Category: zen

Crumb documentary by Terry ZwigoffCrumb – Dir: Terry Zwigoff

This is the film that first made me hyper-conscious of self-imposed, voluntary corporate branding as illustrator Robert Crumb observes that “these days” everyone is walking around wearing t-shirts and clothing advertising one company or another.  But the effects of this film cast a far wider net than mere corporate aversion.

Crumb is a complex man from a complex family; his two elder brothers are geniuses in their own right but each is also more mentally disturbed than the next which leads me to wonder, in this case with much greater emphasis than normal, whether it is the the anomalies and deviations from what is considered a “healthy, normal” mind that give rise to great art or whether it is the life of an artist that give rise to mental instability.  Of course there is no definitive answer but this film’s utterly deviant subjects underline that the two are hardly mutually exclusive. Required viewing.

In the Realms of the Unreal - documentary by Jessica YuIn the Realms of the Unreal – The Mystery of Henry Darger – Dir: Jessica Yu

Continuing on this theme of mental instability and visionary creativity, here we have as our subject an ascetic, anti-social man about whom even his lifelong neighbors knew very little.

A janitor and avid church-goer, no one knew, until he was moved to a convalescent home in his final weeks on Earth, that in his single apartment he had written a fifteen-thousand page fantasy novel with profoundly complex and beautiful illustrations wherein all the young girls who were the subjects of his very innocent-spirited magnum opus (and even that is understatement) had penises – more than likely because he didn’t know better.  The study of his work is a study of how the mind attempts to heal it wounds – Darger was sent to boarding schools and even a sanitarium in his childhood – all of which he works out in the course of his book.

Rivers and Tides - a documentaryRivers and Tides – Dir: Thomas Riedelsheimer

This documentary about nature-artist Andy Goldsworthy will, unequivocally change your life. using only things found in the natural world, he synchronizes himself with the patterns found in the world and ultimately finds a way to render found objects in a manner that pursues and underlines their energy.

Not only is it a fitting introduction to this extraordinary soul, but Fred Frith’s score perfectly punctuates this delicate process throughout.

Highly recommended. Beautiful beyond belief.

Surfwise - documentary by Doug PraySurfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family – Dir: Doug Pray

Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz is another man who turned his back on the conventions of society and decided to raise his nine children in a dilapidated RV, teaching them what he felt were the true values and virtues of life.  An expert surfer, and Stanford-educated physician who was head of the medical association in Hawaii, Paskowitz’ extraordinarily liberal views manifested different results in each of his children.  Living on a strict organic food regimen and making do with as little money as possible, this is a study in what it might mean to live virtually off the grid, for better or worse, and whether or not that is any longer possible.

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill - a documentary by Judy IrvingThe Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill – Dir: Judy Irving

Concerning the life of homeless musician Mark Bittner who befriends a wild flock of stray parrots that live in San Francisco city proper.  What begins with a seemingly innocuous birdseed hobby becomes a life unto itself and he transforms into a kind of Francis of Assissi to this displaced, growing flock.  He conjectures the flock began as a group of runaway pets that found each other and eventually began breeding in the wild.  Mark champions them when public outcries by environmentalists to exterminate them so as to ensure the stability of the local ecosystem take on City Hall.  This film teaches a lot more than birdkeeping, however, as it observes what dynamics may unfold when we open our arms and our hearts to realities of the present and the abundance that exists in our ever changing world.


12 minutes and counting since I deactivated my Facebook account + 400 friends, plus PR channel for my various digital exploits.  Wow, now that feels better.

I held off joining FB for a long time because I can still vaguely remember the sense of awe and dread I felt when observing my 12 years younger brother and his prissy The Hills reject girlfriend perambulate through the voyeuristic obsession of checking out what their homies were up to.  Eventually, a desperately close friend of mine who is a “New Media” consultant talked me out of and into acquiescing, arguing that I should at least be savvy to what they were doing with Ajax and how Facebook trumped MySpace which at one point I recall trumping this Napster spin-off called Friendster.

So — good.  I put out an indie album (a real from-the-heart effort) at the beginning of 2008, my first release in 12 years on a CD no less and spent the remainder of my year getting schooled about the way things work now, which is to say – forget print, its all about the music blogs.  I now know about SEO, affiliate ads, linkbacks, watering holes, Linkshare, Clickbank, Kontera, Amazon Associates, Adsense, licensing content, ezinepublisher, bloggers paying their rent with promo CDs at Amoeba, Sonicbids, mirpod, odeo, Ning, viral videos, ROFLcon, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Furl, Mixx, Reverbnation, Trig, Twitter, Fanpop, trackbacks, NoFollow, DoFollow, LinkedIn, Wayn, Spock, Plaxo, Sharethis, and every other goddamned way of clamoring for anyone who I ever met or whomever I met has met that might exist.

Found objects in space.

Found objects in space: a user created profile image

And it’s done.  The US has its first ever dark-skin colored president, the Dems control the house and senate, the DOW goes up and down faster than the mechanical bull at the Saddle Ranch and its time to move forward.

Web 2.0 is over.

In my last post I announced the death of viral videos.  Now I am speaking with some certainty that Web 2.0 has to lay its head in the loam and expire its last breath.  No it’s not because I “want real, meaningful relationships back.”  It’s because it’s just, in toto, a glorified SPAM button that leads to nothing more (I promise you) than Google analytic and Adsense report mashing and at best the world’s biggest flash-mob-cum-grassroots-electoral-campaign.  That does not discourse make.  Mobilize?  Perhaps.  All good, but now what.  You got 80 years ’til you give up the ghost – what else?

Joel Salatin is a farmer that produces beef, poultry and pork.  He will not ship his non-USDA, totally natural product to you via any means because it defeats the purpose of his obsessively local-grown ethic.  When pressed he will confide that he is not a beef-manufacturer or a Luddite, traditionalist, purist, or grassroots, return-to-the-way-things-were thinker, but rather a post-industrialist.  He is looking at what’s here and how to expand it into new ways of approaching our well-being, continuity and enjoyment of things,  dealing in complexities not often ascribed to the “humble farmer.”  He will tell you that he is a grass-farmer.  And that the cheeseburgers we eat are the product of what the animals over which he lords, ate.

That’s where I am headed; not a return to some puritanical  time before Facebook, but rather to the next iteration.  A better-sustained dialogue into the experiences possible and the evolution of what this mass-consciousness means.  The Tweets are nifty, but let’s form a paragraph.  Let’s not dally.  Things move faster now, but that is not a strong enough argument to settle for ADDled brevity.  There is something beyond that thought, and if you have the courage, you may find unclaimed territory.  I want to meet you there.  Press me, challenge me, let’s climb the next summit together, because we sure can’t do it flashing postcards at each other from the digested murmurs of our fragmented IDs, Twittering and FB updating away, grasping for attention, lost in the sea of unformulated meditations on the boundless ecstasy in which life itself revels.

I import the indelible experience of Web 2.0 into this uncharted space, honoring its potency, and expect something that builds upon its Mind-Meldish, Chrysalid potentiality.  But enough is enough.  I have no idea where that leaves me, us, yet.  Isn’t that, again, exciting?

psst go go get your life back…

Opine, damn you.