Payday Loans Payday Loans

I don’t just sit at home and watch TV.

April 13th, 2009

Large groups of people (society) fall into patterns naturally, and elements of power, whether it’s advertising and marketing or public policy, take advantage of and/or dictate those patterns so that society keeps within certain boundaries.  In other words, the world is mostly lame.  It’s up to artists to break away from that and do something different.

As expected, society makes little channels for artists to fit into.  For instance, if you’re a painter you go get a studio in the Northrup King building.  If you’re in a band then you get a practice space and book studio time when you decide to make a record.  If you’re a writer you sit at the coffee shop with your laptop.  None of these are necessarily deviations from the status quo. You’re participating in one of our “industries.”  Most likely you’re also participating in some other industry to make up for the fact that your creative activity doesn’t pay the bills.

There’s no doubt that artists benefit from having separate, dedicated space and time to do their work.  The problem is that your rent is not being determined by the economics of what artists are willing to pay for studio space, it’s being determined by what anyone is willing to pay.  My first studio was, before I moved in, a storage space for the Whittier Globe newspaper.  It was $100 a month and it was all I could afford.   Lots of buildings that would be perfect for artist studios are occupied by offices because anyone would value the same amenities artists value–things like high ceilings, historic character, and large windows.  Those spaces are much more likely to be snatched up by entities for whom those things are a luxury.

I have a bottom-scraping life, consisting of a part-time job (not career), my artistic goals (music), and a minuscule social life (made up mostly of artists and musicians.)  I’m continually fighting for the one element with any potential to pan out.  If I enjoyed prosperity in the other two elements of my life (career/money and social life) it wouldn’t be that hard.  But since I’m a natural misfit, trying to be successful at those two things would burn me out. I would rather risk burn-out doing something that’s important to me.

I make records at home.  I write and record music, in my apartment.  When I moved into my building it definitely felt like a creative community, but in the past six months or so I’ve felt like I’ve been intruding on people’s lives by doing what I do.  Meanwhile I’m probably living below the poverty line, which rules out any other options as far as living my life without any conflicts.  I won’t be buying a house or getting a separated studio space anytime soon.  Not on a delivery driver’s income.  I try to record as much as I can without feeling like I’m being too annoying of a neighbor.  But it’s hard  to do when you know people are just going to be passive aggressive.  It doesn’t help me feel like any less of a hack when I’m trying to work on a recording that isn’t working out how I want.  And the whole time there’s people out there making records and writing songs and forming bands, and I read about them on blogs and see them on radio station playlists and advertised playing shows and I feel like I’m missing something.  Either it’s because they have more money or more friends than I do, or it’s because I’m just not very good at what I do.

“Common sense” logic dictates that if you’re unsuccessful at something, you’re probably just not very good at it.  I refuse to believe that because it would force me to value my work according to the terms of capitalism.  But I’m losing that fight.  They say if you can’t beat them you should join them, but the only thing I have in the square world is laziness and alcoholism.  I don’t want to be any lazier or alcoholic than I am right now.

Weird Snowman and Loud Music

December 28th, 2008

There’s this weird-ass snowman across from the CC Club. I snapped some shots of him today while I was record shopping.

Weird Snowman

I bought LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver.

Winter MN

December 11th, 2008

I’m really hung-over today.  I’m going to pull myself out of my darkness so maybe I can appreciate this:

SnowWinter SidewalkWinter Highway WallWinter BikesWinter 24th StWinter 35WWinter CityWinter Home


July 2nd, 2008

It’s getting close.  I hope to have the CD done for an August or September release.  Here’s a song I wrote while I was very comfortable with my Minneapolis life, written from the perspective of someone who wasn’t.

If I knew what to do I wouldn’t be here with you
somethings caught inside my head since I got out of bed
I don’t know what it is but it’s something I gotta do

I’m always in between two places that can’t be seen
running from or trying to get to another point of view
I’m dragging my feet, I don’t know where I want to be
shaking  my  head at everything I see

the sun sits in the sky, and it’ll go down at night
westward into the sea, leave the dark over me
I’m not telling no one, I’m gonna pack all my things and run
let chance dictate my fate when the morning comes

Lost at Home

April 26th, 2008

I need to motivate myself to work on this one:

set down in the middle
don’t walk away
hold on to something
to make you stay

steer clear of the exits
emergencies only
don’t take this place for granted
it’ll burn you out eventually

lost at home
how it all seems new
and oddly strange
what did they do to you?

i’m not gonna argue
restlessness aside
pack me up and put me away
I’m only what I’m trying to hide

Goodbye–I’m going for a ride

The Man and the Arts

April 24th, 2008

You can argue that things are getting worse for the arts in general. At best, one can argue that things are the same. But you’d have a really hard time convincing anyone (artists especially) that things are getting better.

I was driving to to work yesterday. I was about to cross the river on Central when I realized that I needed to go to St. Paul. So I turned and went down 2nd. On that street alone I drove past two brand-new modern buildings that house arts organizations: the Guthrie and MacPhail Center for Music. We also have a new Walker Arts Center facility. In these dark times, why are these places growing and getting better?

I think Minneapolis has a fear of anything that doesn’t come packaged in a shiny box. Large institutions are selling the idea of legitimacy so that we can believe we’re a part of something. Artists, on the other hand, need a community that’s more real and more organic. Artistic community cannot actually be created by an architect and a developer. I think the Walker is actually helping to dig Minneapolis’ artists their graves. It establishes a threshold of legitimacy that pretty much blacklists any upstart gallery from making a mark. It gives the public a cultural outlet they can trust so that they don’t have to be in the know. And now they even have underground parking so your nice car doesn’t get fucked with. Who cares that Joe Nobody can’t sell his art or get a job? This is capitalism. Survival of the richest.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the music scene. I’ve gotten one response in my search for gigs, and that response was a ‘maybe.’ The one show I had lined up at all this summer was supposed to be at the Belfry. The only thing that really keeps me trying is the fact that I don’t have any real-world job prospects. I’m still creating in a void. No social life, no money, working for my dad, and trying to record interesting music by myself at home. And every day it becomes clearer and clearer that I’m the only one who gives a shit. Institutionalize that, Minneapolis!

Music and the performance

April 18th, 2008

In the past week I’ve hit three open mics and sold two CDs. They pretty much went well. I’ve been going to work on my own schedule, which means I’ve taken some days off to work on recording. I realized that I need to relax and not pressure myself, but at the same time work on music every day. I decided I’m going to wait until I have the next project done, and then move. I don’t want to relocate with unfinished business.

I’m having a major problem with this whole gigging out thing. I really don’t know how people do it and it’s a major source of confusion for me. Every time I contact a venue, I don’t get a response. I don’t really have many friends, much less friends who are musicians, much less friends who are musicians who get to pick who they play with. I can think of one time where I was invited to play a show with someone who I included in the past. On top of that, there are not that many places to play, not that Minneapolis is helping.

I keep reverting back to this idea of playing in the street, just because it’s the logical outgrowth of my frustration. Just as I did with the open mics schedule (and completely despite the fact that nobody ever finds out about shows this way and actually show up to them) I’ll post any busking dates on my web site.

Upcoming Shows

April 8th, 2008

Granted I’m not the most prolific schmoozer, well actually I really suck at it. But hey, I’m not trying to score a record deal. I would just like to play at a crappy venue, for free, at least once a month. Now I see there’s another way.

I’m playing a bunch of open mics, starting this week. I’ll try and hit as many as I can find by the end of the month. Check out the website or myspace for details–they’re all posted on there.

Here the list so far–more will be added:

  • Wed. Apr. 9// Cedar Cultural Center, 7pm
  • Fri. Apr. 11// Galactic Pizza, 10 pm
  • Tue. Apr.15// Chatterbox Pub, 8:30
  • Wed. Apr. 16// Gingko Coffee, 6:30
  • Fri. May 2// Anodyne Coffee, 7:30

Watch as Mpls Kills Itself

March 31st, 2008

The Belfry Center and Bat Annex, a small, collectively run non-profit art + community space, sent out this in a recent MySpace bulletin:

Dear Members of the Community,

The current location of the Belfry & Bat Annex Library at 3753 Bloomington Ave is currently under duress by the city of Minneapolis. We have been ordered to cease nearly all all of our events because we do not have entertainment or food licenses. This means all of our music shows and Food Not Bombs are canceled at this specific location to avoid fines from the city. When we reached the office that issued our letter we were told that the zoning of our location makes getting those licenses for all intents and purposes impossible. They had a scanned copy of one of our fliers for the March Fest included in the letter and the representative was looking at our Myspace page while we asked for answers. The city of Minneapolis is surveilling our community’s actions and events and wants its coffers filled at the price of a collectively and rather simply run arts space and library. A space that thought (somewhat naively) that a 501-C3 wasn’t the only way to do this. A space whose building is far from being up to code but had cheap enough rent to be a relatively sustainable commodity in our community. This particular location is no longer right for our goals. The Belfry’s 3753 Bloomington Ave location will have to close. The search for a more fitting space is on and in the meantime our money-generating events are canceled, which means we need help tying up loose ends and making rent for the duration of our time at this address. So if you have ever been to a show at the Belfry, checked out a zine, danced till 4, had an event or meeting, looked at the art, or just hung out now is the time to chip in that extra $2 you didn’t want to donate the first time around. Benefit shows, volunteering, and donations at the events we will be able to have at this location will be so greatly appreciated by our small collective. This Saturday (tonight!) we will be having an closing party for Alex Kuno’s art show, The Miscreants of Tiny Town (see press release below), at 7 pm. We invite you all to come and have fun and we can talk about the future we envision for the Belfry as well as ways to better subvert the capitalistic and suffocating actions of our local government. Thank you for your support and keep your ears open for more updates on the future of the Belfry and the Bat Annex Library.

The Belfry

This is a perfect example of what people miss when they think about the role of the arts in the community. The arts are being squeezed out and sucked dry. These are places that would never even come up in a meeting on senate appropriations. The grass-roots arts scene is being bulldozed, not by cutting funding, but due to a larger problem.

Having a vibrant arts scene is not about making it happen. It’s about letting it happen. Mpls is power tripping on itself. The artists are going to leave. It’s becoming a shell. Minneapolis needs places like the Belfry in order for it to keep being what it thinks it is years from now. It doesn’t know that.

I go to the Walker and listen to MPR. But institutions like that do less to promote the actual development of the arts here than they do keep “cultured” people feeling smug about living here.

5 mo.

March 17th, 2008

A good song on the radio, a dreary day, coffee and the drowsiness of a monday morning (and a cigarette, although I no longer smoke) used to inspire of a mood of hopeful yet melancholy reflection. I would then set to work knowing that darkness brings with it connection to the world, and that I was on to something in my life, something that would lead me to a better place. Now I just feel empty. The heaviness of the need to support yourself with income sucks the life out of all realism. My soul was never listed in the deductions on my pay stub. And I want it back. I’m writing the IRS.

Last night I was at the Bad Waitress with a friend. We were just sitting there using our computers. I closed mine, hopeless and unaccomplished. I was looking for a job and places to tour. Prospects seem so slim, and I spiraled down into a metaphor involving the jelly packets, how some are in the little bowl, but some fall out and get put back in, and then… I don’t know. Being outside the system, you need a rope or you die. I hold on by working crap jobs for people who don’t respect me.

Part of it is depression. Then part of it is my personality. Still another part is this place.

Can a depressed misfit survive in a small city with an identity crisis and a passive aggressive personality disorder?

Come 8/31, there’s nothing keeping me here. Unless I start a fun dance band, or find my calling in middle management, or give myself a labotomy, I’m moving.