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Banksy Arrested, Street Artist’s Identity Revealed

Banksy arrested and identity revealed

Street artist “Banksy” was arrested after a sting operation in which cops waited outside of his studio and followed him to the location.

Not only is he facing a slew of criminal charges, including counterfeiting, but his long-standing anonymity has been unveiled.

While revealing his identity to the public might have taken away some of his mystique, it says more that the authorities are taking away his privacy.

I want to know, what business,  what shop owner, actually complained to the police that an internationally recognized artist volunteered work on their space? Are the police just so bored and overfunded that they have not much better to do? Do they take his political commentary as a personal affront?

Whatever the case may be, yet another nonviolent “offender” is off the streets, or, more specifically, on the court’s financial books.

In his interview, Banksy raises the point that marketers and advertisements are encouraged to make money by filling our public, visual, and psychic spaces with their peddling. But, once we take control, manipulate the world in the ways we see fit, then it is a crime.

I suppose that distressing reflection and satire is best left walled up in museums. No, the streets are for pushy commercialization and fad fetishes. The message is loud and clear, Banksy. This is their turf.

With art and revelation, let’s take back what’s ours.

Sketch money

wpid-2014-10-08-00.09.37.jpg.jpeg

Money and I have an odd relationship. I never want to have to deal with it, but I’m always left needing more. I’ve never been great at handling my own money, and I’m always ever-so-willing to offer my art for free.

So something must be done. I’d be perfectly happy living the life of the impoverished artist if it wasn’t for the fact that living a comfortable life is a part of my happiness. It seems that, in my situation, the only way to not be concerned about money would be to have quite a lot of it.

But I could never see at as a virtuous thing just to have money. It is not an end-in-itself, not an ultimate goal. I do not look at people in a life of luxury and think “I wish I had that” and “I’m going to work as very-hard as I can to have that thing. Having things is boring. Every time I have a thing it immediately loses its luster. I am not into things, but I am into events.

Having events, or creating them, is costly. Sharing a dinner with a loved one, flying or driving long distances to see friends, even visiting the family, it all claws at the pockets. And maybe it’s my own fault. Maybe it’s fate, or bad luck, or some mechanic of the universe wrenching at my life thinking “once this thing is fixed, it’ll run like a dream.”

It doesn’t really matter. I have, on the whole, exactly what I want. Family, friends, positive and healthy relationships. I am, to be blunt, alive. Most of the time I don’t ask for much more than that. It is, after all, more than most of the human beings that have ever lived have. It keeps me happy.

But then there’s the crossroads, laying down in the middle of the clock with a gargantuan X. “What are you doing with your time.” Or, even more poignantly, “what have you changed in the world.” I want to change the world. Not in some grand, sweeping way. I’m not an open-to-the-public narcissist. I don’t even believe one person can change the world in any significant way (without support of the community).

A ripple. First an idea, it won’t go away. Then an action, with honesty, empathy, and virtue. Executed with humility. A butterfly effect of happiness. Smile at one person on the street, or two. Then they might smile at the bank teller, or say thank you in the perfect time of day to a worn-out cashier. Happiness is exponential.

But to be in the world costs money. Existential amounts of money.

I’ve had friends that have forgotten my name because I didn’t have enough gas to hang out any more. I’ve missed opportunities to experience and share art because I was trying to pull overtime and pay my utility bill.

It’s not a crisis. It’s just how it all starts catching up. Each bill falling one more piece of sand in the hourglass. I’m tired of deserts. I want rain. Not for greed. Not because I’m lazy. I’m just thirsty, I’ve been dancing as long as I can because in that dizzy moment I can sense something on the border of of perfection.

I’ll work hard for it. I’ll give you all I have. I know, in the end, all debts will be paid.

Here’s to life, and in it, freedom. May your Work and Fortune guide you through it.

Top 11 Reasons to Burn a Book

1. You’re stranded in the middle of the woods, freezing in the snow, with a collection of Jack London’s short stories, and you have no dog.

2. Stephen King signed your copy of Firestarter with a gasoline pen.

3. You confused your copy of Illuminatus Trilogy with a 16th century witch who kept screaming, in the devil’s tongue, Fnord! (another version of 3 might have involved the phrase “auto de fe-fnord”)

4. You believed the collected psychological studies of Wilhelm Reich to be propaganda from the Nazi’s Third Reich (and you were the US government).

5. You were curious if The Order of the Phoenix would, indeed, rise from the ashes.

6. Your father requested to be buried with “Death of a Salesmen.” You couldn’t afford a proper burial.

7. You just finished a cliched, faux-dossier spy novel and chucked it into your pretentious neighbor’s study, hopefully landing it in a stack of Tom Clancy books. (hint: I think this joke self-destructed)

8. You discovered that your copy of Twilight IS allergic to the sun (and a magnifying glass supported by a steady hand!)

9. You ordered a Porno for Pyros CD from Amazon in lascivious haste and became disappointed when you discovered they were a crappy 90s band. In a fit of auto-erotic elation and cosmic irony, you tossed the burning disk onto your father’s old collection of “Penthouse” mags.

10. In an attempt to rival every book-burning fascist in history, you burn more than 10 million books on the Man at Burning Man. Much to your chagrin, it was 10 million copies of The Celestine Prophecy. There was much rejoicing, group sex, and, somewhere in the riotous celebration, a Nobel Peace Prize.

11. You finally memorized every word to Fahrenheit 451

In Response to SCOTUS Decision to Allow Prayer Before Town Hall Meetings: David Suhor Offers a Pagan Invocation

Concerned that a singular, sectarian, majority religion is over-represented in media and government, David Suhor responds to the Supreme Court’s Town of Greece vs. Galloway decision allowing prayer before legislative and town hall meetings. David Suhor, a Pensacola musician singer/songwriter, performed a Neopagan/Wiccan ceremony, the Evocation of the Watchtowers, to demonstrate the need that ALL or NONE religions must be represented in the political sphere.

Personally, I think he performed beautifully, and I’m happy to see marginalized religions brought to the forefront to get a little honest screentime. Even if this is a challenge to the decision, demonstrating the discomfort and alienation that atheists and people of varying religions might feel during a Christian invocation, it struck a chord with me. In its action, it is kind. At its face, defiant. In its heart, inclusive and beautiful.

I believe any public operation of government should avoid exclusivity. Of course, many people cite the slippery slope argument, concerned that they’ll have to let ANY nutjob up to offer whatever insane mumblings they might believe qualifies as prayer. Well, in my opinion, that’s exactly the point. Just because we’re used to a certain kind of “crazy” doesn’t make it better than any other kind of crazy.

But David doesn’t come off as crazy or confrontational. He is cordial in his introduction, offers a melodic invocation, thanks the participants, then dismisses himself. There is nothing disruptive about his actions, though they inherently challenge the norm. His performance is heartfelt, honest, and psychologically disruptive. My favorite kind of magic.

Well, it is what the Supreme Court decided. All religious views may have their airtime, and, as exhausting as that might sound, I’m looking forward to it. Maybe a “witchdoctor” will come in to offer Ayahuasca and sing Icaros. Perhaps a zany zealot of Odin will break into the courthouse and make it rain.

Until then, we’ll have to put our big “Religious Tolerance” pants on and move through the world with some sense of authenticity, the kind of character that can’t be disrupted by a simple prayer. You know, a structure of psyche that isn’t rattled by the “annoyance” of marginalized peoples receiving and creating representation for themselves and other minorities.

The public billboard is a busy place and needs to be big enough to hold all the signs, banners, sigils, and widgets of the people, because we have a lot to say. And somewhere in this din is a song. Perhaps one that will be auto-tuned.

So, thanks David Suhor, for the Evocation. Your Escambia County town hall prayer, in front of chairman Lumon May and the whole world, has been my favorite so far.

Decision on SCOTUSblog here: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/town-of-greece-v-galloway/

Article on NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/06/nyregion/supreme-court-allows-prayers-at-town-meetings.html?_r=0

The Line of Idyl

Electric power lines

The Line was long today. It was glorious, everyone gathered together, stretched all the way from the front to the back like a straight ocean. We were a part of something, standing up for ourselves, our history marching forward on the x-axis toward infinity. It was our responsibility. The wait was on our shoulders.

Today was the Grand Opening. They said a banner wider than a mountain was cut with scissors 2 miles long, operated by a mechanical arm that crushed ocean liners in its past life. “Welcome To the New You” splashed across the shimmering fabric, the font impressed with the intricacy of a call center menu robot, the color of muzak. I wasn’t here, but I could imagine it was perfect.

There was buzz that helicopters flew over dropping confetti bombs, spraying pamphlets with a thumbs-up logo “Facing the Now (subtext) Re-inventing the Self”. They blasted Tshirts out of cannons, loudspeakers sewn into the chest that broadcasted advertisements for public opinion. Anything could happen here. It was every idyllic, nostalgia-laden childhood fantasy rolled into one.

We were a conduit, a closed circuit, like a live wire finally grounded, the charge passing through me harmlessly. My subdermal GPS tracker said I was in the center of the whole thing, as if a guitar string coiled itself into the unknown and I was perfect Middle C, the exact division of an octave. You might not believe in utopia, but here I was, hands in my pockets, staring into the back of the person’s head in front of me. It was voyeuristic. Could I see into him? My heart raced. Did they even know I was here? Of course they did. The Line wouldn’t be as long without me. They could sense it.

Sure, there were pointless distractions. Holograms blinked in and out of existence to offer a variety of artisanal cookies. Cutters gathered in large blobs to point and gawk at trapeze artists base-jumping from skyscrapers, their broad strips of fabric streamers spiraling like DNA from their arms and legs as they contorted into each other’s bodies in an intricate dance of balance and grace. Their parachutes strobed with three-dimensional Fibonacci fractals, organically morphing through an unknown spectrum of colors.

Men and women ran naked through the street, manifesting live art experiences through body expression. They splashed prismatic paint through the air as they played, their motion extending out into the breathing world, leaving a trail of hand, splatter, and footprints behind them. The aesthetic impression was vivid, but temporal, nuanced. “The exuberance of a joyful laugh left ringing in your mind, a tickle that rises from your groin and into your chest, flowering up into your head as if your face could glow with 100 smiles,” my father might say. He was very Freudian, in his own romantic way.

If I wanted to experience the process of pure child-like awakening, I would go back to my old job mountain climbing the Andes. I used to photograph the rarest animal life on earth as I snowboarded in my wingsuit. I reconstructed the imagery into a graphic novel pastiche meant to reflect the internal struggle of humanity’s adapting eco-consciousness. It was all very meta. I was an adrenaline junky.

But I’m not here to talk about work. I was here for a reason. I was focused. The days of hammock-swinging in my sprawling compartment overlooking the lush jungle of South America were over. I shuffled congruently past a yonic fountain spraying meteorite dust into a maze of interlocked circles, opening and closing. The pools bubbled with an undulating fog of helium. The mist reminded me of the tiered tongues of waterfalls cascading over the Mayan ruins back home, a stressful acid rising in my throat.

A hologram server flashed beside me, offering me an empty wire-frame hand. He must have sensed that I was getting bored. “Would you like to see your self?” it bleeped.

“Definitely.” My voice squeaked, tightened from excitement and 5% noble gasses.

“Uploading credit bill,” he responded, his voice modulating with sine waves. The hologram’s face rapidly shifted into every person that stood in Line today. “Welcome to New You!” His chest ticked off with a rollover counter of charges to my bill. The Line was the only place you could spend money. Every face blended seamlessly into the next until my balance reached the charge limit. The longer I watched, the more it cost. It was absolutely exhilarating.

Days blended into weeks into months. Occasionally it rained, occasionally it didn’t. A group of monks read “Ulysses” in reverse, pressed the open book to their chest until the ink smudged onto their skin. Impromptu carnival games split off, tests of strength, skill, wit, and luck announced by a freakshow ring leader. Masked men and women, skintight with leather, flirted with lace, silk, feathers, silver rings, handcuffs and rope. They carted wheelbarrows full of toys around, offering free orgasms. They were homesick. They needed something normal, a safety net, as if they couldn’t think about the big picture, constantly obsessing the menial day-to-day.

But here it was in front of them: the ultimate meaning, the truth of it. Directly ahead. I stepped one foot forward, the reward center of my brain firing a symphony of serotonin and dopamine cocktails. I could feel when I stepped into the previous space of the man ahead of me, filling the ghostly shell he left behind, the imprint of his aura still warm in the air. We were one person, one long worm stretched through time, each of us different phases of the same.

Everything shuddered. I was ahead, in the lead, the first man.. Directed by the green blink of an elongated traffic sign, I stepped into a small trailer, drawing aside a flat black curtain. Transcendence awaited. I sat in a chair, staring at a radio. This was it, theophany becoming imminent.

It garbled with a fast-forward reading of Clockwork Orange. A Noam Chomsky impersonator deliberated the value Foucault’s linguistics in a trans-human society. Wait. This was it? An arm folded out from the side of the radio. A drillbit whirred on its tip. Highlight reels of history’s greatest revolutionaries fired up on the wall, the familiar click of a reel-to-reel projector rising to a crescendo as mobs silently cheered them on. A lecture from Carl Sagan, Terrence McKenna, and Richard Dawkins simultaneously jumbled at near subliminal levels. The right wall fed in a monologue from Einstein; the left side of the trailer illuminated with Tesla arcing lightning from his hands.

White noise of yogic chants funneled in from the ceiling in a binaural wash tuned to Solfeggio harmonic sequences, balancing my chakras, every cell of my body singing like a cymatic tuning fork. My left eye began to twitch Pythagorean theorems in morse code. I yawned, the The Unified Field Theory unfolded before me like an elementary school textbook.

It was a mishmash of every genius mind and concept of the last 1000 years, every physicist, scientist, mathematician, artist, philosopher, and poet, overloading the unconscious mind, forcing it to download every relevant detail of humanity’s genius in a single, epileptic session. Just like the one I listen to on the car ride from work. What is going on? How disappointing.

This can’t be it. The arm drilled through his skull, sucking the pine cone of his pineal gland from its root. He came online. The “I” was dead now. He flashed up, his wire-frame body filling with liquid green laser. He was suddenly beside her, without knowing, turning to a child in the Line. “Welcome to New You. Would you like to see yourself?”

The ego overflowed with zeros. His face was a dial tone printed with an alien language.