Friday, December 12, 2008
The pain is ever-present,
The pain… like cold caresses,
No words escape your blistered lips.
Your ideas fill me with purpose,
Stab me with tenacity,
Puncture my very essence,
Help me to become desensitized.
The meaning of life? What true comedy!
The pursuit of happiness? What a miserable existence!
The truth is obvious… The fruit lies within the perceived fruitlessness,
Within the barren wind-swept wastelands.
Oh what a wretched bunch we men are,
Embrace that which you fear! And only then can you truly escape the pain…
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
They did it again!!! I absolutely loved Coldplay’s last album “Viva La Vida”. However, there was one track that I really wished they had added lyrics to… the opening track “Life in Technicolor”. Maybe it was the song’s sweet melody, the pulsating rhythm, its atmospheric vibe, or maybe it was the “OOHHHHH” “OOHHHHH” that Chris sings towards the end. Whatever the reason, that song was awesome untouched, but of course the perfectionist in me craved for just a bit more.
Fast forward to Coldplay’s new EP release named “Prospekts March” which contains previously unreleased material, and the first track is… “Life in Technicolor II”. Chris Martin delivers some solid vocals on the track which much to my delight was extended to just over four minutes from the original two and a half minutes. Ahhhh, bliss. Enjoy!!!
You can download the new version below:
Coldplay – Life in Technicolor II
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This poem made me think about the many excuses that people can come up with to fool themselves into thinking they are in a normal relationship. People suffer many different types of abuse, whether it is physical, verbal or emotional. It is easy to say that you would react a specific way if you ever found yourself in a certain hypothetical situation, until you actually found yourself in the real situation. It is also very easy to judge other people’s decisions without knowing all of the factors that lead to those decisions. The poem illustrates how we can become accustomed to and rationalize just about any situation we encounter no matter how absurd it may actually be. It also makes me wonder just what would be considered out of the question nowadays…
Monday, November 10, 2008
The issue of War and Terrorism is one that is always present, especially now since the United States is no longer perceived as a safe haven from the world’s violence. This country which was once “untouched” in terms of mass deaths due to terrorism, has now taken a more realistic view of itself and its vulnerabilities. Our current war or “act of aggression” and whether it is just or not can also be turned on its head depending on who you ask.
A just war is supposed to have three requirements according to Thomas Aquinas:
- The war must be started and controlled by the authority of state or ruler.
- There must be a just cause.
- The war must be for good, or against evil. Law and order must always be restored.
The causes of this war, although initially clearly stated have become muddled with ulterior motives and double-talk. This war against Iraq or Jihad has been viewed as a holy war from the other side. Our acts of patriotism and "peacekeeping" are seen as terrorism by the Muslim world. War in this country has always been declared once an enemy first attacked our troops (Pearl Harbor for example), thus making it a just war. In this particular case President Bush instituted a preemptive war, which although we were never attacked, he justified by claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was attacked and invaded, the ruling party (Saddam Hussein) was ousted and then subsequently executed. Years have passed and we continue to occupy the country in order to “quell” insurgent uprisings. Our current president’s aggressive stance and actions in this case could cause a huge backlash against the United States, by other counties who now see us as an aggressor among peaceful nations.
To make things worse, the ethnocentric media that we as Americans are exposed to is rather limited and you would be surprised how much more you would learn by watching the newscasts aimed at a different audience besides predominantly American viewers. I'm glad that this "reign" is almost over...
Friday, November 7, 2008
Zoé is an influential Mexican rock band which formed back in the 1990s. Although the majority of their songs are in spanish their sound seems to transcend the spanish rock genre and infect diverse audiences. Their style is one that has evolved and changed over the years with definite influences from the Britpop and Grunge movements.
This new upcoming release “Reptilectric” (Release date 11/11/2008) is the fourth studio album for them and a follow up to the highly acclaimed “Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea”.
I have also had the pleasure of seeing this band live 3 times and have never been disappointed. Their unique stage presence is undeniable and their atmospheric sound unmatched.
Below is the video for their first single and title track named “Reptilectric”
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Cindy Sherman is an artist who is primarily known for her visionary self-portraits in which she focuses on concepts rather than aesthetics. There are typically messages or social commentary behind each of her images, which she uses her body to convey. Her use of various costumes and distinct style, which contribute to her ability to evoke feelings of nostalgia, bewilderment, wonder or repulsion within her audiences, is unrivaled. Other photographers of her era were pointing the camera outward to capture and record the world, while she turned the lens on herself to metamorphose and truly show the world what she wanted to express.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I’ll keep this posting short and sweet. We have reached an epic time in our country’s history. A time when this monumental event marks the physical manifestation of the “American Dream” and inspire people everywhere to open up their minds and eyes and behold the endless possibilities they now have in front of them. Barack Hussein Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America!!! The difference in electoral votes, 364 to McCain’s 163, was substantial. Our country spoke loud and clear, and they voted for Change… Change in the way we will look at healthcare, Change in the way we run our businesses and the economy, Change in the way our country is perceived by the rest of the world, Change in the way we govern ourselves.
A couple of hours ago, I watched people from all different walks of life unite and cheer. I watched civil rights leader Jesse Jackson weep silently in the crowd at Grant Park when CNN announced that Obama had won. I saw Oprah jumping up and down with excitement, thousands of young Americans hugging and screaming, and live videos of Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza containing a multitude of hopeful and jubilant faces. These people cheered for a man that has captured the imagination of our great nation. Not because he said he had all of the answers, but because we knew he had a much different approach to what he have had to deal with for the last eight years. Those differences in ideology and outlook translated into an overall theme or message that echoed what the people of the U.S. wanted out of their next Commander in Chief.
This is the day America took America back. Congratulations Mr. Obama!!!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Lately I have been hearing a lot of people saying that black people are only voting for Barack Obama because he is black without listening to the issues at all. Really? Is that really what people think? Do people really think that everyone is that superficial? I don't think all black people are voting for Obama simply because he is black (or half black). Obama seems to have a more compassionate and charismatic style that seems to resonate with many people in this area. I see that McCain has many more years of experience than Obama, but that within itself may be the reason people are turning away from him. Many people may associate him with "old politics" and they way the government has been run for the last 100 years. Obama is clearly saying that it is time for a change... change in the way we govern ourselves, change in the way our great country is perceived in the world, change in the way we take care of our own citizens.
McCain has been in this country's service for many years. This country owes him a substantial amount of gratitude for all he has done and had to endure... but do we owe him the presidency? No. Yes, he brings a wealth of experience to the table, but in his shining moments on the "world stage" he demonstrates his sound decision making by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate. I am not going to reiterate all of the reasons why she is not qualified for such a position, because they have all been beaten to death by this point. The McCain of yesteryear would have been a great candidate, but unfortunately that is not the McCain that this grueling presidential campaign has produced (or exposed). The point is the people of America DO NOT WANT ANOTHER 4 YEARS OF BUSH!!! The U.S. and our economy can't take another administration which turned a surplus in our budget to a deficit.
I don't think anyone is saying that either of the two candidates are perfect, but when actually taking their polarized positions in perspective, Obama supporters feel he has a plan which is more sound. Black people have been voting for Caucasian candidates since they have had the right to vote, and many do feel that certain Caucasian voters will not vote for Obama because he is black (or half black). There has always been racism in this country. However, it has been brought to the foreground because for once in the history of our country there is a serious candidate for the presidency that isn't Caucasian.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. Eminem's flow is sick. I have always been a fan of the way he rhymes and rides the beat, but his albums never really impressed me too much. Now, after hiding out for a number of years (no he is not dead) Eminem is back with a little teaser of a joint. The new Shade 45 release is only about two minutes long, but within that brief period you begin to remember what made him great before... even over a beat which isn't all that great. Hopefully there will more be tracks forthcoming. Download link and video below.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
When I get to the venue and walk in, I am immediately pulled in by the immense crowd’s energy. There are huge groups of people chatting, dancing, drinking, and pretty much ready for a great time…not to mention the cliques of amazingly flawless-looking women all over.
The band takes the stage to an uproar of applause and cheering. For the next hour and a half the Brazilian Girls take us through a whirlwind of spectacular vocals, pounding beats, and a wide array of dizzying lightshows and musical arrangements… even including a couple of songs with a live marching band on stage. Sabina took control of the show from beginning to end, despite the fact that she is visibly pregnant, and left the crowd yearning for more when their set was done. The band came back on stage for a short encore set and ended the night with one of my favorite songs… the whole crowd sang along “Pu**y, Pu**y, Pu**y, Marijuana”.
I leave Terminal 5 and at this point am in no mood to go home, so I head up to Amsterdam Ave and hit one of the spots I haven’t been to in a while, 42O. The d.j.was awesome, the crowd was great, the vibe was cool and the liquor was… tasty hehe. All in all it was one of those perfect NYC nights.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I was at once arrested by its dark linear style and color scheme. The macabre scene depicted in spectacular fashion, made me ponder what the artist must have been thinking while creating such a work…what he was trying to tell us. The funeral or butcher shop-inspired work immediately brought several things to mind. The colors he chose to employ in his work, shades of red, black and burgundy conjure up visions of blood, death /mortality and gore. The chunks of beef near the painting’s forefront made me think of that Christmas poem but with a dark twist…“all the bodies are hung by the chimney with care”. The cow carcasses hung in an almost crucifix-like formation I found a bit disturbing. The ominous mortician/politician at the right with the partially obscured face grasped my attention at once. What makes this figure so alluring and simultaneously repulsive is the fact one can not make out his entire countenance. By shrouding part of the face with the umbrella Bacon succeeded in turning him into every politician or mortician. Through anonymity the viewer is free to imagine any politician they choose, resulting in the figure being even more menacing. By painting politician/mortician in those surroundings and placing an eerie grin on his face, Bacon alludes to the fact that there is a morbid inhumanity beneath this figure’s polished exterior.
I believe, given the time period when he created the painting, Bacon was influenced by the events of the then recent World War 2. There was general public mistrust of politicians at the time. I believe Bacon was trying to show us that “evil” politicians create wars leaving dismembered bodies and death in their wake. The purpose of arranging the two large carcasses in the form of a crucifix are meant to signify the human sacrifice that the sinister politician is willing to endure to further his own plans.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
It seems like McCain’s handlers have told him to abandon the word “maverick” and instead embrace calling everyone “my friends”. Is this supposed to make us view him as one of us? Will this egregious pre-election ploy make us feel all warm and fuzzy, and convince us that McCain has our best interests at heart? How long before “My Friends” becomes “Hey You” and “Those People Over There”?
Regardless of my political affiliation, I believe Obama has worked very hard to be in the position he is currently in and deserves a bit more respect than he was shown during and immediately after the debate. To top everything off McCain also refused to shake Obama’s hand afterwards. Wow! Video below of the nonexistent “handshake”:
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
He’s Back! Tricky released Knowle West Boy after taking about 5 years off. Within the same vein of Maxinquaye, this new release is reminiscent of his former glory. “Past Mistake” is a noteworthy track on this exciting new album. The dark brooding backdrop and haunting soundscapes form an all-encompassing aura that seems to swirl all around you all the while pulling you deeper within itself.
His music transcends regular boundaries and becomes an audio storyboard with faceless actors. This time accompanied by Lubna, Tricky echoes the lyrics in his low growl as she whispers of an unforgotten past.
Monday, September 29, 2008
The Heights of Macchu Picchu is essentially a long poem, written in free verse, consisting of twelve individual cantos, representing the calendar year as well as its seasons. Although each canto has its own flow, tone and style, they all fit in together to form a complete idea. Through the use of metaphor, Neruda accomplishes in transporting the reader into a world where the most common items acquire extraordinary attributes and the metaphysical unites with the concrete.
The answer is NO.
I have personally felt like I’ve had to “educate” certain non latinos about our various cultures at times, and never felt it should be that way. Most of our countrymen emigrated to the United States “The Land of Milk and Honey” from the Carribean, Central and South America and were forced to assimilate within mainstream culture, and suppress our old customs.
It is interesting that we, as Latinos, always see and discusses the differences between our many cultures. We are proud of the characteristics and customs that make us Cuban, Peruvian, Dominican, or Puerto Rican etc, when amongst ourselves, but seem comfortable with “mainstream” America grouping us all as one and labeling us all as Hispanics, Latinos, or even just Spanish people. In accepting these “blanket” monikers we further enforce the injustices and ignorance that force the people of our many nations to adhere to the same artificial rhythm. This also gives “mainstream” America the idea that any one subsection or nationality can in fact speak for or represent the larger, more diverse group. This response, although understandable, does not improve the plight of our Spanish-speaking countrymen. Many times we feel that there is “strength in numbers”, therefore accepting these labels as a way to simply safeguard what is ours and not lose any ground in the advances that have been made thus far.
This is just something that I have chosen to articulate after pondering the subject for some time...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
What one immediately grasps when you look at his work is his aggressive use of bold color… color that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but tells a story as well. His adventurous nature shines through in his strong transitions in color, shape and style. There are definite comic book references made in certain pieces like “Shadow”, while “In Contempt Of” seems to stick to his graffiti-inspired roots.
There is a quality about his work that makes me feel like he has an almost imaginary sack of ideas in his mind where he extracts his images to put into his work. Although some of the images he superimposes or squeezes in on one canvas may seem random, there is something about them that joins them together. The separate images almost seem to be fighting for supremacy and space on the canvas while John picks and creates the ones with the most compelling story. Each image has something to say individually, all the while still contributing to the bigger picture.
A common theme among the various pieces that I have looked at would be John’s infatuation with the eye. Eyes are painted meticulously making clear and distinct appearances in works while other objects are obscured by or overlap one another. The eye is depicted as a radiant force in otherwise unintelligible pieces. Possibly because many people believe the eye to be the window to one’s soul, I believe John makes the eye the window to his paintings’ souls by conveying their meaning or purpose through them. John is a master at his craft, and I really appreciate that fact that he remains focused on his individual vision within a world which is dominated by oil and acrylic.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Mental portraits depicting blank slates, depicting vivid imagery, depicting me… wading through,
It tastes like nothing, all the while it tastes like everything, but I digress…
The dark, the light, the sour, the sweet and the salty mingle with each other to become one and struggle to keep their own identity,
Drowning in the parched fields of reflection while simultaneously looking outward for answers,
Make sense of them, make sense of them, make them work for you, you can control them… but I digress.
Fear-laden daydreams and peaceful nightmares abound with courageous whimpering,
Cautionary whispers and reckless shrieks concurrently inquiring and directing,
The turmoil, both external and internal, commandeer creative and objective thought transforming the latter into present-day gibberish... but should I digress?
Friday, August 8, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
My senses beckon thee,
Twisted yet unperturbed like a long winding road,
My mind’s eye calls out for you to quench its thirst,
Embrace me with icy fingertips and suffocating caresses,
Devoid of illumination, guidance in your expansiveness,
Learn one’s lessons well, taught through missteps,
Oh lighthouse of darkness make me one with thee.
Robert Mapplethorpe was a photographer who was known for his black and white portraits and controversial images. His dark imagery and sexually charged subject matter resulted in Mapplethorpe being held in high regard among some individuals while seen as a notorious deviant within other circles. Most of what he chose to photograph consisted of flowers, portraits and both female and male nudes. His 1985 horned Italian Devil-inspired self portrait was also used on the cover of a book of poems by Arthur Rimbaud called “A Season in Hell”.
His work appears to be very dark and brooding to me as well, but his photographs also capture a quality about his subjects that can only be truly appreciated in black and white. There is an intimacy and raw quality about his photos that pulls you in and you immediately develop a relationship with the subject. The fact that he chose to shoot his subjects in a stripped-down and seemingly unpretentious way symbolizes to me that he was attempting to photograph their very essence. Unfortunately, the world has to do without further artwork from Robert Mapplethorpe, because of his death in March of 1989 due to complications from AIDS.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Vincent van Gogh was a very popular and influential painter and most of his pieces are known throughout the world. Some credit his genius to his mental illness or altered mind state. His bout with schizophrenia voracious appetite for absinthe may have lead to his excessive use of the color yellow. His medical conditions also led to him cutting off part of his ear and subsequently his suicide in 1890.
A melancholy or even dismal tone seems to mark his work, especially towards the end of his career. This period of his artistic life is what he is most remembered for. His painting style is characterized by his very strong deliberate strokes and his application of thick layers of paint on the canvas in order to add texture to his work. I get a feeling of dreary foreboding from some of his work, especially “Wheat Fields with Crows” which he painted the same year he took his life. His depictions of crows in this painting, which typically symbolize death or a bad omen, predicate his thoughts and desires. The audience’s point of view in the three van Gogh paintings above is one of overseeing a landscape. But one also gets the feeling that there is a desolate and oppressing mood of solitude that the painter is exhibiting. Although there may be other inhabitants in the distance, the viewer feels removed from any interaction with them. There is a quiet desperation in his work that leads me to believe that despite his notoriety, van Gogh was alone...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
What a great night! An old friend of mine invited me to a BBQ on the roof deck of his apartment building in the financial district on Sunday night. It sounded like fun so I called up the rest of the old crew, gave them the address and headed over to his place. I got there at about 10:30 and chatted with him while the rest of his guests started arriving. He has an awesome view of the Brooklyn Bridge from his deck and the weather was great so we were off to a good start. My boys show up and the food was pretty much done cooking so we started claiming the best pieces for ourselves, burgers, salmon, filet mignon… the works. The food was awesome, but soon after the natives started getting restless and needed something to wash it down with. Out comes the wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Pinot Grigio) and in come some hot French female guests (oui oui), followed by his extremely attractive blond half-Salvadorian neighbor. Needless to say the party was taken to another level.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The summer is here! Summer and how it affects us all is a wonderful thing… fun in the sun, trim and fit bodies, and that perfectly placed new tattoo. Tattoos have come along way. What was once reserved for biker gangs and ex-convicts in movies has become a way for us to express who we are. Young people get tattoos for different reasons ranging from wanting to show their individuality, fitting in with a group, to just thinking they look cool. Before you decide to go under the needle to get that ink you have been thinking about, there are a couple of things you should consider.
Since I am not an expert on the subject and it has been a while since I got my first tattoo, I decided to ask my tattoo artist, Christian Masot, about what to do or not do before you tattoo. Christian, whose career spans over nine years, is an artist at “Silk City Tattoo” located in Hawthorne, NJ. I sat down with him in the shop recently for some “real talk”, while some Chinese sci-fi movie was playing in the background, and asked him to provide some advice for prospective first-timers before they get drilled.
What kind of tattoo should I get? My suggestion would be to get a tattoo that you have looked at and liked for a while or something that you can’t stop thinking about. If it is your first tattoo, which is the hardest to get, you definitely don’t want to go with some random or a trendy piece. Trends can go out of style but your tattoo lasts forever. Most important piece of advice would be to trust your artist. Make suggestions but you should relax and try to be open some of the elements that your artist may have. If you work together you will end up with an amazing piece.
What about the pain, will it hurt? It really depends on the area being tattooed and the person. The skin right above a bone usually tends to be a bit more painful than others. You can expect to feel a constant vibration making the sensation feel like a road rash or slight burn as opposed to a needle poking you over and over again. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different so I can’t say exactly what it will be like for you.
What about cheaper amateur tattoos? Cheap tattoos aren’t always good and good tattoos aren’t always cheap. I would stay away from those twenty dollar tattoos in your buddy’s basement with Indian ink. Never go to anyone who isn’t a professional tattoo artist. Besides the chances of the inexperienced artist making a mistake, you run the risk of infection if he/she doesn’t use a disposable needle or sterilized equipment.
What about getting a tattoo after a night of drinking? You should never drink before getting tattoo. The alcohol clouds your judgment and you may end up with a tattoo that you’ll regret (like the name of some ex). The alcohol also acts as a blood thinner and can lead to excessive bleeding during your session and affecting the way your tattoo heals.
What about aftercare for the summer? There are a few things you may want to think about before enjoy the summer with your tattoos. Sun and water can be harmful to a fresh tattoo. If you want your investment to last, you have to take care of your ink.
Definitely avoid swimming in the pool, ocean or soaking in a bathtub, jacuzzi or hot tub for at least two weeks after getting your tattoo. The healing process needs to take its course before you have any prolonged water exposure. Soaking a new tattoo in water will loosen that protective layer that is formed during the healing process and you'll most likely be watching your art and investment go right down the drain.
Sun exposure should be avoided or at least kept to a minimum for a good two weeks after the tattoo is done. Sun can burn a fresh tattoo pretty quickly because the skin is exposed and the ointment that you're using to cover the tattoo will act as a catalyst for burning the skin even quicker than normal.
Once the tattoo is healed you MUST use sunblock on the area. Make sure that the tattoo is fully healed before using sunblock. It can cause major damage if you apply it before the tattoo is completely healed. If you're thinking ... 'But I don’t want a big white line around my tattoo from the sunblock’, try these options. Smaller tattoos are easier to cover because sometimes you can get away with just putting a band-aid or sticker over them to block the exposure. With larger tattoos, trace the outline the tattoo with high SPF chapstick or specialized tattoo SPF stick and then you have the option to fill in the rest of the area with a strong sunblock (at least 30) or with the same stick you used to outline. Just remember that the ink you have is an investment that should be taken care of.
For more information you can go to http://www.silkcitytattoo.com/