Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Haunted, not ghosts, but by fragments in what we say

It has been a strange few days. My lil sis had her first babe after a very long and difficult labor. I had dreamed that the baby would be born via c-section and lo, it happened that way. This is the latest in a string of weirdly premonitonal dreams that I would be happiest not reading into. Perhaps that is a lie.

In any case, something that I have been doing with all the too much sleep I have been the happy recipient of is putting my sleep to work. I have always had pretty vivid dreams, and thankfully generally nightmare free. In several of my dreams, when they aren't restaurant related I have begun actively thinking about things I think about when I am awake and taking them in different directions, pulling out possibilites.

This includes: ideas for new dishes, things to paint, ways to twist a scene in the eternally unfinished but close to feeling more complete play, and lines of text. The text fragments lately have taken the form of short groups of words that remain at the front of my thoughts when I wake up. The first of these fragments seemed like the title of something when I woke. The words were 'Dog Lesson' and it seemed like an interesting title. The lingering feeling from those words was that of someone in a small house in the woods who had to walk through the trees to get to a pond. Along the way he is attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. He is expecting this because it happens every day. This happens forever until he can get to the pond. It is uncertain if he ever gets to the pond. The story was written out before I started which is rare for me, though upon writing it, there were a few twists in the path getting there.

So far there are 4 stories or short little word pieces. I sense more to come. I have a title for the little collection, but I am bashful about writing it down just yet, even though I love it. I don't want the dreams to stop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I hate my body. I hate my children.

IN Barcelona, I saw Jamie Stewart of XIU XIU electrocute himself on the microphone. It was very sad. Then he beat his drum furiously and tossed a drumstick over his shoulder without care. The crowd was rude and talking all through the whispery parts which pissed me off.

In BCN I also bought a t-shirt with a deer grown gigantic and rampaging through a metropolis.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Yellow Linen Suit, Pt 2. (Prequel and expansion, or The Objects)

A long while back, Harry and I were in Portland, on 21st avenue looking through thrift stores. I think this is when I had much blazer love, but had yet to paint one. We stopped in a little shop called (and I just figured this out, because I just looked it up) Keep 'Em Flying and I was picking through a circular rack of Wrangler pearl-snap conboy shirts. Harry recognized one of the two people working as being one half of a punk-ish, cabaret-ish act, a twist on Boris and Natasha called Max and (Madame??) that was a semi-regular at the sadly, sadly defunct Pho Bang. In the end the Madame would always kill off Max and here was Max, chatting quietly with the store owner, an extravagantly draped and bejeweled Grande Dame with powerful hand gestures and dramatic upswept hair. Harry asked Max (not his real name) if he was indeed a Pho Bang regular and the store owner, Pamela Springfield, broke in and said something to the effect of, "oh you know [Max]? Did you all sleep together? He has slept with so many people I thought that must be how you know each other. In the future I imagine that we all will have slept with each other. Except for the Chinese. They are so xenophobic."

She dropped several other gems like that. She seemed like a character from Dickens, or maybe a Tennessee Williams play, sprung to life saying things like, "Where are you from? Oh Seattle? They are just cannibals up there, cannibals! I am referring to the art world of course. Although perhaps they are in other ways too." Then she did something that I had never had happen to me, she looked at me and asked me what I was looking for. I replied jackets and she nodded sagely. They she asked what size I was and I said I don't know. She held up one finger and declared that she had something perfect, but it was in the back. She returned with a suit on a couple hangers, a canary or pale lemon colored suit of a very light wool. And I said something like, it's very nice. She demanded that I try it on, to at least take off my jacket and try on the yellow jacket and I did. She said, "see, I knew it would be perfect, just your size." And it was, or at least it fit just the way that I like blazers to fit, slightly tight across the chest and shoulders, buttoned high up, narrow lapels, sleeves a little too short. Again, like some of my favorite things in life, it was as it sprang from my imagination and my obsessions and into the world just for me. Like Deerhoof or The Happiness of the Katakuris, it was perfect, almost too perfect. The suit was 100 dollars which at that time and place seemed a little too rich for my blood, too much for an old suit, even if it was in perfect condition, even if it was vintage and nearly glowing with rightness. Even if, when I put it on there was a sensation of a CLICK like putting a round peg through a round hole after you been trying to fit it through the star-shaped hole. I told her no, a little bit sadly. She raised her dramatic eyebrows slowly and paused as if to give me another chance before hanging the yellow suit up behind the counter.

I told myself I would think about it and if I still wanted it as I knew I did I would come back before we went back to cannabalistic Seattle and buy it. I didn't, of course. It is sort of funny, there are few things that I've done that I really regret, especially regarding things but it really felt like this suit was supposed to be mine. It, the object of the suit is lodged in my head as a regret. A little sadness that I didn't collect that object.

When I painted the white linen suit yellow, it was a sort of apology to the other suit out there, an acknowledgement that I was wrong in not collecting it and taking care of it. There are other issues at stake. I have always been fascinated with the idea that clothing or other objects that we habitually use are somehow an extension of one's body. And conversely that our body is just another object that we use, something that is very close to the thing that is US at the core, but is ultimately a tool that we have attached much value to (with good cause, obviously). But all objects can be modified to clarify purpose. And I have been thinking alot about the desire or indeed need, to modify clothing. That driving force behind marking a thing-- what else is fashion but accumulating a series of marked objects to construct an identity or great object that is more that what the body is by itself? And why not make that construction more explicit, more outrageously there? I think also about some artworks by artists that I admire most: Tapies, or Kiefer, or Fontana, and the idea that those canvases are sort of bodies by extension to transform, mark, harm and to make explicit the fact that they CAN be transformed. The idea that an object of one's own creation is possessed by the spirit of its maker, and belongs (totally) to its owner, to be made better, modified or destroyed, like the myth of the Golem. The objects also take on indpendent lives.

So even with all my jokes about conceptual art. The Yellow Linen Suit was really a conceptual piece. I needed to bring that suit back from the dead. So I did.