Monday, April 24, 2017

Seven Deadly Sins



Oh my gawd. Is it just me or this Mercury Retrograde kicking your butt too? Literally at the screaming into the silent void mode and although I know that, ‘this too shall pass,’ it feels like some indomitable force of crap-on-crap daily crap fest. Anyways, these last few weeks have been a bit grueling and I’ve been trying to put my finger on just exactly why. This led me to think thoughts about Karma and Murphy’s Law and things like that. Today, while continuing to ponder on the epic scales of WTF of late I thought about the Seven Deadly Sins.

Not sure why but it feels like it’s time to excise and to confess the deep dark down there thoughts related to the concept of said Seven Deadly sins because like every Roman Catholic flagellating oneself for inane self inflicted guilt is our favorite pass time.

I’m doing this all in the attempts to purge whatever bad juju I might be compacting in my soul with the hopes that it will exorcise something and make me feel a bit more on track and in control.

For those that are doing just fabulous of late, fuck off and congrats.


Pride

Ya’ll who read this know that I have a massive ego. To do this type of crap week after week, year after year is only a sign of some deep level narcissism and while I totally admit to it (with pride!) it is a bit much.

Let’s break this down a bit more though… Is pride ego? Or do they (white Christian boys club) mean something else? I’m not sure but it seems like in today’s culture/society ‘pride’ is actually the goal. To have pride is to self-love and that is the thing that we (Americans) are told is the penultimate of self-actualization.

Let’s think of this as opposites and consider humility as pride's contrast. So what is humility? The ability to not only ape a scale of self in respects to accomplishment and stature but to really feel the connectivity and reliance of others in those things.

It seems like an easier ask to have more humility then less pride in this day and age. Maybe I should be more prideful to have more humility? IDK... Philosophically confused over this one.


Greed

There was a phrase that an artist once said to me that has stuck with me for years and that is that people are either “Needies” or “Greedies.” I think the jist of what they were meaning is that we all take but it's the form of that taking that defines us.

I think I’m more of a Needie than a Greedie but nonetheless it’s a bad thing. Of course I want things and feel I deserve it. Don’t we all! But I guess when it comes to greed, like money and power, I’m a bit averse to it because I’m a bit lazy about it all.

But this isn’t about how I’m not these things so here are things I am greedy/needy for: attention, recognition, energy, excitement, change, security, fabulousness, fun, free things, designer clothes, affection, time, control.


Lust

Lately I have been super lusting after attractive people that I see just hanging out shirtless or looking super stylish in the city. I don’t have actual sex thoughts, it’s more like I giggle to myself and feel warm and fuzzy in my head.

Does that count as lust?


Envy

Serious though, I had a big case of envy last week for real. This person I know from the art world got this really killer job and I think they sort of suck and I literally had a massive freak out of, whoa is me, what the fuck have I done with my life, I’m a failure, melt down.

When I see my peers making it to high places, especially in the art field, I usually am totally happy for them. For real happy! They deserve it, they have worked hard, I am proud of them and for them but there are times when you see this happening and it makes you want to bash your head and scream. These times happen because you don’t understand how they got to this or that position or place and its makes you realize that you are a part of a game and system that rewards certain things and that being one of the last ‘punks’ standing means that it will never ever be your reality.

I absolutely admit that I was salty as shit about it and while I’m over it now, wow did that envy hit hard and make me felt icky. 


Gluttony

I’m skinny ya’ll.

(But sometimes I go on benders where I drink as much as a man and can do drugs for 8 hours straight. It’s not cute. It’s really, really not cute.)


Wrath

I’m a self-anointed Scorpio and my wrath is like the center of a volcano that is just chilling for the right time to explode.

I don’t actually ‘get mad’ cause I’m so over everything nearly all the time but when I do get upset it’s like ice meets lava and even my vapors will destroy innocent bystanders.

Is Wrath linked to revenge? Not sure. I’ve wanted to get revenge on people but yet again that seems complicated and too much energy so usually I just have an intense movie play in my mind of said revenge where my eyes can pierce holes through their face but then I get a text message and I forget about it.

Those that feel real wrath are fucking scary. Yikes.


Sloth


This is probably the sin that I’m most guilty of, of late. I have been so slothy recently that I have that stupid sloth grin and walk all slow.

For most people with some awareness of the shit that is reality, sometimes you have ups and sometimes you have downs. Currently I’m in a down aka a spell of depression and my depression this time around is me sleeping a lot, (like a lot) and binge watching internet TV and laying horizontally on my back as much as possible.

It’s a sad look but meh, this too shall pass.

Energy given is energy received so out of all these deadly whatevers, this is possibly the worst because the deeper the hole you dig and longer it takes to get to the light.

I’m going to sloth it up for a few more days but by end of this week, watch out world. I’m going to be a pride filled, wrath envying, greedy, sexy, fat goddess.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Million Miles an Hour Thoughts


Violet Chachki and Pearl

I have been sooo busy today and it’s one of those days where I have to focus on a lot of different things and segment them so that they don’t bleed into each other and because of that I am super-duper hyped up. Also, I had some green tea today and I’m allergic to caffeine/trying to see if that’s still the case and I’m luckily not having a bad reaction but wow, caffeine, it is pretty freaking amazing.

Anyways I’m a bit spazzy, {can you tell?} and because of this I’m going to just type away in pretty incoherent ways so that I can check this stupid thing off of my list of things I have to do so I can continue to do all the others things.


RuPaul’s Drag Race – I was really sad this weekend so in between crying and thinking how did my life get to this point I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race (every problem has a solution). I watched Season 7 because that’s the last season I have free access to and I was highly hooked. I know I am sooo behind the times but watching this show makes you want to be fabulous and to appreciate the effort of being different, unique, and to creatively/ fully express and accept oneself. Yes, this show has its structural problems and is it just me or is RuPaul actually quite dull? But anyways, loved it and who knew that all these months when I have been saying “Hiiiiiiiii” and “Byeeeeeee” it just my absorption of this show’s wonderful lexicon. I also want to step up my dress game! If I can be even a speck as fabulous as these amazing drag queens, who knows what one may accomplish.

Morgan Library – Went there to see a lil show on Emily Dickenson. It was pretty yawn to be honest but regardless it’s nice to pop into this place to see the permanent collection. This time around I really loved seeing the musical compositions of famous folks like Mozart and Chopin. Seeing those pages was like drinking a tall glass of cold water on a hot day. They are beautiful and reveal so much character as well as give a preview of the essentiality of the music to be played. It reminded me of those poems that conceptualists etc. do with word and letters that build up to forms (think Carl (I killed Ana) Andre). I always disliked those types of works. Too cleaver. Too casual. But these compositions did what I think those conceptualists were trying so hard to get at. Rhythm, space, time.

Fabulous Weather – Anyone who was in the city on Sunday experienced a bit of heaven. It was 80+ degrees and it was so wonderful and warm. I went to the beach to visit a friend and it was fantastic to see all the people coming out to enjoy this bizarrely warm day in April. This last week or so has been very nice indeed and going to parks and wherever else people are supine-ing and peeling off layers of their clothes is just about my favorite thing to do. New York is known for all its gorgeous people but when the first days of warm spring like and summer like weather appears this city gets down right triple X sexy. I’ll go into a full NYC summer sexy time post another day but wow, from what I have seen so far, this year is going to be fire.

Poison Ivy – I’ve never had a rash in my life, like seriously. And the past 2 weeks I have had poison ivy all – I mean all- over my body. It’s like little patches of annoying hell on your flesh that makes you feel like a leper both physically and socially. It has only JUST stopped burning and I am JUST starting to feel like maybe I won’t look like some deep fryer burn victim forever, but wow has this taught me lesson, nay perspective. For those that have chronic rashes or get allergies of the skin I feel really, really bad for you and I don't know how you do it. You must be angels of patience and acceptance. I hope everyone feels better in flesh and mind and whatever you do, don’t gallivant near wild brush and plant life. Ever.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Marsden Hartley at The Met and Ruminations on Nature


Marsden Hartley, Robin Hood Cove, Georgetown Maine, 1938

Marsden Hartley’s current exhibition, entitled Marsden Harltey’s Maine, on view at The Met Breuer is a splendid little show to see. It is quietly holding ground on the 3rd floor and it’s a show that continues the succession of the highly sophisticated exhibitions at this expanded museum. It begins conventionally at the beginning of Hartley’s artistic journey, around 1908, and it gives a glimpse into the life of an artist through his surroundings and what is explicitly inferred to as his influences.

As the title suggests that influence is Maine and Hartley’s relationship to this place is a familiar one. Born, raised, spent years wandering with artistic itinerancy and then the return and death at the place of origin. It’s all very romantic and I’m not saying that glibly. You can see it in the paintings from early school days to sagacious finale.

The paintings are lovely in all the ways a good painting is but there is more to them then pretty little landscapes.  As the subject is ‘Maine’ the primary focus is on landscapes. Hills, lakes, ocean, sky, all the normal starter kit standards of plein air are on view. They are familiar in their compositions but there is this something else that makes them almost tragic. As I was looking at these lush scapes I felt a sort of sadness. It seemed as if there was something being communicated, or the attempt of it, that felt like a calling out, or perhaps a faint sob.

The coloring in many of his works is dark and only the sky at times seems to be alive or redemptive. But the darkness is also dense and the way his landscapes are composed they seem to push forward even as they are depicting depth. This feeling of pushing through the surface is continued with his later works where landscape and bodies become almost brick-like in their forms and colors. Waterfalls feel like steps, male bodies feel like passageways. This is not abstraction in the formal way but a type of empathic slanting that skews feelings.

Hartley’s biography is a part of the story and is important as it always is to an artist/person but when I was looking at these paintings I thought less of that and more about the idea of how place and nature can develop or ensnare you within yourself. The places depicted in these paintings are intimate and private. They are like bedrooms or the freckles on a lover’s body. They are places where one is usually alone. They are places that are revisited and known. They are bookmarks that stay perennial even as the story of one’s life changes around them.

Going to a place in nature is a form of escaping but it is also a return to something to the past and to one’s self.

Living in New York and not having a country house to be able to maroon off to makes the contact with nature extremely diminished, and it sort of hurts both physically and psychically. I know that my lack of contact with nature, even if in a somehow manicured way, is affecting me in some deeply cosmologic way. I think a lot of people feel this way and access to even the small bits of trees and grass in this city are explicitly connected to wealth. Walking on the blocks near Central Park makes you know that there are very different fiefdoms in this city.

Does this lack of nature and of retreat affect how we understand ourselves? I think yes. The need for solitude and reflection with something within nature and being reminded of the sense of continuity/renewal is frankly, natural. We need it. We crave it. We go on expensive jaunts to reconnect to it. When it storms or there is crazy weather in this city the whole psychic energy changes and we almost yearn for natural cataclysm. We want to be snowed in. We want the lights to all turn off. We want to feel that we are specks and be overcome by forces outside of our control.

Marsden Hartley’s life was complicated, at times tumultuous, at times sad, but he had this steady force and place that was a place of return and reflection. There is such a gift in that and when you look at these paintings, although they are sometimes messy, flat, and possibly even drafts of grander things, they pulse with this intimacy, which makes them generous, vivid and still alive.

Maybe we can live our lives without nature in a day-to-day way. Maybe just a weekend here and there is enough to recharge our primordial selves but I think that this lack impacts us deeply. We may be the person we are but perhaps we are missing out on something deeper that only the interaction with nature can bring. Hartley was lucky to have this and even if we didn’t experience it ourselves his paintings remind us that it is out there and if we want it, we can find it too.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Little Snow-White by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm



I used to have a poster of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (The Disney classic) on my wall in my bedroom. It is a fairy tale that still resides in a special place in my little brain. Below is the original (translated of course) by the Brothers Grimm. It was originally written in 1812.

It is simplistic and to the modern reader full of scathing clichés and sometimes illogical deductions but nonetheless there is something fascinating by the endurance of even those things.


Little Snow-White
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time in midwinter, when the snowflakes were falling like feathers from heaven, a queen sat sewing at her window, which had a frame of black ebony wood. As she sewed she looked up at the snow and pricked her finger with her needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red on the white looked so beautiful that she thought to herself, "If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame."

Soon afterward she had a little daughter who was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood, and therefore they called her Little Snow-White. And as soon as the child was born, the queen died.

A year later the king took himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but she was proud and arrogant, and she could not stand it if anyone might surpass her in beauty. She had a magic mirror. Every morning she stood before it, looked at herself, and said:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

To this the mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fairest of all.

Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the mirror spoke the truth.
Snow-White grew up and became ever more beautiful. When she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the light of day, even more beautiful than the queen herself.

One day when the queen asked her mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

It answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than you.

The queen took fright and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour on whenever she looked at Snow-White her heart turned over inside her body, so great was her hatred for the girl. The envy and pride grew ever greater, like a weed in her heart, until she had no peace day and night.

Then she summoned a huntsman and said to him, "Take Snow-White out into the woods. I never want to see her again. Kill her, and as proof that she is dead bring her lungs and her liver back to me."

The huntsman obeyed and took Snow-White into the woods. He took out his hunting knife and was about to stab it into her innocent heart when she began to cry, saying, "Oh, dear huntsman, let me live. I will run into the wild woods and never come back."

Because she was so beautiful the huntsman took pity on her, and he said, "Run away, you poor child."

He thought, "The wild animals will soon devour you anyway," but still it was as if a stone had fallen from his heart, for he would not have to kill her.

Just then a young boar came running by. He killed it, cut out its lungs and liver, and took them back to the queen as proof of Snow-White's death. The cook had to boil them with salt, and the wicked woman ate them, supposing that she had eaten Snow-White's lungs and liver.

The poor child was now all alone in the great forest, and she was so afraid that she just looked at all the leaves on the trees and did not know what to do. Then she began to run. She ran over sharp stones and through thorns, and wild animals jumped at her, but they did her no harm. She ran as far as her feet could carry her, and just as evening was about to fall she saw a little house and went inside in order to rest.

Inside the house everything was small, but so neat and clean that no one could say otherwise. There was a little table with a white tablecloth and seven little plates, and each plate had a spoon, and there were seven knives and forks and seven mugs as well. Against the wall there were seven little beds, all standing in a row and covered with snow-white sheets.

Because she was so hungry and thirsty Snow-White ate a few vegetables and a little bread from each little plate, and from each mug she drank a drop of wine. Afterward, because she was so tired, she lay down on a bed, but none of them felt right -- one was too long, the other too short -- until finally the seventh one was just right. She remained lying in it, entrusted herself to God, and fell asleep.

After dark the masters of the house returned home. They were the seven dwarfs who picked and dug for ore in the mountains. They lit their seven candles, and as soon as it was light in their house they saw that someone had been there, for not everything was in the same order as they had left it.

The first one said, "Who has been sitting in my chair?"
The second one, "Who has been eating from my plate?"
The third one, "Who has been eating my bread?"
The fourth one, "Who has been eating my vegetables?"
The fifth one, "Who has been sticking with my fork?"
The sixth one, "Who has been cutting with my knife?"
The seventh one, "Who has been drinking from my mug?"
Then the first one saw a that there was a little imprint in his bed, and said, "Who stepped on my bed?"

The others came running up and shouted, "Someone has been lying in mine as well."
But the seventh one, looking at his bed, found Snow-White lying there asleep. The seven dwarfs all came running up, and they cried out with amazement. They fetched their seven candles and shone the light on Snow-White. "Oh good heaven! Oh good heaven!" they cried. "This child is so beautiful!"

They were so happy, that they did not wake her up, but let her continue to sleep there in the bed. The seventh dwarf had to sleep with his companions, one hour with each one, and then the night was done.

The next morning Snow-White woke up, and when she saw the seven dwarfs she was frightened. But they were friendly and asked, "What is your name?"

"My name is Snow-White," she answered.

"How did you find your way to our house?" the dwarfs asked further.

Then she told them that her stepmother had tried to kill her, that the huntsman had spared her life, and that she had run the entire day, finally coming to their house.

The dwarfs said, "If you will keep house for us, and cook, make beds, wash, sew, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay with us, and you shall have everything that you want."

"Yes," said Snow-White, "with all my heart."

So she kept house for them. Every morning they went into the mountains looking for ore and gold, and in the evening when they came back home their meal had to be ready. During the day the girl was alone.

The good dwarfs warned her, saying, "Be careful about your stepmother. She will soon know that you are here. Do not let anyone in."

Now the queen, believing that she had eaten Snow-White's lungs and liver, could only think that she was again the first and the most beautiful woman of all. 

She stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

It answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White, beyond the mountains
With the seven dwarfs,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you.

This startled the queen, for she knew that the mirror did not lie, and she realized that the huntsman had deceived her, and that Snow-White was still alive. Then she thought, and thought again, how she could kill Snow-White, for as long as long as she was not the most beautiful woman in the entire land her envy would give her no rest.

At last she thought of something. Coloring her face, she disguised herself as an old peddler woman, so that no one would recognize her. In this disguise she went to the house of the seven dwarfs. Knocking on the door she called out, "Beautiful wares for sale, for sale!"

Snow-White peered out the window and said, "Good day, dear woman, what do you have for sale?"

"Good wares, beautiful wares," she answered. "Bodice laces in all colors." And she took out one that was braided from colorful silk. "Would you like this one?"

"I can let that honest woman in," thought Snow-White, then unbolted the door and bought the pretty bodice lace.

"Child," said the old woman, "how you look! Come, let me lace you up properly."
The unsuspecting Snow-White stood before her and let her do up the new lace, but the old woman pulled so quickly and so hard that Snow-White could not breathe.

"You used to be the most beautiful one," said the old woman, and hurried away.

Not long afterward, in the evening time, the seven dwarfs came home. How terrified they were when they saw their dear Snow-White lying on the ground, not moving at all, as though she were dead. They lifted her up, and, seeing that she was too tightly laced, they cut the lace in two. Then she began to breathe a little, and little by little she came back to life.

When the dwarfs heard what had happened they said, "The old peddler woman was no one else but the godless queen. Take care and let no one in when we are not with you."

When the wicked woman returned home she went to her mirror and asked:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered once again:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White, beyond the mountains
With the seven dwarfs,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you.

When she heard that, all her blood ran to her heart because she knew that Snow-White had come back to life.

"This time," she said, "I shall think of something that will destroy you."

Then with the art of witchcraft, which she understood, she made a poisoned comb. Then she disguised herself, taking the form of a different old woman. Thus she went across the seven mountains to the seven dwarfs, knocked on the door, and called out, "Good wares for sale, for sale!"

Snow-White looked out and said, "Go on your way. I am not allowed to let anyone in."
"You surely may take a look," said the old woman, pulling out the poisoned comb and holding it up. The child liked it so much that she let herself be deceived, and she opened the door.

After they had agreed on the purchase, the old woman said, "Now let me comb your hair properly."

She had barely stuck the comb into Snow-White's hair when the poison took effect, and the girl fell down unconscious.

"You specimen of beauty," said the wicked woman, "now you are finished." And she walked away.

Fortunately it was almost evening, and the seven dwarfs came home. When they saw Snow-White lying on the ground as if she were dead, they immediately suspected her stepmother. They examined her and found the poisoned comb. They had scarcely pulled it out when Snow-White came to herself again and told them what had happened. Once again they warned her to be on guard and not to open the door for anyone.

Back at home the queen stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White, beyond the mountains
With the seven dwarfs,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you.

When the queen heard the mirror saying this, she shook and trembled with anger, "Snow-White shall die," she shouted, "if it costs me my life!"

Then she went into her most secret room -- no one else was allowed inside -- and she made a poisoned, poisoned apple. From the outside it was beautiful, white with red cheeks, and anyone who saw it would want it. But anyone who might eat a little piece of it would died. Then, coloring her face, she disguised herself as a peasant woman, and thus went across the seven mountains to the seven dwarfs. She knocked on the door.
Snow-White stuck her head out the window and said, "I am not allowed to let anyone in. The dwarfs have forbidden me to do so."

"That is all right with me," answered the peasant woman. "I'll easily get rid of my apples. Here, I'll give you one of them."

"No," said Snow-White, "I cannot accept anything."

"Are you afraid of poison?" asked the old woman. "Look, I'll cut the apple in two. You eat the red half, and I shall eat the white half."

Now the apple had been so artfully made that only the red half was poisoned. Snow-White longed for the beautiful apple, and when she saw that the peasant woman was eating part of it she could no longer resist, and she stuck her hand out and took the poisoned half. She barely had a bite in her mouth when she fell to the ground dead.
The queen looked at her with a gruesome stare, laughed loudly, and said, "White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony wood! This time the dwarfs cannot awaken you."

Back at home she asked her mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

It finally answered:
You, my queen, are fairest of all.

Then her envious heart was at rest, as well as an envious heart can be at rest.

When the dwarfs came home that evening they found Snow-White lying on the ground. She was not breathing at all. She was dead. They lifted her up and looked for something poisonous. They undid her laces. They combed her hair. They washed her with water and wine. But nothing helped. The dear child was dead, and she remained dead. They laid her on a bier, and all seven sat next to her and mourned for her and cried for three days. They were going to bury her, but she still looked as fresh as a living person, and still had her beautiful red cheeks.

They said, "We cannot bury her in the black earth," and they had a transparent glass coffin made, so she could be seen from all sides. They laid her inside, and with golden letters wrote on it her name, and that she was a princess. Then they put the coffin outside on a mountain, and one of them always stayed with it and watched over her. The animals too came and mourned for Snow-white, first an owl, then a raven, and finally a dove.

Snow-White lay there in the coffin a long, long time, and she did not decay, but looked like she was asleep, for she was still as white as snow and as red as blood, and as black-haired as ebony wood.

Now it came to pass that a prince entered these woods and happened onto the dwarfs' house, where he sought shelter for the night. He saw the coffin on the mountain with beautiful Snow-White in it, and he read what was written on it with golden letters.

Then he said to the dwarfs, "Let me have the coffin. I will give you anything you want for it."

But the dwarfs answered, "We will not sell it for all the gold in the world."
Then he said, "Then give it to me, for I cannot live without being able to see Snow-White. I will honor her and respect her as my most cherished one."

As he thus spoke, the good dwarfs felt pity for him and gave him the coffin. The prince had his servants carry it away on their shoulders. But then it happened that one of them stumbled on some brush, and this dislodged from Snow-White's throat the piece of poisoned apple that she had bitten off. Not long afterward she opened her eyes, lifted the lid from her coffin, sat up, and was alive again.

"Good heavens, where am I?" she cried out.

The prince said joyfully, "You are with me." He told her what had happened, and then said, "I love you more than anything else in the world. Come with me to my father's castle. You shall become my wife." Snow-White loved him, and she went with him. Their wedding was planned with great splendor and majesty.

Snow-White's godless stepmother was also invited to the feast. 

After putting on her beautiful clothes she stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. 

But the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you.

The wicked woman uttered a curse, and she became so frightened, so frightened, that she did not know what to do. At first she did not want to go to the wedding, but she found no peace. She had to go and see the young queen. When she arrived she recognized Snow-White, and terrorized, she could only stand there without moving.

Then they put a pair of iron shoes into burning coals. They were brought forth with tongs and placed before her. She was forced to step into the red-hot shoes and dance until she fell down dead.