Saturday, March 26, 2011

This must be what I want

The "Belief Validation Principle" says that you create your life based on what you believe about yourself. Your beliefs make you or break you. Then there is the "Law of Attraction", which was so famously portrayed in the runaway bestseller "The Secret". It says that "you attract into your life that which you think about". Your dominant thoughts manifest in your life. "The Secret" claims that people have the ability to attract what they want in life by controlling their thoughts and beliefs. Even Buddha supposedly said, "The mind is everything. What you think you become." Hmmm..., I'd better start trying to think more positive. But I don't even know what I want to happen anymore. Maybe that's why things are on hold, and I'm living in limbo. Somehow, subconsciously, this must be what I want.

Whenever I think about all this "Belief Validation, Law of Attraction" stuff, I somehow always remember the scene in Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" when Peter Boyle, as "The Wizard", is trying to give De Niro's character, "Bickle" some helpful advice. The philosophical "Wizard" seems to understand that "what we think we become" and that we sometimes make our subconscious desires and beliefs about our selves our reality when he says, "I've been a cabbie for 17 years, and I still don't own my own cab. Why? Cuz this must be what I want, to be stuck on the night shift driving someone else's cab." It's depressing, but a great movie. I must have have seen it more times than John Hinckley Jr.

Btw, I'm glad to see they are finally releasing "Taxi Driver" on Blu-ray. I'm surprised at the films that still haven't been released on Blu-ray.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Does God Hate the Melvins?

I just read this the other day and could hardly believe it. One of my favorite bands, the Melvins, had the incredible luck to experience the horror of two earthquakes on their 2011 tour this winter. They were waiting to catch their flight out of Christchurch, New Zealand when the country was hit by a 7.1 quake in February and were then left running for their lives, as frontman King Buzzo said "like dumb chickens", last Friday in Toyko when that country was hit by the massive 9.0 quake. Once safe they posted the following on facebook, "Another big earthquake in Tokyo! Melvins' members and crew are fine." Buzz couldn't believe the band's bad luck, "What are the odds of us being in TWO major earthquakes on TWO continents in about TWO weeks? In the billions?" Looks like this fact will wind up being another odd bit of trivia about a band that's had a long and often strange career.

I dunno, you guys could've played Florida instead. We've been waiting for years. All we've gotten in five years is a short set at the Lake Buena Vista Hard Rock when you opened for Down. You should come to Tampa Bay this fall. I should be back in FLA by then and it would be great to see you live again. No wait a minute, fall is hurricane season in Florida. No thanks, we don't need the hurricanes guys!

No One Was Like Vermeer

"Back in the days of Rembrandt, back in the days of old Jan Steen," back in the 17th century in what is now called the Netherlands to be exact, there lived and worked a painter named Johannes or Jan Vermeer. He was another "Dutch Golden Age" genre painter who recreated exquisite scenes of domestic middle class life. Vermeer lived out his whole life in the city of Delft. He worked slowly and meticulously, creating as few as 34 paintings in his lifetime, most of which are very small. "Girl with a Pearl Earring", perhaps his most famous work, is only 17.5" x 15".

"The Art of Painting" is the other Vermeer I think of. It was one of the larger ones at 51" x 43".

Okay, what made me think of Vermeer again recently was seeing Jonathan Richman last month, and hearing him perform one of his newer songs, "No One Was Like Vermeer". Little was known about Jan Vermeer and his life, which is why some art historians refer to him as the "Sphinx of Delft", but I think Richman's song somes up the man and his career nicely. It's a thoughtful and humorous song, and it begs the question, "Why aren't there more catchy pop songs about 17th century Dutch genre painters?" Once again I had to make a video. Nothing fancy this time, just a slide show of Vermeer's work.

I tried to upload the video I made to my Youtube channel, but WMG immediately DMCA'd it. I didn't realize Vapor Records was a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. I could find nothing on the web that said they were. So I uploaded my video to Dailymotion instead. This is "fair use" people. You just have to put up with Dailymotion's fucking ads...

Richman- Vermeer by techamanap

And from Youtube, Richman performing the above song live...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

A couple weeks ago I went to see Jonathan Richman at The Local 506 in Chapel Hill. I wanted to see someone play at the legendary Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, which even though the address says Carrboro and not Chapel Hill, is still just down the street from The 506, but I guess I'm getting too old to know who the hell all these bands lined up to play there for the next three months are (who the fuck is "Los Amigos Invisibles"?). The only artist I knew and was remotely interested in, who was scheduled to play for the UNC crowd, was the singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist Jonathan Richman. I only knew about Richman from the Farrelly Brothers' movies, "Kingpin" and "There's Something About Mary". He was the singing narrator in "There's Something About Mary" and he sang in the background in a couple scenes in "Kingpin".

I've seen Kingpin countless times (it's my favorite Farrelly Brothers' movie) and for some reason Richman's brief performance of "Corner Store" and the other song that was played in the background of another scene (I think it was "That Summer Feeling") always made an impression on me. Enough of an impression that I was willing to drive the hour and a half from Winston-Salem to see him live after years of not thinking anything about him or buying any of his albums. I did a little research before the show, so I would at least know a few of the songs he would play. Most of his songs are filled with honest emotions about simple things like missing his "Corner Store" or remembering "That Summer Feeling". He is known for his "wide-eyed and childlike innocence", and some have called his lyrics simplistic and naive. How else can I put it? This is the kind of guy who gets choked up when he reads a poem like "The Lamb" by Romantic Age painter/poet William Blake. No, really...

Yeah, if you described this guy to me, I would say, "Not my cup of tea", but somehow his style works for me. Go figure. I mean there's still a lot of humor in some of his songs. He's not John Denver. And somehow he still has a real "rock" or even "punk" aesthetic even when he's singing about his old "Corner Store". Back in the seventies he was in the protopunk band "The Modern Lovers". Yeah, protopunk. The Sex Pistols covered "Roadrunner", and "I'm Straight" sounds like it could be the anthem for straight edge.

Six of the songs on The Modern Lovers' debut album were produced by John Cale, and the Lovers have kind of a Velvet Underground sound, but the songs are sung with Richman's "wide-eyed innocence" instead of Lou Reed's world weariness. The songs are about growing up in Massachusetts, love of life and dating awkwardness. Besides "Roadrunner" the most popular and oft covered song from the album is a song about Picasso. "Pablo Picasso" is a simple and sarcastic song all about how your petty problems were not those of the great artist. "Some people try to pick up girls and get called asshole. This never happened to Pablo Picasso," sings Richman. "Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole," is repeated several times throughout the song, which implies to me at least that he should have been, even if no one dared.

Even if he was only five foot three, if I had to live an important artist's life it would be Picasso's. He was rich and famous long before he died. He seems to have lived much of his life as a celebrity, and had countless mistresses and lovers, all while being one of the most prolific artists in history. I found this website, "Picasso's Women", which lists Picasso's eight "major" relationships. Several of these women have claimed that he was abusive, and I've read that he often teased and belittled his long time friend Jean Cocteau. Whether these things are true or not, everyone knows if you've got power you can get away with being an asshole.

Anyway, Jonathan Richman and his drummer Tommy Larkins put on a great show at The Local 506. I hope that it was smallest place these guys played, because The 506 is only the second smallest venue I've ever seen anyone play. Someone at the show said Richman was originally scheduled to play the Cat's Cradle, but was moved to The Local 506 to accommodate "Los Amigos Invisibles". I think that's a shame. I was inspired enough by the show and what I've subsequently read about Jonathan Richman to make the following video...

Speaking of Picasso, about twenty years ago I painted these two Picasso knockoffs for my own use:

"Still-life with Candle", 1990

"Bullfight", 1992

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Like Me!

I finally took the plunge and set up a Facebook Fan Page for my artwork. I even added a convenient little like button to the left side of this blog. It's right there above my new Etsy store ad. Wow, a new Etsy store and a new Facebook Page all in one day!

My New Etsy Shop

Ixnay on the Ebay, I'm going to try Etsy for selling my original art for awhile. My shop is called ChetsArt for lack of a better name. For the moment I'm only trying to sell my small canvas board paintings, which should be easy to ship. I even added a little Etsy widget for my shop over there on the left side of this blog. Happy shopping!