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Flood September 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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4 comments

I am not a musician. Instead, I write a bit: sketch a simple picture, perhaps tell a bit of a story, offer and defend my opinion. Nothing fancy here. If you want art, try the library or the museum. Sometimes the words don’t come. Staring at this glowing panel, songs sometimes come into my head. It is the curse of the post-industrial brain. We expect life to have a soundtrack, conditioned by a lifetime fof ilm and television. Life as Disneyworld via Rogers and Hammerstein: this thought, that song. Fifty years of programming and I am Ipod man.

Sometimes the songs are comforting, other times exciting, or even disturbing. Which ever sort it is, when the brain grows foggy from work or drink or exhaustion nothing can rejuvenate it like music. You read some words, or see an image and, suddenly, it is like some stage piece with a pianist in the corner as chorus. The protagonist wanders off to the edge of the stage, and the spotlight fills on a baby grand. The audience is rapt, waiting for the first note, for the omniscient word.

When I post these videos I often say it is the resort of the lazy blogger. Oh, look what I found on You Tube. Aren’t I clever? Sometimes that is true, the Internet as the modern version of solitaire and the clever find a wining hand. Other times, I go looking for something I can’t find inside my own head, or rather I search inside my head for what I think is there and I find instead this echo of something I heard a long time ago. It takes my breath away, and I have no words.

[Cue music]


Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel

Be Nice or Leave July 25, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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4 comments

I wasn’t going to write about anything except the beach this week, giving myself as much of a rest on all fronts as possible. This morning I could not resist dropping into Google Reader, where I found this news:

a sign Dr. Bob made, welcoming visitors to the Bywater. It sits on private property, owned by NOCCA, a bastion of the arts, next to X/O Gallery, another bastion of the arts. The sign itself was hand painted by local legend, Dr. Bob, who has his work displayed in the Smithsonian Museum, and on Oprah Winfrey’s wall, for crissake.

And there it is. A two by three foot sign, beautifully trimmed in bottle caps, as Bob’s pieces are…Except for the gray paint. Battleship ugly fucking gray paint, rolled sloppily over the face of the sign, leaving obvious roller patterns and see-through spatter. That Asshole From Hell, Fred Radtke, has been here.

Here is an example of Dr. Bob’s art. He was featured in the New Orleans Magazine as one of the 97 Quirky New Orleans Discoveries recently, and as Lord David points out he is a nationally recognized folk artist. He is not some tagger spraying his nickname all over a railroad car.

Be Nice or Leave: excellent advice for Fred Radtke.

Radtke, you are a fuckmook. We don’t want you here in our city, anymore than we want the Klan-nostalgic commenters on the NOLA.Com stories. Why don’t you just to spray paint crap out in Metairie, where all the kiddie-taggers from from anyway. Oh, they might shoot your ass?

I’m still waiting for Shelly Midura to send me the Official List list of police-sanctioned forms of armed vigilantism. I mean, if they condone this fuckmook walking around with a pistol in his belt I would like to know what other sort of armed vigilantism we might be able to avail ourselves of to help with other crime problems.

Fuckmook.

I personally look forward to picking up a pice of art donated from NoLaRising’s paint party Saturday at the FYYFF Ashley Morris benefit Saturday night. I’m going to nail it to the front of my house.

Update: Before and after pictures.
http://drunah.livejournal.com/1049540.html

The Whole World Is Watching July 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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2 comments

Today I received an envelope written in a careful but fluid hand, and started to open it before I noticed it had no return address, except for this:

Inside, I found a “zine”, a small self-published chapbook of artwork and writing by Micheal Dingler a.k.a. Rex of NoLa Rising, founder of New Orleans’ insurgent public art movement. Inside are various montage of words and line art expressing his take on New Orleans, war, corporate America, and Top Reasons Why I Love New Orleans. It is titled (I think) “He Dreams In Widescreen”; at least that phrase appears on the cover.

I don’t know why but the booklet immediately put me in mind of the Yippies. Perhaps it had something to do with listening to Allen Ginsburg singing William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience while I scanned these pictures (something I once owned a vinyl copy of, but like many cool things it vanished in late 1986 while I was out of town. Long story. Some other time). My mind started to wander to Jerry Rubin’s Steal This Book, and an image of Ginsburg and friends carrying pictures of vegetables marching around the Pentagon.

The artwork in particular reminds me of the insert booklet from Blows Against the Empire, the Paul Kantner concept album released under the name Jefferson Starship. (No, not the band that made “We Built This City” and other dreck. This record was four years before that, with Stills and Nash along with Garcia, Kruetzman, and Hart and some other folks sitting in. Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?) “It’s a fresh wind that blows against the empire”, that album booklet tell us. Almost 40 years later, Rex has the same message.

You may think all of that 60’s stuff was silly nonsense. Perhaps it was, if you were expecting the Dictatorship of the Stonertariat as the outcome. And yet it was a time full of actions and ideas entirely consistent with the founding premises of a country created by guys who sat around drinking rum-and-water out of quart tankards, who thought after a couple of rounds that it was a Swell Idea to dress up in Indian costume, break-and-enter then toss other people’s tea into the harbor all as a dress rehearsal for committing High Treason in the defense of Liberty.

Crazy Bastards.

There is a bit in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

“And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. …

“So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

Thompson was wrong. The wave did not simply break and retreat. It broke into a thousand rivulets and left behind uncounted pools filled with strange creatures. What happened was a small transformation inside the heads of a large number of individuals. Those tiny transformations produced the world we live in today, the people many of us are. A lot of other people who had very little fun back then or missed it entirely and resent it greatly have gone to great lengths over the last generation to try to put that genie back in the bottle, shredding the constitution and generally fucking up the country and much of the world in the process.

I’m sick of them, of it, of the IT the U.S of A. has become. I’m sick about what was allowed to happen here in New Orleans, and what continues to happen. And after reading this zine I would have to say so is ReX. Are you?

My favorite page in the zine is near the end. At the top of a largely blank page it reads, in broken Courier type, “THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK FOR ADDITIONAL ARTWORK”.

I think you know what to do.

If you have any hesitation about that consider this:

The revolution will not be televised. The whole world is watching.

Inside the place where those two statements are not inconsistent is the answer. When you get there you can borrow my Sharpie.

Hail ReX of NoLa Rising May 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orelans, Toulouse Street.
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1 comment so far

To: smidura@cityofno.com
CC: jbclarkson@cityofno.com; afielkow@cityofno.com

Subject: NoLa Rising (Micheal Dingler) and Fred Radtke

I was disappointed to learn that Micheal Dingler, founder of the public art movement NoLa Rising, was still forced to both pay a fine and to agree to stop posting public works of art to escape the municipal charges engineered against him by Fred Radtke and Radtke’s allies in the NOPD. While Mr. Dingler is relieved of the threat of a large fine it is not the outcome many would have wished, which is for all charges to be dropped.

Meanwhile Mr. Radtke remains free to continue to deface public and private property and to intimidate anyone who questions his authority to do in his self-anointed crusade, with the blessing of a prior city council and local civic leaders, and the open collusion of the N.O.P.D. in his own municipal violations

I propose that the ordinances governing NoLa Rising’s activity (which amounts to posting bills) be amended to make a clear exception for the transient (easily removed; take it down and pull the nails) installation of non-commercial works of art on utility poles and similar locations where they in no way impede the function of city government, the utilities or endanger the public safety.

Here is the CitiBusiness article on the outcome. The T-P did not cover the story that I can find on line.
http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/UpToTheMinute.cfm?recID=17471

Mark Folse
“It’s After the End of the World. Don’t you Know That Yet?”
Toulouse Street – Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans

NoLa Rising

Mailbox Mama April 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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3 comments

Mailbox Mama 1

Here is a fantastic piece of street/folk art I found in Mid-City, painted on an unfortunate canvas. I’m glad the authorities didn’t catch this artist decorating this communal mailbox, but these things are such an abomination. They have no place in neighborhoods of historic housing stock, and they rob parking spaces in areas where there is little or no off street parking.

Mailbox Mama 2

One possible benefit of this is that someone may catch Fred Radtke, the infamous vigilante Grey Ghost, a self-appointed one man war on graffiti and street art, the in act of slapping his signature smear on federal property. I think a trip through the central government’s justice system might cool is ardor for trespassing on private property to cover graffiti or any sort of street art that offends him.

The Great Wave March 4, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, 8-29, art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Hurricane Katrina, Japan, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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1 comment so far

Hosuki The Wave
Hokusai’s The Great Wave of the Coast of Kanagawa

I found this postcard of a picture by Hokusai while in Washington, prompting the following caption-cum-fable for New Orleans..

The foamy fringe is a nest of threatening fingers reaching out to swamp the boats. The mountain is distant, cold capped, oblivious as the gods. The men’s backs are turned to the wave, and bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea; the sea chose them. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, a way as deeply ingrained in their souls as the salt in their sea-glare furrowed brows. The sea is a mirror of the sky, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall men live except between the sky and the sea, those promising and pitiless fields of blue? They have heard the tale of tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, places where people no longer beach their boats, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own nets. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.

This is a repost from long ago, back when visitors number in the high single figures, inspired by taking down the postcard off the wall where it had become buried by other things since summer of 2006. The mood seems apt to me at the moment and it is now my computer desktop and home and work. Tje idea it inspired in 2006 worth repeating for a larger audience now that this is my primary blog.

Tales of Grave Ulysses February 28, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, quotes, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

joyceart_nolarising.jpg

….O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gilbraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

— James Joyce’s Ulysses

Soon it will be June and where then shall we meet, and who shall read? I have never done a Bloomsday and have always wanted to. The last hereabouts looks to have been June 2005 and then, well, you know. So, who’s in?

.

P.S.–It’s hard to see online, but this has a NoLa Rising tag painted down the left side.

Dancing Bear February 10, 2008

Posted by The Typist in art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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4 comments

Dancing Bear
A fellow New Orleans blogger left a comment asking about the Dancing Bear tag on my posts. It’s an old, old nickname, predating the adoption by the Grateful of the dancing teddy bear icon by several years, although I am almost enough of a fan to consider myself a head (notice “cryptic envelopment tag on some posts also usually tagged “Odds&Sodds”). While I am rather hirsute (except at the very top) I am straight, so it’s not about that kind of Bear either. It is instead a reference to Captain Kangaroo that I picked up in my early teens. (No, I am not about to tell that story, although it’s fairly harmless. No, Jeff, Bear will not dance.)

Strange how childhood nicknames stick. My mother-in-law used to be aghast when I called my son buddy. “That’s how people get those horrible nicknames,” she complained. Well, I rather liked the two Buddy’s I’ve known, so I wasn’t too worried about it. And it didn’t stick. Dancing Bear, however, has stuck for a certain circle of friends, and it’s usually shortened to Bear.

As to the picture above, if you’re thinking of getting me something extravagant for my birthday, I definitely can not afford one of these lovely Inuit Dancing Bear sculptures offered at Siverston Gallery, but after being Dancing Bear for a third of a century I’d love to have one.

Legalized Vandalism and Vigilantism in New Orleans January 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Citizen Journalism, Debrisville, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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10 comments

What a mean spirited little golum is this Fred Radtke? A vigilante who dashes gray paint over public and private property wherever he spots graffiti or advertising posters, who is allowed to roam the streets with impunity and deface public and private property at whim, sometimes covering public safety signs (stop signs, for example) in his demented quest to cover all of the city’s graffiti.

An interesting turn of urban life is all it was, until Radtke took off after folk artist Michael Dingler and his NOLA Rising project. Today’s Citibusiness weekly reports that Radtke initiated a complaint and resulted in Dingler be charged with 1,100 counts of unlawfully posting signs on telephone poles that could cost him more than $50,000 in fines.

Dingler explains his act of civic art making on the NOLA Rising blog in a June 2007 posting. This is a public art installation, not criminal activity. Sadly, the N.O.P.D. seems to agree with Radtke, who’s own clearl acts of vandalism of public and private property they condone and even encourage.

The New Orleans Police Department, however, condones Radtke’s actions. NOPD often calls him directly to cover graffiti and spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse said they have no intention of charging Radtke with any crimes.

Here’s an interesting response from street artist unknownparts which found on Flickr.

radtke.jpg

I can’t believe that the city has given tens of thousands of dollars to some mean-spirited freak so he can spread his own form of ugly paint-based vandalism all over public and private property at his own whim. I have no problem with the city removing or covering obvious gang tags. However, by going after street artists like the NOLA Rising group or even unknownparts and his sort–artists who appropriate public space for what is arguably art–Radtke is no different than the tagger thugs.

This is insane. I just fired of a letter to my City Council Person Shelly Midura demanding Radtke be required to return the tens of thousands of city tax dollars he’s been given, that all charges against Dingler be dropped, and that the N.O.P.D officers who colluded in Radtke’s vendetta against Dingler should be required to apologize, if not in fact be fired for their collusion in Radkte’s own campaign of vandalism.

What NOLA Rising has done is a tremendous work of civic betterment, one tiny poster at a time, contributed to by tens if not hundreds of people. It is a bright spot in the gray landscape of our continuing disaster, a landscape not improved one bit by Radtke’s own gray tags. It is not Dingler that should be stopped and punished but Radtke, and everyone in city government–in City Hall or the N.O.P.D–who has supported him

The great wave near the coast of Kanagawa August 12, 2006

Posted by The Typist in art, Japan, New Orleans.
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3 comments

Hosuki The Wave

I found this postcard of a picture by Hokusai while in Washington. I put me in mind of my recent Wet Bank Guide post View from Under the Volcano. The foamy fringe is a nest of threatening fingers reaching out to swamp the boats. The moutain is distant, cold capped, oblivious as the gods. The men’s backs are turned to the wave, and bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea; the sea chose them. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, a way as deeply ingrained in their souls as the salt in their sea-glare furrowed brows. The sea is a mirror of the sky, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall men live except beneath that broad and pitiless blue? They have heard the tale of tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, places where people no longer beach their boats, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own nets. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.