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exercises in being according to an existential hedonist

Eat, Drink, Speak

Eat, what is raw,
drink, what is clear,
speak, what is true.

Martin Luther (1483 -1546) German Theologian

Filed under: drinking, eating, repercussions, singing, thinking, , , , ,

About the Architecture of Love (Part I)

I do not believe that love grows and develops in us. It does not develop thanks to our parents, nor thanks to the woman that comes into our life, nor because of the loving Grandmother. Love does not grow out of reactions and experience. Love is like air: always there.

We do not see the air, neither do we see love. We only see both in the reaction they cause on others whenever the reaction gets transported. Everything reacts to the existence of love and air.

If we do not feel accepted at home, we wait and search, for it is one of our natural tendencies, to desire to have those around us that respond to the signs of love we radiate. And so we search and trust that we will find others that interchange love signs with us, if there are none at home.

Love is an essential quality within our existence and independent of how the world around us might treat us when we are born into it, we search with nose, eyes, ears, skin and hands for something that will agree with the love in us. It might be hard to find it at times, but that seems to be irrelevant for us: we search.

That is perhaps the reason why so many jump, dive and fly in any possible direction, as soon and wherever they suspect or notice signs of what they consider to be love. I also do not think that there is a physical love. That bodily sensation – sex – is, next to the automatism coming from nature, an accompaniment to the soul’s love state, or an impulse, a necessity, very much independent from love. It is however our luck that again and again we meet individuals and are given the opportunity to experience sex with those that we also are willing to give sings of love to. It is also our luck that we might find very clear signs of loving coming from those to whom we fell physically attracted to and wish to take in physically as well.

Some are very sure that love is a feeling. Some are very shure that love is not a feeling.

Everything tells and shows me that it cannot be a feeling, but a perpetual, existential state.

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Filed under: drinking, eating, existential, repercussions, singing, thinking, , , , , , ,

Mishima wanted to Sing

I thank Philip Glass for a couple of things in my life. The music he composed for the biographical movie Mishima was one of the poorest compositional ideas I have heard from him, but I am thankful that the movie introduced me to a figure that would become one of my very favorites – as individual, human, artist, writer and thinker.

Yukio Mishima in 1931

Just as an attraction for German things had entered my soul before attending University, something had been pulling me towards the Japanese spheres. One crystallization of this had been the aestheticism in the films of Akira Kurosawa. But that was the only name I could build upon to satisfy my hunger for Japan, until Yukio Mishima came along – though already dead. It was in 1985, fifteen years postmortem. This brought my interest for the Japanese culture into full development.

Through his novel “Confessions of a Mask” I obtained access into his world. His poetic form in word and action expresses much about his attitude towards life, liveliness, sufferings and joys. This is what instigated many questions and thoughts in my mind about the psych and existence of humans in the process of being. About twenty-five years later I saw the film Mishima once more and new thoughts, views and questions arouse, which apparently had not been clear for me back then, especially through two scenes.

Many people seem to carry their faces for identification purposes and as feelings thermometer. Mishima is lying in bed after an act of sexual intercourse – observing his “beautiful legs” after he has decided to train his body through body building – and ponders upon transforming his legs, allowing them to become his face.

Another scene:
It is possible that the quality of this short scene be attributed to the expressive acting of the fine actor Ken Ogata (1937-2008), portraying Yukio Mishima, or to the direction of Schrader, instead of seeing it as the genuine expression of the person Mishima himself in his desire for this long-awaited moment, as it happened on that November 25th in the year 1970. As in his very last minutes Ogata/Mishima looks up to his men, in his face one reads thankfulness, sadness, frustration, love and completeness. Or I see these expressions because his life seems to connect to some of my views on life, especially in reference to the idea of the need of singing, at its best very often, at its very least at life’s end.

Hardly another thought took him and guided him more than dying. As a man of letters, as an intellectual, as a grandson, son, lover, patriot, artist and teacher, all his handling was directed towards dying, be it out a sense of responsibility or out of sheer longing.

An individual is able to grow with his responsibilities and perform these brilliantly. For this purpose people become usually anywhere between 50 and 80 years of life. In the same way an individual might come into this world under particular circumstances, arriving as a victim and in the end, departing as a victim just the same. It seems to me that Mishima lived both possibilities. His intellect, his upbringing – in its better, as in its worse possible execution – his world of emotions, his love, all these aspects united into a creative person that aimed at following through with his responsibilities and visions with passion and dexterity. He wrote no less than 35 novels, about 200 short stories and over 20 essays. In addition there were 18 theater plays written and he contributed to the revival of the Noh-Theater tradition, besides several scripts for films. Beyond all these creative endeavors, he formed and trained the “Tatenokai”, a private army solely responsible for protecting the Emperor. He was dedicated to protect the rich and strict tradition of the Japanese culture of honour. As a result, after just 45 years of life as doer and victim, he departed, instead of living further, daring further and creating from his talent for the rest of the world. His talent and works for the Japanese society – for the elite and for the pop culture – were closely followed and respected.

General Mashita was the Commandant at the Ichigava Camp, where part of the Japanese military trained and lived. This is the compound where Mishima and his men – his closest, most effective from the Tatenokai Members – took Mishita as a hostage in his office, to assure his plan would work. They occupied the main building and the General was instructed as to what was to happen. After he spoke to the men that had been gathered outside and the General had recuperated from his worst assumptions, Mishima went on his knees. General Mashita, nervous, begged with him that there was no need for him to do this. He repeated himself a few times:

“Sensei Mishima, you do not need to do this”

But Mishima had to. He had lived with religious, artistic, elite and political intensity the honour culture of his country. Although the General begged him to change his mind, he could not resign of his role of that very moment. Yukio Mishima, in reality Hiraoka Kimitake, wanted to sing. His whole life he wanted to sing, or better said, he wanted to be singing itself. He had spoken to the Garrison from the balcony and as he finished, he turned to one of his man with the sad conclusion:

“They did not even listen to me”

Married in 1958, but “Confessions of a Mask” confesses also his homosexuality

His look, just seconds before his Seppuku Act, show me an amount of frustration, because had not been able to sing. He wanted to move the soldiers at the Ichigava Camp to fight against the powers of capitalism. He wanted to overthrow the government, in order to give the power back to his Emperor. He wanted to sing for his Japan and his Emperor. In his novels, full of uncommon, elegant rhetoric and soft poetry, he wanted to sing. Even having had such a dominant grandmother, he wanted to sing. He did not understand, why when he told his family about his memories of his birth, all would laugh, admiring his phantasy, but as soon as there were visitors and he started his telling, he would be sent to his room, to avoid shameful moments. He was forced to play with dolls with his cousins, but was not allowed to play with boys of his age outside. His father used to put his face as close as possible to oncoming trains, just to scare him.

Many things must have disgusted him, so that he yearned – among others – for a departure from life. But not before contributing greatness. And perhaps was precisely this, in various forms of expressions, his way of singing.

Singing is a daily and common expression of the soul and of the frame of mind of an individual. Often it is spontaneous, often subconscious, not looking for reaction or even perception from its surroundings, but just an expression that needs to be exhaled. A singer that lives with the title of being a singer and strongly depends professionally from the reaction and perception of its listener, is the only one making music that does not need a constructed instrument to support or enable the intended expression. Singing is the most pure music, its source. For humans, in terms of sound itself, singing is the most archaic thing, the highest what man is able to give from its most inner being, inner self, individually, globally,  working for all. It is language, but unspellable, even lacking the need for a system. It is a poem without the need of poetry. It is therapy without the necessity or intention of curing. It is a symbol for joy and for sadness. It is metaphysical communication. Nothing more than the vibration of bands, but with the destructive power of acoustic.

Singing is redemption.

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Filed under: repercussions, singing, thinking, , , , , , , , , ,

with Pride

Original content for this post has been revised and reposted here.

Filed under: singing, , , ,

When a Man chooses to become Flower

Flower

This step taken over the verge for the intensifying of being, emphasizes the importance of a desire, a wish to transcend a frontier that is not even given as a frontier.

What is taking place with this step? What is being staged? What is real life, what is fake life? How real is that, which has been forced?

A name cannot be cleansed. What has been, what has been perceived, what has been given, cannot be revoked.

Health within a mind is a religion of heaven and hell, of which neither could be reached, while physical health becomes increasingly irrelevant.

Not the soul is to be saved herewith, because this animal, this human, this crawling, flying victim, all these forms of being have reached the state of movement.

I lay on the bed of liveliness, sit on it, stand, spring on it, cry, scream and laugh, all for the sake of reaching the incompleteness of life and its concrete fragility.

It seems to be unavoidable that flesh – whether in time or not – longs for its fermentation state. And a flower, or a paper construction, cannot last long. However, what brings the end is not an end in itself, but rather the thought that an end is unavoidable.

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Filed under: repercussions, singing, thinking, , , , , , ,

Her Back-Ground-Music

 

Music on Her Back

Music on Her Back – closer

I know what it is to have a melody in my head for hours, sometimes for a whole day. Hence, I do not wish to imagine the same melody behind me for the rest of my life.

She captured me and I captured her on Bowery and Houston, Manhattans (2011)

Filed under: repercussions, singing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Glenn Goulds Singing

It was a moment of joy, to suddenly recall Glenn Goulds constant humming, while I was having some thoughts and doing brainstorming within myself about the idea behind the project eat drink think sing. I thought of possible artistic and contents connections. This great pianist sung always and – as he said – subconsciously, he always had to sing.

Glenn Gould

Just as many individuals who perceived much, carried much inside of them, wanted to express much and apparently had also much to say, he died too early. Nevertheless, he played different roles – with much praise and with much criticism. He played the role of the Dean, of the British conductor Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite, of the taxi driver Theodore Slutz from Brooklyn Heights, New York and of the German composer and critic Dr. Karlheinz Klopweisse. He sung almost always, precisely in the moment, in which we did not want to hear his voice. But most of all, he played – with much praise and criticism – the piano.

His posture was awkward, for most pianist actually impossible. During his youth his piano teacher suggested, it would perhaps be better for him to stroke the keys, instead of hitting them. For this, a very different position was necessary at the piano bench.

That he sung during his piano playing would certainly be enough information to dig into the ideas and systems of psychology. I prefer, however, to make connections to the ecstasy of being.

Glenn Herbert Gold was born in Toronto Canada on the September 25th of 1932. To avoid the connection being made to Judaism, the family had their name changed to Gould in 1939. Whenever he was asked, if he was a Jew, his answer was: ‘only during the second world war’. His great-great-great-grandparents on his mother’s side were also the grandparents of Edvard Grieg. He obtained his initial piano lessons from his mother, and although his parents wanted to give him a ‘natural’ childhood before going into the music business, at the age of thirteen he was already earning money through music and gave his first piano concert at the age of fifteen.

After a very lively life of music he retired from the stage and gave his last concert in 1982. As of then he dedicated himself to doing various music recordings and to writing.

Shortly before turning fifty, he died as result of a stroke.

A short – relatively – but active and energetic life.

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Additional reading:

 

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Green Grass on Mud

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Still some sweet ones walk my way,
still some offer – I must say.
Love and kindness run their veins,
few, but there to care.

Still some sweet ones gather ’round
still some share their ups and downs
Some will ask you – “What is it?’
“Leave it up to me”

Still some sweet ones call you ‘Dear’,
still some make hate disappear.
Some will give you all their hearts,
yet, expect no change.

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1982

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Filed under: singing, , , , , ,

Krystle Warren / It is the Singing, not the Music

On several occasions I encountered artists who preferred being called painters, instead of artists, and whenever they were called artists, their immediate was to come: “I am a painter!

In my view, this creative minds are not principally driven by a need to make art, but by the necessity to paint in itself. For them their action is much simpler and much more complex than art. They are beings and their form of expression is painting – they ARE painting. Their way of life is an unlimited intensity in the world of being, through lines, surface and colors. This aspects of painting, as well as the smelling of oils and turpentine and repeatedly observing their works throughout the painting process is for them an inner necessity and an engine.

Krystle Warren (Photo: Jesse Blatt)

Similarly I hear Krystle Warren. Similarly I perceive her being while singing. An inner need for expression, not that I do not see her as a musician, but her singing is beyond the typical role of playing and listening to music. It is not the music, the beating waves in the air, nor the score written on sheets, what dictates her singing. Neither do they dictate her presence nor her absence on stage while performing. It is the naked need to sing, to breathe, to twitch, it is the need for love, pain, joy, passion, just existence in itself on stage, and the need for these to be physically and acoustically manifested. On stage, what dictates her presence is something different to music. It is the naked necessity to articulate her being.

And articulate she can!

I heard about this lady for the first time, during my visit to an acquaintance in Hamburg some 3 years ago, where another invited guest let us hear a couple of her videos. The first one showed a woman with great ability to involve her body in her singing. She pays great attention to the vocal expression and to the volume that her voice is able to carry, for example, while singing the song “Circles“. I have seen people that know how to execute magnificent movements of protrusion with their bodies with a certain aggressivity – like Freddy Mercury – and their voices come willingly forward with the same aggression.

There are others that sing while their bodies relax, retrieve backwards and their voices stay at ease, as if also the voice would be laying back, leaning against a wall. But in Circles I hear a tremendously relaxed voice and observe a relaxed body, however, the soul is elsewhere. The body of that soul is not at all relaxed, not at all leaning, but ever protruding, singing, at times screaming.

The second video that Alex played for us was Warrens interpretation of “Eleanor Rigby“. The video hat barely started and he warned us that the beginning was nothing spectacular, but that it would change later.

Who does not know Eleanor Rigby? We know what awaits us. It is one of the most popular ones from the Beatles. In the 1966 version for the Album “Revolver”, the instrumentation was an octet comprised of studio musicians. The members of the Beatles did not play a single instrument and McCartney sang alone. Perhaps that is the reason why the true sadness of the song does not come through. At least it never did for me. It is said that Paul was improvising on the piano and that gave birth to the idea of the song, but the lyrics about lonely people were written after the music composition had been finished. It is a text that expresses a fairly depressive loneliness with very few lines.

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Eleanor Rigby

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working. Darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

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Krystle Warren

In the Beatles version I do not perceive this oppressive atmosphere coming from the music at all. Krystle Warren takes a very different path. Her guitar playing could hardly be simpler than that. She even claims that she does not play the guitar very well and that technique is amongst the worst ones in the field. For her it is the possibility with the least complexities to be able to accompany herself. And while her accompaniment is simple without a doubt, I find it to be the right one. the right approach staying in the back, right in the role of accompaniment, right in the pairing to what she is saying with her voice. Here she begins with a laid-back and minimal rhythm, continuously striking her guitar, until she adds her voice. Not until then it is recognizable, which song she is singing. It goes gentle, with voice and play, until Father McKenzie comes. With him Warren explodes through singing and screaming. Similar to what we know from parts sung by Stevie Wonder. Like parts also in the verge of screaming by Michael Jackson. Spots where one clearly hears that he most pound his words, tones, expression, emotions, as hard as possible. But Warren shows a much more powerful desire and capability, as well as clarity for this expressing pounding. I cannot know the reason for her pounding desire, cannot know if it indeed refers to the fact that people are dying of loneliness, but her urgency is understood as such and one wishes to know immediately the reason for the dismay, for the urgency  sounds with a voice of honesty. One hears no longer a song, no music, but a powerful call. And because Warren says that her music is not about herself, but about people in general, it is fair to say that this is the reason for the aggressive, pounding expression. An eruption as expression for ALL those in loneliness.

In “Circles”, “Eleanor Rigby” and other songs, besides being powerfully expressive, the voice and the body of the singer keep calm. From her come severity AND elegance, severity AND sovereignty. Imagine a single human being in the open ocean – at times floating on the surface of the water, at times deep in the deep – that with its own power, physical dexterity and a fair amount of wild movements and strain, tries to show hundreds of spectators standing along the waterfront, how she commands the waters. When Krystle Warren sings, it is as if she – floating on the surface of the water of the sees with soft tones and passages, or sunken deep with loud calls and articulations – tries to express her highs and lows with lightness, able to pronounce these well, sing them, and the waters, irrelevant of how tormentous, deep or dangerous, must allow her voice to come through.

Especially in the areas of creativity, there are plenty of individuals exposing their souls. The so called Black Singers are very often spoken of as having or being Black Souls. Here the color is of no relevance. Here a soul is speaking from all, for all – singing.

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Additional Information about Krystle Warren:

Uncensored Interviews

Krystle Warrens Facebook

Krystle Warrens My Space

Next concert dates!

May 22 2012 England London Dingwalls
May 24 2012 England Brighton Brighton Fest. (SOLD OUT)

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Filed under: repercussions, singing, , ,

My months-awaited Day at the MoMA ended much better than imagined – No thanks to Diego Rivera.

For about two decades now I have known of the artist-couple Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. All this time I had been aware of their painting styles and have known a bit about their “private” life as a couple. My center of attention has been however only directed towards her. I have appreciated her paintings, her passion, her obsession – her situation in dealing with a difficult life. It has also been known to me that he did not always treat her well. Certainly this tainted my view of him as an artist.

When I heard last year about the upcoming Diego Rivera exhibition at the MoMa, I saw this as an opportunity to find out more about him, thinking, perhaps I even get to see a side, a quality in his work which I have yet to perceive and I might even start appreciating him as well. But months went by and suddenly it was almost time to pack the exhibition back into boxes. Last week I made it to the MoMA.

After a quarter of a century in Europe, being exposed to all types of political memories being worked out there, being in the middle of the reunification of Germany, living amongst their dealing with their role in the second world war, seeing what many German artists say about their history through their works and noticing much architecture speaking of their history, I have an eye for the communist and socialist aesthetic of the time. Rivera emerged as an expressive political artist and was a central figure for the most part during the 30’s and 40’s.

Louise Bourgeois
“Dismemberment. State II of IV”

Murals cover walls. ‘Muros’, in the spanish language, are large walls. Well, the word murals says it. I went into MoMA, knowing of its size and its generous architecture for space. Thus was my amazement great, to see that these were not even large paintings, considering what some artists have produced in the last 30 years. Rivera had been brought to New York a couple of months in advance and was given a Studio in which to work, so he could produce now works for the museum. This I mention, of course, not as an argument in criticizing his artistic value and I will neither argue about it, for it nor against it. I was simply surprised. I was also surprised to see that in the expression of his works I perceived violence on part of the state, work, the people against the state and his admiration for the Russian way of life, but nothing about love, although he is claimed to have been a womanizer and was married three times.

Marcel Broodthaers
“General with Cigar”

Christian Holstad
“Busher” 1997

Simply put: I was disappointed. Disappointed by his themes, his language of color on the canvas, his brush strokes and his political aesthetic. But being that the exhibition was very small and the works not so big, soon I encountered some people I love, like Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon; some I appreciate, like Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Broodthaers and Max Ernst, and some I did not know, but enjoyed, like Christian Holstad. All good (and bad) things come to an end, so we left MoMA and just outside the door was Mark Nilsson. A very busy painter that comes here 6 days a week. I enjoyed his serious, dedicated activity, his concentration, but most of us, his handling of the colors and the surface.

So, dear reader, enjoy some painting in its very naked and active form.

Mark Nilsson painting a Portrait in front of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York / May 2012

His left hand, like a sculpture, is often resting

Painting in a busy street in New York City, but highly concentrated

Clothes of Mark Nilsson

Mark Nilsson mixing with brush

Mark Nilsson studying his subject

Mark Nilssons brushes

Reds on Mark Nilssons palette

Blues on Mark Nilssons palette

Edge of Mark Nilssons palette

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