Thursday, December 30, 2004

A newer linearity from the free throw line

The hiatus prompts a very useful dream. Suddenly the ground shoots up and new walls thrust toward the raftered ceiling. Or the open field, a wide expanse converging past either horizon line, ruptures as if from plate techtonics though not organically and fissured in a broken or shattered fashion but orderly and geometrical like neatly stacked Lego blocks. The terrain becomes a preNintendo video game landscape of sharp right angles gradually stepped into curved peaks or valleys. Lines that used to indicate increments, territory, stated goals are now thrown out-of-whack subverting its spatial identity (and metaphysical space).

Rethink actual markings as an overhead blueprint rather than demarcations and invert delineated flat planes (sometimes distinguished by color) into volumetric space. Extend the areas above, below, laterally, diagonally beyond the floor or ground to create new form which fractures the implied notions of border. The area, the surface constituting what is inbounds functions as figure that manufactures an exterior shell while what was out-of-bounds, its perimeter no longer acts strictly as the opposite ground is obliterated through the addition of perspectival directionality. Reinterpreting and transforming the field of play as such suggests a metaphorical dislocation that speaks of culture as well as politics too. Perhaps an appropriate model to use might be a scaled-down version as either maquette or sculptural object.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The sequel

The platform made of medium density fiberboard sits about six inches above the floor and acts as a shallow pool from which the rusted legs of three steel office chairs submerge into. A foot deep wall about four feet high stands directly behind, attached to the base of its adjoining structure, forming a reverse L-shape. On the opposite side is a twenty gallon aquarium perched atop a narrow pedestal, its guts revealed. From room to object, the whole feeling of this piece transforms physically, embracing a newer yet traditional formalism. The three spigots connected by hose to the tank from underneath slowly leaks, drips a droplet of water every minute or so onto the cracked vinyl seat of each chair.

Exposed lumber studs replace mudded surface in deference to its cardiovascular system that is hidden plumbing dangle as intertwined knots. Perhaps milk replaces water and video, the photographs which acts to update the original translation beyond the politics of representation.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Art of War

Wait and see because the cat and mouse suddenly decided to observe the proprieties. So who outlasts whom squeezes the breath out in a gasp. The first one to flinch loses usually but the deck is stacked with many aces up the proverbial sleeves. March off ten paces on his mark, turn and shoot. So much for that theory as strategy. But somehow the ball bounces away freely on the other side of the basket, an electron buzzing about willy nilly and the crowd reacts, screaming backcourt violation. Sacrifice the body and launch shoulder first out-of-bounds to save the possession or start backpedalling fast, getting into a strong defensive position depends on instinct. Stop and go, stop or go before the referee blows the whistle for travelling.

The race is on, the game is afoot.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Notes on sash

Black then red then blue then green then yellow then orange then white represents but one order of many viable systems of belief whereas an antiNeoplasticist world by contrast or bias opts for a palette of white to yellow to orange to green to purple to blue to brown to black instead. But Maurice Chevral advocates the optical rather than sociopolitical effects of hue that becomes basic color theory. Yet the abstract quality of such groupings of color suggests otherwise. It also speaks of other associations related to the mental as phenomenological in direct response to visual stimuli. Thus the reference to the martial arts. Color transcends the spiritual as artistic record of process.

But the subtractive process relies on the interpretation of an appropriate architectural role model which functions to convey the coded information. That is precisely why the VanderRohian concept of less is more shakes off its Bauhausian roots to perfectly fit within the constructs of the larger project.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Scottsdale calling...

Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats free because the sound of gratis is akin to "cha-ching!" So to be connected in such a place only compels random thoughts about the place in general. A somewhat tough proposition given the red-eye timing of arrival, complimentary shuttle and mad dash to the bar for a rather disappointing interpretation of something foolproof like a rib-eye steak sandwich.

Still, passing by the silhouetted mesas even in the pitch black darkness recalls Monument Valley and the specific cinematic vision one learns by constantly watching classic old John Ford westerns. Aside from the nouveau riche, where do the cowboys reside? And such is the dichotomy between manufactured memory and great expectations as the reality of the old frontier being yuppiefied by retirees versus the fantasy of Ponderosa and Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. Be quick on the draw, Marshall because God only knows when every which way is loose.

And this romanticism with family but maybe a few long hours drive northeast away. Indeed, to set foot on his land so many years removed from the gray concrete of cramped inner city claustrophobia in contrast to the plethora of low horizontal architecture which rules the desert landscape, mimicking a stark and arid rendition of suburban mall sprawl. To see such juxtapositions of cultures once indigenous, proud and independent now just figments interspersed and coopted by Manifest Destiny causes one to pause about how absolute is the whitewash that expunges and dominates any will.

Yet, he managed to raise his children here who as it were choose either to fly the coop eastward forsaking the mythos or to embrace its Hispanic roots staying close to the roost. Was it the promise of winterless weather that drew him or the call of the wild, uncharted territory unbuilt by Chinese railroad workers? That per se might be reason enough to justify his pioneering spirit, seeing how his black sheep status broke traditions, ignored rules and blazed new trails that ironically some of us followed. Sure enough, he absorbed the blows and accepted the blame to some degree but his definition of self, though inherently selfish, never strayed.

So within family history will he be the scapegoat or the visionary? Only his legacy can tell.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Notes on achieving masterhood, part one

Originally the plan called for flimsy rice paper to lead a path to Enlightment. But treading softly enough so as to not rip its surface betrayed heavy feet borne of a carnivorous diet and an unsteady step. So the alternative is to find a shortcut instead. Rather than suffer the pain of arduous and lengthy apprenticeship (who can really invest the time anymore?) to master said feat, newer configuration circumvents lower body balance and center of gravity for pure upper body strength. Build monkeybars over the test strip in question. Climb over as opposed to stepping through. If Kirk can rely on guile to overcome the Kobayashi Maru simulator then changing the rules or context in this case is justifiable by reason of exhibiting initiative. A simple matter of brain over brawn maybe. Or of overintellectualizing the intended purpose as something else. Such is the zeitgeist the work hopes to portray. That the easy route is, well, easier.

But often the deceptively simple disguises the overtly complex. The linear, or that which heads inexorcably in a singular albeit straight direction, can also involve tangents which shift, rotate and figure-eight between points thus mathematically speaking, the distance from point A to point B is the endless road much travelled and rarely completed. So to punctuate this point requires either purchasing old-fashioned wooden ladders perhaps twelve to fifteen feet in height be suspended from the ceiling underneath which runs the Japanese paper runner or handcrafting a variation to reference and indeed lampoons the particular functionality or lack thereof of the object. The latter offers additional breadth and depth though.

A knotted looping open conduit if you will whose purpose confounds the philosophical and physical as it resembles a snaking stepladder gone awry; each step, a potential leap of faith. Such a Minimalist structure overall emulates an intricate latticed Chinese screen except for its chaotic dysfunctionality. Perhaps cover the gapped spaces with the rice paper itself to enclose its form but doing so may evoke the Isamu Noguchi lamp too readily which goes against the grain in terms of aesthetics. Fragile versus sturdy, fragile in spite of sturdy, fragile in unison with sturdy strikes an appropriate yin and yang.

Now revise the official paperwork.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Deliverance, again

Squeal like a pig (Insert telltale banjo twang) prolonged and loud so as to last a whole week enough to really damage the vocal chords.

Finally the kinfolk arrived atop their pickup truck after chancing upon some black gold albeit disparately and immediately fell prey to the Drysdale curse. The dollar only stretches so far above the Mason-Dixon Line. So imagine the sticker shock of being in rush hour traffic watching the taxi meter literally roll. Someone please tell Miss Hathaway to be careful around the cement pond because Jethro forgot his spit cup.

After much ado about nothing what seems to ail the Bodines is cultural laryngitis and very unseasonable monsoons downpours. Traipsing around the magnificent mile in search of bargains amidst the elan certainly stokes enough sitcom material but truthfully I saw that episode before rerun just last week. God's Acre is no Green Acres and Mister Haney disguised himself, illegally impersonating an officer, namely Deputy Barney Fife outside the Petticoat Junction speed trap.

Who knew?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Row, row, row your boat

It was an overcast sky that chilly Saturday morning in Ping Tom Park named for the man who made a fortune selling the ubiquitously white and rhomboid take-out carton as folkloric as chop suey and moo goo gai pan. Crowds wandered in early and often, expectant to see the dotting of the eye but as usual became subjected to cretin officials waxing unpoetically about sponsors and other unrelated agendas instead. A scan of the place revealed a few pitched tents hawking their weird affiliations scattered atop the terraced bank overlooking the murky sludge of the historic Chicago river, a former industrial causeway once the main artery as the hub of a fledging nation. Two fiercely whiskered heads stuck above the rivershore floating precariously just to the left of the facsimile pavilion made of steel and concrete painted in traditional red and green. Yet conviviality spread throughout as young senoritas garbed in flowing hooped skirts danced a hybrid mariachi amidst befuddled Chinese grandmothers hauling their preschool scions on by as easily as flipping the dial past the jibbering Univision and Telemundo channels. And hip hop preteens queued around the inflatable basketball court, the only carnival game, waiting their turn to hoist free throws for a lovely sticker as consolation prize. If not for the different groups of similarly tee shirted men and women exhorting different degrees of encouragement and invective, one could easily mistake the entire event as yet another but very politically correct version of that very famous George Seurat painting.

Back up the hill, eighteen very green-around-the-gills strangers minus two two hundred and fifty plus ringers huddled together for some hasty lessons about the ancient practice of rowing a boat in unison. Distributing equal weight so as not to capsize seemed to be the top priority in determining our seating arrangements as everyone mimicked the proper motion of paddling while seated on grass. Our team as it were could be categorized as a puny bunch of ragtag artists.

And of course our foe who blatantly flaunted their machismo in hopes of ultimately intimidating us were appropriately the cops from District Twenty Five. It would be not be wrong to assume from just size and brawn alone that a mismatch existed. But their strategy of literally flexing their muscles and talking trash backfired. Off the street and in gym clothes, their potbellies and doughy physiques elicited complete disrespect as David set forth to best Goliath. Our wit and creativity proved more than ample to immediately disarm the louts accustomed to bulldozing their will on unsuspecting dolts. Verbally it was a slaughter as chants of "Doughnut! Doughnut! Doughnut!" permeated the air. Besides who could resist ribbing an emasculated officer of law completely naked without their gun. Biting sarcasm, our weapon of choice, proved more effective as all they could muster was a resigned shake of their heads under our unrelenting torrent of "No guns allowed on board" or "Don't mistake your flak jacket for the life vest" and "Hard to paddle fast just using your batons."

The race against them was three hundred meters long from the Twenty First Street Bridge to the Eighteenth Street Bridge, a good distance considering our ignorance of the metric system. The day before during practice, the oarsman steering the boat taught the motley crew the necessary basics of the how to board, how to sit and how to stroke. We learned vitally important instruction like what it meant when he shouted, "Go!" or "Let it ride!" or "Stop!" which in hindsight proved to be the deciding factor as the cops characteristically understood the meaning of these words in water better.

In a tight race that saw the underdog lead three quarters of the way, the physically larger cops came back and just narrowly grabbed the flag a mere half second ahead of the artists much to the derision of the crowd who implicitly understood the irony of the situation and immediately chose sides. Authoritarianism tends to provoke an ugly response, you know.

But since the overall competition was based on best cumulative times rather than head-to-head elimination, by the end of the day our team who got better and faster actually made the playoff round as the vaunted cops shot their wad early losing later races with horribly slower times.

Beauty before the beast, always.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Mothership landed

And barely kissed the remaining nine-ball along the outside rail. Slowly it rolled into the far pocket but not before the blue-light special ended a mere stroke after midnight. The coliseum, full of hoarse and bedraggled spectators, erupted at the sound of its plop. And suddenly the warrior appeared in full regalia amidst the dense smoke, his shiny mane wrapped around his neck longer than even Samson. A true hero stood among us, ready to battle the discordant.

In slow motion, the stick traced a ghostly path.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Moving on up...

That deluxe apartment in the sky now does smell of burnt beans because she who gave birth to yet another popular cultural icon Lenny Kravitz gives new meaning to the phrase, "What you talkin' bout, (Tom) Willis?" And Flo who left for 227, quite the far cry from Karen Valentine being bossed around by that Zorba of lesser Greeks, Michael Constantine back in Room 222, comforts George. So make room up there Lizabeth. No more let Good Times Esther Rolle. Though John Amos comfortingly does resurrects himself militarily in the West Wing. But that might only explain why the Dyn-o-mite Kid looks Barry Bonds bloated.

So what next? Chachie loves Joanie hates Isaac does Arnold. Mister Miyagi would be proud except that Korea is no longer spelled with a C. And sadly Weazie is dead.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Ides of July

Last summer it poured around this time and appropriately as if preordained, an off-remark said in total jest completely backfired. In a soaked crowd, the words first wafted overheard before sinking below flesh. The emperor surrounded by his senators fell. Unfortunately, the knife shone red in my hand.

And just as quickly the connection severed quite unexpectedly. Who knew the repercussions would be so totalitarian? But the proverbial handwriting on the wall started to drip even more blood. No need to fight the inevitable winds of change as it were because his final message required no translation at all.

Et tu, Brute, Hurtus Maximus begone.

So strange then it is, not having to shepherd the flock as the carnival outside sort of reflects the controlled mayhem inside. Yet the clock ticks slightly off still, probably the residue of habit. Six years straight tends to do that.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Free at last, free at last

The world disconnects and the said revolution permits an ambulatory freedom heretofore unheard of. The joy felt upon hearing the doorbell ring and seeing the man in brown (wearing shorts no less) bearing the instrument of my liberty.

Twirl the hands clockwise like a tornado and behold the future, Pompie. Lee Marvin, bless his soul, passed by like Mariko Mori surfing a stream of radio waves. And the world as Isaac Asimov envisioned draws ever increasingly closer. To be tethered by gravity or otherwise speaking of mere ohms and amps is outdated. Life that exists as scattered molecules transported by narrow beams instantaneously in a blink of an eye, as dreamed of, pulsates from a box hooked up and plugged into the wall.

And I dance an extraterrestrial dance of hyperelectricity.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Notes on semi-gloss

Societal detritus amassed as collectible nostalgia, too sentimental to relinquish and therefore more precious than common junk. That is the premise from which to converge. Two separate paths, two distinct styles representing a palpable sense of aesthetic that must be dovetailed in order to co-exist. Larger metaphysical mores dictate such redesign, inflict a moral obligation beyond the connective and conjugal to regulate that thing called beauty. Postmodern man sees this adventure as a subconscious pilgrimage, an evolution of the modernist edict toward a better world. Even popular culture in its infinite wisdom demands it, brainwashing acolytes with daily dosages of Merge, Trading Spaces, Clean Sweep and Designing for the Sexes to coerce a new look, a new life, a new order.

Because disorder from disorganization equals buried conflict, anathema to crucial infrastructure of healthy relationships. Yin must merge with Yang to achieve balance. That is the not-so-sublimnal message promulgated by mass media. The individual must acquiese and become a singular identity from its disparate parts whether by predestiny or by design.

So who are we as purveyors of such fashion to resist?

Semi-gloss then refers to this urge to combine and merge, to create from the preexisting, to preserve so as to reinvent. Apply a new coat with sheen and its slick surface is pure eye candy. It mimics these methodologies to transform and reform the whole process of process as process. Call it mixed media deconstructed and out of control, reacting to the architecture of spatial realities and definitive objects as the politics of the room versus the formalism of decoration and pattern. Literally the room itself is the defacto and proverbial blank canvas except that instead of one artistic vision, see what transpires via a collaborative effort of differing ideas governing what defines art, craft and simple interior decorating.

Perhaps employ an exquisite corpse technique to affect a hybrid installation, transforming the gallery into a hodge podge chop suey of divergent tastes and influences.

From two minds comes one work. Or so one says.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Not to win or place, but show

Tuesday afternoon before the Pepsi half-price night rendezvous to see Schoenweiss versus the Gambler, two veteran lollipop lefthanded curveballers, threatens to be washed out. But then the missing sun reappears and just like old times in a snap of a finger, the scenery changes almost instantaneously from drab gray to lush green. So why not squeeze in nine holes to properly acknowledge the forthwith male bonding?

No elaborate planning, no forethought, just consensus and be done. The course is surprisingly empty upon our arrival which means no crucial warmup prior to initial tee-off. Grab your bag, dust off Big Bertha and pray for distance. The anticipation that springs from those wizened old pros, ad hoc judge and jury eyeballing your manic practice swings, an idiosyncratic ritual superstitiously followed ostensibly to loosen up but really a convulated and complex checklist of do's and don'ts, only increases your adrenalin and no doubt, testosterone.

The trick is now part of muscle memory. Address the ball, right hand overlapping left thumb rather than the prototypical interlocking pinkies, and backswing, making sure the torque of the motion forces the left shoulder to contact chin before releasing. Naturally and of course, the head remains absolutely still, eyes locked on the tee. Over and over in your head, one word repeats to quell the performance anxiety in the face of the madding crowd: smooth.

And whack! Long, straight and most importantly aloft, the ball flies.

That is what was said in defense of driving for show yet failing to putt for dough. Something wicked goes awry trying to get up and down as if all that came before simply becomes amnesia.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Way below the Mendoza Line

It returns. The greatest slump of all time continues. But not from a lack of trying.

What beguiles is that things started off very swimmingly. First a ghost from distant past revealed themself to be a guardian angel in disguise pointing the way, shining the proverbial light. A name I heretofore only read about shook my hand. Then before you can say "abracadabra", the secret door opened. Suddenly these gatekeepers knew who I was and weirdly beckoned me in. That never happened before. This time, though, being in the company of she who is annointed, cast me in a different light. No more queuing among the throngs just to glimpse the booths. An usher escorted us to where the ministers convened, a curtained backroom that few knew about. Inside, other heads of state gladly said hello, exchanged pleasantries, even sought counsel. But then it was too late. I fascinated only because of being garbed in the emperor's clothing, just another oddity.

Of course, the bottom fell out as is the case recently. Looking over the game film pointed out specific foibles in overall strategy. The eye in the sky rarely lies as everyone knows. To place all my eggs in one basket trying to backdoor numerous applications proved disasterous. Rather than follow up hot targets individually the carpetbomb approach failed to yield the anticipated collateral effect. The chain reaction ready to set off never detonated. Now the many commando strikes ineffectually bounce off steel-plated armor.

Forever with one knee on the on-deck circle, waiting. It is much better to be lucky than good.

Friday, April 30, 2004

"But she sure can cook..."

And just like that, it ends. Only a cascading and snaking trail of fallen dominoes remains, her evidence of being here three weeks after arriving eight hours late. The time itself competed with other coinciding events preplanned well in advance so what eventually happened involved more hopscotching than is usually normal. But as is the case when cultures clash and egos fray, basic communication broke down and a minor hell broke loose.

First the medicinal broth so pungent that it reeks of immigrant roots followed by an unfortunate aversion to catfish. Then a high fever blamed from not dressing warmly enough that results in the emergency room. Next an unfortunate relapse misdiagnosed initially as an uterus but subsequently changed to kidney infection. All bad luck compounded by strong independent wills unaccustomed to maternal instincts counseling (nagging) post partum caution and preaching tradition.

Naturally the whole thing exploded. From the safe distance afforded the mute and preoccupied, such needles in the haystack only bug the extraordinarily thinnest of skins and of course no amount of bandaging could stop the bleeding. Hopefully her flight back will heal the open wounds as she is happy to be home.

It is fortuitous to be on the periphery looking in, able to jump in and apply a torniquet.

Friday, April 02, 2004

The Wonderful Life of Henry Wong

Yesterday was as good a day as any to be born. Just ask an officially seventy-four year old paper son. He managed to wingding double celebrations by way of flippancy for nary six score. But the crisis so to speak passed for the expectant parents-to-be. Both deemed the cursed day marked by its lack of gravity inappropriate for the grand entry of their scion. And this from those who would curse an offspring with a nickname rhyming with "spank", "stank", and no doubt "wank". A boy named Sue suffers less cruelly.

So what used to be a matter of luck, pacing back and forth, wearing out a rut of a miniature racetrack now is a predetermined shot-in-the-ass away. Where except in reruns of sitcomed fiction can you find the slapstick of childbirth anymore? Then puritan antiseptic hospital linens whitewashed the blood and gore. No wonder reality television rules nowadays.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Demon Redux

And so it goes, the madness least one more chance to bleed blue. Is the monkey in this year of the monkey ironically and finally off their back? Can it be laid to rest peacefully? Will the pain after so many years subside? Bring on the leeches before I faint.

My Linda Blairesque head swivels aghast dreaming the redemption, that day when the pit churning deep in my stomach acids ripped another ulcer. No nails left, it was supposed to be a forgone conclusion. But such is the expectation of promise, of rank, of nobless oblige hurtled against tenacity with a lousy six seconds left. A mighty blue demon toppled then and now a frail shell of its former self peeps forth. How many poems need to be written to exorcise the purgatory infecting his mind?

This Ides of March so far bode well to erase past failings because those boys back then died for their sins. Someone please ask the Father to lead us in prayer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

A fortune cookied story

Her name is like a weeping willow, a black sumi-e brush drawing of a lovely tree with flowing branches. Not so long ago, she cried every night for her mother to return. But no one came.

The two strangers plunked her down between a stuffed rag doll, three bronze taels strung together by red yarn and the year you were born to choose a future. In the oak-paneled room, incense burned as the congregation clapped softly at first and then loudly. A little boy wearing a fireman's helmet scribbled his wishes in green felt-tip marker on a small pink cotton shirt. She pointed toward her fortune, oblivious to family lurking beyond the altar.

Her fate, like the twenty helium-filled balloons touching the ceiling, is sealed.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Return of the (other) Devil Monkey Child

The last time she slept over, all hell broke loose.

Then teeth gnashed, egoes rankled and a pretty nasty pillow fight ensued. Not quite the maelstrom of white zigzagging feathers abruptly slashed through midair by the centrifrugal force of whirring eight-point cotton on reddened flesh but enough pounds per square inch applied rapid fire to barrage any target to smithereens. Natural enemies, the two battled as if in a Texas cage match because no blood, no foul. Finally the sugar rush from their respective thirsty two ouncers of raw Coke, pure intravenous caffiene, subsided. The hard shell ground beef tacos smothered with two packets each of medium hot sauce from Taco Bell induced a food coma sometime past two in the morning and she passed out, a Shetland pony neighing aloud while he crashed and burned at the edge of the futon.

So lesson learned. This time, divide and conquer. One at a time reduces the migraine factor by half, hopefully.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Notes on technochinoiserie

Twenty four ninety-degree angles gridlock to obscure gelid eyes intent on gentler curves. But who cares if no one remembers Hector Guimard. Yesterday a drip of red ink on watery paper shot down his femural artery, undulating past many white blood corpuscles as he looked into shards of mirrored mosaic.

Across the boulevard, east meets west. Raw silk made from celadon worms mask the worn-out squares Hans Hoffman pushed and pulled back and forth by himself. Yet flat is flat no matter how far from the Black Mountain. So does anyone besides the forgotten craftsmen really know how to reconstruct a reasonable facsimile? The old wooden model is rotted from too much sun and too many tears and will not last the winter.

Head back to the savannah and ask him to teach you a newer way. It is our only recourse.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Give Peace A Chance, Part Two, or because someone asked about Yoko again

Back in the last century during one of the graduations for the School at the Medinah Temple when staff then was "volunteered" to assist with the proceedings, my role/job/task was to police the backstage area and direct traffic as new graduates who received their diplomas walked offstage. Of course, one of the speakers receiving an honorary degree that day was her YOKOness and believe me, she put on a show worthy of her best Fluxus performances. First, in the middle of her acceptance speech, she excuses herself to potty, I mean, interrupts the flow of the entire ceremony to take a whizz. How great. Later she horns in on Bill Viola, the keynote speaker, to interject a nonsequitor or two enough to frazzle his speech. And finally she involves the whole audience in participating in a time-based conceptual piece she announces midway through the festivities. Now that is a bona fide graduation.

But of course, I digress. The real gist of the story is when a fastidious middle-aged fellow immaculately dressed in a blue blazer with gold buttons, from the looks of it, an Ivy League type, approaches me to request, "Listen, young fellow, can I ask a specific favor of you?"

No doubt, I snap to with, "Yes, sir."
"I need for you to go onstage and tell Yoko that her party will be waiting for her in the backroom backstage."
"Yes, sir."
"But, and this is very important, you must escort her to the backroom personally, understood?"
"Yes, sir. I understand, sir"
"Please do that as soon as possible."
"Of course, sir."

So when a lull occurs, I strut out onstage and nonchalantly whisper like a Secret Service agent into Yoko's ear the instructions that I've been commanded to pass along especially the part of my job to be her personal escort. Well, the ceremonies finally end and I again strut onstage and offer my arm to a weirdly discombobulated yet frail Yoko who dithers along, weaving and bobbing as we walk back to her "party". The woman is blabbering away as if stricken senile the three or so minutes it takes to go backstage and I'm literally hauling her along. Well, we arrive and first thing I hear from the guy who asked me this favor is, "How are we feeling, Yoko?"

"I'm fine," she answers in a sort of singsong but faraway tone.
"You sure?"
"It's going to be a long ride. Do you need to use the bathroom?"
"You absolutely sure?"
"Yoko, please use the washroom NOW."

Wow, I am flabbergasted. Then I realize that this guy is her manservant and she must be drugged up for whatever reason to be treated like a three year old.

The gleam shines less brightly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Notes on an antediluvian Gigantor

Under her varnished pavillion, she is frozen, forever gazing westward.

A wooden robot made of filligreed ramen lattice interlocked in feudal fashion to turn back the atomic clock stands watch. Ancient rusted cogs chugging incrementally forward, slowly rotate the axis of a platformed pagoda only two stories tall. The noise it makes deafens. But still the monks gather, praying to the sleek slabs of concrete faux finished to resemble shiny jade and studded along its ribbed walls.

Eyes automatically avert as the Medusa walks by lest be blinded its mirrored sunglasses. The burning man merely burns in retaliation as an abstract elephant, its trunk an ascending escalator, offers solace while children play about, oblivious.

And he wonders when the next time will be.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Why "team" is spelled with an "I" nowadays and rightly so

The game of any game is after all simply a game. The glory of the individual whose skill or talent or perseverance or courage in concert with or competition against other such combatants reinforce the character of man under pressure. Or that is what the traditional Modernists, those who revere the purity of the contest, the status quo, would have you believe. But playing to win no longer holds as much sway within this context because popular culture elucidly identifies a newer motivation of the participant which demands, "show me the money." A not-so-sudden shift in attitude that elicits much misunderstanding among the underinformed minions who form the ticket-buying public. And where better than to hear their rantings than listening to sports talk radio while driving about as caller after caller bends over and grabs their ankles, spouting their particularly vituperative brand of homily, an American anti-intellectualism incapable of distinguishing their income from that of their often tragic heroes overinflated by the excesses of their undeserved accomplishments. For them, money (in vast and unjustifiable sums in compensation for services rendered or specifically lack thereof) corrupts aptly describes the current state of sports affairs. So blame the messenger instead. How can they be paid so much for doing so little?

It certainly functions as the perennial soap box from which the vox populi self-righteously pollute the airwaves propagating the hackneyed accusation of the ballplayer as overpaid, underachieving lout as if in this day and age to simply play professional sports for the love of the game ought to suffice. Ever inflicting their archetypal blue collar logic that demands equating hitting or shooting a ball as labor, a job to be done. Does it matter that their salary is based on what the market bears? But misbegoten economic theory that badly account for play notwithstanding, who can blame the postmodern athlete for intuitively understanding how the nature of sports evolved into spectacle.

But more troubling is the underlying tone of racism disguised as accusations of showboating. For how often do veiled remarks abound denigrating the inner city nee undisciplined athlete freelancing outside the constraints of proper coaching, disrespectful of authority in favor and praise of the precious and sacred "system", team players with "lunch bucket" ethics schooled in the fundamentals. Or of the underprivileged star being manipulated and exploited by the almighty dollar too soon into self-destruction. It now represents a politics of representation, an individualized identity dependent on capitalism, on creative expression bordering on entertainment. Is it that difficult to sway with the wind and accept that Jim Crow ended a long while ago? And you can thank Curt Flood profusely for that. But still corn rows and Sharpies as touchdown dance prop logically validate a demonstrative egotism indicative of a postmodern sense of irony inevitably affecting popular culture including sports. Why not superimpose and juxtapose these variant cultural elements to harken the self? It pays to look good. Style as Madison Avenue taught us sells and in droves. Who notices a two-handed chest pass when the crowd goes bonkers over a thunderous windmill tomahawk dunk? And therein lies the contradiction for the so-called, self-acknowledged true fan of the game who deride the trash-talker as cocky but applaud the no-look, behind the back pass as artistry.

So in order to get paid, he got game.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A Valentine's Day lament, or sometimes a great notion, part two.

The cottage industry that is red roses, red lingerie, red hearts and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate always manages to dry-heave deep pangs of regret, of missed opportunity, of the special one that got away. So young, so stupid, so inexperienced back then as to not pool any and maybe even borrowed resources to start up what should have been "Cads and Heels," a convenience store for dysfunctional romantics desperately in need of special last-minute gifts. A public service, if you will, open twenty-four hours, seven days a week and especially on holidays. Those "in the doghouse" could stop by the drive-up menu to order any variety of flowers, stuffed animals, confectionaries, perfumes and of course, jewelry, all at jacked-up prices.

Or my express ticket to early retirement. It struck, like all brilliant ideas do, straight out of necessity, more than likely years ago, to be truthful, probably after yet another forgotten anniversary or birthday or equally important date. The business of love, or more appropriately, the racket of heartache costs a small fortune. Market research proves this group of lost souls as target demographic. Just ask any guy who find themselves in hot water because of faulty memory capacity. Love is expensive and the price of an elevator ride back to the penthouse means forking out some deniro. Only in America can such a dumb idea but the perfect business scheme actually work. But naturally nothing ever materialized. No prospectus, no potential investors, no franchising opportunities, no going public, no stock options, nothing. The time then suited a better entrepreneurial moment for such a venture to exist, survive and flourish.

And now to freely advertise this pot of gold is probably copyright suicide. But ultimately what began as an idea whose time has come, an idea whose purpose is noble, somewhat belongs to every "Dear John". Besides why kick a dead horse on the ground again?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Mudville rejoices

"Pitchers and catchers, this Saturday."

So what more needs to be said
except the national pastime redux.

Notes on a broken stand

Why not a small gesture?

Since or perhaps because it fell apart from being unglued, paint the disjointed sections of discarded and possibly fake Ming stool a rainbow of pretty colors. Then reassemble it but (or not) into chinoiserie version of Bauhaus or more correctly Rietveld chair.

Now comes basic color theory of which ones will work dynamically.

Monday, February 09, 2004

He shoots (from way downtown), he scores (finally)

Knock on wood because the trey no longer veers right or left but actually swishes through. The lost range prompted a retooled jumper that actually elevates off the floor. The tried-and-true knock-kneed Bob McAdoo over-the-head rainbow failed on more than one occasion from the top of the key. Or no longer money in the bank as some would say. Besides it telegraphed the shot being so deliberate a release that anyone guarding the perimeter could easily close quickly. So to adapt against all that defensive length meant back to the drawing board deconstructing why beyond the three-point arc, the smooth rhythm of shooting a bomb felt so awkward, unnatural and strained. The culprit, ultimately, proved to be poor mechanics bred of bad and, no doubt, lazy habits.

The answer after analysis literally hinged on the wrist. Think of how Pippen shoots, the ball on his fingertips directly underneath with his wrist cocked at a ninety-degree angle and elbows perpendicular to his squared shoulders. In coordination feet come together before jumping into a simple flick of his wrist at the apex. The power propelling the ball emanates from the momentum of the controlled leap straight up into following through the motion of fish-hooking your shooting hand. This is what I emulate, visualize when hoisting a three.

Recent three-point attempts fell short because of the tendency to muscle up the shot, pushing the middle of the ball on a line-drive to generate enough speed to overcompensate for the longer distance. Of course what happened was the typical "right shape, wrong size" montrosity that mostly if lucky clanged off the front of the rim.

The advantage of jumping also creates separation offensively, making it more difficult to get blocked. Which also pays off in the paint considering the big target painted on my back posting up. Just to explode off my feet again not only legitimizes a low post presence but allows for an extra step off the drive.

After all, the game is played above the rim or in our case, a foot or so below. It feels good to drain the open or even contested shot.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Trading spaces and so forth

Out of sight, out of mind, lost in space, up to no good and dreamweaving like crazy.

And for what purpose except simply to primp. Gary Wright stuck in neutral because cyberspace addicts. But worse than that is the blankness of white backgrounds to recreate old and tired looks. The terror of visually communicating an attitude, a definable aesthetic. So how much of what is said about spatial organization rings true and pertinent? Vainglorious explains the fashion of change disguised meekly as keeping idle hands busy. Is it a form of sketching this update or something deeper related to watching way too many makeover shows?

Rehab for sake of self-improvement or updated clothes that make the metrasexual, whether trading spaces, a queer eye, what not to wear, designing for the sexes or even curb appeal, all of it matters as a matter of postmodern discourse. Funny how a white or beige room now comes to signify status quo cookie cutter uneventful drab surburban bland. How the modernist edict toward the purely and simply universal continues to reinvent under the banner of colorful subaltern sleek. Talk about stuffing ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound sack as the masses obediently redo in an attempt to "color me beautiful." And Bill Beckley reacts by lifting his classicist pinkie up in the air.

Remember not long ago generations clinging to tradition in the name of values in the face of social revolution. Well that instinct is now nicely co-opted by Madison Avenue who understand how to Middle-Americanize the Benetton message. Do the politics of representation demand an upgraded identity? If so, where does Maury Povich and Jenny Jones fit in this picture? And forget Oprah, her mainstreamness breaks the mold.

An interesting premise while uploading the "made-over" site...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

She Bangs

Every winter, see Pappy fall.

And not the momentarily-losing-your-balance-before-slipping-on-your-ass falling down, the kind where your embarrassed face blushs red, betrayed by the laws of gravity but momentous, gorgeous flights of fancy, legs kicked forward, arms flailing, what aerodynamic engineers refer to as sheer horizontal. The type that Looney Tunes animators masturbate about.

Previous theories as to her malady centered on her high center of gravity. That her long, scrawny barely chicken legs ill-supported her top-heavy torso which to complicate matters further threw off her already skewed sense of equilibrium when carrying the additional load from a huge backpack slung over either shoulder (her noticable lack of calf muscle in itself lacked the necessary ballast to offset any imbalance). This awkward and uneven distribution of weight caused teetering steps that lacked firm footing on any icy surface. Someone once even suggested ankle weights to prevent further accidents.

But last weekend at night coming home from a wedding picking up the boy gingerly tiptoeing down eight concrete steps on unseen black ice scored a perfect Nadia Comaneci as she went face forward, a projectile arc that resulted in five hours in the emergency room, a CAT scan, seven stitches above her lip, two chest x-rays and a whole bottle of prescription Vicodan.

It is her birthright, an annual tradition and painfully, a bloody curse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

An adjunct life

A noble act based on friendship relies on patience and sometimes, good timing with even better luck. How else do you explain disembarking into fifty degree weather from single-digit temperatures without the slightest clue? Naturally this is what happens just as soon as I leave town.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that both my classes cancelled but oddly enough (or maybe not), wheels began spinning almost immediately and then suddenly two messages appeared. From the void came hope, a respite from the powers that be which sounded too good to be true. And so it was, this instinct proved correct. My good fortune as the deck of cards shuffled meant that another colleague, my good friend who recommended me in the first place to teach here, bend over and grab her ankles.

If not for foresight and an itchy trigger finger to finally follow through the proposed bait and switch might have screwed certain parties involved royally. Given the hierarchy which enables those tenured to usurp any adjunct, the unlucky loser left holding the bag usually ends up with nothing. As would have been the case as trading spaces meant relinquishing a preferred time slot more suitable in terms of convenience and schedule. Finally and fortunately a contingent plan (paying more salary) called back to confirm.

So the endgame of playing an awkward shell game while sweating bullets finally yielded bountiful fruit for the whole gang. When the merry-go-round stops, when the music ends, the three circling the chairs do find enough space for all to sit.

And despite the surreptitious phone tag, all is well that ends well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A solemn duty

Another sad, snowy day by which to measure terms of closure.

It became in its mourning a tally of sorts, to see who in such circumstances simply shows up. No doubt, someone kept count. Eyes stared and heads swiveled about, all noting those in attendance and those conspicuously not. And of course among that select company the most glaring absence betrayed a lack of manners. Their impropriety as such then is an inexcusable trangression against the rules of civility, a symptom of vast and misguided egoes so self-involved that it failed to do the right thing.

But paying respects is more than giving face. Let bygones be bygones, no matter the vitriolic of past wrongs because that moment should not be the time for such pettiness. Sooner than later, though, the time for reckoning will arrive on hand.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Behind door number one is...

Monday Night Basketball or Survey of Art, Part Three (From Impressionism to Contemporary)...which shall it be?

So nothing like being on pins and needles awaiting whether next week will be the last evening of shooting hoops until the end of the spring term (which might be a crying shame considering that the nephew gave me a brand new Nike indoor/outdoor basketball for Christmas). Therefore to teach or not to teach depends quite simply on enrollment and to be honest, it looks bleak. So far, only one student is enrolled and the magic number ought to be double-figures at the minimum in order for the class to run. Not many people appear enamored of learning about modern art willingly. Too many bad cliches still persist.

But crossing your fingers sitting in front of the computer monitoring the real-time registration smacks either of desperation or dooficity. Somehow the latter says it all. It is after all good and needed income.