Monday, January 28, 2013

A Moment of Honesty

This is me. I don't actually play the banjo. 
I want to take a moment to go off "topic" and discuss a few real topics as a human being. Picture me in a smoking jacket with a pair of bunny slippers, leaning forward on a sword cane, with a heavy glass of single malt scotch at my side. Got it? OK. So. I know honesty in the sense of vulnerability and openness is a strange concept for us these days, as our days segment into rush from task to task. Or for all those chronic illness and psych sufferers, hiding in a dark hole away from the world and hope to God it gets better.

Not that I'd know anything about any of that as a published author and artist.

No, but seriously. Sometimes it is very difficult to write for this blank page, with this invisible wall between author and audience. There is this sense that the internet has brought that wall down, but if anyone has paid attention to comment threads on most sites, it would seem that much of the world didn't get the memo, and it much more content to lob middle-school level insults at one another or remain silent, perhaps in some contexts clicking "like" on occasion. It isn't as if this is new, as authors of the printed word often have - and sometimes even want - a division between their world and the world of their audience.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Z(enseider)Z Broadcast #1

In the grand tradition of talking shit and self-indulgent verbalization we present to you the first in a short series of broadcasts (I hate the word podcast) Including myself Eian Orange from New Jersey (a.k.a. New Jerusalem) and my boy in Canadia (a.k.a. New Shambhala) named Alex Berry which many of you have to know as Nefariaz. Both of us worked on the music and on some of the post-production.

So it truly was a collaborative effort.

Very little is known about the Z(enseider)Z both because of their intentionally elusive character and their hush hush way of performing the duties of a well-oiled magickal disorganization hell bent on leeching your OV™ through your Internet connection. Nothing to be afraid of..

Now if you'd like to actually hear what all this rambling is about then go visit our Soundcloud page to listen to the half-hour long radio show. The louder, and more enthusiastic of the two voices is mine (Eian Orange) and the more settled, mellow voice belongs to that of Alex Berry (Nefariaz) This is our very first show so cut us some slack...

You wouldn't believe me if I told you how I got the mics set up from phone to phone. It's ludicrous and I'm surprised it even worked. Next time I'm hitting up my local electronics outlet and finding the proper gear for recording phones.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Eccentric Promotional Assistant(s) Wanted

THE A.D.D. VERSION: We are looking for a promotional assistant (or several, if there are several incredible prospects) for our network of indie / counterculture art sites. This is an opportunity to learn about web and media promotions and get personally involved in the process on a daily basis. 

INTERESTED? Read on.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fiction and NonFiction: The Failure of Labels

By James Curcio

Anyone that knows me knows that, to begin with, I hate labels. So I'm going to be upfront with my bias. I think it's only fair that people are upfront about things like that, and I think that we would all be better off if we were more honest with ourselves and each other about things like that -- but that's what the next post is about, not today's.

I also am not going to provide any psychological commentary on the fact that I feel this way about categorization, and my wife is a librarian.

No, today's post is about labels. And a particular kind of labeling at that. It is about the distinction that we draw between fiction and non-fiction. It is a big red line drawn between two "types" of writing, and two intentions. It is, fundamentally, about the fact that we, the collective we, actually have no idea what we are talking about most of the time, but we simply don't look at anything close enough, so everything seems alright.

Most people just take these sort of things as a given, accept that we must label things "fiction" and "non-fiction" to get on with life and one another, and leave it at that. This strikes me as impossibly dangerous and even verging on insane. That is something else about me.

Of course, many people will be quite pleased to argue to no end about sub-categories of fiction and non-fiction writing, and what constitutes which, and they are even more pleased to argue about genre, a topic I have touched on in the past myself. (Here is an interview with a fellow author Elizabeth Spann Craig where we discuss this topic, among others.)

blending genres or lost in the fade?
art by jouram roukas
But as you may have noticed, my er "touching" was of quite a different sort than is normal. Because I am not concerned with what books should fall into which category. I don't give a damn. I'm concerned instead with what labeling actually does to us. I'm concerned with how the categories that we draw affect our thinking, even affects who we are as people, how we are as people. This is, fundamentally, the underlying topic of this website, in fact--not fiction or non-fiction, but rather how the often rote or automatic narratives that we create and live by create our world. I'm pleased to talk also about the intentional narratives as well, but it is often the unintentional ones, the unconscious ones, that bite deepest because of their nature as invisible.

Like many of the ways that we carve, chop, and delineate our lives, more is revealed in what is assumed than what is considered. As such, I feel that there is really no topic that should be left untouched in our exploration.

So before we can even talk about our assumptions, let's consider delineation. It is important not so much for the purposes of accurate or inaccurate categorization as the reality that the very process of doing so creates. Is this clear? It is of no concern to me if Star Wars is or is not Science Fiction, but it is of great concern what Science Fiction means, and why we should feel compelled to put it in that box in the first place.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fair Ground for Folly and Bloody Beef

Guten tag Layzees and Gentlememes,

 

We at the Z(enseider)Z would like to formally welcome you to our arbitrarily chosen holiday extravaganza where we will be launching a newly created link page where we display people's websites and shit like on some promo type dealie-o, you know. It comes from the ashes of our old avviliates page where we used to keep up with the knewz manually. Nowadays it's a whole different story. Tagging, and Meta categories, and privacy. Forget about it.

Anyway, we're looking for any new submissions from bloggers here or readers. If you'd like us to pimp your site just throw us the URL and it's done. Inspiration, destination, and disambiguation

A basic announcement and flubbery commentary on the Z(enseider)Z releases can be found on our rarely used serverside kNewzlog. Just click the tag for albums. As very little of what I do is ever organized in the least it'd be superficial for me to say any of them were an 'official' public release. It's out there. You can find it. Life goes on.

Actually, the best place to find Z(enseider)Z material upto date is our Bandcamp page. Unless you like to hear bits and pieces of freshly pressed sound bites then I'd try our Soundcloud page as an alternative. And of course there's always our ReverbNation page which now carries our latest Merchandise which everyone seems to be very pleased with.

Pretentious as it may sound I only wanna put together 26 albums as the Z(enseider)Z before closing the project. The stuff released as Z(enseider)Z has license to suck. Which leaves room to experiment and leverage to utilize as confidence.

I may eventually diagram the albums along the Gematria of Nothing and ultimately the Tree of kNOwthing giving it multiple angles from which to work, but especially when it comes to Q-ballistic endeavors.

We all love to get together and do drugs and fuck and drink and smoke and snort and suck and lick and kiss and shoot and grind and flesh against flesh. In this day and age it seems that we the masses have confused the base material inconveniences of familial obligations for the opportunities inherent in reckless communal catharsis.

Nevertheless, it is still with great fondness and jovial enthusiasm that we endear the ceremonial customs and endure the rites of passage contrived by our pre-historic geneticessors. The pre-civilized inhabitants of our primordial wildernesses, wastelands, waterworlds, and walkabouts.

Our modern calendrical metrics have slithered into our cultural compulsions. Trophy recognition of token catastrophes and arbitrary glorifications of unpredictable emergencies.

Ancient sky-gazers may have been able to calculate seasonal aberrations and scrutinize celestial fluctuations with such accuracy as to develop reliable systems for forecasting weather patterns without the aid of a barometer, radar tracking, or satellite imaging. Therefore we honor their supraterrestrial awareness by parting the veil with a sonic shank and penetrating the void with a digital phallus.

Are you a walking flash mob? No you're just an averge Joe, Bob
You ain't no Genesis PO and now thatchu mention it you ain't no
paradigmal pirate neither yo, you just a white bread version of how
we've become obsessed with black music, yo
from jazz to rock to rap ya can't even confuse it
we co-op the bass drum drop the snare let the break beat crack-a shot
don't ever let the heart stop
electrified w/o that shit, my life feels incomplete rhythm is the king
and even if it go bling bling that shit'll never go hip pop

 

      Auf Wiedersehen,

          Dr. Ayin R. Inch


[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

RAW Artist Lineup: Exciting Upcoming Talent Features James Curcio

From the Words of Traitors site:


Please purchase your ticket through this page. 

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Review of "At the Crossroads; An Astrologer Looks at these Turbulent Times"

By Brian George

“The first man must have seen auguries everywhere, he must have trembled at each step that he took.”—Giorgio de Chirico, 1913
__

I was a great admirer of Jessica Murray’s book “Soul-Sick Nation; An Astrologer Looks at America,” which I regard as one of the most incisive, intuitive, and provocative analyses of the escalating crises faced by the US in the first decade of the 21st Century. I eagerly awaited her next book, “At the Crossroads; An Astrologer Looks at these Turbulent Times,” which was published in June of 2012. In the months that I have been savoring this work, again and again I have found myself—quietly—exclaiming, “Of course, of course, that’s it!” When an author is able to enter into the secret chambers of the Zeitgeist, it is as though she is also reading your own deepest fears and dreams and thoughts.

Murray refers to herself as an “archetypal astrologer”: Astrological transits are analyzed less in terms of their purely personal and predictive aspects and more in terms of the alchemical challenges that they pose. She writes, for example, ““As the transit of Neptune (spiritual yearning) to the US Moon suggests, beneath America’s panic about the economy is a malaise that has nothing to do with the material world. Clients who visit an astrologer these days and insist that all they want to talk about are ‘practical’ issues like their 401Ks are missing the point. As distressing as the financial facts are, the deeper issue is of psycho-spiritual health.” Astrology is predictive, yes, but this has to do with the arrangement and rearrangement of archetypal scenery on the stage. Every stage-set is provisional, and we act within a tiny cone of light, beyond which we must learn to see.

At each moment, a particular thing is waiting to occur—like a half-formed sentence in the unconscious of a writer—yet it is we who must translate impulse into action, and, by pulling a focused image from the Rorschach blot of forces, determine what this moment means. “Astrological archetypes work as an interpretive schema because ‘real life,’ just like dream life, is a flow of symbols. An angry dog barking at you on the day of a Mars transit is a symbol. So are big collective happenings like political movements, oil spills, and tsunamis.” As in a dream, each image has both an inner life and a certain open-endedness: The dream comes fully into existence only as we tell the story of it, which we are simultaneously in the process of enacting in our lives. I would refer to this as the primordial mode of vision: No event is so trivial that it cannot be seen within the context of an archetype. Conversely, no archetype is so great that it has ceased to have a moment by moment involvement—and even, perhaps, interest—in our actions.

Get Creative: The Liminal State

By James Curcio

Although we need to make many assumptions - as we often do in life, let alone death - there is often a connection drawn between life and waking, and death and dreaming.

This connection is specious, but not because it is shallow. It is rather wrong, and yet strikes very near to a profound truth about consciousness, if not the nature of reality itself. (How can we draw a distinction between the two when we are ourselves housed within a bio-mechanical walker? That is a subject for another book to be sure, much as we tried to touch on it in The Immanence of Myth and Apocalyptic Imaginary.) These epistemological uncertainties aside, death itself is the void of the great unknown. Whatever our conjecture is of that nether region, it is the point beyond the point of no return - the dark side of the moon - a place that is no place, and certainly no story exists there. The world is full of damn near verifiable near-death experiences, but no verifiable death experiences. There is a reason for that.

The so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead is also, more accurately, called the Bardo Thodal. This translates loosely as the "intermediary space." And Bardos are spaces we are actually quite familiar with. When you are falling asleep, but have not yet hit the bottom of the well - that is a Bardo. When we are coming awake, but the curve of your lovers neck is still at one and the same time the scroll upon which the history of another world is writ in blood - a Bardo.

It is in these spaces that all mythic artists carve out their homes. We may not even know it, making that rote flow a part of an unknown process. Or, like me, you might instead be very conscious of the process, intentionally allowing yourself to almost fall asleep, time and again, with notebook and pen in hand, dredging up symbols and the threads that connect plot, character, and something deeper than that - some archetypical knowledge that does not come from pat books on Jungian symbolism.

This reminds me a bit of the plot to the movie "Flatliners," where med students kill themselves time and again, and then bring themselves back, all so they can unravel some mystery that perches at the brink between life and death, like a gargoyle, part stone and part something else though not quite flesh. This theme returns again in the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where one cylon kills herself again and again so that she can look upon the face of their archetypal parents, the faces of God.

This too is an archetype. To see the face of God is to not only court death: it is to die. This premise exists in Greek myth, where Dionysus' mother is consumed in a pillar of fire when she discovers the true nature of her paramour - Zeus. It exists equally in Jewish mysticism. The Zohar is laden with this idea, though like a bad scholar I'll not look up all the references. The reason is not so much laziness as that it is actually not particularly important to our point, so much as you recognize the general ubiquity of this idea.

And as in "Flatliners," there is indeed a price to be paid for this knowledge. I myself paid for it rather harshly, as my experiments with creative liminal spaces led me to rather extreme lucid dreaming experiments that I explained by tying it into my creative work. Eventually some sort of threshold was overcome, and this passage that I put in my first novel "Join My Cult!" is actually entirely truthful, as is a surprising amount of the material that finds its way into my 'fiction' (that is a topic for a later article, I'm sure.)
   A burst of pleasure runs through me, unbearable ache. There is a
yanking, rending, of my insides and the room around me. I am reaching
out to her, I so desperately want to stay here… To get close enough to
allow her to become first person and myself third, let myself go to let her
in… I can’t even remember what she was saying, now.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Words of Traitors art show release

From the Gold Standard mail list:
"Come out and join us for our first art gallery opening of 2013! This exciting exhibit will run from Monday, January 14th throughout the month of February with the opening night also being the release party for the beautiful book The Words of Traitors: 7 Lives in Transition. Transmedia artist and Author James Curcio put together a creatively diverse, international team of artists, and collaborated with them in illustrating a collection of short stories with a common theme and singular vision that is hauntingly beautiful. 
Each story was written as part of the overall creative process with visual pieces inspiring the narrative. Many of these pieces are dioramas constructed from a wide array of material enveloping one in a visually stimulating journey into the subconscious. 
Complimentary cheese and wine available at the opening which runs from 5 PM until 8 PM. Copies of books will be on sale with the opportunity to have your booked signed and listen to some excerpts read by James. This work features many other innovative artists including Philadelphia-based painter and muralist James Dupree, Bethany Shorb, Laurie Lipton, S. Jenx, Alexey Andreev, and many more.  
We hope to see you there!"
Not in Philadelphia? Pick up a copy of the book here. (Available in full color hardcopy or digitally.)

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

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