A Darker Figure #80: Hurricane Harvey Benefit

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter.

I am throwing a benefit for Hurricane Harvey emergency relief. Most of you probably know that already, but it is something that is coming together very quickly and my biggest fear is that I will get all of these donations and then no one will show up - and then later people will claim not to have heard about the event at all, which would be my failure. But! We have great bands and vendors donating really cool items, so I think that it will go well. 

I don’t trust the Red Cross. I know that people have a lot of feelings about it and I know that they are the biggest and fastest response and that sometimes that is the best option - this time I don’t think that is true. It wasn’t true in Hurricane Katrina and it wasn’t true/still isn’t true in Haiti. So, I’ve chosen Heart to Heart International because I know that they are already on site in Houston and surrounding areas and doing the work. They are a big charity too, but not quite as mismanaged as Red Cross. Local charities and organizations are also very important because they will most likely outlast the big groups, who will eventually leave. The important thing to remember is that this is about helping people. So give to whatever charity you think is best. And don’t forget the animals. The estimated number of animals lost in Katrina was incredible. So, please donate to local shelters and groups that help with re-housing animals too. If you are in Portland, there is a great vegan bake sale happening on 9/9 at Food Fight! Grocery.

PDX Monthly has a running list of local Portland events and donation opportunities.  

Here are the event details:

Emergency Relief Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Flooding:
This event is still taking shape, but please mark your calendars for Wednesday 9/6/2017 at 8pm!

Bands:
Sky Symbol Rituals
Collective Disparity
Lasers Of Love

Sound mixing and work being donated by Viktor Nova (thanks Viktor!)

We will be taking donations in cash, canned food, clothing (new packs of socks and underwear), and paper goods (toilet paper / feminine hygiene products). There will also be some items for sale that were donated by various business in town.

Donations provided by:
Wells & Verne
Gloombones
Projekt Records

100% of the funds that the event (non-bar items) makes will go to Heart to Heart International to directly benefit flood relief!

The Lovecraft Bar
21+ | 421 SE Grand Ave.
Pay What You Can - ($5 suggested donation)

+++++

We leave for France next Friday. I am very excited and very busy until then. I am not sure if/when/how I will be doing the newsletter for the next 3 weeks. I might skip it, to be honest. We’ll see!

newsletterMichael Kurt
A Darker Figure #79

Hello and welcome to A Darker Figure #79! 
Last week was pretty heavy all around, but I think that some really mild life changes are a good thing and that despite their heaviness, things will be better now. I think that for the most part, I am done with the gothic / industrial scene here in Portland. I find myself further and further away from the mess of people that make up the scene - in general, but here specifically. There are, of course, some great people around and those people I will stay in contact with - but for the most part I've been out of it for awhile. The main thing that will be a little difficult is to re-vamp the bands to fit into other local scenes - The Blood of Others will be fairly easy once I can make some connections because it is a pretty diverse sounding band, but Sky Symbol Rituals will change and [product] will mostly stop existing in any kind of future hopes. Who knows, I might be in the mood to dive into harsh EBM again. 

Sophie and I are on the very brink of our trip to France. There are still two more weeks (to the day) until we leave, but it feels like I want to just jump on a plane and get the fuck out of here every single day now - so I think that means we've planned enough. We made payments on our return travel to Paris to catch our flight back to the US last weekend, and that kind of solidified the whole thing. There is a big blank section in the middle of our trip where I didn't want to plan anything and just try to go out and explore the country. I am keeping a special journal for that trip - I am sure that some of it will make its way onto this newsletter. 

I get really sucked in to Vloggers on YouTube. It is mostly a product of my kind-of-boring job and my love of stories mixed with a the excitement of being a voyeur. I tend to cling to a Vlogger and then watch their entire history and then move on to a different one - some stick around and I get back into them once there is a bit more of a back catalog built up, but most kind of fall away and I get tired of them. Recently, I have been watching Tokidoki Traveller - an Australian woman who moved Tokyo - and it has made me really want to go to Japan at some point for a bit. Not live there, but visit for two weeks or so and just see what kind of weird stuff I can get into. She also took a trip to The Netherlands that looked super interesting and now I want to go there too. 

Coffee Corner:

Marigold Coffee - House Bland - Squirrel Rhapsody
Last night I picked up this bag of Marigold Squirrel Rhapsody and am currently filtering it through my Toddy Cold Brew System. I pick coffee mostly by smell these days. Cold Brewing requires a bold to medium roast to get me going with the flavors and intensity that I like and recently I have been experimenting with different brew-lengths. This one was a 12 hour brew, the last one was not as bold and it was a 24 hour brew. 

Marigold Coffee is a local roasting company whose founders have a background in farming and harvesting outside of coffee and they believe that this has a lot to do with the way that they farm and harvest coffee. I am excited to see if that true! 

The smell is great. It is a bold, but smooth smell through the bag. When I opened the bag later, at home, the beans were a nice dark brown - not black or oily - and when I ground them they were light and airy. The taste is smooth too, chocolate-y and light. On the bag it says that the flavor profile is: Walnut and Peanut Butter Candy - and I think that is pretty accurate! 
The cold brew concentrate is a little bit lighter than my last one - which you can see in this picture, my ratio was not quite on point - and the 12-hour brew has a little bit to do with that, but the flavors are definitely not missing! 

Now we are off to see some cats and walk a dog! 

Schedule: 
My friend Brian Uhl (who designed our first The Blood of Others shirt) is having an art closing party tonight! 
and that is it! Not a busy week. 

Currently reading: Simone de Beauvoir's Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

newsletterMichael Kurt
A Darker Figure #78: I've Decided To Cover Up My Burzum Tattoo

I have decided to cover up my Burzum tattoo. This decision has been a long time coming, but has been solidified by a number of recent events. While the events in Charlottesville, VA have been a big part of the immediacy of the decision, a difficult set of conversations are the real driving force.

Recently, I learned that a long time band member was wearing a patch on his vest (and had the same sticker on his car) identifying with the 3%ers group, which is an American “patriot” group that pledges resistance against the US government regarding infringement of the US Constitution. Basically they are an anti-government, pro-gun group that believes that the constitution should go back to its original status. Which also happens to mean they are often anti-gay, racist, and misogynistic - because the constitution was a terrible document and is constantly being improved upon. The founder of the 3%ers movement, who also founded the Oathkeepers (which is a collection of current and former police and military officers with a similar goal - to refuse to uphold laws they see as unconstitutional), is a racist and an all around piece of shit politically. 3%ers movement sounds alright on paper - wants to stand up for something they believe in, wants to protect people’s rights - but it isn't. It is a hate group. No question about it. It’s members want to pretend that it isn't, but their actions don't reflect what they say. Defending and supporting white supremacists and nazis in rallies, making communes on national reserves and claiming that your privileges are being infringed upon as a white farmer, or rushing to literally defend with weapons Kim Davis (who was being arrested for violating probation after being held in contempt of court for refusing (after a court order) to issue same-sex marriage licenses (this was the Oathkeepers, and Davis’ lawyers said no thank you to the armed security detail.) This is a hate group, not a human rights group.

So when I learned that my long time bandmate (who I had replaced recently for other reasons) was wearing the symbol of this group I was pretty concerned. Wes managed to talk to him about it in person this weekend and the first thing he said was “i’m not about the racist stuff.” This is troubling for a lot of reason - 1. He knows there are racist aspects of the group, 2. He choses to be a part of it anyway, and 3. He thinks that the public will separate the two and not just see him as part of a hate group. You can't ignore the racist part and just pick up what you want from a hate group. That isn't how it works. People aren't going to take the time to get to know which part of the racist, misogynistic, homophobic group you take part in.

But! This isn't just a shit-on-him parade. This made me think a lot about my own connections to groups that I thought it might be okay to explain my way through. Which brings me to the Burzum tattoo.

Burzum is an extreme black metal band (made up of one member) that I was really into as a teenager. Church burnings, pagan ideals, spooky sad music. It’s all there. There was a shirt from Burzum that I had for a long time - which was the “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” album shirt - and I really loved the image. It was black shirt with a grey picture of a forest. On the side of the forest road there was a body that was decomposing. It was great. The song is about a return to nature and death, and I really identified with it. So when I was 20 or so I got the tattoo of the words, “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” (If the Light Takes Us). The problem is the sole member of this band is a crazy white supremacist who is still alive and is still spreading his hate-filled, ignorant beliefs. And for a long time I thought that I could just say that that wasn't what it meant to me - that I had another meaning for it, or that I just liked the sentiment of the line “If the Light Takes Us.” But how is that any different than wearing a patch from a hate group and saying “oh, I don't do the racist stuff”? It isn't.

I don't know what i’m going to cover it up with yet, I need to do some more research into how to go about a cover up. But it will happen soon.

Now is not the time to make excuses for hate, even if you don't think it represents you in a larger group that you identify with. Hate groups and activist groups are not the same thing.

newsletterMichael Kurt
A Darker Figure #77: Thoughts on Sarahah and Movie Recommends

Welcome to A Darker Figure #77. I have short to-do about Sarahah and how I think it is dangerous to self-work and then some fun recommendations for movies and a podcast. So if you are just not in the zone today (which I fully understand), skip this first part and take a look at the movie recommendations because they are indeed fun!

Thoughts on Sarahah and The Flaw of Anonymous Honesty

Sarahah is basically an open place where people can come and leave notes for you anonymously, even if they don’t make an account first. It was started by a programmer in Saudi Arabia who was designing a way from employees to leave anonymous suggestions digitally to their employers, but the programmer quickly realized it could have social media uses. It is the newest thing and I think a lot of people believe it is something that they will benefit from. I have seem some people say that it is something that they want to get into because they want to get better at receiving more honest feedback from their peers or people that know them pretty well. Some people, I think, just like the excitement of being anonymous and saying things to people - good or bad. My initial reaction to this is how is this any different than a comment section or Facebook. I mean, you have your name attached to something like Facebook, but that doesn’t make people any more or less emboldened to shit on everything you say.

For me, this feels like the opposite of where the internet should be heading. In an earlier newsletter, I talked about radical honesty being difficult, but the way that things are going to change for art, music, and the world. This, to me, is a bullshit version of radical honesty. If you are hiding behind anonymous posting, you are not being honest, even if the things that you say are what you feel is honest. I could be convinced otherwise, but for now it feels a lot like Sartre’s version of Bad Faith to me. For now it feels like a complaint aggregator and not a tool for positive reflection and self-work. As a caveat to this (because Sophie hates when I caveat things) I have to admit that I have not even been to the site. I have just seen its posts shared everywhere and the reactions to those posts - which have been kind of the pat-me-on-the-back posts that I don’t like because I feel like they stump personal reflection. But! I could be wrong, let me know your experience.


Some recommendations! 

Take me

The Duplas Brother produce a lot of great content: Creep, Togetherness, Safety Not Guaranteed - and I try to watch whatever they put out. The HBO animated show Animals has been the only one so far that I didn't enjoy, but that was on me not them. Take Me was one of those “oh! That sounds fun, let's check it out” late-night movies Sophie and I took a chance on. It was super good! The plot was interesting and creative. It had a good balance of tense and funny moments that were executed in a way that felt fresh but not obscure.

If you have Netflix, check it out!

The Little Hours

I went into this movie knowing that it was going to be a pretty raunchy/fun comedy, but it was way, way better than I thought! I mean, I would even go as far to say it was my generation's Monty Python’s Holy Grail (and I know people are going to scoff at that because their older and things like that are sacred, but you’re nostalgia is blinding you). It was a medieval comedy with modern language, it was a brilliant comedy with some of the best players in the game right now. I laughed harder and louder than I have all year.

Room 104 (HBO Show)

The new Duplas Brothers Horror Anthology for HBO is a simply brilliant premise. One seedy hotel room. That’s it. Characters and themes change with each episode. The first episode was only okay, but the second episode (which features James Van Der Beek, Clark Duke, and Davie-Blue) was much more my speed. The

Turnaround (Maximun Fun Podcast)

I highly suggest this podcast for anyone doing podcasts or interviews! It contains some great insight from some of the best interviewers in the game. Favorite episode so far: Ira Glass.


Schedule: 
This Saturday: I will be DJing the opening night of PIG Fest 2 (maybe inside, maybe outside, I don't know)
This Sunday: The Blood of Others live in Portland at the Paris Theater for PIG Fest 2
Wednesday: Go check out iVardensphere opening for VNV Nation at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland
Next Saturday: Bella Morte show! 

newsletterMichael Kurt
A Darker Figure Newsletter #76: Post-Festival Blues

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter!
I am fresh off the drive home from Terminus Festival that was immediately followed up by 3 hot and worthless days of work. After a festival like Terminus - which is an amazingly special place full of wonderful and special people that I will love until the day that I die - there is a fog of melancholy and a morose sense of missing out. This happens to a lot of artists and musicians after tours, or festivals, or recording an album, or basically any big event in which you feel like the most important person in the world for just a few moments and everyone pats you on the back and gives you that sweet, sweet validation. Then you go home. And you have bills. And you have a day job. And you have friends that talk to you all of the time and kind of... are the best... but see you a lot, so they aren't impressed by your little accomplishments. But! There are a lot of ways to get above the fog, and the craziness.

I usually dig in to creative stuff and just get back to work. I have a lot of creative fires going at once because the energy is strong and I want to stoke the fires back to life as quick as possible. There are plenty of hours each day, especially during the work week, where I can freely think and reflect on all the things that I love and hate about what I do - so when I get home, I like to spend some time with my partner and friends, and then get back to the good stuff. 

Saying all of this, I wanted to reach out to some of my musician and artist friends and get their tips and tricks for how to deal with the post-festival/tour bummers. Not all of them are sad people like me. I tried to get a bunch of different perspectives: 

Alicia Gaines from the band Ganser - We had the pleasure of interviewing Ganser for the Talking to Ghosts Podcast and I have been periodically bugging Alicia with random things in hopes that one day we will be real friends and that I can mooch off her amazing talent or pay her to design something amazing for one of my projects. She is an amazing musician and graphic design artist from the Chicago area and was kind enough to submit the following statement to my kind of personal question:

"I follow the sow/harvest model of sorting out creative energy. The idea being that tour (this also goes for recording an album, etc.) is a lot of harvesting plans that most likely took months to plant. It’s a lot of payoff and gratification shoved into a small time frame. It’s important to realize that after something like that, you’re at zero after a high. Go to a museum, watch films, read books, give yourself songwriting challenges with no set goal, anything that will refuel you after tapping your emotional resources dry. You have to make a safe creative sandbox again before creating the next castle."

Chase Dobson is a live crew member for some big, fancy bands  - I met Chase through our I Die: You Die / Talking to Ghosts Slack group and he has since released a great blackgaze album and was on the most recent The Blood of Others remix album

"My festival experience is likely going to be different from most as my “day job” involves touring with bands doing work in a technical capacity.  Specifically, I design and operate playback systems for backing tracks, in addition I do projection and/or LED wall mapping for the video component to the current show I am touring with (Tycho).  The “comedown” from a festival environment for me is relief (festivals are the worst).  

My typical festival schedule involves going on site the night before we perform to do visuals test, most often after the final band has played for the evening. So, for an international fest, its usually a long travel day and then going on site after midnight to set up our visuals computers and either projection map to a surface or map to an LED wall to ensure that all of the components are “talking to one another” and in focus.  After a nap, we (the crew) would load in our audio equipment and backline, setup and do a soundcheck early in the morning before the festival opens up for the day. If I am not completely wiped out, depending on who is playing I go check out some artists and wait for our turn to perform, the band plays and then we pack it all up and load it out. Festival days are typically exhausting, and the ultimate game of hurry up and wait. Ha, the music industry is pretty glamorous."

Wesley Mueller, co-host of the Talking to Ghost Podcast - Wes is many things - including one of my best friends - he's made all of my video projections for The Blood of Others, he's been a reliable and wonderful co-host of our podcast (often keeping things on topic and good while I drift off into mumbletown), but he is also a wonderful musician and artist in his own right. Check out his site for more details about all his projects. 

"In the past I've been very susceptible to the post-tour/post-festival blues. Every time we'd come back from even a one night show, the next day was an absolute slog of borderline depression. This is why, when I got back from Terminus this year, I was incredibly surprised to find that I felt...good? Maybe it was the proper hydration - I made sure to not only drink water, but to drink things that had electrolytes like sparkling mineral water. Maybe it was getting more sleep than I expected to get. Maybe, and I think this is probably the key, it's that I was coming back to a job that I actually enjoyed, and getting to do good work made coming back from the festival feel just a little less depressing."

Bruce Lord is one half of the wonderful folks at I Die You DIe - Bruce is one of those people that can school you on a lot of really fascinating subjects and I have a lot of respect for him. He's someone that I know I can reach out to and get a great response to on just about any subject. He's a scholar and the kind of nerd that I like to keep around. If you ever need a book recommendation, definitely go to him. 

"It's easy (and fun) to view festivals as the culmination of something: getting confirmation that yes, some romantically minded promoter's gonna take up the Sisyphean task of getting a fest together only to hopefully break even, the unveiling of the lineup, the assembling of a crew of friends from far and wide who maybe only get to see each other once a year. But I try not to view them as a "blow out" or the apotheosis of all the work and anticipation that's led to them. Rather, I get excited about new opportunities which might extend from them. If a relatively new or unknown band impresses, then I've got work cut out for me in checking out their back catalogue and keeping tabs on them from here on out. I couldn't begin to count the number of projects related to blogging or podcasting which have come out of chance meetings at festivals. If I learn that someone's as cool in meat-space as they are online, then hell, my circle of friends has gotten a little bit wider. If you're trying to beat the post-fest blues, make an effort to carry something back home to your day to day above and beyond merch which you can work at in the interim. Remember: Industrial Summer Camp isn't a place, it's a feeling inside your heart."


Terminus Festival highlights:
- Wulfband (of course): Everything You've heard about them is true. See them live if you have the chance. 
- Glass Apple Bonsai: Fun. Pure goofy fun on stage and good music to go along with it. 
- Seeing folks and meeting Slack people: It is super weird to me that anyone listens to my music or our podcast, so to meet some of the people who are fans, or friends from a distance, it is extremely rewarding. I was running around most of the festival trying to get interviews, or connect with people, but the time that I did spend talking to Slack people and friends was extremely worthwhile. 

Self promo: 
- New episode of Talking to Ghosts with PIG & Julien-K went up on Tuesday! 
- The nice fellas over at I Die You Die said some nice things about our show at Terminus in this podcast episode
- Spill Magazine did a wrap up of Terminus Festival as well and you can find it HERE

New podcasts to check out: 
If you are a podcasting nerd like me, you will probably like these podcasts about podcasting/radio: 
How Sound (which is basically a tour of the backstage stuff that goes on in radio and then eventually podcasting.) 
The Turnaround (Interviewing interviewers, it's great!)  

Schedule: 
8/7: Polygon.com Meetup @ Lucky Lab in Portland
8/12-8/13: Portland Industrial Goth (PIG) Festival @ Paris Theater - we play on Sunday
8/16: VNV Nation @ Hawthorne Theatre
8/19: KBOO Book fair! @ Cider Riot
8/19: Bella Morte @ The Analog Cafe
9/8: Sophie and I leave for France. 

A Darker Figure #75 live from BANFF Bus!

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter! I am not sure what number it is right now because we are on a bus headed up to BANFF to see some goddamn mountains!

The Blood of Others went on first - opening up the Terminus Festival - here in Calgary, AB. I was a little bummed that we were going on first, but there were a bunch of people there! It was a packed room for the first band of the first night of a 3 day festival and that is exactly why Terminus is my favorite. It is the best. We did really well. Sophie was nervous but we assured her that the energy from a bigger audience would push her through and bring that pure inner heat that is required for fucking killing it on stage. And she killed it with the rest of us. We sold out of CDs, Patches, and Stickers, which is awesome.

There are a bunch of people from our Talking to Ghosts/I Die : You Die Slack here at the festival and it is pretty cool to touch base in person.

Someone on this bus just told me Cool Runnings was filmed here… so… it is a great place.

Festivals are weird atmospheres. Not only do I tend to shelter myself in a corner and not talk to people, but I also manage to meet so many people. People have downtime and want to reach out. Two years ago, I came to Terminus by myself to do interviews and see Vallhall play. I just kind of posted up in the hotel lobby and followed people to coffee, lunch, and ultimately soundcheck bugging them for interviews and sometimes friendship. It was uncomfortable, but also the best time.  I highly suggest going to Terminus Festival. There’s something special about the way that people group together from all around the world in one 400-capacity venue. All the artists are in the crowd, enjoying the other bands and the atmosphere.

I have a book checked out from the library that I’m supposed to be reading, but I've been sucked into a bunch of comic books lately, so I have been neglecting it. It's a bummer, but i’ll get back to it. 

This week's newsletter is kind of short and gushy over the festival, so here is a couple of recommendations from people on this bus:

  • Avi - Rope Sect’s new record is super good: https://ropesect.bandcamp.com/releases 

  • Wes - Reply All podcast from Gimlet: https://gimletmedia.com/reply-all/

  • Warren - NITE’s new album Reborn: https://nite.bandcamp.com/

  • Monica - “How Not to Die” Michael Greger: https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Die-Discover-Scientifically/dp/1250066115

  • Sophie - “Revival” comic: https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/revival 

We are traveling back to Portland alllllll day Monday and back to work on Tuesday. What a bummer.
New Talking to Ghosts episode is up on Tuesday!

A Darker Figure #74: Terminus Festival Prep, Marrow Island, The Big Sick, Pharmakon

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter! We are moments away from Terminus Festival! It is really a week away, but it sure feels like moments when I think about all of the things that I still need to do and the amount of driving that will be taking place. 

Speaking of Terminus Festival, here are all of the Talking to Ghost podcast episodes that we/I have done at Terminus in the past:

And here are a list of this year’s bands that we have already interviewed: 

We are definitely planning to do some interviews while we are there! Everyone at Terminus is always awesome and I love it there. This will be my third time and Sophie’s first time, which is very exciting.

Reading Corner: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

I finished the audiobook version of Marrow Island this week - which is a book set in the Pacific Northwest that deals with a reporter returning to the island off the Washington Coast that she grew up on, but that also had a large earthquake-related accident that caused not only her father to die, but the environment to be really fucked up. She returns to touch base with an old friend/childhood lover, but finds that the religious cult-like commune that she lives in on the island has a lot more problems than they are letting on. It gets pretty crazy. At the end of the book I was pretty confused for a minute because with the audiobook it seems like it kind of ends inappropriately early, but a trip to Powell’s this morning confirms that this is how the book ends. After thinking about it for awhile, I like it. It was a good book.

Movie Corner: The Big Sick

There is probably a good chance that I have talked to you about this already, whether it is through Facebook, or Slack, or some other method - I have definitely been praising it to as many people as I can because, not only do I love it, I feel a little bit like my distant friends made a movie about their lives and that they did such a good job. I want to make it clear that I, in no way, know Kumail or Emily at all, but I consume a lot of their collective media (Stand up, podcasts, books, etc) and I believe that they are good people. If you aren’t familiar: The Big Sick is the real story about how Kumail and Emily met, started dating, and then she went into a coma for like 10 days. It is really funny, really sad, and really well done. It was clearly not only a labor of love, but one of experience and honesty.

Go see it in theaters. Go see it tomorrow. It was great.

A Show: Pharmakon

Sophie and I went to the Pharmakon last week and it was super good! We were not sure what to expect from the live show because noise shows very pretty wildly in performance style, but usually I know it is going to be something either weird, or impactful. Caustic Touch opened the show and did a more rhythm-driven set than I thought she was going to, which is definitely what I prefer in noise shows. Pharmakon was a little late coming up from California, but she came right in and set up and then proceeded to kill it completely. It was intense, and interesting to watch, and super angry. It was awesome to see this kind of unassuming blonde woman - who looks fairly normal by Portland standards - just brutally beat people down with sound and physical intensity. She would run through the crowd and crawl on the ground and trip people up with the mic cord. If she is coming to your town and you like noise music, I would definitely suggest it. Very inspiriting.

I also read in an interview that she is a big nerd for books, so I gave her a copy of Shelter in Place (you know why.) I didn’t get the chance to talk to her about it because she left right off the stage, but the merch guy seems stoked about it. 

Schedule:

AVIATOR INTERVIEW LAST MONDAY (THE BEST, PLEASE LISTEN)

TERMINUS NEXT WEEKEND

<PIG> & JULIEN-K INTERVIEW ON MONDAY AFTER TERMINUS

P.I.G. FESTIVAL IN AUGUST

FRANCE IN SEPTEMBER

SOMETHING IN NOVEMBER

END OF THE GODDAMN YEAR

A Darker Figure #73: Sophie's first show with The Blood of Others

Yes, I'm taking over the newsletter this week. Last Friday I played my first show with The Blood of Others. I was on bass keys. I had been practicing regularly with the guys and on my own for a while because I had never done anything like that before and I anticipated that I would be super scared to be on stage and I wanted to get as many things as possible under control beforehand, because everybody knows that there are many unknown factors once you’re on stage and it could all go to shit so fast and so if at least I knew my parts very well, that meant I could keep that in mind to reassure myself that it was going to work out. Well damn, that was a crazy sentence.

I also wanted to be able to just enjoy myself and rock out and have fun, and watch Michael be his sexy self on stage, and I was able to do all of those things. We all had a great time! This is what we look like when we’re having fun:

 Photo by Nate Bennett

Photo by Nate Bennett

It was an awesome and kind of surreal experience. Surreal because I am so used to watching the show from the other side and being so excited to just be there and see it happen. It occurred to me in the midst of it that this time I was helping it happen and it felt exhilarating, incongruous, and a bit ridiculous. On top of that, Wes made me laugh in the middle of it and now there is a picture of me with a big smile while everybody else looks super serious because they know The Blood of Others is no laughing matter. Take a look:

 Photo by Cybermind Photography

Photo by Cybermind Photography

Now everybody is going to think I find the extinction of nature hilarious. Look at that noob over there giggling over the death of our forests. She must think it’s too dark and no one can see her. I for sure always know how to make a good impression. But to my defense, it didn’t help to look at one of the backing videos of a deer sassily walking around like he owns the block. I guess that’s part of the point Michael is trying to make with his lyrics:  well, that deer does in fact own the place and you’d better get the fuck out of his way. That deer is not joking. That deer will sass you out of the room in no time with his dope neck moves.

The rest of the show was awesome! Marck from UNCRSD was great; it was my first time seeing him live after seeing him around for a while. And James from Jihad put on a really good show too. He is also a really nice guy and I ended up doing merch for him as well (I usually do merch for The Blood of Others). There was a guy who kept coming back to the merch table and was very excited about all the bands and asked a lot of questions and bought a lot of stuff, so that was cool.

I was wondering if I would have any pictures of the show and it turns out there are plenty, so thanks to all the people who took those! I was talking to Wes before the show about how I’d like to have pictures to show my family (nerd!), and he had this idea of getting a disposable camera and giving it to someone in the audience. I think one of the Missing Witness guys took care of that, and we are looking forward to seeing what the photos look like. Wes said he got some of his favorite pictures of his own show a while ago when he used a disposable camera. Wes knows what’s up.

The feedback for our show was really good, and I am happy about that. A few people told me that I did well and that was nice. I didn’t talk to many people because I am just awkward and I’m not sure what to say. If you feel like I’m weird, you’re onto something, but it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, it’s mostly social awkwardness, which I’m sure many people relate to. In a weird way it’s easier on stage because I know what I’m doing and I don’t have to come up with stuff to say. I used to drink a little bit in social settings (mostly because I used to hang around alcoholics and wasn’t sure yet of what I wanted to do with myself) and of course that helped, but I decided a few years ago that it really wasn’t what I wanted for myself and that I would rather be honest with myself and others even if that meant it was going to be - sometimes - painfully awkward.

It used to be way worse, to where just being in a room with other people would make me nervous and self-conscious, so for me to be able to be on a stage now is huge. It also helps to be surrounded by really good people, some of whom have this crazy ability to make conversation effortlessly. I was talking with Michael about this the other day, about how it surprises me that he still defines himself as somewhat socially awkward, while I feel like he is so good at talking to people now (even if he says he wasn’t in the past). I think it’s interesting how we are sometimes stuck in seeing ourselves the way we used to be while people around us can see a completely different thing because they notice the change more than we do.

Now for the special “Silly Sophie” minute of the week: a few days ago, I was outside the Lovecraft Bar here in Portland and people were having a conversation about the movie Robocop (which I’ve never seen). When I heard, “you know, Robocop, that movie where a cop becomes a robot…,” my mind was totally blown because I never realized that Robocop actually meant “Robot-cop” so I had one of those dumb moments when I was like “Oooooh, that’s why he’s called Robocop…It makes so much sense!” I didn’t say anything then because I didn’t feel like it but I just wrote here that I wanted to be honest, so here goes. This was my dumb moment of the week. But to be fair, the movie was part of an era when I was in France and didn’t speak English, so I didn’t know what “cop” meant, and they didn’t translate the title in France (sometimes they do, and it’s either terrible or somewhat cooler, like “The Teeth of the Sea” for “Jaws”). So to me, Robocop was just a random name, really he could have been called anything, and that’s how it remained in my psyche even though I now know what a cop is. That made me wonder how many French people who actually saw the movie in French and don’t speak English still don’t know that the name is super intentional. Now I feel extra smart and I’m patting myself on the back.
You should comment on this newsletter and share your dumb moment of the week with us. I know you’ve had one. Then we can all feel super smart together.

To stay on the topic of honesty, I'll leave you with what Jonathan Safran Foer said yesterday at the reading I went to (this is the gist of it): "Sometimes people tell me, 'I liked your book a lot but I wish there was less [insert whatever here] in it,' and I tell them, 'Sure, there could be, for instance, less swearing in my book, and I don't think the book would be any less of a good book without it; I don't think the book wouldn't be as good if it were, say, more charming, but I do think it would be less honest, and that's why these things needed to be in there."

Next week Michael should be back to writing his own newsletter, so you can look forward to that. Thanks for having me!

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Schedule:

Tonight: Pharmakon at High Water Mark. Should be interesting!

7.18.17: Screening of Phantasmagoria at the Lovecraft

7.28.17 to 7.30.17: Terminus Festival!! The Blood of Others is opening the festival so you'd better show up early.

A Darker Figure #72: Writing Inspiration and Style

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter!

This week I met up with a close friend that I only see about every 6 months. Our relationship is strange, but also very strong. We see each other about twice a year - three times a few years ago - and every time we meet up for coffee we pick up right where the last time left off. The familiarity and the easiness of conversation is something that I don’t really have with a lot of people and it is the best every time. We quickly catch up on life events and random things that happened to us and then get to the good philosophical/social/cultural stuff. She is writing a piece of long fiction and for some reason I always give her my best writing advice (despite being slightly younger and slightly more inexperienced). While talking about writing and the craft of composing a piece I realized that I have read a lot of books recently that changed the way that I look at writing - really inspiring works. All but one of these books I’ve talked about in this newsletter before, but I thought I would outline them again anyway.

Shelter In Place by Alexander Maksik (fiction)

Shelter in Place is such a unique and charismatic piece of writing. It’s voice and narration is short and simple, but honest and thrilling all at the same time. The way that the Maksik deals with mental disorder and depression are clear and (again) honest, characterizing it sometimes as a bird that looms over him, and other times a black tar that sinks into his mind and takes over. It is hard to explain why the writing is good other than just to say that it is compelling and heartfelt. I tried to read A Marker to Measure Drift, which was the book that was released before Shelter in Place but found that the style wasn’t at all the same and that it didn’t have the same appeal to me - this might have been because I finished Shelter In Place and then immediately went to the library to find A Marker to Measure Drift and that maybe I was too invested in the style to appreciate it fully. I might go back to it later when some time has passed and I have calmed the fuck down about how great that book was.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong (poetry)

I picked this book up this week after many, many visits to the Powell’s Books Poetry section. Nancy Showers posted a short excerpt from one of the poems after Brant picked it up for her while he was in Portland a few months ago and I was super intrigued. Poetry is not a format that I usually gravitate towards, but there is something special about Vuong’s style of imagery - it is so vivid and full of violence, much like his life was/is. The entire book has a through line and personal history that is just fascinating. I finished it in one sitting and plan to go back through a few more times, if anything just to gleam the style for little hints and the way that certain rhythms are constructed by the layout. If you have been sleeping on good modern poetry - like me - and think of it as the old school rhyming algorithm, I definitely suggest picking up this book. 

Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti (autobiography)

I wrote about this last week, so I’ll keep it brief. The non-fiction style of this book is the kind that is most appealing to me. A mixture of personal stories, including the ups and downs of the in-between-times when art isn’t exactly making things work, personal successes, and the really bad times behind the scenes. There is something that is deeply personal - and I know that you are thinking that it is an autobiography, and the answer should be no shit, but it isn’t always the whole picture with some authors and I feel like they leave out their insights into what is happening around them during the different periods of their lives - and diary-esque about the way the book is written.   

It’s Only The End of The World (Juste la fin du monde) written and directed by Xavier Dolan (movie)

I also wanted to include this movie because the dialogue and the tone of the movie was so perfect. It was awkward and troubling, familiar (literally and figuratively) and distant. It managed to convey the nervousness that comes with re-connection and the kind of weird separation that happens when you leave the family home to start your adult life. I still live very close to both my parents and my only brother, but it still conveyed to me a certain message. Leaving is hard. Perception is even harder. And that sometimes you think that you are doing something for yourself, but you also need to (in a sense) give permission to yourself and others to feel a certain way about it. There was a point in the movie where the main character - who has left home and made a very successful life for himself pursuing his passion in the city, basically he is the one who left and despite still sending postcards and letters, has created a great distance - is talking to his mother alone and she asks him to give his younger sister (who he didn’t really grow up with because she was much younger while he was living at home) permission to visit him in the city - permission to leave home - permission to explore despite herself. I thought that was interesting, and really well portrayed with long, uncomfortable shots of both characters during their conversation.

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Schedule:

We have a show tonight! In Seattle! With Jihad and UNCRSD

7-10-17: Jonathan Safron Foer at Powell’s

7-11-17: <PIG> at Star Theater

7-14-17: Pharmakon at High Water Mark

7-18-17: I am helping to screen the new Mater Suspiria Vision film Phantasmagoria

7-28-17: Terminus Fest

7-29-17: Terminus Fest

7-30-17: Terminus Fest

8-13-17: Portland Industrial Goth (P.I.G.) Festival at the Paris Theater (The Blood of Others will be playing)

A Darker Figure #71: Art and Perception (Cynicism), Art Sex Music, and upcoming events

Welcome to A Darker Figure #71!

I have been thinking a lot about originality and making something unique, which is something that I think has become pretty difficult lately. I am a little worried that we have been sucked into an age of immediate gratification to the point that we are missing what is honest and sometimes failing to appreciate the work that goes into an art form. Here is a good example of something that I am bad at:

This week DKA Records (home to a lot of great EBM/throwback bands) put up the second album from Sally Dige for pre-order. In the album description it points out that “Stunningly, Sally used only her voice and a single synth to create this album. Even with so little gear, the songs are anything but minimal. Each song has a minimum of 100 tracks and, for some songs, 100 tracks for just the drum section alone. Every audible sound has 20 other sounds swimming beneath it.” Which I immediately when Noooopppeeeee, because if there were 100 tracks of drums it would get to the point where the frequencies would be full enough to cancel out the other drum sounds - meaning that you can layer as many kick drums as you want, but eventually it will become muddled and you’ll have to turn some of them down to the point where you cannot hear them at all, or even feel their impact. The idea that “every audible sound has 20 other sounds swimming beneath it” is a really strange thing to claim, especially when you listen to the track because it is pretty standard for not only the label, but for the current trend of mixed genre post-punk/throwback synth. Going in, having read the description first, I was expecting something a lot more experimental and noise-driven.

But! That is not the point and clearly a sign that I have lost my faith in artists and the cynicism has taken over. My immediate rejection of something that I am skeptical about is a problem - even if a lot of people who make music that I have talked to about it share a similar view - because that kind of misses the purpose of the art form. As an artist, Sally Dige has made a decision that she wants to explore the concept of making music with just one synth and her voice through a method that is highly unorthodox, and for that I should be very excited. The idea that people are still pushing the boundaries of music creation and exploring whatever crazy idea they might have about production - breaking the mold, bucking the system, etc - should be extremely exciting. But for me it wasn’t. For me, it was a rejection and an immediate skepticism, which I think has a lot to do my perception of the genre and the presentation of the album and not to do with the ideas behind the project.

For example - and this makes me uncomfortable a little bit because I am aligning a set of male artists over a solo female artist but when I tried to compare two female artists I also felt weird about it, so I’ll give both! - If Chrysalide (who are one of my favorite bands) put this in the album description I would be stoked as hell, spending hours trying to find the subtle shifts and differences in the sounds. Or if Pharmakon had the same description for the latest album, Contact, I wouldn’t even think twice about it because my perception of the music is that it is experimental and very oddly exploring emotion and comfort through sound. But my perception of the music, which I find to be only-okay, has tainted the statement and I find it harder and harder to believe the more I think about it, when I should instead think of it like absurdist art practices - doing something to just see how it works and finding a style that is honest and worthwhile to the artist, even/especially if it is unorthodox.

I recently finished Cosey Fanni Tutti’s book Art Sex Music, which is entirely about creating art and trying to live in the world as a unique and strange person. Cosey spent most of her life trying to do something that was counter to what people thought was generally accepted as art, and a lot of times didn’t get a lot of recognition for it from the art world until 30 years after it was premiered. Which is crazy. It would be crazy and difficult to do something - like a release a new album that you are very proud of - and then have a pretty good, but overall not very impactful reaction from a larger audience, and then 30 years later the largest gallery in the country is asking for an exclusive show of archived materials based around that album. The Throbbing Gristle parts of the book weren’t the most interesting parts of her career, when I read it, and I find that super fascinating. Especially because she was kind of screwed over constantly with Throbbing Gristle.

What I found more interesting is that she went out and did the art that she had to do, because it was where her heart was, and even if it was not what people wanted, it was honest and original. This book is an inspiring and honest/brutal look at what it took to become an artist. Even with success. If you are any type of artist or musician I would highly recommend checking this book out. It was full of great experience and knowledge, but mostly it was filled to the brim with a genuine look at struggle that I really appreciated. It definitely made me look at the art that I do and wish that I was doing something more, which is always a good reminder.

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Currently Reading: Sin City volume 1 by Frank Miller (because Wes lent it to me legitimately 2 years ago and I am terrible.)

Currently Listening To On Audiobook: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

Up on the list to read (haven’t decided which to dive into yet, but Sophie is putting the pressure on for her book):

 

Things coming up that I am involved in:

07/07/17 - Seattle - The Blood of Others opening for Jihad at The Highline Bar

07/18/17 - Portland - I am helping to promoter the Portland premier of the film Phantasmagoria by Cosmotropia de Xam at The Lovecraft for the Mood Ring 2 Year Anniversary Party.

07/28/17 - Calgary, AB - The Blood of Others opens up Terminus Festival

08/12/17 - Portland - The Blood of Others plays P.I.G. Fest 2 at the Paris Theater

Talking to Ghosts Episode 84 - Technophobia

Check out this super fun episode of Talking to Ghosts with Washington, DC based band Technophobia about throwing the biggest Depeche Mode party in all the land, writing on all hardware, and making music for a cause! 

Michael Kurt
A Darker Figure #70: Sociopolitical Corner and 13 Reasons Why

Welcome to A Darker Figure #70. It's going to be hot as fuck this weekend folks. I am not looking forward to it, but maybe that will give me a chance to plow through the rest of Cosey's book Art Sex Music (which continues to be very good.)

I am in the early stages of Operation Get Good and limiting my food portions, jogging at least twice a week (should be three times, but it has been a long and weird week,) and skipping most deserts. It is not great, but definitely required. I am deathly afraid of sleep apnea and have been showing some signs. But! According to Sophie I am snoring a whole lot less and I am starting to feel a big more rested when I sleep - which is kind of too early to tell, but a good sign. 

Some things coming up: 
- There is a new episode of Talking to Ghosts up with the Washington, D.C. band Technophobia that was super fun
- We have a The Blood of Others open practice this Monday at The Lovecraft Bar from 8-10pm
The Blood of Others in Seattle 7/7/717 at The Highline Bar
Pharmakon is coming to town next month and I am super excited for it! 

Sociopolitical corner:
My friend Wes said something recently in a political discussion about atheism that really stuck with me:

"I want to convince them that allowing a power structure to shit on the marginalized doesn't serve their idea of a post-religious world." 

There are a lot of hot takes out there when it comes to politics and religion. There was a scene in the final episode of the first season of The Handmaid's Tale that, unsurprisingly, was a good example of what I fear happens in a closed off room full of men, deciding fate. A member of their political party was adulterous and went beyond the normal government approved version of rape with his handmaid, so he had to stand up in front of a group of peers and tell his version of the story, admitting to god that he was a sinner. They decided that his sins were different from their sins and couldn't let him go unpunished. But the whole thing reeked of religious language and bias-blindness. It made me wonder how many times in the recent months, when discussing something extremely important to people's livelihood (like abortion, or planned parenthood funding), the discussion centered around a religious point of view. Religion is a frustrating part of people's doctrines and moral codes that I think should be left out of a political discussion as much as possible because it tends to ignore the real life impacts of the people in marginalized classes. I think that Wes hit it exactly in his quote above because a lot of atheists fall into a similar, scary trap. Putting anti-religion above the heart of the issues. Basically doing things just to be opposed to religion and not taking into account that they are completely othering people. 

It is a little heartening to see that people are taking action against this healthcare vote. Oregon's senators are pretty solid and have said that they will do everything they can to delay and oppose the vote, which is great, but it has honestly made me a little complacent - which I know is bad and I hate it too. Jeff Merkley's office sent out an online form that allowed you to share your healthcare story and have it included like a phone call in the stats, which I thought was a really good idea. I have only called a government office twice - both this year - and I find is stressful. I also feel that everyone around is like "yeah dude, we think that too," about most of the things that I care about politically. I think that is the problem though, everyone thinks that and they are only half right. Not everyone knows about some of the issues, or how it will really impact those around them. It is super easy to say: well, I have a decent job and decent healthcare, and might be able to afford it even if the system is fucked up and I have to get private healthcare outside of the government system. But it's not about you (or me) right now. It's about those who can't afford it and will be extremely impacted. Scary stuff. 

13 Reasons Why hot take corner: 
I thought the show was great! I understand the controversy surrounding the plot, but I think that a lot of those people didn't finish the show and watch the Beyond The Reason episode after the show ended season 1. It was an extremely sad show that had a lot of good points in it. I was talking with my friend Esme about it and we went down a lot of weird personal stories about high school and bullying. In the Beyond The Reason episode child psychologist Rhonda Hu made a good point about cyber bullying that I liked. Parents now have a hard time understanding cyber bullying because it is so different from when they were bullied in school. Before social media became a staple of everyday living, bullying would stay where it happened (at school, or at the bus stop, or in the local part, etc) and then you would go home and have a haven to protect you from it and you would be able to escape it. But cyber bullying, because social media is so prevalent and such a big part of modern communication, bullying follows you everywhere. At school, at home, in the bathroom. The internet is instant and forever. 

People are super worried that their kids will kill themselves now "because of the show," but I think the opposite is true. I think that kids were always going to kill themselves and now you just know about it. Pay attention to your kids, if you have them. Get them help whether they want it or not. I went to mandatory therapy in high school (after some writing about suicide and death was found by a teacher) and it was the best. I had a really good therapist. Really good. She eventually left and I stopped going to therapy because the two therapists afterwards were terrible at their jobs. But that first year or so of therapy was deeply impactful in the way that I see the world now. It was mandatory and I didn't always want to be there, but it did help at the time.

I am pretty anti-modern-therapy because I think people depend too heavily on it and I don't trust that people have the right intentions when assigning medication, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't impactful in my life. So if you need therapy and have been putting it off, I would suggest seeing a psychologist not a psychiatrist. But definitely see someone. There are also independent companies in Portland like Wise Counsel and Comfort that will work with you on a sliding payment scale, and have a lot of good resources on their website for self help

Personally, I suggest getting super into Sociology and Philosophy instead. Be wary of course, especially of dated philosophies, but make them your own instead! Or go see the band Pleasure Curses play live. If that doesn't make you bounce around and happy, then you definitely need some help. Those dudes are fun as hell to watch perform. 

A Darker Figure #69: Podcasts, dark ambient, and TBOO Open Practice

Welcome to a Darker Figure #69! 
There is a joke to be made, but I am not the kind of person who makes it, but if you are you can fill it in. It is 630 in the morning and it is way too early to be up on a day off, but I had a weird dream about fighting off an attacker who was shooting up a school and that has me a little shaken up - not like panic, but more slow burn terror. Which seems to be the course of things these days. It feels like a lot more has happened in the last 6 months than any year that I remember, but maybe now I am just paying attention? 

I had a conversation yesterday for a special project where the person said that every song that they have written was an incantation to take them to a higher place, and that it has worked every time. I asked them if it they meant that creating it was the ritual, or was the completed product, going out into the world, being taken in by others more important and he said yes to both. I don't practice occult/witchy/religious things myself, but I do find them interesting. The key for me in this was the intent. This person intended to put something out into the world that they believed lifted them up in a way and wanted to share with others. Sounds pretty simple, right? I feel like every few months we, collectively as society, have this conversation of "well, they're just playing a character (as a musician) on stage, and they're actually a pretty cool guy," and it always ends the same way. People apologizing for fascism and hate they think is just part of the show. Old news now, but all music is political and a message is important to someone whether you want it to be or not. As an artist, and a person, you have responsibility and beliefs that you are communicating. If you think this isn't true you are acting blindly or in bad faith, which is worse. Go with intent, even if it just to create something ridiculous that people will laugh at - because we need to laugh too! 

The show that I produced last Sunday was super fun! There were a lot of people that I had not seen out before and that was really awesome. The bands were all great people and they all put on a great show. Really happy about it. Neybuu was very fun to watch, she has a way of making weird beats and tribal stuff that seems to connect with people. I was telling someone that I think she would do well opening for iVardensphere, for obvious reasons, but also because they both play in many genres at once. Pleasure Curses is just a fun band. Period. Their show is high energy and gets you moving. It is very funky, and catchy, but when you see it live you just get sucked in. I would see them again any time. Technophobia were awesome as well, the show as interesting to watch and good quality!  We interviewed them in my car after the show. That episode will be out Monday on the Talking to Ghosts website and iTunes/Stitcher/etc. 

On Saturday, I did a live dark ambient thing for Volt Divers. It was my first time doing something like that live - something completely from scratch, without a real rhythm section to hide behind, and something with live looping. It went well! I was pretty uncomfortable with it, to be honest, but I think that is a good thing. People said they liked it. You can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/product-pdx/sky-symbol-ritual-live-at-volt-divers-61017 

Still reading Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti, it is still very good! I also picked up Bitch Planet, which I have been sleeping on, from a co-worker who didn't like it. I have been meaning to get into it, but didn't have the space in my comic buying schedule. So many good things! 

Anyway.
We have a The Blood of Others Open Practice for the next two Mondays at The Lovecraft from 8pm-10pm. Stop buy! The bar is open like normal, we will just be fucking around trying to get Sophie ready for the Seattle show on 7/7/17. It is free. Just stop by :) 
After that we are on the road to Terminus Festival in Calgary! I finalized some of the details last night and am starting to get really excited. 

Thanks for reading! 

A Darker Figure #68: "Nothingness carries being in its heart"

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter #68! 

Some quick business up front: 
This Saturday! I will be doing a Sky Symbol Rituals set in Portland at The Lovecraft Bar as part of the always amazing Volt Divers night. I am either second from the start or second from the last, I can never tell with these events. 
This Sunday! I will be at the Lovecraft hosting some really great bands: Technophobia, Pleasure Curses, and Neybuu with live video work by Cari Gummer. It is going to be super fun and I am looking forward to it. If you are in Portland it is $5 and will be over by 1030... so... you should definitely come out. 
- We will be having two The Blood of Others "open practices" at The Lovecraft Bar on Monday 6/19 and Monday 6/26 from 8ish to 10ish. We will be running through the new 40 minute set with Sophie on bass keys! It is free, and open like normal, we'll just be going through the songs a few times. So come out and enjoy! 
Mr. Kitty and The Rain Within are coming on the same night as Adult. and Sextile... I am not sure which one I will make it to (probably the Adult. show only because I saw both Mr. Kitty and The Rain Within fairly recently, and will be seeing them again at Terminus in July.) Both shows have had some great feedback from the internet so far, so you should try to make it out! 

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I am trudging my way through Being and Nothingness. It is a very complicated book that I am pretty invested in because a lot of it has to do with the philosophy that I tend to agree with the most. Here are some thoughts from page 1-56: 

(Talking about destruction and existence:)
"In the absence of this witness, there is being before as after the storm - that is all. If a cyclone can bring about the death of certain living beings, this death will be destruction only if it is experienced as such." (p. 38) 

It is equally important and difficult for me to remember that just because you don't perceive something as being a destruction - like the palm oil industry, which is pretty quietly destroying a shit ton of the environment and enslaving people, but still ends up in a lot of commercial vegan products that are sold on the premise (at least to me) that this is the least-shitty version of this chocolate bar that will also taste like you remember it tasting and not like barkdust (here is a good one with no palm oil) - and just because you don't know what destruction looks like because it is hidden on the outskirts of all the terrible things that effect a certain kind of politics - i.e. it is hard to keep track of all of the otherworldly agonies that are occurring in places like Syria when something like The Comey Testimony is Grade A drama television in real life and will directly (or almost directly) impact the country that I live in. It is hard to keep track. I talked the other week about how our neighborhood was on lockdown because someone had a gun and was waving it around, which was literally close to home, and about how I had to quickly unfollow the Portland Police Twitter account because it was a scary, scary reminder of how often things go wrong all around you and how easy it is to just stay inside and watch Netflix. 

I have remind myself, too, that listening is the best form of learning and that it is important to listen/read a lot of different perspectives on an issue. And that destruction at a distance exists before and after it occurs, but not while it is occurring because I am not there to witness it with my own inputs (emotional, physical, psychological, etc.) 

Sartre, in the next section, goes on to lay out Heidegger's understand of reality which is fairly complicated but basically ends with "humans create being and reality." We collectively create reality. We each have our own realities that are consistently overlapping in an outward spiral to create an understanding of the greater "world." It is people that create law, and government, and conflict, and weapons, and racial tension, and sexual discrimination, and wages, and living, etc, etc, forever. So when someone posits, usually innocently, that something is just the way it is or that boys will be boys or that that is just how men talk in the locker room to each other they are knowingly (but maybe not consciously) excusing themselves from the responsibility of personal action and reality. 

Just be cool to each other and know that everything you do and say is not only directly your responsibility, but also may be a destruction to someone else - no matter your intention. 

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I also started reading Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti this week during some long days at work and it is just as delightfully written as you would expect. She had a weird life and is pretty straightforward about it in this book. I am still on early childhood-teen-post school times, but you already get the feeling that thing are going to get pretty nuts for her, in a good way (and sometimes a bad way.) I definitely suggest picking it up if you are into Throbbing Gristle, or performance art in general. 

That is all! Have a good weekend. Read more. :)