Friday, July 04, 2008

TOUR: Northern California (Northbound Leg)

Catching the 1:30am bus to Bakersfield for the 4am Coast Starlight saddled with an illness that I'm all-too-happy to forget about was fairly challenging. Jymn and his 20-month-old daughter were at the station when our train pulled up to Oakland in the morning. Mr. Mom, long-longtime friend of Jay, was our perfect facilitator, carting us around town wherever we needed to go in his GPS-enhanced hybrid with the amazing baby Ruby in the back. For me this meant a trip to the health-food store for medicine, dropping me and our luggage at Chris and Anne's open and airy apartment where I promptly laid down on the couch, and a specially delivered steaming-hot phó from the best Vietnamese joint in OK-Town.


Chris Kubick performing at the Fractal Mind Hut

After sleeping all day, we went to Ben's place for our gig. Ben sometimes hosts events at his uber-excellent industrial live-work space, known as The Totally Intense Fractal Mind Gaze Hut. I know him from a couple years back when Chris Kubick set up a show at 21 Grand with a bunch of electronic music improvisers from Mills, with whom I mixed set after set on my Videonics MX-1. It's hard to imagine traveling with that old analog set-up, now that my new digital rig fits entirely in one backpack.

Alfonso manning his projector array.

This gig felt like coming home because the audience was already speaking our language. Also on the bill with us were a team made up of electronically modified flute and a custom suitcase-bound electronics array; Chris Kubick; and Alfonso Alvarez (Ann Arbor School) with Suki O'Kane (Ill Corral).

I imagine that experiencing experimental music is easier for more people than taking in experimental film. If so, why? Music is abstract by nature, and there is a willingness to experience and accept that sound can create an emotional and dynamic experience without having to deconstruct it. On the other hand, mainstream moving image media is everywhere (movies, television, internet), filling our field of vision with a very specific visual language that we deeply and intuitively accept. When we are challenged with moving images that diverge from this standard, we become confused and caught up in looking for the "meaning." This is similar to representational vs. abstract painting. Whereas most people can accept a traditional landscape painting as art, faced with a Jackson Pollack they might say: "My two-year old can do that." Or, in response to Barnett Newman's "Be I (second version)," at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, I actually heard: "Someone hangs a ping-pong table on the wall and calls it art."


Our good friend Julian Stark carted Jay and our gear over to the other side of the bay to set up at the ATA while me and my virus remained horizontal for the better part of the day. I was sorry to have to miss an afternoon with Craig Baldwin and his whirlwind of energies. My feeble state was accentuated climbing out of the BART station onto 16th Street, as I leaned for a few minutes to regain some breath and strength before embarking on a slow-motion hike over to 992 Valencia Street.

The gig was cooked up by Carl Diehl from Portland to showcase Fortian and similar scientific anomalies in relation to the glitch of the circuit-bender. Craig Baldwin says it was "my best show pic of [the] 08 calendar."

Filmmaker Sam Green engrossed in show-and-tell about a plaster cast of Bigfoot's foot that he'd mail-ordered as a kid (and still possessed).

News from home by way of this powerpoint presentation on UFO current events.

Here's a rare appearance by Son of Sasquatch, who is about to jump up on the table with our laptops and mixers. Notice the lit candelabra with 7 dripping hot-wax generators. We became tense and disturbed for a few moments until he got down.

Circuit-bender Jeff Donaldson, known as noteNdo, in from Brooklyn.

It was a real honor to be live on the Other Cinema bill, with an audience hooked into the deep experimental cinema and culture-jamming traditions of the Bay Area. If our show at the Mind Hut felt like coming home, this was more like connecting back up to the Mothership.

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