Monday, June 18, 2012

R.I.P Rodney King

I was 11 years old and 2,000 miles away when L.A. melted down. I watched it on T.V., and at that age I couldn't wrap my head around most of what I was seeing. Most of those images have subsequently faded, except one.

On May 1, 1992, the third day of the riot, Rodney King had a bunch of microphones stuck in his face. He said, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?" I thought that was very big of him. I thought it was admirable. And what did the country do? They laughed at him. Big joke. I think that, more than even the beating or the riots, taught me an early lesson about the cruel streak running through our culture via groupthink; that it would turn a victim's call for peace into a talk show punchline. I don't want to sound high and mighty, I've laughed at some messed up things, and there are times when most every person--no matter how kind they usually are as an individual--is a part of that harsh edge of societal judgement. I imagine King was sometimes, too. He had his demons. But there's a lot of lasting heart in his words of that day, and maybe a lot of sadness too because too few listened.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Survey Part One of Two

If you got selected to be on a reality show which would it be, and why? Finding Bigfoot. I don't like camping and they don't ever find Bigfoot, but that Bobo maniac would be fun to hang out with.


On a scale of 1-10 how large is your attention span? Umm I guess a 6...well, wait what?

Are you sure that you were born in the right era? Sometimes I think it would be fun to live in another era, but honestly I like indoor plumbing and not dying of dysentery so now is just fine by me.

The last text you sent is the only thing you can say for the rest of your life. How screwed are you? It was, “Hey, you up?” so I guess if that's all I could say people would think I'm a motivational speaker.

Name at least three things you could stand to cut out of your life. Soda, pessimism, and neighbors.

If you could be invisible for a day what would you do? “Dave, did you have this large, museum-quality collection of art the last time I was here? And are those bank money bags sloppily hidden under that tarp in the garage?”

How do you deal with criticism? And what the hell do you mean by that? Huh?

How do you think you will fare when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives? I'm not going to lie. I'll get a few of them, but if they're those fast zombies from newer movies, I'm screwn. Plus I'd be stopping after every zombie kill to take a shower, so that's gonna slow me down some.

You ordered pizza last night and have been looking forward to eating the leftovers all day. You go home and the box is still in the fridge, but someone has eaten all of it and its empty. What do you do? Call the police. Hahaha. No, seriously, officer I'd like to file a report.


What’s something you’re nostalgic for? Sleepovers with ghost stories. Why the hell don't adults do that? Set up a tent in the living room, big bowl of popcorn, c'mon now.

What do you think people assume or know about you by looking at your blog? That I don't have much to say because I don't update very often. I do, but I always wind up doubting if it's really worth my or your time to type up a thousand words about my head-melting rage that shit like 50 Shades of Grey gets published and churns out money like an ATM that ate potato salad left out in the sun.

If you were an element on the Periodic Table, which would you be and why? Thorium. It was once used in lantern mantles. It's also radioactive, which means the atoms are unstable but are trying to reach stability by emitting energy.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

March SAORAAT Magazine

The current month's issue! Eri puts a ton of work into the magazine every month and our network has grown to over 80 authors. That's enough for our own softball league. Check out the sticky on the right to learn more -->

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February SAORAAT Magazine

A little, ahem, late. But I wanted to post this anyway.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day at the DIA

I finally made it to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the Rembrandt exhibit, and it was so very, very worth it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime collection, and they are considered masterpieces for a reason.

It was a nice day trip for my mom and me, as neither of us have been to the museum in years. It was crowded, mostly around the exhibit, and we bought tickets for eleven o'clock. I'm happy to see how many people have been drawn in by this attraction, so much so that the DIA has extended their weekend hours to ten at night. They let groups in an hour at a time, and it takes about that long to get through it all.

We had an hour before our group, so we checked out the rest of the second floor, where most of the art I'm interested in can be found. The first piece I was taken by was this Madonna and Child by Sassoferrato. The web version gives you a little of the sense of dimension and color, but standing in front of it is mind-blowing. It glows, positively glows. It looks like you could reach in and feel the bright fabrics. Four hundred years later it looks freshly dried. It's located in the Promenade outside the Renaissance rooms.

A little further down the hall is Rivera Court which houses the panel murals Diego Rivera did in the 1930s depicting Detroit's auto industry. Unlike any of the other art at the DIA, this wasn't brought from anywhere. Rivera completed this opus in less than a year right here in the middle of the museum. This is the mural's home, a high, open court with his bright symbolism on all four walls. I probably saw this once a year when we took field trips in school, but I think it takes an adult appreciation for history and labor to really take it in.

Past that is the "modern" collection of European art, a tantalizing assortment of the biggest names of the nineteenth century. The DIA has an impressive Van Gogh collection, consisting of The Diggers, Bank of the Oise and Auvers, a venerable portrait of Postman Roulin, and what I think is the best of all his self-portraits. I'm probably biased, but of all the self-portraits I've seen online or in books, I find it both the most attractive visually and the most expressive in the eyes.

So after all this we got in line for the Rembrandt exhibit. They let people in in a controlled flow, sort of, and when you get in they give you a neat digital audio tour device. There are numbers next to a lot of the pieces and you just punch in the number and hit play to hear the commentary on that piece. One cool thing is that a lot of them featured my old art professor, Dr. Shelley Perlove. She's the one who taught me about Rembrandt in the first place.

We looked at the sketches and etchings first, as an appetizer. The paintings, of course, are the main course. Did I mention it was crowded? It was crowded. I was sharing my personal space with about four people at a time, but like I said it was worth it. All along one wall were studies of the same model he used for Jesus. The effect of looking at one after another gave the impression of a series of photos of a subject in motion. You can only get that with such an exhibit with all these pieces brought together.

The two big stars of the show shared a wall at the end of the hall in the portraits room. The first I studied was Rembrandt's Head of Christ (more like upper body of Christ). It was the same model as the other portraits, but it's like he took all he learned from doing those and amplified everything into this one impossibly deep painting. Physically it is small, but you only notice that approaching. Once you're looking at it, it's huge. Christ is portrayed as contemplative, approachable, and clearly has a lot on his mind. This isn't the traditional European Jesus, he's darker and his hair is a little kinky and he looks like a man who knows his mission is costly and difficult. It's beautiful. The Supper at Emmaus is a masterpiece of light. You can really tell it's been cleaned for this exhibit. There's no film or grit anywhere on it. It's pristine looking. And, since it's after the Resurrection, Jesus has a much more peaceful expression as he's encircled by an unearthly light.

 The exhibit is there until February 12th. I'll say it again, it was worth it. Worth the measly cost, worth the line, worth the crowd (these are fellow people who appreciate an event like this, after all), heck it was even worth almost crashing into the bales of hay somebody dumped on I-94 on our way there.

Friday, January 13, 2012

More on The War of Art

Just a follow-up to my prior entry praising Steven Pressfield's amazing book. By sitting down and writing--by having inspiration come through work instead of waiting for ideas before beginning--in three weeks I've got a killer 8,000 word short story and another 1,500 on something that feels a lot like the start of a novel. And that's with all the to-do of the holidays thrown in. It's immensely satisfying to be working, to be overcoming Resistance. And it's all because I've trusted that by clocking in at the keyboard, it'll work out. It does.

Like Pressfield writes, "When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose."

That's real. That happens.

Write on.