Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gulley Jimson (pure original sympathy), and Nigerian Pop


First, A note on Gully Jimson, the G. Jimson of the blog title.
Gulley Jimson is the wild-eyed artist, a character who lives in Joyce Cary’s trilogy of novels, most notably in the one called The Horse’s Mouth (1944, Harper & Brothers, NY), in which Gulley tells his own story. I have loved him since I read it aeons ago. (It is one of my compulsive collectibles.) A film was made of the book in which Alec Guinness plays the part.

Consider this a brief quotation “for review.”
“As every painter knows the fourth look is often lucky. It is always a good plan, during an attack of the jimjams, to try at least four matches. A picture left about in the dark will often disappear for three matches, and com back again, at the fourth, a regular masterpiece. Something quite remarkable. But the match went out before I could see whether I was looking at genuine intuition of fundamental and universal experience in plastic forms of classical purity and simplicity, or a piece of barefaced pornography that ought to be dealt with by the police.”

Joyce Cary was said to have never worried about sales, money or contracts. He had decided that if any of his books were worthwhile, they would eventually find readers. Find them they did. The spirit of adventure is alive and well and living in places we have never heard of.

Here is another gem: “And I was so hungry I could have eaten the frypan and tickled my gums with the handle.”

Next, a mention of a hit Nigerian song about “419 crimes,” cyber-scams. I heard this song on the radio today and had to look it up. Since I grew up in Nigeria, I smiled and shook my head as I listened to the whole radio story. The LA Times, and other sources, have stories about Nigeria and the cyber-schemes. The song is called, “I Go Chop Your Dollars.” If you grew up hearing some version of “pidgin”(English), and if you are “white,” you’ll appreciate the “Oyinbo people greedy” line.
I Go Chop Your Dollars

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lasting Impressions

One of Chris Buffington's

Philip Brubaker's

Last weekend while going to the bank in Carrboro, I happened to notice a sign outside the Arts Center which said Documentary Festival continuing tonight, 7-9. It was just around 7pm, so I decided to walk a few blocks after the bank and see what was showing. It had been raining most of the day, and the streets and the air were wet. It felt good to walk in the misting rain. I’m really glad I did. I got to see at least a few short films by various filmmakers, and one in particular by a local guy who was in the audience. For the almost 6 minutes of the film, I was laughing so much I doubled over and had tears in my eyes. What a great portrait of this Hollerin’ phenomenon, and these people who enjoy it so much. One of the “hollerers” was in the audience too, and he had not yet seen the film. When asked to answer any questions, he said he didn’t think he’d need a microphone. It was great. Believe me, if you see this film, you will not forget it.

Philip Brubaker has other photos and bio on his site.

Here is one write-up from http://cds.aas.duke.edu/events/happscreenings.html

The National Hollerin’ Contest- Philip Brubaker
SOOOOO-EEEEEEh! Welcome to Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina, population 49. Everybody in town (and a lot more from out of town) gather at the fire station every third Saturday in June to witness a local tradition. The National Hollerin’ Contest winners have been featured on Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show, among others, and once you hear some of these hollers, you won’t forget them. See the film and find out the meaning, classification, and significance of hollers—and a winner’s circle holler of Amazing Grace that has to be seen to be believed. (5:43)

Another view of the NC Film World

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Human Comfort and Re-habs

Here is one of my several quotes of the day. This is New York-based “green architect” Chris Benedict’s answer to the question, How do you define it (“green architecture”)?

“I used to refer to it as environmentally sound design. For me, this meant using recycled construction materials and finishes that require minimal amounts of energy to manufacture. Then I began looking at the infrastructure of buildings, and I developed a more holistic view. The truth is, buildings are like bodies. To work well, all their elements have to be in sync. Today, I examine the individual pieces and systems of each building to integrate them into a working whole that is healthy unto itself and its inhabitants, that is energy efficient and durable and that creates as little pollution and waste as possible.” (Metropolitan Home, A Green Piece of Mind - Feb. 2006)

"How do you adjust your perception of your interaction so that it can become productive, rather than destructive?" (Kathy Oddenino, Sharing, 235)

Chris Benedict talks about perceived costs, collaborative efforts, human comfort, and the perception that “green” means “having to wear sweaters and live in raw, strange places.” As the song goes, it’s not easy being green only because we have forgotten what green means to us. I’m typing here, listening to the wind hitting the sides of the house hard, then sweeping up, across, away. I have a sweater on, but this is not a raw, strange place to me. Reading this article, I think again about why we are easily deterred by perceived costs, when we begin with adjusting only the outside layers, or inserts of things to make the changes we think we want (adding solar panels, inserting new pipes, etc.). This is a good reminder of why we experience the efficiency of integrated structures when the intention of the creation, or change, has the whole in mind. Like our bodies, all other structures retain their creation’s comfort and purpose longer when the design is defined. We are having to learn, to remember, why the design of our bodies is an “intelligent design,” and what this means to us.

I just ate some Ben & Jerry’s Gobfather ice cream, and am thinking about that collaborative effort too. And “they” say taste is all in our nose?

It is interesting how we began to think we must be protected (sheltered) from the elements, and where this has taken us. I hear the impact of the wind, I think of the thin twigs of branches on the Bradford pear trees in the front yard, I think of their strength despite their size, I think of the way the gravel sounded as I walked from my car to the front door, I remember how the strap of my bag felt ii my hand, I remember the way the wind felt on my face as a big gust passed. I remember the taste of the ice cream, and all I felt as it slid from my mouth down my throat. I tap a dance on the desktop. Dissonance and harmony: twin brothers just trying to make up? The day of walking across tarmac that ended not at sharp edges, but more like forgotten overflows, came back to my mind like a dream, and I remember the small prop planes parked across the way, waiting. These images come to mind just by thinking about entry-halls and looking through glass, the cinder blocks that make up walls, pictures of large lamps with creamy oval shades that hover over landscapes of wood or pulped pages.

Would it be true for you to say, “Every day, I’m happy in my space”?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dipping into my Library

Dipping into two books of old, from my “library.” Keri Hulme’s Strands (1992), and Ansel Adams’ Autobiography.

There is no writer I know like Keri Hulme. Hers is a “signature tune” she sings, and that is the word for it, to me. Her words lilt and drop, rise and fall, stringing themselves into strands of pearls, fishnets, twine, and the trail of air that leads to heavy clouds. I have not read her words for many years. What comes to my mind is this:
There is no child like mine, this heavy sack of shore-finds I blend with the shells of years to make a beauty that comes from the deepest lull of ocean play.

Ansel Adams.
This is no review, but I will point you to pp. 34-35 in his Autobiography, where he writes about one “precious moment of an early summer, “ when the light was unforgettable. “ The most interesting to me is what follows this. Sharp visions of childhood are engraved in his memory with an intensity far beyond their factual experience, and he asks, Why should such situations create a lasting revelation? He answers: “Some might say that such memories are déjà vu, that we are building castles of imagination and nostalgic affirmations. I do not believe this. I feel that such events as this and the night I realized my parents’ unhappiness offer a glimpse into a world-pattern beyond our conscious awareness.”

He writes about “creative photography,” the differences between shoot, take, and and make, and shows beautifully why the life of an explorer is never dull.

He also wrote that what an artist creates is his (or her) message. Stieglitz taught him, he wrote, what became his commandment of life: “Art is the affirmation of life.” Once I read something about how we create art because we are disappointed by life. Mostly, it seems we think of art as something separate, what a few people do. This is another way to relate to the ideas of shoot, take, and make. We may trust a camera to capture something seen, something we choose to capture and consciously record. Our cameras only do this when we consciously use them for the purpose. Our minds do this all the time, yet how much do we consciously record, and why? How much do we even think about the process of choosing internal images, developing them, and processing them at the highest quality we can?

What a pleasure to dip into.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Ugly One with the Jewels

A Nod to Cultures, Colored Corn, and the Hope of Always Seeing More.

I love to listen to Laurie Anderson. I like that she has such a mind that explores every sound within that universe, and the dynamics of sensory perception and interpretation. Public Sleeping, for instance:  I like that she felt compelled to experiment by sleeping in public spaces just to see how the contexts affected her sleep, and her dreams. And that after she stopped teaching, she continued with the part that she did like the most – showing slides and making up stories in the dark. I can appreciate a Violin that Plays to Itself. My list goes on. Here is a sample –
About Laurie Anderson
Try the Ugly One with the Jewels