69 to 99 Moving Finds: Part Three

This one wasn’t really a “moving find” per se, since it’s been hanging on my wall since returning from the first time I went to Iceland in 2011. Jón Sæmundur Auðarson is an Icelandic artist who created the Dead project in 2003, nine years after he was diagnosed HIV positive. The message behind Dead is simple: live life to its fullest. More specifically: “He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life.”

I had seen locals all around Reykjavik wearing the shirt which had the saying in English, Icelandic and a host of other languages. My new friend, singer/songwriter Myrra Rós told me Jón’s story and where his shop – which doubles as a gallery – was located. I checked it out, hung with Jón and talked about his friendship with Brian Jonestown Massacre leader Anton Newcombe.

This original oil painting was hanging up in his shop and I purchased it along with a couple other items. The next time I came through town, I got a tattoo of the skull. Everything behind Dead resonates deeply within me, and as I prepare to go return for my 10th time to the country, look forward to seeing him again.

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“I Was Spinning Free…”

This week marks the 15th anniversary of Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough effort Bleed American.  To mark the occasion, I did a short piece on the record for Diffuser. But personally, the album remains one of those which represents a particular period in time; in this case the summer of 2001.

Having just graduated from college, there was a glaring sense of, “Alright, now what?” I shoulda traveled the world then, but have always been a bit behind when it comes to those sorts of things and would wait a few years for that part of my life to begin. What I did end up doing was heading out on a fairly destination-less cross country road trip with noted culture vulture the Ninja. It was a sense of lingering adventure to do something “big” before entering the so-called real world.

When I say there was no set plan, there was absolutely no set plan. It was for the most part a bit like an Abbott & Costello episode (those who still have both grandparents living can ask them to define that reference). We crashed in random dorms, shelters, hostels and on various couches. There was one concrete idea to attend the Green Party affiliated Campus Greens’ “Rally for Radical Change” held at Chicago’s Congress Theater on August 10.

An e-mail about the event was sent to college mailing lists which stated:

Confirmed speakers and performers include Ralph Nader, Winona LaDuke, Robert Miranda and Jello Biafra.

Invited speakers and performers include Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Ani Difranco, Radiohead, Common, Chuck D, Zach de la Rocha, and many, many more!

“Holy shit!!” the Ninja and I collectively thought. “That ‘invited speakers and performers’ list is ridiculous.” Radiohead! Chuck D! Zach de la Rocha! Michael Moore! Howard Zinn! The “many, many more” could only make the whole thing even astronomical.

Off we went to take part in this thing and pick the brain of Chuck D.

Bleed-American-cover Continue reading ““I Was Spinning Free…””

Double Talkin’ Jive

By design, I ended up in Las Vegas for a few days to catch the first “official” show of the Guns N’ Roses reunion tour. What a trip that town is. Never really been a fan, in fact the only time I spend an extended period there was with an ex whose parents had a timeshare nearby.

It truly is a destination filled with hopelessness and decadence, and I’m not sure if one of them is better than the other. Thankfully, I’m not a big gambler at all and never really got into the hookers and blow scene, so it doesn’t hold any particular temptation for me.

Weather was weird; rainy and unseasonably cool. So I went to the Houdini Magic Shop and avoided being swindled by wannabe magicians. Stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in the HRH Tower, took expensive cabs and saw an incredible reunion by one of the most dangerous bands in music history.

Check out my article over at Vanyaland.

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A flashing neon GnR logo used as one of the backdrop images during the show.