YEARS, (2011). A record player that plays slices of wood, translating year ring data into incredible piano music
by reading the “grooves” with a PlayStation Eye Camera and processing its output through Ableton. By Bartholomäus Traubeck.
Via Wired, “Bunkered for months in his Barcelona basement, equipped only with computers and a vivid imagination, DIY filmmaker Jesús Orellana emerged after a year of solitary labor to deliver 2011’s most dazzling sci-fi short. […] The lush setting brings to mind Avatar’s Pandora, but instead of spending several million bucks on visual effects, 29-year-old comic book artist Orellana made the entire film for a grand total of $99.”
Jason Webley gave us such a gift this evening, a beautiful, marvelous experience, far beyond what anyone could call a concert.
Not to knock the concert, which was a blasting cap of a show, topping out almost everything else I’ve ever seen, (literally dancing in the aisles, jumping up and down levels of crazy amazing, that show. It just did. not. quit. ravishing. Melodies and shouting and poetry and snow made of feathers and surprise guest performances and identical twins and home-made instruments thrown into the audience and.. wow!), but the truly incredible part came after – when he silently walked off the stage and out of the hall, at the very end of the music, his fist tightly wrapped in the strings of a massive bouquet of giant red balloons, and swept almost the entire crowd into the street with him, everyone singing the last refrain of the last song over and over as the band played everyone out.
As we walked, hundreds strong, still singing, all the way to the water, down a cobblestone hill, under an overpass, over an overpass, Rafael and I arm in arm, up at the very front, sharing smiles with Jason, the leaders of a surreal parade that trailed four blocks long, thick enough to block traffic, the tune still soared with every step, as if the song kept our feet from touching the ground, as if the song was what kept us enchanted, a spell that he made but that we created, until we finally reached a smooth stone beach where a yacht was anchored, lit only with candles, fifty feet from shore.
He motioned us all to stop, then, and began to dance quietly where the shore sloped into the waves, gesturing to us with the great red balloons, a poem in motion, throwing our attention to the dazzling, full moon, then whimsically shifting from joyful pose to joyful pose, his heart bursting for us as he was painted with the flashes of a hundred cameras, like a strange, moving art fresco at the side of the sea. Eventually he paused at the top of some rocks, every inch the grand jester, both the king and the fool, suffused so thoroughly with glittering exultation that his face was a miracle, and finally began to say goodbye, certain, I suppose, that everyone had arrived.
He continued the act without saying a word, tying his treasured trademark hat to the balloons and, with a series of Chaplin-esque gestures, releasing them bumping into the sky. He lay on the rocks, watching them go, the red of the balloons weirdly lit by the moon, the saddest, most happy, fiercest gentle creature that ever lived, all the while as we, his crowd, kept singing, until they were nearly out of sight. Some people cried. (He might have too. It’s hard to say, even though I was close, one of the very front line.) Next he began to strip, unbuttoning his shirt, peeling off his pants, unhooking his shoes from his feet, then he waved to us, we the hundreds, crammed onto the beach, spilling out, farther back, still singing, some stuck all the way back on the street, and we waved back, felicity incarnate, and many shouted, “goodbye!” and “until next time!”. He looked at everyone, posing as he did so again for our cameras, as if it had all been rehearsed, the camera flashes picking him out for our eyes, then turned, satisfied, and bravely waded into the cold, black sea, the blackest thing, the coldest, and swam for the boat.
And that was that. Except that it wasn’t. Telling you what happened doesn’t explain what it felt like, how extraordinary it was, how perfect and clever. I could tell you how we cheered when he reached the yacht, how the crew that eventually emerged was dressed all in theater blacks or what it was like the police arrived to break us up or why my shoes got soaked or even more about the astoundingly good concert, but these are details and, in a way, unimportant. We were transported, as truly if we slipped sideways through space in that theater and briefly inhabited another world only a few molecules away, but happier in every respect. That was the magic. We were there as audience, but we were part of it and essential, all of our voices required, all of our eyes and hearts and minds.
“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” – Paul Brandt
As unlikely and unexpected as it might be, I have even more good news! Not only am I going to Burning Man, I’m going back to New York. Not as time-serious a trip as last time, but a weekend jaunt concocted just to see the PunchDrunk show, Sleep No More, an astoundingly intricate 100 room retelling of Macbeth.
Ridiculous, a bit, as it was playing while I was there, but I didn’t find out until after my trip, when Mordicai attended then posted about it, so now I’m flying all the way back just to see it! It’s wiping out my emergency savings and much of what I earned as the photographer at Mishka’s wedding, but I figure that after three years of scraping, living in crazy poverty to pay back Heart of the World, it’s about damned time I starve for a good reason, something that makes me happy instead of twisting me bitter. It also helps that I’ve been managing to move forward with surprising rapidity with Burning Man prep. Though I’ll still probably be scrounging until the last minute, (still no ride, still nowhere set to camp, etc), I think it will all be okay. I don’t think there’s going to be any reason to panic.
In a lucky turn, Tony’s going to come with me, which also makes my heart glad. I was willing to go alone, but I suspect it might have been a little bit of a tragedy, as Sleep No More is designed, down to the last bit of insane writing on the wall, to every minuscule atom of splendid performance, to be shared. Everyone that goes in walks a different path, discovers different scenes, finds different hidden treasures. Everyone gets a unique narrative, an incredible, very personal experience, so it’s extra important to be able to share. (I would probably go twice if I could even remotely afford it). I’m also getting contact lenses for the first time, all proper like, just so I can wear the mask. I’ve only worn them once before, found the learning curve to be a little bit crazy, but this time, I can barely wait. I’ve been dancing everywhere, ever since we booked our tickets.
We fly out of Seattle late Thursday evening, and arrive first thing, the morning of Aug 19th. (We’re staying in Greenwich and leaving Monday evening.) We have tickets to the Friday, 7 pm, Sleep No More show, and for the Sunday’s Fuerza Bruta, (because Tony wanted to see it, after my rave reviews). Besides that, we have nothing planned.
Are you there, too? What are you up to that weekend? Let’s visit!
Nowhere to camp, no ride, no gear.
E-mail submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Photograph, Thank you for everything we had. @jonathanstampf
Dear Photograph, Dad never took a picture of me, ever. Then I noticed his reflection in the glass. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Anonymous.
My suppositions were correct, the power supply had popped, and now we’ve got my machine plugged into Andrew‘s. We’re crowded on his bed, clearing big chunks of tasty media off my hard-drive onto various sized discs. When James left me his machine, he left it filled to the brink with wonderful films and brilliant programs. There is almost nothing it isn’t capable of, if I had the skills to take advantage of it or or if it had a damned power supply. Ah well. Tomorrow such problems will be fixed. I have breakfast in the morning with Matthew, which will lead into our mutual appointment with Sarah and drop me off at the lunch reservations I made for my mother‘s birthday.
He tells me he loves me when I say goodbye on the phone. There has never been a voice so sad as mine in my heart when I cradle the reciever back in its plastic bed. I don’t say it back, what need? I am branching, my arms boughs, my fingers as twigs. Someone has offered to teach me to float glass like air in my palms, like dreams. I want to. These lips are remembering his eyes and hair. I feel my Saturday as a wondrous thing. The Party Not Starring Peter Sellers was exquisite. The bit with Chris, at least, he is magic incarnate, and Crystal does things with two sets of tassels that defy the imagination. I won a dance contest while in a corset, though I will never attempt such a thing again. I felt like dying for fifteen minutes after. The rest of it was fairly basic, but enjoyable nonetheless. I reacquainted myself with lost theatre people, Terry, Jacques, darling Chris, and I finally met Bill’s wife ma’am. I touched her stomach where his child is brewing. I saw how he looked at her, I’d forgotten. I can feel his face in my expressions again. When he swung down from his perch, I had to squash my urges to go and hug him, instead I left my smile intact and tried to not crowd him. When I was downstairs in the hall, a staff member asked what I came for. I joked, “To see the show, of course, and to discomfit my ex.”
We laughed, but I’m so sorry to say that it’s what happened. I miss his muppet gestures. In my recent cleaning of my room, I found a picture of him from one of our earlier anniversaries. There’s flowers in his hair and ‘I love you‘ written in chocolate on his chest. The rest of it, I dare not say in public, but needless to say, it was rather touching. I’d put up blue lights on the wall over the bed in the shape of a giant heart. It stayed up for months, though every time we had sex, we would tear part of it down.
I found Vancouver’s secret burlesque bar, Saturday. It’s a room fifteen feet wide, and as long as the block is wide. The second floor is a golden balcony overlooking the dancefloor, and instead of a disco ball, there’s a silver merry-go-round horse studded with mirrors. I fell instantly in love. Terry and Ryan and I arrived just as the very last of the burlesque ended, (two minutes of shadows having sex), and soon set up camp upstairs. Terry is especially brilliant, as he is one of those most precious people who continues to be astutely brilliant when proceeding to be drunk. We leaned over the balustrade and shouted communist political slogans at appropriate moments in between dancing ironically and splashing the people below with ice-water and gin and tonic. Within half an hours, I collected an entire stag party, (with phone-numbers), and commandeered a few of them into affixing a fan to a table for me to have a private dance-floor on the balcony. I felt, finally, like I was having the sort of evening that silver_notebook regularly inspires my jealousy with.