Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Favorite Picture Combination Ever.

If I were a real artist I'd make stuff like this all the time.

first photo mine, second photo David Wood. Read More......

Monday, September 14, 2009

You're coming, aren't you?

ARRRRGH! Promises to be a hellishly good time. Bring food! I'm going to be a NINJA! Read More......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

European Bike trip video vol. 1

I started editing some of the footage I shot in Europe this summer and it fell nicely into place in little 3-5 minute installments. I'm not sure if this is the final iteration of this footage, but I like using the music we encountered along the way to frame the experience. Let me know what you think!

If your computer doesn't like the vimeo link I'll have a Youtube version up soon. Read More......

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Civil Rights and Civil Disturbance

The world is filled with lions for causes, people so devoted I am in awe. I just left a screening of William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe put on by the SLC Film Center and the ACLU of Utah.

William Kunstler was a rabble-rousing figure all through the generation preceding my own, and I'd previously only heard of him as the famous attorney who defended the Chicago 7. The only reason I know about that is because of the excellent and beautiful Sundance Documentary Chicago 10, which I strongly suggest checking out.

Anyway, the short of it is that Kunstler fell from grace because after some landmark Civil Rights cases he started defending anyone who was an undesirable underdog, and some people are just... undesirable, like rapists and mob bosses and investment tycoons. Disturbing the Universe is the investigative documentary, made by his openly conflicted daughters, about what his life's work was really about, whether he was a noble freedom fighter or a irritating fame-hogging contrarian.

I loved the film, and its rising theme. I (and the film, i think) basically came to the conclusion that we as citizens have to be constant skeptics, distrusting the legal institution's mechanisms, if we are to form a more perfect system. What Kunstler did, again and again, is expose the unspoken and hateful flaws behind our existing laws that resulted in prejudicial and hypocritical acts in the name of justice. He did this by being a constant agent provocateur, by prodding the parts of the system which were most ingrained, assumed, and inflammatory.

He sums it up best in the film's climactic speech, which I can't find a copy or a transcript of (people are dumb with their protectiveness of their footage), but its gist is this: That we have this idea that everything that happens under a legal system is in accordance to the law, so those under trial get their due defense. This idea allows us to not pay attention, but it is exactly the tactic of those in power to use the law to make their actions seem justified and to remain in power. In the end the meaning for him is to uphold equality and justice rather than specific rules.

The film was part of an ongoing Film Center/ACLU series, once a month. Next time it's Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech on Oct. 5th at the Downtown Library, 7:00 PM. Read More......

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A series of faces, friends of mine.

I've had time to go through my trip pictures, and picked out some portraits of people we stayed with and became friends with along the way. I didn't get nearly enough photos, and some great people are missing, but they should show up in the video I'll be throwing together over the next week or so. Anyway, here's the list of new people, miss you all.

Cate Drinkorn is studying to be a ship-builder, we met in Hamburg then again in Berlin. She is the most pragmatic DJ I've ever met, she and her sister Jasmine throw queer dance parties in Berlin. Here she's being afraid of thunder. She rides the oldest Dutch city bike I've ever seen.

Next we stayed with Steffe in Bremen, who is working towards being a journalist and takes amazing cell-phone pictures she posts on her blog. She rode her mountain bike on a tour in the winter and I think rode to Amsterdam and back after us.

Hanning Lived with Steffe, hitchhiked, and played the accordion. He has done some cool community acting projects and wants to learn to be a carpenter.

This is Daphne Mang, she was at the end of her studies in Groningen when we met her, she's from outside Athens in Greece!

Stan is the son of Anne-Marie in the tiny town of Laag Zuthem. They live together in a 2 story tiny house, Stan loves video games and speaks amazing English for a 11 year old, once he trusts you. Don't tell him I told you, but he wants to do stand-up when he grows up.

Peter is the nicest guy on the planet, he told us we could stay forever before he even met us. He trained as a physicist and it brought him no joy, so he went off travelling by bike for 4 years. He fell in love with a Chilean girl and hopes to go back to South America someday to start a sustainable farm. In the meantime he lives in a condemned flat with Geert in Utrecht.

Pietra is a beautiful, excited, and adventurous lady, girlfriend of Peter, and also a crazy biker. She was the catylist for our race to Paris. She's a documentary photographer.

This satisfied looking dude is Eelco. He planned the Amsterdam to Paris race and has done it 2-3 years in a row. He's a med student and was studying neurology while we relaxed in Paris.

Jasper was biking through France when he came across the Challis Chateau and decided he wanted to stay forever. He offered his services as chef and has become the Chateau manager, groundskeeper, and cook.

Iwan is the son of Hans and (?), the magical owners of the Chateau. He speaks a babble of French and Dutch, and knows the forests of the Chateau very well.

Bachtyr loves cats. He's an Iranian philosopher and musician, he teaches piano lessons in Paris and lives at the Chateau.

This is Monika, David's flame. She works in a Polish publishing house in Warsaw, she comes to Paris to visit the Chateau's owners. She smiles like an imp, all the time.

Marijane was pragmatic and blunt, an new kitchen help from Amsterdam at the Chateau. Here she's checking out Nike of Samonthrace at the Louvre. I've never known someone so young to seem so old.

My friend Adil in SLC grew up in Paris, here's his mother and brother, of Moroccan descent. They cooked us amazing food and had a Moroccan living room magically transported into the Parisian suburbs.

Adil's sister Lamya was very French in contrast to her Moroccan parents, but in a 21st century way. She married Francis, the son of Chinese immigrants, and they live together in a chic modern flat. She cooks amazingly and taught us to make a Moroccan meal with French dessert. She is an impressive chocolatier and wants to create desserts professionally someday.

In Antwerp we met Bram and Amber, our youngest hosts (tied with Leny, who will show up in the movie). Amber, 15, had done a film project for her end-of-year capstone at a Steiner school. Bram was graduated and beginning classes in Architecture and Engineering, he's the kind of companion I'll see many times in life I think.

We met Gert-Jan in Utrecht back before we met Peter even, but found him again the second time we were there. He owns a tiny boat and loves to tool around the canals in it, beautiful and simple. He is infinitely kind and has traveled all over, saw a bit of himself in us.

We met Els Corporaal in Paris and she immediately invited us to stay in Amsterdam when we arrived. Very nice, very cool, she is a ecological advisor for the parks in her district of Amsterdam. The main park she oversees is a huge long stretch of wild land over an old parceled-up landfill. She travels a lot as well, having gone on a rambunctious year long adventure where she fell in love with an Israeli (or Greek?) guy in Egypt.

Saw this guy, Frank, and had to take his picture. I think the dog's name is Bill.

This is one half of the 2 man show running a great little Italian restaurant in Amsterdam. It was as wide as the doorway and had no menu, just a conversation with the waiter and the cook to feel out what sounded good. We ate like professionals. He wanted to travel and do film stuff, we chatted a while, really solid guy.

Great little street musician whose name I've forgotton, would sing any tune in a french-african accent with a little wheeze, absolutely captivating and summery.

Spanish girls who sang along to Moulin Rouge at the top of their lungs on the train to Berlin.

My main man David Wood, whom I got terribly sick of on the trip but who now I miss.

Yours truly, impersonating Grizzly Adams in the sunset.
Read More......

The Poshuman Dada Guide pt. 1

"If you have any doubt as to whether you are posthuman or merely human, take a look at the following parts of your body: the city, the house, the car, the iPhone, the laptop, the iPod, the pillbox, the nonflesh surround. If sixty percent of your body is electronic or bioelectronic, living in space designed for effeciency, you will need Dada as a corrective to what will certainly be the loss of the modicum of liberty you still possess."

-Andrei Codrescu

I've just started reading Codrescu's book and I think I'll like it very much. Not only does it contain praise from such ghostly fin de siecle luminaries as Luther Burbank (inventor of the spineless cactus), Josephine Baker, and James Clerk Maxwell (father of electromagnetism), but right off the bat it gives a great concise definition to dada:

"Amusement (of oneself and others) and the making of art communities are the goals of dada."

That seems worth founding a company around, don't you think? Read More......

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Contact! Contact!

Back again, and more or less grounded in the real world. The Dada Factory has a crazy office space downtown right now and my computer lives there, it's going to be great. As an unfortunate side effect I have had no access to the internet, as we haven't hooked it up yet. But luckily, I got one of these!:

The computer, not an awkwardly grinning guy in a spandex suit with bum skills. It's great! Life has been urbane and relaxed, running errands, mountain biking, and helping Jessica with her first year of architecture school, which is way more fun than Art History. Her first assignment, for example, was to go out and take 20 HDR photographs of an under-recognised site in the city, and concieve of new uses for it. Her second assignment was to do a scavenger hunt around the city to get to know it. So cool.

I've been scheming about my most current film project, a bike film adapted from the opera Don Giovanni. It will be produced in a kind of filmmaking 2.0 schema, where hopefully different (bored) creative people in the community will bring their skills to it and make shooting it into a hyper-productive 2-week party. I came away from the 48hour film festival with the notion that everyone here has a ton to bring to projects like this, it's just a question of finding how your skills or interests fit. Let me know what you wish to bring to the table and we'll make it work. It's a bicycle opera without singing, for crying out loud, there's something there for everyone, right?

I'll soon have tid-bits up here to reveal the feel and shape of the film, and keep an eye out for the pre-party where we'll read from the script, show off the character portraits and storyboards, and hopefully have a tricked out bike or two on display. That's when we'll get together to see what kinds of skills we have collectively and how to best organize roles so that everyone gets to express their art. I'm excited.

Right now I'm looking for an anarchist-punk who can ride a brakeless fixed-gear and be the comic relief of the show, any takers? I'm thinking Dallin, Skyler, and Benji combined... Read More......

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