A journal of TMI

Red Ice

Part of the plan I had to get organized was to go through the various hard-drives I had collected and try and purge them, much as I had been serially pledging to purge various attic and basement spaces of my junk for quite some time. Similar to any storage situation, there had been times when I had moved from one residence to another, and put aside various projects into a digital realm, and never got back to sorting them out. In a redundancy of tendencies, there were hard drives stored in basements and possibly attics, and it was time to end this.

My idea for a solution became that I should post or publish anything that seemed worthy of saving to the internet, thereby accomplishing two things. I was relieved, even if only for a period of time, of the care-taking burden of archiving whatever work I had done, for if it existed on the web, meaning a server or an array of servers, it was at least temporarily safe. I would no longer have to see to its physical safety- a duty would be lifted, I would be liberated. The second thing that this accomplished was that not only would I no longer be needing to protect these things, I would no longer be guarding them either. That is, they would finally be free to be examined by whomever, and I would no longer have the false sense that I had never “done” anything. So, what we are talking about here is my artistic career. I had led several bands, been a member or a player in a few other bands, did some recordings. I had made a lot of films, which I discuss in greater detail elsewhere. I had done some visual art- here I feel the most an amateur compared to more dedicated people I know, but I have consistently done amateurish  illustration and painting my entire life. Despite my work, I never felt accepted as an artist and never accepted myself as an artist. My hoarding of whatever work I had actually done tended to support this state of tension. The pop psychology psycho-drama behind all this would include my experiences as a teenager visiting my girlfriend at art-school, over twenty years ago, where I felt looked on like I was a football player, which, if I have to explain, would be a grave sin in this particular freshman context. In all respect to (American) football players, I was far from one, the kind of guy they would love to punch, but I was tall, had played sports (though I mostly hated it), and came from a somewhat stable family.

My girlfriend loved these things  but because they were not especially cool or cutting edge, perhaps was a bit embarrassed in public, or so it seemed. My insecurities at the time were not anyone else’s fault. It was a jungle for such feelings though, and savagery was the result.

The actual dynamic between the Baltimore crowd and myself was varied. I had a few moments of friendship and camaraderie. To be fair, I suppose you could say I was partially there on unsound footing, to jealously possess what wasn’t really mine- a human being, my first “real” girlfriend. I wish I had some more photos from that era.  In terms of an iconic landscape, which young people love to prance around in, she was an emerging star in a Warholian milieu and I was more of a roving Kerouac, that is, I fancied myself that way. It was a classic juxtaposition, which she seemed to recognize at the time by signaling that our song was the Bob Dylan penned- She’s got everything she needs, She’s an artist, she don’t look back.

She’s got everything she needs,
She’s an artist, she don’t look back.
She’s got everything she needs,
She’s an artist, she don’t look back.
She can take the dark out of the nighttime
And paint the daytime black.

You will start out standing
Proud to steal her anything she sees.
You will start out standing
Proud to steal her anything she sees.
But you will wind up peeking through her keyhole
Down upon your knees.

She never stumbles,
She’s got no place to fall.
She never stumbles,
She’s got no place to fall.
She’s nobody’s child,
The Law can’t touch her at all.

She wears an Egyptian ring
That sparkles before she speaks.
She wears an Egyptian ring
That sparkles before she speaks.
She’s a hypnotist collector,
You are a walking antique.

Bow down to her on Sunday,
Salute her when her birthday comes.
Bow down to her on Sunday,
Salute her when her birthday comes.
For Halloween give her a trumpet
And for Christmas, buy her a drum.

Our relationship started when I was sixteen and she was eighteen. Now she’s a happily married suburban mother who has put such shenanigans behind her. Are either of us “artists”? The question seems more and more ridiculous. It certainly can go off in a lot of directions.

I certainly know folks who have gone to art school and tirelessly presented their work. They have built resumes, perhaps even sold their work or presented it as public art. I see my story as being different than this model(certainly not better!) but as I dug through my trove I saw that I could fudge up a resume as well- that is what this blog is basically. But it takes a lot of work for me to not get side-tracked.

I opened my hard-drives after my return to Philadelphia and began sorting them out. Before I knew it I was running my film software again. The blood was flowing. My camera came out of the basement. My room-mates and I began writing a film. I bought a green-screen off of e-bay, and a home-made cheapo steadicam, and one of the new consumer grade HD video cameras. We stayed up to 2 or 3 drinking Scotch and conducting an NPR type interview in character with  “Kevin Spacebo: Space Psychologist”- the main character in our re-make of the Russian film Solaris. Rob (Wylie- a tireless Shakespearean actor) called me on his way home. He smelled smoke and saw what seemed to be a several alarm fire. We quickly mobilized as a documentary film crew. The result- Red Ice:

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