Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Pictures of Derelict Buildings.

                                Just because I like the late afternoon light.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Van Gogh's Ear

                                                                            Starry Night Over The Rhone

   'When you see a Gaugin, you think, This man is living in a dream world. When you see a Van Gogh, you think, This dream world is living in a man.'


        'It's true that the moral luck dramatized by modern art involves an uncomfortable element of ethical exhibitionism. We gawk and stare as the painters slice off their ears and down the booze and act like clowns. But we rely on them to make up for our own timidity, on their courage to dignify our caution. We are spectators in the casino, placing bets; that's the nature of the collaboration that brings us together, and we can sometimes convince ourselves that having looked is the same thing as having made, and that the stakes are the same for the ironic spectator and the would-be saint. But they're not. We all make our wagers, and the cumulative lottery builds museums and lecture halls and revisionist biographies. But the artist does more. He bets his life.'

Painting reference and both quotes from Adam Gopnick's piece, 'Van Gogh's Ear' in The New Yorker, Jan 04 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

America The Beautiful

So, I went to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs two nights ago. San Antonio is a city that time forgot. Some lovely architecture, but the city itself is desolate, lifeless. At the game, just about every time-out entertainment was sponsored by a fast food chain.

Including Whataburger, which sponsored a jalapenos eating contest.

At first, the rather intent gentleman on the right here was judged the winner. But wait! No, he's disqualified! Within seconds of the end buzzer sounding he vomited into a waste basket in mid-court - much to the hilarity of the crowd. Alas, the video camera shut off just as he threw-up the game winning pepper, so that I cant share the finish with you...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



                                        Mohawk, downtown Austin.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Fly-Posting

Downtown Austin, along Red River, where many of the city's live music venues are located. It isn't fly-posting. But it is a lot of staples.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

What I'm Reading: The Jazz Loft Project

                                         White Rose Sign. W Eugene Smith 1957-58

In 1957, photojournalist Eugene Smith was working on a photographic essay on the city of Pittsburgh, a project that he imagined. hoped, might be his medium's 'Ulysses.' Over the course of a year he had exposed twenty-two thousand images. But his personal life was a shambles. He quit a lucrative job at Life magazine, left his wife and four kids in New York State, abandoned his lover and child in Pittsburgh, and rented a loft space on Sixth Avenue in New York City. The walls of his loft, the stairs leading up to it, were covered in layers of prints, a narrative who's thread he would forever be unable to piece together. But there, in the city's flower district (near 27th Street), he also documented the street life looking out through his studio window. And, he recorded - both with camera and audio - the extraordinary procession of jazz giants who climbed the stairs each night and played jam sessions that lasted until morning: Thelonius Monk, Zoot Sims, Roy Haynes, Don Cherry.

Over a period of eight years, Smith shot almost 1500 rolls of film (40,000 images), and made 4000 hours of reel recordings (once transferred to disc, at a cost of half-a-million dollars, the reels amount to over 5000 compact discs). Astonishingly, most of this work never even saw the light of day. Author Sam Stephenson has spent thirteen years researching Smith's life, exploring the contents of his reels and unopened boxes. One result is this extraordinary book, a book that rewards slow, careful reading. It tells  a story that is definitively New York, quintessentially jazz. Implicitly, it speaks volumes about the lives of artists and musicians existing on the fringes, living on the brink...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Reconstituted Blog.

It has nothing to do with the new year. Or not much, anyway. It's been in the works for a while. I laid off the blog for a while because a) it/I lacked inspiration and b) life seemed to be happening...which is to say, my priorities lay elsewhere. But now, I hope, with luck, here comes The Vanished Instant 2.0.

When I originally started this blog, the intention was that it would be a means of expressing myself visually. I'd started a novel, and between that and trying to hunt down freelance writing work, and then actually writing the work when I managed to capture it, there didn't seem time left for more words. Or, more importantly perhaps, inclination.

Well, the novel bit the dust. And before that, I left New York City and moved to Austin, Texas. And no matter how you slice it, Austin as a city (and let's just throw in Texas as a state for good measure), isn't as visually stimulating as NYC (hardly a surprise), or visually stimulating, period. Which isn't to say that you can't find subject matter wherever you are, regardless (see next post). Only that I didn't find myself venturing to a broad cornucopia of places.

So, if The Vanished Instant was, to some extent, my reaction to a particular stimulation, a passage of thought at a given moment - something fleeting, as all life is - then it occurs to me that what I read or see or hear comes under that heading too. In which case, the only way for me to move this forward is to incorporate those elements. Incorporate them, with the photographs (which will continue to form the majority of posts), and create a broader dialogue that way.

Dialogue with myself that is. Because I know there's no-one else out there.