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Friday, February 25, 2005

THE MEANING OF ART

Is anyone familiar with Hugo Simberg? I know just a bit about him, but have liked his work since I was in college. I think his one of his more famous works is "Wounded Angel" and there is quite a bit written about the meaning of that work. The obvious is that the setting of the painting is quite real --- a path leading to an institution for blind childeren. The angel's eyes are covered, her head bowed down, some flowers in her hand, a bit of blood on her wing, sitting on a sort of stretcher with two boys carrying her. The older of the two boys is looking at the viewer with a glance/stare that can be interpretted several ways. I do not usually agree with the many interpretations I have read. There seems someting sinister about this painting to me --- which is not what I usually find in the interpretations I read. First of all, the painting is dark. The flowers in the angels hand are wilted or dead/dying. The covering of her eyes looks more like the wrap we see on prisoners or kidnap victims and she clutches the stretcher as if in pain. And then the stare of the older boy seems to me to be one of defiance or threat. ...and how was the angel injured? Did these boys have something to do with it? Are they forcing her toward the institution for blind children or does she simply need their help in getting there? The other boy, in a hat, looks as if he might be quite upset. And, yet so many find a sort of inspiration to the work. Or, have I just missed more significant interpretations? At any rate, I have always loved this painting. Maybe because it is dark or maybe (and I think this is more the case for me) it is that I find it to be so mysterious and open-ended.

"They" say art is what you bring to it. Am I bringing too much of myself and inner-pain to Simberg's painting? Or is it the darkness of the work that draws me to it?

Roy -- if you're reading this, what are your thoughts as an artist?

Jen -- Is there a Catholic meaning to the work that I would not catch?

Thomas/Jon/Ian/Hot Toddy/Karl/George/Tom/Karyn/Doug -- what do you guys think? Post your thoughts vs sending me a private email -- unless you just feel more comfortable letting me know off-line/blog.

What does anyone reading this think?

If you're not familiar with Simberg, his work or this particular work --- just go to google.com and do a search for Simberg's Wounded Angel and you will find a link to it. It is a color painting, but I have had a print of it in black and white for over a year. I only just placed it in a frame last week. I never set it out or shared it because I couldn't decide what I thought of it.

However, now that I can sit/display any art I please --- I sat it on my living room trunk this past weekend.

I like looking at it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

ROUND ONE?

This is probably going to be a somewhat cryptic posting, but I feel the need to put something down on my blog. Sometimes when the people or the entities which you have respected and placed your loyalty with let you down --- It is a pretty hard blow. However, when those same people and entities decide to actually start gut punching you --- you have two choices in life.

You can give up and walk away or you can stand your ground and fight like hell.

I've slipped the metaphoric gloves on and have planted my feet firmly into the dirty canvas-like floor.

...and the guy outside the ring rolls up his sleeves to sound the bell. The real match is about to start. If honesty, integrity and ethics still count for anything --- this is a fight I will not lose. The only problem is that I am starting to wonder if those attributes matter much to the machine that runs our world. I guess I will find out soon enought.

I'm ready. Bring it on. Let's roll.

Monday, February 21, 2005

WHO IS THIS BITCH, ANYWAY?

That is the title of a jazz CD I picked up by a singer called Marlena Shaw and I have to say it is one of the best jazz/funk CD's I've ever heard! When I saw the title and the cover I couldn't decide what I thought. The cover is actually a stunning photograph of a beautiful and proud looking woman of color with a traditional afro and an African shoulder necklace. The photo is in lush/fuzzy black and white and Marlena Shaw looks ice cold --- but the CD is full of warmth, humor and a great mix of old school R&B with just a touch of jazz. It was released on Blue Note records in 1975. I don't think it was much of a hit, but it should have been. This CD makes Angie Stone sound lame --- and I love Angie Stone.

Anyway, if you like some funk in your jazz and 70's R&B --- this is a CD you want!

Now, my big question --- Who is this Marlena Shaw, anyway? I refuse to believe she is a bitch. Looks like her last CD was released in 2000 on an obscure lable. She is apparently fairly popular in Japan. ...but, then again, who isn't?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

COULD IT BE THE HOLY GRAIL OF GREAT BAD CINEMA?!?!?!?

There are so many films which are so very bad that they come around again to being great fun to watch! It is my opinion that the best bad films are the ones that were meant to be good because somewhere in the mess which has been poured on to celluloid -- there is a heart just bursting with really bad art! Like a velvet Elvis --- how can one resist the tacky charm!

Among the many films you might find me watching at any given time are MOMMIE DEAREST (featuring a fairly fierce impersonation of Joan Crawford by Faye Dunaway --- the only problem is that in her zest to bring Joan to life she brought more up than what was needed. Faye Dunaway has essentially been a drag queen ever since. However, don't mess with her. This ain't her first time at the rodeo, boys!) VALLEY OF THE DOLLS --- a true train wreck of a film! And, afterall, who among us has not roamed the streets belching on about "boobies, boobies, boobie!" ...You can just tell that Patty Duke knew she was going to win that gold again! And, poor Ms. Parkins just seems to be demanding movie star respect with each exaggerated gasp of a line! BEYOND VALLEY OF THE DOLLS --- scripted by Roger Ebert. Let's just say that this little fat man has no business judging the work of other artists after putting those words into motion. Then again, it was his scene and it was freaking him out, man! THUNDERCRACK! ...A great blogger by the name of Trash Addict (see my links to the left) turned me on to this gem of painfully odd and bad cinema. I do not know even what to say about THUNDERCRACK except that you really need to see it if you think you've already seen the very best that bad cinema has to offer. Trust me. Go ahead. Do a few searches --- you will find it out there on DVD. There are so many other great bad films.

...However, I think I may have finally seen The Holy Grail of bad cinema gone good. I have always heard of it, but it is not in print for VHS, PAL or DVD. But, if one looks hard enough --- one will find what is wanted. Yes, kids --- you can find an exceptional quality transfer to DVD of 1968's infamous WILD IN THE STREETS. This may be the best/worst movie I have ever seen. It really lives up and beyond its reputation! Filmed at the height and the collapse of the flower child dream, this odd big budget movie offers us the story of hippies and mods gone wild. Yes, they really do go wild in the streets. In fact the teens take over the country and eventually put all Americans over the age of 30 in LSD Camps. One does not know the pain of watching a briliantly-trained method actress play out her vision of an LSD/Acid trip until one sees Shelley Winters do it. I mean, this turn as the mother of the 24 year old mod leader of the US makes her death scene in THE POSEIDEN ADVENTURE look believeable. And then, we have Richard Pryor on the drums. Yes, the way-cool president has a rock band too --- and he is the lead singer! The music and sets are so fucking hip they are square! And poor Diane Varsi deserves some sort of medal for her winning speach to congress that the age of consent is being changed to 14. Why, in the first 3 minutes of this film we get to see a pre-Brady Bunch Greg get bitch slapped by Shelley Winters -- in stop action!!!! Is it a message film? Is it meant to serve as a warning to the over 30's of the late 60's or a rally cry to the kids who, at that time, were the majority of the population? Or is it a pro-drug movie? I suspect it is an example of a big studio trying to cash in on those cool moves being made by Peter Fonda and Roman Polanski. They failed in a very big way.

...but I am so very glad that they did ---- and that I found and own WILD IN THE STREETS on DVD. I think it may be the best. Don't attempt to debate it with me unless you've seen Shelley Winters trip on acid! ...in an LSD concentration camp. I do not think it can be beat! ...and, I haven't even mentioned the musical numbers and mind-numbing editing!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

WHY IS IT SO HARD?

Dating just sucks. It seems like everyone wants someone who doesn't want them. Perhaps I am over-reacting, but being unattainable seems to turn most guys on. I don't get it.

A new pal of mine recently shared some thoughts of love. I had been telling him that, I feel, our culture has over-used the word "love" so much that it has come to mean very little. Love mean something different to everyone and it seems to get bandeed about too much. Is "bandeed" a word????? ...I have a degree in English.

Anyway, I found this really interesting, so with Tom's permissionn -- I am posting the LOVE STYLES he shared with me. It is my understanding that these were created by a psychologist, but Tom wrote it out from memory. So the idea/concept is not is, but this is not written as the original author would have written it.

THE SIX STYLES OF LOVE

1.EROTIC LOVE (eros) is that based on physical attraction to a certain type. It is often experienced instantaneously, even
for a stranger. It can be intense and passionate if requited.

2. LUDIC LOVE (ludus - from the Latin word for play) is light and playful. It is love as a game. All that courship intrigue of flirting, and joking, approaching and backing off, and none of it taken too seriously. It could also be just "having fun" in bed.

3. STORGIC LOVE (storge - a Greek word for a type of friendship) is the nonsexual intimacy felt between close friends.
This is the love that cannot honestly be experienced instantly but build up over time. It is warm and comforatble, not passioate or frenzied. Intimacy comes from knwoing a person well through many different trials and contexts.
This love can be put on hold, left for years and come back without damaging it at all.

4. PRAGMATIC LOVE (pragma) is the practical love for a partner who fits the right profile socially: is about the right age, has the right job, is the right ethnicity, will be approved by your parents... People want to make a choice in their partner that will be socially validated by those around them, therefore stands a better chance of "working." This type of love does not at all apply to Mary Kay Latourneau, or Romeo and Juliet, for example.

5. AGAPIC LOVE (agape - have you read the famous description of love in II Corntihians by St. Paul?) is altruistic and
self-sacrificing. It asks for nothng in return. Maybe the paradigm is the love of a mother for a helpless child, or the devoted care of a gay man whose partner is dying of AIDS and suffers from dementia so he no longer even remembers him.

6. MANIA LOVE (mania) is the intense passion of "falling in love," felt for only one person at a time. This is the most intense type of love experience. It is short lived, lasting for a honeymoon period. Tom prefers to call this "limerence" - another term
that has been coined to describe the feeling. This is a dangerous kind of love, because if it is unrequited
can lead to a depression, similar to grief over loss of a loved one.

What kind of love do you seem to share the most with? Which love is preferable?

...and, is it possible to find it "online" We shall see!

Monday, February 14, 2005

VALENTINE'S DAY: HALLMARK TORTURE or ROMANCE-FILLED DAY OF LOVE?

I was going to compose an essay on this very question, but was too worried that the Blue Bird of Happiness & Joy would soar thru my balcony window peck my ear off. Let's just agree that it is one of those days that allows all of us to eat chocolate and leave it at that! LOL!

Actually, my pal, George, sent me a beautiful vase of flowers today in honor of Valentine's Day and our friendship. It was very sweet and made my day! If ya wanna see 'em --- just scroll down to my online photo albums and take a look.

Some day I will figure out how to just post pictures to my blog.

I've left the balcony window open slightly. I figured since I didn't say anything mean/critical of the holiday that I might have a shot at Cupid flying in and jabbing me with his arrrow!

Is Cupid male or female? I think it is a male --- or is it an angel? Well, you know that odd little cherub-like thing with the bow and arrow. I would not mind if it stopped by and gave me a stab-o-love!

kisses and happy valentine's day wishes for everyone!
matt

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A VALENTINE FROM THREE LITTLE ANGELS!

During a rather frustrating and challenging Friday afternoon the conceirge desk notified me that I had a delivery downstairs. Worried that I had some other strange item coming in from Ebay --- I took the elevator down. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted wtih one of those long boxes from FTD filled with a dozen red roses!!!

No one has ever "sent" me flowers before, so I was puzzled as to who would be sending ME such beautiful flowers. I opened the card and three of my favorite people on the planet decided to send me roses to wish me a happy Valentine's Day! Christopher, Nick and Brendan are the children of one of my dear friends, Angie. Suddenly, my bad day turned happy! If you want to see the flowers, just scroll down to my online photo album link and look at the album labeled "Flower Pour Moi!"

This got my weekend off to a great start. I hung out with two friends, Chee-Keng and George. Actually, George needed to get away from the mountain of work he has been climbing regarding the RI Film Festival --- so he stayed thru this morning. We watched lots of cool DVD's, talked about film and politics for hours, took in the new documentary, INSIDE DEEP THROAT, at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge --- It has been a very relaxing and nice weekend. I insisted that George take the bed as I actually find the sofa to be more comfortable. Anyway, he was kind enough to treat me to brunch a little while ago.

And, this evening ---- I've a date! Well, actually, I am going to have the pleasure of meeting up with an individual from match.com for dinner. I am probably the only person on the planet who enjoys meeting new people this way. You always hope that there could be a magical connection waiting for you, but logically it is just an opportunity to meet someone with some common interests. At the very worst, I think we can become friends! It is a rather unusual time in my life to be meeting guys, but the one thing I seem to have a lot of right now is time --- so, as long as the doctor is cool with it, why not step out for dinner to meet someone? Exactly!

There is another intersting fellow who I hope to meet soon! Fingers crossed!

Ah, yes, the fun world of dating! ...and medication withdrawl! LOL! Better to laugh!

love,
matt

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

TRIPPING ABOUT

You know how Laurie Anderson once said that walking was simply catching yourself just before you fall? Well, I wasn't doing a very good job at catching myself today. I feel down like 5 times. Not hurt or anything --- but I sure am tired of dealing with all of these odd side effects from the meds. Met with the doctor yesterday and he is going to drop me off one of the meds within the next three weeks as the "tapering down" continues. However, he is still concerned about tapering the main problem drug just yet. UGH!!!!!

Poor Karl got really sick yesterday into today. I think he has strep. I picked up some soup and over-the-counter medicines for him. Of course I had to push him to take the medicine. He was feeling a bit better, but looked really sick.

Of course, I know that I will come down with whatever he has within the next 24 to 48 hours as my luck would have it. Almost willing to be on it! LOL!

Hot Toddy is going to help me promote my brother's art gallery showing in NY! Of course he is requiring to pay him off in the most obscene of ways. However, being that this was at my suggestion and that I look forward to the big pay off --- am not really sure who is paying off whom? who? ...my degree is in English. Tho, my writing style would never indicate this.

love and kisses,
matt

Monday, February 07, 2005

MY BROTHER'S FIRST SOLO ART SHOW IN MANHATTAN!!!!

Had a really nice visit with my brother this past weekend! It was so cool to see him ---- and he looks most cool with his long hair. Now, if he will just get a perm!!!! (smile!) ---- Posted some new pix, just scroll down and check out my online photo albums. Anyway, I hope I didn't bore him too much! We didn't do too much. I had very little energy.

Anyway, if any of you reading this are in NY or will be in The City at the time, please check it out and help me spread the word! I am really proud of him for securing this! I am going to try to get down there for a weekend to check it out!!!

Here is the info!

His show will be held in The Lab Gallery which is next door to The Roger Smith Hotel at 501 Lexington Ave (right near the Grand Central subway stop.

The dates for the show are March 17th thru March 26th

contact info:

Matthew Semler
Artistic Director
The Lab Gallery

212.339.2092

Please help me spread the word, kids!!!!

kisses,
matt



Friday, February 04, 2005

THE SELLING OF BETTY, SONY ROBOTIC DOG AT LARGE

The sale of our condo closed yesterday. It took all day. Mostly me and Karl just waiting. We were both a bit bummed about the "profit" once all was said and done. However, it is done and we are no longer home owners. To be quite honest, I do not enjoy home owning. I want someone else to fix things.

With everything else going on in my life, I guess the sale of the condo was a bit stressful to me. Came down with a horrible migraine last night. Head still feels as if someone stuck a spike thru my skull, but other than that --- am feeling fine! Smile!

I boxed up my robotic dog, Betty --- impulse purchase from Hell, and handed the seemingly posessessed toy to Karl who is going to sell her on Ebay for me. I am sure that there is someone out there who will want to give the evil thing a home. Speaking of evil things ---- check out the Fresh Hell now in my kitchen. Just scroll down to bottom of my links and go into my on-line photo albums. Yet another one of those mysterious purchases made while in the doctor-induced horror of withdrawl as they get me off this med combo I should have never been on in the first place. This thing in the kitchen is so very ugly that it makes my purchase of the nude Burt Reynolds pocket mirror seem like a dream purchase! LOL!

My Merry Maid team just left. I love those two ladies even tho I am unable to pronounce their names or understand anything they say to me. The apartment smell so clean --- and, once again, I marvel at the very careful re-placement of my knick-knacks. My interest in wathching them spend so much time placing them in different ways after they've dusted/polished is probably more telling than the way they do this, but I just love watching those ladies re-arrange my stuff. It feels like they are putting their own stamp of personality in my home and I just love that. Of course, I spend about 20 minutes carefully placing everything back as it should be! ...but I do enjoy watching their processes. And, I have to say, I almost agreed with one of the ladies choice to place the fairy on globe closer to the Scary Thai Doll. However, after careful consideration --- I have moved the fairy farther from the doll. Better to be safe than sorry!

My brother is coming to visit tomorrow! My pal, Bethie, is stopping by Sunday afternoon before she spends a romantic evening with her love. Sunday is their one year anniversary of dating!!!!

Oh! And, one of the Merry Maid ladies figured out how to remove the odd stain left by my right hand on my iBook G4! It took me only a few minutes to explain the issue to her and WHAM --- the stain that has perplexed me for a couple of weeks is gone. Don't know how she did it, but I love her. I love Merry Maids!

Oh, I just finished reading HAROLD'S END by JT LeRoy. It blew me away! The illustrations are amazing as well. And in a rare move, I have decided to keep it! Now, I am eager to read his other two novels!

kisses,
matt

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

OK, SO, THIS REALLY HAPPENED...

I am not going to tell you where I was, however I had a doctor's apointment today so it just might have been in a swanky office building, could have been at Harvard Law School or it could have been here at my apartment building. I was waiting for the elevator to reach the lobby so that I could exit. Bing! Lobby level --- doors open. I nearly walk right into a very lovely woman. Couiffed to perfection, nails tastefully painted, a modest but effective power suit and legs for days. She smiled --- like a ray of white gleaming between two pink lips. I said, "Excuse me" and she politely said, "No, excuse me" We smiled at each other. I exited the elevator, she entered. As the doors to the elevator were shutting I heard a fart eminate from within that little space she just entered. I mean, this lady squirted a a MAJOR passage of wind. ...then, to top it off --- she belched like a 200 pound truck driver. Yes, team --- beauty fades, but a fart is forever.

Well, therapy sucked. I am tired of being at home. However, I am able to sleep pretty well. No reason to get too excited this just means that the other doctor will be lower my dosage again next week. I can hardly wait. Am not sure if I have actually blogged about this, but my firm has decided that they are unable to wait for the doctors to release me back to work and are recruiting to replace my position. It sucks because I liked my position there, but so it goes. I will be returning to the firm at the same rank/level of Assistant Director but will be serving the firm in another capacity. I don't know what that will be. I think I did well at my job and I gave a lot of myself to it and to the people for whom and with I worked. I was the first person in the position so I played a major role in helping to define it. Feels a bit like my baby has been taken away. Am looking at it from the positive side --- this may offer me a new an excitng opportunity within the firm when I return. ...I just hope I return soon! UGH!

Had lunch with Karl and we had a nice chat. I am really pleased that he and I have been able to remain pals. It feels totally natural. He was telling me about his man! (smile!) Am looking forward to meeting Rich. Karl seems very happy so I already like him! And, tomorrow, we finally close on the sale of the condo. I've determined that Karl is probably going to have to prop me up as I am still quite overly-medicated in the am --- hard to function at all. However, I will have to manage. All I have to do is sign. Karl will just have to nudge me if I drift off. LOL! Should be interesting! I was going to delay taking the morning dose, but that can't be done. Oh well.

For those of you who are following the saga that is my life ---- my happiest weekend ever may have just been that. ...a fleeting, but wonderous weekend. I hope that I am wrong. I am really thinking hard about it and what I want/need out of life. There is so much going on right now. I just don't know. However, I've no regrets. I met a prince --- and loved every single minute of it and him I just might not be the prince for him. Sometimes life works that way.

On the lighter side, I've posted some way cool new pictures in a new photo album linked below. I think you will all be impressed with what a Russian artiste made for me! I had emailed with him this past summer --- and I had forgotten about it, but the package found me. It might scare you a little, but you have to admit. ...it is unique!!!!!

kisses,
matt