Saturday, August 31, 2019

Tosh's Journal: August 31st (Meditation on Power)


August 31st

Power. I love power. There is something so beautiful about the nature of power in that at the end of the day, all that matters is… power. The people who tend not to like power are the ones that usually are not fit in that position or have a role in power. Also oddly enough they appeared to be getting fucked on a regular basis. They're almost wearing a sign around their neck, saying, "Kick me." But also keep in mind in the role of society, you need these pathetic people, because they will always take abuse, and on times, thank you for it. They can usually survive due that they can always find another loser among the ranks that will help them out. One thing that weak people are good at is finding other defenseless people. What they share is their hatred of those who are entitled. In fact, it is virtually a mania for these people. The more that they express their contempt for the powerful, the more powerful I get. It is just like a broken water pipe during a drought. They blame the neighbor watering his lawn too much, but meanwhile, they sheepishly accept the real-power-to-be and become bullies themselves. It never fails, in that, they are frustrated by those who control their lives, but they will take it upon themselves to make a fellow citizen feel the blows of their world.

It is usually a huge gesture that makes the powerless feel even more helpless. Public, almost random, executions always drive them batty. They run back to their shabby homes and frown in front of their computers. If you overload them full of rotten images, they usually become numb to them. Excess is my perfume; for another, it can smell like shit.

Nevertheless, my role is intended to be an entertainer of sorts. I am dishing out punishment as much as favors. My philosophy consists of keeping them guessing. It is sort of like being behind a mammoth recording mixing board, and you control the sounds in that room. More vocals, but to do that you have to lessen the cello player's input. He or she will complain, but when the moment seems almost too bleak, throws them a bone. They'll gobble it down with pure happiness and a sense of regret.

They say power adds a certain amount of isolation. This is true. I have put numerous prisoners through solitary confinement, and the irony is, I too put myself in that state of mind. I basically like people to have sex with, and the ability to master their lives. This gives me great comfort at the end of the day. For Love, I have assorted animals that I am quite fond of. I never mistreat an animal in my life, because I know by their nature that they will if they are given the opportunity, eat me up.

On the other hand, people reason themselves for survival and therefore rarely strike back in a consistent method. If you consistently push and push a crowd or a group, they will eventually fight back. The thing is the fact that they are so frustrated and so full of false pride, they will do something quite futile, like using a useless weapon of some sort. Once they are doing that, then I can bring the army in and crush them. Not enough to destroy them, but sufficient for them to experience the power of my will.

I allow elections and a governing body into my reign of 'pleasures. 'However, I make sure that they are either voting for Heckle or Jeckle. The best policy is to ensure that each party fears the other. Therefore a voter will vote out of fear for the other person, and they will never vote for what they desire. In a democracy, even a fake one like ours, people tend to vote in a negative fashion. They fear the other politician because so-of-so, but the fact is both parties are the same thing. Which again, by the end of the day, is intended to support yours truly. All I can say is let them hate (me) so as long as they fear (me). Whatever becomes of me, it will just be my body gone, therefore, and for all purposes, I live. - Tosh Berman.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Tosh's Journal: August 30


August 30

All artists aim at creating their world. What makes them a good artist is their ability to be pleased with their vision when it now comes to life. I have consistently been intrigued by Victor Frankenstein because he had an idea, and he failed. Decay is a fascinating subject in itself. I often buy fruit, such as a banana, not to eat, but to see it die. Although technically fruits are dead when they arrive in your kitchen or at the market, but to me to see it in such a beautiful shape and then, over a short period, turn ugly, and ripe with goo, which is almost like blood, and it's a fascinating process for me. Frankenstein appears to be not that much into life, but more of watching the decay in action, and having that figure (his monster) commenting on the decline of life.

One of Doctor Frankenstein's significant influences was Paracelsus, who lived in Swiss Germany from 1493 to 1541. An occultist, but one who didn't study from manuscripts, but from nature and life in front of him. He gave zinc its name and also discovered that some diseases are rooted in psychological illness. With that inspiration, Frankenstein collected body parts from various graveyards to see if he can bring dead tissue back to life. He eventually succeeds, but alas, his sense of the aesthetic and design was terrible. The "creature" turned out ugly. Very ugly.

Seeing his invention come to life, and not to his liking, he flees the creature. In a real sense, he's the father who leaves the child, but even worse, he doesn't provide for the creation that he created. Alone, Frankenstein's "monster" demands that he makes him a mate, a female that he can be with. He does, but the "good" doctor destroys his creation, realizing that he started a new race. With that in mind, his monster swears that he will kill him and anyone he comes in contact with. So what we are confronted with is revenge, stupidity, and passion for creating something that wasn't there before.

I'm often jealous that I have never created a character (besides myself) that either makes their world or at the very least, have some importance to the world out there. I never loved Robert Crumb.  I have consistently admired the fact that he presented a landscape that is so full of his characters and even has a soundtrack attached to those images. Eros becomes one's world if they focus and concentrate on making that world. I don't accept a lot of his imagery, but that is perfectly fine because one can enter or leave the entrance to one's desire. There is always an exit, but unlike Victor Frankenstein, he didn't make a proper exit for his invention.

The role of the dandy is to re-make the world into their vision. This is sometimes not a workable solution; nevertheless, an adventure does come out of the process. The art of it is to embrace your creativity and feed and entwine oneself around it no matter what the cost is. For inspiration, I look upon Joan Blondell in "Gold Diggers of 1933. A citizen of the depression, she makes efforts to embrace a new career in illusion, which is the essence of show business - to create a world that doesn't exist, to exist. Every day, every hour - I work hard to live, and I appreciate the spirit that wants to create, but again, it is the art of living. Some are masters, and some are just failures. But one can learn from both positions.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Tosh's Journal - August 29

Very rarely has my father dealt with his memory of a place or time. He looked at the world as "now," and history I think meant a lot to him, but he was a person who existed for the present. So one would never ask him what it was like being in a recording studio with Charlie Parker. My father is dead, and I'm curious to know these things now, for instance, what did Parker say or do in that recording studio in Glendale, California? To hold that much culture on one's shoulder, one would think someone needs to share that information. Alas, as time marches on, the faces and names get cloudy, but surely Charlie Parker is important enough to share that tib-bit of details regarding what it was like to be in a room with Charlie Parker.

It comes as no surprise that I feel like Pinkie in Graham Greene's novel "Brighton Rock, which was also an excellent film starring Richard Attenborough. I'm so full of anger that I take out - anything, anyone, anywhere. I want to destroy so I can be devastated. My existence is so full of holes, that if you drew it on paper, you would need to have a mouse sticking his head through one of the cheese holes. Because that is what my life is like, Swiss cheese.

Then again, I should relax a bit more. One thing that is important to live is to laugh. I sometimes forget how significant it is to be able to walk into a movie theater, hopefully, a comedy, and just putting your angst aside and laugh what's on the big screen in front of you. What's in back of you can wait till the film is over. The thing is, I project Pinkie's face over everyone in the movie. I laugh, but it is like swallowing air, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm searching like a manic that there is some humor, either being said or implied. For all I care they could be showing "Night and Fog," and I would be laughing my head off. I sit in the theater, and I feel my scar on my cheek. I remember when I got into the fight, and he slashed my cheek. It didn't hurt for some reason, and when I went into the bathroom to examine the wound, I was intrigued by the cleanness of the cut. I took my thumb and little finger on my right hand, and open the cut to see if blood would come out. It reminded me of a woman's vagina, as I opened and closed the wound on my face. Thinking about the cut on my cheek in those terms made the pain bearable. It seemed like it didn't happen. I often dream at night that I have a loose front tooth, or an open scar on my body that is bleeding in front of the public, and when I wake-up, I feel that those physical dreams are quite real. It takes me at least five minutes to recognize that I was dreaming and the fact is that I don't have a loose tooth or a scar on my cheek. Yet, I play with my cheek, thinking that I have such an injury.

I wonder at times if I'm here or not. I often felt that I'm in someone else's dream or vision of a life that is not exactly mine. Perhaps Charlie Parker didn't exist, nor did my father. I feel I have seen something, and I can remember the scent of my father's shaving cologne, but as one gets older the senses get duller, and you eventually have a memory of having the experience of smelling such a scent. I imagine Joan of Arc, who heard voices from another world, as she knew the game was up and had to face the bonfire, that she had no choice but to follow the voice that came within, and surely not from another source outside her body. At the very least, I have the physical copy of the album cover that my father did for Dial Records, which is the first time Charlie Parker has appeared on a disk. That's real, and my memories are a movie as if it was directed and written by Preston Sturges.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tosh's Journal: August 28

Some days I wake up in the morning, and I can't bear the world -mine, their's and yours. I remember seeing there was a commercial on TV many years ago when the adult, in bed, woke up with a smile on his face, due to the smell of fresh coffee being made or a bowl of cereal waiting for him in the kitchen. I never had that type of morning. Instead, I get a wave of anxiety that I have to set aside, or I will never get out of bed. In a way, I live in separate compartments, where one room is total despair, and I have to suck that feeling out of that space and put it aside or put it in another part of my brain. There is something wrong when one wakes up and is in a moment or two of pure panic. What I feel is "knowing is not enough; we must apply. "Willing is not enough; we must do. Generally, I do not give in too much to feelings. An overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth."

Every morning I do an inventory of everything I did the previous day poorly — one horrible blunder after another. As a child, I remember we had a statue of a female in our backyard. I would spend a great deal of time touching her face, feeling that somehow I could capture the emotion she's expressing, but also I was drawn to the coldness of the marble. It would give me comfort, and when no one was around, I would embrace the statue and stand there with my arms wrapped around its head. At times, I could have sworn that her marble face would change an expression. Either it was unmoving and non-judgmental, or it could have a faint smile on her lips. "Raising a child is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science." This is precisely how I was raised, and I grasp anything that will keep me on balance in a world that has pits, holes, and rings of fire at every step.

The Velvet's "White Light White Heat" maybe the most excellent song ever. Every time I put it on my turntable, I can feel the power of the words taking me to another place, but yet, I'm aware that I'm still here, in an area that has no room for me. I like to read fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm because I think they put the reader right in the front of a headlight of an oncoming car, and I think any child would learn to jump away from the blinding light. I tend to embrace the sun, and I think it is one of the reasons why I love the song "White Light White Heat."

I learn lessons from all my mistakes, yet I can't correct anything. I hit the side of my head and go 'Hey dummy,' but that's about it. My life is like holding a bowl of burning flaming liquid on the top of my head.   I'm just trying to avoid all the sinkholes on the ground. I want to contain everything I have and not spill it out on the pavement in front of me. But most of all, I want to rock. And. Roll.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Book Musik: Podcast on Charles Mingus's "Beneath the Underdog"

Tosh & Kimley discuss Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus, the memoir by iconic jazz musician and composer Charles Mingus. Mingus’s memoir is known for its picaresque telling of his childhood growing up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and his travels to the California Bay Area as well as his time in New York City. While the book doesn’t give a lot of detail on his musical work or his playing with all the greats of his era, it does give an illuminating perspective on race and growing up and living as a black man in America in the twentieth century. Not to mention his many escapades with pimps, prostitutes and assorted other riveting characters. This book swings like few others!

Book Musik: Charles Mingus's Beneath The Underdog

Charles Mingus Apple Music Playlist

Charles Mingus Playlist on Spotify

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Essay on Tarantino/Welles/Fassbinder by Tosh Berman

The 21st-century is very much a juxtaposition of little joys and significant tragedies. On one end, I get the warm feeling of pop culture doing what it does best, by bringing a specific grouping to the movie theater to see a film. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is such a work that represents their desire of an ordered world. I'm the filmgoer that loves to spend a few hours in a theater engrossed in someone's else's world. Quintin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, and at times, even Woody Allen makes a world that is instinctively closed off to the outside world.

For the past six or seven months, citizens of Los Angeles have been experiencing going through a time-tunnel, due to Tarantino transforming various main streets in the city to the year 1969. The changes have brought out a strong sense of Nostalgia for those who remember that era or year. For however long the fake billboards, bus advertising, signage on buildings, were up, the streets became not a route to one place to another, but a spectacle, where people can reflect their memories, both false and true onto themselves and those around them. In theory, fairytales are dark, but here we have a happy ending that is what most of us wished had happened. We have come back home, after acknowledging the past is dead. For a short series of moments, Los Angeles became an amusement park devoted to a dead history.

The 21st-century is not huge on reflection, so having a popular film that reflects an image or society of that time, makes one think of the current status of life. The horrifying disappointment of life being drained either by racist violence or collective stupidity is a lot to digest in one sitting. Therefore, art should allow a specific space to reflect on one's history, and thus the presence in a world that is not exactly beautiful, but nevertheless, an important existence.

There are two types of filmmakers I admire. One is in the world of Tarantino, Anderson, Lynch, and Jarmusch, and the other is Fassbinder and Orson Welles. For the latter, they put us in a world that exposes the rot within that landscape. There is nothing vague about what causes the rotting of a culture but also reflects on the sense of power and how it plays out in religion, politics, and life. The other filmmakers want to make a world of their own making. In that sense, when you see their films, you are immediately in a planet that is sealed off from the outside world. Fassbinder and Welles are dwelling in the world of not their making, but in a hostile environment that is horrifying and deadly.

Fassbinder and Welles don't bring people together. They are dissatisfied with their lot. On the other hand, the world of Tarantino and others of that cinematic world are reflecting on the warm light of the cinema, as we know the night will eventually turn into day. Fassbinder and Welles know very well that they may never see the light of the morning. So, as we trot down Hollywood Boulevard and deal with those in iconic costumes in front of the old Chinese Theater, we come upon a fantasy that's sick, but if we turn the clock back, we live in a happy space. - Tosh Berman