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scotty stevenson

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They are the record and subject matter for all my morse code paintings these days.They have punctuated my life in ebb and flow. An acupuncturist I respected use to ask about the elements in my dreams and the role they played in the imagery and story. Earth, wood, fire, water, metal: you find them hinting of the strengths and weaknesses you are meandering through. Dreams are a lot like the 2 little pricks that sit on your shoulders, the one forever innocent whispering in your ear, "behold a road, let's explore it!". And the other one pinching it's dick, whispering "screw that, indulge and panic you mutt!". When I bought my derelict house in Sowebo I constantly had troubled dreams about it. Immersed in mud on an abandoned beaches, a Lincoln-log puzzle smoldering in collapsed beams, snaggle toothed brick mazes for ever falling. I was totally stressed by angry elements. Then one night I dreamed I was dangerously high hammering off plaster, exposing original brick. There imbedded in the motor and line was the skeletal fossil of a giant fierce tiger. I woke up and the worrying studdered. Through a dream the house told me it was plenty strong in spirit. Dreams are unimaginably blunt force instruments of imagery and physics gone awry, cherry picking from the waking time we fools ignore.


The city has finish excavating itself, all its modern civilization, buildings and roads are gone, swept away so as to go under itself. Only a collapsed nocturnal crater visible for a hundred miles remains. Like all authentic digs there are no ceilings, just descending layers of walls and clay and hints of buring pits. The city is celebrating it's permanent night, we are partying, walking in the labyrinth drinking wine stepping over candles. I see old friends squatting neaderthal in shovel hardened earth, laughing. Acelebratory show begins, a beam of laser light as thick as a truck streaks up into the night sky, then another and an another till four different colored beams converge like galactic magic markers. They are connecting the dots of newly formed constellations, children's cutout dolls, the fireman, the weatherman, the housewife, traced like an extruded Play-Doh® highway... filling the sky. We are marveling.


I'm on the bed on my hands and knees staring at a navaho rug stretched taunt underneath me. I am sad, agonizing that I can't visualize, can't produce images with my eyes closed. I strain. I drift into sleep in position with my eyes open. A tiny plump toy canary with a perfectly blown crystal body fades into the rugs fibers and begins running the color gamut. Inside, it's only organ is a tiny plumed flower. That too fades into an equality colorful woven geometric knot. The knot fades into another flower and then into another knot. The canary itself fades into different songbirds bird, and another, and another, and their the flower knot organ runs the colr gaunlet.
The pachinko of birds quit and the smallest of car door appears, flat on the rug between my hands. Just like the birds the door fades away from one into another, all the Pachinko models and all the Detroit colors fading in and out..

Thanks Mom

I am a wobbly. It is a time of steam and steel. I run spindle and die tools to make gold. I work under extreme time schedules and anxiety. I have used a phone to buy airline tickets under the assumed name to go to Florida to witness my mother's execution. Today is the day they shoot one hundred criminals by firing squad. Their crimes, they bought airline tickets under assumed names. I have panicked and I'm trying to cancel the tickets.


It's winter, Baltimore. Booth street house is on a corner free from other buildings. I walk at a distance, all is barren, desolate of people and activity. In snow the sky is sunless, grey, with only the power line lines and red bricks to break the monotony of bleakness. I see black kids in the distance. In my arms are 13 foot long burnt joist. Crispy. 3. Heavy and they unbalance me. I struggle to open the door, angled in headhigh snow with the joist. Inside I return to the woodstove to burn the new joist. I feel the heat and wear heavy metal rings absorb more. All I have is the stove. One room is just as empty as another. I hang a headless scarecrow upside down outside under the street light where no cars will ever pas, he is a 2 piece, grey pants and a broad stripped shirt of white and orange. I fill him with my metal possessions. Mostly clip lamps and extension cords. Low wattage lightbulbs makes the deformed ribcage shirt glow. The scarecrow does exactly as it was supposed to do, attracts a huddle of kids who I proceed to intimidate and take away their metal money and chunks of wood. I sing a diddle of songs and again struggle the snow through the door with my stolen goodies. A faded man stands in the alley and chides me.


Pitch black night, on Booth street, Baltimore's horizon has been reduced to a cardboard paper cutout, a childlike skyline of buildings blocks hinting of architecture. Large fire balls at distance engulf builds in a domino slog. I fret about all the fires as near by houses begin to burn, their brick's drunk with gaps and peeking flames. Familiar faces party in the street. Mark Coburn and Carol Jean stroll by arm and arm under my streetlight. Weeds heads in the alley ignite and I panic. I pull a lopsided golf bag cart wrapped with a firehose, it's my firetruck. I drench the weeds and my roof. Sowebo is in flames and I need acupuncture.

New Gravity

I'm in the desert, plateaus in the distance, but mostly there's only ahuge pastel turquoise sky. Something's wrong because the vision is vertical not horizontal, there is void on the left and right. There are other people and we are looking up a tiny glittering grouping of bright white light. It comes into focus and it is a galaxy hung in the turquoise sky, so tiny but seeable. Another group light starts glittering, and another and another. The sky is filling with parked galaxies of all shapes and sizes. An understanding enters my heart. I am afraid and whirling with acceptance. The universe is collapsing, it's ending and I feel the air of our atmosphere being pulled away by the new gravity in the sky. I am aware the half the people on earth are gone now, and in a second another half will be gone, and then another half, and then another half….


There's no sun, there's no shadows. I am walking alongside chinese kids in a village back alley, Its rural, I'm rural, I leave the village behind and start going down hill goat path. I am aware I am not strong and won't be making it back. Its steep and only the jutted out rocks in the ground wedge my feet and keep me from falling. The rocks are dispersed in harmonious groupings bordering the path. They represent mathematical equations that I don't understand and are getting more complicated and dangerous. At the last out cropping the drop is too far to survive, I bend over sad and tired.


In a warehouse with low ceiling, I'm aware of a roof made of cocaine mixed the red tar. Their floors below me that lead to the patio and Tracy and young girls, I'm hiding something from them. Tracy's cat is under some newspaper, it's dead and smelling and I am compeled to hide it. They notice the smell and I walk up and I pulled the newspaper. The cat is flat and made a segmented oranges. A collage of sliced orange sections around head with and sliced gearlike compositions for the body. From all the slices area little sprouts wiggling in this gelatin of decomp russling the newspaper. I'm outside now. My hands are hurting and I have open sores, there's not much life, I pull from the open sores centipede like insects. They are 4 inches long and armored with spines. My palm has multiple holes and I reach in and contimue to pull these insects out. Each time I pull one of the centipedes out my hand swells up and there aremore. I hold my hand up to a streetlight to x-ray my translucence hands and x-rays revealing the centipedes skeletons. I go find Tracy I put my hand up to a bright light bulb, no muscle or bones inside just the centipedes skeletons. I reach in and pull out the remaining ones.

Ski Lift

It's sunset in a mountain resort. A multilevel bar entrance. Maureen is blocking the way as wind billowing through her jacket. She has a mafioso air about her and arms akimbo. Mok hands me a hotdog. It is gummy and unpleasant and seems to be falling apart and spinning in my mouth rather than being chewed. I realize the hotdog is no longer there but that a large thick dental floss is reeling around my teeth and racing out taunt through the bar and Restaurant in between the patrons and their martinis and their chattering and their flirting. It takes a 90° turn into more partiers till it disappears out the door into the night. The string is burning my teeth and guns likeaA primitive fire starting kit. I reversed my feet stance to secure myself and reverse the direction of the string running through my teeth. I watch it run down the hill through the valley and up a distant mountain along the ski lift cut, it is the ski lift. People are laughing , Mok has another hotdog and I have no way to cut the string.

Morris Gathering Dream

I was hesitant to post this Morris dream, but I told it Sunday at the gathering and it did help me decide to make this trip back to Baltimore. It happened a week after Morris died, a surreal little visitation that only Boss could do. DREAM: I am standing in the kitchen with Morris, seems under the exhaust fan. A real chef in white coat is looming over us holding a cast iron skillet sizzling 3 orange shrimp. He's demonstrating his shrimp crepe to Morris, tilting the skillet, pouring a gooey batter. Morris is smiling and says to me "Show'em what I taught you". I pull off my sleeve and on my downward stretched arm I push a spoon to my wrist. It stays for a second then falls. I pick it up and place it again on my wrist, wait and it stays. Morris taught me to how magnetize my arm. I proceed to place dozens of the slotted spoons around my wrist. Again, Morris, still smiling, says "Show'em what I taught you". I concentrate and the spoons in mass start punctuating up my arm like claymation, up my shoulder, inching and chugging away till they cover my cheek. I think I am smiling too.....

Some dreams need translation

I am born a renaissance hieroglyphic, a stickman of the court, from a muted tapestry, ordered pulled out by the barest thread before the king and his falconer. I smile with a ruby thread and step forward from the wall hanging with a thread of blue and green legs. My shirt with white ruffles deceives the eye with yellow highlights and umber shadows. I don't breath or talk, I just be, thats all there is in the 2 dimension. "Run!" says the king. And to the falconer he says "chase!" Tthrough a flashing grid of harsh angles I run to fields of crops deep in the kingdom. Run again and I am in a forest. I stretched my farthest strand to the farthest point on the land and then I coil back. I make a monkey out of the 3 dimension pursuers moving so fast I return more often than not to where i began. I stop to make sense of the world, to see it only in lines, the veins in the leaves, the peasant's fences. I've become a thread so thin that I brush against nothing and leave no trail, I feel and fear only the wind. And that is how the falconer will catch me. So imperceptible is my flight that the falconer counts every leaf on every tree and every blade of grass, asking each "did the wind pass you by for someone else". I am losing, traveling the ever narrowing lines that sector the kingdom. Feeling the falconer behind me I hold still using my faded thread to catch the setting sun and hide from sight. I begin to pull myself apart down to the last stitch of precious silver thread. I craft a silver dagger from it and softly place it into a skin pore on the falconer's leg. Years will go by and one day I will wake up. I will put a magnifying glass to skin and see a silver dagger in my pore, resting on it's side, and know it to be an heirloom from the centuries gone by.


When Frank Klein ask me to submit a painting for this show, with this theme, I accepted. I told him I had a painting I was afraid to start, afraid to finish, and afraid to show. I was not being cute. I had lost my girl friend, Mcgurrin, to cancer years back and when I attempted to come to terms with it through art, when the time seemed right, I failed. Until the dream.
Morse Code Translation of the Painting:
~After Mcgurrin died I found grieving to be unbearable. I hated it. It burdened my soul and sleep. One morning I dreamed Mcgurrin was lying on a couch in what appeared to be the hull of a dark empty freighter. I was on my knees in front of her with two enormous hounds between us. They were monsters dogs snaring and howling and lunging at me, circling the couch blocking Mcgurrin. They were hell terrible, drooling blood and spit and pulse puking on the floor. My heart was breaking and I was crying tears in to their slop. Mcgurrin just sat with a peaceful unconcerned look on her face. I bent over on all fours like a dog and began to mop up their poison with my long hair drenching myself in it and wailing. I woke up shaking, wondering how a dream, for that matter the universe, could be so cruel. I thought about the dream for days until the fear it gripped in me began to translate. Mcgurrin was on her journey and she wasn't worried or hurting anymore. These hellhounds were my anger and pain, something I was indulging in, soaking up like an impotent Samson. A burden she would no longer tolerate in me, a dream she offered up in extreme imagery to force the healing to begin.
I don't consider this a successful painting, in the sense that it answers questions you start out with on a blank canvas. It is a raw moment in time stretched out passed it's shelf life, told from a blue broken heart

MOK's suicide

In a valley of green cobras and small boys, a tall black woman leaps from a taxi. Mok says "she looks happy, maybe shes going to a reunion". I am looking at my reflection in a window, long hair and a beard stubble. I listen intently to mok and say, "she's a guy silly". Mok, Maureen and I are getting our plane tickets on a tarmac from 2 asian girls in a coolaid stand, 50's stewardess hats and skirts. We take our sits by the window in a plane that never took off, it came into existence flying, been flying for years and dying from stress and metal fatigue, it's roaring, bleeding oil, we feel it's fuel boiling. From our seats we can see past the pilots, transparent, also dying from strain, wind and age. The plane is only a few feet from ground flying through a suspension bridge with the wings tips inches from clipping the arches on both sides. We are insane with fear watching the bridge and road rushing toward us. A pilot dies as we pass the bridge. The wings begin breaking apart severing trees and mailboxes along a country road. We watch as the plane cuts one last mailbox then spins and crash. Suddenly Mok is running ahead of Maureen and me to a fishing pond. 2 new asian women in a bait shop give mok a twisted up complicated syringe. Maureen is crying out and Mok jabs his palm. I can feel the poison from the distance enter his heart. He throws the syringe in the fish pond and I dive in to find it. The water's cold clear with train tracks on it's bed. The syringe is leaking purple ink. I wake wondering why Mok killed himself.


An older sister I never had stands in front of aluminum factory building. She is clad in leather telling me this industry is mine by birthright. She beckons me inside to learn the ropes. The work floor is dizzying stretching out of sight at a 70 degree incline, a looming wood hill impossible to climb. Massive work engines are smashed into the floor, steadily inching up the hill like prairie dogs, spilling out the splintered wood like overstuffed mail. I think I see men riding them. I have no idea how i am to run this factory. She waves me on through a door leading to an outside garden party. It is full of gentleman and children, grass and trees, food tables and swings. A buck-naked mok runs through the party hooting and cackling his way up to a giant loaf of baked bread. Resting like a school bus peacefully in the grass. Mok plunges his arms into it's end and pulls out two feet and ankles. Laughing and pulling he produces more leg and then with another pull a butt-naked girl that plops on the ground. Grabbing her hands mok lifts her upright and brushes off some bread crumbs. The two begin to cackle and run naked and free pass the party hooting out of sight. I wake up now.

Before Cities

part 1:
Before cities, before hunted herds, before time's movement, above a stream on a green hill I watch. The midday sky catches the shoulders of a clan of Korean women. Standing and kneeling their casual line mirrors the bank. I join them. I am as quiet as them. Between each of us and the river stand small saplings, slung in their tiny forked branches are working silkworms, one for each of us. We are mulling over their preparation, waiting for evening and the worms to complete a small silk blanket for us to rest our heads on. A peaceable wind, hinting of time's birth blows the finished silks off the saplings. We each collect one. One of the girls holds my hand and we begin to climb the hills in search of a perfect cliff ledge. One to sleep on for a 100,000 years, safe and undisturbed through ice ages and evolution. We look out at the panorama one last time and see that the others have done the same. She and I place our heads together on the silk and sleep. I awake alone, she did not make it. I vomit metal fillings and blood, all that remains of her and the silk. I know I have slept to long, pass the 100,000 years.
part 2:
I am on a stone balcony. I lean out and look a mile down and then a mile up at utter machinery and endless lit balconies. It is a perpetual night city, electrified, where families rarely leave the balconies they were born on. Behind me is this balcony's birth family. The moment one is born here a hovering tablet, sparking thin, chest high accompanies you like a humming bird through life. It is a electronic game, a coded, vibrating mosaic of neon chicklets embedded with the DNA of your desires. A hypnotic live cross section of your life that constantly reveals the patterns of your thoughts and body functions at any given moment. The chicklets spark and fade, mathematically dancing as you hedge your life, manipulating desired outcomes on the screen. it is all that people do anymore. I peer up the city and I see a gigantic floating tablet many stories high, the fruit of the most avarice merging their tablets with the liked minded, boosting the chance of a worthwhile moment. This family is small and poor, lost in the dread of the flickering that has replaced life. ~ I wake up.


It is night. I am lying down, face in the earth, under the stars near a tall standing woman. Islands of tree families layer the hills in great distance. Clothes are superfluous and the time of houses and buildings has passed. Under me is a rug that has scratched since he day I bought it, walking through an beggars bazaar flung over my naked shoulders. Patterned in its threads are the unreadable overlapping letters of "DO NOT KNOCK", shaping a squashed spider. Near us is a burned husk of a tower of the the last industry, a machine that sprayed ancient formstone. Snaking over my body are two metal sheathed power cables buzzing with current. Everything is damp from the evening. Multiply switches run the cable. The woman tells me I should risk turning them on. As I do faraway lights bulbs flicker on creating peaceful staging among the trees. We debate which ones to leave on and which ones to leave off. It is all we do now.

Go Fish

Tracy and I are in a bar, empty save one shabby man, unshaven grey, no chin with hunter cap. Lonely trucker like. Sitting on a bar stool he commands a raised ancient bowling arcade game. 16 feet long table with replicated wooden lanes with hinged plastic pin you strike with scaled down bowling ball. Florescent honky tonk lighting hangs overhead. He calls us over, "watch my fish" he says. The bowling table glimmers and undulates with water and strange objects. A shallow raised lip has converted the surface into a obstacle course pond for his orange and silver fish. The bowling lane wood and markings slimmered beneath floating water plants and a maze of jigsawed channels. Inflamed aquarium models poke out of the water mimicking an offworld harbor. The dude strikes a bowlers pose waving crumpled paper to get his fishes attention. With a practiced bowling move he tosses the paper down the end where pins once stood. Instantly the over sized fish flops through plants and deadin water mazes to fetch paper in mouth and in great distress and drowning struggle burst back his master who lowers fingers in to the water to retrieve paper. Smiling dude repeats this with ever more difficult placed tosses challenging his fish to swim into more dead ends, around more submerged wrecks he placed in the water...


In a city with Mikey. The city is a single continuous boulevard on a single hill, steep with no end in sight. No cars, only a system of trolley cars. We are riding one that is full of children. The driver is selling them ice cream, the city has no money so every trolley must pay for itself with an independent business. The trolley is decked out like a old fashion soda shop. It is too heavy to move. It is a failed attempt at independence. The driver ask us what favor we want. Mikey says he only "wants to drink his beer, and then drink another, and then drink another" he holds an oversized beer bottle. We are told to leave. We hop another trolley that is moonlighting as a firetruck. Water canons and ladders clog the aisle. Trolley drives to the top of the hill. I can't answer a question. My view of the city is hidden. Steel wool is growing in my mouth, I pull strains and more strains from my teeth. It tickles and I laugh...

Hill Country

It's morning and I am in the hill country, Uzigaha. No fence lines or harsh sun. Uncomfortably shirtless, I walk a path up a ridge with deer trails to my left and cedar canopies before me. I come upon a rapidly flowing stream. It's shaded with two young black teenagers lounging. One, as bored teens are want to do, grudgingly spoke to me. He had a long ivory black face with oil slicked back hair popular in the early jazz houses. He insinuated this was a no place to be and challenged the naturalness of it all. My half hearted attempts to justify myself seemed needy. He pointed to the glass shards in my bloody feet. Frustrated I entered the stream and bathed my torso. The boys spoke of a returning father. The water was cold so I continued up the trails to the top with the sulking kid at my side. Peering over an edge we saw a terraced slope carved into descending giant steps. The work of a feverish god rolling some tractor trailer up and down the hill pounding right angle creases into the abused rock. Each step and riser was bristling with a grid of tiles, miniature relief carvings no bigger than a tarantula in girth or height. Carved with renaissance imagery, court jesters and winter hamlets, courtesan beauties and street markets, cathedrals and walled entrances, hay filled wagons and domestic peasant life. Crops of art cascading down the hill painted in pastel and weather, gilded with gold leaf. Crops of art.

Short Sweet Sad

We are in a vehicle, unsure where, the front or back. A vast highway has reached the end of a mountain range and begins to dip down into a valley. Straight and true and steep we descend. Faster and faster. Far at the bottom we see the smallness of a settlement and its structures and homes, out of focus green patches. I am spinning. The speed and road levels out. I watched and I feel our white pickup, so it is a truck, flip head over heels inches in front of me and smash on the pavement. The sound is as you would expect. I am holding Tracy's hand and wondering how we were thrown from the truck without being hurt, how was it that we were just standing standing and watching. An invisible typewriter key strikes the letter "L" on her upper lip. We start to float. I realize we are dead and I am washed in sadness.

Noah's Dream

I dreamed that God came back from the dead and on a whim built himself a concentration camp to end all concentration camps. He grabbed in hand the ground and pulled so hard that all the land masses and seabeds ripped from their moor, stretching, floating, converging to him like a child pulling a fleet of carpet and rind. A 1000 pool-hall drunks miscuing all the planet's felt at once. He took all man's metal and built holding pens past the horizon. 2 by 2 he had filled them with all the starving animals of the world. I walk along the fence for a while and stood before some starving hounds. There is no food and they knew it. Past the pens was the quilted starving land, past the land is the starving forest, past the forest is the starving mountains, past the mountains the weather receded, itself starved and going. My eyes blur and in the dry dirt I see a small charcoal hippo no bigger than a beagle. She has tits with milk, The last food on earth. Like the baby Jesus I carry her to the emaciated hounds and put her down...they set on her and she breaks in two...a hollow shell... the last fraud on this last dream...



When I was asleep and dreaming
I witnessed a silver glint hiding high in the blue.
It was a vast glass and steel skyscaper,
and it's shadow spread like a slit throat over our lives.

It hit our town like a cop's cudgel, unrestrained.
Darkened knobs and jettisoned sprockets.
The powdered thud buried our dead for free.

We all knew it fell from the moon or stars
but when a smaller town...
down a smaller road...
could not adequitly explain some vacant lot.
We frowned and broke it to pieces
The weary bossed around gumbo of
carney justice, hiccup banjos
and a curdled milk spine.


She dried badly that painting
like a cupie doll
raised on winter sweat and sand
so much promiscuous cargo
tossed the grim reaper's way
She said take it back,
so I took it back
All those glib abbreviations
in prickly locomotion
lost on
the kind of sidewalk currents
you get that when hell craws outta ur ass.

It was never meant to be
that painting...


An angry float is
like mute hunchback
snake charming the city
in it's polite armor
someone's rubber eclipse in war paint
shilling above our safe graves.
It hampers my quality complaining time,
regardless, I'm clipping soylent green coupons tonight.


A water witch is suppose to find water
she pops and bends
then poundifies and fries
all the texture taboos
of a blinking ocean,
whittling freshwater
from the deputized snares
of our corralled tempers.
She's my alibi swirl
on this spittoon spinning planet
humming her beer bellied venoms
in seldom's damp crawlspace.


All hail the televised news!
At long last
the syrup of Jim Crow Buddhas
swaggered down their
gristle and bone mistake,
the molasses runt
tethered and promiscuous
sodomized the hangman's noose
a face first burst of dimestore honor
burying molecules and smothering monks
poor Baghdad
poor America
mangling the language of heavy lifting...

a gargoyle's peace.


On a palsied coastline
past feudal play things
and Roswell debris
there runs a spew of scientific deer
wary and u-turned
more indentured
than matchsticked
their glamorized surveillance on the edge
of nevermind.

I was ponzi-scheming there
all babooned and pitchforky
a descrotumed genie trouser
chinking the silver off shy frightened mirrors.
Sometimes I think we are not on a world,
cooking tongue radish and sleepy wheat
for a lot of grays
....maybe we never were.
He aint heavy, he's my planet.


It's all eeking-out the eek now
zoo bruises and window buzz
old gravity smell and crowbar whoosh
the pinching seas of binocular clay
shy penicillin
and hellsicles
My urine is striped
streaming out like a candy cane
bell clapper sad.

If the aztecs had discovered nuclear fission, would we still be here,
mistaking fresh cement for the early morning frost
....beware of suspension bridge trolls.


With a windshield heart
and a kickstand prick
beneath the sunfucking rib's
of derailed baby trains
gutterballs and walking bones
a shutter's released
the tongue is parked
it's time to paint,
bed sweat and funny smells.


One day the forest and mountain
will grow so tried of us
that as we sleep
in one blanket mass
all it's trees and birds and ground creatures
will dive to the deepest ocean floor

tongues not leaves
gills not songs
anchors not roots

a dilated land of pissed off sun
free of moist thoughts and snorkle industry
a very safe place to fly a kite.


Outside my window
umbrellaed flashlights moisten
a history hole
Gregory, the discarded, a gun smudge rorschach
of stomach contents and toy rocks
turns stand still yellow in
an alley turned twister mat
Here's a lessoning in tombstone obesity
"it aint over till the drip bag sings"
None is particularly strong to survive, we are just we.

Tipping the scales
like a trunk of Jesus rust
a migration of rough sex tornados
paused to shit
sterile toupees and cotton balls
medicating our flash powder patriotism
as one would fuck a rolled dollar bill.


I am a piecrust of a man
poked with toothpicks
released of all my steam
drizzling the drizzlables,
a codpiece stampede
drawing breath from nostrils
as perfect as a childhood snakebite.


Rifle aimlessly through Jesus's hurried suitcases,
I am sure he left the Armageddon there.

Lght oven...insert head....go to sleep....dream of global warming the way it should be.

If I turn the other cheek
it's because thats where I keep my venom sack
that communal syringe of "I don't think so!"
and discontinued politics.


News Flash: "Franco Won"

I went to see "Pan's Labyrinth" with high expectations but had to revise it as the movie went on. I see this movie as a muddy political venture made for adults and ergo fair game for interpretations other than it's fairy tale trolling. Guillermo Del Toro is Mexican, not Spanish, and he has delved into Franco's Spainish civil war before with "The Devils Backbone". So I get to ask of him the same I would ask of any current Spanish intellectuals/artists when dealing with that fascist victory era. Like, what the fuck happened to my country? You can't just use it as a backdrop and sally forth with a fairy tale unscathed. I'm very rusty on my Bruno Bettelheim (has history washed him away?) but I thought fairy tales empowered children for a dangerous world. And the point of authoritarian rule is to turn a nation into children. Del Toro has a lot to work with here. So why do I feel he gave us a get out of jail for free pass. I am a big sucker for movie magic, phantasy and special effects, but he crossed a weird apolitical line and spoiled this movie. The news flash here is Franco won, he died of old age, and those plucky heroes up in the hills, they all died died died first. They did not run circles around Key Stone cop brown shirts. Is this really fairy tale material where we are given a little princess (us, you and me) to escape these unfortunates with a few slight-of-hand yucky CGI quest. Peek your head out of the Never-Neverland hole and not like what you see and pop back in it?. That movie almost seemed comfortable shrugging off it's all to real violence with it's pixie dust escape clause. It's like he invented a new genre: the revisionist fairy tale. There was a chance for this movie to have worked for me. That was the important scene where the drugged Captain (Franco figure) walked up behind the princess holding her stolen brother. I could have had a choice here. See through her eyes, her conversation with the deceitful faun, and believe in fairy tale protection, or see through his eyes, a child talking into plain air, and realize sometimes there aint no magic and sometimes bad guys win, and what you going to do about that. But that is a stretch on my part so this movie pissed me off.
For my money a good fairy tale movie maneuvering around 20th century fascism is:
Volker Schlondorff's "The Ogre" with John Malkovich,
or the better Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom"

Gregory is Remembered

I half thought this would happen, quietly bit by bit new balloons and stuffed animals were lashed to my telephone pole. Friends and relatives paid their mylar and ducktape respect to fallen Gregory, one year to the day, to the event I have described here. This happened once before, a couple of months after his killing I left in the morning to go to the market. When I returned new shiney balloons floated over the old deflated ones and small toys were stuffed on top of the old exhaust grimmed ones. It took me a while to realise it was his birthday or it use to be until his deathday entered the calendar. Althought these offerings are crude and depressing I will never remove them from my alley. It is not my place and I wont interupt the flow and peace these childlike gifts seem to offer the family. Does the killing in Baltimore continue....duh...yes....did Gregory's murder shake some hopper to the bone, get him out off the corner...of course it did.

bottle diggers winter

Bottle diggers hit the side of my house this week. Boom boom my room was flickering. I have a delicate house, a single course brickwall structure that I believe will fall down from the minimal of everyday doings. So protection makes me run outside. Bottle digger's A and B were breaking through the concrete pad next to my wall with an man high crowbar. I know these guys from before, they're poking around for the civil war era outhouses, "privy". They come around here about every 3 years as they make their Washington, Baltimore, Annapolis circuit. They hit the sheered off, the "avert your gaze America", parts of our cities that are as broken as the porcelain crapper pots pulled from it's history holes. After breaking throught the cincrete digger A slant drills till he hits the brick lining of the original privy, using a long probe he claims it's square and 10 feet down. Outhouse soil pokes freely with no obstructions the whole way down. Digger B starts with his shovel and in 4 hours is unseen spelunking 8 feet down, serviced by a large tripod bucket & pullel system to bring up the dirt and treasure. Their finding the usual civil war era medicine bottles and pottery, nothing special. Buttons from pants too hurriedly removed from nature's sudden calls. They're searching for the illusive soda bottles made in Baltimore during the war era. All the cities in the east had local soda brands but all required a deposite for the bottle by the merchant. You drink your soda and you sure the hell took the bottle back for your deposite. Money is money and you aint going to throw it down the crapper. But if some one had a load of Boston or Philly sodas, your not likely to hussle up there for returns. So in Baltimore outhouses you find lots of Philly, Boston NYC soda bottles, the rare teasure is a local one. Is this a cool hobby or what? Digger C arrives to run the pulley and his mouth. I like him. Tells me about the broken toys they find, speculates about sibling rivalries where the loser gets their toy or doll thrown in the outhouse, gone forever. You didn't have many toys in those days. I ask digger C if he ever found an unopened medicine bottle. He controls a smile from behind his beard and tells of finding an pristine bottle of Piso's Cure, a concoction of all the known pain killing narcotics floating in an cannabis extract. He said he and a buddy dunked their joints in this 100 year bottle and proceeded to get more wrecked than humanly possible. Is this man lying? I don't think so, he still too happy..... They dug late into the night, flashlights. All said and done nothing worth keeping, gave me about 6 iridescent little med bottles, civil war era, they had zillions. The next morning I see the hole left half unfilled and a mound of dirt on the side walk, screwed again

Wed, January 11, 2006
gregory is murdered ll

My alley has come full circle. A week has passed. Candle wax and teddy bears replace police tape. A helium tombstone is tided to the telephone pole. Mylar replaces granite and blows like a haunt in the wind. Gregory. Dead guy has a name, a mother, sisters and enough friends to fill the alley for his candle light vigil. The family members have the quicky made t-shirts pulled over their winter clothes. A silkscreen picture of smiling Gregory surrounded by clip art hearts and the Lord's prayer. They look huge. So does Gregory's smile. Number one sister delivers a blistering sermon for her lost brother. Here, on this tainted ground she was was going to hammer away all the wrong that lead him to this spot with remembrence for a good and caring brother. She is immensely moving and mother sobs. I have no way of knowing if Gregory dealt out as much pain as was dealt to him that night. The drug game is vicious. From a cynical view, this is a broken record, caught in a groove played 100's of times in our blood and wax streets. But this was too close to home. So I went outside with my own candle and joined the vigil. Maybe it will never happen again, ever.

Mon, January 2, 2006
gregory is murdered

My alley is full of crime tape, the rain has gnarled it into muddy piles. Last night, after mid-night, I heard 3 quick bangs, could have been a gun or fireworks. I did what I am conditioned to do, nothing. 10 minutes later someone is seriously pounding on my door, the street is full of cops. A rag doll of a man lying dead in front of my door, half in the alley, half on the sidewalk. A policewomen calls me down outside, what did I hear, how many shots. She says it's a shame how young the victim is, wanting me to empathize incase I was holding something back. Someone called in the shooting but didn't leave a name, she thinks it might be me. I guess that's her method for dealing with people afraid to get involved. I have no info. I don't feel empathy, I feel lessened. I stay in the street and more cops arrive with flashlights and catch up gossip. Ambulance parks in front of my door and I watch dead guy on the gurney as he passes. His shirt is half removed with a bullet hole below his nipple, no blood, he died before he hit the ground. I don't regret watching, I just feel lessened. I go to my upstairs window. I over hear they have a name for the victim, he's got a drug record. Now it's raining and the flashlights have umbrellas. At the end of the alley over the tops of the police cars behind the tape a crowd has gathered to watch. Part of them looks like some of the aggressive drug dealers that recently started running the New York Fried Chicken corner. One among them is darting backing and forth making shooting gestures with his out stretched arm, like playing cowboys and indians from a more innocent time. It's dark, he is far away but he keeps making 3 shot pantomimes and I thinking, holy shit, this guy did it, there he is, there are the cops, one big cancerous game. This is so fucked up. Thank you War on Drugs, smashing job. Thank you gun manufactures, your products fill our every need, thank you justice system for opening a new prison every 15 days, thank you CIA for jump starting the crack epidemic, thank you drug dealers who embrace death, thank you dead guy for leaving your family with wonderful memories. Thanks for the lessening.
I get to clean up the crime tape...

astalavista, tookie

For a lot of us it is a given that the death penalty is never justified no matter the particulars of the crime, I am one, it's no big deal. But I don't tow the argument that it is wrong because it is unfair by race and class, or that it's process is too expensive. If that is the flaw, then all the State has to do is execute more affluent white folks, buy electric chairs from Walmart and potassium chloride from Canadian pharmacies. It is simple to me, don't give the State the power to kill, we are not at our collective best in this. Much goes unsaid within the care the authorities take to prevent the condemned from taking their own life, ergo cheating the system. Suicide watch on death row......how much social conditioning does it take not to see the absurdity in that. I am also stymied by the "closure" theme, how does that work anyway? How did that get morphed into a lynch mob mantra, a money back guaranty without scrutiny or PO Box.
I am not surprised Tookie was killed. It seems the whole battle was to deep six his redemption or embrace it. Define it, rate it, scale from 1 to 10. Peer into the soul, the ultimate Patriot Actor's voodoo, a warrant-less deep creep and peek. Feed this mystical data into the rectal port of a handy narcissistic cyborg and it's "astalavista, baby".
Most of the pro death hostility I found revealing was not directed at his refusal to apologize for the murders, he either did the crime or not, and so apologize or not, but at his refusal to snitch. The gist was, how could Tookie do so much good educating kids with his books and brokering peace among gangs but not comply to be a revolving door witness for the courts to prosecute old gang activities. For those books and himself to be taken serious I think he had to be seen as an unbroken force, unbowed to power and still speak through the ground rules of the street. Change it from within. Power can't tolerate that. I am not romanticizing here, just observing this is the way of the world, especially for the outsider. He defined himself as a perpetrator and victim in a fucked up system so he wasn't going to turn around and be a tool of the same justice system. I think his clemency hung on this and so he was doomed.
Now I am going to mix apples and oranges. In the spirit of these times how was the establishment not going to kill Tookie? How were they going to with a straight face spare the life of a complicated story like Tookie while at the same time coerce from us a simple guilt free blessing for the daily land, sea, and air rain of death on the people of Iraq? Killing is political currency for many. How you going to be squeamish about a 12 minute "in vein drilling" to a gurney strapped Tookie when "water boarding" is soon to be a indispensable Boy Scout merit badge.... with proper adult supervision of course.....scotty

4th Mayor's Cultural Town Meeting

I made it through the crappy weather last night to the 4th Mayor's Cultural Town Meeting with guess speaker topic, "Why Invest In Culture". I've Been to all the meetings, find them rewarding, connecting, feel good gatherings about Baltimore art scene. But whoa, last night, what a soulless wish I had read the fine print not gone affair. If, as it looks, the corporatize feeding frenzy of civic life as won and their crowd gets to sit pretty on the panels managing the "noblesse oblige" how do you distinguish good from bad money. There is bad money isn't there? I find it hard to sit judgment free and applaud as The Maryland State Arts Council man Phillips from Lockheed Martin Foundation brags about it's companies spirited $600,000 yearly art grants. What is that, the cost of a replacement windshield for a hefty flying war machine. Can you return the cash to these people in exchange for canceling a Raptor Stealthfighter..... Can His
presentation ending bombshell that Lockheed Martin landing the contract to build the new White House presidential helicopter made me think I was in the wrong building.
According to the Arms Trade Resource Center, Lockheed Martin gets $105 from each U.S. taxpayer and $228 from each U.S. household. In 2002 the company was effectively taxed at 7.7% compared to an average tax rate for individuals of 21-33%
The world's #1 military contractor, responsible for the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes, F-16, F/A-22 fighter jet, and Javelin missiles. They've also made millions through insider trading, falsifying accounts, and bribing officials. Military contracts 2004: $20.7 billion. Campaign contributions in 2004: $1.78 million (defense related) $1.9 million (total) This Bethesda, Maryland-based company is the world's #1 military contractor as well as the world's largest arms exporter. Lockheed Martin built the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. Today they make F-16, F/A-22 jet fighter, Hellfire and Javelin missiles, as well as designing nuclear weapons. Its F-117 stealth attack fighters were used to "shock and awe" the population of Iraq at the start of the US invasion, while since the start of that war the Air Force has increased production of Lockheed's PAC-3 Patriot missile – which cost $91 million per copy. ......continued > http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?list=type&type=9 <
Was not all a wash, as always Martin O'Malley showed he has a deep appreciation and extended hand to our art community, and I now know how our Sowebo non-profit signs up for a DUNS & BRADSTREET number, heaven forbid we be left out of the Creative Industries surveillance. .continued....
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
Last night I watched as much TV news as I could stand. It's sickening. Where in the hell are the helicopters, why aren't they commandeering Perrier trucks and dropping them all over that city. New Orleans is turning into Grover Norquist's bathtub right in front of our eyes. I wonder how the media is going to play up or shoot down the stories about all the competent people who have left FEMA, discouraged and bullied by the cutbacks.
We often speculate why this country went to war, but as far as Bush's personal motivation, best take him at his word. His narcissistic reading of history told him that WAR presidents get their agendas pushed through, no questions asked. If given the opportunity to be a WAR president, he'd grab it, bang bang shoot shoot. No questions asked.
Bye-bye Miss American pie, drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee....was not as important as Fallujah.

Camp Casey

OK, it's Baez, cringe a little, but take heart that there no is expiration date for an anti-war voice, no diminishment inflicted by the smearing of 60's counter culture or it's fickled fading stars. The war dog's ridicule doesn' t get to hold a USDA Inspection Stamp to our exposed rumps. It's true the radical right with money, anger, and patience has retooled much of this country's weird fragile ego. Yelling and sneering answers to the mysteries of life. Their gargoles and castrati pour the snakeoil over our amnesia conveyor belt, and the blinking Dems stare enviously as Bush picks at the scabs of a smirk war. Their not blowing up Cindy's movement because she hangs with silly people, their blowing her up because she is a disturbance in their crystal ball, staring back at them with a history where they have lost.
Direction and velocity Mom....
So when George finishes his nap down in Crawford, move this camp of hope and remembrance to all the WAR enabler's offices, demand from HIllary Rodham Clinton the answer to the same question, "what noble cause will more sons die for in this war you embrace and finance. That's when the Cindy's Mom movement will start turning over the furniture...

Marticks Rumor Control

Rumor control......... Marticks French Restaurant is not closing. So says Morris. For those he don't know, Marticks from the late 60's has been a sanctuary, a purgatory, a schmuck bootcamp, a free meal, a $20 to get you through the weekend, a lesson on the unfairness of life, an out of the frying pan into the fire best job you ever had to hundreds of artists, especially during their Institute (MICA) years. He is one of a kind. So says I.
Trust me , we will know when Marticks closes.......the day Morris calls it quits, from mortal coil or other, 214 W. Mulberry will crumble to dust, much the way every movie prop castle of Dracula's crumbles when that stake finds it's mark. Puff....all over. Live TV news helicopters will hover over the hole wondering what the hell happened..........
So how in the hell has it outlasted Louie's and who cares?
I went with the original bunch from Marticks that Jimmy Rouse syphoned off when he bought the old Krammer Books and Afterwords and turned it into Louie's. Some folks might not know it but Jimmy was a schmuck waiter for Morris for many years, schmuck being the class conscious pride you hold in knowing all you really do is feed human sheep for chump change, making sure their mitochondria survives another day. Jimmy was notoriously in the kitchen for ordering in a palsy alphabet cobbled together from Roswell crash debris. I cooked for a lot of grays. Morris spoke their tongue. Louie's may have been bigger, meaner, faster, but it still harbored a little Martick's absurdity, you could trace the infection back to patient zero: Morris.
But until then...ringing the bell with garlic around my neck........scotty, one of Morris's illegitimate schmucks.....

SoWeBitch and Whine
Letter to the Citypaper in response to Charles Cohen's www.citypaper.com/news/story

Oh sweet easy money. I bet a fortune in hell bank notes that the City paper was incapable of writing an article about this year Sowebo Festival without turning it into another hatchet job on our neighborhood. It's been about a year since the last one and sure enough along comes Charles Cohen's June 8 "All Quiet on the Southwestern Front". Forget about opening your eyes and ears to the amazing festival so many strove so hard to create that day. More noir traveling down memory lane to last year's cop melee, picking at the scab, feeling the pulse of the traumatized, simmering up the anxiety we might have with the police this year. I'll let you on to a little secret, we got over it. We had great up to the last minute communications with the police and have nothing but good things to say about their service this time round. Look, sorry we couldn't supply you with a riot again, sorry the 50 bands bored you, sorry the 80 arts & craft vendors and Carriage House art show didn't catch your eye, sorry the children played and painted, sorry the weather was great and the beer flowed, sorry this was one of the most successful festival in years. Jesus, of all the photos you could pick from an 9 hour festival you choose the sad closing moment of a palooka busted by the cops, and I don't mean to take anything away from Frank Klein's great photography, I mean to take away from the Citypaper's lazy inability to connect to our community. I know you are not obligated to write a boring fluff piece on a stupid neighborhood festival. But as community with so many challenges that manages year in year out to pull this festival off we expect more than to be a backdrop for a police blotter. I don't know why the Citypaper has it in for us. Maybe you never forgave us for losing those watering holes so long ago. But hey, what the hell, anytime you need a bogeyman to scare the bejesus out of some upstart urban living experiment, I am glad we are here for you. Boo! Corner drug dealers. Boo! Section eight housing. Boo! No familiar restaurant bars to get drunk in.... As far as the positive happenings in the hood, we included those in a letter last year as a rebuttal to a previous hatchet job, you're not getting it twice.

Jim Crow Buddha

So suckered and so brutally disappointed. It could be the election was stolen, nickeled and dimed and rigged throughout the system. But hoping that is true doesn't take the spiritual whipping out of what just happened. It is really hard to accept that this god cult America sees George Bush as a Joseph Campbell reluctant hero, forced to rise above his weaknesses and become bigger than the sum of his flaws. Bush is bulletproof to them, Mt. Rushmore worthy, his lies are scripture. It is madding. Not to long ago the moral challenge in the South was to risk all in the fight for civil rights and all the human dignity that falls in place with that. But the resentment sure has turned full circle. The new Southern moral virtue is to bare any hardships, wars, crappy jobs, crappy schools, triage doctoring, and strike a righteous blow against the liberals that now stand in the way of their personal relationship with Jesus. End the New Deal intrusions that interferes with their personal relationship with Jesus. Shut up this science that interferes their personal relationship with Jesus. Outlaw the complexity of human pairing that interferes with their personal relationship with Jesus. Is George W their Martin Luther King or Mussolini?, Il Duce was a bumbling ridiculed fool too.
Ever since I was 14 I have been getting away with murder. Meaning this has been a permissive, push the envelope, eyes wide open america to grow up in. Pretty much could listen, read, see, say, think what I wanted to. Rude, beautiful, inspiring, scary, but possible because the horizon seemed always going and going. The god cult is here to put it all back in a bottle. Make us 14 again, cut off those paths. They will fail. I don't know when they will put Fred Flintstone and superstition in the textbooks. I don't know when they will up the dose of rat poison in Rehnquist dinner bowl, turn abortion into breeding, start hurting gays, but they will fail. The government is in enemy hands, we're 14 again and in it for the long haul! Alexander Cockburn wrote that Bill Clinton was the most successful political retreat in American politics. If the corporate democrats can't figure a damn thing to do about this then leave'm behind.....scotty

Brother, can you spare a dime?

To all the museums that forbid photos and sketching, and for the sake of all the fragile copyrights, maybe we should check-in our eyes with our coats and cameras before entering. They are the culprits that desire, the Achilles heel of copyrights, the chiseling at the amber. Or maybe a chemical inducing amnesia spray on the way out the exit to fog the memory and spare the art from inappropriate reproduction....A Phillip K Dick solution for museums where everything is new and never seen before or victim to coping. The good news is I spent xmas in NY and went to the new MoMA. There they refuse to check your camera. You are free to take all the pictures you want. So I took macro close ups of their Beckman and Guston's for no other reason than that I could. It's like all of a sudden the zookeeper said it was OK to feed the tigers. Joyous!
My 2 cents on not a Damn Dime. I wonder what Yip Harburg would think of this as we are asked to flip him on his head. He asked us to imagine what it is like to lose the dignity of the dream and work and to be reduced to asking for just one spare dime. Course it wasn't a panhandlers anthem, it was a call for just society. Fast forward 73 years and the country is back in the hands of unjust visionaries and Damn Dime brainstorms an asinine protest of tinkering what day corporate america ledgers in our money in the plus column. I'll follow the advice of Yip and DBS....etc and pick a needy group to spare a dime, but it a cautionary choice......http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html . Just as the revolution will not be televised it will not be a debt on my Visa card.
I entered the Maryland Institute the last year of Bud Leake as president. He was a great great guy and painter and his longevity had to be a gift brought on by his connectedness with painting and nature. Craig Hankin, you were lucky to have been his friend all these years......scotty

Hey Mister, that voting machine ate my coin!

I have been going through a lot of political soul searching these past months, trying to reconcile a principled Nader vote as this reality based world gets freaking unbelievable. I reach in my pocket for a 3 side coin and only retrieve a line drawn in the quicksand for a flippant taunt. But borrowing from scfi talk, "we have an aberration in the timeline Bones". 9 Bush 11. He wasn't suppose to be here, this messianic late bloomer with the executioner's twinkle. We weren't supposed to be bewitched with the transformative powers of dark limitations. We were suppose to be taking on the gonzo capitalism, naked globalism, balancing earth back with truces and good science. Instead we got the aberration, neither tweedle dee nor tweedle dum, but a folksy pruned cruelty that hoodwinked grief into horizonless war. Not even likable Kerry will pull the plug now and let the blood dry, that would evidence. I am winching, goo goo g' joob. Bush is a shit eating zombie, the big amigo, the empowering smirk, with the disturbingly punctuated winch at the end, as if he is remembering that exact moment back behind the barn when his hands tightened around the neighbor's cat and cracked it's larynx. Winch. It's there in the eyes. Now I am getting cruel, but the whole idea of a curious future on the ropes is demoralizing..... We propped up a tyrant for oil, we broke a country for oil, now the country is going to have a civil war, and there is nothing like a turkey shoot to start the whole process all over again. "Here's your Oscar Bush", avant garde pioneer of underground beheading films. I wonder if President Kerry will lift the photography ban for our coffin draped sons and daughters landing at Dover? The fact that there is not a product placement moment during the debates.... means only we were gipped.
I still believe in Nader's clarion call against the corporate hijacking of participatory democracy. It is the truth that both parties unify around to hide. But his unwillingness to call a timeout on this, no matter how the democrats and republicans seesaw back and forth on cultural issues, is a huge gamble. He is asking us to confront the corporatazation of our lives first, and ignore the puffed codpiece tangled in the puppet strings. But it is becoming harder for me wrap my mind around a strategy that has been so utterly and viciously isolated that I might very well forfeit my voice for the day after the election, when the shit will hit the fan. When the prospect of another stolen presidency can't be accepted. Maybe Nader can't wrap his mind around the aberration.
So do I have to dumb down my world view to fight this superstitious god boy, ride a candidate that brags as a young man he once answered the call to burned some witches? The swift boat frauds, the yin to his yang. Got, what is it, 1 day to decide. Looks like Nader is trying to influence a future he will to old to rumble in, but maybe I am still to young and scared to imagine.
The pragmatists are in full bloom. It means the system is not broke and we just have to work hard to de-fang the extremist. That Nader is a waste of time. A side of me wants them to be right. But I flail in dialectics and see Nader as part of the symptoms/contradictions of a 2 party system that is breaking. The problem here is the 2 party system is breaking under top heavy corruption. How can a country so diverse and complicated be shackled with a 2 sided coin toss for our representation and creative visions. Any 3rd party (and by the way do you know how silly that sounds, like children counting on their toes, 1, 2 , ah... 3 , no....stop..., no 3's yet, we're not old enough for 3's.... ) candidate who dares speak their mind is a spoiler in this winner take all schoolyard. No wonder these campaigns boil down to baby talk sound bites. In a parliamentary government Nader would be an accepted power block seating in office wheeling and dealing along side many other voices this 2 party system shuts out. Allows for the possibility of a nuanced citizenry, blemishes and all. I really fear for our system, it is turning us into 5 year old cowboys and indians. I have a more shrill take on these times and believe those internal compromising and engineering behind the walls of power is too obscured. Don't believe we experience them as de-facto proportional representation. The question I and others are asking of ourself, is it broke enough to go down to the wire, to be as risky/reckless now as I was 3 months ago. Is the polarization as deep as the hype.. I am afraid of Bush and Co. But they didn't come flying out of the head of Zeus, they've been power building through the cultural clashes and working class contradictions while the Dems were watered down their spines at the DLC cash registers. Are they something that can be put back in the bottle to collect dust with a 2 sided coin? This aberration? I'm not happy with my answer, poor me. Nader is basing his candidacy that progressives are permanently locked out of the dems, big money is the currency of deals and compromise. It was never about actually holding office. A perpetual stalemate describes equal powers refusing, a perpetual shaft describes rebellion. Who's door at the democratic HQ do you knock on to start compromising with, what button on the elevator do you push and how many clearance badges do you wear, how much money in an envelope do you bring to show your good faith. The "shut up hippy" DLC runs the applause meter while thinking adults are hardened into clobbering time aficionados.
Frankly I don't give a rat's keister that cynical republicans have helped put Nader on ballots, they are after all my fellow Americans, destructive wood rot, but powerless to make you vote for him once you step into the booth. That little mystery is all up to Kerry's and Nader's story. If it can't be said any different then say Nader didn't lose Florida for Gore, the people who voted for Nader lost Florida for Gore. It aint about Nader, it's about voters that didn't get their issues addressed by the dems. Riddle me this, why do 50% sit it all out.
So what am I going to do. I will be living in the contradiction, I will trade votes with a Nader supporter in a swing state to allow him or her to vote for Kerry. I'll vote here for Ralph for them. In higgley-piggley essences I am handing Kerry a vote he was not getting in a state where it counts while threatening him not in state that is already his. He gets a two-fer ....wooosh, dizzy. It's my illusionary foray into proportional representation farce.....scotty

Where will this Luddite romance power has with technology go, love it, hate it, use it, smash it, buy it, ban it.

Artmob thread:
Anyone who wants to truly be liberated needs to understand what Orwell was writing about and think long and hard about his message.
The only way to avoid corruption of thought is to resist joining.
I have problems with that. I have been heavily involved in "group think" before and came out okaley dokaley. There has been so much failed potential this century that I can see the want for a moral security, to never be accused of being as flawed as your enemy, or told you're no better than your opponent, to stay out of the fray. But to use it as a moral bludgeon to assume others bad faith, to predict deception, kinda harsh. Safe and sound, chiding messy history pretending the social quantum mechanics of clean hands has no guilt. Whether Orwell likes it or not you can hold to the idea that you are correct and that others are wrong and try to make the world better by it. Surprise, the human frailty for corruption, hypocrisy, capacity for violence smolders in social movements. Could be a brave thing is to fight it within as a participant. It is the risk in engaging in change, the constant . And I am not talking about that "you've got breaks some eggs to make an omelet", not the purposeful decision for force, but the brutalizing of ones moral principals within your actions, "animal farm stuff". At the end of every Flintstones show there's Fred putting the sabretooth tiger out the front door, only to have it sneak back in and lock him out. Funny as hell. What Fred didn't get was the sabretooth lived there too and there will never be a night when he isn't going to have to throw the cat back outside. The same is true with the perverting of your groups idealism, it lives in the house too, not a guest or burglar, and you gotta throw it out every night. How nice that Orwell can sit this one out. So rattle off histories horrors, I'll not disagree with any of them but to say they happened because the good people got out maneuvered in the rush. Rattle off histories successes and the opposite is true.I object to exaggerating the motives of anti-war and other progressive moments and then throw a prickly Orwell in to close the deal. A lot of wise people have thought long and hard on what went wrong with the 20th Century and that can include criticizing Orwell. We all get carried away with our heros, I have been guilty of that recently over Nader, and I will monitor it, but just saying Orwell said it so doesn't mean ones intentions are destined for darkness working where he chose not to go. If it turns out you have different definitions than Orwell then you can't hang on his every word.Especially if such channelling comes up with Moore is America's Goebbels.
There is always a time you are flirting with disaster by not organizing.

Fahrenheit 666

Been in the shadows during some interesting post, wanted to join in with Ricardo & DSB on pragmatism but a day late dollar short, if you all ever do it again....But I saw 911 opening night. The lesson here is that Moore's film is WAR TIME PROPAGANDA during WAR TIME. Use it or lose it, the clock is ticking. The Europeans know this, it wasn't the best film at the 2004 Cannes Festival it was the one with a lit fuse. We live in an topsy-turvey sometimes murky free society, Moore spread his agitation in Megaplexes instead of secret drops, and hollowed out bibles. If you think your time is best spent in "crossing the T's and dotting the I's" arguments with rightwingers, knock yourself out. Wanna use it to elect Kerry, heave ho. Me, I will use it as ammo for my support of Nader. Put down the popcorn, Bush is bringing the war home and this "play fair Mr. Moore" is a diversion. If they don't like it let Let Mel Gibson make Fahrenheit 666. Moore's a big smorgasbord of outrage. Take the cleaver and hack off what you crave and get out of line. What fattened me up were the Senate floor scenes of Al Gore, gavel in hand, officiating, over his own demise. Laugh or cry. Forget for a moment that the film framed it as one black caucus member after another being shot down and humilated, but see it as a
party that was so incapable of taking on the radical right because it had long ago stop talking to its progressive left. And those Mandarins have the nerve to say Nader lost their election. I am gaining a lot more respect for Ralph these days. Not many people would do what he is doing, sacrificing a life time of good work and flaws to this short term memory crucifying as he makes one last political stance. All these crocodile tears for his legacy and sanity. Means nothing if participatory democracy passes in history like his Corvair. So bite, scratch, claw, howl, and snarl Ralph in one last moral campaign, plant a few seeds and die never being president. You only got a few years, your old. 20 years from now when President Bush & President Kerry are mere ledger entries in the corporate expenditure columns we are going to revisit Nader's burn out and see it for what it is, that the invasion of the body snatchers was real and corporate control over our country, culture, and bodies dwarfs Nader's so called ego.......scotty

Sowebo Festival Cop Riot

Hello mobbers...been a long time since i posted, been busy, and would have preferred my first post in such a long time would be about more pleasant things. I am tried and upset so bare with me. A few of you are wondering about what happened at the sowebo fest and the cops saying "i was there, had a wonderful time and i didn't see anything". Well, very few did because it happened in the cover of dark, late, when a number of police officers decided to violently shut down the last 2 stages and have a little miniature melee. We are still dumbfounded and want answers. How do i know this? I spent most of today with fellow fest organizers piecing together a timeline and narrative and then attending the meeting at the Broom Factory called by some people who experienced this crap and wanted voice and justice to what happened to themselves and friends. I started out the day very suspicious of their motives leery that some had political agendas that might not serve sowebo well. So far I am wrong, I walked away feeling these were decent people of different backgrounds who came to enjoy the festival but had enough political savvy to know you need to speak out to an injustice. I and also frustrated because i was just around the corner from the Arlington Street stage moving around to much and didn't witness the violence, only the repercussions, and I have to piece things together events through others filters. This is not the time for a definitive recap, we still have another meeting of info gathering and at this point to be honest we probably possess a mix of enough true and false info that we will have to retract stuff. We have plenty of witnesses. Brief. No names. Southern District cops patrolled the day and we think we have a good relations with them. It is after 9pm and most people have gone home, Market Stage & Outlaw stage are over. Cops do their first heavy handed take down arrest of 2 "punkrockers" one with a dog. On, a girl is known to us. I scooted up to see her and had my first experience of the night that these cops had out of proportion attitude. I mistook her for a garbage bag at a cop's foot the way she was handcuffed. We have been told that around this time a radio report went out "a cop in distress", her arrest might have triggered that. She was that threatening. 10 or so patrol cars with paddy wagon arrived setting up a command post at Hollins and carrollton + carey. These we believe were Western District. They should have seen this for what it was and gone back on patrol. Instead they brought with them a confrontational "we don't need to talk to anyone in charge" policy and proceeded to moved down Hollins turned on Arlington with swat like mannerisms. The first of them went into the sound tent and on to the stage and ordered a stop and everyone leave. They never asked to speak to an organizer although we were there with our staff t-shirts on. I witness this and when it was obvious the stage was complying i scooted down to the tribe stage, for whatever reason some some angry cops were shutting us down. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. It was during this time that that more cops entered Arlington and in front of many our organizers eyes started to clear the dark street clubbing people. They pulled one guy down , held him and tasered him 3 or 4 times. There was loud screaming and disbelief. It is the subjective opinion of our witnesses that they targeted people with rastafarian hair. One of the fest workers kept a digital camera on the video setting and tried to keep pace with the unfolding without being seen. The imaging is bad but the audio tells the story. Lots of screaming and why are you doing this. People starting clearing out fast and many left up Hollins including Keisha, her husband, children and Mother Saray with cops following. They were going to their car to leave. They were taking down hard, dragged, put in paddy wagon, in front of their children. She is pregnant and attending todays meeting. She faces court. So far 5 arrest, with 2 women to go to court. We are still waiting for more info on those who got hit but not arrested, they went home and maybe a little frightened. The cops then moved down to the better lighted Tribe Stage and Carriage House and ordered everyone off the street or be arrested. I believe the quick thinking of one the fest leaders there on that stage got people in in time to prevent a second waylaying. We are still learning of more events. I just talked late tonight to a long time sowebo res who was walking home past the patrol cars and was hit blind-sighted and thrown into one of the cars. He managed to get cops name limped home. He calls the police later to complain about being struck and they sent the very officer + 2 who hit him to to take his statement...this officer then calls him a fucking liar. I will stop now. Will I have to retract some of these statements, probably, will new ones be added, count on it. All I know is when I finally felt safe enough to scoot home through the gauntlet of cop still mulling around long after their party there was palatable air of "we own this and you are game". I buzzed by 3 cops joking, one with his baton in hand acted out kung fu moves with celebratory glee. I got to tell you, I know this is small potatoes and a pretty puny in the world as it is now. But this is my community and we worked hard to make a great festival, this was the biggest event the young people that make up the Tribe ever did and it bonded them to sowebo. And at the very last moment when it's time to hug and celebrate they treated like this from public servants......this aint over, we are pissed, let the internal investigations begin.

Available now
Dan Keplinger review:

Expressionistic figure painting, so close to the edge, often settles for a truce with desire. Towson artist Dan Keplinger born with Cerebral Palsy but given a voice through painting never flinches. Connecting and communicating with a powerful understanding of line and color Dan's journey into art freed his spirit and body to express himself beyond the walls thrown up at disabilities.
Painting with a brush in his headgear Dan moves paint exploring the uncharted territory of self and friends in large powerful portraits. Their luminous faces emerge from a purposeful dark palette crackling with the memory and voyage of the moment. Capturing the changes in people and himself is an important component of his art. A life in motion is never the same face twice and Dan's portraits have the brave beauty and reckless range of an examined life. His still lifes and wheelchair series have a charged disembodied feel that seem to pierce to his relationship with the material world.
Dan is represented by the New York Phyllis Kind Gallery but thanks to the strong commitment from the Fleckenstein Gallery he will have his first solo show here. His new work is a meaty fleshly series, showing the joyous carousing of friends with a drink or two in hand embracing and tweaking life. Dan's story is documented in Susan Hadary's film "King Gimp" which won the 2000 Academy Award for short documentary. He is "King Gimp," a battle cry for the spirit

RADAR, again

The Oct 25 unveiling of the Media Deconstruction Kit at the Digital Media Center of Johns Hopkins University is the brainchild of Secretary Randell Packer and Wesley Smith from the The Department of Art Technology. In a world were our plumage strutting warrior president can play dress up the DAT likewise dawns the make believe the trappings of power vowing revolution against the right wing media domination of our receptors, to tweak them with their own weapons. This artist driven hydra-headed call to arms is a shadow government residing in the democratized virtual world linking artists with in the Experimental Party and Tel-Span. As it's embattled Secretary Packer's claim ""We will confront corporate control of mass media, We will appropriate with magisterial fearlessness, transforming CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News into magical images, and bring about the systematic reordering of the senses through the deconstruction of live, broadcast media." Victory by 2004. This has roots far back to the French surrealist. On theTel-Span website artist Andy Dick's video "Ad Infinitum" serves back the commodity gaze and Rick Silva's "Grandmaster Bush" The Oct.25 unveiling of the MDK at Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center is a different story
This first demo for their "there is nothing wrong with your television set, we control the horizontal, we control the vertical" do it yourself software was pretty toothless for all it's confrontational claims to power. How susceptible is a power that has mastered media so well that can embrace simultaneously a crayola Jesus, war, and a narcissistic millionaire cyborg is the first demo that doesn't rise much past kaleidoscope tinkering of CNN and Fox. But getting down the serious Luddite brass and tacks world serious shit going down in the front lines, stirrings in the union strike meeting, the community soup kitchens, the boisterous PTAs and church gatherings, and antiwar campaigns who desperately reach for artists to help articulate undefined rumblings.
Propaganda that leapfrogs the real worlds problems with winking befuddlement ends up being big fish in little pond campus agitation. Becomes a looped sneer and makes about as much sense as Sue Coe doodling on a sidewalk at ground zero the day after. Didn't a wise man once say "the revolution will not be televised. I can't help but seeing Carl Rove and W high 5-ing themselves knowing the how safe they are if the extent of political awaking over here is the confrontational free high tech scribbling on the man on the TV screen to block out what he is saying. Broadcasting and make believe dispatches from a embattled fictitious federal department.
meat and potato.

Artmobile post on pertual motion.

Politics and art.... I have an idea for a perpetual motion machine. Build a giant gerbil running cage and fill it with politicians. Just out of their reach dangling some sneering artist on a rope. As the enraged politicians run uselessly in place trying to get the artists they spin an axle that drives a turbine generator in a liberal arts university that churns out an endless supply of politician and artist replacement fuel. Patent pending. Hey Ricardo, rant away! They are spoiling for a fight. Your dissection of PC's bastard birth, though brutally long, can't be improved on. I see these young warriors of the American right and their spiritual gurus as damaged goods. They are on the losing side of evolution and are desperately fighting back. How else would you describe these Tom Paine's of privilege who insist that the most noblest form of free speech on campus is the return of high octane ridicule of "the other". Laughing stock poverty is the rightful position of most of the world so you losers get over it. Capitalism of consumptive pleasure trumps everyone, thing, and mother earth and you New Dealers wasted a half century of wealth accumulation on undeserving hands. And on they go. Would you agree this is all smoke and mirrors and that these well funded college conservatives agendas aint really about the right to tell "uppity coon" and "femiNazis" jokes but to put the genie back in the bottle, reversing the material gains of progressive movements from the New Deal on. And they have bigger fish to fry too: the anti-globalization troublemakers.
As surprising as it might sound I agree with Steve that we need to cut ourselves a break when jumping to judge art with political theory. We live in compartmentalizing times and feminist theory carries a tempting big axe to a history overgrown with infestation. I am still enough of a Marxist to know feminism was inevitable and like everything else contained contractions to be abused. Called growing pains. Can be sloppy or brilliant but it has rubbed off on all of us now. I am grateful for another ism in my tool box. These ism are handy wedges to pound aside obstructive boulders of an unexamined life. I just not sure art is a boulder anymore, its more a slippery primordial soup meant to be ladled out in obscene proportions. I know sexist art when i see it, can't help it, the genie is out of the bottle, no going back. But I have seen some provocative sexist art that IMHO is great art. Robert Crumb comes to mind, god bless Robert Crumb. And I have seen IMHO some really bad art whose soul reason to be made was an ernest swipe at sexism. Might be the best art blurs our demons together. At the end of the day you gotta ask yourself is the accumulating zeitgeist floating around in your head the better or the worst with this piece of art whirling in it. Years ago Katie Brennan had 2 German women students staying with her while they traveling the states. We were talking on her porch about film theory and I said how much I like Tarkovsky's film adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, unaware that feminist studies had deconstructed Tarkosky and Lem and found both of them wanting. So I got a lesson. I had pretty much read all of his books but had never noticed that Solaris was set in motion with the the hero burdened with the guilt of a weak women and that Tarkosky film upped the ante of the women's drain. They won the day and I felt really crappy trying to reconcile a great artist with sexism. But they lost too denying 2 visionaries their due. But thats how we are when we're young, we huff and puff. I hope I am off that horse for good now, believing art is all about evolving and cutting yourself and other artists a little slack for our petry dish trespasses. (although their will always be totally asinine work out there to flip your wig.....like MDK). This year I reread an early Lem novel "Return From the Stars". In the jacket it had an older Lem reflecting on how he would not write the book now in the same way, to much brawn in his men and to little expression in his heroine. He wasn't knuckling under to anyones theories, just evolving. Soups on!