The Cracks in the Earth

obsession
Standard

Obsession is the non-comittal spine that takes steady, springing steps into the world of mystery. It plunges. It’s what makes people unexpectedly sign themselves up for a state of mind that erases all logic, harkening back to the dark ages. Cat, dog, sister, brother, lover, friend. The choices may vary, but the end result is the same : intense immersion of one’s inner world with that of another’s. 

On the edge of human consciousness, there lies a discursive utterance that illuminates the cracks in the Earth. It shines a light on the things we love, the things we hate, and all the mistakes that led us a step in the wrong direction, rupturing reality with our hard soles.

Walk across the street and find a woman hopelessly in love with her cat. When she concerns herself with it’s needs and wants, the flame of her desire burns brighter than ever. On the other side of the pond, a painter preoccupies himself with the exact shade of ashen blonde to stroke on the canvas portrait of his latest flame. She is distant and cold, he is sizzling like a steak on a stovetop. All truths will eventually reach their final destination.

Obsession is a motivator, an impetus for change. Nothing is as powerful as all-consuming contemplation. The crystallized notion of your beloved is as real as the fire in your bones. You would do anything–anything–to experience character and body, shape and structure. This is the time when exercise sounds reasonable, eating sounds absurd, and sleep is silly. Because what could be better than a fantastical world where the hunt and the chase are endlessly synonymous ?

Advertisements

The Finder Things Pattern Conference: Diagram, Ornament, and the Construction of Joy

pattern conference
Standard

The chilly brick warehouse invited any and all into its creativity-inducing spaces for a potluck pattern conference on a beautiful sunny day in East Garfield Park.

Peppered with eclectic vintage sculptures, roaming cats, and DIY instruction books, Catington Station feels more like a friend’s house than a warehouse. The Finder Things, a DIY-inspired collective of Chicago-based artists and entrepreneurs, hosted a conference at Catington Station on Sunday, May 5, 2013. The Pattern Conference was held in conjunction with the monthly Kedzie Stop Market at 3144 W. Carroll. The Kedzie Stop Market is a great way for artists to get their work out to the public. More exposure is a good thing when it comes to crafters, artists, and entrepreneurs. Windy City Mindy had a table full of cheese boards set up for sale, which puts her in direct competition with well-known artisanal shops like Pastoral and Foodstuffs.

Morgan Martinson and her husband Dave started a string of studios in an attempt to make affordable living more accessible for Chicago’s creative crowd. And it worked. Catington Station is now home to Astrolab Studios, Adela Red, and other notable parts of the network.

Designers, artists, business-owners, and musicians all came together to share their views on lifestyle, art, leisure, work, craftsmanship, and more. The “lonely adventure” from a nascent career to a mature livelihood is a long path, and people like Adela Red, Jessica Calek, and Jackie Lerash discussed some of the obstacles freelancers are faced with on a daily basis. They also gave suggestions for successful interdisciplinary collaboration and how to be truly inspired by the work you do.

The presentations ranged from knit artistry to architectural design to a drumming demonstration by author and professional skateboarder Amos Soma Fuller. Explaining linear and cyclical rhythms in beat-keeping, he gave examples of each, showing that patterns are auditory and kinetic as well.

With such a strong community of artists, it is no wonder Chicago is home to the tightest DIY culture in America. The more events Catington Station hosts, the more in-tune we’ll all be with the youthful sentiment of this global shift in cultural consciousness. Capital can be hand-made.

Pourquoi écrire / Why Write

ecrir
Standard

“Je crois qu’on écrit pour créer un monde dans lequel on peut vivre… Voila je pense la raison de tout oeuvre d’art… Nous écrivons pour transcender notre vie. Nous écrivons pour agrandir le monde que nous trouvons étouffante. Si vous ne respirez pas en écrivant, si vous ne chantez pas en écrivant, alors n’écrit pas.” – Anonyme

“I think we write to create a world in which we can live… I think that’s the reason for all works of art… We write to transcend our life. We write to expand a world in which we feel stifled. If you don’t breath when you write, if you don’t sing when you write, then don’t write.” – Anonymous

failed writer

Listening to France Inter today, I heard this quote from an unknown writer. The show focussed on Anais Nin’s work, reading excerpts from different poets and writers.

WordPress is your escape from a world of people that don’t write. They don’t notice the same things you do, and they aren’t impassioned by the written word. Your blog and your writing are a way to relate to others, to help you formulate your thoughts better. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to speak as well. Your craft helps you develop opinions, think things through, and make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.

If you’re a writer, you’re constantly looking for that missing something. No piece is ever perfect. You draft, rewrite, and finally publish it, exposing something you’re scared will never be good enough. Without that hint of fear, though, no one would ever progress. The greater the fear, the greater the gain.

Tonight, this morning, this afternoon, do something that scares you. It could be going out alone, cooking a new dish, or calling someone you aren’t very close with. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the further your comfort zone will be.

 

“Get married. H…

Quote

“Get married. Have a quiver full of kids if you can. Some people could marry but choose to take more time… They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid.” – Mitt Romney’s speech to Southern Virginia University’s graduating class ’13

What’s a quiver ? This quote is comically misplaced, much like Romney’s political career. It’s as if an alien descended on Earth romney and decided to give a commencement speech using book-learned English. Can someone please make a movie out of this ? Romney has to be saying these things for kicks. There is no way he truly thinks young people will know what a quiver is. The full article is a reminder to all of us that even though the man in the white house is not top-notch, he may just have turned out to be the lesser of two evils.

6 Music Genres You May Not Know

idm
Standard

Nothing new in your stereo is a sad, sad thought. Listening to the same old music is a surefire way to bring you down via auditory deprivation. Your ears need music that sounds good, and you’re not getting it from that wasteland known as the radio. Unless you have satellite radio, in which case you’re a step ahead.music

Listening to different types of music not only keeps you stimulated, it gives you something to talk about when you meet someone new. Nothing makes a better conversation starter than a new song you like. Here are some suggestions to expand your musical taste.

1. Americana

What is Americana ? It’s a mix of blue grass, folk, rock, and everything in between. Although this music uses a traditional repertoire of acoustics, it has an electric sound that is unmistakably contemporary. Think Lana Del Rey, Allison Kraus, and Kacey Musgraves.

2. Trip Hop

A mix of hip hop and trance, trip hop started in the UK (specifically, Bristol) in the 1990s and made its way across the pond thanks to promotion and modern technology. It combines downtempo beats from soul, funk, jazz, and hip hop. Tricky, Massive Attack, and Bonobo are examples of the atmospheric, bass-heavy beats that give this genre its urban roots. If you want to know more, NPR’s Vivien Goldman did a recent overview of trip hop.record

3. IDM

An offshoot of the popular electronic dance music so many of us know and love, “intelligent dance music” is a term coined by listeners of electronica that wanted to distinguish the tunes the loved from the rest of the pack. Ambient, groovy, and synthetically produced, IDM is best exemplified by artists like Autechre, Aphex Twin, and Crystal Castles. It’s prodcued in museums, laboratories, and institutes, and it started in the Netherlands (go figure). Although artists think this is a pretentious label, there is an IDM mailing list and community for all those interested in this heady music movement.

4. Tribal House

If you like world music, you’ll love tribal house. It’s a synergy of synthesised drums and ambient sounds that will make your ears do a double take. If dark and deep indigenous rhythm is your thing, check out Afefe Iku, Zoe Badwi, and Robbie Rivera.

5. Gypsy Jazz

Deep in the throes of soulful music is gypsy jazz. Known by some as ‘jazz tsigan’, ‘manouche jazz’, or ‘jazz swing’, Jean “Django” Reinhardt got this ball rolling in France in the 1930s. Reinhardt literally set the bar by making it standard to not using major/minor chords. Instead, the major 7th and 6th chords are substituted for a sound that’s trill-tastically harmonic. Besides Django, John Jorgenson, Stephane Grapelli, and Tim Kliphius are all great places to start being eclectic.

Hopefully your curiosity has led you to listen to at least one of these genres by now. Diversifying your musical collection is an inexpensive way to develop a new interest and share it with other people. Music’s been around forever, and it’s constantly changing. It’s to your benefit to stay on top of those changes and keep your ears entertained.

What’s your take on music ? Classical all the way or modern must-haves ?

Trust in Fangs

Standard

tying knots in his head

it feels great to unwind at the end of the day

snail shell head band,

taking off the layers, frame by frame

and a tremor

of rivulets in a melting sweet cream cone

grey day in the middle world

there is no taste, just substance

sliding down shelves of skin like a blanched serpent

trust in fangs

to pierce and protect the daisy chasers

to sting and infect

the positively confident nods

creamy white, no respite

it knows your plight and

ravishes a bite,

just trust in fangs

Strange Fruit : Racing for Real

ravenswood run
Standard

Yesterday morning, I ran a 5k. More specifically, it was the Ravenswood Run in Chicago’s newest yuppie neighborhood. With doggie yoga shops and puppet shows for canines abound, this several block stretch of cobblestone is a winning lukewarm combination of inauthentic Thai restaurants (read: Polygon Cafe) and upscale dive bars (@mosphere).

The race was sold out this year. 3,499 runners and I were feverishly doing our last-minute stretches at the starting line. Earbuds were in, scaredy-cats were out. As we began our slow progression through the shut down streets, it struck me how bizarre it was to be doing the exact same movements as so many other humans with the aim of finishing first, with no other true motivation than personal glory and accomplishment. ravenswood run starting line

Yes, the race benefits the local food pantry and Episcopal church, but people participate for their own reasons. Community, health, goal-setting, companionship, boredom. I like the competitive aspect of it all. This particular event spurred me to set a personal record despite the fact that I drank too many liquids beforehand. I pushed that thought out of my mind as I kept pace with a lady wearing a neon orange sports bra, her skin a wrinkly reminiscence of tanning salons and leisurely pregnancies.

As we fidgeted impatiently before the 8 AM foghorn, the announcer asked us to give a prayer before we ran. It was unclear whether it was to honor the Boston Marathon victims or because the run was affiliated with the Church. Either way, I looked around and wondered what it would be like to live in a truly secular society.

Crossing the finish line, I saw crates upon crates of ripened bananas, big boxes of bottled water, paper cups overflowing with Gatorade, and gooey complimentary cinnamon buns further down the street. Why not have water taps ? Don’t they know that you don’t need electrolytes after running a 5k ? What did they do with the extras ? You would think the food pantry got them, but it’s hard to tell.

After I got my gear and changed, I opted to make breakfast at a friend’s house instead of paying $10 for mass-produced pancakes soaked in syrup. They could have been tasty, but I’m skeptical. Have you noticed ? Although it felt good to finish the run and know I did something to help the community, I think next time I’ll try and do something a little less high-impact for the sake of my joints. That, and eat less salt.