Everything so beautiful and dirty and absurd

Everything so beautiful and dirty and absurd

My house was at the edge of the block, on the corner of 166th and Jackson in the Crenton neighborhood of a mid-sized American city. With dusty roads where all the trees died because the city just let them. The sidewalks were cracked and crooked and many mothers died stepping on them. The lawns were dirty and made of pebbles and broken glass. Rojo ran the neighborhood and we all went to him for whatever we needed. Cigarettes or whatever. He was three years older and seventeen when he dropped from high school. He told me his stories about sex so that I would know when I was ready to have sex on my own. His girlfriend Gogo he would tell me stories about. He went down on her once and, after fifteen minutes, mad that he hadn’t yet given her an orgasm/that she hadn’t gotten off/finished yet, he bit her until she screamed. She left him after that and disappeared somewhere down south where her uncle lives by the water. This was around the same time that health-conscious, vegetarian rapper Black Choy was attacked by pro-beef activists outside of his studio. They cut him with a knife and put him in the hospital. Is there a connection? Rojo loved hamburgers and Black Choy was playing a show at the Alamo that night. The the Jackson Street venue where everybody played music at some point or another. I tried to sing there once with a death metal band called Adagio. They didn’t book us for another show after that, but they give everybody in the neighborhood at least one...
Pics or it didn’t happen: Our obsession with permanence

Pics or it didn’t happen: Our obsession with permanence

Something happens. Something memorable, or kinda cool, or not really that interesting at all, but we take thirteen pics of it anyway. We have to take pictures; record it, show the world, share, for posterity’s sake. That we were there. That we are here, now. This is really nothing new. And this is nothing we would put on the shoulders of the Millenials (Gen Y) and Pivotals (Gen Z) who have had the luxury of social media basically since day one (and therefore the normality, and subsequent pressures, of performing online). It’s just the latest form/different version of the photo books mom/grandmom pull out every time you start dating someone new. It’s just the logical next step for a species that started in the dirt, moved on to cave paintings, invented the camera in 1888, and now has a tool to share who they are with the entire world in the blink of an eye. This is just progress. But why is it something so rooted into our DNA, or just our sense of identity? Why do we feel the need to capture everything and look at it over and over again? And for other people to do the same? Why, ultimately, do we feel like something isn’t really real, something didn’t really happen, something isn’t worth remembering, unless we have the physical photo of it to look back on and share with others? Memories There are countless studies (here’s one, for example: False memories in highly superior autobiographical memory individuals) that will tell you that many (most) of our organic memories are junk, and can be created from...
For the record, Antifa =/= Nazis

For the record, Antifa =/= Nazis

Antifa has been a much talked about group lately. The discussion started in earnest when they clashed with white supremacists, Nazis, and Confederate sympathizers in Charlottesville a few weeks back during the “Unite the Right” rally. President Trump struggled with the comparison, saying that both sides were at fault. Both sides were wrong. Both sides were morally reprehensible. Equally so. But after the recent violence in Berkeley, even Daily Show host Trevor Noah came out against Antifa’s more aggressive tendencies when battling Fascism (Antifa = Anti + Fascist). The role of Antifa, then and now In general jargon, Antifa became associated with the left, and Nazis became (though, really, they always have been) associated with the right. But that shouldn’t be the discussion – it isn’t about “sides” as much as the president would like it to be. Nazism/Fascism is something that history has already thrown in the trash regardless of what the America political spectrum looks like today. It was defeated, both as a mantra/philosophy and as political movement. It has been soundly condemned as something awful and never to be repeated. Rightfully so. This goes without saying. Is Antifa a slightly more menacing and erratic, and perhaps less well-dressed, version of Indiana Jones? He punched Nazis too. Because they were Nazis. We’ve discussed the power of ideology (Don’t Kill Hitler), and we won’t say/we aren’t here to say that the approach that Antifa and other groups have taken to combat the recent rise in visible Nazism is pure and simple the “right” course – or necessarily the course of action that will help solve the problem in the long term....
Food & Sex & Everything in between

Food & Sex & Everything in between

It’s been said, by some, that food is better than sex. Food is certainly not better than sex, but some meals can and do come (pretty) close. And the comparisons are apt. The sensations, yes, the appetites, the insatiable hunger for something so perfect you feel you cannot get enough. When something so delicious passes your lips and you grip your fork, your spoon, the sides of your seat in pure and unadulterated ecstasy. Like honey that rolls slowly, dripping down chins and fingers. The sticky sweet. Honeycomb. Along with rank cheeses that assault the senses: Époisses and Limburger. Or along with more subtle cheeses that sit delicate at the back of the palate. Appenzeller Swiss and white cheddar. It’s a sweetness that fills your smells, your taste, you smell, your touch, with a different sort of of sensation. Something you crave. But savory is most necessary (as a paradox, perhaps, of food: the sweetness of dinner comes more from the umami. A richness, sure, but more from the complex flavors of which pure sweetness of sugar/dessert can not alone compare). Breathe in the smell of onions cooking in butter. There is something so very sensual about that smell. Add a touch of (that) honey for sweetness. Add the onions to your steak, cut thin and cooked rare. Have vegetables on the side. Have asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli cooked in oil with a little salt sprinkled on top. Have something from rivers or the ocean: Trout cheeks are the best part of the fish, as soft and nearly as rich as pork belly. Enjoy truffles and pickles and pate beforehand,...
Banksy fan? You can soon buy his artwork for cheap

Banksy fan? You can soon buy his artwork for cheap

Banksy is something of an enigma in the art world – and not just because no average Joe knows his true identity. His heavy-handed imagery and symbolism, and constant political/cultural commentary, have both thrilled and divided art enthusiasts from London to New York to China. He has a mission. He has a statement he’d like to make and he makes it, loud and clear and easy to understand, again and again. Banksy’s role as a “public” figure But this isn’t meant to be a review, or even a comment, on his art. Nor of his bravado. Nor is it really a discussion about the phenomenon that has led to Banksy’s art pieces selling for millions of dollars, “Save Banksy” campaigns (watch an example in the video below) and his rabid, cult-like following. We just wanted you to know that you will soon be able to own some of Banksy’s latest artwork at a much, much lower price point than the 6+ figures it has recently been selling for. If (and it’s a big “if”) you head to the West Bank, to Bethlehem. This is also where the artist’s controversial hotel stands. “The Walled Off Hotel,” as an apparent commentary on Israel and Palestine’s strained (to put it lightly) relationship, and the wall that splits the holiest of cities into two, offers the “Worst View in the World” (you can buy a t-shirt there that says so). The gift shop will be located at the back of the hotel (not to be confused with the Banksy-themed store that opened up across the street in an attempt to capitalize on the artist’s...