Sunday, September 14, 2014

Still Doing It Myself

I would have been destroyed from the inside out as a kid had I not been rescued by a band of drug dealing hoodlums on skateboards. Growing up as a moody poor kid on the outskirts of a pristine and wealthy college town, I was an insecure misfit yearning to belong. I had almost given up trying when I was adopted into the “do it yourself” ethic of punk rock and graffiti. I learned to embrace my informal “education” gathered bit by bit from thousands of hours of watching TV, reading comic books and science fiction and experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

As I figured out how to cope and adapt to poverty and loneliness in a yuppie paradise, I also became concerned with the social and political cause of other underdogs. Today I’m the reluctant champion to the bitches, freaks, psychotics, bums, thugs and junkies of the world. This focus has exposed me to many of the contradictions and injustices imbedded in our culture. Belieiving in the promise of technology to “level the playing field”, I’ve immersed myself in every digital craze to come along since the arrival of desktop computers. My latest quest is to master what I call “at a glance” cinema.

My current work is the 2-minute “epic” video The Gunfighters. While gun violence terrorizes our communities, we still lack the political will necessary to change course. Gunshots have ended the lives of my three closest friends, my youngest uncle and, most recently, my 86 year old neighbor. He survived combat in Germany on the battlefields of WWII but his life ended in his own living room with a single shot from an intruder whom he refused to give a cigarette. The Gunfighters was made entirely from found footage and explores the visceral experience of staring down the barrel of a gun.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another Name For Nothing Left To Loose


I'm reporting to you from the undisputed myth-making capitol of the world... Los Angeles. I'm not in "the business" as they call it. I'm a completely unknown and invisible fine artist. I also run a homeless shelter. Admittedly, I came here with the hope of fulfilling my dreams. The only difference between myself, and the thousands of others who make the same pilgrimage to LA, is my dreams are more like topsy purvey hallucinations. I've never quite understood them and (unlike the majority of waiters and waitress in this town) I'm well aware that they often lead me astray (If you don't believe me, check out the rest of this blog). I will not deny, however, that I'm here along with a literal army of fellow day dreamers, flakes and, yes, a select few hard working geniuses, to fulfill a dream.


Many of my fellow pilgrims are possessed with an idea that seems to have replaced the American Dream; MAKING IT BIG! For some that means a Beverley Hills address, Gucci, Armani, and Lamborghini. Before you judge or scoff, I must point out that these so called materialists are willing to get off their asses and actually move their bodies to achieve this shit. Millions of us share this same fantasy but are not willing to leave our crappy jobs, couches, and mega-super-stores to achieve it. A mere lottery ticket is enough to help many of us roll out of bed in the morning.

True, not all of us are so materialistic. The majority of us will welcome a little style and a few nice things, but what we really want is something much more elusive .. freedom. We don't won't to be told what, when, where and how to do any more. We're fed up with being "cogs".  We want to be self-actualized "humans beings" fulfilling our purpose in life without resistance or criticism. We want to be one of those "people" people thanking god for our "blessed life." For those of you who think these motivations are more "pure" I must point out that there are far more people out here selling this myth than there are selling mansions, Lamborghinis, or even movies.  Many of them are wearing Gucci and Armani.  Chis Rock describes this dichotomy as the "career" versus the "job". He warns that those with "jobs" have way too much time on the planet because their jobs suck so bad while those with "careers" don't have nearly enough time because they are loving life so much they cannot possibly get everything done. Other "Profits" of the highly productive passion driven life include Anthony Robbins, Oprah, and a bunch of other mega rich successful people I'm sure you've heard of.A question that I have never heard asked to one of these super humans is "are you free?" I bring this up because I recently came across the poem "The Strongest Of The Strange" by Charles Bukowski. A line in that poem made me re-think the whole "making it big" thing:


"You won’t see them often for wherever the crowd is they are not. Those odd ones, not many but from them come the few good paintings, the few good symphonies, the few good books and other works... and from the best of the strange ones... perhaps nothing. They are their own paintings their own books their own music their own work." 

And from the best... perhaps nothing. They are their work. Awesome! 
For over a decade I've spent my daylight hours serving junkies, alcoholics, and schizophrenics. Most "respectable" people seem, at best, to feel sorry for them and, at worst, consider them worthless leaches on society. Years ago I came up with this theory that these outcasts were the descendants of the radical individuals that settled this country. Just like the early American pioneers, they live their lives completely on their own terms and no police, judges, jails, psychiatrists, social workers, psyche wards... or even gods are going tell them what to do or not do. Now we're talking freedom. Not abstract flag waving freedom. Real freedom. The problem they have in today's world is not that they need "treatment." They need a new frontier.  Trees to cut down, sod to bust, animals to kill, asses to kick. I'm sure you'll agree, a complicated situation in this day and age.

One of my unofficial slogans has become "no good deed goes unpunished." I've often been asked by those close to me why I do this thankless work. Bukowski gave me my answer. I'm surrounded by masterpieces. Works of pure genius that most people will never get to know. I get to see what freedom actually looks like. To be honest, I'm not sure it's for me. More entertaining to watch than 90% of the movies out there, though.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Off With Our Heads!


recently leaked painting by George W. Bush 
painting by Frida Kahlo
Yours Truely


I once hated George W. Bush as much as the Tea Baggers now hate Obama. I literally pictured his head on a stake. That changed when I saw him telling Charlie Rose the colors he would use to paint his tie during an interview. I instantly liked him. It all makes sense now. The reason he is so insane is that he is an artist like me. I'm sure some pretty bad stuff would go down if the world ever had the misfortune to have me as a President. Sure he is painting the most mundane things you can possibly imagine... cats, dogs and landscapes... but isn't that kinda awesome! I believe that there is a slacker (and painter) in the heart of every true artist. We are the ones you used to hear about that stop and smell the roses.  If we had complete freedom and didn't have to worry about what anybody thought about us, we wouldn't try to make masterpieces, save lives, prevent disease or end war. That assumes too much. The best artists are too objective. More than anybody we see the potential beauty in pain, suffering and "ugliness" of every kind. To avoid interfering or competing with God (who we respect as the ultimate master of ambiguity)... we'd pass the time painting the harmless objects of our affection... ourselves, our kids, naked ladies,  our pets... other peoples pets... and throw in an occasional tranquil landscape. GW is one of us! What a relief.

Friday, February 8, 2013



You Are Beautiful & Charming!

Thanks for looking in.



.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Y2K Bug


As we approach the end of the world (December 21st, 2012) I must admit I'm a little anxious. But fear not. I can still remember the last time I survived the end of the world. Believe me when I say there is tremendous potential in armageddon.

On December 31, 1999 I was preparing for a new life. A life without computers and everything that came with them. I believed all the hype about the Y2K “Millennium Bug.” The experts who were saying that the internal clock in millions of computers was going to be set to zero at midnight  (unleashing a form of technological Armageddon) confirmed everything I had always believed. Computers were sterile, evil machines that were accelerating a process that TV had started when I was a kid… turning me into a useless couch potato. I was excited.

Seven days later I pulled the plug on the water reserves I was storing in my bathtub. Taking a computer catalog off the recycling pile, I began shopping for a new computer while I soaked in a sudsy bubble bath. That was the beginning of my fascination with expressing myself through computers and technology. Computers, cameras, software, the Internet and printers. It was 2000 and I had discovered a new medium.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Years Excuses!

Happy New Year! 2011 and I’m still fat, broke, and tired. I haven’t gone anywhere near a scale lately but I’m pretty sure I’m fatter then ever.  I’m happy to report, though, that I must be less tired… or you wouldn’t be reading this. Fatigue is a sure way of stifling hobbies like writing for a blog that nobody reads. I think I’m about to make a break through, though. But be warned: I have a philosophical dilemma and, for some crazy reason, I ‘m compelled to sort through it here… even though I know I should probably keep it to myself. Perhaps it’s because I know I don’t have the answers to my problems and I’m reaching out for help. Feel free to comment.

I started out this journey with a commitment to becoming a healthy, physically fit, financially secure, vegan. In true slob fashion, over a year has gone by and I continue to eat meat (and a bunch of other crap I know is bad for me), drink coffee and booze, spend money without saving, watch a lot of TV and not exercise. The only thing I don’t do anymore is smoke… and the only reason I don’t do that is I never really smoked in the first place. I have dabbled here and there with some healthier habits but the bottom line is I haven’t changed my ways. Since I was a kid I’ve been a believer in the wisdom of the Jedi Master Yoda who said “there is no try. You either do or you don’t do.’ I haven’t done shit. But why? As much as I’d like to start this year off with renewed vigor and a fresh commitment to a better and happier me, I know I have to answer this question before I can move forward. Why haven’t I been motivated to change? Here are a few of my latest excuses:

#1- I’m perfectly happy with who I am, what I eat and 
      what I do.The only thing missing is admitting this to 
      myself.

#2 – I don’t feel good (or happy) but I’m lazy and do what’s easy. As destructive as I know my lifestyle is, I haven’t had any consequences bad enough, yet, to force me to change. I haven’t hit “rock bottom.”

#3 – I‘m a mere product of my environment. I have the illusion of choice and control but the truth is... I’m exactly what my environment requires me to be. I’m a tiny cog in a vast, mindless, purposeless (but intricately interconnected) system. The reason I act like a fat, lazy, and bloated American is because that’s what I am. That’s what the majority of us are.

     #4 – Other reasons having to do with extra terrestrials, the ozone layer, alignment of the stars, the Mayan calendar, and a bunch of other stuff that I’m too embarrassed to admit in public… but still consider possible factors.

     #5 - Analysis leads to paralysis.

     #6 – Pride, ego, and vanity are a trap. On some level, I know that none of this really matters. Change is necessary and possible but I’m focusing on the wrong things. Perhaps it’s time for a new blog? “Staring Into The Void: A human consciousness being one with the Universe”? How does that sound?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Time I Almost Died

At age 23 I moved in with the love of my life. A few months later she kicked me out in the middle of a snow storm… in my underwear. With nowhere to go, I moved into my Dad’s art studio by the train tracks near downtown Denver. Still heart broken, and recovering from walking phenomena, she called me out of the blue and invited me to a U2 concert at Mile High Stadium.  Even though I felt like crap, I accepted the invitation. Before she came to pick me up I drank half a bottle of vodka to calm my nerves.

Midway through the concert, I had to throw-up. I rushed to the restroom but there was a line a block long. I ran outside the stadium and puked. Earlier in the evening Public Enemy opened the show and there was some gang related violence in the parking lot. Security wasn't  letting anybody in or out of the stadium. I pleaded but I was locked out.

Wondering around in the snow, deathly sick, with nothing on but blue jeans, a sweatshirt and a blazer, I decided to walk back to my dad’s studio. On the way I saw a slow moving train headed in my direction. I decided to grab onto a ladder on the back of a boxcar. By the time the train was passing my dad’s studio it was going like 100  miles per hour. I didn’t jump. 

I held on for dear life as the train kept going all night, finally stopping in the middle of the prairie. Relieved, I jumped off but found myself in the middle of nowhere. Eventually I found a warm patch of concrete with no snow on it. I laid down and looked at the clear blue sky and felt happy for the first time in a long time. I was happy to be alive! 

Off in the distance I saw a single car disappear into the horizon. I headed towards the highway. At this point I was no-longer sick but my jacket was torn and I was covered in grease. No cars would stop for me. After many hours of walking down the desolate highway (being ignored by cars) I saw a train heading back the other way. I jumped on. The train traveled into the night and eventually stopped near a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. There was a pay phone but it was broken. I went inside and asked to use the phone. The lady said “no” and asked me to leave since I wasn’t a customer. Next to the truck stop was a laundry mat. I believed that my luck would start to turn around if my cloths were clean so I decided to use the few dollars I had to wash my clothes. Since I had nothing to wear, I looked in the dumpster behind the laundry mat and found a light blue body suit with a magnet belt straight out of the 70’s. I tried it on in the bathroom and it was tight… but it fit. I bought a small box of detergent and washed my clothes but did not have enough for the dryer. I asked the clerk at the truck stop for money. Again she refused. Carrying my wet clothes in a plastic bag I walked around looking for help. I couldn’t find another living soul. Way off in the distance I saw the lights of a town. I started walking. Once again I tried to flag down cars but nobody would stop. I was starving and decided to eat some corn from the fields by the side of the road. The corn was hard as a rock and completely flavorless. It was inedible. Eventually a highway patrolman pulled over. His license plate said Nebraska. For the first time I knew where I was. I told the officer my story but he looked at me like I was crazy and refused to give me a ride. After he left, another train came by going in the direction of the town. I jumped on.

On the morning of my 2nd day I pulled into the world's largest rail yard located in North Platte Nebraska. I quickly found a grocery store and called my dad collect on a pay phone. He was stunned to hear I was in Nebraska. He and my girlfriend had spent two days looking for me all over town… including at the morgue. He wired me money and I dried my cloths, eat at McDonald’s, and bought a Greyhound bus ticket home. Within a week I moved back in with the love of my life. 18 years later and we are still together.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Strange And Bitter Crop

The name "Luther" is old German in origin. It's meaning is "soldier of the people" or "renowned warrior". It's often used as homage to Martin Luther, the Christian protestant reformer, or to Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK) the civil rights activist. 


King Moonracer


I was conceived at the first hippy commune in the United States. It was called Drop City. At the time, my dad was a co-founder/artist and my mom was a local high school kid from Trinidad, CO.  I was born a few months after MLK was assassinated. In his wake there were riots happening all over the country. I was named "Luther" not to honor MLK but as a form of protection. My parents believed that there was going to be a violent revolution and the new regime would go easy on me if my name was "Luther."


I mention this because I actually have a few readers now and, for the first time, received feedback on my last post. I now have three people following this blog (all of whom I suspect are covert radicals like myself).  I was told by those who know me that I have surrounded myself by slackers but I am obviously  "not a slacker" and asked why I would promote such a "worthless" point of view?

It is true that I have worked tirelessly my whole life and am not a "slacker". I am not a fan of work and responsibility but I have not succeeded in "doing as little as possible." What I have done is become the reluctant champion for those with whom our society has, what I would call, an "uneasy truce." I am on a one man mission to advance the cause of those who are still in constant threat of psychological, spiritual, and even physical, annihilation because they are incapable, or flat out refuse, to "go with the program".  "Slackers" are the ones that look and sound the most like me and with whom I most strongly identify. But they are not the only ones. I have managed to make a career as a champion for bitches, freaks, psychotics, bums, thugs and junkies.  None of these people even remotely look or sound like me but I like to believe that I have earned their trust and respect. Why? Because I respect them. I admit that I am comfortable in many ways. But I still have a gut feeling that something is very wrong. Not doing what our society wants us to is not necessarily a character flaw. 

In case you were wondering, I'm not a public defender. I work for a non-profit and the project I work for is, in my opinion, radical. So radical that I think too much attention threatens it's very existence...so I will remain intentionally vague.  We have an unofficial slogan "high tolerance, low threshold." When I talk about this philosophy to outsiders I often pretend as if it is "new" and I don't know exactly what it's all about: 

"High threshold, low intolerance? I can't remember." 

In actuality it is not a  "new" concept in America. Basically it  means "come as you are and do as you please." Outside of America, many still believe we all live by this creed. In reality, only corporations and a few privileged youth and very wealthy individuals can get away with it. Admittedly, it has unlimited potential to breed both power and corruption. Once it is fully realized that such an environment is being attempted (with government funding) for the mentally ill living in extreme poverty, it probably won't be tolerated for long. So shhhhh. Even some of those who are on the inside, and benefit on a daily basis, are suspicious of it and try to tear it down. It''s an exciting,  inspiring and often brutal place to work.

Lately I have been referring my staff to the movie the Hurt Locker. According to some definitions a hurt locker is " a figurative place where someone is said to be, or will be, getting hurt or beaten." 
 "We are in the business of handling bombs, explosions, and hurt" I tell my staff. 


"And our cause is not for everyone... to bring back the dead". 


"To harvest a strange and bitter crop. "  




Sunday, February 14, 2010

Assimilation Into An Unworthy Society Is an Unworthy Goal

I don't control the TV remote at my house. The only time I get to watch whatever I want is when my girlfriend is outta the house or asleep. Even then I have trouble because everything is hooked up to Tivo, which I don't know how to operate. Basically what I do is watch all the weird obscure things she recorded to be cool but will never watch. 


You can probably tell from my last post that I had too much coffee and was having trouble sleeping last night. To fall asleep I decided to watch this educational video from the 80's that my girlfriend had recorded from "god knows where" called "Film Genres: Romance". It was very cheesy but had an interesting moment of insight when the unknown "experts" discussed the impact of the movie Annie Hall on the baby boomer's. Annie Hall was the most flawed heroine that they had ever seen on screen. She gave an entire generation (especially women) permission to be totally screwed up. It reminded me of art critic Dave Hickey's response to Jackson Pollock when he saw his work in a mainstream magazine for the first time as a kid. His instant reaction was "anything goes." He was suddenly liberated. He never stressed out about his Mother complaining about his messy bedroom again.


This got me thinking about my "best of the decade" lists I was working on. I looked at them and realized many of my "best of's" were stuff I knew were great but didn't necessarily remember much detail from. I started to think about a list of my Annie Hall and Jackson Pollock moments. I realized that my world hasn't been "rocked" too often... but I have had a few tremors.


As I started to list them, I started to notice a scary theme among my hero's: a general lack of focus, goals and ambition. Fat,  broke and tired is starting to look more like a final destination than a stop along the way.


Growing up in what was once hippie Boulder, in the late 70's and 80's, I was exposed to a lot of drugs, concerns about the environment, corporations, government, organic food, etc. Things that are just now starting to work their way into mainstream consciousness. I remember a quote by Malcolm X when I was really young that became my secret motto: "Assimilation into an unworthy society is an unworthy goal." Interestingly, I Googled that quote and nothing came up. Either that quote has been censored or Macolm X (or anybody else) never said it. If it is unclaimed, I claim it now, thank you.


Movie wise, I remember working as a projectionist for the self-proclaimed longest running film series in the history of the World (at the University of Colorado) when Richard Linklater's "Slacker" came out. The biggest star proffessor on campus at the time was the expirimental film pioneer Stan Brakhage. I abmired him mostly because of a chance interation I had with him while tagging along with my girlfriend to his studio. He held a private screening (for just the two of us) of a film that was a long thread of white Japanese characters on a solid black background. It was beautiful to look at but gave me a very sad feeling. When he told us the actual story, I was a little shocked to find out it was a very tragic folktale . I felt that I had somehow known the story even though it was in Japanese (which I don't read) and went by at lightning speed. 


The first night I projected "Slacker" I felt that I finally understood what I was meant to do with my life... as little as possible. There was a quote from a homeless guy in the movie that I still think of today: "I may not live well but at least I don't have to work to do it." I mention Brakhage because half way through the movie he stormed out of the theatre and screamed at the top of his lungs that it was the worst movie he had ever seen. 


Below are a few of the moments that defined my life. When I told my girlfriend she said I should be ashamed and keep this to myself. Luckily not too many people are likely to read this. Hi Mark. Happy Valentines day. 


Enjoy!




Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Not Crazy

Although I don't pretend to understand quantum physics, I do understand this: Science is revealing a reality that is very different than the one we have all been taught (and continue to believe in and experience). I often wonder what dramatic events (or technologies) will force the masses to confront reality, as science now knows it. Will it be a dramatic encounter with a being from another time or dimension? Will it be a device that can detect artificially produced light from outer space? Will it be the revelations of gods and angles? I believe that such events are inevitable and may be happening as we speak. It is clear to me that the era of reality, as we now know it, is over.