This photo, from the LA Museum of Punk, was taken by Tequila Mockingbird. And that’s Eric at the table, messing with his sunglasses. This was around the time he was playing with Kommunity FK & Los Putos Locos. (as was KFK frontman Pat Mata, also at the table.) Eric identified a few of the other people in the image as Big Ed and Andi(of Snap Her & Nina Hagen’s band), and the two others we’re unsure. I’ll certainly edit this if anyone can provide me with their identities.
It was a bit bittersweet for Eric seeing this photo surface yesterday, because in the course of it making the rounds, he learned that Big Ed, who he hadn’t seen in about a decade, had crossed over. Big Ed had been a friend, roadie and stage manager.
Anyway. Commence with your bitchy comments about how Kommunity FK was goth not punk. I don’t care, I just like seeing old pictures of Eric.
It’s been a draining day, emotionally and literally. As in, our rescue cat Lux had to go to the vet to get a hematoma in his right ear drained. This can happen due to ear mites, or a scratch/bite that doesn’t heal correctly, or according to the Internet, sometimes it just happens for reasons that are unclear. This seems to be Lux’s situation, since they said a test revealed no ear mites. The inner flap of the ear fills with blood and puffs up like a constantly irritating little water balloon on the cat’s head, and needs to be surgically drained. It’s a very quick procedure though, and Lux is back home recuperating now.
Yeah, remember when the Rapture was supposed to happen? Then there was the end of the Mayan Calander, which some simplistically read as the “end of the world”, though my understanding was that it was more supposed to indicate the beginning of a major paradigm shift in consciousness.
Along those lines (meaning “shift in consciousness” rather than “harbinger of doom”) some Thelemites are regarding the coming Vernal Equinox – March 20th- as the start of the Era Of The Hierophant, in terms of a series of cyclical “eras” characterized by the Atu of the Thoth Tarot deck. This will be an era of external and inner teachers, reflection and seeking wisdom.
Not nearly as dramatic-sounding as the promise of Ragnarok that others believed was supposed to happen on February 22nd of this year. But that day came and went before you could even cue up a playlist of black metal and Wagner, and not a Fenrir in sight.
As for my poster defacing activities, in 2011 a number of posters went up purporting to sell a “cure” for hepatitis-C. Although some people consider themselves as “cured” when their numbers drop to undetectable, it’s not quite the same thing. It’s not gone. Relapse is possible. And although as of late 2013 promising new treatments have emerged (at rage-fuelingly obscene prices however), at the time it wasn’t the case. I also found it somewhat telling that anytime I scrawled LIES or MENTIRAS across them, depending on the language the poster was in, I’d get a smile and a thumbs up from at least one complete stranger. How many people have an emotional stake in this???
Within a few months though, those posters disappeared, replaced by the “C”-hiding-behind-the-blue-brick wall poster NY commuters may be more familiar with. These posters instead said it was “treatable”, and urged people to have themselves tested. I don’t consider this a game of semantics. I genuinely consider it a matter of meaning and context.
This is a short review I did over at Goodreads. I wanted to talk about it on here too because this book, although older, contains ideas I think might be of interest to those interested in looking at the connections between mental well-being and environment/society. Which plays into radical mental health…
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Building upon Freud’s theories of human development, Marcuse explores how civilization as we know it (hierarchical, primarily)has come to depend on subjugating the Eros principle (sexuality, sensuality, pleasure, and Agape love seems to be jumbled in there) through the creation of a superficial sort of morality and sense of taboo to the Work principle, which at this point is dedicating to maintaining status-quo and the edification of the few that set it. Humanity has long since overshot work for survival or to meet the needs of the self or community and civilization is no longer fully partaken in by all. Pleasure is granted in dollops and now functions as a commodity. Marcuse questions if this is the only way a civilization can function. He also, despite using the works of Freud as his starting point, maintains a healthy skepticism of the psychiatric industry as it stands, noting that mental wellness is measured against whatever is defined as the current “normal”.Recommended for anyone who suspects we’re being sold a false bill of goods from head to toe.
I could do without his dismissals of Jung’s work though. I like Jung. I did like his observation toward the end of equating “positive thinking” mantras and such with the push towards mass conformity.
Hey feminists, womanists, gender activists of all kinds! Hey feminism-curious! Hey people who say stuff like “Well I believe in equal rights and all that but I don’t consider myself one of those feminists…” I’ll be tabling tomorrow afternoon at the Feminist Zine Fest with Living In La La Land, in all it’s uhh…unique personal-is-political glory. Along with the commentaries included in the zines covering topics from housing issues to disability stereotypes to Santa Muerte and Anne Bonney.
And hopefully next week I’ll wind down enough to return to my irregularly-scheduled art and mental health blogging.
Full title “You’re Crazy: First Hand Accounts Of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Trauma From The Punk Scene”
From the site:
You’re Crazy Volume One compiles twenty-five first-hand accounts of people from the punk scene who live with mental illness, addiction and trauma. This volume also includes two stories of punk rockers who are allies to those of us who struggle and their experience. This book exists to help empower the writers who are sharing their personal experiences so that they can be better understood. It also exists to help show that we are not alone in this world and that life can get better. It’s a necessity in our community. We all deserve to be heard. You’re Crazy aims to help decrease the stigma that the authors, and those like them, face while dealing with mental illness, addiction and trauma. By sharing their stories they are putting themselves on the line as they take ownership of their lives and experiences while demonstrating the reality of their lives. These stories educate and inspire, increasing understanding and empathy while reducing stigma.
And two of those accounts have been written by myself and Eric. The book is edited by Craig Lewis of Punks In Recovery.
Why the punk angle? I guess because being into punk (and other subcultures) while mentally ill can be both a help and a hindrance. Being that eccentricities are tolerated or valued (to point), many of us found these movements offered a modicum more of acceptance than the mainstream world, as well as a sensibility found in the aesthetic, lyrics, etc. that resonated more with what was going on and how we viewed the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health treatment it can be hard to find professionals who are able to separate the “differentness” of various forms of bohemia or counterculture from actual mental issues. I’m fortunate now to have a counselor who has understands underground art & music and doesn’t do this. But there’s certainly been doctors in the past (especially at Woodhull) who seemed more fixated on why I had tattoos and funny clothes than what my actual emotional experiences were. Doctors who’s ideas of treatment had less to do with moving a patient towards self-actualization than with trying to get me to look and act “normal” , as if this in itself would be the solution to all my problems. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. My cover was always eventually blown. “You’ll notice something funny if you hang around here for too long.”) I’ve read some other mental health bloggers express the desire to just feel “normal”–whatever that is–and if that’s their wish it’s their perogative. But where does this leave the person who, even without mental health issues, does not desire to play along with whatever their culture’s consensus definition of “normal” is?
Anyway here’s where the book can be got, along with Craig’s “Mental Health Recovery Workbook”: http://www.lulu.com/shop/craig-lewis/youre-crazy-volume-one/paperback/product-21453775.html
In other news (yeah right, this is news.)I’ve had a recuparative weekend. The housemate-from-hell, she who has yet to figure out that she is the Boss Of NOTHING, has been instigating shit again. It began around Valentine’s Day. That compounded with the usual between-check low funds and this 90 days of totally sobriety they’re having me try out at the center, did culminate in my blowing of steam with a razor-party on my right arm again. I didn’t channel it into a painting this time, because I had to get to my gig. I’m not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve seen enough TV shows and movies where there’s two guys on the team (or sometimes two rival teams) who are in a fight over something, but before they actually start scrapping the coach character will come up, break them apart and say “save that energy for the game boys” or something like that. So it feels like I have this experimental-noise-performance-art version of a football couch hovering over my shoulder where an angel and a devil would be in a cartoon. “Save that bordering-on-psychotic-meltdown-rage for the game, chica.” The game being the show. The show in Friday night’s case being in a full bar about half the size of a subway car where entranced I set a dollar bill crumpled at my feet on fire while screaming “OFF A JOHN FOR SATAN!” (Inspired by my mixed feelings on this news story) and proceeded to flail Eric’s percussion metal with a chain–along with my appendages, judging by the bruises. Natal brought distortion and electric violin like a REAL boss the whole time this was occurring. This was an act of magick, I believe, because by the time we finished and I looked up, only the other dadaist or Collective Unconscious art-type people were in the bar. We had made the yuppie transplants disappear!
Somewhere in my unconscious mind there may be a repressed memory that looks like this. Or it may have been erased since the host of the Gong Show apparently claimed to moonlight as a C.I.A. assassin.
“The Gong Show” is something my parents may remember more clearly than I do, since they were the ones who would put it on for red-eyed hazy viewing entertainment. The fact that I recall it as something my parents did when they were actually still with one another tells you how long ago this must have been.
But looking at the above image, it makes perfect sense that our pal Johnny Bizarre would revive it, even if for only one night, at Old Man Hustle at 39 Essex Street. What makes less sense perhaps, is that after watching us at Theater For The New City subject a bunch of comics folks to distortion, clanging metal, Gunter Brus footage and lyrics about the power of my genitalia to destroy society*, he invited me, Eric, and La Femme Natal to perform at it. Not as one of the “contestants” (though if anyone wants to gong us, we’ll happily gong back). Just perform at it. Meanwhile, if you wanna sign up for the open mike/contest part, the celebrity judges will be Rev. Jen & Clown Kong.
*I’m reading “Eros & Civilization” by Herbert Marcuse. It’s filling my head with these ideas.
So the three of us will. We’re performing under the name Astral Knife.
We don’t have a flyer or a publicity shot. We have a silly-ass selfie taken at that free Psychic TV gig in December. I’m trying to write self-promotion with some serious sleep deprivation happening, given that a recording session for an upcoming World War 3 event wound up going till 3 AM last night and we had to get up and do stuff today anyway. Though at least part of that involved stumbling into a really great exhibit of 70′s-80′s Puerto Rican artists at the Latino Cultural Center on 105th & Lexington. Still, if sleep deprivation continues? It can only make whatever happens on stage even more unreal for me.
Here’s a short interview I did for the upcoming Feminist Zine Fest on March 1st! If you’re around NYC that day, hope to see you there!
Sitting in astronomy class
Anxiety would rake it’s ragged talons
Down the insides of my throat and torso
As I pondered to constant expansive motion
of the Universe
And the moth-like inward spirallings of
the planets toward the Sun, itself
Destined for supernova suicide
Taking us out with it.
But now I’ve given myself over
To the Universal All and Nothing
Pangenitor/Pangenetrix they smiled shrugged and said
“Those things scared you because you yourself
Were fighting for your place in the scheme of things
Against the countless whispers and bellows of those
who wanted to determine it for you, at their convenience,
and you mistook All and Nothing
As two separate things. You thought you would be further lost.
It doesn’t make you panic anymore.
Instead you know you’ll be further free.”
images: “A Star” – Forrest Bess
“The Universe” – Thoth Tarot Deck, art by Lady Freida Harris
Yeah, I know it’s the image I made last year, but it’s been an exhaustively busy week and I didn’t make a new one. Just pretend that says “2014″ at the bottom. Or maybe just get too busy consensually beating and fucking one another senseless to give a Roman cent(urion) what it says.