Sunday, November 14, 2010
I know, I know...ya missed me. It HAS been months since my last entry, and word has it on the mean streets of the blogosphere (god how I hate that term), that many of ya DAMMIT! DIATRIBE junkies have been jonesing but good. Much like Renton, Ewan McGregor's character in Trainspotting... suddenly going cold turkey. I can only say, I'm sorry, but daddy's been a very busy man. If you follow my fabulous, amazing, and quite flummoxed adventures on FakeBook, than you know that my proverbial plate has been runnething (how's that for a word?!) over for quite a while now...got committee meetings, deadlines, postcard designs,media interviews, artist talks, TV and radio appearances, planning after parties, putting up my hand and volunteering for just one more thing, etc., etc....just a lot has to be done if yours truly is gonna obliterate the stigma of mental illness. And, no, certainly not by myself, but with the help of all the good folk at The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and Workmen Arts -two not for profit organizations that really give a damn, and really do help those with various forms of "Brain Fuck" (my term. Words like depression don't begin to tell you the sheer horror and terror that one goes through)! I know I had a daily cage match with Brain Fuck for over 18 years!!!! The M.D.A.O. are the people who are bringing ya the amazing Touched By Fire art event at the Royal Ontario Museum on the 25th of November (and this year, we have the Flamin' After Party as well), and Workman Arts are the fine citizens who bring ya, not just the great traveling art show Being Scene, but the world renowned Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival (to name but 2 of their many projects).
So, now I sits in front of the fab DAMMIT! Mansion's new, cool, and very sleekesque new computer, stretch my fingers, and decide which of my many adventures I should write for ya...huh??? NOT! Gadzooks...my mind is shooting blanks. So it is true. Yours truly is indeed officially burnt out big time. So, how's this... lets do a stream of consciousness kinda thingy...just type whatever comes to my mind???? Don't take too much time to think...just type DAMMIT! type!!!!
OK...ahhhhhhhhhhh.....Alright, gonna start with a serious even controversial subject that has been gnawing away at me for awhile now. Barack Obama. You've all heard of him...President of that fine, though at times quite curious and frustrating country we call the United States of America? I was lucky enough to be in his home town (well... ya know what I mean), Chicago a few weeks ago taking care of some art and Touched By Fire business, while simultaneously being blown away by the quite mind blowing architecture and everything else this city has to offer. Now, a lot of you know that I'm a complete news junkie, so while on my hotel bed, after the hookers had left ...KIDDING....I watched as much of the thousands of 24 hour news channels that the TV could throw at me. This was when the mid-term elections were hitting fever pitch, and the election ads were dirtier than my own mind.
See, this is something I believed before Obama was elected. Believed it even more when he won the Presidency. I believe that there is a larger than you'd imagine group of citizens that just can't wait for this President to meet his very own personal Oswald. For the young, and the moronic, Lee Harvey Oswald was a chap down in Dallas who assassinated JFK (if you don't know who JFK is...it's too late for you...you're officially brain dead). I know, It's not something I'm looking forward to either, but you know it as sure as you know the sun will rise again in the morning. Look, I'm not even saying it's just in the U.S., I've spoken to a couple of people right here in T.O. (Toronto, for ya out of towners), who have spoken about this subject to me, with just a little too much glee in their voices..BUT...the United States, or a certain demographic, is still very much a bigoted and racist society. No, of course not as bad as say, when Dr. King marched into Selma...but still...all you have to do is listen to "the common man" (a term coined by the great writer Harlan Ellison) on the street being interviewed on Fox or CNN or NBC. Is it still worse in the Southern states? Was the Pope a fuckin' Nazi??!!!
If you're an American reading this, maybe even a friend, or ex-girlfriend(lots of those around)...You know how much I love your country( god knows where else I would get all my ideas for my art), and that I'm not talking about the vast majority...but, c'mon...you know I speak no lies here...be honest with yourself. But, Why? Why would certain ignorant factions want the leader of their country, a man they barely even know, killed???? Here's two reasons...Yes, the idea that a man of (half) negro persuasion, could be elected into the highest office not only in the country, but perhaps the planet, just bugs these fucks way too much. In the first couple of months of his Presidency, the F.B.I. reported that Obama had already had more death threats made upon him, in that short amount of time , than any other President serving two full terms.
But, it's not just the rebel flag waving red necks who have problems with the tint of the Commander and Chief's skin colour (that's Canadian for color) that are doing the threatening. I've also noted that a lot of Americans have trouble that he's smarter, more intelligent than they are. Instead of being proud that they have finally elected somebody who can recite the whole alphabet (ahem-W-ahem), and that the rest of the world respects...they are not only intimidated by his smarts, but actually hate him for being, dare I say it...an intellectual. They (re: the Tea Party for one) think that being as stupid as they and their kin are, would make for a better leader. They call this type of person elitists, and (gulp) Liberals. The good news for this special breed of hillbilly is that in 2 years, you can correct this mighty slight, and elect President Palin. No threat of education or intellectualism there! I'm afraid it's not if this sad event will happen, but when. You know I hate being wrong...but I would love to make an exception to that little rule this time around.
Again, I am not saying that's the majority of Americans, but to you out there reading this, you know who y'all are...asking who the fuck do I think I am, passing such judgement???? I'm just some foreigner with an opinion, someone who gives a shit. You can just call me the elitist Liberal from Kanada! Oh, I know elitist and Liberal is "fightin' words" to many people. Me? I consider that a compliment. What, don't tell me that you still subscribe to that ancient myth, that all men (and women) are created equal? Not true, and it has nothing to do with skin colour there, Billy-Joe!
I know...I know...what happened to that quick fire, stream of consciousness, multi-subject blog entry that I promised in the beginning. Sorry about that...it's that passion thing that always gets me in trouble. I apologize (again).
Now, before a good portion of my U.S friends (and enemies), start packing heat, and book a flight to this fair city (yes...Toronto is in the province of Alberta)...let me say this is NOT an anti-American rant...it's a anti-ignorance/idiot rant!!!! And, to not only save my skin, but to keep at least some of my my American "FakeBook friends", I now present a list of 35 things I love and admire about our trading partner to the south.....
1- Winona Ryder (future wife)
2- Chicago (I have to agree with Johnny Depp, my new favourite American city)
3- Vanity Fair magazine
5- Trent Reznor (He was Nine Inch Nails...an honest to goodness genius)
6- Marilyn Monroe
7- Marilyn Manson
8- The Kennedy Boys
9- New York City (too many reasons to list here...the women for starters)
10- The Charlie Rose Show ( Best education I've ever received...counting all schools)
11- Hot Dogs
12- Bob Dylan
13- Invented Rock n' Roll
14- The Empire State Building
15- The Chrysler Building
16- Pop Art
17- Mad Men
18- The Wire
19- David Foster Wallace
20- Jean- Michel Basquiat
21- Hollywood (Despite 90% crap...you guys still make the best films in the world)
22- Harlan Ellison
23- Bill Clinton ( Brought the Bad Boy back to the Presidency)
24- Cool Flag (yeah, ya guys have tainted it...but I'm a sucker for stars on anything)
25- Natalie Portman (Hot, smart, and a helluva actress...just like m' Nonie)
26- Norman Lear
28- New Yorker magazine
29- New York Dolls
30- Muhammad Ali
31- David Letterman
32- Victoria's Secret
33- Orson Welles
34- Tom Waits
35- Big Mac
...now, I could go on and on and on, but ya get my drift, right????
Now...I'll publish this...before I really get on a tirade about the Christian Right!!!!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
So, there I was, minding my own bee's wax n' all, when I was contacted by the editor of Lucid Media magazine, and was told that they were very interested in doing an article on me for their upcoming July issue. Four or five pages...full colour...big spread on my art! He mentioned that they were on a deadline, needed an interview and lots of pictures of my pieces, and basically how did I feel about doing it? Well, being that I'm a Grade A, government inspected media-whore, what else could I say? SURE!!!!
We made plans for the writer, Duane Rollins to come on over to my El Corazon Negro de Diablo Studio, and him and I would do our interviewer/interviewee thing. Meanwhile, the magazine, who were in the middle of re-vamping their look, changed their name to White Elephant, and then to UNHIP...cool with me. Everything went as planned, Duane came over, we had a very good talk...in fact, as you can imagine I did 95% of the talking...Duane would try to squeeze a question in when I took a sip of my martini.
So, July 1st comes and goes, and my spider senses start a-tinglin'... I've e-mailed said editor twice in as many days, and have not heard a peep. This from a guy, who in the past got back to me faster than I could click the send tab. Hmmmmm....I write Duane, and tell him I smell something most fishy in the state of Denmark, what-up man...have you heard about the new issue hitting the stands yet??? He answered that he'd look into it...and yup...as usual my instincts were bang on (this is how I always knew a week in advance when a girlfriend was about to dump me), in Duane's words..."I got the news today that the magazine has, indeed, gone boobs up. I'm going to see if I can find it a home". I had, by the time Duane got back to me with the bad news (not surprising really...this is not a first for me, nowadays mags are pulling a Titanic left, right and center), had a chance to read his full article, and it was good, damn good...it captured being an artist caught in the bowels of depression as well as anything I had read on the subject in the past. So, as I let Duane look for a new home for his article ( Toronto Life, New Yorker...anyone!!!!)...I've decided, as he has given me permission to put it on my web site, to print it here on the Diatribe. I hope Duane won't mind, I added a title, as the magazine would have. I think it fits his piece well.
In many ways, it was a miracle that Joey DAMMIT! even answered the telephone that day in late May 2008. Deep in the depths of depression, he wasn’t much in the mood for conversation. Yet, on that occasion, he did manage to pull himself from the couch to make the 10-foot walk to the phone.
“I can still see myself standing there,” DAMMIT! says from his downtown Toronto home.” It was an old friend and she wanted me to take part in a show that was happening at the Cameron.”
DAMMIT! says he wasn’t much interested. The show was on cars. He wasn’t much of a gear-head.
“I don’t know anything about cars,” he dispassionately told his friend. “I’m not interested.”
It’s hard to know what it was about this interaction that made DAMMIT!’s friend snap. But, lucky for him she did.
“She said to me ‘Oh fuck off Joey. Think about it. How did Jayne Mansfield die?’,” she said. Suddenly, unexpectedly something was sparked. Putting down the phone, he walked to his bedroom where he knew there was a book that featured a photograph of that graphic Hollywood death. Opening the book up and staring at its grizzly details he was suddenly interested in cars.
It had been 18-months since he last painted. Three days later the painting that would re-launch his career was complete. Even more importantly, the darkness that had engulfed him for nearly 18 years had lifted.
In the two years that have since passed, he’s never gone more than three days without painting. He’s done both commercial and gallery work and has worked tirelessly to promote mental health issues. He jokes that, as an artist, he was almost required to struggle emotionally. However, if you spend more than a few moments talking to him it becomes clear just how much his depression has affected him and how relieved he is to be past it.
For DAMMIT! depression wasn’t sexy, something to give him emo cred. No, it was a crippling disorder that prevented him from truly succeeding. Talent allowed him to fake it, but those closest to him knew better.
“I used to need to get wasted to deal with my openings,” DAMMIT! says. “It was the only way that I could deal with the depression and – as I always say, its partner that is always there – anxiety.”
The question, then, is does the depression influence DAMMIT!’s work? And, if so, how much?
DAMMIT! isn’t sure. Although he has dubbed his style “Manic Montage” he is not 100 per cent convinced it’s all about the illness.
“I don't think my depression has in anyway shaped my creativity, or subject matter,” he says. “At least that's what I believe, but subconsciously and unconsciously I sometimes look at a finished work -- and it could be pictures, or words in a massive jungle of collage -- and I'll be damned if the depression, and my battle with it, hasn't reared its ugly head.”
DAMMIT! doesn’t fully understand why the depression lifted. Medication could have played a role, but even his doctors aren’t sure, DAMMIT! says. However, he does have an idea of how he survived it. During the many years of his depression – DAMMIT! says that he only experienced two brief periods when the darkness lifted in the previous 18 years prior to 2008 – he never lost one friend. It would be months between seeing them in some cases, but they maintained a level of loyalty and dedication that he is eternally grateful for.
“There were times when I just wanted to fucking off myself,” he says without self-consciousness. “But the reason I didn’t was my family and friends – I didn’t want to leave them alone.”
Of course there was also the art.
“I’m not really a religious person, but I like to talk about this thing, the universe,” he says. “The universe kept saying that there is a reason you are here and it was for the art.”
It’s now been almost exactly two years since the phone call. DAMMIT!’s life has changed dramatically, he says. He’s active. He enjoys time with his friends again. And, he’s been incredibly productive. Yet, he still worries about a return to his old ways.
After 18 years of that shit you don’t take anything for granted. Even today there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wake up and go ‘Oh fuck, oh fuck do I feel good today?’
“But then you realize that you are and you move on with the day.”
These days that likely means a walk down the hallway to ride the elevator to his basement studio. A testament to the effect DAMMIT! has on those around him, it’s a space that was given to him. It’s also a space that fits the aesthetics of an artist that embraces the absurd and morbid in society without ever losing his sense of humour.
After walking past a abandoned swimming pool that wouldn’t look out of place in a really bad horror b-movie -- 1970s era exercise equipment lined up along the deck along with several TVs in various states of working order – you find yourself in a colourful and cluttered space that instantly makes sense.
Magazines are everywhere on the floor. Paint cans clustered up against the wall and the painted faces of pop culture icons from the Beatles to Kurt Cobain stare down at you from the walls above. This is DAMMIT!’s space. It’s a place where he says that he finds inspirations and where he can lose hours of his life engrossed in his work, while loud music blares from a stereo.
He keeps an air mattress in the space for nights that go longer than anticipated. Sometimes, he says, he just sits down there to think.
It’s from this space that his wonderfully bizarre collages emerge. Like many artists, DAMMIT! can’t really explain where his ideas come from.
“There is no such thing as an accident in art,” DAMMIT! says. “Even when something doesn’t work out you layer something else on, or put something else in and it all becomes a part of the final thing.”
The chaos of DAMMIT!’s work is what makes it unique. As a Pop artist he gets compared to Andy Warhol, but such comparisons are surface at best.
DAMMIT! doesn’t have an easy answer to why he does the type of work that he does. When forced to guess he jokes that he must resort to cliché.
“As much as I hate saying things like this, I don't think I ever had a choice.” He says. “The genre, Pop Art, was in a way presented to me in much the same way I imagine John the Baptist’s head was presented -- on a proverbial creative silver plate. I started with the exact same intention that I have today when it comes to creating my art – to please one person, myself.”
DAMMIT! says he is likely most influenced by movies. At the height of his depression, the movie theatre was one place that he felt right, and that love of film has stayed with him now that he is healthy.
Perhaps above all else, DAMMIT!’s work is human. It’s accessible a bit irreverent and decidedly unpretentious. You can stare at a DAMMIT! piece all day and still not find the inside joke. That’s by design DAMMIT! says.
“I consider myself both an artist and an entertainer, “he says. “That’s always been important to me.”
What’s also important to DAMMIT! is making the most of his remaining time. For 18 years darkness engulfed him. Now that it’s lifted he says that he wants to make the most of the opportunity, creating and inspiring.
“Joey’s happy,” he says. “DAMMIT! loves his life right now,” he says.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
...and here...as promised is part two....the 2 photos above are the whole work...type tray n' all!!!
See, there still are good people out there. Good, creative people who were (almost) as royally pissed -off about this ludicrous censorship as I was!!! Again, Chris Mitchell, the Visual Arts Manager for Workman Arts, along with the Gladstone Hotel's President Christina Zeidler come to the rescue.....kinda like Mighty Mouse...HERE THEY COME TO SAVE THE DAYYYYYYYYY!!!!
I got this e-mail from the lovely and talented Ms. Mitchell a week ago...
"Your banner is up at the Gladstone and it is installed on the 2nd floor in the public washroom – that may sound weird but there wasn’t really another space due to other bookings and I liked the idea of the “gorilla install” presenting the work to a “captured audience” so to speak – it looks really good – you should check it out. I’m putting together some signage to send them to give context to the work..."The Washroom...where trash/crap like this belongs DAMMIT!!!!!! Love it...have a gander at the sign......
Stroll along Queen Street West during the month of May and you will see PROPOPSYCHOGANDA! A series of street banners created by Workman Arts artists for CONTACT Photography Festival. Mark Belvedere, Joey DAMMIT!, Peter Mulcair, Denise Parent, Helen Posno, Annette Seip, Susan Spagnuolo, Jordan Stone have created photo-based artworks in response to the festival theme Pervasive Influence. Each banner presents a message of purposeful persuasion relating to issues of mental illness and addiction. PROPOPSYCHOGANDA! is installed along the south side of Queen Street West between Shaw Street and Dovercourt.
However! This particular banner created by artist Joey DAMMIT! is installed here at the Gladstone because the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services Street Events Permit Office expressed “content concerns” regarding this artwork which depicts Albert Einstein’s famous quote “great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”. This banner will eventually be reunited with the other seven in future installations (which will not require City of Toronto permits).
Joey DAMMIT! Is a mixed media pop artist and three time winner of Toronto’s NOW magazine’s “Best Visual Artist” award.
Thank you to the Gladstone Hotel for providing space for this work.
To find out more about Workman Arts visit www.workmanarts.com
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
First of all, some pertinent details...if ya don't already know, I'm a fairly well known visual arteest in this fine city of Toronto. I've been branded a pop artist, a mixed media/collage pop artist to be exact...and since I am a big fan of said artistic genre, I have no problem with this branding. Yes, I have been known to push the proverbial envelope, but (and this is important), only when called for. Oh...and because this is important to our tale, and I am, incidentally, on a mission to eradicate the damn stigma surrounding mental health, mood disorders, etc., you should know that I have suffered, at times greatly, from depression for over 18 years. Hey...you know...you're not a "real" artist 'til you've been diagnosed with some form of mental illness...it's just... "sexier"!
I have volunteered for the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, for years, and am now also on their committee for organizing their amazing, annual art event, Touched By Fire, which gives very talented artists with mood disorders, a chance to exhibit and sell their work in a large gallery setting. I have recently also become involved with Workman Arts, another terrific and important organization who do great work with artists of all stripes, also with mental health and addiction problems, and help tremendously with their craft and their career. Working with the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH to you bub), they're probably best known for their Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival, but they do so much more!
I am not a photographer, nor have I ever claimed to be, so it came as quite a pleasant surprise when the Visual Arts Manager for Workman Arts, Chris Mitchell, asked me to join seven other creative types and do something for the 2010 Contact Photography Festival. Hey, I mean, from what I understood, it's the worlds largest photography festival, bringing with it famous, infamous and not so famous photographers, and all sorts of creativours (yes, I did just make that word up...why?) from around the world together to Toronto... I thought to myself, "Hey, genius... it will take you one step closer to that elusive goal of yours. No...not the Dallas Cowboy cheerleader fantasy, but to one day be considered a Renaissance man." Yes...a Renaissance man...that IS what I said!!!! Ever since watching a Leonardo Da Vinci documentary when I was 8 or 9...I've been on a quest for that title. What did the great artist Francis Bacon say? "It is all so meaningless, we might as well be extraordinary", 'nuff said bubba!!!! I still wasn't sure I could pull this Avedon gig off when I walked into that first meeting. But, by the end of this little get together, I was full of confidence, already had a great idea, and, what the Hell, had even given our group show it's name...PROPOPSYCHOGANDA...I thought it was a good/odd/catchy title considering our theme were Pervasive Influence, being the 30th. anniversary of Marshall McLuhan's death, plus, of course we wanted to add our mental health angle as well. One of the few things I have always been credited with is coming up with good titles and slogans ( I had a ball in college during my 3 years in the Advertising and Graphic Design course...Don Draper/ Darren Stevens...eat your hearts out!), and it passed my rigorous album title/t-shirt test! It has to sound good as an album title (check), and look cool on the front of a t-shirt (check). So...yeah... I WAS IN...BIG TIME!!!!
I was, at the time still working on my next solo show that I was gonna exhibit at the Gladstone Hotel...and I was still a long way from having enough pieces completed...but hey, I loves me a good challenge. Now, I could have, and maybe should have, just aimed my camera at what ever caught my fancy, something interesting...and... Walla....signed, sealed, printed and delivered...photographic magic!!!!! But noooooooooooooooooo, that wouldn't be like me, would it? No...Joey fucking DAMMIT! had to try to re-invent photography as we know it! DOOFUS!!!! Like a handful of contemporary artists that I admire, I've noticed that, like me, we are for some odd reason, fascinated by those somewhat creepy, vintage baby dolls...especially their big, bulbous heads. I had one of these little buggers crazy glued onto one of my larger paintings in my studio. I wanted to photograph this doll, especially because what was hand painted on it's old, cloth body, "violent opposition from mediocre minds". What the hell does that mean DAMMIT???? Hold your horses there Duke...I'll tell ya...it's the second half from my favourite quote of all time. One given to us by that rather intelligent chap with the accent, Albert Einstein. Heard of him??? The whole quote reads, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." See, those words really hit me where I live. It's got a biographical significance to me, both as an artist who has had his share of controversy, but also as a person that has lived so long with the fiendishly evil disease, wrongly titled, depression... and the ignorance of those around me. Thus, my quest to eradicate that stigma that continues to be a bitch to kill!!!
Step one: Borrow my good friend, Monkey Head's beautiful, and (gulp) expensive camera, get that there doll in focus...and shoot! Step two: White out that half of the quote, and paint on the first half of it... focus...shoot! Step three: Enlarge the two photos to 8 x 10" (looks great). Step four: Enlarge the two 8 x 10's even more...about 3 feet tall. Step five: Get this...tear and cut this enormous doll photo into little pieces...and then, using various types of tape...put the whole thing back together, in a haphazard way. Step six: Add some rough painted brush strokes, paint splashes, and some collage to it. Step seven: Now...I grab an antique type tray that I own, and carefully tape the roughed up, re-taped , giant doll photo to it. Step eight: I now take objects like pills, x-rays, toys, found objects, etc. and glue them into any pockets from the drawer that are not covered by the photo. Step 9: Take Monkey Head's camera, and shoot this structure that I created. I call them MEDI@CATION: Part 1 & 2.......
Now, why two separate photos??? Because my work, plus the works of my fellow Workman Arts artisticons (yup, made that word up too...why?), are gonna be printed on 5 foot vinyl banners...double sided (that's why 2 photographs)....and hung from street light posts in front of CAMH on Queen St. West. Problem...because of the dimensions of said banners (60" x 22"), when the specs are applied, and banners cut and sewn...you don't really see that antique print drawer that I lovingly filled up with "stuff"! Still...I love the finished pieces, very striking, very powerful, very DAMMIT! Couldn't wait to see it hanging above Queen West for the whole month of May!!!!!!
Ahhhh...NO! THIS IS THIS WHERE THE STUPID HITS THE FAN!!!! One afternoon, just before the banners are suppose to be hung, I get a call from Chris Mitchell, "Joey, we seem to have a problem"...NOW WHAT??!!!..." The city has some concerns about your pieces, and may not let us hang your banner." WHAT??!!! CONCERN?! ABOUT WHAT??!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong, or controversial with the photos!!! I mean I went out of my way...REALLY OUT OF MY WAY, to make sure Workman Arts would not encounter any trouble with my evil ways!!!!! Chris said they never gave a good reason aside from their "concerns"!!!! And, I know Chris, she fought hard for me! So...come hanging day..and yup... I AM FUCKING CENSORED!!! Look I'm not stupid, and if you know me, you know that I'm more than just a little media savvy. I certainly realize that there is no such thing as bad publicity...I mean...where would Madonna be without controversy? I mean, like I said, I've thrived on it myself in the past...BUT!!!!!...I AM NOT A BIG FAN OF CENSORSHIP!!!!!!! I WORKED SO DAMN HARD ON THIS PROJECT...ONLY TO BE CENSORED BY MY OWN FUCKING CITY!!! To be exact, the City of Toronto's Transportation Services Street Events Permit Office. In the end the only reasons I got were, "Content Concerns"...and they were a little disturbed that the word "violent" was on the banner. WHAT?????!!!!!! YOU DO SEE THE IGNORANCE, STUPIDITY, and THE MAJOR IRONY HERE, RIGHT??????? Einstein's quote, painted plainly on the doll is, "GREAT SPIRITS HAVE ALWAYS ENCOUNTERED VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM MEDIOCRE MINDS"!!!!!! HELLO???!!!!! YOU GUYS ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT EINSTEIN IS PREACHING ABOUT!!!!! WHAT HE'S WARNING ABOUT!!!! When this quote and this irony was brought up to these cretins, these bureaucrats attention...they just scratched their heads and shrugged. You decide. The 2 photos are at the top of the page..."CONTENT CONCERNS"??? WHY THE CENSORSHIP????? PLEASE! TELL ME!!!!!! And to answer the question, that so many of you, who know about this have asked. DAMN RIGHT I'M GONNA TAKE IT TO THE MEDIA!!!!! I think the ridiculous irony alone makes for a great story...but the media of all people understand the evil of censorship...especially this kind ...you know...THE KIND THAT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER!!!!! At least I hope they see what I see. Gonna send it off to our art loving mayor, and my MP as well. Hell...I'll send them this whole blog. Yes..I realize that the festival is almost at it's end...but that's not the point!!!!! I mean...IS IT ONLY ME ????!!!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
YEAH...I KNOW!!! "Hey DAMMIT!!!!, aren't these here year end list thingies...SUPPOSE TO BE AT YEARS END???!!! Huh? Huh?"...Fuck off!!! I have a much busier life than you (and odds are, more interesting too), and, so it's a month or so late! So this is gonna be a 2, or 3, or 4 parter...we'll start with the movies, then music, books, whatever I please really. And...what do you call that last decade??? Dunno, so the "00's" it is...if it's good enough for fucking Rolling Stone magazine, then, Hell, it's good enough for The DAMMIT! Diatribe..."ALL THE RANTING AND BITCHING THAT'S FIT TO PRINT"!!!
This has been a banner year for film...Impressive array of good to great movies! And then there's the BLIND SIDE...A FUCKING OSCAR NOMINATION FOR A MELODRAMATIC, MADE FOR TV PIECE OF CRAP!!!...and there's always the consistent, horrible genius of Michael Bay films (hello Transformers)!!!! But we're here to celebrate my favourite films, not my worst films...that, my fine feathered friends, is another post. So, because I know you're all a-tither with nervous anticipation, I give ya Joey DAMMIT!'S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2009.....
Actually, this is a first for me, I gots me a tie for number one.....I thought about it, and thought about it...used my uncanny skills of great taste, deduction and discernment...even thought of just flipping a coin, or throwing a dart (nah!)...I GIVE!!! They are both SO good, delivering on all the important stuff from writing, to acting, to cinematography, to directing... They are both near perfect films, both are war movies (well...kinda)...and then narrowing it down to ten was damn near impossible! So, take a deep breath or two, dim the lights...make sure your Orville is a-drownin' in butter (Fuck Becel...or so I'm told), and let's see what sticks!!!!
1. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS/THE HURT LOCKER
2. THE INFORMANT
3. AN EDUCATION
4. A SERIOUS MAN
5. UP IN THE AIR
6. DISTRICT 9
8. ANVIL!: THE STORY OF ANVIL
9. TWO LOVERS
TIED FOR 11: THE HANGOVER, UP, IN THE LOOP, TYSON: THE MOVIE, AVATAR ( though I didn't think much of the story n' all...it is indeed going to change movies forever...everybody should experience the feeling of actually being taken into another world with those fuckin' stupid glasses on!!!!)
There!!! Now, I had intended to write a small opinion piece under the title's of each movie, but then I thought...nah, fuck it, I don't feel like it. Just let me say this, both INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and THE HURT LOCKER should...SHOULD be seen on the big screen...not on your fabulous plasmahi-defbigscreenorgasmatronic glass teat...and CERTAINLY NOT ON YOUR FUCKING COMPUTER SCREEN!!!! in fact, if you have, or do plan to watch it on your computer, and we happen to bump into each other on some sidewalk...DO NOT tell me...because I can guarantee that I will stick a very long, sharp knife into your fucking gut, and you will deserve it!!!!!!
Also...You may have heard that Tarantino's Basterds, set in World War Two Nazi occupied France, is a fantasy...revisionist history, and so on...WRONG!!!!! It is 100% true!!! This a historical account of how the Third Reich was brought down by a group of scalp-collecting, mutilating, killer American Jews!!!.....Oh...and if Kathryn Bigelow doesn't win the oh-so well deserved Oscar for Best Director for her stunning work on The Hurt Locker, then there is no God (oh-oh!)!!!!!
AND NOW MY BEST FILMS OF THIS PAST DECADE, "THE 00's" !!!!.....you can imagine how tough this was...I basically went through my GIANT WALL O' MOVIES, and wrote down in my sketchbook, titles of movies that I liked from the year 2000 to 2009 (if I in anyway liked a film...believe me, I bought it!). Now some of you more astute film geeks/snobs/elitists (Hey! I totally admit that I am one of said folk) may find one or two titles that may have been released in 1999, and on the back of the DVD it said 2000. Yes, I should have Googled it, or something...but again...my time is too fucking precious to waste even a few minutes doing this kind of fact checking...problem with that buddy??? Look, go back to your room in your parent's basement, learn a lil' more Klingon, and I'll forget this whole thing ever happened!!!!!
Oh....one more thing, and I think my fellow decade end list makers will agree with me on this, you're gonna notice in the following top 10 list, that I've lumped two films together as one. I think when you come to them you'll understand why...I mean each film stands on it's own, but....Oh, you'll see...number 1 is the best example...........................................
1. THE BOURNE TRILOGY
2. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
3. CROUCHING TIGER,HIDDEN DRAGON
4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
5. THE HURT LOCKER
6. KILL BILL PT.1&2
7. OLD BOY
10. THE PROPOSITION/THE DEPARTED ( TIE )
TIED FOR 11: THERE WILL BE BLOOD, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, MYSTIC RIVER, CHILDREN OF MEN, DOWNFALL, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE ( ...and tied for 12th.....243 other movies!!!)
See, for my top film, that whole Bourne series of movies, all 3 of 'em could not be broken down into which was the better one...These movies were not only entertaining as Hell, but set a new standard for the so-called action film...it proves you can indeed have great car chases, shoot 'em ups, sex and violence AND still be very smart films with great scripts, acting, directing and so on...So no Mr. Stallone...it isn't good enough to make things explode and to be fucking stupid in every way!!!
So, think we'll call it a day right about here...there's a couple of cold ones in the fridge with my name on 'em, and Charlie Rose is coming on soon...two great reasons to leave it be for now...next Bat episode...MUSIC!!!!!! 'Til then, buy one of the 3 great DAMMIT! T-shirts, and go see what we've been tinkerin' with on my new, improved web site...www.joeydammit.com!!!!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
WHAT???? C'mon you could not take your fucking eyes off it...and you know it!!!! Especially when it was first announced (TMZ broke it first), that afternoon...Michael "I named myself The King Of Pop...and then everyone just started calling me that...cool" Jackson, was in a rumoured comatose state, in an ambulance speeding to the hospital! Then, (again TMZ reports it first...notice that they always get that all-important initial scoop first?...way before the CNN's and BBC's of the world)...could it really be true???? Michael Jackson...DEAD???!!! That's when it got real good...and again, admit it, just like me, first thing you thought of was...DRUGS!!!! JESUS...first the news of Farrah's death...sooooo sad (and it was), so painfu....HOLY SHIT ....He's much bigger than that Charlie's Angel's chick!!!! Both??!!! ON THE SAME DAY??!!! Gotta fuckin' tune in to Larry King tonight fo' sure!!!!! That was Real Reality TV...and why did you keep watching it?...because it was great ENTERTAINMENT!!!!! Sorry, not gonna apologize, not gonna suddenly become politically fucking correct to appease the fans and the overly sensitive...and when we knew it WAS indeed drugs, perhaps even... MURDER!!!!....c'mon COOL DEATH or what???!!!
Let me start by saying that this was gonna be a (fairly...well...) straight forward review or rant of a new book by one of Toronto's finest young writers Lorette C. Luzajic. The book, titled, "GOODBYE, BILLIE JEAN: THE MEANING OF MICHAEL JACKSON", was just released, and I gots ta admit...very cool cover artwork by noted local pop artist, Iaian Greenson (thus my competition, thus an enemy of mine!). Now...let me lay my proverbial sticky fingered cards right down on the table... I know said writer, in fact we've been friends for years ...and that's all ya need ta know you snoopy little fucks!!!
Lorette writes regularly about all sorts of interesting people (yes, she's interviewed me in the past), pop culture, madness and death (and ya wonder why I love her?), so the topic was certainly up her alley. She sent me a copy of GOODBYE, BILLIE JEAN via e-mail...a fucking stunning 316 page trade paperback!!! One...I'm old school, I read real books, you know...love feeling the paper touching my finger tips...YES!!!...I live for fucking paper cuts....and OK, because it's Lorette, I would have still read it, but not as it's 4 in the morning and I'm going through a major, MAJOR bout of insomnia!!!! So..I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled, reading for close to 90 minutes......
This anthology, curated by the lovely and talented Ms. Luzajic, includes not only her own musings, but a lineup that includes Tibetan monk Jamyang Khedrup; Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times writer Chris Hedges; Toronto’s celebrity drag queen, Donnarama (who I noticed crowned Lorette with the following, Brilliant title,"Courtney Love Meets Margret Atwood"...THAT'S LORETTE EXACTLY!!!...PERFECT!!!), hilarious celeb-skewer Rohin Guha; Harvard Divinity School and queer black activist Reverend Irene Monroe; creative think tank Pat Kane (who also incidentally, opened for Madonna with his band back in the ‘80s); famous poet John B. Lee, award-winning journalist, author and personal friend of Michael Jackson, Jonathan Margolis; Jungian analyst Coline Covington; Russell Bowers, host of Daybreak Alberta, CBC’s most popular breakfast radio; Congo and Rwanda journalist Georgianne Nienaber; Iranian writer Javhad Rahbar; and many, many more...including the electric poetic waxings of my buddy, Toronto arteest, and poet Ralph "Rottweiler" Martin...Gad-Zooooks...colour me impressed!!! I think that instead of only one writer, or a ton of local half-ass writers oozing their love for Mikey....what makes it so interesting, even if you're not a Jackson fan, is the variety of voices and styles.
Now you're thinking...so Joey isn't exactly a big fan of Jacko, is he??? Truth be told, love the guy' s genius (and holy shit...he certainly was that), hate what he became! I think he was a a total freak (which by the way, I adore freaks, being one myself), and, like Marilyn, and James Dean before him, death was the best PR/marketing move he could have made to save a very dead, pathetic career (unfortunately, he apparently did not leave anything close to a beautiful corpse behind according to the autopsy reports)...and don't even try to argue with me on how his career was NOT dead, and how the new tour would put him on top again...'cus that is just SO MUCH BULLSHIT, and deep down inside, you know it!!!!
Three things stand out about Michael that will always endear the beautiful freak to me......
1) BEAT IT, from the THRILLER album, is still one of my favourite songs of all time, featuring the best guitar solo of all time, performed by Eddie Van Halen (or the great Steve Stevens, Billy Idol's guitarist, depending who you ask).
2) The night he unveiled the "MOONfuckingWalk" for the first time, on national television...Live at the Apollo, or some dumb music award show. MY JAW DROPPED...I mean...I kidya not...how on earth??? That, my friends was pure, PURE GENIUS and SHOWMANSHIP of Biblical proportions!!! Gonna put an excerpt from the book in here, a poem of all things, because it beautifully defines that moment to me, and because Ralph is a good friend of mine...and it's my fucking blog...and I will continue to do as I please...PROBLEM WITH THAT BUCKY???!!!
When he danced …
... there was no beginning,
and, he danced until the end
Step slide, slide step, step slide step …
The entertainer strode,
He leapt and he flowed, his joy in every jerking
Jump, step slide, step slide, step jump …
Till he’d land and he’d bow, then he’d tip, and he’d bend
With the music inside him, he
Stepped slide, slide step, step slide splits …
Then up again with arms like wings, his soul in flight and
His body in tune
The fedora flew
and the gloves and the shoes …
When he danced …
... the children danced too.
To read a ton of Lorette's work, run, don't walk, to www.thegirlcanwrite.com...and she certainly can!!! And, because she can...she has put up a truly fascinating/strange/and sometimes down right fucked Blog about all things Jacko.......www.michaeljacksontattoos.wordpress.com ...
So...what have we learned today class???...That Lorette is a rising talent that you should keep yo' eyes and ears on....that Michael Jackson was one fucking extremely talented genius.....that he was also a side show oddity on the grandest scale....and for God's sake...if you are gonna die, or off yourself...eat well, drink lotsa water, and work out very, very hard first!!! Class dismissed!!!!!