Stigma, Disorders, and Shame

Stigma, Disorders, and Shame

“…Like many people with depression, Stacy bought into long-held public attitudes toward the condition. Her self-stigma delayed her treatment, increased her isolation, warped her self-image and lowered her self-esteem—a closed-circuit loop that only deepens depression…” Although I do not, thankfully, suffer, from chronic depression, many people I know and love do so. And yes, this article is dead-on. Beyond the subject of chronic depression, I DO have several sensory-processing disorders: dyslexia, dyscalculia, and perhaps a touch of Asperger Syndrome as well. (I seem to have overcome most of it, but my childhood was textbook Aspie.) And although those disorders are Read more »

Iron Men and Diamond Dogs (Music, Magic & History, Part VIII)

Iron Men and Diamond Dogs (Music, Magic & History, Part VIII)

…those born of the underground had found the massive financial rewards of their commercial success overwhelming, and misspent the better part of the music’s artistic currency. That failure of nerve had simply and tragically reduced rock’s practical power to the power of business. – Fred Goodman, The Mansion on the Hill (Though largely absent from the airwaves, the original Black Sabbath changed the face of rock.) Social unrest and abhorrent popular culture spin a number of musical experiments into full-blown movements during the 1970s. Although metal, punk, reggae, and other styles can be traced back to the 1960s – and Read more »

Sucking in the ‘70s (Music, Magic & History, Part VII)

Sucking in the ‘70s  (Music, Magic & History, Part VII)

It was as if Morrison had foreseen the Manson-esque destruction of the hippie idyll, confronting the dysfunction of hippie kids initially liberated by sex, drugs and music but now disoriented, frightened, and potentially dangerous. – Barney Hoskyns, from the liner notes for the 2007 expanded CD edition of the Doors album Strange Days (As with the ’70s themselves, folks often forget how dark this movie really was.)    Magic has a price. And as the late ‘60s slide into the early ‘70s, the musical bill comes due. By the time President Nixon resigns and the last U.S. helicopters flee Saigon, Read more »

The Times, They Are A’Changin’ (Music, Magic & History, Part VI)

The Times, They Are A’Changin’ (Music, Magic & History, Part VI)

I throw myself on the altar of your art. Publicist Diane Gardiner, to Jimi Hendrix Change comes from unlikely places… in this case, coffee dens, German nightclubs, second-hand blues records, and a collection of recordings made decades ago. In the backwash of rock’s first tide, creative misfits take the lead. England, Germany, France and other nations catch rock-n-roll fever even as it dies down in America; here, though, many fans prefer authentic blues to the whitewashed product humming on U.S. airwaves. An armful of blues and rock recordings sparks one of music history’s most significant partnerships; Keith Richards re-encounters his Read more »

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars. – attributed to Sam Phillips, owner of  the Memphis Recording Service, and the man who “discovered” Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (incidentally, Phillips denied having ever said this) (Arguably the first rock-n-roll recording, Ike Turner’s “Rocket ’88′”) It starts with the blues riffing of a poor boy named Bo Diddly. It rises in the duck-strut of a handsome dude named Chuck Berry. It ignites when a white truck driver catches “that Negro sound” in the gyrations of his Read more »

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

The sound is the freedom. The chord don’t mean nothing.– Ornette Coleman, interviewed in Andrew Zuckerman’s book Music   (Image from Powerchords: Music, Magick & Urban Fantasy; art by Bryan Syme) If blues is the Devil’s music, then its offspring – jazz, country, soul and rock – are its four horsemen. Thundering across electric highways, these fertile musicologies plunder everything they find. Jazz shares the outlaw origins of blues, but focuses more on instrumental prowess than personal catharsis. Supposedly named for sexual intercourse, jazz takes the most sensual elements of European, African and American music, and then heats them to Read more »

Art: A Spectrum Theory

Art: A Spectrum Theory

As I often say, Art exists along a spectrum between Expression and Communication: the Artist expresses, and the Audience understands. (Dark Side of the moon REMAKE2, by Norman Bates.)  In what I call “the Spectrum Theory of Art,” artistic creativity runs along a triangular spectrum. At the origin – the narrowest  point – the Artist Expresses inspiration. At the point of broadest dispersal – the broadest extreme of the spectrum – that inspiration becomes mere information or sensation, with little or no personal connection to the Artist. Along the way, hopefully, Art hits a “sweet spot” where the Artist’s intended Read more »

Art is Work; Work has Value

Art is Work; Work has Value

(Image by Evangeline Neo of Evacomics; used by permission. See http://www.eva.sg/.) Art is work.  This is true of all artists: writers, musicians, dancers, photographers, actors, filmmakers, and so on and so on. All of it demands skilled labor, training, materials, passion, and an obsessive devotion that gobbles unimaginable amounts of time and focus. Art is not a plaything. It does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot happen without struggle and dedication to one’s craft. An artist must love the art, but cannot survive to DO that art on love alone. Art is not “data.” It can be playful, but the Read more »

Mage 20 Q&A, Part III: Mage and Various Mass Media

Mage 20 Q&A, Part III: Mage and Various Mass Media

PART III: MAGE’S MEDIA INFLUENCES   (Jaz Coleman – chaos magician and bandleader of Killing Joke.) Q: What are some of your favorite movies, TV shows, comedians, and musical artists? And how might they have influenced your work on Mage? For starters, I prefer artists and shows with something important to say. “Mindless entertainment” doesn’t really do much for me. A sense of passion is also vital. Especially given the vast landscape of art and entertainment we can access these days, I have no time or patience for stamped-out commercial product. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy big-budget spectacles Read more »

Art is Terror

Art is Terror

Art is terror. It is a sublime expression of human frailty and the urge to rise beyond it, capped by the fear that we cannot. If you feel scared when pursuing your art, then you’re doing it right.  By definition, the sublime space exists outside of your comfort zone and off in the realms of the gods.