Friday, July 29, 2011

Figurative Art

You know I sometimes joke around that people don't buy art...but actually they do. They just don't buy traditional art like sculpture or painting too often. Art they do buy includes tattoos, Broadway shows, skins with design for their cell phones and dance tv competitions. These dance compition shows have returned the human body back into popular art. The above dance is spectacular, I hope you have time to watch it. It is choreographed by Mandy Moore I mean Sonja Tahej...

Sonja She cites the influence of Detroit culture — the "home of Motown, Techno, and other forms of inventive dance" — as a foundation for her art. After exploring the possibilities of "freestyle movement," Tayeh studied form and technique at Wayne State University, where she drew on dance history, anatomy, and performance to develop a style that is built on core strength, aggressive partner interaction, and quirky, stylized movements. From Wiki

Another amazing dance was again choregraphed by Sonja and it brought tears...even to Lady Gaga! How cool that Gaga was one of the judges. The music was Buckley and heartbreaking.

Another choreographer I like is Mandy Moore, who totally cracks me up...well she is also a very emotional choreographer and storyteller..The reason I laugh sometimes is she is right from the 80's in her taste. Many of the song choices she makes are from the 80's. (see above video...with song "Total Eclipse Of The Heart")In the 80's I worked in a nightclub that had a on staff dance troupe who would perform every Friday and Saturday night for 20 minutes around 9 p.m. Not only was the dance troupe really good but they usually broke the ice on the dance floor and after their performance the previously empty dance floor would fill up with the patrons. I would always go into the club when I was working to watch the dance show and to watch them rehearse, and many times there were a few of us who hung out with the dancers offhours...and I have fond memories of those times. Some of those dancers went on to jobs in big shows. Anyways...Mandy Moore and her taste in music and her choreography reminds me of that era of dance troupe. Here is a great picture of her...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chanteuse, R.I.P.

Oh shit. This just sucked. I was so very sad to hear this parting. It's like every time she was in the news we half expected to hear of her death. I really was hoping she might make it. If you follow a little astrology like I do through my astrologer friend will be familiar with the concept of Saturn Returns. Here is this shitty link with Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison some famous people who died during their first Saturn Returns...often a time of change or crisis or upheaval...or if you're lucky challenges.

I was always obsessed with looking at pictures of Amy Winehouse. Some people just have "it"...that incredible energy with a camera...I found her so compelling to look at, I loved her hair and oversized eyemakeup. I wonder if there was a crazy-assed party if theres an afterlife...can you imagine the party with Morrison and Janis? Can you imagine the kind of party that her and Kurt could get up to? I bet Kurt was just glad for another chick to join the gang...I kind of imagine Cobain and Winehouse having a lot in common music and ideas wise. I hope they are painting heaven red.

Johnny Cash Project

This is fun...Johnny Cash Project...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weather Bookmarks

Okay we left town during a major winter snowstorm and conditions. We get back during a heatwave. I'll tell ya though I much prefer driving in the heatwave than with all the snow. It's like a dream to drive in Chicago now that its not winter, har!

We left Toronto around noon and got across the border and back into Chicago in 10 hours...with lots of diversions and poor driving conditions so I hope that means I can make it next time I go up in 9 hours!

We had two intense rain storms to the point where I had zero visibility and had to pull over till the rain passed. The other time I had to pull over like that was months ago in Florida when the visibility was gone.

We still have no idea what we are doing but I've moved a lot of stuff around grandmas house and we are holed up there for now. I've been job hunting all week and thats about all I know. I hope to get some internet by next week and our computer back up and running, wish me luck. We need to replace a drive that was damaged and I've got an upgrade to install. The phones still don't dial out properly at Grandmas so I shall probably have to switch service over to a new company with internet etc. So...if I have't phoned you yet its because your number begins with somethign other than area code 773...and the old phone line won't let us dial out. I am working on amending this situation, har! Should have renewed service on my cell phone too. I couldn't make a payment through the companies in Canada and most of our money had gone to fix car back in I'm playiong catch up here.

Does it feel weird to be off the road trip? To be back home? No it feels different I have a much more relaxed attitude to our lack of direction. I'm sure the fact that it is 100 degrees outside has me complacent or relaxed. I might just fill the car with paintbrushes and do some housepainting but I just don't know yet.

We have ac but I may just go pick up a wading pool today so we can lie in the backyard. Maybe a small bbq too. That's all I got going on at the moment.

I did however catch up on "So YOu Think You Can Dance" episodes at my daughters place in Toronto. We had a few cocktails and watched the last few weeks. So I was all caught up for last nights episode. I have some favourites including Jess, Melanie, and last night Sasha blew me away I just LOVED their hip hop routine...this is really really AWESOME!

(next week LADY GAGA is a judge, not to be missed!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some Numbers

30 cities
2 tents
631 photos
17 bonfires
94 sold paintings
4 new tires
1 new muffler
5 hostels
9,659 miles
32 fill ups
$1,664 gas
1 stollen tent

1000s of people we love

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plato's Herzog's Cave

We don't know how to live. Animals know how to live. By watching animals we can learn how to live. Those cultures and economies that do not watch animals to learn, are alienated, overly materialistic and collapse.

I've heard it said that our first reading, our first narratives, were tracking animals. "Reading" where they walked, slept, ate, and lived. I've also heard director Werner Herzog say that artists need to make as many images as possibble we need more and more images and there aren't enough in the world...perhaps especially to compete with contemporary images mass produced like advertising?

Werner Herzog's documentary Cave Of Forgotten Dreams offers many strange combinations of images. His small film team of three was allowed access to Chauvet caves in France that have highly restricted visitor protocol due to the fragility of the interiors of the cave. This cave was discoverted by someone feeling the air coming out of the rocks in the 1990's. We had no idea there were these particular caves with gorgeous rock interiors but also human paintings. We didn't know they were there until those gusts of air were noticed by people hiking in the cliffs and beautiful area featured in the documentary.

The film is narrated by Herzog who has a raspy intense voice and accent which compliments the feeling of lost resolutions contained in the movie. By lost resolutions I mean that we are so removed from primal experience watching a film to see these caves. And by how little we have dialogue about art, nature and knowledge in our contemporary lives. For interpreting the content of this documentary, the science, the art, geography and then the medium....we are given highly specialized professionals, archeologists (trying to understand "art"), perfume masters (trying to find more caves), computer mathematicians (trying to not have anxiety attacks from the art and cave), and a famous Film Director (trying to film awe and inspiration) as our tour guides to the caves, who speak French, narrated by a German American, with subtitles, told we are very unlikely to ever get our own selves into these caves...and so the "interpretation" begins. I felt this documentary offered as much insight into the "mysteries" of art criticism and mystique as the mysteries of the ancient art work contained in the caves. Immediately, whether intended or not, I thought this movie was a great metaphor for how we distill and transmit, and ration "knowledge" and information. A great metaphor for how art is often segregated, cabalistic and removed from general population.

I felt very sad that the only way we might "see" these paintings from 30,000 years ago was through the eyes of ecentric scientists. It seemed every bit as alienating and elitist as "seeing" art in galleries and museums propoganda pamphlets or through the minds of art critics.

An example of the kinds of ways that art criticism can manipulate a viewer is such: At one point a narrator says the cave artists used the curvature of the walls to enhance their drawings and incorporated the curves of the walls into the drawings of animals, like their rumps are drawn on outward curves of the cave walls. I also think we might say...that the drawings are remarkable despite the curves of the cave walls. ha ha.

But listen....I'm being a big ol bummer here...the doc protrays the art wonderfully. The director is obviously awed and inspired by the art as are the scientists, it is a very delightful documentary. In fact, there is a fair bit of comedy and I had several really good laughs during the movie. Herzog has a wonderful sense of humour.

I love documentary movies and as much as I love them, I also believe they have hit a kind of formula in many ways. There is a format that dozens of docs take, it is highly enterttyaining and informative and often quite hilarious...but its still a formula.

Herzog's "Cave" documantary is not formulaic. It is refreshingly weird. No, I mean WEIRD. Close ups in 3D of folks who are so obsessed with their work they forget grooming, they are willing to stare longingly into the camera, and experiment with ancient tools and quite happily they risk being rather silly looking. Contrasted with stunning nature surrounding the caves, and then THE ART WORK...this is a different sort of documantary. Herzog values human emotion as much as just the facts and this honours the human being.

This doc is not for everyone, it is ironic, humourous, bittersweet, corny, and a bit long with the usual serious kind of soundtrack that accompanies nature images (the "serious nature soundtrack" is my main criticism is also funny). The movie is self-conscious about the history of documentaries, of it's forced elitism or attempts to make understandable complicated topics for mass comprehension (is that what docs do? ha ha) not just due to class or money or status but a new kind of exclusivity...nature preservation. I believe a one note viewing of this movie won't serve up much more than the images of the art...but that is enough. If you look at the Platonian layers of the cave and storytelling and who is responsible for sharing stories, nation borders, conservation, knowledge and might find your own daydreams.

The art work is humbling and beautiful. No, the delicate drawings brought tears to my eyes in the very beginning of the film. I thought "These much be fake!" And then I was shit, these are so amazing. I felt right away I knew the people who drew them, they were my people. That these were drawn 30,000 years ago just is exhilarating to me. The cave itself is also gorgeous.

The most striking feature of the cave and the art work to me was not mentioned in the documentary. Before humans had entered the caves 30,000 years ago, cave bears had entered the caves. Their bones and skeletons are preserved all over the floor of the cave. But more wonderful...the cave bears had scratched the walls of this cave.

We learn by watching animals. I thought...maybe we began drawing because we saw that the bears were drawing first.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Camera Obscure

I lost my camera. Sometime during the evening of the Soundgarden concert. This is very unusual for me to lose something like this. I am very careful with my purse and it's contents.

So this is why I haven't posted any pics in two weeks hoping to track it down at concert venue,taxi or pub from the night. Fortunately most of the pics from our trip I have posted here on my blog. Another reason to love blogs. But the pics from our trip across Canada arelost. I am able to collect a few from fb and email but shit it's a drag.

We are fine and still having a wonderful visit with friends and family in Toronto. My girlfriend Suz has driven into town this weekend from Montreal. Tonight were going to see Herzog movie with mister anchovy and Tuffy p. Review forthcoming.

Cheers xo

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Pride And Soundgarden

We pulled onto our friends property in northern Ontario on Canada day and surprised them. I posted pics of their place where we went new years eve and it was a nice treat for Stagg to see the area in summer as opposed to the snow in winter.I have so many things I want to write and much catching up to do here but we haven't had much chance of getting wifi. Revamped for two daysoutside thunder bay and then fairly booted it east as I had a Soundgarden concert to get to on July 2nd.

We had a great visit with our friends in their lodge 3 hours north of Toronto and then made pur way through intense long weekend cottage traffic to meet my daughter for the concert cutting it pretty close! I sawSpundgarden at the Commodore in Vancouver in 1989. I saw Audioslave (singer Chris Cornel from Spundgarden with Tom and gang from Rage Against The Machine) in 2005. Both those concerts are in my top 10 best shows ever... And the anticipation was big for the re-grouped reunited Soundgarden, who all broke up 13 years ago.

First impression? Wow great sound and really important... Cornel had grown his hair long again! Sigh! All is well with the universe. The sold out show was the opening night of their reunion tour and the band was AWESOMe. A total west coast evening where Komi Hendrix married led Zeppelin and sub pop records was born with bands like pearl jam nirvana and Soundgarden. Fantastic concert and evening.

Met with the family the next morning and five of us went for brunch to celebrate pride.

We are so close to wrapping up this strange long trip that it's been and I feel bittersweet happy and curious what oirnext moves will be...

Looking forward to seeing Tuffy p mister anchovy and our friends and family here this week... Today we are busking on queen west...
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