Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Shaman And Showman

Shaman and Showman, R.I.P. I really loved checking and seeing all the posts and personal testimonies and tributes to David Bowie here yesterday and today. I couldn't write...but I did scroll through all of your posts, John, Scott, DiDi, Jennie, Tiffanie, and Hobie to see what you might have linked or written. I was so grateful to see that all these years later when it comes to David Bowie nothing has changed. There is a kindred spirit of love and art in his fans. Many of you know I grew up with a mother who believed in alternative universes, life after death, reincarnation and alien visitors and ufos...among many other new age concepts. Until I was an adult...I never even thought to consider that maybe there aren't life forms anywhere else. I also never thought that maybe Shiva, Raven, Thunderbird, Ganesh, Buddha, or Krishna might not have been "real." I grew up believing they were real and part of me and my community. A lot of journalists and cultural theorists have written so many accounts of how David Bowie was cutting edge, he pushed boundaries of gender , poetry and androgyny and so many things. You know....it was not actually like that...Bowie touched a nerve for many kids because he was like us. He certainly did dress wild...but he himself has said how his fans were way more wilder than he was...in his audiences his fans had all types of appearances and looks and were very creative. Despite stereotypes or potential labels dividing us...among kids in school...all of my friends loved David Bowie. We all obsessed looking at his album covers. I used to lie on the floor staring at the ceiling listening to Diamond Dogs or Scary Monsters over and over...just like you did. The first thing I did when I heard he died yesterday when I could stumble through tears to the computer...was to se if Hobie knew or how he responded. David Bowie wasn't a weird experimental artist...he was just like his fans. That's why we loved him. We knew he knew what we felt and knew. We knew he saw a different way of living and seeing art and history that we were trying to understand too. In my school we already had out gays and lesbians. It wasn't experimental or a trend. It was already accepted by the time I was coming up and in Kitimat...and I remember two girls that were always at the same parties and them going out. Nobody even thought about it. Probably one of the most profound experiences for me of David Bowie was the movie THE MAN WHO FELL TO ERTH. I saw it with my best friend Jennie and we absorbed and memorized everything about it. The themes covered every important aspect of living, from resource scarcity, to the evil of co--opting culture for financial gain, to nihilism to love and loss. It is really one of the most beautiful love stories. It was directed by one of my heroes Nicholas Roeg whose every movie is genius if strange. Jennie and I thought Candy Clark was a GODDESS! And David Bowie was so deeply profound to us. I loved everyone in that movie and have seen everything Buck Henry, Candy Clark and Rip Torn have ever done because of their character portrayals in that movie. Years ago I used to decorate a nightclub for a living and I worked as a host in the green room. Hosting Supertramp, Angie Bowie, Sandra Bernhard, Stiv Bator...at night..while decorating with my own art the walls of the club. I had a work space...and I decided I would glue with wallpaper glue or something these posters I loved to keep me inspired at work. I had pictures of William Burroughs, a poster that came in Madonna's first album, and an original movie poster from THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. I remember the first time Hobie dropped by my workspace...and he completely told me I had made a huge mistake gluing that poster on the wall. It was valuable and it was a shame. I felt so bad...like a crazy person...but I thought it was such a commitment to paste up my inspirations and images and visuals that kept me fueled LOL. Of course now today...I am filled with tears for how significant that poster is to me...how significant an artists forms of shamanism...of summoning the greats...to try to lock horns with the greats....and to see how as a young artist I was so truly inspired by David Bowie. Bowie knew what the work of an artist was...it wasn't trying to teach people to be free...or to be nice to gays or anyone ...it was a ruthless loving act of locking horns with the past and future in order to reveal that we are made of stars and we return to stars. That stars are the real structure of everything...fleetingly manifested from a breath and there is no death as there is no life or space or vacuum or material. His lyrics and visuals are connected to life forms and language going back to the first "reading"....where we memorized stars and the tracks of animals. David Bowie understood that he was transmitting knowledge of infinity to those of us who needed to know we were already free. I feel so grateful to love David Bowie and I feel so grateful to be friends with so many other fans of his. He was both disciple and teacher. A perfect combo. His generosity of art only more obvious and profound when we see he was creating another travel map in Blackstar and Lazarus: no need to feel afraid we are all flying through space together. There is work to be done, do the right thing. Bowie did it without complaining but by being creative and articulate and compassionate. Shaman and showman.

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