Journey (dreams and mountains)

When I dream I find the edge of the world around me is not soft, like many say, but often more solid than the waking world. As I travel through the east of Europe this distinction between awake and asleep is even more blurry.

After leaving London i arrive in Zagreb, spending only one night, performing and then getting on the train the next morning to Wroclaw (pronounced Vra-suave) PL. The train took us through the Austrian alps, having fallen asleep in the desolation of industrial remains outside of Zagreb I awoke in the high mountain air, surrounded by a full scale model of the toy train I had as a kid. Tunnels carved through mountains, bridges that have held armies for centuries, ski resorts melting into the blanket of white up about as the clear blue sky radiates a subtle energy only found in the high air.

The train ride was long and as the mountains become the plains once more we crossed into Poland, the scar of the Soviet empire is still pink and shining in the south, practically abandoned industrial towns, decaying train cars left on old tracks being eaten by rust and time. The air is colder here.

But soon (or not so soon really) we are in Wroclaw. I have been here before and there is a comfort here for me. I often dream of these streets – like the memories of some lost Bruno Schulz story laid before me to wander and to explore.

On the train I have been reading “House of Day, House of Night” by the Polish author Olga Torarczuk. It takes place here in Silesia, the region of Poland that Wroclaw is in and its thoughts on dreams, sounds, and scent are mingling with my own. Maybe I will run into the author – who lives here.

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Journey (London)

After leaving Brest and a long day of confused travel (France is on strike so many trains do not move) I finally found myself in London. London has long been an oasis for me in my travels. Every time I come here I feel at home, even though I do not think I could actually live here. There is something particularly comforting to me about the mannerisms of the British people. The way they speak, act and drink. The shape of life here is something I know and I feel better when I am on British soil.

Tomorrow I return to the tour, meeting the group in Zagreb. I missed my annual Thanksgiving dinner, but it is probably for the best considering the circumstances of my family life. In 2 weeks I will return to Chicago to sort out the madness of my life there. What will happen then I do not know.

This peace I have had here in London has been a much needed break from my thoughts. Although I have had time for reflection I have been able to consider the within much more than the without. Today I will spend the day in the Greenwich markets, absorbing the last of my stay before my morning departure. Tonight is a full moon, the wolf in me howls silently. Its echo travels across the sea in the hopes of finding an ear that listens.

Journey (performance)

Last night was the first performance on this journey of light, distance and exploration.

By ten minutes to opening the show was sold out – about 250 people. The film was first screened, then after a short break we hit the stage for 40 minutes of improvised light and sound. It was very relaxed and the added bonus was that the video technician brought along a 1980 Fairlight video synth, something astoundingly cool to perform on. It really added another set of layers to the visual flow of the show.

As the film was showing I noticed the typical trickle of people leaving, but then they always returned, presumably they had just gone to smoke. But when several older jazz fans walked out in a huff (maybe they were not jazz fans but Opera patrons) the press in attendance saw this as “controversial” – which I find highly amusing. What controversy is there in personal taste?

But today?s email inbox tells me that we were well received, dozens of letters from people who saw the show and were really into what we had done. Which is good. In the US this kind of performance of such an experimental nature would not get the attention it gets here. Somehow Europeans are just so much more into the idea of being challenged.

One of the things I notice is that no one here talks about television shows. No discussions about how funny something was last night on TV, or the developments of characters on some HBO soap opera with violence. Maybe no one watches TV here. That would be an amazing thing, no more TV.

All in all this culture never ceases to amaze me.

Journey (woman and activism)

For the past few days I have been in Copenhagen Denmark attending a film festival. (I perform on Wednesday, my film screens on Friday). Wandering around the city aimlessly I have been considering my long journey through this month and the places I will go and people I will see.

Copenhagen is a city built on the homes of Viking kings. Its people a curious mix of the ultra modern European living in the halls of its past.

As I wander I have begun to think about the state of my own mind. Of the moods I go through and what dictates my emotional range throughout my day. I find myself equally distracted by memories of my past (both distant and recent) and my interaction with women (specifically my wife and daughter). Though I love my daughter I wonder at the power that women have over my mind. It is probable that if Isobel had been a boy I would have loved her the same but I really do not know the intense love I have for the women in my life (wife, daughter, mother, lovers, friends) in regards to any man (brother, friends, nephew, etc). (most likely due to the history of my father)

What causes this strange intense reaction to women? The range of emotions goes way beyond the sexual, as a father and a son I still love my mother and daughter far more than any male I have ever known. I find this in itself distracting. I am not the first person to consider the power of the female over the male mind yet I can not get over this strange thing that lingers always at the edge of every action. This forbidding force that draws me into it and holds me like an iron glove in my heart.

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While I have been here I have been going to a lot of films by myself. Sitting in the dark and watching the light play out across the screen as stories are told and pictures evolve over time. Something else has struck a chord in me that I wanted to consider in this space.

Every year since I was 16 I have been to some kind of film fest. (Starting with the Black Maria in an MSU classroom in the early 1990s). And what you see every year is the same (not the same actually but practically so) set of films that look at contemporary and historic aspects of “revolutionary”, “subversive”, “Activist” theories, practices and ideas.

What draws society and in particular youth culture to the idea of revolution and anarchy? Why is it that we so intensely relate in our youth to the uprising of the masses in armed struggle? Has man been continually revolting against its past as long as society has existed?

Tonight I saw a lecture about activism by a member of the Zappatista. He has made films that have been censored by You Tube (hell who hasn’t) but more importantly has been redrawing the lines of media communication via the Zappatista to the world. He makes soap opera style films in tv series mode (telenueva) like on Mexican television but with characters involved in personal struggles with issues relating to the Zappata (lands rights, government censure). Literally Ugly Betty as a revolutionary. (I have been hanging out with him the past few days drinking and talking about media and google and all kinds of craziness and only found out he was in the Zappatista tonight at his lecture).

After his lecture I saw a screening of early video “activist television” which amounted to a bunch of hippies who spent mom and dads money on then extremely expensive video equipment and made a television network (TV TV). Funny shit shot at the 1972 Republican Convention, Regan pimping Nixon as the future, outside were former vets and hippies shouting “stop the War!”, all the same shit you have seen before and are going to see again.

Everything the left said then the left say now. Why, why doesn’t it change? Why do we continually struggle to find ourselves and yet our offspring must again do the same – tearing down the society we have made to make their own. Why is what we have never enough? Is this need for more, this hunger for revolution what separates man from himself? Will we ever be happy with what there is, or will always want more?

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day of the dead

When I think of you
I think of loss

Of charities and vague endings
of memories and regret

When does time let us be
and forever I can kiss you?

How does never end it seems,
what do I do to loose you?

I am without happiness unless
I am touching your skin

But when you are gone
or I am away

I am never as whole
as I am with you.