Saturday, April 28, 2007

how my sons play-dough reminded me of Svankmajer

When I first started working for Multnomah County Library at Central in Stack Service under Gerald Upsahl back just before MCL was officially "made" county the first year or two my fellow co-workers included amoung others one Chris Sluserenko, who owns and operates Clinton Street Video. At the time he was a student at Marylhurst like myself- unlike myself, he happened to be someone else. I believe he had a double major: music AND film, the film portion he did at NWFVC. Anyway, it was apparent to me( his parent was the art department chair, so actually it was a chair to me) he absolutely loved the full spectrum of film it seemed, and the 2 things that I will never forget which he introduced me to: 1) The Residents, which I will cover in more detail in future posts; 2) Jan Svankmajer; Russ Meyer and Ed Wood score honoreable mention as far as what impact they had on my creative world view. Svanky-baby, as I affectionately refer to him, is one sharp cat, and be careful for he will scratch you and if you are making a marinara sauce and using alot of garlic like I am, it will surely sting. I can only say that no matter what I mention, you could make a connection between Svankmajer and the other thing, we will call it x, for sake of argument, because his deftly edited live action normal speed film with stop-motion animation of real objects puppets, material, collage, made to look like material and/or the original collage source images and the collage of images and made to appear as other things and clay as both wet tactle earth and as representative of images and things specific to his experience and to each of our experiences, in a surrealist constructivist/deconstructivist approach....kinda like a magician, he pushes the limits of illusion and perceived reality, the perceived reality being film. We often just accept the clear film with a series of transparent images printed on it shown through a lens projected with light onto a flat surface as reality. So maybe you now see how you can connect most things to a Svankmajer film.
However, there are very few filmmakers from the past and even fewer in the present which I would consider in the same neighborhood(and what a ghastly, grisely, viscous and vicous neighborhood this is- Mister Rogers land of make believe turned literally and figureatively inside out!!!!!) Michael Gondry, Guillermo Del Toro, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Darrel Aronofsky, Jean-Pierre Geunet, and the Brothers Quay would be the ones who could handle the task of carrying on his work if say he would pass away before a job were done. Well along with those names add the director of "Babel" Alejandro González Iñárritu and Christopher Nolan as the most fascinating and original filmakers working today.

So...I usually just do simple shapes when I work with playdough sitting at the table with Julian but once a couple of weeks ago, I remember making a face. And then it happened again today. And then, sitting down with clay a 2nd time in the day, Julian asked me, "papa, are you going to make a face?" and I thought to myself "why yes.....yes I am." It is flat because I had rolled out the playdough first, not thinking at that time that it was going to be anything, just pushing the material around on the table....and soon on a subconscious level I was thinking of the Svankmajer short animated classic "Dimensions of dialogue and I started making that head- creepy yet modeled as one would a natural, realist profile of a man around my age.
Soon, julian was trying to get my attention, but to no avail - I was sucked into the process!!! Yay!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A mug from the past:

Guess my son turns 3 in less than a week, I turn 41 in a month, they found a planet which could possibly sustain life which has not yet been seen and is trillions of miles away, Rostapovich dies a month after his 80th birthday, April 26 (Bloomberg) -- The Senate approved a war spending measure calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, sending it to President George W. Bush who says he'll veto it.

A day after the House passed the legislation, the Senate voted 51-46 to approve it. Bush has promised to reject the $124.2 billion bill, which would require lawmakers to then draft new legislation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that doesn't include any troop withdrawals.

``This legislation is dead before arrival.'' Mississippi Republican Trent Lott said. ``Next week can we get together and do the right thing.'' Wow, didnt know that Trent Lott was such a big fan of Spike Lee??? I guess I can see it, having been friends with Strom Thurmond who is now dead.....isnt he??? Thats assuming he was once alive, of course! Democratic presidental candidates have their first debate called "Who are we??? Why are we here???" debate in South Carolina. The contestants: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, with Bill Richardson from New Mexico exploring the possibility of running and Westly Clark thinking about it and who knows about Ralph Nader, but I think maybe not. Then theres the Republicans: Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas John H. Cox of Illinois, Former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia ,Former Mayor and 9/11 star, Rudy Giuliani of New York City, New York, Representative Duncan Hunter of California, Senator John McCain of Arizona, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, Former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Former Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, then the one exploring and seriously considering: Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas (Exploratory Committee), Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Osama Bin Laden, the unknown comic, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Former Senator and actor Fred Thompson of Tennessee. Then you have libertarians greens constitution party, independants, but so far no silly o,r farce(well, obvious farce) candidates like maybe Chuck Norris or a power ranger or britany spears or chuck woolery or moe larry or curly, groucho, harpo, chico, zeppo, scrooge mcduck, yosemite sam, foghorn leghorn, tasmanian devil(oh, hes vice president, currently, whoops!) dr. jeckyll, mr. hyde, randolph hearst, rosebud, mr. smith, dr. jones, as in indiana jones, rocky balboa, rambo, kermit the frog(green party, the terminator( governor of california), jessie the mind ventura, bobby the brain hennan, mr. wonderful, brutus beefcake, bluto, popeye, the jeep, some smelly Yak, and the rest of the cast from the sgt. peppers lonely hearts club band record album collage!!!! Luckily Simon is still with American Idol, he will be able to weed this motley crew down to at least a dozen by say, November of '08???

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

BFA Marylhurst class of '93

What can I say? You have a good afternoon on a quiet friday all alone on the beautiful campus of marylhurst doing monoprinting
playing around with viscosity and collage and mirrored ghost images and reversed collage pieces until on the 4th or 5th or 6th print you come up with something potientally exciting you clean up and pack it for the day go back home bring the prints home where they sit in a box for some 13-14 years get a scanner pull it out of the basement and are only able to fit a piece of the print on the screen scan it and accept it and post it and say wow this is pretty damned good!!!

Ditto goes for this one - It is also just a portion of the entire print, but it looks better that way- friday afternoons had almost no classes at all on campus and because I did not work at the library those days I would just go down and have open studio time to play with monoprinting time in the darkroom time in the thesis studio for other things, have almost the entire library free.....walk the grounds feeling like I owned the campus it was so empty!!!! those days will never, never, never, return!!! free time free space mostly free resources......ahhh, the creative soul really thrives in those conditions!!!! I went to Marylhurst from fall of 1990 through spring of 1992....taking 1 math class at pcc to get the science credit during the winter 1993 term and getting the bachelors just 8-9 short years after starting this whole school thing in fall of 1984. Went back to Portland State University for a short stint fall 1996 to spring 1998 had more fun took some more classes with Mel- which turned out to be the right thing since he would retire just a little while after that- but what did I acheive out of all this time spent???
What does all of this effort amount to, besides a big fat unpaid student loan??? Its hard to fathom at 6 feet under the surface Its hard to measure, really, since I do not have a way of measuring it - it could measure up maybe it is still 4th down but is it 4th and inches or 4th and long? should I punt? do I use the hurry up offense? do I go into shotgun formation? do I hand it off, or fake a hand off fake pump and throw a Hail Mary being that its Marylhurst the Sisters would approve? I have faith but will still say the roserie or say Rosie Greer or Pam Grier or Grear Garson or Gary Larson and hope that if it is the far side things are much closer than they appear...or is it all done with mirrors and smoke and screens.

milk in the batter! milk in the batter!

in the Night Kitchen was written and drawn by Maurice "Where the wild things are" Sendak, and is the only book to appear twice in long consecutive night reading short lists( I usually only allow 2 books to be read before tucking the little tired tyke into bed).
Here is a brief synopsis almost in its entirety as it appears in its wikipedia entry:

"He(Mikey) falls into a giant mixing pot that has the batter for the morning cake. While Mickey is buried in the mass, three identical bakers, all strongly resembling Oliver Hardy, mix the batter and prepare it for baking while unaware (or unconcerned) that there is a boy inside. As the bakers are about put it in the oven, Mickey emerges protesting that he is not the batter's milk.
To make up for the baking ingredient deficiency, Mickey (now wearing a bodysuit of batter from the neck down) constructs a working airplane out of dough to reach the mouth of a gigantic milk bottle. Using the plane, he flies up to the bottle's opening and dives in. After briefly revelling inside the liquid as his covering of batter disintegrates, he pours the needed milk in a cascade down to the bakers who joyfully finish making the morning cake.
With the dawn breaking, the naked Mickey crows like a rooster and slides down the bottle to magically return to his bed, with everything back to normal beyond the happy memory of his experience."

There is also a cartoon wonderfully directed by Gene Deitch and animated by some wonderful Czech animators for Weston Woods series of animated picture books, available on dvd. The cartoon incorporates some hot jazz in which the Oliver Hardy characters or maybe Maurice Sendak might have been thinking of Paul Whiteman, the bandleader who was the self proclaimed "King of Jazz" who looks very much like Oliver Hardy, and Mikey sing the text of the book. But that is not all, no, no that is not all, to quote Dr. Seuss. It has the honour of being number 25 on the top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. I guess 3 year olds cannot appear nude in a 3 year olds dream sequence in a picture book which is being read to 3 year olds??? Give me a break folks!!!! It is the opinion of this blogger that the ones who decided to challenge it must not remember what 3 year olds are like, must not remember themselves as a 3 year old, or other 3 year old children in their family, etc. The only issue that comes up with me is: is Mikey potty trained??? I sure hope he is!
Oh yeah, and maybe because it seems to me that maybe Mikey is not circumcised( or was that the artists decision- simplifying the drawn image of the penis. Whats that? I cannot say penis??? Prude folk, who paruse the internet, get over it!!!!What do you want me to call "it": tally whacker, john thomas, johnson, pickle, pee-pee, wee-wee, weiner?)
Besides drawing attention to his main character being nude, or the objection to the abject object of nudification, which, by the way, most 3 year olds love being, and parents just have to deal with it, and allow a certain amount of, unless they like tantrums??!!?? Besides that attention, it has also garnered these awards:

1971 Caldecott Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1940--1970 (ALA)
Best Books of 1970 (SLJ)
Outstanding Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)
Best Illustrated Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)
Children's Books of 1970 (Library of Congress)
Carey-Thomas Award 1971--Honor Citation
Brooklyn Art Books for Children 1973, 1975

and of course is Julians favorite book to be read before going to bed!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

both this drawing and the seqential internet drawing were done around fall of 1995. created this character called slappy or slappy moe 'cause I like moe from the 3 stooges and because I liked the phrase slap happy and someone had the label of slappy on their mailbox in the apartment building where I lived at the time. had this horrible gig at a telemarketing firm in Milwaukee, Oregon 4 1/2 months of sales and 2 1/2 months of petering out and fewer and fewer hours of customer service and cigarette survey calls 'til one day I just never went back to that god-awful place! Yay! back in at motherlibrary sucking at her teet in North Portland in April of '95 and I have been with the library ever since!!! Guess I identified with likening myself as a leader but a stooge leader and being a slap happy leader of stooges well smiling to the point that people probably often thought I was an idiot and along with being often times quiet probably thought I was just out of damasch the funny farm ...probably were looking for my scar on my forhead like mcmurphy... nope just naturally look and act like I have had a labotomy, but really theres so much activity going on that I either cant pull together a nice cohesive chain of linked thoughts or well I lost that train of thought cause I just hesitated and its late and who cares cause no one reads these things anyways!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

a night of amazing and free music on film at Hollywood theatre

Photo taken by my beautiful and amazingly talented wife, Justine Light of

This is my son Julian on our recently sold green couch from yesterday. I was thinking of him tonight, as I watched some incredible footage some early rap videos, the most recent from 1990- boogie down productions, run-dmc, whodini, the jungle brothers, de la soul, the fat boys, about half a dozen other acts earlier than that all home produced music home produced video a fun little ditty by a group I had never heard of, whistle, with "buggin'" ....loved, loved, loved it!!! and after that some concert footage of 1965 stax soul revue sam and dave booker t and the mgs eddie floyd and the one and only otis redding overseas or in some foreign land where they would have marines as stage security the mostly square mostly white mostly clean cut and mostly stiff looking crowd transform over 30 minutes into a dancing lively crowd that was rushing the stage.....absolutely electrifying....are there any acts today who put into their shows the soul the showmanship the energy the creative power that sam and dave or otis redding did back then??? when I think of great 60's rock acts the who the stones janis joplin joe cocker
they all were inspired to be as great as they were due to the otis reddings and sam and daves ....and what about the white black funk band of '65....the backing band for stax ??? steve cropper donald duck dunn the awesome drummer and booker t jones
the horn section consisting of 2 white and one black......they were there without a break backing each intense storm that erupted on stage changing the tempo extending the tunes,, they were truly great in the day!!!!
My son Julian who loves to sing and strum his guitar and ukelele at just under 3 years old really needs to see otis redding!!!!
if he isnt hooked on music yet, that will surely do it!!!

the jackpot records film music extraviganza continues thru friday night each night free starting at 7p.m. at the Hollywood theatre. Do not miss it!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


On the drizzely evening of Friday the 13th of April at 8:30 p.m. in the basement of the Blue Monk on 34th and Belmont in South East Portland I managed to arrive simultaneously with my friend and twice roomate of times past, Eric Barker, his friend, Wes Stevens, his partner, and Tama my former co-worker/ downstairs neighbor. We all showed up to the Blue Monk that evening to watch not only 3 Leg Torso (whom, it just so happens that inPortland, Oregon ,Saturday, May 12, 2007 ,3Leg Torso will be performing with Gypsy Caravan which consists of bellydancing with live music by Mizna, and Krebsic Orkestar, an 11-piece Balkan/gypsy brass band at the Doug Fir Lounge on 830 E. Burnside. Doors will open at 8:00pm and 3 Leg Torso plan to perform at 9:00pm the charge will be $10/advance, $12/door for only those of the age of 21 and over )...but I digress!!!
We all showed up that evening to watch in addition to and along with and beside of and also sharing the stage with in syncopation thereof and forthwith, and fifthwith, even, none other than, the one and only an American original, and a former co-worker and now again a current colleague who is a team member of all things central which are referenced in a general manner, Larry "Larold" Will, on theremin, one of the earliest fully electronic musical instruments. It was invented by Russian inventor Léon Theremin in 1919, and it is unique in that it was the first musical instrument designed to be played without being touched. It consists of two radio frequency oscillators and two metal antennae. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
To play the theremin, the player moves his or her hands around the two metal antennae, which control the instrument's frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume). The theremin is widely associated with "alien", surreal, and eerie-sounding portamento, glissando, tremolo, and vibrato sounds, due to its use in film soundtracks such as Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. The theremin is also used in art music (especially avant-garde and 20th-century "new music") and in popular music genres such as rock and pop or modern chamber music setting such as 3 Leg torso, as one example.
Similar electronic instruments, such as the Ondes-Martenot also use the principle of two heterodyning oscillators, but the Ondes-Martenot is touched while it is played, and we all know what happens when 2 heteros who are dining who have principles are touched....pretty soon one says to the other ahhh see ya later, and the food goes spoiled!
So let that be a warning to you all!!!
However, I never thought that one could, with a theremin, do the rock posturing of say, a Townshend or a Hendrix, or that one could mimic a voice of say, Cortney Von Drehle's mother on the phone; In all honesty, I can only assume that Cortney calls his mother, I had heard rumours to the contrary! I think Larold will find that he has inspired many to trade in their guitars for a theremin, and in the near future those who manipulate an instrument by touching it will be sent to a treatment facility over in Coos Bay, where you can overhear "it works if you work it and I am worth it."
The other musicians were stellar as well, and we all drank from the well or from the bottom of the barrell while passing through revolving doors of perception as per the cover charge given and we gave at the office earlier that week, but the drinks were strong. There was standing room only when we arrived, so we sat; Larry had seen that we had made it, so he offered up the bands reserved seating, and since Larry only played every once in awhile, I kept guard of the restrooms, asking for tips until I had enough to bribe someone for a stool, and I am not talking about a sample, but the whole 3 legged apparatus!!!! So the band played on their vibes and violin and double bass and drums and percussion all accordion to their set list which I could now read after putting my glass on, but only after drinking the beer out of it. I kept waiting for their rendition of EKU Neu 11.2 fl oz, but I guess they were breaking in a new band member that evening and he hadn't learned that tune yet! A real shame too, because it would have went with that buzz I was feeling!
All in all a good time was had and we all had a good time the time was good all was had good was all and the time had gone without saying goodbye.
the end???