Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haitian Art Memories…

I lived in Miami and Miami Beach for most of my life. I moved from Miami in 2000 to visit Copenhagen for 4 years, and even though I did return to the US, I have so far failed to return to the land of Sun, Beaches and the Melting Pot of Nationalities. At one point, I lived in North Miami, just a block from the beautiful Intercostal Waterway. This was primarily a Haitian/Spanish area in which many of my neighborhood friends at the time were Haitian. These were very hard working people. They put up with my crazy Performance Art antics - in which I blew up many a TV set with gunpowder, and shot toy animals out of a Mad Max type Cannon. They were too busy working hard to feed their families, to worry about what Performance Art I might do next.

One of the Art Galleries I frequently exhibited at was a Haitian Art Gallery. Even though I was your standard pale Goth type; they just loved my crazy Dark Surrealistic style of painting. They even commissioned me to paint a few Deities from their structure of belief.

This recent devastation of Haiti hits close to home for me. Haitians never had the easy opportunities that some other nationalities automatically had when arriving in Miami. Life in Haiti was for the most part a poor man’s struggle. I am out of touch with my Haitian friends from the crazy Miami Art days, but my thoughts are with them and their families. I do not wish to get political, however there are many ways to help if you so desire. I will share this information just in case: American Red Cross Haiti Relief.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Tale of Stinging Wasps, Rockets, Explosives and …

Many years ago in Miami… Starting at about the age of 12, I started making my own fireworks. This was a more innocent and carefree time, where going to the local Drugstore and purchasing the ingredients for making gunpowder was neither frowned upon nor, deemed a devilish deed. The group of friends I hung out with were use to chasing my model rockets that I custom built. Some of these rockets were successfully launched in the large field next to my house, and some simply exploded upon the launch pad. When I mixed various metal powders in my fuel, some of these rockets exploded with wondrous color.

One fine day, when I was about 14, my friend Armando (who lived across the street) wanted my help in getting rid of some wasps which had built a nest in the hollow T support of their outdoor clothes line. This was simply a 3 foot horizontal tube on top of a 6 foot vertical support tube. Another such structure was about 12 feet down the yard, with the hanging wires running between the supports, end to end. This end of the support was about 6 feet from the kitchen window and Armando feared the wasps might thus fly into the window when opened.

When Armando approached me for help, I was in the middle of working on a new batch of rocket propellant – an idea immediately came to mind… We could tape both ends of the tube shut – with one end containing a small bag of homemade rocket fuel. Thus, the wasps would be trapped in the tube, and when lit, the rocket fuel would explode in a small flash and kill all the wasps. BTW, these were a particularly aggressive type of local South Florida variety of wasp.

We set the plan in motion. Armando approached the right side of the tube (which was about 6 feet from the kitchen window) and was ready with a large piece of wide packaging tape. I simultaneously approached the left side of the tube with an identical piece of tape, plus a large wad of rocket fuel wrapped up in tape, and containing a long fuse. One… two…three… Armando quickly slapped his piece of tape over his end and I simultaneously, snugly pushed the wad of explosives into the tube and quickly sealed it further with tape – the end of the fuse was sticking out and thus, quickly lit…

Armando’s sister was in the kitchen washing dishes at the time. The window was cranked wide open – however, the screen was shut. Just then, she came closer to the window to see what we were doing.


It is interesting to note that a wasp nest full of afternoon wasps can be fired like Shotgun ammo completely through a screen window and splatter someone in the chest with a gooey, singed mass. Luckily, no one was hurt – except for a colony of wasps. Don’t try this at home!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Mental Misdirection of Thought Provoking Film...

I have long called this class of Movies: “Mind F*** Movies” - and the ones listed below are some of the best in recent years. Of course, many of Alfred Hitchcock’s films could have made this list, however, I am only including one film by that talented Director. This list is in no particular order, as each of these films has their merit in plots that deceive, twist and turn, and confuse in general – while hiding some Grand Illumination Noir to be revealed. These are highly recommended.

1. Vidocq (2001) - Strange and Darkly Surrealistic French Film with Gérard Depardieu, Guillaume Canet, Inés Sastre. Fantastic film!  French with English subtitles... Trailer

2. Dark City (1998) – Can I just state: Strange and Darkly Surrealistic (again) Think Matrix.  Trailer

3. The Matrix (1999) – What can I say that hasn’t been said before. (No link needed)

4. The Prestige - The Prestige (2006) is a film starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Michael Caine. With David Bowie as Tesla. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Make sure you watch from the very beginning to the very end. There are many Mysteries to be revealed! Trailer

5. Momento – Also by Christopher Nolan. I’ve told you this before, haven’t I.  Trailer

6. Fight Club – One Hell of a Mind F*** Movie! The trailers never did it justice. Multi depth, subliminal twist and turns with one big surprise wrapped in Dark Poetry. A must see film!

7. IDENTITY (2003) - Clever and Deceptive: Trailer

8. Jacob's Ladder - Based on MK-Ultra... Trailer

9. Angel Heart (1987) - "Harry Angel has been hired to search for the truth... Pray he doesn't find it."  One of Mickey Rourke’s better performances. Trailer

10. David Cronenberg's: eXistenZ (1999) – “Reality”..? Trailer  Allegra: "This is it you see. This is the cage of your own making. Which keeps you trapped and pacing about in the smallest possible space forever."

11. Pi – 1998 Sundance winner. Numbers and the esoteric meaning of… Trailer

12. Naked Lunch – Surreal, Trippy and Bizarre. Based upon the book by William Burroughs. Directed by David Cronenberg. Trailer

13. Twelve Monkeys (1995) – Time shifts, or Reality shifts… by Terry Gilliam - Trailer

14. Brazil - by Terry Gilliam (1985)  Bizarre Fantasy.  Trailer

15. Mulholland Drive (2001) – by David Lynch. Dark, brooding and mysterious. Trailer

16. Lost Highway - Another great Film by David Lynch - Trailer

17. Thirteenth Floor - Directing could have been a little bit better.  Still a good one to watch. Trailer

18. The Sixth Sense - What can I say.  I see... Trailer

19. Siesta - Couldn't find a Trailer for this one.

20. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.  Of course!

21. Pan's Labyrinth - by Guillermo Del Toro. Trailer

22. And… the old TV show: The Prisoner.  Be seeing you...

Comments welcome!