Adventures in Dismaland

{Forewarning: cross post from my other site Superficially Iconic which I am also reviving}

Some may wonder why people gravitate towards certain corners of art.

Growing up in a small suburb of Illinois, I stuck out so much. Weird colored hair and crazy pattern clothing combinations do that. But so does the rest going on in the core of my being. I just happened to match a bit on the outside.

My dad was the conventional son of a visionary. She, however, rode the line. It created the juxtaposition I live in with my modern outlooks and lifestyle. Therein lies the deep rooted nature of understanding within.

Dad may never understand art to the level my grandmother and I do, but, in his own ways, he gets it. Dad just gets a different side of the glass. He has moments where he will draw outside of the lines but he really does like and value the lines. This is probably evident by his love of comic books but only choosing to read superhero books. Dad’s mantra has been, “If I wanted to think about real life, I would.”

Dad is a disconnector. He dabbles in art to escape reality. It’s a natural thing and beautiful in its own right.

I’m a polar opposite to my father in so many ways with my love of art. I have an adoration and respect for his world of function and practicality but… like to jump off cliffs at times.

For me, the line between art and reality should be a blur. It should speak to you. It should make you think.

That said, the link below is not for everyone. I know several members of society that would look away or talk poorly of this pocket of art. Despite this, I’m still associated with several. I love their words- art or reality or spaces that blur the lines.

Controversy shouldn’t have to be a controversy. Revolutions shouldn’t have to be revolutions. Even if they are both or neither at the same time. But I must say.. it does take the bold to do either one. Blurring the lines and keeping things black and white is an art in itself. And that ain’t bad.

That said, here’s an introduction to the Bemusement of Banksy with his latest pop up installation: Dismaland. Take a peek if ye dare into the superficially iconic beauty of dystopian art and reality compounded into one.

For more info, see the other press pieces:

The Guardian’s coverage

Channel 4’s coverage

Uk Reuter’s coverage

Advertisements

For Marie

As many of you know, my cousin- one of the most inspirational figures of my travels into the art world, passed away recently due to breast cancer.  I have been battling the sadness that comes with one of my childhood heroes fading to black since we got the call a few weeks ago that she was going to go any day now.

As the “artsy” kid of the family, I have found myself returning to thoughts of her more and more each day.  It’s made me realize how truly important to keep company with people whom inspire me.   One such person is my friend Mark.

Mark and I met through social media events, which then turned into various run-ins of art/eccentric functions.  He is someone I’ve valued and appreciated for years.  But what he did yesterday brought me to tears.

You see, Mark went to Burning Man this year.  For those of you not in the know, Burning Man is an art festival held in Black Rock City Nevada.  It is one of the most populated cities in the state for the week that it exists.  Burning Man is an event to some, but a community experience to many others.  It represents growth, transition, and artistic expression.

Each year at the end of the festival, two monuments are burned to the ground: the Man (the symbol that represents the festival), and the Temple of Transitions.  On the temple, you are encouraged to write messages that will be released to the sky.  When Mark returned he sent me the following picture of what he wrote on the temple wall:

I want you all to know that I am forever thankful for each of you.  The people we surround ourselves with assist in creating the bigger picture of our lives.  They are gifts.  Treasure them while they’re still here… and when they’re gone. Aspire to cultivate masterpieces with the people in your life.  Each and every day.

Vu

The cold.

The comfort of an old building.

Deja vu.

Thoughts of…

Love is both a science and an artform.

A calculated measure of timing, space, intuition, execution…

of science and romance

Of things and notions that we only have encountered in movies.

But then there was…

The cold.

The comfort of the familiar.

Deja vu.

Thoughts of….

Serendipity.

Fate.

What once was

may not ultimately be

“To be.”

Time

will

tell.

Please let it be

when and if it is

we?

he

I am ready.

Postal Project in found art

To Mr Cheng

To Mr Cheng

I’ve always been a little off.  This idea has been something that has actually done by my family at one point, but for a reason that wasn’t art.

The picture seen here is from Swedish Artist Eric Ericson.  He spent many years sending objects through the mail and these are a few of them.  I have every intention of copying it.  My mother does not know it yet, but she is about to get sent random miscellaneous objects from me.  So if anyone reading finds something quirky that they want me to mail (within reason), I will send it to my mother.  And when I say within reason, I’m talking stuff that she will likely just laugh at as opposed to something I will get a lecture about.  As it is I’m sure she’s going to mail me a list to therapists in the area and tell me to seek help after this.

I called my grandmother this morning and told her about it.  She is doing much better.  She told me she’d received the postcards I’d sent her and asked me about my weekend.  She was more curious about the things I was doing.  She told me many tales about her life.  We talked a little bit about the hospital and then I mentioned this.

My friend the dark prince said he will help me in the experiment if I want to send him things.  The project is for art as well as humor.

My grandmother reminded me of the time my grandfather did this.  He is far from being an artist though.

In a box somewhere is the muffler from my dad’s old Seabring convertible.  My dad was moving back to California from IL and wanted to try and get a trailer hitch on the back.  Grandpa’s brilliant idea was to saw off the muffler- which he did- take a permanent marker to it and some stamps and mail it to my dad’s new address in California.

It did indeed get there and has been a family joke for nearly 10 years now.

Seeing this post made me smile and so did my grandmother.  I told her I was going to send various objects to my mother and not tell her beforehand.  My grandmother didn’t help.  She actually encouraged the project.

“I found one of your shoes here.  Just one.  You should send it to him or your mother.” she said with a giggle.

“Oh really?  Which one?”

“Some black and white one.”

I told her some of the things I planned on sending my mother already.  Just miscellaneous crap that’s around the apartment that I really have no clue why it’s there.  I told my roommate to let me know what he finds while he’s cleaning to send to mom.

“I may be little but I’m odd.” I quoted Eddie Munster.

“I know.” he said and chuckled.

And now my postman is going to know too.  Yay!

Epilogue:  My grandmother thanked me for the cards I’ve sent.  I told her I will send her more.  She told me “Thank you for making me smile today.  Thank you for making me laugh and feel full of life again.”  I think this is the start of a beautiful morning.

Epilogue 2: I’m going to see if I can actually tape some of this but will need a partner in crime and would prefer not to do it at the post office near me as I’m there twice a week as it is already.  If you are interested in being said counterpart please send me an email to inquire about this position or I may just post it on Craigslist.

I’m not a pervert, I’m a beauty enthusiast: the sensalization of video game characters in the modern era

Memorial Day has come and gone and with it brought the sun out not just for those outdoor beach nuts, but also for the nerds.  Nerds from across the country have been waiting for these sacred moments.  Ah, yes to count down the days before the two biggest conferences of the year: E3 and Comic Con.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a Pinup Fundraiser featuring Diablo Cody and burlesque pinup queen Masuimi Max.  The fundraiser was to help raise funds for military wives.  The women there, were of that 50s quality that exuded looks reminiscent to Betty Paige and Marilyn.  Even the crowd was hot.  Looking around, you were surrounded by lounge lizard dreams and Varga dames.

The same night however, on another side of town, was another burlesque show.  In fact, it was something entirely different.  It was a unique spin catered to my generation of nerds.   Instead of your standard rockabilly divas, cosplay clad women dressed (and undressed) in your favorite video game character outfits.  The light shined down yet again.  Video game burlesque had been born.

Blood Rayne (via LA Weekly)

The cast of characters was short.   Most of which stayed true to that of the 8 bit stylings that have swept the art stream- therefore appealing to a wider potential crowd.

Every gamer’s wet dream came true at Bordello on May 9 as Devil’s Playground presented Video Game Girls burlesque. The dancers arrived armed and outfitted for an arcade battle, and included Super Mario Bros. Princess Peach, Metroid’s Samus Aran, Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, The Legend of Zelda’s Link and Princess Zelda, and BloodRayne’s Rayne.

From what I’ve seen on the LA Weekly, and among the talk from friends, I would venture to say that the show went well.  I was among the first to catch wind of the story in my circle of friends and twittered immediately about my disappointment for missing the debut.  The grip, as well as my best friend Mo, all discussed it more.  Mo and I were determined to see it.

Thankfully there is still hope.  For the others like me, and those who are in town for the conference this week are open to attend an encore showing this Tuesday Night at the Bordello- the same club as it was previously.

flyer for the encore presentation of Videogame Burlesque

I’m not a pervert, I’m a beauty enthusiast.

So, hot girls wearing cosplay costumes stripping down… is bad how exactly?  You wouldn’t think so due to the ever popular and already existing erotica aimed at geeks, Nerdcore.  Nerdcore depicts pictures of girls covered in video games, to super heroes, to sci-fi true geek warefare attire…. and nude.  It has been the epicenter of nerd porn juxtaposition previous to newer alternative sites like Zivity that cater towards a more digitally connected technophile.

Nevertheless, I was reading a blog on my friend Alex’s site Girl Gamer, to see that a few people were unhappy about the burlesque show.  Strange, because most everyone I’d talked to personally (both male and female) had said relatively nothing to say beyond praise about the whole concept of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cos-play as much as any other geek out there, but when fantasy turns to reality in a degrading manner for female gamers just to satisfy some male fetish, I have a problem. How can the dancers arrive “armed and outfitted for an arcade battle”, when all their gear comes right off? I guess Princess Zelda has powers I’ve never heard of, and I don’t even want to ask where Princess Peach will be pulling out those mushrooms from. I have to wonder, as decade-old characters that we all grew up with, is this what we have reduced them to, and is this how we now portray them? I doubt our delicate Princess Peach would ever participate in a burlesque show, and don’t think Link or Mario would ever see the princesses as “fairest” anymore.

I’m sorry, but it’s the video game industry.  Do you really think those game developers made the characters the way they did so that you wouldn’t come back for more? It’s the entertainment industry for Christ Sakes.

Sex sells games.

That’s why there are successful game series like the Leisure Suit Larry and Dead or Alive.  Hell, in the game I tested for SOE, Untold Legends 3, if you look closely, the main playable female character’s breasts actually pulsate.  Game developers and players alike are perverts.  It’s natural.  Back in the days before it was less pop for females to like video games, the target demographic was… (drum roll please) men!

Ok, so you want to get into semantics then?  Sure, I can do that.

Don’t you also think it’s kind of odd that Princess Peach was being pursued and saved by two brothers?  Their occupation being plumbers.  Let’s be realistic.  Princess Peach was likely a slut getting her plumbing fixed by the both of them.  Toadstool was the equivalent of either her gay friend or some kid with a crush on his teacher.  And her name” Peach?”  Hmm, I wonder what that might be referring to.

Why Mario really saved the Princess repeatedly

Why Mario really saved the Princess repeatedly

The other thing is that when you add the fetish world to the equation, and the fact that the I am 8-Bit gallery exhibits and the steady stream of retro gaming energy drinks and merch of various kinds (like this blooper keychain I got last week) lining the shelves,  and graphiti making headlines and the pinup subculture gaining more appeal and this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Burlesque is a tasteful, classier, and artistic approach to making the dreams of millions come alive.  I think the cartoon above is 10xs more offensive than real women enacting pixelated fantasies on stage for fun.  Sure it’s not technically accurate to the games entirely.  It’s an artistic strip show.  They’re on the stage prancing about and dancing.  They’re not getting plunged right on the stage.  And if you’re thinking there isn’t porn out there catering to that crowd, you’re naive- especially if you live in LA or have been to any metropolitan area.

As far as the entertainment factor goes, I’m for equality. What happened to including a shirtless Rayu or Tidus? If you add men to the mix I’ll be at the front of the stage drooling.

Personally I really couldn’t get into the whole male stripper community.  Chipendales never did anything for me.  I guess because they didn’t seem real.  My idea of the perfect man… let’s just say for now that it’s not a Chipendale. I like a fit and athletic man, but honestly, beefy guys generally lead me to those 80s meathead stereotypes.

Is that hypocritical psychology?  Probably.  But no one in their right mind would say that they watched a Van Damme or a Schwartzeneger movie because they were portrayed to be intellectually superior.  It was all about the “ooo muscles” factor.

As far as the entertainment factor goes, I’m for equality. What happened to including a shirtless Rayu or Tidus? If you add men to the mix I’ll be at the front of the stage drooling.

Well, for one, Tidus was gay.  That whole thing about falling in love with Luna was likely a coverup.  I mean, look at how he was in the storyline.  Straight men just aren’t that sensitive.  Not when they dress like that.  It screams “I’m a closet homosexual.”  Which is perfectly fine and.. dandy.  I can’t bitch about it because I’m a one calorie fag too.

That said, they really should do something like this for the gaymer community. I’m sure that there’d be hordes of all walks that would love to see men dressed like Link or Ash from Streets of Rage.  I read an article awhile back that Link was voted the hottest game character by the gay community.

Ash- Streets of Rage 3 Japanese Version

Ash- Streets of Rage 3 Japanese Version

So sure, let’s make it even playing ground.  I think it would be awesome and everyone wins.  But then again, that’s what I thought about the female version.  I guess I must be a bit biased.  I mean, I’m typically “one of the guys” as far as mindset goes.  I’m open about my sexual prowess. The line of what I find being tasteless vs artful may be a bit off the conventional path.

I know that by writing this, I run the risk of potentially being seen in a very negative light.  On one hand, I’m more than likely a hero for saying what many didn’t want to say in public.  On the other, I’m sure it could be construed that I’m an asshole sexist pig.  I am willing to face the consequences.

I’m just sick and tired of people whining about every damn little thing.  The internet is evil.  Television is evil.  Wa wa wa… evil evil evil evil.

No, it’s not cheapening my experience or appreciation of the games.  I repeat the obvious, they’re for entertainment value.  So if lines of paying patrons of both sexes want to line up in droves (and I have a hunch being that it’s during E3 festivities, there will be quite a few people there) why complain?  I’d go to it regardless of the sex- regardless of my sexual preferences.  The concept melts two fantasies for me.  Beats the hell out of ren faires.

Again this is nothing compared to what they could be doing.  Open minded individuals, I’ll see you there.  I’ll be that “cool chick” with my guy friends enjoying it.  Let the flaming commence, I’ll go grab a cigarette.

Kk thnx bai.