Thursday, December 29, 2011

the amaerican as a wild animal





i'm constantly fearful of invasion, losing my way, forgetting my place. when i tried a biofeedback exercise, hooked up to a machine recording my brain-waves, i'd revert to the tenser state the minute i heard a sound, felt a breath, a shadow passing across my eyes. i thought this might have been early childhood training, ie. my mother popping into my room at the most expected times and telling me not to play with myself. hmm, guess that could be true, but i think there's more to it.


a nigerian visitor said, 'america's a tough atmosphere, you have to make a place for yourself, stake out your territory. in africa we're given a place and protected by others who've been put in a particular spot as well.' so, it's true, the united states is literally a jungle without the social cohesion given by tribes and familiarity with the territory. by the latter i mean, those old guys used to have one landscape with which they became intimate. by taking care of it and understanding it, they could live comfortably. 


and these small groups didn't tolerate strangers. i walk down fifth avenue in new york and i'm jostled by all kinds of wierdos. i once saw mafia dudes pounce on an enemy and beat  him to  the ground, right in the middle of this crowd. trying to establish what happened, how could the cop  listen to everyone, including the gangsters, and come up with a who-done-it. if you have a fear of crowds, there's a damn good reason and you'd better be on your guard. 


you may not be aware it, how everyone in america afraid of losing their job and everything they possess, this particularly true the past couple years with the economic collapse, homes being tossed back to the banks. most of us don't know how to take care of ourselves, building a fire from scratch, digging up edible roots, in fact we don't even know how to beg, though i think we could learn pretty fast. 


an anthropology teacher in college (1962) said, 'we live better than any kings before 1900.' have you gotten used to water coming out of the tap, the air being breathable, food appearing like magic in plastic wrap? theoretically, this makes you a civilized being. the minute the gas stops flowing as it did in the gas crisis of 1973, we fight like tigers at the pump, things get really nasty, all our goodwill depending on our comfort. 


given these facts, we can't relax, pleasure has gotten a bad name, sensuality a sin, and all because of the jungle. have you ever thought what would happen if other drivers ignored the white lines and traffic lights? your life wouldn't be worth a plugged nickel. i know this means i'm under threat of extermination every minute, despite the long-term stability and investment appeal of the country. freedom's just a game of jumping over bear-traps and kissing your friends goodbye. no wonder, as many around the world have observed, americans always overreact. i personally have made my body robotic to avoid organic decay. 


a few more tell-tale drawings in ipad night flight: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/nf

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the useful uselessness of new year's resolutions





that time of year to disappoint myself again! of course, the first thing i always say:  i will exercise more. and you know what? i never do. what this teaches me, however, is: i feel fat and unsexy. then i think of the hottest woman i've ever seen, in a los angeles irish pub dancing. believe me, she must have been at least forty-five and had those extra love-pounds. and wow, every guy in the place couldn't stop watching her, not just that iridescent dress, those hips, those moves.


and in the survey of web porn, two billion wicked thoughts, the authors discovered most men do not like thin women. and when a woman looks at a man, she must be desiring more than muscles. i mean, look at all these guys they're with! pretty amazing, those beards, scuffed shoes, watery eyes. and i'm not just talking about the old ones. i see combinations i simply cannot believe, i feel like i'm watching a horror movie, hallucinating. 


which i bring up to prove my point. what we wish hides the substance of that desire, the true impulse, so time to back up, examine what you will never do cause it's not what you really want. now, if i said, i'm going to get more sex this year, i'd have to confront my fears, figure out what a woman really wants (good luck!), and go for it. and i suspect all our hopes for a higher salary, a fancier car, a trip to tahiti disguise the same thing, pure unadulterated lust. if i say, i'm going to have a kid this year, it means, i'll risk a lot, the fear of aids, the scary business of a possible involvement, and of course pregnancy, to have a lot of fun. 


i encourage all of us to get real. that pub-dancing lady knew what she wanted and made no bones about it. we have to get past manipulation and self-consciousness and the attempt to  play it safe, broadcasting want me, i can give you what you'll never get alone, and all because i'll be satisfying a passion even bigger than yours, my own. 


new pics, out xmas eve and the day itself, this depth of darkness needing a release: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/kiss and http://www.pbase.com/wwp/xmas11

Saturday, December 24, 2011

the clones of andy warhol

                                                                 portrait by alice neel


actually, i like to forget this kind of disturbing identity dream as fast as i can. oh, i've read tons of freud, jung, and their followers, an interesting thing to do, yet i've decided most of our dreams merely practical. they integrate the trials and tribulations of the day into whatever makes up our 'self'. usually, they start pretty nasty, calming down as the night goes on.


unfortunately, i ate very sugary cookies last night and this means disaster. yes, scrooge was right, a bit of undone potato can undo you. anyway, i spent the last couple hours in andy warhol's apartment, the dump filled with drug-besotted hangers-on. andy himself drove me crazy, friendly one minute, honoring my opinions, and scathing, ironic, damaging my self-image the next. finally, i decided, after failing to be able to take a shower or find my shoes, 'i'm getting the hell out of here.'


one item disturbed me most, a young theater director who recently lost his job part of the retinue. i attempted to convince him this a bad scene. alas, all he could do was imitate warhol, even deciding he was gay and celebrating the fact. when i started to take off my clothes, all these guys stood around me salivating, eager to see my tally-whacker.. needless to say, i became very self-conscious. what was i, one of these or somebody else? down in the street, i at first simply wanted to return to that hell. then i realized my pack back and my loafers on my feet and i walked with a firm gait. ah, a dream, i knew it.


maybe it's the holidays too. yesterday at the cafe, i felt disconnected, other people unreal. not until i picked up a manga story and read a bit did i feel myself returning to this world, certainly a contradiction. oh, hell, as whitman said, 'i contradict myself, therefore i contradict myself. i contain worlds.' if only he would come to me when i need him! 




these ipad drawings related: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/nf

ps. once sat behind andy warhol at the theater. white hair. faded denim. a ghost-like aura. pretty freaky.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

yes, envy's my middle name





my friend dennis palumbo just published an article on the subject in psychology today. and what an embarrassing topic it is. believe me, i can envy just about anybody, depending on my mood, say the young, just because they've got so much to look forward to. us crusty old guys figure whatever they seek to do, we've done it better. once staying with a friend's daughter in seattle, i denigrated her work and that of her friends. she jumped all over me. and i realized what i was doing: ENVY. 


since then, i've tried to catch myself, even enjoy the successes of others. one trick, i say to myself, now i don't have to do that, it's done. usually it stops me from trying to save the world or re-invent the wheel. i could, of course, build a better mouse-trap, and that's an option, depending on how interested i am. i used to covet the warmth and security of home and family. at night i'd walk the streets, look into kitchen windows, and see everybody having a great time. PROJECTION. my jealousy based on an assumption of the unreal, viewing whatever they have as lacking flies in the ointment. 


today, i consider how much time and money all that is costing them. and i know the tensions in families all too well, my own had enough for four broods (nice word, that). take christmas, coming up this weekend. when we were little, we've be full of excitement, my mother's xmas eve ceremonies comforting, we'd listen to a recording of dicken's christmas carol and stuff ourselves with the candy my father had made. later, as we grew older, we became disenchanted,  uneasy with the whole affair. ah, if only i still believed in santa claus!


and then there's sex. when i see a gorgeous woman with another man, i turn green, completely forgetting i'm looking at her as a goddess and not a real person. i forget how she had to color and tease that hair, how long it took for her nails to dry as the guy stewed, late for the theater. i totally ignore her bad moods, her demands for attention, and so on. some nights i do go to bed wishing i'd a lovely beside me. and in the morning i wipe my brow and thank god i'm alone. so much for coveting my neighbor's wife. 


here is the article mentioned above. tough going in an insanely competitive environment. again, i say, wish for the victory of your buddies. they may carry you to the top: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hollywood-the-couch/201112/envy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

have you ever been haunted by a photograph?





this is the one i mean. we all know the expression 'tip of the iceberg', yet do we really take it's significance into account? the captain of the titanic certainly didn't, nor did george armstrong custer at the battle of the little bighorn. my vanity creates more assumptions than stars in the galaxy, not to mention the universe. for example, i believed invading iraq a bad thing, the only possible result civil war. now that this war is 'officially' over, i'll have to reassess  my position. after all, the price of gas dropping!


and afghanistan, where civilizations go to die? hmm, exceptions to the rule? maybe all those drone bombs killing people necessary steps in human evolution? am i being ironic? damn, i never know. some things i am pretty aware of. for example, when touring the teddy roosevelt house in new york, i heard the guide say americans don't know their own history. once i took a course in our revolution, and i didn't remember the colonies had three million people. no wonder the british had a fight on their hands. and did a million citizens move to canada after it was over? somewhere i read that.


does my ignorance matter? that's the big question. so far i've gotten thru life without knowing what the hell E equals MC squared means. and if i'm sailing the ocean of thought, what dangers lie in the deep? true, i do believe as things begin, so do they go. a revolt in violence creates a violent new society, whereas a peaceful one, say new zealand, doesn't lead to a lot of blood-letting. can i see like the author of the rational optimist the whole of human society progressing, even as individuals suffer? and when does bowing to complexity, not allow us t0 cut the gordian knot? 


nothing ventured, noting gained. after all, any of our lives fatal! new drawings: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/nf and new photos: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/meso2 where students reconstruct what might have been. 



Monday, December 19, 2011

only the madman is completely sure (robert anton wilson)





my friend marilyn once said, people who think they're always right have more energy. when i go down the list of people i've known, i believe it to be true. not that  they're necessarily more successful, however i suspect conservatives happier than liberals, fathers more than sons. and they can be as obnoxious as hell, without feeling guilty.


transposing this to the big names in art, i must confess i'm puzzled. lately i've streamed documentaries on bob dylan, alice neel, keith haring, robert anton wilson, and countless other artists. guess i'm still looking for the key to fame and fortune. certainly amazing what these people have done, yet doubts seem to creep  up on them all the time. hemingway said, courage is grace under pressure. what amazes me: how cheeky a bob dylan or john lennon can be. 


is it simply the drive to 'do something', write songs. paint. direct? suicide does often raise its sad head, much more prominent among creative people. we can all think of examples, hemingway himself and marilyn monroe. and i haven't found people who consider themselves infallible to be geniuses, in fact they very often live by cliches. that gives them a rectitude money can't buy.


one example i love: the man with the highest IQ in the world. i forget his name. he lives somewhere in the american midwest. what a dolt. never having the chance to train his brain, he thinks killing dumb people okay. here the mind creates a demon, or as goya would say, the sleep of reason creates monsters. informed intelligence the way to go. unfortunately, the more you know the more you know you don't know. awareness takes away certainty. 


started a new batch of drawings, night flight: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/nf  i'm sure it will prove again photographs have more universal appeal than artistic creations. artworks seem to narrow the audience, the quirkiness of individuality limiting you to an audience with the same quirks! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"the young always underestimate the competition,"





hugh mccloed wrote in ignore everybody: and 39 ways to creativity. this, of course, has it's pluses and minuses. another wag wrote, don't ask if it's impossible until after you do it. just having come from helping review a theater class auditions, i feel melancholy. and other local theater people who helped expressed the same. high hopes dashed by the market. a single mother with no time. and so on.


henry james wrote plays and failed on the stage, despite a very insightful book of reviews. it hurt. and i know the feeling. at some point i realized my number one need: community. and every time i tried to satisfy my desire with drama, i cried once the production ended and the stage immediately dismantled. every body who'd become one goes their separate ways, the profound intimacy scattered to the winds. one auditor who'd tried the lost angels route said, i envy you and am glad i'm not where you're at. 


america as the land of opportunity has a built-in cruelty, promising the presidency to half the population, children, you can do anything and everything if only you try, don't be satisfied with being a senator, a judge, a governor, always a bigger prize in front of you. alas, you may get what you want first-most, but not what you want second-most. i've found this to be all-too-true. we've so much energy, talent, time, focus. and the truth is, almost everyone ends up opting for  a home and family. 


as i said, for me it's community. i like having a doctor and dentist, neighbors, clerks who recognize me, it satisfies my herd instinct, the animal i am, especially having avoided the common doom above. and this fulfilled, i don't have the drive to make theater work for me, much as i may love it, much as i may have learned, to write and direct plays. and i could see in the kids auditioning most didn't have the necessary focus, something else more important, and the path to finding it due to be a rough one. 


even my androids are having second thoughts http://www.pbase.com/wwp/android4 they too not really sure what they want.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

gosh, last night i identified with the bad guys





at an environmental conference in ashland, oregon, a native-american woman maintained other people couldn't use her tribe's symbols and ceremonies, these private property. despite my urge, i didn't stand up and declare, 'lady, if this knowledge would benefit all of humankind, cough it up. what's at stake now is survival of the species.'


last night i watched the art of the steal, moving of a famous art collection, the barnes, to a new building in downtown philadelphia. one of the good guys opposing it said, 'the collection belonging to walter, he could do whatever he wanted with it.' alas, his family died out and everybody else in the world jumped to secure the paintings, the most famous in post-impressionism. and i believe these a treasure to be shared with everyone. in an art book, when i see, in a private collection, i grit my teeth, knowing i will never see the original.






no, i don't believe in the government owning everything. military dictatorships simply don't know how to do business. and a individual life given by a room of our own very precious. when radicals exclaimed, 'the personal is political', i realized they were asking for the police to step into the bedroom, sex having become a public football. 


yet national forests and parks for open use make life for me livable. and i really enjoy little perks like the return sunday fare free on the new york subway. this lost, i felt diminished. there's something about freedom of access which stimulates me, widens the world. 


added a few free pics of my own: 
http://www.pbase.com/wwp/meso2
http://www.pbase.com/wwp/net






Friday, December 9, 2011

even if it's meaningless, keep doing it





i read, if you use the wrong fly long enough, it becomes the right one, an analogy from fishing. i guess i must believe it, cause the emptiness of our fate in the universe hasn't stopped me. for example, i got out of bed this morning. of course i had to fight my basic human laziness. first thing, i turned on the computer. now i know 99% of my time on it an absolute waste. i delete ads for half an hour. my in-box never empty, yet i feel a foolish sense of accomplishment. 


various wise guys have come up with answers. bliss, feeling alive, carrots and rewards. these work for children. ah, christmas morning, i couldn't wait, up at the crack of dawn to stare at the presents. we didn't have a lot of them so each individual one meant a lot. as an adult, i've attended feeding frenzies, the packages so many the kids go glassy-eyed, the whole mission to unrap everything while what's inside merely decoration. talk about a nietzschean reversal of values! 


the cartoonist hugh mccloed states, 'we need social objects.' okay, i hate the term, yet he's onto something. the local bookstore survives only because of it's cafe. for hugh we crave company like seals on the beach. and i'm no better than anyone. i go for coffee every day just to watch the faces, the combinations of people. for example, last night i sat near a table of three girls studying. they looked so young, being so small and beautiful, and i couldn't place their origin, though opening their mouths they sounded like every other american girl with a twang. puzzles like this confront me every time i go out. 


i admit a fascination with portraits. yesterday, these popped into the camera: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/meso2 and a couple weeks ago i indulged my fascination with japanese netsuke: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/net did these give me a purpose? no, they gave me a thrill, opened up mysteries i can never fathom. personally, i don't know why people keep having children. social objects? probably. they pull you into a different world and team you up with parents and teachers. plus, you think you have them figured out? hah! you'll never know why the tw0-year old walked over to a plant and perforated its leaves with a hole-punch.


you don't need a reason to be happy. astounded by this mantra, i try to keep it in mind. maybe all we need digging ditches is movement, smoking a cigarette: the motion of our hands. even if alcohol kills us, it's a pleasant form of suicide. ultimately, we know too much,  and  understand we know nothing at all and can't let that stop us.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the world as a gaint brain, finding your function





electricity remains our greatest wonder. without it everything human would come to a stop, including our bodies, our brains 80% water and electrical impulses. is it an accident the dynamo discovered? for the survival of the species, certainly not. electric-shock therapy, we're born from it and experience it every moment of our lives!


gawd, i hate myself when i'm dogmatic. just yesterday i had to repeat my old mantra: everyone is enlightened except me. once more, like during my first asthma attacks, i carried the world, trying to figure everything out. i can't tell you how heavy and congealed my body became, slowly turning into stone. i had to go back to zero, start over, give up. and i immediately felt relief. it's like unfocusing my eyes. as soon as i do it, i relax. evidently, we use enormous energy to spy out danger and pleasure, tightening our beam of attention to a pinpoint. 


and once i surrender, i discover my place in the universe, my function in this immense brain we call the earth. you see, when we say we're all connected and part of the whole, it's literally true. we've fifty-thousand thoughts a day, all electric charges, lightning created biologic life and continues to hit the ground 200 times a second, all day, every day. and with the internet we've finally discovered the truth. we can't do without each other.


true, just as millions of cells born and dead every second in our body, humans  come into being as others snuffed. the world mind acts exactly as our own, constantly renewing itself. and every part necessary for the whole, too large a war like a huge stroke. recovery comes slowly and may shift operations to a new area. civilizations come and go, sparking new lines of inquiry and old defeats. so far our blood has been oil. hopefully, this will shift to sunlight.


has anyone analyzed the globe in this way? i think it might be an interesting endeavor. and meanwhile, the androids toil behind the scenes: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/android3 the wizard of oz pulls the switches back-stage. 



Sunday, December 4, 2011

thank you for leading my other lives





a former friend, rich, once said, 'happiness is realizing your potential.' unfortunately, we've way too many alternatives in the modern age, and that can lead to despair. i console myself  with gratitude to others for doing what i don't have the time for. alas, rich despised me and cut me dead for not fulfilling one of his fantasies. so be it. can't please everybody. 


that said, i want to thank sam shepherd. once, wandering around fort mason in san francisco, i dropped into a rehearsal of inacoma which sam in the middle of directing. famous as an avant-garde playwright, he adoped one of my alternative selves, the way i thought i'd retire with millions. friendly - we'd had pieces on the same program at the first bay area playwrights' festival - he invited me to see the show. i wasn't sure a play about an unconscious woman had much potential. pedro almovadar finally did it with talk to me.


at six i'd wanted to be an actor, immediately dropping the idea when my mother proposed i memorize the poems of winnie-the-pooh. my ambition didn't quite end there and later i wrote and acted in a movie, the same with a stage adaptation of kafka's metamorphosis. i imitated professors and did a bit of stand-up comedy at the university. in the meantime sam starred in movies, wedded a famous actress, and roams a ranch in new mexico. that's not all he did for me. before he became a star, my sister send me a postcard: made it with sam shephard last nite. he took care of my long-standing urge toward incest,  kept me out of trouble. thanks again, sam. 


on a much more decorous side, i'd like to thank my friend dennis palumbo for taking care of several potentials. first, he made a name for himself as a screenwriter. i met him when kevin bacon and others shot whitewater summer, available to view on amazon, at and in the neighborhood of my lookout. i watched another actor play me. then the scenes were cut. damn. still, i got to hang out with that crowd for several days. 


dennis had been called in to doctor the script, though he'd only get a bit of cash and no credit. unhappy with the whole scene, he decided to run off to nepal. after three months he returned to become a therapist. you can see where this is heading. too many people have told me that's what i should have done. trouble is, did i really want to sit in a room baffled by other people's anguish when i couldn't cure my own? dennis did more than that. he wrote a column for screenwriters and turned in into a book http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Inside-Out-Transforming-Psychological/dp/0471382663/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323018515&sr=1-1 he's helped wannabees realize they're not really that good, or better than they think. 


a couple days ago i read his latest novel, fever dream, and i couldn't put it down, squeezing in minutes between other opportunities (read my review on amazon) and haunted by the story still, i'm experiencing a gritty pittsburgh, his hometown, and plenty of rapscallions, and the difference between the haves and the have-nots depicted with a scarifying flair. thanks, dennis, for being a screenwriter, therapist, and novelist. you've freed me from way to much work. and i didn't mention your family. yes, you've done it for me. 


sam shephard needs no introduction. look at dennis palumbo's website:http://www.dennispalumbo.com/
or simply google him. lots of columns on huffington post, etc. 


now i can go back to drinking my morning tea and allowing the doctors, lawyers, and pimps out there to pursue the many fates i'm too lazy for.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

all our troubles come from possessiveness





especially in matters of the heart. if the woman i'm with smiles at another man, i'm suddenly in baudelaire's hell. look at all the soap operas. doesn't take much to set off disaster, even the hint of infidelity. being that insecure in my own powers, i certainly wouldn't make a safe mate for life. the oedipal complex struck me deep and hard, sleeping plagued by dreams of the lover i desire going off with another man. 


actually, i find it a matter of identity and power. with the arrival of private property, inheritance, etc. our survival depended on protecting our domain. and our individuality expressed in what we own, especially 'our' children. true, this creates us. if you've your own room, you become a dreamer, a person who exists independently of other people. no wonder we're tormented by our imagination!


in terms of trying to find an individual destiny without being banished from the crowd, this is my favorite example:


video




it cracks me up. by the end they look like a pack of nazi stormtroopers. not that i don't feel nostalgic for adolescence. i'd like to buy a motorcycle and immediately spend even more money than the asking price to deck it out and reveal it as 'mine.' the rallies all about show and tell, me, my and mine. 


tattoos the same way. i've thought about getting one so my body can be identified. see, i even want to own this dissolving animal! everybody in town has a tattoo, i suspect. the parlors invaded years ago and there must be at least ten of them: lucky's, jade eye, the sacred cross. join the club, but be obviously yourself. 


alas, if we lose our favorite spoon, what sorrow. yet letting it go, we become truly free, though it stolen off a japan airlines flight and brought back exciting memories of the past, 'our' past. maybe that's why i like museums, the feeling all of us can enjoy a painting, it not hidden away in a private vault. here are some examples from my last trip to san francisco:


pictures from an exhibition: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/ex

all our troubles come from possessiveness





especially in matters of the heart. if the woman i'm with smiles at another man, i'm suddenly in baudelaire's hell. look at all the soap operas. doesn't take much to set off disaster, even the hint of infidelity. being that insecure in my own powers, i certainly wouldn't make a safe mate for life. the oedipal complex struck me deep and hard, sleeping plagued by dreams of the lover i desire going off with another man. 


actually, i find it a matter of identity and power. with the arrival of private property, inheritance, etc. our survival depended on protecting our domain. and our individuality expressed in what we own, especially 'our' children. true, this creates individuality. if you've your own room, you become a dreamer, a person who exists independently of other people. no wonder we're tormented by our imagination!


in terms of trying to find an individual destiny without being banished from the crowd, this is my favorite example:


video




it cracks me up. by the end they look like a pack of nazi stormtroopers. not that i don't feel nostalgic for adolescence. i'd like to buy a motorcycle and immediately spend even more money than the asking price to deck it out and reveal it as 'mine.' the rallies all about show and tell, me, my and mine. 


tattoos the same way. i've thought about getting one so my body can be identified. see, i even want to own this dissolving animal! everybody in town has a tattoo, i suspect. the parlors invaded years ago and there must be at least ten of them: lucky's, jade eye, the sacred cross. join the club, but be obviously yourself. 


alas, if we lose our favorite spoon, what sorrow. yet letting it go, we become truly free, though it stolen off a japan airlines flight and brought back exciting memories of the past, 'our' past. maybe that's why i like museums, the feeling all of us can enjoy a painting, it not hidden away in a private vault. here are some examples from my last trip to san francisco:


pictures from an exhibition: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/ex

Thursday, December 1, 2011

when it comes to sex, fantasy's better



ah, i can hear all the angels in heaven protesting. actually, i don't completely believe it, not the sex bit, but the encounters, the adventures the quest brought, these definitely worth their weight in gold. the act, however, i think we can all agree, messy and fraught with peril: pregnancy, herpes, aids, jealous husbands, angry wives, the law.

let's take messy. when young, i could ignore the taste of a smoker and i lived with one. i could ignore blackheads, as long as i continued to float on a cloud. alas, older and disillusioned with love as we know it, i can no longer blind myself to smells. for example, finally, a woman i chased for years decided she might as well give it a chance. unfortunately, she'd come straight from a marshal arts session and hadn't taken a shower. in the middle of an attempt at passion, i detected the odor of poo, and that's all i remember these many years later.

smells go to directly into our brain, much quicker than any other sense. and even the slower ones move pretty fast. in terms of touch, skin texture means more to me now than it did in my salad days. having had a brief exposure to a type last year, i realized how those with different colored hair feel. i won't name my preference, yet i do have one. and my trekkiing across the racial divides has provided exquisite alternatives.

oops, now i'm praising the reality rather than deflating it. trouble is, we don't often have a choice. we take what we can get. so she's blond and i love brunettes, she's available. he's too old and hairy and he loves me. i'm in norway and i dote on italians. hey, get real, which is what most of us do. and this is where the imagination comes to the rescue. it saves us when we are a twosome under the covers, and it saves us when we're alone.

once i did put together an 'homage to eros'. one must looks at all the possibilities,  any choice better than none: www.pbase.com/wwp/eros

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

being in the now means you get left behind


yes, you miss the bus, he gets the girl, she wins the prize. i've often been tempted by this philosophy, and it's gotten me nowhere. i stop to smell the roses, as i did yesterday, and fog rolls over the sun. i meditate and am too tired after to stand up. i think this path a ploy by the ambitious to get rid of the rest of us.

the hypnotherapist milton erickson said, 'always have something to look forward to.' the psychologist cg. jung maintained, 'westerners operate on a system of action, not contemplating the navel.' today, i passed the tents of those occupying our town and a ragged group sat in a circle, eyes closed, hands palm up on their knees, chanting om. i waited for the town square to levitate into heaven. it didn't happen.

usually i discover when i'm depressed i have too much unused energy inside me. instead of sleeping, the route i most often take, i need to bounce on my trampoline, jog in the park, anything to get the circulation going and to burn off the excess fat of the mind. being here now, i run down at the heels, the floor goes unmopped. i thank buddha for killing all my desires. alas, that includes the desire to live.

so what am i to make of this? californians the most ambitious people in the world. they want to talk with everybody, that's how silicon valley happened. and they love to run with wolves, until the wolves get hungry. at the same time we've spas, meditation centers, the exhausted go to the beach, trying to recover. yet we hop back on the freeway and gun the engine. we fly by the flowers planted in the median strip without a shred of attention. we're chanting with the beach-boys and conquering the opposite sex with our witty moves.

whew, i've worn myself out with this. i think i'll take a nap.  look at more of my contradictions: www.pbase.wwp/unified this is my contribution to einstein's last theory.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

does the picture have mystery?





boy, in the last ten years it's become almost impossible for me to read a whole book. partly cause most books relate one idea from many angles, whether it's fiction or not. if i can browse a five hundred page book in two hours, i'll do it gladly and walk away satisfied. that said, i did finish watteau by the art critic jed perl just yesterday, and found it delightful.


can anybody look at a watteau painting and not wonder, what the hell is really going on? they're charming, beautiful, yet we don't know what stage of romance (or not) they have in mind. perl weaves together dozens of short stories of actors, movies, everyday scenes, in a magical way. his take: you will never know what's going on, the characters in the scenes themselves ignorant of what will take place next. in other words, these pictures leave you hanging (ah, the pun surprised me.)


have you ever been disappointed by a film where the first half hour keeps you interested without revealing the basis of the story and then when you know the trick, it's all over, you might as well go home? wings of desire by wim wenders struck me this way the first time i saw it. keep me in the dark, please, as long as you can. as for the surrealists, i find them witty, but don't they try too hard? di cirico, for example, simply jumps at our love of the mysterious without a disguise. 






i realized that's what i'm often trying to do: not give things away. and the best way i've found is the right kind of improvisation where i can't control all the factors. taking pictures in cafes, for example.  i don't really like to sneak pictures, i'd rather take them in museums and at parades. however, to catch people in private moments, nothing works better than the coffee house. and what happens, if it works, is the individual in a context where he/she emits unknowability. and that's the truth of us as human beings. whether a person bores me, angers me, excites me, or leaves me cold, other than my reaction to this particular person, i cannot really know him/her. 


i hope in this series sometimes two or three photos in the same scene create the mystery i'm trying to describe:http://www.pbase.com/wwp/sam and sometimes one by itself. 



Saturday, November 26, 2011

does it matter who wrote shakespeare's plays?



at twenty i found berkeley a bore, the teachers and institution very conservative. students continue to rebel. i did it my own way, stopping class attendance, saving up money from  working the libraries, and preparing for a move to mexico city where i could be a real writer. i made the journey, but that's another story.  while waiting, i read all of shakespeare, a play a day.

what i discovered, a continuous voice, similar images appearing and re-appearing, used this way and that in different contexts. so, i've never really doubted who penned the scripts - until this week. have you seen the movie anonymous? i enjoyed it immensely. edward de vere, earl of oxford, writes the plays, tries to get ben jonson to be his front man, signing his name to them. alas, a greedy buffoon, booming billy, snatches them up and takes the credit.

fitting all the facts together, i'm sure the movie-makers had a great time. de vere certainly more sympathetic than wee willy, and as an unknown playwright, i sympathize with a man who can never lay claim to his creations. yes, it shook my faith, despite visits to stratford, seeing the plays done under all kinds of circumstances and in many interpretations. if you look at jan kott's shakespeare, our contemporary  you find him a post-war french existentialist. he can be stretched and bent, part of his claim to fame.

okay, how do i feel four days later? alas, the bookstore carries a book called contested will by james s. shapiro.  this author seeks to debunk the debunkers by showing how historical climates since 1800 have led people to not believe in governments, identities, professed ideals. 'lying is what makes us human,' advanced one university lecturer in my own time. and then at the end, the author says it does matter who.  bold bill could have interviewed plenty of foreigners about italy and any needed information. and  to doubt the authorship to undermine belief in the imagination with the necessity for realist experience.

now i really am blowing in the wind. in college i  took a course in shakespeare's contemporaries. no doubt he rode the wave of his contemporaries: marlow, jonson, etc. and a lot of his stage craft could easily have been picked up from them. however, couldn't a theater-going royal have done it all, including the grand tour of the continent and avid tutors? somehow i wish someone else would be proven, as this would knock the bard off his pedestal. imagine being a writer in english and everybody declaring, 'no one can match will, the greatest scribe ever!' wouldn't you be a bit resentful?

i haven't come to any conclusion, browsing thru the plays. many insights assert themselves. one, this guy creates scenes with incredible drive, energy, bold, blustery, characters ready and attempting to grab whatever they want. that's drama! also, he could be infinitely bawdy, down in the dirt funny. this really made me wonder if the earl could spatter himself so? yet, to say that demotes the power of his imagination. how much did high and low experience together in that time? the answer might provide an answer.

to prove my own credentials, i directed a one-person piece by susan aylworth, gertrude, hamlet's story from his mother's point of view performed by jodi rives. pictures here: www.pbase.com/gert  and here's my theater doctrine: www.pbase.com/wwp/laugh  


Friday, November 25, 2011

art as a respite from the tyranny of time





my friend susan said, 'it's an odd thing we do, putting pictures on the walls in museums.' hmm, i'd thought about this, having spent half my life in such places. my first thrill came in the louvre at sixteen, not from a painting on the wall, rather from an american girl sitting on the floor, drawing. watching her do so made chills run up and down my spine. the same had happened in the darkroom as i watched the photo form in the developer. 


these first orgasmic experiences appeared in the process, not the finished product. rarely has a work on the wall stopped me, though it finally happened last week. a late painting by manet of a woman and the scene 'susanna and the elders' by tintoretto. they made me understand  what i love about art. you see, the transitory nature of our existence plagues me. it's as if i'm always sitting in front of an hour-glass, burned to ashes by the falling salt. did this come from being a preacher's kid, the baptisms, marriages, and funerals? this too shall pass, a lesson i learned all too early.


different forms of art may seem to act otherwise. take the movies, for example. they've transfixed me from the beginning. and i know it's cause i escape the circle of my own thoughts, the  world i've constructed out of the 10 billion stimulae striking my eye every second. according to my mood, the color of the sky, the sound of airplanes or butterflies, i form a buzzing conglomeration of images called 'reality'. my reality and your's? well, they're bound to be different. how do we agree on anything, except out of necessity?


in essence, a symphony replaces my flow with another. a painting may, certainly a poem. my time disappears (and i insist 'my time' my own construction), the passing moments which terrify me, the falling of a sparrow from the sky. we plague ourselves, no other does it, not even the universe. we've discovered art as a cure for life. 


posted more drawings. too bad they don't show up clearly on the web. printed, all the green tints disappear and what i'm hinting at stands out: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/android3



Thursday, November 24, 2011

thankfullness won't flow from a clogged faucet



jeez, not only did i wake feeling no gratitude, i felt absolutely resentful. why do i have to pull on my socks, straighten the bed, pour cereal in a bowl? can't somebody do all this for me? I mean, the president has a butler, clothes all laid out and he's helped into them. the cook brings the tangy coffee. his wife wipes his glasses and says, 'honey, is there anything more i can do for you?'


my anthropology teacher in college said, 'we live better than any kings in history before 1900.' and as i watch toddlers wheeled to the market in fancy strollers which could be  first class on an airplane, i think, 'enjoy it now. you'll never be royalty again.' so, i suppose i have to admit being spoiled. yet, it doesn't seem that way. the more i can buy, the more comfortable i get, the worse  my selfishness and ingratitude. 


i'm trying to cook up a little thankfulness. really, it depends upon vulnerability. when i'm injured and the doctor solves the problem, i feel relieved. that is his job, of course, thus i can't completely experience the indebtedness i should feel. or when my mother bathed me after i crapped in my pants during a spelling test in the second grade, stumped by the word 'of,' i experienced more pain than pleasure. however, now, i do appreciate the touch of her hands. 


okay, that's where i have to start. unless i can not only forgive my parents for bringing me into this world, i must muster some thanks. you see, life's a mixed bag. how can i thank them for the pain, the pleasure, the roller-coast of emotions and fortune, especially the tension i normally feel within me? and if i can't appreciate being born, how can i possibly be genuine in my embracing fate? 


hmm, so far it hasn't worked. let me try another route. what events, people, etc have moved me. i stumble across these pictures of 'hollywood babylon', a production by winston colgan. http://www.pbase.com/wwp/bab the show truly moved me and i still have the sensations. perhaps cause i loved judy garland in 'the wizard of oz'. maybe due to the father-son playing leads and the conflict true. and then again, most of us feel like dwarfs in a world of big people, particularly when we're children.


as i look thru my pictures, past and present, little bells of joy go off. http://www.pbase.com/wwp  i love the dancers, i remember the 11 year old hiking into the ruins of canyon de chelly and how good the oranges tasted in the heat. and my mother feigning great delight as i climb onto my christmas tricycle. aye, there's the rub. i got that vehicle stuck in the grass and wailed til she came and pulled me free. yes, it's mostly about mothers, all this, the ambiguities of thanksgiving. lucky the ones who've had a near-death experience and making the choice to come back, take responsibility for their lives. 



thankfullness won't flow from a clogged faucet



jeez, not only did i wake feeling no gratitude, i felt absolutely resentful. why do i have to pull on my socks, straighten the bed, pour cereal in a bowl? can't somebody do all this for me? I mean, the president has a butler, clothes all laid out and he's helped into them. the cook brings the tangy coffee. his wife wipes his glasses and says, 'honey, is there anything more i can do for you?'


my anthropology teacher in college said, 'we live better than any kings in history before 1900.' and as i watch toddlers wheeled to the market in fancy strollers which could be  first class on an airplane, i think, 'enjoy it now. you'll never be royalty again.' so, i suppose i have to admit being spoiled. yet, it doesn't seem that way. the more i can buy, the more comfortable i get, the worse  my selfishness and ingratitude. 


i'm trying to cook up a little thankfulness. really, it depends upon vulnerability. when i'm injured and the doctor solves the problem, i feel relieved. that is his job, of course, thus i can't completely experience the indebtedness i should feel. or when my mother bathed me after i crapped in my pants during a spelling test in the second grade, stumped by the word 'of,' i experienced more pain than pleasure. however, now, i do appreciate the touch of her hands. 


okay, that's where i have to start. unless i can not only forgive my parents for bringing me into this world, i must muster some thanks. you see, life's a mixed bag. how can i thank them for the pain, the pleasure, the roller-coast of emotions and fortune, especially the tension i normally feel within me? and if i can't appreciate being born, how can i possibly be genuine in my embracing fate? 


hmm, so far it hasn't worked. let me try another route. what events, people, etc have moved me. i stumble across these pictures of 'hollywood babylon', a production by winston colgan. http://www.pbase.com/wwp/bab the show truly moved me and i still have the sensations. perhaps cause i loved judy garland in 'the wizard of oz'. maybe due to the father-son playing leads and the conflict true. and then again, most of us feel like dwarves in a world of big people, particularly when we're children.


as i look thru my pictures, past and present, little bells of joy go off. http://www.pbase.com/wwp  i love the dancers, i remember the 11 year old hiking into the ruins of canyon de chelly and how good the oranges tasted in the heat. and my mother feigning great delight as i climb onto my christmas tricycle. aye, there's the rub. i got that vehicle stuck in the grass and wailed til she came and pulled me free. yes, it's mostly about mothers, all this, the ambiguities of thanksgiving. lucky the ones who've had a near-death experience and making the choice to come back, take responsibility for their lives. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

our investment in cultural icons

                                          their first murder (weegee)

using celebrities to stabilize our view of the world certainly a risky business. hence, our attention to scandal, especially sexual. i'm not surprised when a financier robs the bank. that's what he's born to do. however, if a president makes it with his secretary, big news! this, despite the affairs of jfk, the mistresses of eisenhower and roosevelt, and i find my interest (and more) aroused.

everybody likes to gawk at the mess of a car crash, the scene of crime, me included. i guess none of us can avoid three important questions: is it a danger, can i eat it, will it have sex with me? the survival of the species depends upon this awareness and taking immediate action. unfortunately, all kinds of sex illegal and threatening. no wonder fewer and fewer people marrying, both in the united states and in europe. why be prosecuted for having three husbands when you can simply live with three men? definitely, this is progress. if you can do without the wedding dress, maybe you can live modestly.

oscar wilde wrote: our servants will do our living for us. that's exactly the role of the public on pedestals we idolize. i sit in a bookstore cafe and watch men and women, young and old, studying US, people magazine, fan games day after day. the thrill only goes when one of them fails to behave - if it's a politician, he/she a dead duck. movie stars, on the other hand, cash in as long as they can. mea culpa gives them more covers.

and once a generation passes, new idols are born. each has its own. frank sinatra lives, as does elvis. we didn't depend on them at the bank. they get free passes. elect a poker-faced president on whom we can project all our hopes and desires and we're doomed to disillusionment, a huge disparity between promises made and promises kept. i, for sure, like to deny the complexities of the economy. print more money, that's my solution. why didn't anybody think of it?

you see how limited my resources and knowledge are. and i don't feel i'm alone. aren't you a one-issue voter? what matters most? mortgages, abortion, taxation? whatever we focus on becomes our god and we can do no wrong.

things can always be made to look different. here's a watercolor version of the revolving door: www.pbase.com/wwp/door2

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

who are those living in the tents?



confessedly, as i walked the streets of berkeley, the tent cities seemed created by the folks who sleep in the parks usually. that's a callous attitude, but i've always been reluctant to be rowdy. despite me being a slacker, it looks like this consciousness-raising technique working on everybody, in some way.

rep. deutch from florida introduced an amendment to the constitution banning corporation political funding and removing them from 'personhood' which gives them the same rights and assurances as individuals. the ruling by the supreme court to allow unlimited spending by the conglomerates could be considered the death-nell of democracy. more power to rep. deutch.

something else that had to be done: outing the people most responsible. a new poll on http://www.bravenewfoundation.org/ allows you to vote for the villains. this at least allows names, faces, and companies to be put together. these elders won't like it. everybody in america wants to be seen as democratic and middle-class, especially the most wealthy. to stand out too much makes you a target. i voted for my supreme evil-doer. see if you can guess who it is.

as more leaders come forward, the issues ramping up. you have to have charismatic figures speaking for you, centers of vocal and social energy, otherwise these grassroots movements peter out. going to be very interesting to see what develops.

the revolving door has more than one meaning: www.pbase.com/wwp/door