October

FACE

Dylan looked over at Selma. "Why the hell doesn’t she say something?" he thought. Selma was squatting next to the body and indeed was quiet. She stared at the young mans face. Aside from the blood on the side of his head she was fixated at how handsome he was. No more than twenty, he had deep chocolate skin, a slightly narrow face and a strong, wide nose. His eyes and mouth were half open as if he were photographed mid sentence, his words and meaning forever a mystery.

"I wonder who killed him…", Selma said after some time. "Who knows", Dylan answered nervously. It suddenly dawned on him that the young man must have been killed a short time ago as the blood was still wet and he still looked as if he’d get up at any moment. "Look, we better get out of here", he said, "Someone’s bound to come by soon and we don’t need any hassles." Selma remained where she was unmoved. "Yea, in a sec", she answered. She wanted just a bit more time to look at the man’s face. She thought she might be the last stranger to see it with the compassion she felt.

Fred Vee

 

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART

Seminal album in avant garde / experimental music. I’ve been listening to this regularly my entire adult life. Never fail to find something new to appreciate each time I give it a full listen from start to finish. Slap on some headphones, open your mind and feast on “Trout Mask Replica”.

FV

 

FREDDIE MERCURY AND THE BIOPIC

Photographer Unknown

Bohemian Rhapsody”, the movie ostensibly about the band Queen and focused on the life of Freddie Mercury has been getting panned in every review I’ve read so far. As a huge fan of the band I find it to be a bit of a bummer to hear, but not surprising. Biopics of this sort invariably are ham fisted and reduce the subject(s) to one dimensional characters. “The Doors”, by Oliver Stone comes to mind.

It’s not that the actors’ performances are bad per se (Forrest Whittaker as Charlie Parker in “Bird”), but the idea of recreating the totality of such complex figures who are larger than life to begin with is almost impossible. What to focus is on is often the problem. “Sid and Nancy” was more or less reduced to cartoon versions of two unfortunate people with heavy drug problems, and in Nancy Spungen’s case mental Illness (read “And I Don’t Want to Live this Life” written by Spungen’s mother for a harrowing account of her daughter’s problems). While Jim Morrison in the aforementioned “The Doors” reels off poetic jargon in nearly every sentence throughout the movie to the point of absurdity.

I’m sure there’s something I haven’t seen that’s well done and going by the words of the critics alone is not often wise, but the movies I’ve seen try to pack too much into a more or less conventional narrative that leaves many aspects of the band or performer much too thin. One exception I can think of is “Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould” which was very unconventional and didn’t pigeon hole its subject in any way.

In the end I think Hollywood more or less sucks at creating original and compelling content in general, and trusting them to tell the life of someone like Freddie Mercury, who is so many different things to so many different people, seems like a bad idea. I’d much prefer a documentary comprised of interviews, live footage and a talented director and editor to breathe humanity into people so talented or charismatic that they seem like gods to us.

FV

 

PANTERA

Feel like knocking someone’s brains out but don’t want to get into trouble? Then all you need to do is listen to any cut from this classic Pantera album. Easily one of the heaviest, ass kicking albums ever. Dimebag’s riffs and solos are off the charts on this. If you’ve never heard Pantera before you can’t go wrong starting here.

FV

 

HYPERNORMALISATION

This film by Adam Curtis is a look back over the last 40 years to give an idea of how the world is where it is today. People seemed confused, scared, angry and powerless in many societies worldwide. Curtis finds interesting points on the timeline to connect events and people whose agenda was to lead us to a time and place where nothing seems real, nothing is trusted and nothing is being done.

It’s a rather long film (just under 3 hours) and a lot to consider. Of course, it’s not a comprehensive complete picture of everything that’s happened but I think Curtis did a nice job selecting his spots and created a narrative that’s compelling. If nothing else it’s a good primer if you are understandably confused about the world at the moment. Whether you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with his premises, it should point you in directions to do your own research.

Well worth your time.

FV

 

MUSIC - VIVALDI

Sometimes you gotta get your relax on. I don’t consider Vivaldi my favorite composer from the pantheon of great composers, but I do like this particular work. One of my aunts used to love it and it brings back a lot of fond memories for me.

We’d discuss the music and whether or not we felt the music really gave the feeling of each particular season. I was a young metalhead at the time but always appreciated other types of music. She turned me onto a lot of good stuff, not only in music, but literature and art as well.

So if you’re sick and tired of all the shit news out there in the world, put on some headphones and let yourself go for a short while.

Antonio Vivaldi - Four Seasons
Budapest Strings
Bela Banfalvi, Conductor

FV

 

THE HUMAN KEN DOLL

“Rodrigo Alves became known worldwide for his courage in reinventing himself with the help of plastic surgery. This has given him the confidence to express himself with a unique fashion style, and has led him to be happy to enjoy life and a better lifestyle. He is now outgoing, charismatic, and a truly passionate ambassador for the subjects of body image, plastic surgery, fashion, body image bulling, and equality.”

- from Rodrigo Alves’ website

I honestly don’t know what to think of people like this guy.

On the one hand I’m a fan of tattoos, which of course, is a type of body modification. However, tattooing is basically a one time procedure. And yes, people do go full on and cover every inch of their skin with tattoos. But, the thing about tattoos is that while they may make you stand apart from the crowd, or these days make you part of the crowd, the tattoo will fade, or stretch, get wrinkly with old age and turn into some ink blob. Despite that, it still holds meaning and isn’t meant to make a person look forever young or conform to society’s view of what is beautiful. Even periods when tattooing is trendy it still holds a unique meaning to each person.

On the other hand Alves and people like him are getting serious amounts of plastic surgery done, which is also engaging in body modification. I find it sad though. The surgery is expensive (although a good tattoo is as well) and more importantly dangerous. People die getting liposuction and other procedures which often require anaesthesia that can be very risky. And for what? The ultimate goal is to attempt to conform to a standard of beauty pushed upon us by big media corporations. The surgery doesn’t last and ages terribly, ultimately making the face void of expression, a mask that perpetually looks neither joyous nor sorrowful. It’s a face in limbo and doubt that I see. The story always seems to be the same with each person, unlike the tattoo, that they wanted to be young and beautiful forever.

But live and let live I guess. I should say that plastic surgery has a very important part in society. For those born with disfigurement, or have been victim to an accident of some sort, looking like most “normal” human beings (2 eyes, a nose, a mouth, etc) can be vital to self worth and social mobility. Those are not vanity projects.

In the end though, I wonder if my positions are hypocritical…

Just some food for thought.

FV

 

MUSIC - DANGER DOOM

One of my favorite albums of all time. The forces of MF DOOM and Danger Mouse combine with with a couple guest MC’s to create the style of hip hop I really love. Smart, funny rhymes that never get stale.

If you’re not aware of MF DOOM you have to dig deeper into his work. His real name is Daniel Dumile but he has a stable of alter egos (MF DOOM, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillian, Danger Doom) that feature his masterful skills.

DOOM performs wearing a mask that hides his face. That is if he shows up at all as he’s known to send out imposters at gigs at times. He’s like a hip hop Andy Kaufman that way. All weaved with quirky stories and signature samples from old tv shows and movies make this man a true artist.

Give a listen and you’ll get hooked in DOOM’s world, guaranteed.

FV

 

NOTABLE QUOTES

Photo: Don Hunstein

Photo: Don Hunstein

"I've always had a sort of intuition that for every hour you spend with other human beings you need x number of hours alone. Now, what that x represents I don't really know, whether it be two and seven-eights or seven and two-eights, but it's a substantial ratio."

Glenn Gould

Brilliant, insightful quote from the gifted pianist Glenn Gould. I first heard it watching the immensely satisfying movie, “32 Short Films About Glenn Gould”.

FV

 

SET OF DISORDERS

“Untitled” - Set Of Disorders

I recently stumbled across a collage artist who goes by the name Set Of Disorders. Seems like, I think possibly he, has recently either started this work or started to present it from what little info I can gather. He or she may be recovering from an addiction of some sort judging by the last Tumbler post on the blog.

In any event, I’m really digging the work I see. All are black and white collages comprised of some pretty harrowing imagery that leave me feeling a bit unsettled yet with a fraternal comfort that I’m not alone with thoughts that haunt me late into the night.

Pain, injury, death and discomfort are the major themes that run through the work. I can relate if these collages are a catharsis of sorts of someone going through addiction, having fought that battle myself. The ordeal leads to feelings of being raw and exposed both psychologically and physically. The ugliness of what your running from is never farther away than a few seconds in your mind and the ugliness of what you’ve become trying to escape that as you look in the mirror is terrifying.

On the other hand, it could also be looked at as a reflection of the world as it now. Country by country from Amerikkka to Brazil to Europe in general, is falling into a vile sewer of nationalism, hatred and contempt of any attempt towards a fair and just society. These collages symbolize the revolting behavior that’s been lying dormant in Joe Six Packs around the globe that are now free to to vomit their hatred and insecurity at any person or institution they feel threatened by. Truly shocking times well reflected in the images that hit your senses with a good left hook.

I hope whatever this person is going through gets better and that they continue making art that makes one stop, look, look away and if you’re brave enough to confront what is out there in this (or your) world, look back again.

FV