taz ma dazzle - Friday July 14 2000
Here's a good working definition of privacy:
Not having to wonder whether or not you're doing the right thing.
The following is never a good defense of surveillance (whether it be mandatory urinalysis, Santa Clause-o-vision or cameras in the bathroom):
Only people doing bad things need have any fear.
Privacy is about giving people the time and space and freedom to work through the messy details of their thoughts and lives so that they can present themselves in the way they want to be seen and heard at the appropriate time and place. Privacy is essential to normal human relationships because too much of what we think and feel is unformed, crude, and patently offensive. Obviously (to give an extreme example) if we didn't at least have the privacy of our own minds, society would surely break down.
It was yet another gorgeous sunny day on the eastern edge of Santa Monica. As I walked past a certain eccentrically funky house on Franklin Street, I noticed that the fox squirrels had almost no fear as I approached them. On the trunks of the trees along the sidewalk they were so plentiful that they had attracted a number of "squirrel-eating-curious" (sort of like "bi-curious") cats. It seemed that one of the homeowners in the area is fond of feeding the squirrels peanuts; each of them held one in his furry little hands. The look the squirrels seemed to be giving me was one of greedy benediction.
Kim called me at around 4pm and said that her two friends from the Dr. Susan Block Studio, Mario and Robert, were over and that I should come home as soon as possible to partake of the festivities. So I flew through the construction of a quick and dirty set-up wizard, "capable of being driven by children," and then went walking home. My other car is a pair of Mexican sandals.
There they were, hanging out and drinking wine with my girlfriend, Kim. The last I'd seen of her, she'd narrowly missed hitting me with a copy of the West LA phone book (white and yellow pages). But everything was cool and relaxing. That's the power of wine.
Mario and Robert are a compelling little team: part Batman & Robin, part Beavis and Butthead Do Ritalin. They're all about robots and animatronic dolls. They're both ethnic European immigrants from Latin American countries. They both work too fucking hard. Tonight, they said, was the first night in a year and a half that they haven't been working.
The Iranian Mafia has none of the subtlety or chivalry of the various European mafias. They're all about locking people up and feeding them only their hacked-off extremities until the only things left for dinner are vital organs.
Thievery Corporation led us into our experience for the evening. The CD we have begins with a Latinate lounge sound, veers off across Persia and somehow resolves everything into a leisurely but very danceable 4/4 somewhere along the line.
It was during one of the two plays of Cyclefly's Generation Sap that I made an unnerving connection between two totally separate creations I made many months apart. The first of these was the painting of the picture you see at left. The second was the creepy dream I'd had about the decomposing Gummy Dude on July 11th. In the state in which I found myself, they seemed to be depictions of the same concept: a man so horribly disfigured that he must hide behind a makeshift mask, but it's already too late, and that last errand will never actually get run. In the dream, more context was supplied. Not only that, but with a widened perspective, I could see that Kim plays some sort of role in the unfolding drama. People can live their whole lives and never come in contact with the underlying meaning of why they are on Earth. For a moment tonight, this observation of a pattern supplied me with the feeling of such contact. This pattern is not pretty picture, mind you. It's as creepy as any of the several things I prefer not to think about when eating. But in its own way it's more spiritually profound than any thought I've ever had before. It's an underlying structure I can feel through the carpet of my life. If you imagine that carpet being extremely supple and lying in some sort of unkempt heap, curving this way and that with the various surfaces coming into contact with one another, well I feel as though a part I'd visited back when I painted that picture (early September, 1999) is affected by the same underlying forces as the part where I dreamed that recent dream. What does it mean? No one can say; the story has only just begun to be revealed. Since it appears to be something related to my life's purpose, I'm highly intrigued. I will, using that all-too-human of tendencies - the one calling upon us to match patterns - seek to link other visions to this unfolding drama: the life and times of the ill-fated Gummy Dude.
The Cyclefly CD was particularly appropriate for these thoughts. It's an extremely complex brew of beats, many of them, as in a fugue, following parallel, incomplete, but fully-complementary lines. Unlike a fugue, these lines don't contribute to a melody; they contribute to the frequency of danceable beats. Even when the music is going slowly, it's quite possible to find the beats necessary to dance rapidly. What's more, there's the ingenious complexities of how Cyclefly takes a song through various mood-altering seasons. As I made these observations, Kim was quick to point out, "those emotional changes in the music are real." She says that I spend far too much time "in my head." But what I'm really trying to say with this paragraph is that Cyclefly is excellent rave-ready rock and roll.
Periodically Mario (who is Spanish-Aztec) would pause the course of the conversation to give me a little Spanish lesson. I took two years of Spanish in high school and it did me very little good, but Mario was insistent that he could teach me 80% of what I needed to know in three minutes (this resembles the theory I tell Kim about learning HTML). His main insight about language, any Indo-European language at least, was that it was essentially the same words being pronounced through different tensions and relaxations of the mouth. "Buenas dias" is the same expression as "good morning," you just hold your mouth differently while saying the same blah blah blah. At the time it was a fairly compelling theory, but in retrospect I don't know if it holds that much water.
Another thing Mario would do was lapse into these long spiritual readings. My attention span wasn't really suited to following along, but the words had a soothing quality even if I couldn't figure out how to pay attention.
Mario chatting with Kim while holding the Gypsy Staff.
Robert out on the front porch, smoking a cigarette and having a good time.