If you don’t want to hear about my personal life, scroll to the second half of this post. Here, you’ll find the lineup for the final night of the Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival (6/18/16) alongside reflections pertaining to the Carnival as a totality.
A confusing and mildly upsetting situation briefly broke the surface of this thing I choose to call Reality/what I choose to rely upon on a daily basis. To abbreviate: this situation has endured for a while and is mostly a result of my ongoing struggle with ED and Addiction. This is also an example of what can happen when someone attempts to “control” an addict. Additionally, this testifies to the danger of committing oneself to the task of engineering a fixed & isolated reality that orbits another human being. Call it codependency. Misguided desire. Hopeful foolishness. In any case, it did not turn out great, and kinda enhanced the paranoia I’ve surmised concerning intimacy in general.
I have a friend who radiates admirable qualities that I sincerely relate to, and so I told him about it. I attempted to be factual despite The Great Delusion. I tried to extend my narrative across the two-sided territory. Afterwards, this person said: “of course you lied about your addiction. We all do. It’s really embarrassing.” This statement resonated with me.
There are the obviously embarrassing consequences of addiction: the terminal perplexity of feeling “out of control.” The persistent anticipation of problematic responses to The Habit from the people you actually give a fuck about. The ever-subsequent conviction of being shunned. The generalized fear over abhorrent behavior that disturbs, over and over and over again. However, embarrassment adopts many forms and can propel sets of less obvious behavioral patterns, behaviors that yield unexpected results. You suddenly notice unusual ticks and act in odd ways, a coda to recognition. You are overwhelmed by the aura of trying, again and again and never stopping. You gradually learn how to live, but your impressions are not akin to learning a sport or excelling as a masseuse. It’s a phenomenon that only addicts really understand, a nihilistic elephant in your room qua head. In your ceaseless struggle for a meaning (that is largely irrelevant to most people), you form unique perspectives and connections to your physical and psychiatric climate. You come to trust a new logic, one that considers desperation as a force more integral than gravity. In turning over embarrassment, you discover toxicity in people and places that surprise you. You form a new breed of bond to the human beings considered necessary to your living cycle.
On the other hand, you seek ways to obscure the embarrassment (on shitty days) and channel it (when you’re more cognizant). In my experience, these reactions are muscles that operate as an incessant need to create and erect, sometimes tactically, other times therapeutically. I aspire to conjure space to reach the closest resemblance to an “ideal state.” On the other hand, I’ve also found a strategy in which to hide, obscure, and factor dependency in/out. Exhilaration and Terror. A daily plague that’s really fucking awesome (on busy days). Clearly, creation births a structure that is simultaneously generative and chaotic.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that the process of letting go is embarrassing, probably more so than any of us realize. The act of moving on/beyond carries great dissonance, but in a truly bizarre way, effectively negating the potential for experiencing dissonance, which is to say: there’s a special kind of psychological lapse that occurs when we think we know what we’re doing. When we decide to “move on” we mistakenly grasp the impression that we are in absolute control. We confidently cultivate new interests, acquire new colleagues, throw ourselves entirely into the idea of who we are and want to be. All the while, we are oblivious to the new set of consequences that emerge from our renovated behavior. Invariably, we will stumble upon reminders of the past (or have them regurgitated in our face), and we’re unprepared to confront these new consequences. We summarize their impact in a dangerous way, convincing ourselves that they’re inconsequential and innocuous. We sublimate, and before our awareness catches us we’re back to chasing refuge in the habits we know, and fear, will satisfy the sheer incomprehensibility of Living. Familiar embarrassment/habituated consequences. The incomprehensibility grows when, in a single gesture, we believe we are moving past the pain and activate the articles that numb it. This is neither good nor bad. For the most part fuck morality. The hope (I hope) is that we have the option of becoming aware of new consequences and developing peace in the old ones.
This is probably sufficient for now. Too many ideas, not enough action.
And so we endlessly cope. As always, I’m overwhelmingly and strictly grateful to those who’ve stuck by me and continue to listen and expand their wisdom next to my head.
Several artists I admire have been furiously making work that contemplates and resurrects embarrassment. Shawn Escarciga confronts the latent trauma of the mirror and truly reckons with himself. In the grandest sense, Esther Neff & Brian McCorkle dissect embarrassment with their opera-in-process, Embarrassed of the Whole. Incidentally, both Brian and Esther performed at the Song Carnival.
Here, we segue.
The Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival at JACK
June 16-18th, 2016:
Esther Neff wore Death on the back of her head, a startling paean to the body and a mesmerizing display of bare vocals, electronics, and loops (with an emphasis on loops). Audrey Harrer baffled the crowd with a precise collection of unheard and manipulated voices in the harp, singing lullabies as rapturous as they were ephemeral. Irrevery shockingly blended Country idioms with The Grotesque, demanding experimentation. Borts Minorts (in the words of my old friend, Natti Vogel) should be the Minister of Entertainment in Japan. In a roundabout way, he makes me believe in God. Alex Cohen and I continued to try to Define Solitary Confinement. Brian McCorkle absconded with 88-note impulses, using his voracious tamber to analyze politics and press buttons, massively. Caitlin Baucom roped a zombie hand around her wrist and debuted an opera. She incriminated German public figures from the late 18th century. Something about her performance recalled a seizure. Clapperclaw presented one of the most crystallized performances I’ve ever witnessed, successfully legitimizing Zen in it’s more colloquial sense. She made everything OK. Her voice is fucking ridiculous. Mercury Uncovered unveiled what was probably the riskiest performance of the festival. The musical and visual components suggested that they maybe shouldn’t go together, and this was fascinating, you kept questioning, wondering. If I was a crappy publicist I’d call it Punk meets Film Noir. They were introduced by NØthing, who literally growled into a suitcase of electronics and who was, in proper DIY style, added to the bill last-minute-upon-entry.
And finally, here’s what’s happening tonight (if you are reading this post 6/18/16 you missed it, sorry):
8:00 – Jonathan Wood Vincent – https://jonathanwoodvincent.bandcamp.com/
8:45 – Okapi – https://okapiband.bandcamp.com/
9:30 – Public Speaking – https://publicspeaking.bandcamp.com/
10:15 – Valerie Kuehne – http://www.valeriekuehne.com/