The Apocalypse (And Resurrection) As Witnessed by a Slice of Aged New York Cheddar

Allow me to preface this piece by acknowledging the formidable writing
ability of this blog’s progenitor.  I must also praise the detailed chronicle of her
personal implosion, and later rebirth, both having occurred within the past year.
My words are simply meant to convey the perspective of a continuously evolving
existence running both parallel, and yet remaining deeply entwined, with said
events.  I believe that a similar rebirth occurred in this existence when an Idea,
combined with a Purpose and juxtaposed against both internal and external conflict,
reached a conclusion previously unimagined.

The Personal Day of Reckoning (The Individual Apocalypse?) can take many
forms: You can lose your mind and allow reality to dissolve, your Self retreating
into a bizarre, isolated netherworld far removed from any real Existence.  You can
snuff out a facet of life itself, including the Whole, to beget a premature end to any
number of components.  Or perhaps you retreat into the barren world of self-
destruction and abuse to prolong a suffering; a suffering that becomes valid only
under such depraved circumstances.  For me, the Harbinger came in the form of
someone who far surpassed me at what I had come to establish my entire identity
upon.  This arrival, and subsequent revelation, in turn began what I can only
describe as a Descent.  When you define the Self upon a singular act, the utter ruin of
such a naïve notion can result in an excruciating impact to nearly every sense.  The
Sinking begins, and the events that follow only proceed to magnify the quagmire
into which the Mind drops.

Even so, no matter how dire circumstances become, as you journey in life (or
stand fixed in place from an alternate point of view), people enter and exit under a
force that can only be described as Fate.  I’ve become a firm believer that everyone
who crosses the threshold of your individual existence arrives and departs for a
specific reason (be it asphyxiation, inspiration, or obliteration).  I can attest to the
individuals in my life who have made such a profound impact that both an Idea and
a Purpose arise and become defined by their presence.  I’m a firm believer that
once all factors align, the road illuminates ahead, regardless of how difficult the
journey may be.  The luminescence of this ethereal guide reveals the path through
the ephemeral void of Doubt.

In my experience, it’s never easy.  Any excursion has its truly memorable
(harrowing?) moments, such as being locked in a house with no power and no food,
in temperatures reaching below zero, and your only way of keeping warm is
burning someone’s stash of New York Magazines.  The ice forming on the roads can
so easily cause the flimsy vehicle known as Life to crash, detonate, and immolate
under an incompetent operator.  And yet, miraculously, you survive; you necessitate
living by finding something to live for, and an Idea that reaches deeper than the act
of simple survival itself.

A movement in the great composition of Life can last any variation of time,
but the length can ultimately be determined by a drive to begin a new chapter
entirely.  I suppose for some, this can be a means of escape: perhaps a step towards
some arcane goal or veiled, corporeal notion.  For others, it’s simply a continuation
towards a chasm; an Abyss from which there is no turning back.  For me, the last
piece was written over two years, and only recently was it finally brought in a full-
circle towards closure.

Acquired personal feelings penetrate the harshest levels of innate judgment
and/or prejudice, and I’ve found that, as the Descent may become the Ascent, so can
the Lost return home to witness the monuments constructed under their influence
through absence.  The Inspiration, the Purpose, and the Idea all combine into
something so much larger than what was previously foreseen through the lens of
nascent elements still emerging from the protoplasm of a life.  Art (and really life
entirely) still make about as much sense as ‘Limbs falling off, on a Saturday, at dusk,’
and yet perhaps, within indiscriminate scenarios, the Whole regenerates and
becomes stronger through the process of the Parting.  Out of that dusk arises
a ‘Thing that was now and now was, and I loved you here and I loved you then, all of
us together, and someone calls it Heaven.’


- Alex Cohen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANIFESTO @)!$ (2014)

You attempt to “catch up with yourself.”

Which implies a series of events/set of tasks/projected fulfillment.  I am not particularly interested in this Self, functional and representative.  I am intrigued by Another, one seduced and consumed in/between points of interest.  This is the Self that lacks coherent expression.  A Self with no space for vaulted desire and essential projection.  This is a Self annihilated by Presence, absolutely fertile (also, (one might claim), in love with American Cheese and underrated U.S. cities).

(I spent the better part of a year recoiling from “my” Life.  As much as possible, I attempted to deny the possibility of “catching up” in favor of Loss.  I sought to enhance the line between absolute focus and self destruction.  Not self destruction in the sense of a death drive.  Self destruction as a process of letting go/removing, obviating/surrendering to as many aggregates of Self as possible/necessary to discover/outline a means to Recover). 

We ask:

What can be restored?  Is there a point between desire and urgency that can be processed, wherein one might reliably “help oneself”?  Where might one seek refuge from the ubiquity of projected identity?  (READ:  digitized & networked self-hood).

(I both performed and permitted each emergent opportunity for self-experimentation/annihilation. There are many instances I wish I could take back, however you learn to be completely Present in/with these fatal events. This is absolutely necessary if you desire to Live). 

You sacrifice yourself completely to the Unknown.  You discover the essence of dreams in Trauma.  You are a different Being at every moment, because there are only moments, now that you have fully surrendered to your nature.  You are leveled.  You are sheer.  You are the process and the course of investigation, curiosity.  You turn on what you Believe and Need and thus must turn Within.  You’ve no other choice.  You are replaced.    

(I recovered my flesh; found NOISE.  While I strongly dissuade you from following this path, this much is true):  There are some of us who cannot help but love the world, all of it, even that which kills us.  We may never be satisfied. Thus, we must bind to the unbound and to each other, and there is precious little time and no undoing what has been done.  Our Way is one of tension, we do not succumb to our demons, WE LIVE THEM, WE ARE LIVED RESISTANCE.  And so we make noise.  WE MAKE NOISE.

(I left behind all I knew and believed because I resisted the prophecy of my own undoing.  I found a Life unhinged and I raced against it, for fear of living the truth of nature, of form.)  


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am accepting submissions for Album Reviews/Write UPS.

How are you doing?  Are you Incarcerated? Are you comforted? Saving to buy a new Mac? I want to know what you know.  I want to explain your throat and expiate as you aspirate. I want your lungs inside my fingers.  

I want to share a very good moment with you.  Perhaps we save a turtle in the road. Perhaps we lay adjacent in the sum of impossible silence. As we do this you explain the doing, all of it, and this resonates over and over and in twenty years I give you a kidney, simply because I like you and we never had sex, leaving transplantation as the only remaining option.  

The point is I am interested in reviewing/embracing/expounding your albums, released now or behind.  This may be performed in a statistically standard fashion; an allusion to you/your ensemble as a person/entity, followed by your motives/techniques, concluding with my hopefully positive thoughts as to how the work references a larger musical dialogue and/or canonizes itself. If this bores your face off do not fret.  I will be equally happy to write with the utmost spontaneity, reflecting and inhabiting your sounds as only another musician can.  I am also equally very happy to work with you in a purely experimental context.  I will review your album as a diner menu qua soliloquy.  I will write it in Old English.  (Seriously I will learn Old English for you).  Etc.  

Spread the word for me, as I only exist in Facebook.  I will write for free.  You can use the words however you see fit.  Post them someplace, wipe your ass with them.  If the project takes off I’ll build a website dedicated to it all.   A nice one, this time no cats.  

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

An Amish Family walks into an Elevator, or: How to make better Art

I am not interested in compromising, accommodating, coddling, nurturing, reciprocating, socializing, representing, conforming, comforting, consuming, commercializing, worshiping and/or otherwise marketing a single fucking thing I do.  As a result of this I give birth to myself, a lot, albeit in unexpected places.  However this is a porno for another day.  

The point will be to honestly examine your creative instincts.  What are you chanting?  On which cacophony do you feed?  How decisive is your indecision?

Perhaps, like me, you grew opposed.  Words alone do not suffice to capture the opposed opposition that makes rightness possible and so you make more art.  You make Time out of art. Faster and Faster than a Steak can moo.  

The truth is artists are everything, all the time.  They are a cultural appendectomy. Restoring function to functionless, a body neither right, wrong, nor both.  However no one can sign for this and they/you/I become pissed off because UPS is late, so now every day we make shit about the UPS shit.      

This is not a helpful thing to practice.  Intuitively, Art is a form of Suicide, not of the Artist as Subject, but of everything the Art is not; a Suicide of all that is Subjected.  The problem cancels itself out.  This is beautiful but easy to neglect, and so more often than not positions are taken that vehemently oppose all that isn’t, even though it already is, effortlessly, as you cannot undo the undone.  You paint/perform/play and/or otherwise dilate with the intention of exposing what cannot be destroyed by the opposed.  You create a threatened threat.  You know destruction is unavoidable (because avoid what?) so the final choice is accepting you’re opposing.  You make what you make and you raise a glass to the World as Diabetic Exorcism, effectively stabilizing the mutually destructive relationship.  You create the volume at which opposition is it’s own elevator music, uninterrupted, going up, and you witness, you make witnessing.  

You are trapped in an elevator.

It is easy to get stampeded in this place (the elevator), and continue violently opposing and changing directions yet never moving because you are trapped in an elevator.  

What is the Alternative?  You must approach, intensively.  Move closer and closer to the elevator you’re already inside.  Eventually; touch, taste, witness, listen, smell all over the elevator. Continue doing this for days, weeks, months on end and you will be OK because you will have become Ritual.  

We challenge the spirit (the necessity of opposition, resistance to the opposed) just short of succumbing to annihilation.  Ritual lives here.  Become it so as to practice it – an active rearranging of presence.  Whatever hellish song box the elevator corporation packaged around us over and over until we formed packaging (we are NOT packaging) cannot, under any circumstances, be Present.  

Continue presenting.  The how and why is simply possibility and interval, which always is and is indestructible in any Art that is necessary – the lived brutality of presence, which is beautiful, as you are anywhere but here and everyone is there and you are never anywhere.  The elevator breathes, expands, approaches new colors, violates light, it’s directionless, it is not feeling quite itself these days, you bang on it with spoons and sticks.  

You do not give into opposition. You become more present than it.  

The Amish are still around and you should go, some of you.

The rest of you go do shit.  The Amish are with you in spirit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

reflections after a lobotomy

I’m not sure what happened in the first 3 months.  There was a lot of returning to experiences that represented important things that were already overplayed and thus were evermore.  There was a desire to eliminate content.  If it were possible to tap into a deadly repetition that only repeats the decay of meaning in stereo detonation, but of course it is not and so this does not work. There was poetry like this:

In a single moment / You miss missing / You miss missing missing / You miss missing missing missing / also you sneeze

The sneeze is what wakes you up. The impossibility of simultaneous
Sneezing and Sleep that soothes all living creatures

and unbearable creation.

Then there were new things that wanted to be what was but were not, and so they were tentative in a way that really only signifies the function of fear in society.  These inquiries were delicate and few and far between; late night researching of the inconclusive nature of prion diseases, composing something unemotional while feeling ill, writing what will have already been written obscured by birthright and tourism which is to say a brief interest in Russia.

Around the 4th month there was, conceivably, vacillation between spiritual awakening and existential crisis.

An intriguing symptom of this state (see: windshield wipers, rocking chairs outside of Cracker Barrel) is you eventually descend somewhere simply in-between, and that in-between turns out to be the possibility of negative redemption which is to say the Sublime. I did not quite know what to do with This.  There was intuitive bliss that came from Somewhere.  There was the sensation of being spread eagled in Antarctica.  There was an overshadowing of a life’s worth of Standard Peripheral Noise (in essence, distraction, which is to say the function of fear in society, the terror of not-being here in whatever you do, be it mathematics or eating soup).

On June 13th, 2014, I was unaware of where I was.  There was only the luxury of longing for everyone and everything and art that was once, and this was real because it could be again, and in such a way we reverse nostalgia with our tongues.  I looked at many things; I found the Art that you all made, and in a sweeping gesture kinder than vomit, maybe, the periphery grew into all-that-ever-is-to-be-read, to-be-heard, to-be-witnessed-and-observed.  This was mostly fucking great, which may well make smirking the condition of truth.

Mostly all this birthed a Ritual, which from the start felt very clean.  You plumb the depths of focus, as you must.  Maybe the ritual eventually falls a bit to the side of itself, and now it is work, but this is OK.  At some point you begin to make Art again.

At this point, most days, I don’t want to know what I know.  Not in the sense of Mind Kill but so as to practice an attention so piercing that any and all reactions, every impulse, is shrouded in immaculate consciousness, because so much of what is done is unconscious, and once you see the unconsciousness and realize the consciousness of it, you find Horror, big enough to surpass every intellectual process ever deconstructed that you think you know, and you see this Horror played out in a way that jumps from life to life all tick-like and it’s all your life, host and parasite, especially the part at the end where you paradigmatically wake up abandoned at a Food Court even though this did not actually happen because what actually did was likely more Horrific because it is the least amount of thought ever or of anything at all, least of all consciousness, which is all it could possibly be and so now what.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lose your Mind or offer it to Rodents and soon it will be Fall

It’s funny, how much you see before the fact.  More so funny as a result of what gets edited and how. Like memories are little pails, and we want to jump back in them but they’re hamster sized and so we break our ass, and then it turns out that the hamster is the editor, and his funneling is also a planting of these little pails, he is red gloved and meticulous in his frenzy.  And over Time it grows unclear, whether we are shrinking or the pails are piling but mostly what sparkles and blinds our proximity to that underlying THING which basically just KNOWS is the SHAME of wanting to go back in Time.  Maybe, if you move faster or sleep longer the hamster dies, I don’t know.  Maybe the hamster and the shame are unrelated, like mathematically.

I know so much less now than I did before but I feel this lessening more.  Some days the lessening is a melting and I bubble into something vaguely past the sky but other days, it is a Hemangioma on my face that is not ready to detach but does.

To whom it may concern:  this may be an apology, I’m uncertain.  The shape and form of it is not yet clear.  To say there are no words is definitely an understatement.  I can’t conceive a gesture or a gift even remotely corresponding to the saying it.  I don’t mean there’s no repairing, more like it’s just never quite enough, the conscious body desires something more akin to sacrifice to counterbalance the expression I Am Sorry.  However, this is, practically speaking, truly dumb.

I am concurrently at a Starbucks and watching them build a Vitamin Shoppe and also maybe more alive because it seems that degrees of life are possible, they tumble off and ache up.  Also I am back there, which you can choose to mean whatever emerges exactly as it should.  Some days I don’t realize I am gone, other days I am, a lot, and the idea of existing in any set of dimensions seems preposterous.  The universe is phlegm, the brain is paper, I am a Honda Civic, and we all live in a Vitamin Shoppe.  Which might be nice, in fact, inside this thing that was now and now was, and I loved you here and I loved you then, all of us together, and someone calls it Heaven.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Prophecy 2014

everyone will get everything out of their system.

human sensitivity decreases relative to sugar consumption.

photos of ice cream rally the internet

the subcutaneous becomes mucilaginous; soft particles dominate the periphery.

everyone sleeps soundly.

love becomes a distant concept; will is overcome by sets of mysterious actions; pointless, aimless, directionless, and lovely.

cat videos continue streaming.

women in California amputate their toes.

everyone is famous, no one is famous

migraines, panic attacks, and hypersexuality are on the rise, as is a distant hum enshrouding all human affairs, a delicate promise that all will resolve as it should.

outrage outgrows itself and becomes submissive.

bubble wrap is on the decline.

everyone will forget your birthday.

everyone meaning everyone.

the slogan, “all for one and one for all” regains popularity.

plastic knives are banned

simultaneously, no one asks questions.

packing peanuts are banned.

peanuts are banned.

no one talks about peanuts, anymore.

average consumption of salt increases.

almond sales skyrocket.

the taxation of macadamia nuts, or Maca-Tax.  .

Arachibutyrophobia, or fear of butter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I may have guzzled your hemlock.

You’ve reached the bitter end if you’re considering whether or not you should return to ranting about skin disorders and the apocalypse on a stage, in front of just enough people to warrant doing so, but not quite enough to garner major publicity or ever go on vacation and/or buy candles.

The short answer is that if you don’t want something to exist, don’t do it.  The long answer is longer.

At any given moment, there are options.  Sometimes, these options are discrete. We employ a turn signal, in order to signify a direction and means of directing, or we don’t.  We feed the cat in order to keep it breathing, or we don’t.  We grasp a smaller part of living as a means of representing life.  We do this on a daily basis; subconsciously, or with minimal thought.

Likewise, as we exit the theatre pursued by a bear we calculate the time it takes to manually unlock the ‘98 Toyota Camry we’ve enlisted as our tour vehicle, within which our cello, merch case (thrifted), and kitten hologram are packed.  We need these articles (to survive?) and by a not particularly subtle twist of fate the City of New York is simultaneously about to tow said car (‘bearly’ conscious of the ensuing mayhem) and we are broke, flat broke, we need said articles to perform and potentially make enough money to potentially retrieve said car if potentially impounded.  However, there is a bus not 6 feet from where we run.  The door to said bus is open.  We are currently carrying a metrocard with precisely enough balance for a single fare in our purse, and we think “despite our better judgement” and realize that we are not sure which option “despite our better judgement” refers back to.  Perhaps we keep running.  There is a chance the bear will get hit by oncoming traffic.  We may need the metrocard to travel uptown to borrow money from someone who by now is most assuredly sick of us and our incessant need to borrow money because these types of scenarios “just keep happening.”

Which survival do we choose?  Which representation of survival is accurate?  The part is the whole, insofar as the alternative is a whole lot of you on Canal st. represented by a series of parts.

(Let’s say I stole one or more of the following drugs from your medicine cabinet: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Tramadol, Codeine, Xanax, Valium, Lorazepam, and as a last resort, Ibuprofen.  The long answer might be that I didn’t know how to survive.  I substituted short-term function, a temporary means to get by, for life as a whole.  I was unable to comprehend survival apart from a self apart from living.  I cultivated a life devoid of options.  I consistently misconstrued escaping for surviving.  I created suffering in order to create life.  My suffering outgrew my own means to survive, and so I inflicted it upon you.

The short answer would be that I am extremely sorry.  I was sick.  I was too intent on murdering my life to comprehend that survival, outside the perimeters of certain death, is defined by levels of honesty, generosity, and respect towards other human beings, for one is dehumanized without another).

Life is confusing.  Living necessitates survival, survival does not necessitate living.  We find a source of life mired in the complications of merely surviving, and it is negligible whether or not the part may be separated from the whole without dragging the whole thing down. We might superimpose the fact that motivation and intention are only made visible through the passage of time and reach the very counter-intuitive conclusion that survival requires inaction.  A pause, a break.  A slowing down of time, really.  Which is precisely what takes place while you are performing on stage.  It’s also what takes place when you are high.  So maybe there you have it.

Remove all the parts and you’re left with this:  You live by surviving yourself.  The whole of the part is made whole in parting.

Maybe you can relate to part of this.  Maybe you are able to see the missing part with which this writing might catapult into wholeness, surviving itself and thereby becoming livable.  And yet, maybe not.  Maybe what’s missed was never there to begin with.  Maybe what’s missing was already there and lived; a figment, hallucination, cataract.

With that I bid the part of you reading this farewell.

At least for the moment.

My sincerest apologies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On living as an artist in Brooklyn circa 2013 (and why I currently am not)

At the best of times you are absolutely part of something.  This something is a thing on the tip of your tongue, a thing that any moment you risk swallowing and no longer tasting.  It is a kind of living that becomes terrified of itself, lest one day it may become the only thing worth remembering.

I wanted to drag everyone along with me in this life.  On a good day this meant picking you up in a ‘98 Toyota with a busted door handle and chauffeuring you from underground show to underground performance to the diner in almost daylight.  We would bash souls like heads and share in this proverbial something like goats chewing the memory of food.  On a bad day this meant spending weeks recovering from a night or two or 6 weeks of chemical bliss.  I probably fucked you.  You were the proprietor of an underground gallery or mentally ill or nine-times-out-of-ten another cold blooded musician eager to succumb as much as I.  This really only happened in order to create pain.  Create the pain in order to extinguish it, and again.  If this applies to you I shouldn’t have to tell you.

Despite this, it was good, all of it.  That’s the thing about life.  Even in ridiculous displays of self injury and homicidal lasciviousness it sounds perfectly great, afterwards, as long as you lived it.  Really lived it.  And I really, really lived it.  If for nothing else, I lived my life in complete denial of any alternative.

What’s bizarre is that at a certain point, lacking alternative, life begins to turn papery.  I’m not sure I can explain it better than this.  You just start finding yourself in inexplicable corners in dimensions which probably do not exist.  On a Sunday you find yourself unable to stop researching the early 20th century medical phenomenon Phossy Jaw, a condition that developed due to exposure to white phosphorous, thus almost exclusively affecting workers in match factories.  The jaw bone begins to abscess, causing necrosis of the surrounding flesh, brain damage, organ failure, death.  This doesn’t really exist anymore but it did, and this blunt fact is really all that you get out of anything if you’re not living it.

You start seeing your life as a creation, or perhaps more accurately, a fabrication, that’s the thing.  Then you start searching for the thing that’s been fabricated; you realize it isn’t there.  At all.  It’s not a question of wishing it was something else, or somewhere else, it just isn’t.  And the alternative becomes researching the Krokodil phenomenon in Siberia on a Friday, another form of necrotic death, the drug that eats junkies, and you wonder if it isn’t so much that your life that simply is isn’t, but that you managed to kill it by exposure.

Hi.  I’m Valerie.  I’m a living, breathing art experiment.  I will tell you point blank that experience is the only proof of life.  Surprise!  The problem is that in experiencing you cease to exist.  The problem is I still have a jaw bone.

I’m not going so far as to say that I’m walking away from everything at the age of 29, it never goes down that simply anyway.  I will say that when you really, really love something, or someone for that matter, (probably yourself included), you must be able to walk away from it in order to preserve it.  Otherwise it doesn’t really exist anymore but it did.  Experience becomes meaningless through experimentation.  Blind faith is a dangerous thing without knowing grief.  Don’t bother asking what any of this means.  Art makes about as much sense as limbs falling off, on a Saturday, at dusk.  This is simply a means to write about what happens, afterwards.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday Nights at Ange Noir Cafe

Every non-holiday Thursday night, beginning Sept 19th, 3 acts will perform at Bushwick cafe/event space, Ange Noir (yes, formerly Cafe Orwell, time is a mighty non-linear mistress).
Each week will feature one sound artist, one performance artist, and one songwriter, working within their respective communities to push the boundaries defined by their “genre” and therefore potentially creating something new entirely.

Spread the WORD!
all shows begin at 8p, a $10 donation for the performers will be collected.

Ange Noir is located at 247 Varet St. in Brooklyn.

L to Morgan ave.

Schedule of Weekly Events:

9/19: performance artist Joseph Keckler, Silver Process (Joe Merolla, cello/ Chuck Bettis, electronics/ Brandon Seabrook, guitar/banjo), songwriter/cellist Meaghan Burke

9/26: performance artists Melissa Tolve and Zach Gates, violinist/sound artist Jonathan Chen, neo-classical/cabaret songmaster Jonathan Wood Vincent.

10/3: performance artist Lee Todd Lacks (Maine) w/Tom Swafford, David First’s The Western Enisphere presents drones in just intonation, songstress Elisa Flynn

10/10: curated by Sean Ali
double bass duo PascAli
solo performance by David Grollman

10/17: curated by Ryan Krause

10/24: legendary performance artist Borts Minorts, Valerie Kuehne and Yps Mael (Munich) perform sounds, songwriter/accordionist An Historic (New Haven)

11/7: performance artist Marie Christine Katz presents “What’s My Worth?”, Mara Mayer (bass clarinet) and Jason Anastasoff (upright bass) are Feral Children, songwriter Steve Espinola

11/14: performance artist/comic Lorelei Ramierz, sonic hijinks by Lathan Hardy and Carlo Costa, songwriting legend Jason Trachtenberg w/ Matt Dallow

11/21: a performance by the Cocoon Project, bassist Holly Ann Cordero.

12/5: songwriter Ember Shrag, a performance by Dave Ruder and Aliza Simons (euphonium),

12/12: pianist/songwriter/virtuoso Leo Svirsky (the Hague), Robert Pepper/Snakeyhunt Duo.

12/19: songwriter Gelsey Bell, Andrew Drury/Jack Wright, Ben Syversen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment