Jackson Pollock Was an Alcoholic

Went to see Pollock with Amy, Mike, Gina, Andrew on Solano Ave. Ed Harris did an amazing job as Pollock — his painting was totally convincing. But what a tortured life, what a severe drink head. I hadn’t realized his whole life was so dependent on the strength and will of Lee Krasner. The film did a good job of not letting us love him too much (he wasn’t particularly likeable), and it didn’t pander to an audience with little background in art, either. He was a genius. And he was an asshole. Felt good to think about something other than launching personalStudio for a while.

In Absentia

Went to see the new Brothers Quay film In Absentia with Amy and Amy after work, preceded by five other Quay shorts. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any of their stuff. This was a big departure from their earlier works. More live action, less puppeteering. About a woman in a room writing over and over again in these tiny, cramped, heavy loops, nothingness onto a page over and over again, breaking pencil leads with her heavy hand and placing the stubs on the windowsill. Eerie soundtrack by Stockhausen which I loved but the Amys hated. Took a while to shift gears. Brain still in work mode through most of the first shorts, then I slowed down and got into it more. Felt really good to get out of the office and into the theater, especially to see something more abstract.

Broccoli of the Subgenius

Picked up a used copy of the Book of the Subgenius at a garage sale to replace my decades old, dog-eared copy. Tried to watch Conceiving Ada, but it was so badly acted and so corny we had to quit after 20 minutes. I’d love to learn the story of Ada Lovelace, but those filmmakers should be ashamed. Ended up watching some of Short 6 instead.

arenacross

Took off early from work (well, 6) and went to the Oakland Arena with Mike to check out the arena cross — sort of the “superbowl of motorcross.” What they do is take a basketball court and fill it with dirt, then make this ridiculously torturous, windy whoop-de-doo track and pack it down. Kids and 20-somethings from all over the state race 125 and 250cc motocross bikes around, spending a full 1/3 of their time in the air. The jumps are absolutely insane. A 30 foot take-off run in 1st or 2nd gear off a 12-foot jump, and they sail in these perfect arcs halfway down the court, land and brake suddenly, hairpin turn, then two or three medium size jumps on the way back, a run of small whoop-dees, and back into the main jump. Over and over again.

I don’t know what they burn in those things, but the smell of dozens of two-stroke engines buzzing with this whiny noise and pooting out this acrid chemical smell. It smelled so bad and so brain damaging I can’t even believe they did it indoors. Afterwards we could taste the chemicals in our mouths it was so foul.

There was also a class of 65cc bikes ridden by 7 to 11 year olds. Cute, but not nearly as daring. They just roll over the jumps. Would have been more exciting if one of those kids were mine. In fact it seemed like half the audience was composed of friends and family of the racers.

I was hoping for a real white trash experience, but it was kind of ho hum. Graceful to watch, but it got boring pretty quickly, and there just wasn’t enough space to make for a good race. Whoever hit the first turn first always won. Wish they had trotted out more spectacle — big boobie babes, show-off stunts, etc. Think we’ll have to go to a monster truck rally for that.

$8 for parking
$6 for a beer
$4.50 for what they straight facedly call “nachos”
$27 for the ticket with all those absurd ticketmaster “service” charges (what f*cking service?)

Kinda fun, kinda gross.

a new human being

After work went to see Stacia and Matthew and their new baby girl, Lila Simone (such a beautiful name). Lila was not all veiny and lumpy like most newborns, but smooth and perfect looking (but still very red). Stacia was in bed and still having contractions two days later. They had the birth in a large birthing tub, underwater. The tub was still in the back room, and a plaster cast of Stacia’s belly was on the window sill. She told us the story, every detail, and the whole thing was entirely cosmic – they really approached it that way, start to finish. They’re going to be great parents. They have it together.

I held Lila for a while, her tiny head like a grapefruit in my hand, and I sniffed her. She smelt like perfection.

There’s a time when a human is innocent – as a young child. But there is a time even before that, infancy, which is beyond innocent. Prior to innocence. Just pure, open, emptiness. Like a template for a soul.

It was so inspiring, I wish Amy could have been there. But Amy is in Seattle with her sister, who gave birth to her own newborn just days before.

buddhas take hits from rocket launchers

I am disgusted and amazed at the Taliban and their intentions to destroy some 2,000 year old statues of The Buddha, 174 feet high and carved into the side of a sandstone cliff in Afghanistan.


The Taliban claim that the statues encourage idolatry and are un-Islamic. So they’re going to rewrite history. They’ve already started blasting at them with rocket launchers, and have chipped away at the heads and feet. It’s like blowing up the Parthenon or the Sphinxes. Human idiocy and arrogance know no bounds. The whole world is against this, but of course they’re not listening, not letting anyone into the site. It’s on their turf, they can do what they want. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in a long time.


Of course, it’s not like they can kill off the buddha spirit. They’ll only make themselves look miserable and pathetic. The whole thing isn’t much different from the Chinese occupation / destruction of Tibet. The world hasn’t done anything to stop that either. Mostly because no oil is involved.

Steamer

The pressure is intense. The politics make it much worse than it needs to be. Feel like I’m being pulled in two dozen directions at once. And I’ve only got four limbs with which to be pulled. From.

Death of Jazz

I’m so disappointed in the way this whole Ken Burns film ended, so dismissive of everything that happened after the 70s. True, jazz lost its direction in the 70s and no longer counted for more than a fraction of total record sales — it wasn’t driving the heart of the nation. But it took off into so many exciting realms, so much exploration, so much inspiration, and they characterized it like it just petered out into nothingness. Sun Ra never even got mentioned. It was oddly respectful, even if it was dismissive and missed the mark so widely. Ugh. Makes me depressed on two counts — that people forgot how to listen to great music, and that the most important historical document ever made on the music got its final conclusions so wrong.

I blame Wynton Marsalis, both for embodying that “worship the retro, nevermind what’s happening today” atmosphere, and for being given too much creative control over the direction this film took. It would have been so much better if it had had more voices contributing perspectives.

Requiem for a Dream

Just watched Requiem for a Dream with Amy… what a heavy way to end the week. What an intense movie. Also one of the most originally shot and edited I can remember seeing, ever. Inspirational in that sense, but if anything has ever sent a successful “don’t play with fire or you might get burned” message, this is it. Also about delusional goals, irrational justifications, and the seductiveness of the rabbit hole. Unh.