Art + Rock n’ Roll

Art museums are the grand dames of exciting cultural outings. They certainly ignite wanderlust in my soul. Of course, there are those who speak a bit too loud at museums. “Oh this artist is an impressionist” &” Frida Kahlo painted this & it reflects her tortured soul.” Ninety-nine percent of the time, they sound incredibly pretentious.

Often times, I just switch on my iPOD & jam out to the hipper than thou “Bjork/Talking Heads/Violent Femmes” playlist to drown out the annoyance. Although, I have to say I’ve seen some absolutely amazing exhibits.

My most memorable exhibits were not the typical Andy Warhol & Pablo Picasso fare. However, those were incredibly interesting & remarkable. There were the not so pleasant smelling exhibits such the ketchup splattered on canvas, which made me crave French fries. A village in India made from soup cans was the most interesting exhibit. Soup cans & ketchup are household goods. For someone with loose screws & lots of imagination, it is art. For these fine folks an art brush & fancy colors just won’t do.

Going to advertising school equates drawing. I’d always been more of a wordsmith, but secretly wanted to sketch. Writers & painters live in two different worlds & rarely jet set to each other’s galaxy. My artist friend Jackie took time to teach me the art of sketching. It all commenced with a water bottle. I had to follow every contour carefully. I studied the object closely & after careful sketching, it looked like a water bottle on paper.

Soon, stick figures went the way of vinyl records. I sketched my own portrait as well as a few friends. Not everyone loved it, but it was entertaining. Art in general is subjective. One of my favorite artists is Jean-Michel Basquiat. I love his funky use of reds & yellows. Although, it’s world renowned pop art, not everyone would classify his intense paintings beautiful. There are the traditionalists who prefer Monet’s soothing greens & interpretations of London’s iconic Big Ben.

Many artists felt unsure of their work. As the cliché saying goes, ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder,'” so is art. Personally, I love how culture shocked I’m staring into a Frida Kahlo painting. Although, my sketching won’t hang in a museum, I enjoy the process. It feels like a miniature holiday for the many minutes it takes to sketch a bottle (or other objects).

Regardless of what people think, I’m gonna keep on drawing. It’s always more fun to sketch & analyze art with some rock n’ roll in the background.

Where the Seine meets the Thames

In a sea of coffee, there’s a tiny boat made out of popsicle sticks. The sea captain is wearing a tie with a distinctive rouge hue. While his tweed coat keeps him warm from the chilly air. His obstacle is steering the boat & not drink all the coffee.

Although, he’s in the middle of nowhere, the path leads to the excitement of Paris & the grandure of London. Rowing the boat towards the horizon; Big Ben on one side, while the Eiffel Tower is in the other creates bliss. Suddenly, the boat tips over in a highly caffeinated sea. No fears arise, since it’s all gourmet coffee & not seawater.

The fog rolls towards the sea captain, he awakens to find himself in a most ordinary of settings. What is the shocking reality? I’m sitting at home watching the fireplace. Daydreaming was a cardinal sin, growing up. My mom complained about my daydreaming.

Shockingly enough, my teachers also complained. Science & math are such riveting subjects. I don’t know why anybody would want to drift to a land of imagination & excitement. There were eight deadly sins as opposed to seven. The most guilt ridden was daydreaming. My mom put it best, ” you’re drifting into la la land again.”

Growing into adulthood, I attended film school. Rather than having guilt about daydreaming for the first time, it was a requirement like textbooks & watching Woody Allen movies. Utilizing my imagination, I delved into different worlds & cultures. After graduating from school, I still felt a wanderlust for my own imagination land. It was an escape from the realities of an adulthood land with it’s many obstacles & pressures.

In my head, I revisited some of my favorite places (such as London, Tokyo, Paris & Buenos Aires), wandered around 1950’s America, experienced Elizabethan England, sat through a bullfight, saw some very wild shows at CBGB’s, rode into the sunset with Don Quixote & had a three course dinner with some of the world’s most interesting dead people. All these experiences have always formed nice escapisms without paying for an expensive getaway.

Daydreaming is what my society always told me was wrong at one time. Don’t daydream, just focus on science & math & the joys of puberty. As an adult, I figured out breaking the rules & thinking outside of society’s social norms is more fucking fun.

Especially in the career path I’m taking as an adult, floating into fairy tale land/daydream jungle is where my finest ideas come from. If you’ll excuse me, my plane is landing in some fog & must get ready to venture into the land where the Seine meets the Thames.

My Own Private Igloo

Not long ago in the frozen tundra of New York City lived a boy who loved the cold & grey. While New Yorkers dreamed of Florida & grumpily walked to work on the ice skating rings known as sidewalks, he reveled in all that winter had to offer.

From the ice capped peaks of Central Park to the cliche but charming images of brownstones with snow covering the classic stoop, it was magical. He adored winter with swell coffee, heavy fog, lack of sun, superb soups, gorgeous fashion (especially pea coats) & the feeling of one’s face freezing over from Manhattan’s very prominent wind tunnel effect (the skyscrapers create this effect making it colder in the city than the outer boroughs).

I’ve always loved the cold. In fact, my nickname is the urban eskimo. Where did I garner such a nickname? It’s from my love of Arctic style weather. I like to think of my house as my own private igloo. It’s always chilly, perfect for the sweater loving crowd & also the ideal setting for soup consumption. The igloo effect extends to my car. After moving back to California from New York, my car a/c died. So I quickly, fixed it. Thanks to my car’s high tech a/c, I can wear nifty sweaters, drink hot java & find peace in a sea of sunshine + traffic jams.

I also find inspiration from the grey old sky. It stirs a nostalgia, which compares to watching an old black & white film, since they remind me of a long gone era. Some of my best memories take place in the grey. Therefore, it’s my most favorite time to sit down & write about these experiences. No harsh sun causing gridlock in my brain, just the soothing sounds of wind & rain dancing along the characters I develop for school & creative endeavors.

I see too many sunny days now. It makes me appreciate the June gloom, which covers the coastal areas of California. It is also an excuse to dress up in my favorite sweaters, enjoy a most delicious cappuccino & soup du jour.

Odyssey of a Beard

Wrinkles & facial hair are symbols of a life well lived. Plastic surgery to look younger never impressed me.  Personally, I am the personification of a human chia pet. Pour a little water on me & watch the scruff grow into something amazing.

Growing up, I was always the first boy to successfully achieve a full beard in a week’s time. However, I wasn’t ready to look like a lumberjack. So, I invested in an electric shaver. For some reason, I was just terrified of stubble. Although, shifting through men’s fashion mags, the beard looked chic. These handsome men photographed around the Lower East Side & Nolita looked all kinds of cool. They had a gorgeous mame of hair on their face, which complimented very sophisticated looking outfits.

Still, chic fashion magazines could not convince me to have a beard. Therefore, I went nut-so with the electric razor, sometimes shaving twice a day. One day, I just simply grew weary of shaving. I live close to work, but l hated the extra time spent in the mirror shaving. I’d rather spend the time color coordinating my colorless wardrobe or watch the news.

I let the scruff grow in. Shockingly, people loved the scruff. In fact, I did too. So, I decided to give my preppy wardrobe a lumber jack twist. Friends also commented that it made me look more mature. I’m an old spirit with quite a lot of life experience for my young age. The beard is representation of a transition from being a boy to a hairy beast of a man.

The beard is a challenge to maintain (getting it even always a challenge). However, I love it. The beard is a symbol of a more mature age. Wrinkles haven’t set in. If they did, I’d embrace it like my beard. Playing connect the wrinkle lines (like connect the dots) would be splendid. Vive le chia pet.

A Quirky Brain & The Archaelogical Expedition

Digging, digging, digging for a special archaelogical expedition. Unlike most archaeologists, I am not out in the desert of Egypt trying to uncover King Tut’s hidden family. Rather, I am digging deep for the treasures that lay beneath my brain cells.

When writer’s block hits the terrain, it’s as dry as the Eastern desert. When an idea strikes & I find my treasure from days of digging. The terrain evolves from the Eastern desert to Downtown Manhattan. Lively, bustling & bursting with stimulation is what my imagination becomes.

My most amazing ideas usually arrive in life’s my offbeat moments. Laying in bed listening to 80’s music, suddenly this amazing idea arrives. So, I quickly turn on the lights or even type it on my iPHONE, assuring it will not be forgotten tomorrow. Looking for an idea is the equivalent of looking for love. When you don’t seek love , it will find you.

However, I  do keep a list of things & experiences which inspire me. Most prominently, I’m heavily influenced by my life in both California & New York, being gay, my strict Catholic school upbringing, the many adventures I’ve had abroad (spent time in Tokyo, London, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, Buenos Aires, etc), quirky life experiences, music ( love 80’s stuff i.e. 80’s new wave & 90’s alternative rock) & my curiosity about the world.

So far, I’m well lived for a twenty-something. The yearning for more life experiences fuels my imagination. I’m still very curious to see more of the United States, since I’ve spent my life in Blue state America.

I’d also love to visit Brazil & see it’s oddly shaped mountain majesties. My primary goal is to eliminate monotony & open myself to new experiences. The more new places I experience & people met, the more I can write about later.

Currently, I’m listening to R.E.M. while driving through the next archaelogical expedition of my head. As I arrive at my site of discovery, I dig up.

What will I find in my head? Will it be a story about a most scenic road trip to Cambria, CA back in 95? a tale of boy who spent too much time in East Village coffee houses? or a simple tale of the joy of watching Charlie Chaplin films at grandma’s house? Time will only tell what will be dug out from the depth of my brain cells.

Prim & Proper: Catholic School Boy Memoirs (Abridged)

I love nothing more than wearing a proper tie with a cardigan. Where did I develop this style? Subconsciously it came from my Catholic school years. Every liturgy mass, we were required to get dolled up.  I don’t consider myself a religious guy. There was a lack of stimulation growing up. I spent my teen years in a jungle of track homes, attending Catholic school & daydreaming of a more interesting life.

As a teenager, I listened to too much Madonna, watched French films (behind my parents’ back), daydreamed of traveling the world & was very very very gay (still am). Of course, nothing makes better satire than a gay lad attending Catholic school. Laugh all you want, but it’s completely legit. Black gates surrounded our school. It didn’t feel like prison at all.

I went through all the cliches one would go through being queer at school. A defaced locker, the word fag constantly being uttered (they seriously weren’t savvy enough to come up with something more cleaver) & the marvelous you’re going to hell speech (also, can they come up with something more cleaver? such as congrats you’re going to Wyoming).

Coming out at 15 was daring for the time. Ellen DeGeneres had come out of the closet years prior paving the way for gay acceptance in society. The effect did not trickle down to California’s more right winged suburbs at the time. So, I was the lone gay. Yeah, the teasing sucked & the constant religious damnation equally stunk. Fuck it, I did not want to conform. Instead, I floated away into imagination land.

I loved 80s music, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Missing Persons & the list goes on. Everything from new wave to punk became the soundtrack of my youth. I mapped out my life during this time. Lack of dating & no driver’s license meant I had plenty of time to do this. My very exciting bucket list included traveling the world, living in New York City, going to film school & becoming a professional writer.

Graduating from Catholic school marked an end to teenage angst. My modest boat made it through the most treacherous currents. The experience did allow me to develop myself as a goal oriented guy. Did I accomplish my goals? Here is the run down.

graduate from film school-check

live in New York City-check

travel the world-check

become professional writer-going to advertising school now for that one.

Please excuse me as I tie my tie & learn how not to give a damn about what society thinks.

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