During his flight into exile, Marcos was found to have 24 gold bricks and numerous diamonds in his luggage. He and his cronies are said to have absconded with ten billion dollars from the Philippine treasury.
Imelda would regularly spend three million dollars a day on a shopping spree. In her haste to leave her native land, she left 1,200 pairs of her shoes behind. With no money or inclination to preserve them, the Philippine government left them to rot in a basement. Termites ate the soles of many of the shoes and water damage ravaged the rest.
She did not go barefoot, however. She owned a total of 3,000 pairs of women's shoes at the time of their exile.
TOMATOES TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF "X" FROM THE1STSTATE OF THEU. S. TO THE2ND, OVER AN ELONGATED PERIOD, (QUITE ELONGATED ACTUALLY) THIS ELONGATED SPEED WE WILL CALL "Y" THE TOMATOES WILL EVENTUALLY AND INEVITABLY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BE REPLACED BY A MORE SEASONAL FRUIT SUCH AS PUMPKINS. IF "Y" RETAINS THE SAME RATE OF SPEED (IF IT THE PACE CAN BE CALLED SPEED AT ALL) PUMPKINS CAN ONLY BE FOLLOWED BY SNOWBALLS WHICH ARE CERTAINLY NOT A FRUIT, ALTHOUGHTHEORETICALLY ABLE TO PROVIDE SUSTINENCE TO ANOTHER GENERATION OF TOMATOES WHICH, EXACTLY LIKE THE 1ST BATCH ARE AS UNLIKELY TO REACH THE2NDSTATE AS THE ORIGINAL DELIVERY. YET HOPE SPRINGS INFERNAL! After all, it ain't as if they're coming from BUFFALO.
Let me tell you this about Tommy Schaefer. Tommy is a mythological character. He is six foot five inches tall, authentic, an original, one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet and, at the end of his sixties, he is still one bad man. There is an army of much younger men that wish they had never wound this old street fighter up. Age has done little for his reputation as a bad ass
One day I was standing on Third Street talking to my dear friend John Walsh, since deceased. John was a funny guy and one of the most generous men on the planet. He worked on the docks for many years but by the time I met him he was retired on full disability. Whatever his disability, it certainly wasn't visible. John saw all the angles and worked them.
Anyway, John (JW to his friends) and I were talking out on the street. It was a bright, sunny day, maybe in the early days of autumn. All of a sudden who rolls up on a bike but Tommy Schaefer. Tommy was all excited and determined to impart some salacious piece of neighborhood news to us but he never got around to it. We wouldn't let him speak. John and I demanded an explanation on why this old hard head was tooling around on a girl's bike. In fact, we were so busy breaking Tom's balls that we never let him explain himself.
The more John and I laughed about the sight of Tommy of Tommy on a girl's bike, the madder he got. The more angry he got, the more we laughed. He kept trying to change the subject to no avail. By the time he pedaled away he had steam coming out of his ears.
John is dead so I break Tommy's balls twice as much about the bike in John's memory. Today I promised Tommy that if he would let me take his photograph on the girl's bike that I would never break his balls about it again.
The future wears a mustache but so did Joseph Stalin. I dedicate this image to Bryan "The Brain" German. I used to work with this guy. His name is Victor. His personalty mimics is his appearance. He is sincere and nervous. His style is his complete lack of style. It would never occur to him that someone would make him the subject of an artwork. He will probably never know that he is the subject of an artwork. I used to call him "Sabotage" after the Beastie Boys song of the same name. www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5rRZdiu1UE&list=RDz5rRZdiu1UE The title of this image, "The big fun!" is also the name of one of my favorite Miles Davis albums. www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVvIovxPaA&list=PLB16218313C...
How does a water tower catch on fire?
Since 1981, three Mayors of Camden have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to jail while in office.
On October 29, 2012, the FBI announced Camden was ranked first in violent crime per capita of cities with over 50,000 residents.
Camden has privatized its entire police force. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxq5uMSV0yI www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-aOy7madD4
Entire neighborhoods are now under heavy CCTV surveillance. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mbm0r1KmIs
Camden is directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia PA.
Tempura on cardboard mounted on board, 14 1/4" X 18 1/4".
Premonition of a Clampdown, an Insurrection and Their Abject Futility. No boiled beans this time around. When I was three or four years old my parents took me to Philadelphia Museum of Art. My favorite artworks at the time were Soft Composition with Boiled Beans by Salvador Dali, Prometheus Bound by Peter Paul Rubens and Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? by Marcel Duchamp. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_Construction_with_Boiled_Beans_(Premonition_of_Civil_War) http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/104468.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Not_Sneeze,_Rose_Sélavy%3F In the late fifties and early sixties, Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? was not protected by a Plexiglass vitrine as it is today. It sat on a shelf exposed, vulnerable to the touch of four year old wise guys. I knew that the cubes of marble were meant to be read as sugar cubes. I suspected that they were not what they appeared to be and I felt that the artist was fooling the viewer by substituting marble for sugar. To prove my hypotheses I stuck my finger in the cage to feel the cubes, much to the horror of the somnambulant guard. He began yelling and asked us to leave the museum. The only other person that I know who was ejected from PMA on his first visit was the remarkable painter Thomas Chimes. At age eighty-eight the museum gave Thomas a one man exhibition in their galleries. It took Philadelphia Museum of Art fifty years to throw me out again. CLAMPDOWN: 18 1/4" X 24 1/4" tempura paint on cardboard mounted board, newspaper photographs circa 1984, matte medium, glue stick
The customer was the worst of his kind, drunk and questioning his bill. He was part of a large group assembled to celebrate someone's birthday. They called the bar several times in the days leading up to the event, demanding services that the bar does not provide. Collectively they were a nuisance before they ever entered the joint. They were worse in person. They were in the bar for several hours and were drinking steadily the whole time. They sang the Happy Birthday song at least six times and sang Fly Eagles Fly, the Philadelphia Eagles football team fight song. Upon hearing Fly Eagles Fly I remarked to a patron unconnected with the group, "If I was drinking here instead of working I would have left when they started singing that stupid song." He concurred and said, "I just said the same thing to my friends!" Not only were these people a thorn in the staff's side but now they were chasing other customers away. There was almost no amount they would spend that would justify the amount of maintenance they required. One of the members of the birthday troupe was a forty year old, tall, zaftig brunette with hair that extended down to her ample ass. She was proud of the length of her hair but the last two inches of her tresses were a tangle of split ends. She wore a white polka dot dress with no sleeves that called attention to her extremely wide shoulders and her fleshy arms. The dress was a size too small, which called attention to her bulk. She accessorized the ensemble with red patent leather fuck-me pumps. She attempted to look retro but in reality the look was just wrong since it highlighted all of her bad features. The dress had a cut-out at the base of her spine that revealed a tattoo of a pentagram in a circle. I was fascinated by the tattoo, not because it was interesting as a tattoo but because it was at least 3/4" off center. All night this botched symmetry plagued me. She was clearly emotionally unbalanced. Her mug ran through multiple emotions that seemed to have no connection to cause and effect. Her eyes were intense but unfocused. They had the sheen of a person that enjoys mixing her anti-depression medication with booze. Her voice was loud, not just drunk loud but the kind of voice that was loud all the time. Her size, her bulk and her fashion faux pas almost hinted at transvestism but she wasn't put together enough to be a cross-dresser. I must stop here to apologize to transvestites everywhere for even comparing her to your group. At one point I was horrified to see that this plus-size gal had abandoned her shoes and was now barefoot. On average, every weekend night six glasses are broken on the concrete floor. Although the glass is immediately swept up, it is impossible to get every shard in a crowded bar with a clientele disinterested in moving out of your way so that you can do it. With trepidation I approached her to relay my concern. I expected resistance and I got it. "I almost never wear shoes. The calluses on my feet are like leather." Her comment immediately painted a frightening image in my over-active visual imagination. Disinterested in continuing a fruitless conversation with a madwoman, I just shook my head and walked away. At some point she took my advice but not before she ruined my appetite with the lingering image of her callused feet. Another antagonist from the birthday party was a woman who was around 100 pounds overweight. She wore a tight top of synthetic fiber that was the color of a peach. It was an unfortunate choice for a fat woman, emulating the color of a fruit whose shape she so closely resembled. She was crazy as well. I made the mistake of responding to her small talk a couple of times and each time the conversation degenerated into sexual innuendo. Each time I scampered away in fear. She chose to stand in the one opening in the bar, blocking it. It is the only access to the office from the customer side of the bar area. I had to go past her several times, apologizing each time I squeezed by. I did everything in my power not to touch her. I didn't want to talk to her and I most definitely did not want to rub up against her. After the forth time I slid past her sideways I apologized for inconveniencing her again. By the fourth time even a fucking idiot would have gotten the hint to move. Not her, though, she just resumed the sexual barrage. "I told you to stop apologizing," she said. "It's okay, no more apologies. I like you brushing by me." She had her back to me as she addressed me. Then she proceeded to reach backwards toward me, pulling me toward her with her pudgy arms. She pinned me against her massive body. She began to bump and grind her fat ass into my genitals. Although the incident lasted only two or three-seconds it felt like an eternity. I was flabbergasted. She cured me of apologizing but not by persuading me to simulate doggy-style sex. I just quit going to the office until she relocated her corpulent frame. Around closing time the main male customer involved with the accursed birthday party started arguing with the bartender about his tab. He disputed some of the charges. He claimed that there were four beers charged to his account that he hadn't ordered and never received. The disputed amount was $24. At this point in the evening he had been drinking for ten hours straight and his faculties were in question. Plus he was a jerk-off even before he got drunk. He was in his early forties, around six foot five inches tall and fairly fit. He was in a lot better physical condition than his two female playmates. In fact he was chatting up the fat woman while she was grinding her fat ass against me. The more he argued about the bill the louder and more animated he got. He kept thrusting his finger at the bartender to intimidate her. I had seen enough. I had no choice but defend the bartender's integrity. I went over to talk to him and put my meaty hand on his shoulder to get his attention. I have large, heavy hands. Imagine someone placing a pork shoulder on your own shoulder and keeping it there while they talked to you. I made no eye contact. I thought it might be more intimidating to him if I looked crazy. Facing straight ahead I said, "Look, you need to take it down a notch. I won't have you yelling at her like that. Regardless of your bill, you need to address her calmly." "I'm only raising my voice because it is loud in here." "Bullshit, you are being abusive. You either chill the fuck out immediately or get thrown the fuck out." With a look of concern on his face he said, "I am not trying to start a fight." "I'm not talking about a fight. I'm talking about a discussion." He was wearing me out with his bullshit. In the meantime the bartender got the manager. The manager explained that he did not believe that he had been erroneously charged but he would reduce the cost of the disputed drinks in half. Now, by his inebriated estimation, he was only down twelve dollars. That wasn't good enough for the low-grade grifter. He continued whining about the tab to the two crazy women he was with. This seriously pissed me off. I started to move toward the back of the bar to get Jim Black, who is six foot, eight inches tall. Between the two of us we could have tossed him from the curb to the trolley tracks in the middle of the street. But something about asking for help with this douche-bag galled me. I turned around, armed with another plan. I would humiliate him into shutting up. I put my hand in my pocket and fished out six bucks, half the amount of his current loss. I walked up to him, waving the money and said, "Look. This is my money, not the company's. I will pay you half your loss, six dollars to SHUT…THE…FUCK…UP…ABOUT…THE…FUCKING...BILL!" I never expected him to take it. He was standing between the two women, I thought he might try to save face by refusing it but he didn't. To my amazement he pocketed the money. That's what kind of asshole he was. I walked outside to get away from those miscreants and calm down a bit. After a minute or so I came back in. I saw that he was talking to the two women. I screamed, "YOU BETTER BE TALKING ABOUT PUSSY OR BASEBALL OR I WANT MY MONEY BACK!" He assured me that they were off the topic of the bill. They mercifully paid and left. Now the bartender erupted. "GODDAMNIT, HE ONLY LEFT ME SIX DOLLARS ON A SIXTY-TWO DOLLAR TAB!" I asked, in as innocent a voice as I could muster, "It wasn't six one dollar bills by any chance, was it?" She hadn't seen me pay him off. "Yes, how did you know?" "Oh, because I paid him six dollars to stop talking about the bill." Now her anger was vented at me. "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GAVE HIM MONEY! WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF A MOVE WAS THAT?" I explained calmly, "I wanted him to shut the fuck up." "FUCK YOU," she screamed, "I DON'T EVEN WANT THE MONEY! IT'S DIRTY" and she proceeded to throw the money at me. I tried to persuade her to keep the money but she wasn't buying it. "FUCK YOU! YOU KEEP THE SIX DOLLARS." I snatched up the money, put it back in my pocket and laughed. I got the asshole customer to shut up, wound up the bartender that was getting on my nerves all night and miraculously got my money back in the bargain. Some nights just go your way, against all odds.
“We're artists too, but we do a good job hiding it, don't we?” - Roberto Bolaño
I don't look like an artist. Recently a woman on the street told me that I look like Picasso, but I don't. I more closely resemble the former WWF wrestler George "The Animal" Steele than Picasso. Steele was the guy that had a green tongue and ate turnbuckles. I would rather look like a professional wrestler than an artist that purportedly put a cigarette out on the face of his girlfriend. Eating turnbuckles is a much more civilized activity than misogyny.
Appearance aside, I am in fact an artist and a writer. A voracious reader since childhood, I keep an extensive library of my favorite books in my home. The collection constantly expands, making it is necessary to cull the herd once or twice a year.
I was trained as a sculptor at Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) but I am a literary autodidact. I began writing much later in life.
The truth is that most art leaves me cold. Facile painting is a bore and it is not nearly as difficult as it appears to the uninitiated. If slavish reproduction is the goal of art, painting lost the battle with photography during the last century.
I am disinterested in viewing or making an art doomed to be hoarded as decorations in wealthy homes. The entire art system is built on a moribund nineteenth century model that is no longer relevant. The culture industry is entirely the provenance of wealth and is propped up by the dysfunctional and bloated bureaucracies that perpetuate its existence. It is unconscionable to create work for the elite group that holds an accursed share of society's wealth while the vast majority of us barely subsist on a meager wage. Unless the culture industry adopts an inclusionary strategy rather than an exclusionary one, it is doomed to collapse under the weight of it own corruption and greed. The ever dwindling and aging audience for this shell game will insure its disappearance.
Technology is the tool to circumvent the culture industry's rotting corpse. Work can now be produced cheaply and in abundance. It can be distributed in bulk, anonymously or attributed, a Potlatch with few goals beyond making people think. For the first time the other 99% of society will have the ability to own artworks. These new distribution networks exist outside of the taste and jurisdiction of the ruling class. The suburban gated communities where the rich huddle in fear of the rabble from the cities will be an unlikely point of distribution. The exclusion of the lower classes from these communities, except as servants, guarantees their isolation. The unwillingness for the rich to perform even the most basic of tasks results in a reliance on lower class factotums to do the work. This inequitable system also guarantees that the presence of servants will guarantee distribution within these communities should the need arise. The cowardice and racism that fostered these gated communities will result in their exclusion from a rigged game of their own making, victims of their own tactics, losing hand after hand of three card monte and swallowing their own tails like Ouroboros. The ruling class will retreat further into the shadows, unaware that the city has transformed itself into a Pirate Utopia except by rumor. A Temporary Autonomous Zone can rise from the ashes of oppression, one that they can only view from the safety of their armored vehicles through narrow slits. Bell Hooks rightly postulated that oppression is the absence of options. Options will have to be taken, they will not be awarded through grants given by the lumbering bureaucracies left behind after the culture industry falls. In fact, the only remnant of the former system that will exist long after its stated purpose will be these organizations. Their only purpose, solipsistic in nature, will be the survival of the bureaucracies, parasites without the benefit of a host.
Literature, like language, is an extension of reality. As Guy Debord noted, gypsy culture permits lies in any language other than the language of Roma.