I haven’t updated this site in a year. Covid has upended life in New York City. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations were a big deal. I moved from Manhattan to Queens. I got a new job. A lot has happened and I have had no time to write or to do art. So, I’m going to upload my video diary to keep everything up to date.More.
The distant reverberations of an opera singer in Grand Central Station. One comes from a play at one’s Alma Mater. Disturbed by the severed head of a Scottish Thane, to say nothing of MacDuff’s loss. The walking wood. I wish they would. One goes home, or to a semblance of it. An apartment nonetheless. Maybe to water the plants, make a salad. Read and dream. Write, because when one can, one must.
I just discovered a fantastic new film on Prime, I wanted to see what Tilda Swinton had been up to lately, and starring her daughter Honor Swinton Byrne – The Souvenir is really something special. A very English picture, it deals with all of the themes: love, loss, terrorism, opiates, and film school. British classism paired with a neat retro vibe really makes this film unique. Tom Burke plays the unfortunate love interest who works in the Foreign Office, and with a really deep way of portraying his character, makes us believe what he makes her believe.
“Try and find a connection between your experience and the experience that you’re trying to film.”
I’ve been reading Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle wrote on the things that made a good life. Looking to the purpose of life, found it to be connected with happiness. People seem to be happy when given a worthy pursuit, but is happiness a worthy pursuit unto itself? What is a worthy pursuit? For a musician, it is music, for a carpenter, it is building. So the function of a person could be towards a certain kind of life. Self-sufficiency is considered a virtue, especially that of a citizen who is able to support his family.
To live a complete life is good and noble, but there is not a specific form that one must adhere to, rather a wide array of factors that make up the whole. Happiness is not based solely on one’s fortunes, but rather a happy life can be built up from a lifetime of virtuous actions made into a daily habit.
Whose mind and heart from all desire is free,
Who seeks for peace by living virtuously,
He in due time will sever all the bonds
That bind him fast to life, and cease to be.
I went to a music festival last weekend, possibly the best weekend of my life, but I have had some good weekends here and there. The show was Rock & Roll with a classic 1950’s vibe. The Brooklyn Bluebirds rocked, that’s Andy Animal’s band, he organizes the event and I think it’s on his birthday weekend. Shit Horse freakin’rocked. Tandoori Knights were excellent. Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers produced and presented some great kids bands from the Paul Green Rock Academy. I slept in a hammock, it rained, I walked around barefoot, swam in the Esopus Creek, saw some old friends, made some new ones. Rio the dog was there, somebody brought a big goat, that was cool. The art installations were really great, there was a vegan food vendor Berben & Wolff’s with locations in Albany and Troy. Brooke Deva was selling textiles and jewelry from India. The bands played late into the night and there were classic films being projected all day.
by Alexander Countey
We can never claim to be higher then
another, never claim to have realized what others have not, never hold
ourselves superior in any way to other humans, to other beings, we are all
simply at different points in our paths, we are all simply in the same illusion,
the commonality of the experience of the world, of the world we witness, the
common illusion shared between all sentient beings in this world, is itself the
proof of the unity of existence. This common illusion is the divine connection
that hold us within our identity, into our ego, into this world. As Ram Dass so
elegantly states it, “Don’t prolong the past, don’t invite the future,
don’t alter innate wakefulness, don’t fear appearances.” We must neither
attach to nor reject the world we witness. We must not get lost in the past
experiences that, although they undeniably hold relevance into whom we identify
ourselves as, what we believe, what brought us to this point, it must be viewed
as neutral and equal as any other experience, as no better nor no worse than
any other pathway. As each pathway is equally as valid, it must be observed as
equally valid as every other experience. We must not take away or alter our
focus to block out the world, it is too easy to be ignorant of what is around
us, ignorant of the impact of our actions, ignorant to the world as it unfolds
around us, our focus placed somewhere else, focused away from the world, so
focused we become blind and ignore, focused to push away and reject the world,
focus so strong on a single point that it becomes blind to all that is around.
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Supreme has brought skateboarding culture into high fashion here in New York City. Sometimes I wonder if any of the people waiting in line around the block on Lafayette and Prince St ready to drop $40 on a t-shirt actually skate. Some of them do!
These kids can skate!
Blessed like the skate videos that you can see on Thrasher except edited into a feature length film. Beautifully. With a great soundtrack.
Skating is hard work, and it takes balls. If you’re attempting new tricks, you fall a lot. It can take hundreds of tries to land something new. And Blessed takes the time to show some of that effort that can go into landing skateboard tricks.
There isn’t really a storyline, or much talking, barely any interviews in Blessed, but you do get a sense of the humble glory of street skateboarding. Like the dedication to perfection, and the high that comes from doing the impossible.
These kids own their streets. They take over parks, courthouse steps, driveways, alleyways, bomb down hills, fly down stairs, I don’t know if it looks hard, but it is.
These guys are athletes of the highest order.
I saw this at Cinema Village and was ready to pay to get in, but admission to this film was free that day. I was blessed.
In the news yesterday, I noticed that Lady Gaga is engaged to be married. My only hope is that it works out better than it does for Ally in her 2018 film A Star Is Born. I liked this film, a romantic drama that was not quite a musical but featured some pretty good musical numbers; particularly her first song that she sings in French at the drag club. This film had character, and feeling, and glitz, and romance as imperfect as it can be. I think that Gaga had direct creative control over every element of the production, while some of the scriptwriting might have seemed forced it was actually the pop star’s own true voice.
The film is about Ally, who is a normal girl who lives with her dad in the suburbs. She works some service job in a high-end hotel and sings when she can at a drag bar in the city. It is in this drag bar where she’s discovered by the rock star Jack. Jack is kind. Jack is sensitive. Jack knows how to ice a broken hand. His brother is the cowboy from Big Lebowski. Don’t be Jack.
Walking by Cinema Village yesterday, I checked the showtimes and was intrigued by a doc about space travel but there was this other film that only had two showtimes that day 11 am and 11 pm. So, passing over Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, which has better press and many showings, I determined to come back at 11pm to see Viking Destiny. I was the only person in the theater, which was alright, but disconcerting. Probably better than seeing Venom with one hundred twittering teenagers. This film is probably the best viking movie in recent memory. Like Valhalla Rising (2009) it features panoramic shots and odd long silences, but that may be a part of Scandinavian culture and filmmaking. Oh, but you believe in it. It has a weird philosophy, and doesn’t shy away from moralizing, but let me tell you the story. It presents as a saga, with Odin and Loki visiting mortals and swaying events to their greater goals.