The Warrior

My latest painting from Chris Soohoo’s Sun Space painting workshops. Learning so much!

Chris helped me with shapes and proportions. Think of the head as an oval, but you can use straight lines. Make the top of the head a straight, diagonal, angled line, to represent the tilt of the head.

Think of everything, even the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth) as simple shapes; squint and look at the shadows areas. Fill in the shadows. Fill in the eye holes as hollow shadows. Don’t make the whites of the eyes too white.

We used a dark green as a black base, mixed in a bit of crimson for the browns, mixed in a bit of dark blues for the background. Skin tones were burnt sienna and white, mixed with a bit of rose to warm it up, or dark or light blue to cool it down. Mix in a bit of Indian Yellow too, if needed.

I didn’t stress so much this time; even when I thought things weren’t going well, I just decided to have fun with it.

My sun space unusual tuesday experience

I like performing at Sun Space. What is Sun Space, you may ask? It’s this crazy-cool-artists-collective-hang-out-live-music-poetry-comedy-performance-totally-out-there spot in Sun Land (near Pasadina… yes, it really exists), founded by Noel Rhodes.

I first met Noel when I was invited to see his band Fergus Show play in Topanga by an old college friend. It was a neat out of the way venue up in the mountains, forget where exactly; the kind of place that you think only exists in your imagination. After waiting a bit, strange music started and someone, an apparition, came out wearing a big papier-mâché mask. The man in the mask starting singing, by pulling his mouth open using a draw-string.

It was weird and cool. And unusual. My friend and I couldn’t stop laughing. We filmed it on our iPhones; we had to. This must be documented and shared. Then, the band came out and started playing these great original songs. Really catchy, too. It turned into a great night.

I became Facebook friends with Noel, who was the man behind the mask. One day, I posted a video of myself playing the Gymnopédie No. 1, by Erik Satie, to Facebook. Noel saw it, and asked me if I’d like to play at his show, something called Unusual Tuesday. I said, ‘sure!’

Unusual Tuesday was unlike anything I’d seen before. They opened with skits involving the papier-mâché masks; one sings, just like I’d seen in Fergus show. Then another comes out and plays clarinet to subterranean syncopations, ultimately squeaking until he gets so frustrated with his performance that he eats his own instrument; another comes out with a mounted iPhone for a mouth, shouting and exhorting who knows what.

Then the last one, a hideous creature, starts carousing about the stage, playing the drum set… until the unlikely hero, Noel, comes out in a sparkling red hat and shoes, red blazer, and tames the beast by hypnotizing it. Then he cuts into the giant head, and pulls out various random objects, trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Which is inevitably: UNUSAL TUESDAY.

After that, a bunch of truly unique acts perform. Before I knew it, I was up, and played my Erik Satie piece. To round out the night, Noel returned with a character called Austin Drizzles, who discussed ultra-local news and weather patterns in a truly bizarre and hilarious way. What’s tonight’s weather? The answer, always: Normal and Dark.

The rest is history. I’ve been playing there, on and off, ever since, and have met a lot of really cool and talented people through the space. The thing about Sun Space is that it feels like a thing by friends, for friends; where everyone is welcome and the weirder, the better; far enough from Hollywood to be free of that icky Hollywood feeling. A place where experimentation is encouraged and everyone is super friendly.

Which leads me into last week’s performance, a song about Pikachu, which I sung and accompanied myself on with beats I created in Ableton Live. I guess I’m trying to figure out something that feels ‘new’ to do in music, if that’s possible. Here it is.

May 25

Today was a rough day. I thought it’d be good to be with people, with John and Grandma, in the a nice house out in the desert, but I’m just questioning myself: what am I doing? What is my life purpose? I feel lost.

I looked at her instagram last night, and her 2018 story. She seems happy. She’s making a lot of progress, and I feel like I haven’t made much. She found love, and I lost it. I’m trying to be happy for her. There’s so much I don’t know about her, that I wish I knew.

So, today, I was just questioning everything. Thinking about the past. Grandma said I seemed tired, John said I seemed under the weather. I just said, ‘yeah.’ What else can I say? I’m depressed about a woman who hasn’t talked to me in eight months? It seems too ridiculous to tell anybody. Even my therapist. Walking around Lowes with John, I must have seemed a positive zombie.

I’m trying to be better, but it’s so hard. I napped, then worked on my screenplay. That made me feel better. Then, I painted a landscape of the backyard patio. A beautiful scene, but I felt like I ruined it. I found myself hating the painting, and feeling like I should give it up. Maybe this is just one of another of the many random things I put up, then give up on. I painted the table in the wrong place. I didn’t know how to render those clouds, the way the light shined so brilliantly through them in the late afternoon. I couldn’t get that green dark enough, or add the detail I felt it lacked. I felt rushed, like it was a race with myself. I’ll try to add more detail tomorrow.

I read Anna Karenina after dinner; got to the climactic scene. No one can write like Tolstoy. I’d like to write something like that someday.

Weird night music

Weird night music
What does it mean
Disconnected distracted
Dreaming without a dream
Piano landscape
Floating down radio waves
Unanchored, unmoored
Sounds across time
Somber and serious
Weirdly veiled
Mystery beyond the Parnassus
Why now
Is it a poem
What is a poem
What is life
Resolve into inherent
What do I want
What do I need
Descending spirals
Silence

Then…

Ebullient
Hope shimmering
You can’t take hope
It’s not yours to give
You are a part of me
Where is the harmony
Resolve into me
Confidence, confide
Blessed brilliance
Changes
Goodbyes are hard
Kindness lingers
Where is the soul
I can feel it
Pure goodness
Love me
Love you
How long?
Free and simple
Can I be a baby again
But when?
Where are you? What are you doing?
How are you really?
I want to connect
I can’t connect
You are unknowable
Beyond what you make known
Talk to me
How long?
Memories linger in music
Dissolve into daydreams
A likeness found, then lost
I am not the same
You are not the same
I am brave
You are daring
You lift me up
Atoms in a wave