Monday, December 11, 2017

laurie anderson at Mass MoCA

a little while back i heard that Mass MoCA was showing an VR exhibit by laurie anderson.

did i ever tell you my laurie anderson story? no?

it was back in the early '80s. i walked into a little thrift store looking for something funky to wear to a party and i was stopped in my tracks by the music playing on the store speakers. it was, i was to learn later, o superman.

"what is that music?" i asked. the young and trendy clerks who could not have been more than a year or two younger than me and yet WAY younger and hipper than me rolled their eyes and made that little clicking sound young hip people make when someone who will never "get it" ask questions.

"it's laurie anderson", one of them said as if i was the last person on earth to have heard of this.
"what album is this?" i asked, because back then we still bought albums.
"big science", they said, as if telling me this information actually caused them pain.
"i have to go buy it now."

and i turned immediately and ten minutes later i was on the other side of town buying it in a record store. you can watch this video, but i recommend just listening to it before you watch the images. or don't. your choice.

so yeah, i'm a fan.

they have her new VR pieces chalkroom and aloft. so my friend barb (who is a good sport about a lot of these adventures) and i made reservations and packed up the car to go november camping. maybe i will tell you more about that later. i fully intend to tell you a lot about the trip but you know, sometimes i forget.

it was amazing and awesome.

when you're in the VR environment you are IN that environment. i won't say it feels real, because what happens is mostly unreal. it's cool to watch other people in it, because if you have been in there, you can guess by their movements what they are seeing.

here's barb in aloft:

i know from just having done it myself that she is in a chair that's flying. and a thing has drifted near her, which she has caught. it's a book, and she has to turn the pages to interact with it.

it's pretty amazing stuff.

here's a washington post story about it.

Friday, December 08, 2017

a gay agenda

no, not THE gay agenda, just an agenda.

with gay themed items.

1) the turkish national sport
2) fun home, the musical
3) some guys i saw on church street.

1) the turkish national sport

turkey is one of the most homophobic nations on the planet, which is why their national sport makes me laugh.

let's step right over the concept that men should be able to touch each other and still be manly. i'm a supporter. the less time men spend worrying about what will make them look gay the better off we'll all be.

but seriously. turkish oil wrestling.  it is a sport in which the preferred strategy is to get your whole arm down into your opponent's oil-soaked leather pants. any sport for which the official rules need to explicitly forbid squeezing your opponent's penis or inserting a finger into his rectum is a pretty gay sport to start off with.     

even men's doubles ice dancing is not that gay.


2) fun home, the musical

in october i went to see the vermont stage production of fun home. it was beautiful and breathtaking and it played in a small house that holds maybe a hundred and twenty people, which made it an extremely intimate piece of theater.

live theater is kind of amazing anyway, not so much for what goes on on the stage, but for that thing that hangs between the performers and the audience. art reaches into that little place where people keep their hearts and gives it a little jiggle.

really and truly it's a show about relationships and family, but the central characters are gay, so while there are universal themes, there are things about it that cut weirdly close for everybody who came of age gay. it's also really stunning to see representations of gay characters who are not there for titillation or to be edgy or to signal liberal acceptance.

i looked around me in that audience and it was full of regular theater-going people who were there to see an awesome show. not because it was a gay show; because it's a good show. a thing like that would not have happened not so long ago.

the show is based on alison bechdel's graphic memoir fun home, and it's a fantastic bit of nonlinear storytelling.

3) some guys i saw on church street

later that night, i was wandering up church street playing ingress because it wasn't that late and i was parked up in the cherry street garage and i looked up from my phone to see that two men walking ahead of me were holding hands. two regular looking guys, large and square in that manly way, one black and one white and the only thing that tipped me off to their gayness was that they were holding hands, and at one point they kissed.

it really is a different world now.

i can remember a time not so long ago when such a thing would never have happened on church street. it would not even have happened that way outside of the old bar on pearl street. men may have kissed or held hands, but there would have been a hint of danger. it would have been a wary political act. a rebellion.

october, 2017: two men walk up church street holding hands. nobody seems to notice or care.

makes me smile.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

things happen.

yesterday was the centenary of the halifax explosion. you know how when you're a kid you sometimes latch onto a story or a historical event and it looms large over your landscape? yea, the Imo and the Mont Blanc were that for me.

the city of boston has its new christmas tree.

today i'm watching the california wildfire map. i have some friends who live in the middle, kind of too near the dots.

also today i fell on the ice on a trail and smacked my head. it took me a few minutes of lying there before i could get up.

also, before that on the same trail i had an out of control dog bark and snarl and bare teeth at me and i was ever so subtly repositioning my hiking stick to crack its skull and save myself when the owner came along and told me SHE'S FRIENDLY.

yeah? because i was legit askeert of this one, thinking i was only going to get in one good shot with the stick and if i missed, i was going to get messed up bad.

also today i had to google "how old am i?", which yielded mixed results.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

two things

three, if you count the preamble.

i sort of think i'm going to have a lot of things to tell you and probably i will at some point. meanwhile it's still pretty quiet over here in my head and i am deep into the process of cleaning and packing away my camping gear for the winter. (this means i actually put it away where it GOES instead of leaving it in a heap in my living room. at least until april, when i may go camping. or the odd one night trip to somewhere. you never know.)

MB introduced me to a new comic strip and i like it enough to have read the WHOLE THING. you can find it here.

and here's a short film i watched this morning.

DISSONANCE from Till Nowak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

here's a short film.

i came home from the res yesterday. it was sunny and warm (read over 30 degrees) and a good day to pack up, especially since there's some weather coming and gonna keep coming. good time to be indoors.

anyway, i was looking at things on the interwebs this morning and i found this little movie.

from Gaspar Palacio on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

pumpkin glow

just before halloween barb and i went out to a pumpkin glow. it was at a small farm and mostly kids from a local school had carved the pumpkins, apparently.

some were pretty.

some were very funny. and scary.

this is probably the scariest thing this kid could come up with. especially funny in a red neighborhood.

and then there was this:

yep, a goatse. do not ask me how that one slipped through the censors, but i laughed and laughed. what else would you do with a butt-shaped pumpkin?

Saturday, November 18, 2017


holy cow, i have so many tabs open on my desktop.

some of them are of no interest to you, unless you want to know what shopping i'm doing, or if you want to know EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD about some bottles i found in the woods over the summer.

but then there are a lot of tabs i'm not closing because they have some coolness about them that caught my attention and i would like to share.

awright. let the tab clearing begin!

so here's a recipe for sweet potato blondies that i hope to make. ordinarily i make a thing before i share a link to a recipe, but i can see it's going to be a while before i get that off my desk. if you make them, let me know how it goes.

this guys is pretty awesome.

then, if you've ever spent time in maine, you will probably enjoy this "news" magazine. i've been to most of maine, so i find it extremely funny. and sad. because let's face it, the economy isn't doing maine any favors, and then there's governor LePage.

if you like bushcraft (and i do), here's a free online magazine you can read. i have just downloaded the thingy i need to read it on my phone, so that will be some fun times.

and bam! here's another video. i just like it is all
Crown Candy from Kamau Bilal on Vimeo.

and here's the jackpot: How Generative Music Works. it's an interactive explainer with all kinda things you can play with and documentation and links and you can sorta skim through or you can spend an hour or two playing with all the things.

there ya go. my tabs are manageable now.


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