Here's an un-fooled-with picture of the sky over my street in Hollywood with the smoke and ash from all the wildfires turning the sun red and the skies a dirty orange. Starting at about 1pm today the city had that crazy glow of the magic hour until the sun went down.
Today I found this poem, written when I was 15, in an old notebook. I was looking for my birth certificate in old files to find out what time of the day I was born (for astrological purposes) when I found a journal of my somewhat tortured teenage self. In it, there was a lot of embarrassing rumination about a man I used to be consumed by in those days. He was much older than me, but looking back with my 20/20 hindsight, spent rather enough time with me to possibly be considered a bit of a pervert. There were drawings of him, to go with the ruminations, some time spent on my hatred for Algebra, loads of evidence of my generalized pubescent melancholy, and some poems like this one.
Heaven in that body
and my body just
This. Sweet soul music on those lips
and my lips just
Everyone knows my rain day.
Love that ranges over the ferris wheel
with the muse of lyric poetry,
smoking clove cigarettes while
the delicate surface of my age
chases me down the street.
What strange days.
Grey sky, yellow moon,
spinning colors and clear eyes;
looking for an angel over my shoulder
with the instruction from heaven
to this body.
I've had a crazy, high-rolling weekend in Vegas at the Interbike Show. Here are some photos. Though the evidence is not necessarily in these pictures, I think I actually partied like a rock star at one point. I don't have the strength to recount the details, but I did share some of the good bits here.
There's a 55 or 60 year old man who's had a facelift so that the skin on his face is smooth, tight and pale, but his neck is loose, wrinkled and sunworn. A frowsy older woman, densely fat, champagne blonde, with black kohl all around her eyes, and wearing a dishwater white cotton cardigan is dipping her raspberry pastry into her paper coffee cup. An almost matched pair of brash Israeli women completely clad in Dolce & Gabbana, with big 70's style fade-lense sunglasses talk loudly in Hebrew. Coming and going: trim girls in gym clothes with bare, tanned bellies and perfectly arranged casual hairstyles, some with docile boyfriends trailing behind them like dull-plummaged birds behind their showy mates. The barrista is a large lesbian with closely-cropped bright kelly green hair under her black Starbuck's baseball cap. She's got silver facial piercings, pocked skin, and over-plucked chola eyebrows.
The text you write must prove to me that it desires me. This proof exists: it is writing.
The pleasure of the text is that moment when my body pursues its own ideas - for my body does not have the same ideas I do.
Pleasure can be expressed in words, bliss cannot... Bliss is unspeakable, interdicted.
Can it be that pleasure makes us objective?
I went to see Radiohead on Sunday night with some friends. Radiohead is one of my favorite bands, so I was excited to go, and even happier to go with Rian, Tara and her 15 year old son Jake. Rian is one of the most talented and wryly funny people I know, and Tara and her son are from my neighbohood, a single mother and her very bright boy, both creative, interesting people who are very much themselves. We all live in Hollywood, and drove down to the show in San Diego together in Rian's Mini Cooper; listening to The Beatles and Beck on the iPod, taking digital pictures. I was feeling very much like alt-rock's target demographic of liberal, urban, late 20/early 30-somethings, with all the latest hipsterisms firmly in place.
So off we go, this carful of clever urbans, down to the Coors Amphitheatre. It's a clean, modern venue just south of San Diego proper - only an exit or two away from the Mexican border to Tiajuana. The proximity of all that abject poverty and the corporate sponsorship combining to produce an uncomfortable reminder of the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is so strongly apparent in our case in point. Oh well, whatever. We have a Jack Daniel's Lynchburg Lemonade and I opt for a candied apple, while Tara and Jake go with Fries, and Rian kicks it up a notch with a Jodi Maroni's sausage sandwich covered about knee deep in jalapenos. We mill about, talk about whether or not the Lord of the Rings movies are any good if you haven't read the books, talk about our tragic love-lives, and find the opening band, Supergrass, boring and repetitive. We wonder if we might enjoy their music more if we knew their songs, but doubt it.
Blah, blah, blah.
Thom Yorke: making the world easier for confused urban hipsters to bear. There are some more very enjoyable photos here if you are interested...
By now, it's dark, and the hills around the outdoor venue are veiled in coastal mist. It's cooled down, but it's not cold. I could see Mars in the east, and the moon was just a sliver. The lights in the concert venue were starting to look like big glowing UFO's in Rian's digital pictures. Finally the show kicked in, with "Are you such a dreamer... to put the world to rights..." and suddenly, everyone's paying attention. I started thinking about the way everyone has to work in their own way at being authentic, do work that means something, and contributes weight to the good and worthy things. I thought about how fantastic it is that Thom Yorke is the world's most delightful rockstar because he's unlikely, short and homely and has that crazy, jacked-up hair, but his voice makes me want to cry when it hits me the right way. I noticed the people around me: the tall blonde guy in front of me with dreadlocks smoking pot, groping his girlfriend, the girl behind me with no rhthym, who's dancing anyway. I took in the frat boys, the older couples, the teenage girls in low slung jeans and tank tops, all the young people with their dedication to musical tastes evident in every aspect of their presentation, and my friend Rian, swaying conservatively to the rockin' numbers, his dignity firmly in tact. I thought about the way that everytime you join a big crowd and funnel yourself into a many that is admiring a few, there's an inescapable loss of dignity. Rian tells me that he doesn't really like the rockshow; he prefers to listen in the comfort of his own home.
Meanwhile, the band plays on. Jonny Greenwood dashes about like a mad scientist with his mop of black hair preceeding him, and every sound just perfect. Thom Yorke's voice is gorgeous and impossible, keening or growling at all the right moments. They do nice work, and it was a beautiful concert. I could still see Mars, and felt that familiar but still shocking sense that I'm a speck on a planet that is hurtling through space, and listened to Thom - "There are two colors in my head, there are..." And, my main feeling, when all the math was jumbled up in my head and heart in unsolvable equations, and the night sky was turning overhead, was relief.