Friday, February 26, 2010
The price of playing a muse does not come cheap. There are long hours of posing for portraits, carpel tunnel from autograph signing, indigestion from all the gratis bottles of Moet, and of course the stitches that cramp my side after narrow escapes dodging mobs of rabid fans. Have you ever seen the Beatles classic A Hard Day's Night? Or tried to get down the FDR when the president is visiting the UN? Well, my life on any given day vaguely resembles either of these eminent scenarios, just with more glamor, pancakes, and falling.
Of course, being a muse to wannabes and the masses does have its pratfalls. Like the time a "musician" composed a song about being rejected by me entitled "You Made Me Hate Music." Oops. I mean, I guess those hours sitting on his floor, giving his best community theater- inspired imitation of Van Morrisons' "Astral Weeks" recording session might be considered an artistic endeavor by some subcultures, namely fanboys and Bears. Probably just saving him time and involvement in a pyramid scheme in the long run.
Or there was the time I posed nude for some "tasteful, artistic" photographs. Imagine my chagrin when riding the subway just a few weeks later I saw my own foot as the BEFORE shot for a Dr. Zizmor ad! Well, I never! Well, I always...
But when my muse powers realize their combust into their highest potential and burns burns burns like a fabulous yellow roman candle exploding like spiders across the stars, one can just stand back in awe. I do it for the little people really. Drumroll please....
MY WIFE IS WRITING A BLOG!
Ok, white people, calling a lady your "wife" or "wifey" is urban shorthand indicating a close affinity to said lady. I'll let you conspire over whether that affinity is amorous or not. Really, my wife and I are more like the Monkees wherein we sleep in a big bed in nightcaps and nightgowns then spend our waking hours engaging in subterfuges of mistaken identity, saving the day, and running from throngs of admirers. In our wife/ Monkees dynamic, she is definitely the Mike Nesmith because she's effortlessly whimsical and adorable and I am the Mickey Dolenz because I'm bossy and wear ponchos.
Isn't she a scream?
And then there's this new publication
to which I am contributing in my "serious" persona. That one rears its head on the days between "Jesus" and "martian."
Ok, adoring public, happy reading. I have fans and people harboring crushes on me to ignore now.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The photo above, an excerpt from my "thought book," provides a portal into my current state of mind.
Another non- issue I have been stewing over is the relative benefits of optimism and pessimism.
The party line of self- described intellectuals slants toward pessimism, such as capitalist robber baron John Kenneth Galbraith's dime- store philosophy of "We all agree that pessimism is the mark of superior intellect." This means that if you're somewhat evolved, that you swam up to the shore, brave little fishy that you were, and slithered upwards, eventually growing little fish feet, then you bear witness the relentless injustice and ultimate futility of the human project. Or as Jean- Paul Sartre named our charge on this mortal coil, "anguish, forlorness, despair." Evidence abounds to support this claim and requires no further explanation, unless you are retarded or maybe an optimist. The pessimist's favorite holiday- Valentine's Day- swiftly descends upon us. Wait a goddamn second, whaddya mean?! Pessimists don't fall for fuzzy bears 21st century "email me" conversation hearts and corporate commercial crap. Exactly! It's their favorite because it's so easy and so obvious to hate!
Pessimists, in this case, take the path of least resistance. It’s easy to criticize things as they are without offering any alternatives, while you marinade in your ego and haughty self- satisfaction, while you drink your VitaminWater, the official haterade of haters. No one explains this lazy impulse of the psuedo- intelligentsia better than the hero of the Elegance of the Hedgehog, who also goes by Paloma, which is the name of all heroes everywhere! She contends that all pessimists were once optimists, and then one day they realized that shit like hardly ever works out and most people are a huge disappointment. They then turn to "pessimism," a ready- made ethos that coddles you and keeps you safe from the hairy, scary outside world because you will automatically dismiss everything as shit, and you never have to try and fail again.
Pessimists sneer at Valentine’s Day, either because they’re cheap (“It’s a Hallmark holiday), lazy (“I don’t need a special day to say I love you!”) or single (obvious). New York City in February is a veritable purgatory, except it’s somewhere between hell and hell- er. It’s bleaker than Co- op City in an ice storm. One finds herself pondering not so much “why do I live here?” but “why do I live?”
Valentine’s Day, with all its frothy trimmings and gaylord lovey dovies to distracts you for one glorious day and stops you from listening to “Needle in the Hay” on repeat. It is meant to make one feel special, and not special education special.
I looooooooooove Valentine's Day because I love love, and my mom still sends me a Valentine every year. I know this is essentially like going to prom with your cousin because you can't get a normal guy to ask you out, but I'll take it. I never met a marshmallow heart I didn't like.
I know, I know, such an overwhelming display of sweetness is garish, gauche even. But guess what smarty pants? Even Sartre saw anguish and despair not only as ubiquitous and palpably real, but also as a humanism, because you get to decide what to do with it all, and even help out all the philistine ignorami that surround you: "I am responsible for myself and for everyone else. I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. In choosing myself, I choose man." Well, if that doesn't just drip with gooey optimism then slap my ass and call me Susan!
So you can, like, have an anti- Valentine's Day poopy pants festival with all your best single gal pals and catch the Jennifer Aniston marathon on Lifetime, guaranteeing you a life of spinsterdom and inevitable lesbianism, or you can send a Valentine to a lov- ah or family member of platonic friendo or a friendo with whom you want to get familiar and stop being an insufferable bore! Or have it both ways, like some Antonio Gramsci: "I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will."
Saturday, February 6, 2010
After nearly eight years under my tutelage, trying on my clothes, and criticizing my eating habits while simultaneously submerged in a tub of generic- brand ice cream and "topping," young Pup thrusts himself (primary and secondary definitions withstanding, however the latter is more of a dry thrust) into the world. That's right, he signed off from Manhunt.com and the Domino's Pizza Tracker long enough to start his own BLOG, which serves as a temporary substitute while he negotiates his reality show contract with Bravo. It's called Single, Poor, and Hungry in NYC. He took the words right out of my mouth, except the hungry part that is, because there's lots of food in my mouth:
Baby's first post creates a Roshemon effect for the following review I wrote in my "serious" voice, just another character from my cast of multiple personalities, but his is actually funny. So save yourself a few moments of your dwindling days on earth and just read his humorous, xenophobic account of another dejected and beleaguered Sunday in the cruel, cruel world.
But I know you're a masochist, dastardly reader, so here's mine:
Tim Burton’s Garden of Earthly Delights
The name Tim Burton conjures figures: Edward Scissorhands’ exaggerated shadow, Jack Skellington’s spindly silhouette against a full moon. Or the gawky goth girl in chemistry class who carried her clove cigarettes in a lunch box and wore black and white- striped knee socks like the Wicked Witch of the West.
These menacing figures skulk and slink (and their fans obstruct, as the show often sells out daily, enhancing the Burton’s visual claustrophobia to experiential) on the walls and screens of the filmmaker’s show at the Museum of Modern Art, from now until April 26th. Mr. Scissorhands and Mr. Skellington receive their due, along with lesser-known character studies. The Joker’s exaggerated grin and bulbous nose apparently went through multiple mutations. Work by animators Carlos Grangel and Joe Ranft reveals the collaborative process of Burton’s evil genius.
“Cinematic ephemera” from Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks, and Beetlejuice dangle from the ceiling, creating a morbid effect. There are puppets and props that appear to have been lifted from the bowels of an S and M dungeon, and potato- headed stop- motion animation figurines from Corpse Bride and the Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton basically invented the smart, subversive device of making that which appears to be for children- PeeWee Herman! Catwoman!—categorically for adults. This realization visually seeped across the face of one mother, when her toddler inquired after the purpose of all the straps and buckles on the Penguin’s baby carriage. Bondage straps, that is. It’s pretty terrifying stuff, but always with a wink and a smile.
Tim Burton’s art is not resplendent. It’s more Goya than van Gogh, more along the lines of Bosch’s fetid, hedonistic scenes and Alfred Kubin’s nightmare monsters. The “Corpse Boy” photos show a bloated, blue baby, alongside ribbons of sutures coiling around disembodied limbs. His monster illustrations painstakingly detail every hoof and horn, with technique that looks almost pointillist. This show should be filed under the category “If You’re Into That Sort of Thing.” And from the overwhelming response, it seems that many are.Burton’s MoMA debut auspiciously coincides with the release of his new interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, slated for release March 5th. The opportune timing raises questions over the intersection between museum exhibitions and their commercial interests. This is hardly a new phenomenon, as artists and museums have historically relied on patronage, from benefactors in the past and from corporate underwriters today. But sponsorship by featured artists themselves seems to be a growing trend in New York City museums recently. The Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute “Model as Muse” exhibit last year was sponsored by Marc Jacobs, and his confections filled nearly all the final gallery. Burton’s show, in spite of being deeply engaging and disturbing, may be intended to instigate chatter around his latest project, a kind of culturally sanctioned preview.
Perhaps direct sponsorship, whether from an individual, their studio, or a public relations team is just a new reality in museum going, a way for institutions to grasp at survival in a climate of diminishing donations. Like all decisions around art, what it is and who is celebrated, the process is never democratic but highly deliberative. Maybe a filmmaker receiving his due from a major museum is a step forward in redefining the limits of what institutions declare and disseminate as art. We’ll have to wait and see if “cinematic ephemera” from Alice in Wonderland makes it into the next show.