Monday, December 27, 2010

Essay Rejected by McSweeneys: My New Job (Now Old News)

The bosses are brothers, and they bring their matching-eyed dogs to work. The dogs look like reptiles because of these yellow eyes. It makes them appear confused and ancient. There are two, and they ignore each other. One, a silken monkey food-stealer spaniel thing, barks hysterically at strangers. He lounges in the hallway, looking up with an expression of inexplicable terror. The other is a horse-pill shaped tick of a dog with respiratory problems that causes incessant and periodic honking on the exhale. When one of the bosses introduced her, he said “This is Funny,” in a most un-funny tone of voice. I was looking at the dog, stroking its throat, and I thought my new boss was referring to the sheaf of papers he was holding. Then I realized he too was looking down at his dog. He said it again. “This is Funny.” 
From my desk, in a windowless half-office, I can hear the rhythmic honking rise and fall as Funny lumbers up and down the carpet, searching for someone to smell her breath and comment on her Flying Nun ears. Sometimes she catches a whiff of something interesting and her breathing becomes its own drum fill, a shuffle-ball-change that might be snappy if it happened at regular enough intervals. Snuffly-DOO-snuff-AH! 
The dogs generally keep to themselves, or are ignored. Ignoring the dogs is an athletic act because we have to prove, on a regular basis, that we are in fact ignoring them. Regardless of how severely we ignore, one of the brothers is convinced we are going out of our way to feed his dog our celery or hummus or whatever. “I swear someone is feeding him,” he announced (yelled) a few days ago through a particularly noisy faceful of wasabi peas. Today he banged his sunburned forehead against the wall of my office very slowly, almost a dozen times in a row. DONK. DONK. DONK. I don’t know why, I think it was because I asked about something. His dog is the silky one, always appearing slightly jealous, lurking in doorways waiting for the sound of a spoon against the walls of a single-serving yogurt container. His name is Newman, and I cannot help but think when I look into his brass-button eyes: “New man.” Sometimes I say it aloud. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, someone else will say one of the dog’s names aloud. 
Newman was absent from the company picnic; Funny attended at the end of a length of clothesline. The line stretched from her owner’s belt loop to wherever the closest morsel of barbecued meat might be, which was basically everywhere on everyone’s paper plates. She made new noises, one of which was a snort-honk-grunt combination that actually startled people. We were told, while lying on sheets at the edge of the disc-golf course, that Funny is 75% Beagle with a quarter of indeterminate origin. Her owner had her DNA tested. Newman was submitting to the exact same background check, and the results came back totally Spaniel-free. Smallish shiny completely brown monkey dog wasn’t listed in his chart either: evidently there wasn’t much on his chart due to the complexity and completeness of his genetic emulsification. The afternoon was hazy with the moistness of a nearby hurricane, and yellowjackets hovered around everything.   
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could harness this listlessness, this hunger for whatever? How much energy could be generated by aimless dogs? A dog gym, a facility of treadmills hooked up to generators, could easily power one house, perhaps two, or a small factory’s lighting needs. Run, little things, run. 

Monday, October 18, 2010


Stephanie Barber makes films, writes poetry, co-curates Transmodern Festival, and teaches at MICA with whatever spare time she invents out of thin air. She currently resides in Baltimore where everyone is the better for it, as evidenced by her collusions with Theresa Columbus, Geodesic Gnome, Performance Thanatological Society, Dan Conrad & Jenny Graf and recent readings at recent literary events about town (WORMS!).

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

i make art.  film, poetry, music etc.  i talk about animals. 

mostly right now i am making videos and writing a lot. i'm interested in making a something in a certain medium which manages to sidestep the concerns of that medium--or like a plain cardboard box might begin to sprout wings and armadillo shells, prehensile tails and the goofy smiles of human children with down's syndromes--so a film can be considered as a poem and a song can be considered as a film and a poem can be considered a cross country ski competition and hopefully the best pieces can be considered just pieces of art.  

Lawn Poem installation by Stephanie Barber at The Poor Farm

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
i have always been writing and for half of my life i have been making films and very recently i have been making videos. my music making is sporadic and unfocused but like a miracle when i wind up inside of a musical project.  the most enjoyable.
things have changed in that i am working within myself right now in a very particular way.  i mean that i am pushing against my own ideas and my previous work in a way that was maybe not as possible to do when i didn't have such a large body of work.  it is a very subtle feeling.  like artistic proprioception.  an interoceptive awareness of where i am in my art.  this is a simultaneously abstract and specific feeling. 
i'm unsure of how i feel about this morally.  there is something about the hardcore individualist motivation in working like this--responding to previous work i have made--avoiding the tropes of previous stories--etc.--something about strident individualism which feels tawdry and propagandistic.  the alternative seems either like being tossed around in the giantest ocean slammed by rocks and unnamed sea creatures or being in harmony and eternal dialog with all art ever made and about to be made.  

stephanie barber's 'in the jungle' with dan conrad and jenny graf

Why do you do these things? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
probably to make someone love me or hear me (same).  ideally everyone. a deep sort of love which has to do with being known--a childish unattainable eradication of the aloneness of a life.
also because maybe i feel like it is 'the good work'.  i am a religious fanatic without a religion.

it feels terrible when i am unable to make work.  sometimes i don't work for a little while as a way to make myself feel awful and worthless and unloveable.  then i realize i am doing it and quickly stop. i have tried to think about worth outside of the creation of something poetic, or moving or funny or lovely--then i imagine i could be a monk and this seems like it could possibly be fulfilling (or a jogger--sometimes i think about jogging) but i think, for me, it would not be (or would cease to be after a certain time).  art work is spiritual charity.  both internally and externally.  

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? 

i don't think there was a moment.  i've always been what i am. 
Another still from "In The Jungle", this time courtesy Kelly Kuvo
How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
my life is really hard.  probably a lot of lives are very hard and much harder but sometimes i think the way i live is a bit too uncomfortable.  the hairshirts of financial destitution and ascetic self flagelation of expectation.  
no, my life is super easy and like a soak in a never cleaned hot tub in the post swinger mountains of colorado.  it need not accommodate.

How has your work affected your life in return?
my work affects my life in that i wish for it to be as multifaceted as i try to make a film or poem or video.  how something can be crass and tender simultaneously or funny and sad, or academic and cheap joke..............i guess in life you have to pick something and i am not so good at doing that--i feel let down by the lack of dynamism in lives and jobs and towns and loves................or maybe i am terrified by the actual dynamism?  more moved by the architectural angles and armatures of contrast and collusion suggested by challenging art than the messy, cruel way that these sorts of dynamics play out in life and interpersonal relations.

What do you think of the future?
i think it is going to come and i think it is already here.  i am a self aware substructure and as such am (though pessimistic) a believer.  

What do you think of when you think of David Lee Roth? Why?
i think he is super.  i love the way he and eddie van halen play fast and loose and funny with their super-talents.  he is as brilliant a physical comedian and dancer as fred astaire and steppin fetchit.  his radio show in ny is ok too.  he's sharp.

MICHAEL ANDREW TURNER: A Muscle Car Out of Cockroach Parts

Mike Turner! Oh man, where to start? Lexington Kentucky's own Mikey T plays solo musics, all lonely thready guitar ragas, and sometimes with his band Warmer Milks shows happen. He's always got a new chapbook or cassette, weird job or exciting and confrontational place to live. He's a poet, a real dreamer and the kind of conversationalist who can talk the paint off a tank. In the past year or two he's also taken a stab at bent journeyman noir with duo Cross aka The Sound of The Rat Vex. Warmer Milks played at the old True Vine space, where the shows were perfumed with the night air of Hampden, a burned feathers smell that was romantic and even mouthwatering. Eventually someone, probably Ian Nagoski, silenced any curiousity about the delicious nature of the odor in revealing that it came from the late-night crematorium down 36th St towards Ash. That one night, though, in that charring air, Mikey said to me "You should have a band called Lexie Mountain Boys" and then laughed his ass off. 2005. 

What do you do?
I write a lot of poetry and fiction.  A "lot" could be small as well but I guess it depends. Some things I've written have appeared printed but I can't recall off hand where but that's irrelevant.  I'm bad at keeping up with that stuff anyway.
I suppose I've more so "known for" within underground circles as someone who plays guitars. Electric and acoustic ones. I write songs on them and then either perform/record the songs with other people under the guise of "band" or by myself as "solo".  I've also played around with many other instruments throughout the years but guitars are my "candy" for sure. That sounds ridiculous doesn't it?
What are you doing the most lately?
The past seven months have seen me acting out in the group Cross as well as under a variation of my own name, Ma Turner. Cross toured for a couple of months over the summer, tried to move to California then gratefully came back to Lexington, KY. The past few months we've been writing a new record to be recorded early 2010 in a hair salon/art haus here in town.
The past two weeks I've been playing with open tunings on my acoustic here at the house. Elaborating on chord sequences and scales, warping them into songs. Also sketching out my next short story while my first one is coming out early 2010 via issue one of Heavy Bombardment (Rampart Tapes).
How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
Writing has been a part of my life since I could first hold a crayon in my hand. It is what I know how to do more than anything else. Talking to God through writing. It is my way. The majority of my writing has been poetry but the past few years I've been writing short fiction. What a thrill it is!  With poetry, I stay pretty free form and but since I've been tackling short fiction, I've grown more accustomed to structure. Being torn apart via editing is an amazing feeling. I get to hang out with the words longer. It is starting to rub off on my poetry and music as well.
I have played guitars with other people since the early nineties. At first I just made sounds on them, then almost a year in to owning a guitar (around ninth grade), my mother got me into some guitar lessons. I learned most of the basic chords as well as some "rock" tricks. After writing a couple songs on my own, I quit taking lessons and sat in my room combining the sounds I was making beforehand with the stuff I'd learned through lessons. Early on I knew it was all about writing my own songs.
Unfortunately I lived in a area where I didn't meet that many people who thought very much like me (Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky) so my songs were confined to the bedroom. Meanwhile I played in a few high school bands but none of them were really up the alley of what I wanted sans one group called 'Sunburn' which leaned towards grittier 'pop' music that aligned with my interests and I think we actually played one of my songs. I remember being laughed at for wearing a Depeche Mode shirt and not being familiar with the high from marijuana. I believe this was 1993 0r 1994. A beautiful time. Memorex cassettes with "Fire in Cairo" and "Divine Hammer" blasting in my headphones. So tender and wide eyed. I'm closing my eyes right now and thinking of it. I can still be there. So nice.
I'm not sure that me playing guitar has changed as much as progressed. Writing songs is still the point but now I suppose my idea of a song has opened up larger. Perhaps I've always known a song can be anything I want it to be but now because I've been playing around with a guitar for roughly nineteen years, I have many different angles to work with. More tools, more colors, it's easier to pull an idea out of my head now and mold it into what I want it to be. However, I go through moments of unlearning where I just fall into the space I was in as a kid, "DUNH, DUNH", bar all of the strings on one fret, bang on it in time with a personal vibration no one else is getting but myself.
In the realm of acoustic guitars, I've been sitting around with one since I was very young. 'Ma Turner'. The 'a' is my middle initial but I like Ma because it is obviously feminine, MOTHER. I dabbled in that with the name 'Warmer Milks'.  Ma and WM are similar in their beginnings. Writing songs on acoustic guitar about love and life but as I get older I allow more tradition to trickle in as well as space and abstractions. Don't get me wrong, I know how that "trad" word sounds but in all seriousness, I'm friendlier with folk and country then I used to be but I also have no interest in nostalgic torch music. Like any other music I play, it feels nice to leave the door open in every room. It comes down to more emphasis on song and it happens to be kind of handed down from the past but yet still moving into the future.
Playing in Cross, I'm going back further into a high school mind, a kind of guitar hero worship, MOVES, occult sexual possession like Page slides and Jagger hips but Ginn on his tip toes heckling the football team. Total Television Personalities pulsating lack of//major sophistication. I dunno, just wanting to fucking boogie again feels amazing. It's me and three other guys,  a total team effort. I write riffs and bring them to practice, so fun. The group in turn, puts it all together and it becomes it own thing.  In my early twenties I played in what people would consider a "street punk" band but in actuality it was a hybrid of like Motorhead and some southern rock spiel but the skinhead/punker scene ate it up. We toured a bunch and made a record that I'm super proud of and (it) did really well in that world. When I wasn't jamming in this unit, I'd be at home listening to Jim O'Rourke or some shit like that. I think it was the Gastr Del Sol record 'Upgrade & Afterlife', a total masterpiece of insanity and beauty. At the time, I was really torn up and confused, like I thought I was cheating on that album by playing rock n roll so eventually I quit. A few years later I was playing music that could be compared to some boring ass Archers of Loaf water. Jesus, the REAL rock n roll band I left was so much better. I suckered myself into empty ideas of what is and isn't art. Fuck art! Have fun! Luckily I started Warmer Milks and we just did EVERYTHING that came to mind for around six years. Art or no art, I projected a new manifesto for that thing every other minute and actually followed through with the majority of my (for better or for worse) ideas. People I played with, hung around or performed for either got stoked or bummed on that deal but I am so proud of it.  I learned so much about myself in that period of time and wouldn't take it back for anything. Warmer Milks ended last May and I'm really stoked that it is over. It was time for a change.  
Why do you do these things? No, really, why? How does it make you
feel? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
Like I mentioned earlier, writing was my first true form of creative expression. I've written a lot of poetry. Started when I was 5. I write at least two a week, rarely skipping out on said activity. I've thrown away a good 80% of the stuff I've written but haven't forgotten any of it's essence. I keep writing the same thing over and over again. Just want to improve. I also said earlier that I'm writing to God and if I can't write to God then I feel as if I'm dying. I want to channel this into my short fiction and I think that it's happening. Communicate to to a higher plane through some short story about a kid with down syndrome that builds a muscle car out of cockroach parts. Amen.
I play music because it feels so good.  It has been the one thing externally since day one that has been a constant turn on, total passion, relentless form of expression. I always walk away with a sense of adventure, curiosity, wonderment, excitement but yet it also makes me nervous, anxious and often times frustrated because I love it so much and like any other powerful relationship in my life, have had some extreme ups and downs with it.  There are times I've allowed other aspects of my life to steer me away from music or writing and that is something I will never let happen again because it is weak on my part and causes major sadness inside. I've arranged everything in my life at this point to compliment my love for playing music and writing and I'm thankful that I am at a place where I can always participate in those activities and nothing can touch that.
When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what
you are? What happened? Please elaborate.
The Moment with writing was the first time I ever tried to write a letter. My parents were fighting and I attempted to write them a letter explaining that they were scaring me but it was just scribbles. I knew those lines didn't exactly translate out to the world what I was thinking but it sure made me feel a whole lot better and I haven't stopped since.
With music, a combination of situations really. My mother's record collection blasting on the stereo when I was four. The two of us would dance to Neil Diamond, Simon and Garfunkel, Carpenters, Beatles as well as countless awesome christian rock albums from the seventies and early eighties. It truly warmed my heart. Watching MTV at it's inception. Just taking in the visuals (haircuts, outfits, stage set ups) and obviously the pulse of electronic drums and synths shook me intensively. It truly felt like alien music and I knew I wanted a part in that which went hand in hand with 1980's fm radio. Stuff like Billy Idol and Wham! struck me as so intense and I loved beating on my kiddie drum set along to their songs in my bedroom after school.
I suppose the "super reality connector" between me and music was hearing:
 a) Black Flag via a dub from some asshole in junior high (1990) (he thought it sucked so he gave it to me because I was a nerd) 
b) Nirvana on Z Rock several months later and wondering what the fuck was going on (I promptly grabbed a baseball bat and played along, it was like someone set my house on fire).
c) The fire was completely lit when local college radio ( was added in the mix shortly thereafter to fill in the gaps of underground musics and helped me along Self Highway. I found a copy of their zine (RiFLe) and it had an interview with Mike Watt. Floored for life.
How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
The impulse to create constantly jerks me around from place to place, back and forth through time, in and out of conversation, etc. so I guess in the end The Moment controls my every move. Good job Moment!
How has your work affected your life in return?
Not to be cliche but my work IS my life. That being said, everything else around me plays into the moment I make up something musically or through written/spoken words. It can be scary for sure but for the most part, my life is full of joy because of my guitar. Jesus, good grief.
What do you think of the future?
I love the idea of getting older. Improvement. The future is great. A constant shift. Go Future!
What has David Lee Roth meant to your life? Please elaborate.
David Lee Roth has a lot to do with the future for me. The older I get, the more I appreciate and respect David Lee Roth as lead vocalist in Van Halen circa 1980's. DLR now? Absolutely no clue what he means to me NOW? As a kid, his thing kinda got under my skin for some reason, especially his solo situation. It was too campy for me at the time. Now, I can handle it but put on the first Van Halen lp and there is some serious rock n roll going on and that is the essence of DLR to me.
I wrestle with the idea of worshipping "classic rock" icons, groups, songs, etc. but regardless, I find myself back in the middle of it, studying up on whatever I can about it and David Lee Roth plays into that, of course! As much as I wish I could just focus on something eternally cool as Whitehouse forever and let go of VH, I can't. But Whitehouse IS cooler.

Monday, August 23, 2010

TONY RETTMAN: Do Less, Be More

Portrait of Tony by Ben Chasny

Tony Rettman is a music journalist and radio personality, which is saying very little about someone who's experienced so much. He's been to more shows than most people you know, which at this point makes him something of a music historian. Tony is also one of the few to weather the change from zines to blogging with elan: Revelation Records recently published his book "Why Be Something You're Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985", and he can be heard on WFMU like crazy. 

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
I work a lot for a major financial entity and occasionally write stuff about music that people seem to enjoy. Lately, my time is taken up by whining about my job to my girlfriend, trying to tie up loose ends on a book I've written and cooking decent meals. 

 How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
I've worked all my life. I've written all my life (sorta). Nothing has changed with the work as far as I can see. It just gets more demeaning and crappy as it goes on. The writing has changed on many levels. First off, if you do anything for a long enough amount of time, it's just going to get better. So I think plugging away at it for so long has made it qualitatively better. I'm happier and less embarrassed of stuff I turn in these days. The subject matter has sorta stayed the same as far as being based on music, but the actual...(uh...) 'genres' of music have slipped around to different stuff. I started out doing a Hardcore punk 'zine when I was 14 and sorta went through the musical 'coming-of-age' alotta people did and explored other sound avenues in my late teens/early 20's and wrote about it in various fanzines I self-published. Strangely, I've got back into writing about Hardcore as it's kinda the only thing people ask me to write about when it comes to paying pieces. So, I've just come back to where I came from sorta, just with better referential ammo than I had when I was a kid. The writing has also changed in that I think I use it more as a vehicle to wrestle with words than hip anyone to some new crazy sound. I guess I'm 'trying' less these days. It's just like Brother JT said, 'Do Less, Be More'. 
Why do you do these things? No, really, why? How does it make you
feel? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?

To be honest, the reason I do most writing these days is to earn some extra loot. The intial reason I started writing I guess was because I was bowled over by the fanzine culture of Hardcore when my brother started taking me to shows. I was very inspired by merely holding these things in my hand. The idea of being interested or inspired by someones' writing style or musical taste came much later in my life. As stated in the previous answer, the writing - these days at least - is more of a thing where I graple with the words to get them to submit to what I'm trying to convey. I like twisting them into my own definition. I also like working with editors as well, which I'm sure most writers will think I'm crazy for stating. Some really do push you to come up with some great stuff. They really help in trying to convey certain things that might be lost in the cobwebs of your mind. I only get frustrated when I am unable to write when I have a deadline looming. Other than that, I can take or leave writing. 

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what
you are? What happened? 

I don't think I really know that moment. Whenever I read or see someone in some documentary/book say something like 'And when I saw (fill in the bands name) my life changed', I think they are full of shit. No one goes around documenting their lives for themselves like that. If they are, they're fucking nuts! I hate to keep going back to this, but I guess the first couple times my brother took me to Hardcore shows, I kinda got a feeling of defintion in myself. It made me feel it was OK to be a bit twisted. There's a few things that are popping into my head now...First time seeing Black Flag...First time seeing Youth of Today...My brother playing me 'Space Ritual' by Hawkwind, 'Psychedelic Underground' by Amon Duul and 'Patty Waters Sings' all in one sitting during a snowstorm...Seeing NNCK for the 1st time... These are some things that flash into my head that made me think about the power of sound in ways I couldn't fathom before hearing them. 

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
It's made me into a bum!
How has your work affected your life in return?
It's made me into a bum!

 How does your location affect what you do and who you are these days?
My lady and I have moved out to the North Shore of Long Island. To most outsiders, anything related to L.I. is bad news, but this area is very, very quiet with a sparse population and a low amount of football jerseys and gold chains. We are near the water and it's so quiet around here, some times all you can hear is a train whistle. I think the new location has really helped the writing as far as letting me get (as corny as this might sound) lost in my own thoughts. When we were in Brooklyn, I was always trying to find some quiet while drug dealers and general retards prowled in front of my window. Here, I can see or think one little thing and I just start flying. Personally, the location has just helped me be more at peace with myself and Danielle. I have to prepare a slow cooker meal everyday before I leave for my hour long commute to work, but I think it's worth it. 

What do you think of the future?
For the first time in a long time, I look forward to it. By the way, my hope for it has nothing to do with political climate, social climate, actual climate, etc. I just feel good about it...that's all. 

What does David Lee Roth mean? 
He is a celebration of the self. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Deodorant Isle: A List of Promises

Promises made by deodorant and anti-perspirant, many of which are applicable to Joaquin Phoenix, Kanye West, the military or small dogs. Interspersed with the dogs that appear when the words "lexie deodorant" are your google image search criteria.

  • Extra responsive in emotional moments. 
  • Responds to increases in adrenaline.
  • Shave less often. 
  • Feels dry in seconds. 
  • Dare to wear black. 
  • Unbeatable on white marks. 

  • Sized for airplane travel. 
  • Smells like wilderness, open air and freedom.
  • Fast drying technology.
  • Irresistable like chocolate. 
  • Non-irritating. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Round Robin 2008: The Movie

When Baltimore's 2008 Round Robin tour came to Oberlin College, we were given a conference room replete with shower stall and chalkboard to post up and eat pizza in. There, controversially and at great length, ROUND ROBIN: THE MOVIE was cast...

Shaun Flynn: Sylvester Stallone (or Vincent Gallo or Cillian Murphy)
Donovan: Flea
Olivier: Steve Guttenberg
Ed Schrader: Christopher Walken
Adam Endres: Bobcat Goldthwaite
Dan Deacon: Abigail Breslin
Lexie: Kirstie Alley in Cheers
April Camlin: Carol Burnett
Benny Boeldt: Conan O'Brien
Max Eisenberg: Steve Buscemi
Frank: Gary Oldman
Height: Glen Danzig
Jones: Snoop Dogg
Josh Kelberman: Haley Joel Osment
Lizz King: Hilary Swank Punky Brewster
Mark: Adrian Brody
Robby Rackleff: Christian Bale
Rose Chase: Diane Keaton
Justin Frye: Keanu Reeves
Kate Levitt: Mary kate Olson
Stefani Levin: Julia Louis Dreyfus
Alex Scally: Billy Crudup
Dan Franz: BJ Novak
Victoria Legrand: LiLo
Pete O'Connell: Paul Giamatti
Kevin O'Meara: Heath Ledger
Jim Triplett: Michael Cera
The Death Set: Blink 182
Dave Zimmerman: David Cross
Conor Kizer: Tom Green
Nolen Strals: Vin Diesel
Bruce Willen: Jeff Goldblum
Gerrit Welmer: Chris Martin
Sam Herring: Jack Black
Will Cashion: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Greg Fox: Alex Winter
Andrew Burt: Emilio Estevez
Jana Hunter: Jodie Foster
Geoff Graham: Chuck Norris
Lesser Gonzales Alvarez: Mark Ruffalo
Sam Garner: Elizabeth Taylor
Amy Harmon: Drew Barrymore
Katherine Hill: Uma Thurman
Amy Waller: Dakota Fanning
Twig: Michael Richards
Carly: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Ben Beast: Kevin Spacey
Bob O'Brien: Dan Aykroyd
Devlin: Kurt Russell
Dan: Charles Bronson
Chester Gwazda: Chevy Chase
Donny: Orlando Bloom
Rob: Kurt Cobain

Directed by Mel Gibson (or Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman

Thursday, July 1, 2010


DRAWING OUT, originally uploaded by Mountain Lex.

works by

Opening Reception July 15 6pm - 9pm
July 15 - August 14 2010
1825 N Charles St Baltimore MD

Exhibition of drawings curated by Lexie Macchi for Mountain Lake Things.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Light My Fire
A flaming kabob of five mini s'mores!  If we can’t successfully set it on fire, you better believe the marshmallows will be good and burnt out, much like Morrison himself in the early 70s far before his death from “heart failure.”

Ba-con through to the other side
Chase your pleasures here, there and EVERYWHERE with this classic s’more, all shook up with bacon flavored chocolate!  Yeow!
The End
Kick down the doors of perception with this double dose of carcinogenic charred marshmallow magic on a hemp-encrusted nutella biscuit.

Hello, I Love You
It's love at first sight when you feast your surprised eyes on this
towering pyramid of 14 stacked s'mores with your choice of three additional toppings.  Much like the Lizard King's muse, Pam Courson, this thing of beauty will probably find you dead in a bathtub from heart failure.
For s'more information about the outlaw party-time whereabouts of Austin's own S'Morrisons smore cart, email

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lexie Mountain Boys West Coast Oprah Vibrations

JUNE 2010
12 - Austin, TX @ Discovery Village w/ Low Red Center & Telepathik Friend
13 - ABQ, NM 9pm @ KUNM, 10pm @ Tree House 1323 Coal SE w/ Albuquerque Boys Choir & Occasional Detroit
14 - Santa Fe, NM @ The Process presents at Corazon w/ Lulacruza & Sources of Light
15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ 1471 S. Richards St w/ Silver Antlers, Swet
16 - Boise, ID @ Visual Arts Collective w/ With Child & Bales of Hay
17 – Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door w/ Matmos & So Percussion
19 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret w/ Matmos & So Percussion
20 – Portland, OR @ Holocene w/ Matmos & So Percussion
22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop w/ Matmos & So Percussion
23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Rec Center Studio w/ Matmos & So Percussion
25 - Joshua Tree, CA @ Mt Fuji General Store, 8:30pm

Friday, May 14, 2010

KARI ALTMANN: Zoomed-in View From The Trenches

Kari Altmann's knack for illuminating technology and its psychic imprints is impressive. Her real-time gif collages for Double Dagger drummer Denny Bowen's solo dance/pop mashup project Smart Growth were elaborate and clever without being self-congratulatory -- only the tip of the iceberg. A prolific artist immersed in the narrative possibilities of ephemeral imagery, Altmann DJs as, creates videos, and shows her work regularly around the globe. Her epic collection R-U-IN?S highlights the intersection between permanence, obsolescence, and the alluring constructions of the unreal. R-U-IN?S is a testament to its own double meaning as much as it is a challenge; all comers are invited to participate in the catalogue, to submit or remix. Plans are currently underway for a R-U-IN?S kiosk at Shanghai's World Expo. Here, Altmann responds to a question that's been on her mind for some time.

What are you doing the most lately?
Reading and making a lot of videos, mixes, and tumblrs, it's winter. I spend most of my time emailing and ftp'ing files - I want a long computer hiatus this spring and I want to run away to some facsimile of Ibiza this summer. But today I'm excited about the igloo we're going to build behind our apartment (I'm answering this during Baltimore's "Snowpocalypse 2010")

How does your location (Baltimore) affect what you do and who you are these days?
  • Importing what I can't get locally to a city full of empty warehouses.
  • It is more convenient to go to Manhattan than to the suburbs.
  • Right now I think I attend more events in New York than locally, and I definitely seem to show my art everywhere else but here.
  • People think I live in New York.
  • I'm just bouncing between here and there, something more artists seem to be doing
  • I want the world tour lifestyle that all these musicians have but only my files seem to get it.

I feel really lucky to have moved here in 2004 and witness some magical years, but I'm not in a musical act so the ride on the wave was a little different. Mostly it was a spectacle to learn from - an education. I think of it almost like a research residency on the culture industry: watching things be planted, cultivated, then exported to the world. I actually saw it happen from start to finish, with varying degrees of success. I'd seen a little bit of that before but never with this intimate social intensity. In a place this raw with currents this dark it seems like viruses have the time and space to grow very carefully, in a unique way - so that if they get swept away to other places or hit that exponential dispersion they are almost invincible.

While all this was happening I was at MICA learning critical theory and art history, trying to maintain some kind of perspective on it all but still wanting to participate. It was a tricky balance. After watching people around you deal with fame and self-branding so many times, you really learn what you want and don't want, but more importantly you see new possibilities for yourself. Baltimore has made me understand freedom. It has made me tougher in a different way than New York, by testing what I do with that freedom. Not everyone flourishes under these conditions.

I moved here from Dallas which is the opposite of Baltimore in a lot of ways, so it has always felt like an escape. When I came here I was definitely on the run. At first I took advantage of school loan money and the cheap cost of living and just travelled all over the world every time MICA was on break. The transition was a little rough. Eventually, though, I settled down and got more invested in Baltimore itself, which is when it rewarded me with an ideal quality of life. That tribal experience people fetishize - we actually had it for a minute, with all its ups and downs. I took a net hiatus and spent my time raving and surrounded by people. I didn't care about blogs or a career. It was like the ideal end of college situation amplified by 200 percent.

Now I feel pulled back out of that experience, more zoomed out again. My website went back up. This is a great place to get some projects done, but you basically have to export those products everywhere else once they're finished. It's like MVP/Bolt Bus and Wimax are singlehandedly responsible for more MICA graduates staying and surviving.

More importantly though, it's a good place to experience the raw and hidden elements of America, if you can handle it. If you use it to educate yourself you become able to see the things at work behind a lot of the larger forces in the world. If New York gives you eagle-eye vision, Baltimore gives you the zoomed-in view from the trenches. And there are times I still get that dystopian/lost city/end-of-the-world feel from it all which is what seduced me in the first place. People here are creating their own utopias, whether productive or destructive, among the burnout. Those forces keep eachother in balance. These people are part of a network of post-industrial American settlers experimenting with a cultural "next wave" in cities all over the country, with the aid of the internet. Sometimes it's the second wave, sometimes it's the sixth. Since most of the music and art from these cities is accessible via internet, touring, or exportation to New York, you can actually feel the current of a "Post-Millenial American Frontier" which can motivate you. Not to suggest it's only coming from America though, it's happening all over the world and has been, in cycles, for a long time. It's just that the internet is uniting and diversifying it more than ever before. In 2012 my only dream is to have some huge mega-rave that pulls all of these art/music/party initiatives together, to actually feel this current frontier in one place at one time.

I don't know if I'll stay living here this year - a move is feeling more and more inevitable - but what I've learned in Baltimore, first-person, is invaluable.

What do you think of the future?
Look Up, Look Out

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DINA KELBERMAN: Dancing However You Want

Dina Kelberman lives in Hampden and works at Atomic Books. She emigrated from Purchase, NY with a group of friends who became what the outside world recognizes as Wham City, and if anything Dina embodies the principles of Wham-City-ness as much as any of her more outgoing peers. She draws a serial Important Comics strip for Baltimore Citypaper because she won their comics contest in 2009, regularly releases The Regular Man and Aperiodic Comic, creates posters and album artwork, designs websites & t-shirts and frequently exhibits her bold non-sequential work in group shows. Her website Important Comics is a cavalcade of varied, exciting work in a wide array of fields and a spectacular archive of her work over the years.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
I make comics and draw stuff and paint and update websites. I am always mostly updating websites, presumably because I enjoy it, although that seems retarded.

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
I've been drawing comics for about 10 years, not that seriously for most of that time. So I've gotten more "this is what I wanna do" about it, and I've definitely gotten WAY looser about it, I used to spend forever just drawing boxes that were perfectly square. Now I just slosh shit on the page as fast as I can. It's all gotten way more "painterly" if I can get away with saying that without sounding like a douche. (I can't.)

Someone got a tattoo of one of her comical characters!

Why do you do these things? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
It's really fun. I like to write down the stupid tiny conversations I have in my head constantly. It makes me feel triumphant. I love looking at colorful shapes.
It is rare that I am unable to draw comics. If that's happening it's probably because i'm updating a website. There is never a time when making things is not an option, which is the best part of making things. I don't know if this is relevant, but i thought this might be a good time to mention that I love office supplies SO MUCH.

Have you ever had an epiphany about your true purpose?
Ummm, no real epiphany i guess . . . but going to Purchase College definitely changed me, in that I realized there were other people who were total weirdos and I could actually be myself around them, and we all fell in love with each other. Also I learned there that dancing however you want feels great.

Album artwork for Ed Schrader, The Choir Inside

How has your work affected your life in return?
It makes me feel awesome when people like my comics. It makes me feel awesome to look through my sketchbooks at all the shit I've drawn over the years. Making things makes me feel awesome. There is no single better feeling than making things. Are these answers?

How does your location affect what you do and who you are these days?
Baltimore is the best because of all the reasons everyone knows: supportive awesome community of crazy dickweeds doing things. My house is very comfy and my landlord accepts most of my interior designs. Sometimes I think I should leave and go somewhere by myself, cause i'm too addicted to my friends. But fuck that.

Part of the Wham City Paper

What do you think of the future?
Who knows? Hopefully good. Can't wait for nothing to happen at 2012!

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
How'd you lose that tooth?
It fell out when I bit a piece of bread because it was still a baby fang I had since my first teeth. The adult one is there now, but more crocodile style.