Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcome (Back) To The Machines

Okay, I confess: earlier today I engaged in a shameless act of self-pleasure. It had been a long time, though, such a long time since I'd indulged myself, that I thought "why not? What's the harm? Everyone does it! Why are my palms sweaty?" And after my equivocating, I cast a furtive eye over each shoulder, opened my web browser, rubbed my grubby hands together, and--for the first time in many months, months, I tell you!--I did a vanity google.

I wouldn't be admitting to this sordid act so openly if I hadn't discovered something funny: how is it that I never saw this while Machines x7 was still up and running?

There are so many layers of awesome here--a veritable deep-fried artichoke blossom of "heh, neat"-ness--that I'm not sure where to begin. First, I guess, would be that I reviewed theater for this site for well over a year back in 2005-06 and still maintain a deep respect for the fine folk I met there.

Second, I continue to hazard, would be that I am mentioned as a major force behind the production. Mr. Coyle, whom I do not think I've ever met, writes:
The real stars of this production are machine designers Steven and Billy Blaise Dufala, Technical Director Derek Cook and Marlon Hurt, the Master Electrician. Creating a stage-world of working contraptions and low-tech gadgets is not easy, and their creativity is often staggering.
Dude, did you catch that? I effing staggered someone! Often! I am the Master Electrician...of the synapses in your mind!


Artichoke leaf number three, sadly, is that I think Mr. Coyle is very wrong in his assessment of my impact on the piece. Yes, Steven and Billy deserve the kudos he hands them, but Derek--not to diminish his significant contributions--simply assembled the mass of lumber dumped on our doorstep into a pre-designed set and, other than the house lights, I did nothing fancier than make sure everything turned on. That hardly makes us the "stars" of anything except utilitarian fetishists. Not what I would call an aesthetically refined crowd, they.

I'm also disappointed that he knocked the idea of the show being "deeply profound." Granted, in certain contexts words like "deep" and "profound" rank up there, in my opinion, with made-up words like "frustrational." When used to describe the quality or content of a work of art, "deep" and "profound" have essentially zero meaning. What they indicate, though, is that thought went into the project. With Machines x7, this is a fair assertion: it never smacked anyone over the head, but the entire exercise was a meditation on American militarism in the age of Bush. Our paranoia, our overcompensation, our propensity to turn into a mirror image of the monsters we're fighting--all of this was quietly addressed by Trey, Geoff, and Quinn. One just had to stop laughing long enough to examine why one was really laughing to begin with.

Not that Mr. Coyle was laughing, or necessarily should have been. To each his own. But for me that's the heart of this tasty thistle. I didn't realize it, but I've honestly missed slinging hash with fellow opinion-mongers like my former colleagues at I used to find such calisthenics so brutally rewarding. (Scroll toward the bottom to find my piece.)

I may be the Master Electrician in question, but when I think about disagreeing with someone whom I have every reason to respect--and the kind of multi-layered awesome such a disagreement reawakens in me--well, consider me staggered.


Los Grumildos...Now In Panorama-Vision!

As promised, a few pics of my accidental light design for Los Grumildos at HERE Arts Center.

I would note that while the show is apparently a pleasure to human eyes, the low light and saturated reds make this exhibit hard on our digital counterparts. Ah, les yeux mécaniques! Le sigh....

And yes, there are panoramas. Oh, are there ever!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Word From Beyond The Veil

Well, beyond the veil that separates a person forced to cram a 39-hour work week into three days from his more free time-enabled counterparts, anyway.

The upshot of the insane hours--but not quite insane enough to qualify for a thorazine drip; for that, catch me after HERE's CultureMart this coming January--is that I inadvertently ended up doing the light design for the North American premiere of Los Grumildos.

I'll post pics tomorrow. Most likely in panorama format. As the prophecy of...squints at panorama post time stamp...two days ago foretold, the panorama-ing begins!


I am such a dork.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


New digital camera. This one has panorama.

I'm gonna get good at this. At which point, everyone within 180* of me needs to watch out. For the moment, only cats and houseplants are at risk.

This won't end well, I can feel it...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This Is True

Rep. Virginia Fox says that "there are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare."

Despite what the libs and the Em Ess Em would have you believe, this is the God's honest truth.

Everybody in this country also has access to a Bentley. Nobody's stoppin' 'em.

So, you know....quit yer bitchin'.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chic Fail

"Excuse me, Miss? Miss? Hi, I have a soiree to attend and I simply must look my best. I had heard of a new trend in nighttime fashion, something that's all the rage in a few of our inner cities and has lately been lifted up and transformed into the craze du jour. I'm wondering if you carry...oh, you do? That's marvelous. Ever since I was told of them, I've wanted to slip into one desperately. And which floor would I find that on?

Ah, the third."

Macy's Fail.

(Submitted and, with any luck, front-paged. Marlon Win!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Against The Wall

Recently, my and my love's digital camera pulled a disappearing act. Knowing such items are more likely to throw themselves back into the light once you've spent a sufficiently ridiculous amount of money replacing them, we went ahead and bought another camera.

The punchline being that the old camera is still in whichever void it decided to descend.

Refusing to let the new camera get the best of me, I took the opportunity of an otherwise ill-timed expenditure to photograph a few of my older pieces so I could finally throw them into that other void, the interwebs. (Wait, is our camera around here somewhere...?)

I'll start with the living room:

Glass and spray paint

And its negative:

Self-Portrait (2)
Glass and spray paint
backed with black paper

Boy With Book
Polycarbonate, ink, paint

And finally, two portraits from the bedroom:

Ink on paper

Ink on paper

Now that I've not only used the other camera but posted its efforts to the web for all the world to see, perhaps the prodigal will be moved by jealousy to return.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Das Kute

Here I was today, feeling like the world was operating just a unicorn's hair below absolute adorableness, like everything beyond my magical toadstool was a single kitten fart away from cuddly purr-fection.

Feeling a little lucky nonetheless, I set out to turn that clown upside down, and shake him till all the laughter and rainbows he'd been hoarding in his oversized pants came crashing to the ground. And lo, what did I find at my feet beneath his emptied, parti-colored trousers?

The exact bunneh photo I needed to meet my daily Quteness Quota!

Image kidnapped, tied to a radiator, and molested--to the
(probable) horror of Cute Overload--by lil' ol' me.

What luck! It's almost like I had a freshly sawed-off rabbit's foot in my bloody little hands. Or four!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yippie! (Updated)

This Wednesday, the 22nd, Deep In Vein is headlining the Yippie Museum Cafe lineup!

This means an extra long set--eight songs total--for extra deepness. But which vein will we hit this time? Will it be pulmonary? Systemic? To find out, you'll have to drop on by!

We hit the stage somewhere around 10pm.

Let's do this thing.

DIV Maiden courtesy A. Andrew Gonzalez

Après La Mort: We finished out an evening headed up by two acoustic groups, so the transition was...interesting, to put it mildly. However, Yippie has both an upstairs and a downstairs performing space. The acoustic guys were upstairs, and we chose down. So, for the audience who stayed to check us out, it was much like descending. Which we found thoroughly appropriate.

The set was meaty and the sound was heavy. Plenty of sweat and spit, wild eyes and contortions. It was, indeed, a very good night.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

I said no, no, no...

Bursting My Dot Com Bubble

Learning how to build this by myself was, I imagine, a lot like a monkey working to open a bottle of whiskey. Finishing the task means a truly great payoff, but my god...the broken glass, the blood....

From one metaphorically intoxicated simian to another (well, you should be anyway), I happily wipe the blood, sweat, and tears off the facade of the new Deep In Vein central command.

Shriek!--as they say. Ah, ah, ooh ooh!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Race To The Bottom

There was a lot about Barack Obama's campaign--and his eventual election--that made me proud to be an American. Here we were, seriously considering a black man for president a mere 44 years after legally elevating blacks out of second-class citizenship.

But that's not part of what made me proud. What made me proud was how little that fact was a part of the overall conversation we had as a country leading up to Obama's election. So much so that no one but the most far-gone right-wingers--and the most self-congratulatory lefties--felt a need to make an issue of it. The overwhelming majority, even among those who opposed his candidacy, were concerned solely with the content of his character.

Which is what makes both Sonia Sotomayor's SCOTUS confirmation hearings and the general discussion of those hearings so thoroughly depressing. The continued hubbub is over a line she often included in her speeches, regarding the role her background as a woman and a Latina has played in shaping her life decisions: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion."

The "better" in that formulation relates to an ending she began to omit: "than a white male who hasn't lived that life." How dastardly to think that a double minority might have a more worldly view on the way law impacts people's lives than members of America's elite, rich ruling class! Racist!

Much has already been said about this, most amusingly on the hypocrisy of the GOP's handwringing considering that Samuel Alito made remarkably similar statements concerning the impact of his personal history on his judicial compass: "when I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account."

Translation: "As a wise person of an ethnic background, I hope I would reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Admittedly, Justice Alito is Italian-American--an ethnicity recently upgraded from the socially questionable "swarthy" to plain ol' Country Club-grade white--so his statement about "discrimination" might, at worst, confuse his pale, conservative brethren or, at best, make them think his battle with discrimination happens to put him on equal footing with the new victim par excellence.

Still, with Alito's wise (and I do mean that) sentiment fresh in mind, all I'll toss into the dark waters of the internet is this: there are many things we as a nation refuse to admit to ourselves, even though almost everyone (or close enough to everyone to make the exceptions freaky-deeky outliers) understands that these unspoken things are actually true.

To wit: a great majority of women, no matter their political stripe, want access to abortion if or when it's necessary; liberals are not actually planning to take your handguns and rifles away (enough of us enjoy owning and shooting them ourselves); and that yes, aside from the phenomenon that is Barack Obama, both a citizen's race and class still play a major role in his or her life experience in this country. This includes white people. Just in case you didn't catch that.

Now, can we please get back to making a ruckus over which box a potential Justice would check in a redo of Roe v. Wade, and not which boxes she checks on her Census form?

Monday, July 13, 2009

43: The Evil One Behind 43 & The Introduction Of Rule #1

When I have an ethical quandary, there's a certain colleague I turn to. As a student of human behavior, and a renowned Zen Buddhist--at least, that's how I describe him to all my friends--my colleague continues to be an excellent guide to the moral posts that mark the right and proper path through this modern world. He also has a great ass. For the purposes of this discussion, I will refer to him as "Mr. T."

(Holy crap! "Mr. T!" How is it I never thought of that till just now?!)


(Straightens tie)

Mr. T (chuckle, snort) has one major rule in life. It's so major that Rule #2 is simply an exhortation not to break Rule #1. Which should never be broken. Ever. Either of 'em. Cause breaking one is breaking both. Which is double awful. So, yeah. Neither. Even when you really want to. Just don't do it. Never--never--break Rule #1. Ever. If you do, I swear to my army of bathtub squirrels that Mr. T (chuckle, snort) will break into your house and fart on your pillow. Because Mr. T is a vengeful god. Which is bad and stuff. So...okay?

Is that clear?

Okay, so, highlight the space below to reveal...Rule #1:

Don't Choke A Bitch.

Got that? Simple, right?

That said:

Holy shit.

Can Congress please, please muster the fucking balls to break Rule #1?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well, That Went Well

I've never played the Rock Star Bar before. Interesting joint. Love the mermaids. Nautical-themed mythology makes me feel naughty, but in a made up way.


The gig went well. Our drummer, Paul, was on tour with another band so our rhythm guitarist, Joe, took to the kit. Our sound was more stripped down than usual, but in all honesty it's refreshing to occasionally pare the thing back to its bare bones. Like a writer dealing solely with a plot outline, it helps one refocus on what it is exactly that makes a song a "song."

It's nice knowing that we can take away the flair and flourishes and that the material itself is so rock solid that it doesn't mind at all.

Did I say "rock" solid? I'm sorry, I meant "Rawk!" solid.

Much better.

A thoroughly terrible shot of Deep In Vein from a frustratingly
unworkable, non-intuitively designed digital camera. We rocked,
even if the camera's too much of a fuddy-duddy to notice.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Can't Quit The Quitter

I usually dismiss Peggy Noonan as being a dealer of goods less pleasing to the nose than many of her fellow anemic, CW co-slingers in the Em Ess Em, but then this hit my system. Look, I've already admitted I have a problem. I'm not trying to quit but I certainly didn't expect to find my next ack ack pumper kicking her heels up beneath the soft white fluorescents of the Wall Street Journal:

America doesn't need Sarah Palin to prove it was, and is, a nation of unprecedented fluidity. Her rise and seeming fall do nothing to prove or refute this.

"The elites hate her." The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon.

"She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

"She shows our ingenuous interest in all classes." She shows your cynicism.

"Now she can prepare herself for higher office by studying up, reading in, boning up on the issues." Mrs. Palin's supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this? Maybe they think "not thoughtful" is a working-class trope!

"The media did her in." Her lack of any appropriate modesty did her in. Actually, it's arguable that membership in the self-esteem generation harmed her. For 30 years the self-esteem movement told the young they're perfect in every way. It's yielding something new in history: an entire generation with no proper sense of inadequacy.

"Turning to others means the media won!" No, it means they lose. What the mainstream media wants is not to kill her but to keep her story going forever. She hurts, as they say, the Republican brand, with her mess and her rhetorical jabberwocky and her careless causing of division. Really, she is the most careless sower of discord since George W. Bush, who fractured the party and the movement that made him. Why wouldn't the media want to keep that going?

Sugarcoated Jesus in a tube top, I am lit up like daytime...

The Thrill... gone.

Also, the Thriller is gone. I do not, however, think B.B. King was anticipating the recent, sad day when that other King--the King of Pop--would shuffle off his silicone coil.

Um, so that just made this one of the most awkward, kinda sad song unveilings evar.

Though, now that I think about it, that's kinda fitting. I mean, the blues is about loss and sadness. And MJ in his later years was, to put it diplomatically, really awkward.

Well bless my stars, I guess y'all can officially consider me a resident of Ms. Kubler-Ross's stage five...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Snow Hillbilly Heroin

The alarm goes off and immediately I'm jonesing for a fix. It's okay, I've got a couple sources I can hit. I just have to throw on the overcoat and dark sunglasses and head to that seedy spot under the bridge, the underpass beneath the information highway.

Oh....oh, yes. That's it. "Department of law." (Shiver.)

"...Unfit for office." I feel tingly.

"...Enough to make even die-hard Republicans shudder." I can hear hopes crumbling! Trippy!

"Will she cure cancer?" Look, clouds....mmm, I can taste them. Hey, they're made from tears that dried on the cheeks of rightwing clowns! Who knew....?

Okay, one "unbiased" item, just to ease the bringdown. That does the trick; the little "news" report let the high gently leave the system, but the chatter about 2012 hints at more fixes down the road, and probably higher grade hits to boot.

Whew, I feel better. T'ain't nothin' like a few cc's of shadenfreude to get you moving in the morning.

The best thing about the internet is that the only delivery system for this top quality stuff is to mainline it right through the eyeballs. I wouldn't have it any other way.