Saturday, January 23, 2010
Amazing amazing things are afoot. I don't know exactly how to explain the Free University, especially because it is still in its infancy, but I can say that last Monday night, 13 total bad asses convened in my apartment to discuss how we could begin a program of education for each other, from each other. We had people who's chosen passions and specialties ranged from found object sculpture, to Chinese philosophy, to capoeira, and on and on. Everyone had something that everyone else wanted to explore with them. So we ate amazing vegetarian food (potluck style) and just went around the room discussing how we thought a program could work and what we all thought we could contribute. The group is continually growing and the program is evolving and evolving. The seed was actually planted last fall and is now starting to really come up from the ground. This week, I led a Harmonic Experience group that essentially consisted of me cultivating my morning routine and inviting others to join in - Tuesday it was just me, Wednesday Meg came by, Thursday Molly came by, and Friday had Meg, Molly, Leslie, and Aaron. It doesn't matter that you don't know who they are, but it is of note that Aaron has a master's in classical piano performance and specializes in advanced tuning systems including microtonal composition and alternate equal tempered tunings. Fucking AWESOME! Where this is all going is still in the air, but there is a lot of momentum, a lot of heart and love and a growing number of brilliant people wanting to get involved. We have a chalkboard wall in my living room, and the picture is of the wall after the notes from the meeting. Additionally, my roomies and I are going to be hosting a weekly underground coffee shop in our apartment and I'm scheduling for a lecture series that will convene at each of the coffee shop sessions. If any of you are in town on a Tuesday, we'd love to have you speak!
PS - we're looking to get a website and it appears as if we may go with fuchicago.org. Ha ha ha!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Upon hearing news of Haiti's earthquake, and literally feeling the waves from its after shock on a cruise boat I've been playing on, I got to thinking deeply about socioeconomic issues on a global scale, and how I fit into that arena personally. The situation in Haiti is obviously devastating, and of course,all of the major media channels are running what appears to be a 24 hour spiel on every detail of its aftermath. Of course, it is important to be aware, but I can't help but feel of course, that as one might expect, American media is again, just trying to make a buck. And I also think about all of the people on this cruise ship: tourists wearing floral t shirts, drinking cheap beer and listening to cheesy blues music they can "shake their thing" to, trying desperately to leave their cares behind. They are the ones who upon arrival at various caribbean ports, proceed to engulf themselves with a practically "disney-fied" version of some faint idea of what the caribbean actually is. All the while, there is a truly third world culture literally blocks away, that no one cares to see. I wish that I could articulate all of the things that go through my head when I confront these issues . For instance, I feel like the slightly intense waves that our cruise boat felt analogously represent how outsiders, particularly Americans, are affected by Haiti's disaster. They watch the news for a while, truly feel sad, and wish they could do something, but eventually forget about it, because ultimately its depressing and their world around them has to take over. There is no one to blame for this... it is a cultural norm that has established itself over decades, perhaps centuries of social evolution. But this kind of cultural disparity can be looked at on an even deeper level, in which we see such intense alienation between third and first world cultures: again, the example of cruise ship ports and the vicinity of sub cultures that exist within them. And to further my angst about all of this, I am a white male from a privileged culture, wanting desperately to respect, and ultimately connect, with another culture so far removed from his "likeness." I wish people could look past my exterior and see that I actually care about them, that I don't judge them or think less of them because they are dark, or poor, or desperate. And believe me, people do. You can't tell me that a lot of first world cultures (again, America seems to come to mind) have a population of people who feel in some way superior to other individuals because their culture is more "civilized" or "wealthy". What they don't realize is that none of these people really have much to do with any of that. So much of how these cultures evolve is based on a web of complexities, including human behavior.... ultimately that one of the human's species major weaknesses: the idea that power and money (which can be perceived as the same thing) are of upmost importance, and are worth so much as to sacrifice the quality of life for millions of people. It is indeed self-preservation taken to the next level: self-aggrandizement and thus: selfishness in its truest sense. Anyway, the point of the matter is: I feel angst. And the problem is, I understand why it is happening, and I also understand that the angst really isn't necessary, and that ultimately I can't do anything about it. But I also realize that I am in a unique position, with potentially unique feelings and experiences in this regard, and that maybe my thoughts and feelings on the matter could actually be of some value to others. All I know is that these thought are with me constantly. Thankfully I I have learned over the past few years to come to terms with a lot of them, and realize that my happiness cannot be at their mercy. But, again. I wonder if I can offer up my perspective and open someone's mind, even just a little. Why does it matter you may ask. And I would say, I don't know. Because, when you break anything down long enough you find yourself in a nihilistic state of depression, and lets face it, that is no way to live. So instead, I am planning to explore these issues further, for whatever good they may reap. It is something I feel strongly about, and have had enough experiences with to feel confident in expressing my ideas. We shall see where it takes me. At the very least, I will grow as an individual, and connect more deeply to the world around me. Isn't that what we are all looking for anyway? Thanks for listening.
Monday, January 11, 2010
So full of hope! It's funny how very little has changed since the anxiety of my last log, but for some reason, I don't feel the weight of it any more. At least not how I was. I now see that I'm going to be able to make rent this month and if I can get my tax return in a timely fashion, I should be able to make rent in February as well. After that, who knows. I've been contacted by two families to teach their 4-6 year-olds piano lessons and I'm psyched about creating and exploring an experimental curriculum that would emphasize the playing and improvisation (something my childhood piano lessons completely lacked). Additionally, Meg hired me to transcribe 5 of her tunes and put them into Finale, I'm going to help my roommate DJ another junior high dance this week, and may help cook some more kosher food this weekend. Who knows. I've been thinking about the idea of living in relationship vs. trying to maintain the illusion of independence. Part of me thinks that if I can give up thinking of myself as My and Self and really see and feel myself in the context of the rest of the world, then the process of finding my place will be a lot easier. Honestly, most of the time, I get the impression that it is always easy, the only difficulty is dealing with the fear and projection of insecurity. NOTHING IS SECURE! NOTHING IS SUBJECT TO STASIS! The sense of security that I'm looking for is really just an attempt at an opaque illusion wherein the future happens just like I want it to because I will have enough money to overcome adversity. Fucking ridiculous, really. There is no amount of money that voids you from the curveballs life throws at you - death, difficulties in relationships, self doubt and feelings of being alone in the world, etc. I had a really good talk with Forrest last night. He's probably put himself out on a limb as much as anyone I know and he told me he's still out there, but that everything has always worked out and he seems to have trust that it will continue to do so. In some ways I think it has been a little frustrating for him - I don't think he is presently out on a limb that he intended - but it was absolutely inspiring for me and encouraging to share stories and commune with him. Yee-ah!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Just thought I would share a project that Jeremy and I just worked on via Meg's vocal piece. Jeremy did a beautiful job with the this rough mix - I have a feeling this is only the beginning!