August, 2010

Male Wedding Fantasies by Craig Spivek

I think about dating. It’s fun. It’s the normal thing to do. It definitely accomplishes the task of being and feeling normal.

It’s normal for women to picture their wedding day. That’s normal shit. It’s pretty widespread. Perhaps that’s why there is all of those bridezilla reality shows and magazine covers. My favorite image so far is Hilary Duff on the cover of OK Magazine. In her wedding dress, smiling, the caption reads, “Her DREAM WEDDING.”

She’s alone on the cover.

The groom is non-existent.

Her cyborg-ish smile engineered by Honeywell appears to be ripping apart cheek muscles as whitened teeth are clearly made over prominent.


Mazel tov.

Why do women picture their wedding day? Especially when first meeting someone. I think it’s a necessary parameter of vision. If they can envision it, it can be achievable. A believable vision, set in stone, early in life, so as to foster hope and joy in a worldly endeavor. When a girl meets a guy (a real guy, not a booty call guy), she calibrates. Can I see being married to him? The more she sees, the better it looks. The more realistic and “Inception-esque” the fantasy, the better your chances. Can I see the day? Can I see the dress? The flowers, the catering, the band? The location. Whose in charge of flowers? Why is that person in every shot? Where’s the photographer…? Those hors d’oeuvres sucked ass! Why is my maid-of-honor acting like a total whore? You get the idea.

But I think guys are different. I know I am. I’ve tried to have the wedding fantasy. But it doesn’t take. Something about it is too pure for me. I think it is wrong to look upon such things in advance. It leads to manipulation.

Control makes me nervous. Guys use other visionary tactics to figure out if she’s the one. For myself I use a couple of scenarios. The first one is easy.

Can I picture her dead?

Boom, laying there, limp. Maybe in a casket.

Dead from a shootout with the cops.

One bank too many, baby…tears…I won’t let you die in vain…(We hear the click of the gun, I turn to face the Bolivian army, solo… morbid?! Not really.

I think about her dead and then I think to myself, can I handle it? Can I be without her? If my eyes well up, If I think about turning the gun on myself, she’s a keeper.

If I take a bite out of an imaginary corned beef sandwich and start thinking about where to eat dinner with such a heavy lunch in me as I stare down at her lifeless corpse then, guess what?

R.I.P. baby…

Can I see her at a podium? Looking strong and true? She’s accepting some award on my behalf. Being gracious and filled with poise, humility and strength. The wind blowing as she reads a prepared statement on my behalf. “My now-dead husband believed in starting this foundation so that children could get ahead. He believed in helping people, especially the youth of this world. The fact that he died while having some serious mind-blowing sex with me, his totally hot and insatiable wife, should not deter any of you from seeking out your dreams. This scholarship that he is creating is for all of you…truly.”

Can I see her kicking the crap out of some hoochie momma who is talking shit about me in a bar?

“Come on bitch! Outside, NOW! Nobody puts Cragi in a corner!!! I will cut you!”

Behind bars? Staring out of her holding cell, framed for wire fraud by a jealous ex-husband?

Can I see her plotting an interstate check kiting scam involving magazine subscriptions? A string of  minority-owned Check Cashing places in her wake. She floors the stolen Camaro across the state line, late for a hot date at the dog track with yours truly…

Yes, as a man, I try to envision her sexually, but in all honesty, there’s not a whole lot to it. I see her face, sweaty, in a level of ecstacy. Perhaps a body on top of her, or underneath her. Not even sure if it’s me. The point being is can I envision her being sexual? Doesn’t matter if it’s me or not. It just can’t be her with an Elf or a Hobbit or someone funnier then me. That shit will wear on me.

I see the love we make as a present to be unwrapped as we proceed. Can I envision her laughing? Crying? Showing human emotion?

She’s in.

Can I see her cutting people off in traffic?

Laughing at the retarded?

Being rude to a waiter?

Letting the plant I bought her die?

She’s out.

I try to envision as many of these things as possible in order to facilitate some type of reference point to see if it sticks. To see if they stick. That’s what I fantasize about. I’m a man. Here me roar. I think women are doing the same thing when they fantasize about their wedding day.

A wedding day fantasy?

Man, that’s creepy.

Rasa Gallery Artist Bio: Ayuna Collins, Painter

Brrack a.k.a. "Mr. President"

Ayuna Collins stands in space with the long neck of a dancer.

If she was a chicken, she would be a swan, if she was a submarine, she would be the periscope. From her unique position as dancer/swam/periscope, she sees color, people, objects, texts in a unique way.

In this series, we consider the chicken from Ayuna’s perspective and cluck with revelation.

The birds separate into two flocks. Birds of Sacrifice, and Birds of Gaze. The Birds of Sacrifice have color but will not avoid slaughter. Their place in the world is one of form and movement, but their destiny is to be consumed. For all their scratch and cockle, they share a wild look of attention to nothing at all. They are mad chickens, belonging neither in the sky nor in the coop, but rather in the art frame.

The birds of gaze are another story.

These birds could guard your house.
Their form is inhabited.
Their form intimidates.
Their form holds a history.
Their form has a presence.
Their form implies effect.

Hang them in the entryway of your home and they will apprehend, even as they are apprehended.

As with these birds, so with man.

Interview (repost): Talking with Joon Lee from the Depths of the Blue Whale

from blogdowntown

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Musician-turned-entrepreneur Joon Lee acts more like a curator or patron of the arts than club owner. Intent on producing an intense level of engagement with music for both performer and listener, everything about his venue reflects a vision that lives deep in the space. A wall-sized chalkboard that serves as a constantly changing marquee for the artists slated to play. Seating is comfortable and modular, so that guests arrange themselves around the music as they see fit. No platform separates performers from audience members. On an angled ceiling overhead, poems by Rumi, Hafiz, and Cherokee leader Leon Shanandoah Tadodaho invite guests to settle in and listen more deeply.

ALANNA LIN: Where are you from?

JOON LEE: I’m from Korea originally. But I moved when I was 18 or 19. . . to Kentucky.

AL: Kentucky. Why!

JL: In big cities there are so many Koreans, so I decided I would go a small city where there were not very many Koreans so I could learn how to speak English. But then there were not enough Koreans in Kentucky (laughs). People would run away when they would see me. So I lived there for seven months and then I moved out to NYC.

AL: That’s a dramatic change.

JL: Yeah, at the time, my major was architecture. I went to Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn. I was studying architecture, working as a busboy at a restaurant on Bleeker Street a little above Soho. I started listening to the music they were playing at the restaurant and it sounded pretty fun. It sounded TOO FUN. At the time I didn’t know that it was jazz or anything, but I thought to myself, maybe I’m going to do this instead of architecture, so I quit school.

AL: You heard this music and decided just to change what you were doing?

JL: (pauses, considering) Yes?

AL: Wow.

JL: I found out later that the album was Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea.

AL: Oh, yeah, that is too fun.

JL: Yeah (nodding).

So I quit everything, came out to LA and started looking for a vocal teacher. I found her. Cathy Segal-Garcia–an amazing woman. Then I went to MI [Musician’s Institute] briefly, but quit school when I realized I was learning more from my friends gigging than what I was learning in class.

So instead of paying for school (laughs). . . I decided to make a recording. Last year my album was 80-90% finished when suddenly my good friend called me up and said, “Joon, you want to do something in Downtown? “ I was like, “What you talking about?” It was the recession, you know? He took me to the spot where there was a Japanese club. The place had really low ceilings. Looked totally different. At the time, I didn’t know Downtown was really happening. But he said, “You want to take it or what?” I said, “I’ll take it.”

The next day I called my arranger and said, “We’re going to stop arranging for now–please don’t bother me, I have another gig for a while.”

We worked on the space for three months, knocking out the low ceiling. It was 9 ft. to and now it’s 12 ft. Construction started in September and we worked up until opening day. December 10, 2009. I was working until 6:30pm and we were opening at 8pm. But since then. . .it’s been Blue Whale.

AL: How was opening night?

JL: Great! Ralph Morrison (past concertmaster of the LA Chamber Orchestra), came down with a string quartet. Bevan Manson, a beautiful piano player – wrote a song about the Blue Whale, and all these classical and jazz guys played it together! He was the partner on my album who introduced me to Rumi and Hafiz.

AL: The poetry on the ceiling?

JL: Yes. When we were working on the space, I called up Bevan and said, “Come up with some Rumi or Hafiz for me.” He asked me, “What do you want to do with it? Do you want me to print it up and frame it as a gift?” I said, “No, no. Let’s just come up with three good things and I’ll take care of it.” He said, “Where are you going to put it?” I said, “You don’t have to know.”

AL: Did you already know where you were going to put it then?

JL: Yeah, I wanted to have Rumi or Hafiz on the ceiling because I wanted all the musicians to be able to play under Rumi’s energy (smiles). And when Bevan came, and he looked up and saw it on the ceiling, he said, “F-ck. . .It’s nice.” . . .So that’s how Rumi came into the Blue Whale.

AL: What specifically about Hafiz and Rumi did you connect with? Both are mystics. I love their poems, but I remember walking in here the first time, looking up and thinking, “Rumi! Hafiz! What are Rumi and Hafiz doing here?”

JL: They’re blue whales. . .I don’t know how to put it. There are many bad things are happening in the world right now, every second. So, this room is “supporting the arts.” But supporting the arts is one of the ways to save the world. There are so many scars that we’ve made, we (quoting Hafiz) “have to hold hands.”

Out of a great need
We are all holding hands
and climbing.
Not loving is letting go.

AL: The photographs on the wall?

JL: They’re are all of children from Iraq.

AL: Really?

JL: When I built this place, I knew this friend of mine was in Iraq as a journalist / photographer and he took these photos of children in that country. I said, “Hey, I know you’ve been taking pictures in Iraq. . .” He’s a sensitive guy so he said, “You can’t do that. This is a jazz club. You should have a nice photo of a city night scene. . .” I said “We have enough of that. We don’t need that.” The pictures of Iraq are actually what’s happening right now. . .People are so hypnotized by all the reality shows like American Idol and stuff like that, they don’t see it. . .So I was like, “No, I’m going to do this. Bring all your pictures. Not much blood, ok? But bring some good ones.”

Maybe the next exhibition should be mug shots of contestants from American Idol. But I’m not going to do that. (laughs). It’s all connected to the poems. It’s not just about the music I want to have here. There’s a lot of music clubs in LA. . .It may sound weird. But I just want to have a little peace from this little room. I want to have more of that.”

AL: Peace through looking at reality truthfully.

JL: Yeah. It’s not about the politics. I’m not a political guy, but even during construction I was thinking, maybe the first exhibit will be pictures from Iraq because that’s what’s happening right now.

AL: Versus American Idol. . .

JL: Or Dancing with the Stars. I’m not very knowledgeable about politics. But no matter what, kids are dying, young men are dying without knowing one good reason. Actually that’s what’s happening along with American Idol . ..but people are more focused on beautiful things. . .I mean. . .beautiful? — I don’t know. But they’re more focused on that than what is happening. . .Just like jazz.

AL: Why’s that?

JL: The scene is not as good as before. It’s the whole economy, YouTube– people don’t want to listen to live music, jazz music anymore. They’re more into all the computerized things. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people doing great things. But there’s a reason I book who I book here. I carefully find musicians who are willing to be on the edge rather than just straight ahead, jing jinga jing. Because there are so many so many places out there and everything and people are always complaining about N.Y. and L.A. But the thing is, there are tons of great musicians in LA who don’t get a chance to play out, who don’t get a chance to play what they want to play. Because I listen to their music beforehand and have an understanding of what they are doing before I book them, it’s not such a risk for me. Once they come in here as a player, they have priority here. I always tell them, “Start whenever you want to start. . . and end whenever you want to end.” That’s the reason we don’t have a stage. . .As an improviser it’s very important to share energy, eye contact and energy –so I wanted to break that invisible wall in this case a musician can set up their band anywhere. We designed it so that there’s an electrical outlet every three feet(smiling) — they can find one anywhere.

AL: That’s cool!

JL: So people want to set up in the middle now… First few months it was pretty funny to look at them, they were so used to the conventional way, always going to the back-wall to set up, so I said, “Come on out, play in the middle!” If we have a string quartet in the middle, the audience hears the bow-sound, even breathing, everything. Or like the piano player tonight . . .I want people to be able to really listen to the music just like they would in their living room.

AL: How can you afford to keep up this ethos? I don’t know if this is a rude question, but are you going broke?

JL: Pretty soon (laughs). It’s tough for everyone right now. I don’t want to complain. I want to keep it as along as I can. I want to do whatever I can to keep it going. Thankfully, I have great support from the musicians — they come here and play . . .I’m very grateful about that. Great music, great things from people. It makes me humble. Even when it’s a struggle, watching people who come here and play hard, makes me really strong. I don’t know how long my batteries are going to last, but all the great people and great music help my batteries stay green.”

The Blue Whale / 123 Astronaut E S Unisia St., Suite 301 (Weller Court) / Open Mic, Mondays 9pm-2am; Thu-Sat 8pm-2am, Sun 6pm-12am / $10 cover with parking validation / Great food

Kontemporary Fried Chicken (KFC)- Moral Conflict Dinner and Art Show

Would You Eat Me?


LOS ANGELES, CA, 3 August 2010 —

LADWP Opens with Kontemporary Fried Chicken (KFC)- A Moral Conflict Chicken Dinner and Art Show

On Saturday, August 14th , 2010, Los Angeles Department of Writing and Power, a creative writing and performance studio based in Downtown LA, will be hosting “Kontemporary Fried Chicken” an event billed as a ‘complicated’ celebration of the world’s most domesticated bird of prey.  The vibrant paintings of Ayuna Collins will be on display as fry-masters,  Gene Coye and Jeremiah Jeffra, serve up a feast that members of the honored bird family would most likely lament…fried chicken.  Is it possible to love the chicken and eat it, too?  Will attendees be able to admire the art and digest the main course?  A vegetarian alternative will be available for conscientious objectors.  The event takes place at LADWP headquarters in Little Tokyo.

“This event covers the range and the free-range, featuring chickens that express humanity,  to test the boundaries of our empathy.  How would you feel if we fried you up? Would you prefer a cage or wide open lawns?  On the other hand, if it tastes so good, how can it possibly be wrong?  These are a few of the questions we hope to pose to the public–whose responses should be interesting,”  said LADWP event host, Mindy Chiu.  The visual art of Ayuna Collins, plays freely with personality and personification.  Her understanding of movement and figure and the implications of gesture from a past-life in the dance world yields chickens that lean, heckle, regard, confront, question, bleed, itch, scratch, exude machismo. . .All from mixed media compositions on parchment.

“Kontemporary Fried Chicken: A Moral Conflict Dinner & Art Show” hosted by Los Angeles Department of Writing and Power (LADWP), 244 1/2 E. 1st Street, Suite 220, Los Angeles 90012, Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 7:30pm-10:30pm.  Featuring work by Ayuna Collins, public comment, and fried chicken (with vegetarian option).   Art Show:  Free.  Dinner:  RSVP via website –  $10 (members), $15 (non-members).


Alanna Lin, Director of Public Relations
Immaculate PR / LADWP