Friday, July 22, 2005


I love to dance. The past and future both melt away under the heat of the beat. I just lose it out there on the floor. The bass is thumping, and my hips are humping! Ha!

I work on my moves at home, and then, come Saturday night, I take a shower, I put on the Brut, I put some gel in my hair, and I go over to RickRaff's in Murphysboro.

All the way over, it's like the car's filling with anticipation. I play the same mix every time, so I feel like I'm in the perfect mood. When I walk in that door, and pay my ten dollars, it's like the whole week at the gas station has been worth it for this one night. I can hear the music from the hall, I can see girls all over the place and I'm just drooling. I smell their perfume and their sweat.

Then I break out the moves and grooves I've been working on all week. Everyone usually gives me lots of space to work, and I need it, because I am out of control. I usually don't even drink because I have to drive and I want to beon the lookout in case any of the ladies in the place need a ride.

It hasn't happened yet, but if I keep it up. Keep going over to RickRaff's Big Saturday Night Breakdown, someone will go home with me.

It's bound to happen eventually, right?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

To Sever Man

I've been stuck in a quagmire lately. Whether to politicize and socially engage myself, or whether to take a more distanced stance toward society.

As an artist, I am forced to question the relevance of the work I do. If only a small cadre of likeminded individuals are exposed to my work, is it of great enough value? Furthermore, my focus is sort of a fringe of a fringe. My opinions are iconoclastic, my aesthetic not shared by the masses.

And in order to do this work that is seen by few and scorned by many, I must work in a soul-sucking ad agency forty hours a week as a freelancer. If this is the life of the artist, I am not sure I want it. I can struggle forward for the next couple of decades, and slowly establish myself, and maybe, maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to squeeze by on income from my art.

Do I love my art? Yes. The question is whether I love it enough to sacrifice giant slabs of my life to supporting it while not actually doing it. If I'm too drained for art by the time I get home, why not just sell out and get it over with already? I'm slowly becoming the average drone I've always dreaded becoming.

It's clear. It's time to leave my day job. The sad fact is that I've accrued plenty of debt on artistic missions of various sorts. And the money here is good. It's hard to turn down the money. But I must. I a few months for sure.

Add to my day job dissatisfaction my nagging feeling that I could be doing more every day to make a difference. When I was growing up, I always thought I was going to be someone who would make a difference, but I'm currently on a path to becoming increasingly shallow and self-reflective. An easy thing to do in this image-insane city. And with a blog.

The problem with engaging politically is you have to deal with assholes like Tucker Carlson. People who have no interest in logic and reasoning except as a tool to serve their party masters. People who take positions and then muster their rhetorical skills to back them up. And of course, there is the great mass of people who just don't give a crap. The hate, contempt, and stupidity that courses through every public discussion is so revolting that I want to sneak off to the woods and smear portraits of the Virgin Mary with dung.

But I'm not willing to give in. It's time for a change. So I find myself contemplating the opposite of artistry: law school. Why? Because at least I would have a shot of going to work every day to do something I really cared about and believed in. I don't know how much longer I can stand waking up and hating to get out of bed.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


It's been a long time. I keep a record. I can tell you it has been well over a year now. Ideally, I'd like a loving partner to hold me through the night. That's what I think about when I hug my pillow as I fall asleep. A friend. But that's ideally. I also know how unrealistic the ideal can be. How unrealistic it is. It's not like I've given up, but at this point, I'm a few stages away from that kind of fulfillment.

There hasn't been a hug. There has rarely been a close encounter in which my personal space is lightly brushed. I savor these moments as if they were deep embraces. There's no point in lying: I've never been lucky in the way of people wanting to touch me. It's the stink. My mother didn't want to touch me, though my sister was not above it from time to time.

The last time I had what I would call contact--real, undeniable, intentional contact--was last year. A Ford Escort rolled in smoking from under the hood. An older guy got out, and he looked really scared. He was kind of shaking a little bit, and his eyes were bigger than normal. I figured he must have been driving that thing a mile up the hill to the station here, with smoke pouring out of it, waiting for it to explode at any second. He got out and walked away from it as fast as his age and stature permitted, and then he just stood there, looking at it. Wearing a suit in the middle of summer, with all the excitement, he was sweating like crazy, just staring at the car, smoking away.

So I walked over, turned off the engine and popped the hood. The oil cap wasn't on and there was oil everywhere, burning up like crazy. With every crank of the pistons, the oil had been spurting all over the engine. I didn't have a cap for the guy and it was Sunday, so I filled the engine up, and duct taped over the hole, leaving a little space for pressure to escape.

The little man looked so relieved, I was sure he thought he was going to die. I don't think he could believe that I had fixed it. Before he got back into the Escort and drove away, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a green bill, puting it in my right hand. Then, keeping his hand pressed against mine, he covered the back of my hand as well, giving my hand a warm, grateful shake.

That was the last time. Sometimes, I relive that moment. I imagine the look of respect and gratefulness on his face, and I press one hand against the other.

It's maybe not the same, but I do what I can.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Fantasy Dogs

People are really weird when it comes to dogs and cats. They seem to think their pets are dolls, people, or, worse, actors in some hypercheesy fantasy world.

I would post a picture from Jean's Dog Shop's fantasy gallery , but you really should see it for yourself.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ign'rant Hicks

Last week, in celebration of the independence of our great land from the tyranny of taxation without representation, I went hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail with my two brothers along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. We witnessed there the most majestic vistas east of the Rockies and met some colorful folk from all over the country. Now, I've known plenty of people from West Coast and the Midwest. It was the contact with the Southerners that proved a real eye opener. And not just on the trail, where the people one meets are not apt to be representative of the population at large, but in the stores and on the streets.

All protestations to the contrary, before last week, I had nurtured an image of my southern brothers and sisters as racist, uneducated, loutish, and dangerous. I imagined they would blow my Yankee ass to kingdom come with their ubiquitous shotguns as soon as look at me.

Yes, I've meekly ventured into the south before: once to New Orleans (hardly representative, I think), and once to Charlotte. But I was still afeared of those durned southern folk.

Well, after a week, I am no longer afeared. I can't tell you their general education level, prediliction toward racism, or whether they really do all own guns, but I can tell you this: Those southern people may well wish to blast me with their twelve-gauges, but they're so danged nice, I think I'd take a belly full of shot with a warm "thank you kindly." Compared to New Yorkers, the people of Tennessee and North Carolina practically emanate a saintly glow. Cashiers, waitresses, passing strangers, they're all nice. Compare this to NYC, where no one will look at you except to ask for money, and the service at stores is indifferent at best.

I am left to ask: What are they so happy about? I thought they lost the war. And why are we such dicks in the north?