love me and are great people; I think I turned out alright. Take that “Christians.”
But, of course, there is the little talked about fourth tier. Surely we can’t blame/give total credit to others completely for who we are. We must be responsible, too. And, I don’t think we need to totally on the defensive, either. There are plenty of reasons to see good in my peers. I think we dealt well with the 9/11 catastrophe, we were the first to jump into cars to go down to
There is reason to measure ourselves against what Brokaw and many others call “the greatest generation.” My grandfathers both grew up modestly, went to
The most important lesson we can learn from this generation praise is that they were not heralded until after the fact. And it rings true with us, too. We will not be complete until we are looked back upon and reflected upon. And what’s on our minds and who we are will not be fully realized for years to come. What’s most important, though, is that we are ourselves, that we are original, and that we have spirit. I don’t want our generation to be lumped into one; I don’t think we should have a binding consciousness. That’s so…boring. If we’re being held down by the powers that be, we have to fight against them, not stand idly. A lot of us have had it easy and a lot of us have had it hard, but it’s time now that we step out from the shadows and think for ourselves.
Tomorrow I’m moving from
For – believe me – the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is – to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the time will be past in which you had to be content living in forests like shy deer! Finally the search for knowledge will reach for its due; it will want to rule and possess, and you with it! (161)
Word is bond7.
Glossary of terms for old people:
1Cee-lo – a popular dice game usually involving betting
2Rail some remis – pull a Kate Moss
3A Forty – one forty-ounce bottle of malt liquor
4Douchebag(s) – anybody and everybody you voted for
5The Facebook – www.facebook.com, an online directory connecting most major colleges
6Shitfaced – your son on a Saturday night (and usually Sunday morning)
7Word is bond – You are correct, sir
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science.
Zinn, Howard. “The Greatest Generation?” Progressive Magazine. Oct 2001.