Saturday

Fly, Pelican, Fly

Swann

Sea Esta IV


05.29.09

Perhaps a time comes
More binary than not
When
Our fears are actualized
Mortality becomes reality

Veneer thins as
Back lot façades
Empty and hollow and
We awake so alone

Our options narrow
To core and fundamental
Choices
Between terror and anger
Anchors on the very same scale

Where It's At

Hey mob.

Yes. I am still performing service to America in the form of federal criminal trial jury duty (that's how they should deploy Americorps: jury duty). Week four has ended and the projection for a five-week trial still stands. Can you even believe that I've not said one word about this thing? Can you? Even I can't. But a solemn oath is a solemn oath.

But I will fully debrief upon completion.

First on the post-trial docket I hope to quickly finish HerWeGo - I've actually made significant progress with the final six minutes in my cobbled work time. Everything to date has been fairly beta but I hope to finish it up in June.

When asked by the interviewer, "So, how do you classify your music? What is your genre?" My answer was:
"Music? What music? I haven't made music in twelve years. What I make now are sounds. My art comes out of my brain in several ways...mediums. Some are sights (photography and design), some are sounds. If I had any sense I'd save a lot of time and put both together like a Harry Burnett (H.B.) Rhees did with his peanut butter cups. You can still call it the "tripgrass" though. That kinda works for this noise."
She smiled kindly and moved on with her prepared questions.

But since HerWeGo was queued to drop after El Vado, I have some time. I got a turntable and a two microphones.

Keep up the good work mob.

Thursday

Kavya Shivashankar She Ain't


Oh, those boy lions...always fighting for prides.

Silence

"People are uncomfortable in silence because it can breed needless contemplation and may engender a floating into the deeper world of the self."

- Stanley Crouch
Harpers, June 2009

This Fucking Creek – Part 1 – Frazier’s Bog by Otterfarm

My mother rang a set of ceramic bells to call me back from across the brook for lunch and dinner. The unnamed brook flowed through my arm of the woods into Terwood Run which flowed into Pennypack Creek which flowed into the Delaware River which flowed into the Delaware Bay where the horseshoe crabs lived.

I never saw any of the creek between the city line and the river. The water flowed east past my house and then mostly south. My life went west from my house and then mostly south. Friends, school, stores, baseball, turnpikes - all of that was west and south. After it flowed east past my house, I wouldn’t see that water again until Penn’s Landing, or some years, Lewes, Delaware where Uncle Rupert lived with a hole in his skull covered by skin and hair.

Viewed on a map, the woods were small. But they were large enough that I never made it to the other side by foot. Four roads framed the woods: Edgehill, Terwood, Paper Mill, and Old Welsh. Old names that reflected real characteristics, not contrived marketing devices like Fairway, Willowbrook, or Country Club Avenues that invaded from the northwest corner.

I lived someplace - Frazier’s Bog - at the foot of the highest hill in the county. When I was 17 and lived on the other side of the hill, I would walk up to the top. If it was dusk, I would climb on the roof of an abandoned elementary school – Woodside - and watch the sun go down over the city skyline and, further west, over the cooling towers of the nuclear power plant. If it was dark, I would climb the radio tower and look the other direction toward the twinkling lights of the two naval air stations.

A hundred years earlier, a famous naturalist had written papers about Frazier’s Bog. What could be found there could not be found anywhere else in the state. Over a dozen different plants - common to the Pinelands but uncommon here. Unknown anywhere further west. By the time I was born, my house and maybe four others had obliterated most of Frazier’s Bog. Ten years after I moved away, someone else came and counted. Three plants were left. Sweet magnolia and two others you don’t care about.

There was a small dam upstream from me. Mr. Dawson hung a swing in the beech tree that grew on the opposite bank. He shot the rope up into the tree with a bow and arrow. He said the Indians taught him. I assumed they lived there before me. Once, I saw the dam named on a map. The name meant nothing to me. It was not the name of a living neighbor. Being meaningless, I forgot it.

I was the only kid in Frazier’s Bog (except for my bookworm sister). I probably knew it better than anyone else alive. I knew where the deer skeleton was. I knew where the junk pile was. I knew where the six-pack of Miller was. I knew where the old stone foundation was.

I lived in that creek for fifteen years and never learned the name of anything else that lived in it other than crayfish. That knowledge didn’t exist in my family. My old man, 35 years later, could still recite the train schedules from all the games of chicken he played on the rails outside of Baltimore. But I’ve been to that house. He had no creek. Just railroads. Some families lose knowledge. Some never had it.

When I was 13, the woods tried to kill me twice. Once, Hurricane Gloria dropped a 100-foot oak on my bedroom. Wood splintered. Glass shattered. Knobby branches penetrated the roof and clawed at me but their timing was off and missed me by seconds. A few months later, a deer tick bit me. It took 10 doctors 13 days or 13 doctors 10 days to diagnose me with Lyme Disease. In the meantime, I waited, delirious, fevered, and generally unconcerned for a diagnosis.

Two years later, my mother claimed that the attempted murders were why we were leaving. But the truth was, by that point she had lived there five times longer than she had lived anywhere else in her life and was itchy to leave. Preacher’s kid. She’s never lived anywhere that long since.


We moved away. To the other side of the hill, as I said. Not far – maybe a mile - but far enough that we were out of the woods and the water flowed west through the Wissahickon into the Schuylkill River. The water followed me to school each day.

Teenagers don’t get nostalgic. I didn’t make it back across the hill all that much. No more ceramic bells calling me.

I went back a few years ago. A new golf course had isolated my arm of the woods. Frazier’s Bog had been reduced to a three-foot strip on either side of the creek complete with little signs that said, “Sensitive Habitat Area – Keep Out.”

What’s the point? No point. Shut up and listen. I’m talking about creeks.

(to be continued)

------------

Follow Otterfarm @ Twitter

Tuesday

Stuff at a Beach II





Stuff at a Beach I





Stuff at a Beach III





Stuff at a Beach IV





Memorial Day in Four Parts

I.
Player's characters
Actors and professional saboteurs all
Ed Abbey's borrowed (or stolen) monkey wrenches
and a handful of broken glass thrown

What is your contribution to the sum?

We fill the cracks like caulk of
Desperation Arrogance and Feigned Indifference
Like a chorus performing for the deaf
Judges of absolute power and authority

What do you do to fuel our sun?

II.
Tourist towns are
Full of morning regret
Shameful long walks back
to temporary domiciles belonging to others

Gatherings of "friends"
Destroying last nerves as "strangers"
Sand/snow in every orifice
New interpretations of old ideals

Cheap drink and fat food
Cars towed and knees skinned
Fear of aging while actively dying
And reflections aplenty in human mirrors

III.
Still not completely off the radars yet
Or under any of the hurdles
Tight rope walking clichés of razor's edges of paradoxes
with dreams of fame or at least
Acceptance by highly-regarded peers

Our fortunes are earned in the
Wreckage Sewage and Heartbreak
of self and society
The end game so known & obvious & expected
To make G-d laugh
Tell G-d of your "plan"

So where am I now?
After such a long and painful
Payment of "dues"
After mountains climbed yet unconquered
In the same goddamn place

IV.
Bye Mr. Pinky
You have died as a symbol
New end is fresh start

Monday

Computer Life (new & old) II

Happy Memorial Day! 'Member me?

Got rig #1 back and it was software. Something got mad fuck'd in the OS. They say something weird happened last week to a lot of people. Perhaps it's the great Mac virus we were warned about, no?


Anyway, it's really goddamn hard to take a photograph of wild dolphins. This, my friends, is the best I could do (stop hatin' haters!):


Represent!

Friday

Computer Life (new & old) I

So like I mentioned my computer broke (prohibitory symbol upon boot attempt). It's in the shop now--I took it there this morning on the first pony out--where a small, old man who's been wearing a goatee since it was cool in the '50s is tinkering on it with wooden mallets and a chisel. But, WTF, I can't do a damn thing about it except wait. Quit hating on technology. You didn't invent it, you just use it. Wait.

Here's the input of a great friend, "That sucks about your computer. It seems the universe is telling you to disconnect for awhile. Guess I'd listen too." Exactly. When life takes punches you just have to use some unwaxed Brazilian Jujutsu (柔術) and turn that frown upside down and shit. Believe me, I'm cool. I'm off to the beach.

"But how are you posting shit, Ty?" I'm a businessman and an artist and I have more than one computer, don. I'm not a rube. It's just this one (my #2) is very slow. So what? 20 years ago I could have launched the SpaceShuttle on this bitch.

Here's a photograph of the hole where my #1 usually lives while I'm using #2 (the new photograph):


But, this is a blessing. I fond this image in Bob Villa's This Old Computer. It. Is. Priceless (the old photograph):


Have a good Memorial Day. Remember me.

Thursday

You Say You Want A Revolution? Well, You Know...

Everyone,

So my main computer went down today. Lame. Ka-put. Phfuzzzztz!

What can you do? Nothin', That's what! It was all the talk about how bitchin' Macs are and all the talk about hiatuses.

So fuck it. I'm on vacation. I'll take it in tomorrow and get back up when I get back up.

Until then...

Don't be mopes!

-ty

With Reference to "El Vado" and Another Terrible Hiatus

Feedback from Daniel Paige:
These songs are all so visceral. Especially with headphones. All music is that way, yes? But each of these take me, often throw me to a particular place. It is mostly not comfortable. I will try to be specific with each one individually. It should be said though, that it is overall a very coherent statement. Seems quite intentional. I’ll try somehow to articulate what that statement seems to be. Maybe I’ll be able to, maybe not.

This is your best album since the mix I made in ’92.

This is your best solo album. Should it be called a solo album? Ty is all over it. I maybe understand the technology, but I don’t totally understand how he fits so well. It is still home recordings, room above for better mix and sound etc. but it’s a few levels above what’s come before.

Boomdigga: This may now be a top 3 or 5 favorite rich song. Almost all of the pieces are fantastic. Texture. And the feel. The whistle thing is incredible, and perfectly restrained. The steady drums and cymbals. The wuhh wuhh (guitar?) Sound, the clapping. The vocal mix and effects works great. I take the lyrics as a call to action, and as the first song on the album it serves that function also musically. Literally to dig down deep below the world that’s been built, or a more internal deep down digging… the guitar at the end is an 8 out of 10. The sound is just great, the feel of how it’s played, messy, sure handed but also searching and getting a little bit lost, the partial over the topness.

Oakland State Song: unlistenable

Las Calaveras: great everything about it. This is one where I don’t know how you guys aren’t together playing. Probably almost as fun to listen to as was to play.

Autumn: the arc of a dead bird falling: I may have not heard this enough to have my fully formed sense of it. I’ll say what I say now, and then see where I go with it as I live with it. I like the sound overall. I think the drum loops are pretty great. They are not Ty, which would be better. They are a little perfect, but that’s a minor point. It makes for a good, full sound, ready for radio. It’s both the lyrics and the singing that I haven’t quite settled into yet. The beginning lyrics and “Autumn is the arc of a dead bird falling” is such an incredible image and feeling. The following “the shape of milk in your mouth” isn’t quite there, though it’s still evocative enough of some kind of feeling to match the opening verse… then the “all of our everything headphones and cocoa” - I just don’t get it. It seems like a love it or hate it line. I’ll probably love it down the line. For whatever reason my first take was that it was trying too hard, a little too Beck-ish, trying too much (whereas there are several Beck-ish moments throughout, especially in Boomdigga that seem more authentic I guess). Like I said, there will probably be many who think that line is super cool. The singing style is just almost on the wrong side of pretentiously phony, but I actually think it works for me. There’s somewhere in that line that is an issue – is this ironic irreverence, or is this earnest and personal? Not saying one is good, bad, or better approach than the other. Also, I think that some sort of tension between those 2 sentiments is a very rich area to work in, which you have before (I have often wished that I had more of the irreverence myself). Maybe it’s not resolved in this song? Maybe it’s actually riding right in that place of tension, and that’s what I’m picking up on, and there’s just a few things making me uncomfortable. Maybe that’s good. Great guitar work. It would be a good Bruised Orange song (so would Boomdigga, and NM state song, if not others too).

New Mexico state song: Maybe this is my favorite? I love the anthem – y feeling. It does have that pounding, building, U2 feeling, like I can’t quite ever play it loud enough, or like I want to climb up and sing it from a mountaintop. Drums are a little restrained – maybe that’s the mix. The “keyboard” sounding thing, whatever it is is great. Guitars are all working great. There is an incredible song underneath what is maybe just a very little bit too much distortion on the vocal, or again maybe that’s a fantastic tension. The main lyric line is hauntingly, heartbreakingly, beautiful. So are my high harmonies throughout while driving over the bay bridge.

Widowmaker: spooky, a little scary, in some way maybe more unlistenable than #2.

Pacheco street: I do love the guitar hook. And I do love the lyric and the whole thing. I don’t take it so seriously. It feels like it should grab me more than it does. Maybe it actually doesn’t groove as much as it could/should. It feels more like a goof than something that want to be heavily critiqued. I guess maybe it could go further though. The ending synth part is cool.

You are clearly ready to come out of retirement. [ed. note: clicky]
----------------------------

El Vado @ Otterfarm
El Vado @ TBB
El Vado @ AKD


Dainel Paige is co-founder of The Beggars Trail and other music/art meanderings through a long, distinguished career offline.

In Two Parts

1) Don't suffer fools.

2) Don't suffer, fools.

Wednesday

Sistine's Terrible Hiatus

Between Sistine and BSD (and me) there are a bunch of hiatus LOSERS around here.

Clicky for infinite loop: HERE

See?

METACOGNITION

Awaiting epiphany, don
Controlling events exclusively in our minds
Playing G-d(s)
with perfect fidelity to regimes

When everything becomes
Real not batch
Analogue
Attention strategically allocated

Quiet like white church
and "Present" sounding too much like "Prison"
Callers culling culling callers
Like a plan coming into focus

Tuesday

The High Art of Phoning It In by Otterfarm

TBB is a place where gentlemen of debatable racial composition gather to discuss their neighborhoods, sex, drugs, and art.

Well, not me. I’m all whitey. No racial debate here. I’m as white as they get. My mother’s family came to Virginia from Merry Ole Aingland as indentured servants in 1632. My dad’s family came from Germany in, oh, fuck it, let’s say 1887. Put’em together and what have you got? WRONG. I’m mostly Welsh. That’s what happens when you have 800 great, great, great, great, grandparents. It fucks with the math. Just ask the famous Asian golfer, Tiger Woods.

But today I want to focus our discussion on art. Specifically, the High Art of Phoning It In. (High is not intended as a pun, despite one of my case studies below.) I define the High Art of Phoning It In as the comedic ability to make people laugh with what appears to be no effort, no concern, no desire, and almost no material. We have no idea why these people are funny, let alone successful or employed. Yet they endure – they keep showing up and making (some of) us laugh. And I offer this up today as a discussion rather than a lecture, because, frankly, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how the greats do it. Somehow or other, the phoning it in becomes the comedy. The cheating us of what we have paid for, or what we expect from a comic, is exactly what becomes the source of the comedy.

Actors and comedians are not always what they seem. Dean Martin was rarely drunk on stage. Chris Rock is really a pretty quiet guy. Zach Galifianakis is not nearly as tortured as his stage persona suggests. But two modern comics seem to have mastered the High Art of Phoning It In to such a degree that it seems completely natural – there is seemingly no faking how little effort they are putting into their act. Compare their delivery to that of indisputably hardworking (suffering) comics such as Katt Williams (previously discussed on TBB), Robin Williams (not funny), or the great Louis CK.

Doug Benson
If you knew Doug Benson in middle school, he was probably pudgy, obnoxious, and hated by girls. Think of the fat kid from Stand by Me if he didn’t become Gerry O’Connell. Then, around 10th grade, he probably started smoking pot (as did his classmates) and that took the edge off his annoying nerd persona and revealed his inner hilarity. (I’m making all this up.) Benson never backed away from this formula. He is best known for his documentary Super High Me in which he smokes pot for 30 days straight. Or perhaps more remarkable, he begins the film by NOT smoking pot for 30 days. His other two star turns were 1) the most over-acted two-line cameo ever on Friends (“My mom calls it BLOOMIES.”), and a couple of seasons on Last Comic Standing, which I’ve never seen so I can’t comment on.

These days you can watch him phone it in on Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins.

Here’s what distinguishes Benson from other brilliant comics. He never turns it off. Either he’s always high (likely), or the character is genuine - a rare turn for anything coming out of LA. Take a look at some of his Best Day Ever highlights where his delivery is some combination of over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek, sincere, and mostly high. There is something appealingly self-destructive about Benson. The higher profile a gig, the more he will phone it in…and hence, the funnier it will be.



Despite his success, I suspect girls still hate him.

Doug’s other brilliance is his ability to create comedic vehicles for himself that allow him to phone it in. The Doug Benson Interruption is a monthly-ish live show in LA where his comedian friends do their act and he sits in the audience with a microphone and interrupts them. The results vary but at its best, the improvisational banter can far out perform the planned material.

His other phoning it in vehicle is his I Love Movies podcast available on iTunes (earlier incarnation was available on HandHeldComedy.com). The best episodes generally include Patton Oswalt or Paul F. Tompkins, but one episode with Bob Odenkirk best tells the story. Benson, who frequently admits to being high during tapings, ate a brownie earlier in the day and by taping was still deep in the throws of an all day brownie high. Odenkirk, a consummate professional, struggled, too hard and unnecessarily, to carry the show, thinking Benson was going to blow it. But for plus or minus 30 minutes, Benson, who could barely complete his sentences, successfully delivered professional comedy, without material, without delivery, without coherence, based almost entirely on the force of his character - a heroic display of phoning it in.

Norm MacDonald
The All-Time Master of phoning it in is Norm MacDonald. This is a comic whose Burt Reynolds imitation is identical to his Bob Dole imitation, which in turn, is identical to his Norm MacDonald character. MacDonald, who can’t act his way out of a paper bag, has strung together a 20-year career that mostly involves getting undeserved high-profile gigs (SNL Weekend Update, various sit-coms, a movie or two) and then getting fired from them. And then he goes on talk shows, sometimes drunk, and expresses his complete disbelief at how any of this came to pass. Norm MacDonald is perhaps the only comic who can simultaneously laugh at his own jokes (as if they genuinely surprise him) and act confused about why anyone else is laughing. His act is that of the thoroughly unintentional comic. I say all of this with fully-adulated reverence.

I needn’t say more about the master, Norm MacDonald. I’ll let his work speak for itself.



Otterfarm @ Twitter

13th Annual Poo St. Roast - Berkeley, CA

by Rickey Powell

"It says "roast" but I thought it said "Poo St.""

Father Finds Father's Gift in Notebook (draft looks like smiley face)

Father Finds Daughter's Gift in Notebook (draft + output)

"Childrensburg, 11211 - The Only Thing Missing Is A Critical Beatdown"

This is exactly why I hate my neighborhood in the Summer months - asshattery with no regard to working people:

Saturday night in Brooklyn from alfred broadbent on Vimeo.

It's bad enough that those of us with jobs have to deal with all these trust-funded "artists" to begin with, but when you couple makeshift parades with their total lack of common decency and inability to think beyond their own immediacy?

FAGGOTRY.

I can only imagine how this kind of behavior makes the natives of this neighborhood feel.

It makes me want to make napalm in my bathtub, and drop it down on their little parade, melting them all down into little pools of Daddy's credit card residue - and I grew up in fucking Bensonhurst. At least in a 'hood like Bensonhurst, motherfuckers learn at a young age not to piss off their elders. You act up like this down there, and you get a bat to the face, at the very least.


Try rolling your little Freak Parade by L&B on a Friday night in June after the Yankees lose, and see how long you last, nooch.

Then again, growing up in Bensonhurst had it downside, too. I remember getting jumped when I was twelve, by a fucking grip of older greased-the-fuck-on-up Italian kids - because I was the Jew hanging out with a "monkey," my buddy Tommy, who lived over in the Marlboro Houses off 86th Street and Avenue X. That was probably the worst beating I ever took in my life. Those fucking greasy bastards even stabbed me in the thigh with a screwdriver, as if kicking me in the head and hitting me with homemade billy clubs wasn't doing enough damage to a fucking twelve year old. Tommy got away scott-free, because he was already kind of battle-tested and saw the motherfuckers coming before I even realized what was going on, and he shot off into the building like a rocket.

They kept on laughing and yelling "WHERE'S YOUR FUCKING MONKEY, YOU KIKE BASTARD?!?! WHERE'S YOUR MONKEY?!?!" - and kept on kicking and clubbing. I was all kinds of turtled up on the grass, trying to cover my face and my head. People were running everywhere. I remember some lady on the street screaming she was going to call the cops, but these greasy fucks kept on with their task of whooping up on my skinny ass.

All of a sudden I heard this mad rushing sound, and then the sound of metal cracking into skin and bone. It took me a second to realize it wasn't me getting beaten anymore - but it was the fucking douchebags who'd jumped me, getting their ass handed to them by Tommy's older brother and his crew. They were swinging little lead pipes and taking out motherfuckers all over the place. The Italian goons all started to scatter, right when the cops started rolling into the courtyard in full force - driving up onto the lawn, rolling out of the cars and grabbing kids up like rag dolls.

One of the cops was a friend of my father's, and he started asking me "Sean, which one of these niggers beat you up? Tell me which one hit you, and we'll take care of it for you. You don't have to be afraid - they can't hurt you any more."

I couldn't help myself. I just started laughing my ass off, chortling blood out of my broken face.

"It wasn't them. It was the fucking Italians. Those fucks are the ones who jumped me. These guys saved me!"

The cops didn't even know what the fuck to do. Here they were, each one of them had grabbed up a black kid, and all the Italian fucks had run off. They all looked at each other with this blank stare, waiting for someone to do something. The cop that was friends with my Pop started laughing, and told them to let everyone go. I got escorted back home by the cops, riding in the car the five blocks back to my place.

My Jewish mother was hysterical, screaming like I'd lost an eye or something, but my father had this smirk on his face. And then a little while later, he told me something that I think a lot of these fucking trust-funded "artist" kids over here in Childrensburg need to learn -

"Sean, sometimes New York just needs to kick your ass so you know your fucking place in the world."

Maybe that's what's missing. The possibility of the Critical Beatdown.



The Tao of Sean
Sean H Doyle @ Twitter

Monday

Or Simply Put, The Quadroon-Half Platter:

Notice the color of the plates.

Her We Go - Update

headphones are good a thing...

...all are everything is headphones & cocoa collection
Her We Go playlist
1) Taste The Monster 5:58
2) Make As New Place 7:20
3) The Pony Act 2:09
4) Trouble in Paradise 2:07
5) Row Versus Wave 5:00
6) Xabed De Blalb 7:18
7) D.O.S.B. 4:02 - newest!
8) in progress...
9) in progress...
10) Taste (reprise) 1:54
the Kingdom of Leisure
Production Notes to Date:

© 2009 Middlespace Arts - Middlespace East/Middlespace West and all points in-between


-------------------------------------------------------
Here we go thread [clicky]

Gray with Self-Portraiture



Cliché Poem

Life
Living
Life
Living

So full of cliché
Here today; gone tomorrow
Didn't say goodbye
So quick; so violent
Poof

There are victims present and
There are victims historic
And multiple voices sing
in a discordant chorus

Not Just a Member

Friday

Don't Worry

Psst. Don't worry.... It's all gonna be OK. Trust and believe.

Breathe. Breathe.

Shhhhhhh.

Breathe.