Planning Warhol in Prague: Part I: The Asylum Culture House & The Warholesquian Sensibility
The Asylum of cultural myth, for those who were in Prague and in the sub-cultural know during that winter and spring of 1993, lingers in memory as a crazed Bacchanalian Warholesquian happening, even if, public nipple piercings and simulated urination aside, a generally less explicitly sexual version. One minute you might go into the café, a smallish cave-like hole-in-the-wall we always thought of as the Soul of Asylum, and there would be a bongo, guitar and violin foot-stomping Celtic jam. Ten minutes later there might be a cultural film about Rodin flickering across the wall, and another half hour after that you might find a wanna-Kerouac poet spouting Beat banalities or diamonds across the room and over the cheers or heckles of his temporarily captive audience. Read Essay
Planning Warhol in Prague: Part II: Kafka and The “Refounding” of the Asylum Culture House
Look at an old 19th Century Italian landscape painting and you might think “Wow! What unique vision those Italians had! Look at the gem-like fragile clarity of the leaves and their sparkling translucence. Look at those elongated spidery trunks! ” Then you go to Italy and look at the actual landscapes and the actual trees and you realize those painters were simply painting what they saw. That’s what it looks like.
To read Kafka is a similar experience. “The Castle” and “The Trial” are not the twisted mad ravings of a genius, but simply faithful recordings of the daily Czech experience with authority. That day was the first, but certainly not last, day I think I truly understood that. Rik felt it too. And that understanding came upon us this time not in a twisted brow knowledge kind of way, but more in a brown coal smog, nowhere-to-get-away-from-it, kind of way. Except that instead of being everywhere all at once, it’s nowhere all at once which is so… Czech. So… passive aggressive. Read Essay
Yes, Virginia There is Still A Santa Claus
Interestingly enough, I think that moment bothered me more than — sorry to blow the lid on this Virginia — finding out my parents were Santa Claus four years previous. On some level I already knew Santa was a fraud even before Brian Kux, my red-haired neighbor two doors down back in Washington D.C., cemented into eternity my collapsed North Pole house of card illusions one Christmas Day. Playing outside together with our new toys, he told me with an almost conspiratorial glee that he had seen his parents putting presents under the Christmas tree the night before. It didn’t come as much of a surprise and, although he was a full year older than me, I didn’t need his wizened input to immediately understand the exact implications of what that meant. The writing had already been on the wall for some time now.
After all, Santa looked different every time we met at the shopping mall and sometimes he was in two places at once; I would see him again on the way home from the mall collecting money for the Salvation Army on a street corner, the helicopter he’d come to the mall in nowhere in sight. And didn’t Santa use a sleigh anyway? I knew there was something fishy going on by the time I was four. Read Essay
I said “no” a couple times, A little too loudly. Guess it made me mad, that unpaid electrician waking up at 3am to catch a train to an isolated Long Island train station the producers “forgot” to pick up. Guess it made me mad having shit bubble up the drain in the shower of the rooms they gave us. And we were told we’d made the choice. After all, we were offered a ride back to the City each night; eight hours between call times. Three hours home and three hours back. And the Assistant Camera Man with a child at home to support who said he was mad as hell cowered in fear when the time came to say “Yes” or “No” to the face of the Producer when I spoke for the crew at the request of the crew.I understood, but wished they had not said they would if they wouldn’t. Read Essay
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