St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens

Angels are terrifying.

The wind through the trees...

establishing...

Vaults

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I’d Live Here

Pilgrim StateHallsoutside archfillsupwardestablishing shot

Wandered around this awesome place last week. I’m not sure if it is within the Kings Park Psychiatric Center or part of Pilgrim State Psych ward or not. The former has up to something like 121 buildings though not all are abandoned. It is on Long Island, and is notable for its architecture and is said to be haunted. I had a wonderfully chilling time creeping out there.

I could really give a shit about Jim Jarmusch, but I have to admit this quote of his that was sent to me is fucking spot on.

 

“Nothing is original.

 

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversation, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.

 

Select only things to steal that speak directly to your soul.

 

If you do this, and your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.  And don’t bother concealing your thievery- celebrate it if you feel like it.

 

In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Goddard said:

“It’s not where you take things from –

it’s where you take them to.”

 

I just may have to allow Jarmusch another try.

Les Amants

Rene Magritte The Lovers

Surrealist painter Rene Magritte was born in Belgium on November 21, 1898. He studied at the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1916-1918. Magritte’s early work varied in style, ranging from Impressionism to Cubism. He earned a living in his early days working in a factory manufacturing wallpaper and creating advertisements for local businesses. It was when he moved to Paris in 1927 his career began. He had his first exhibition and became a fixture in the Surrealist movement. Magritte would become successful, with exhibitions held all over the world in prestigious galleries. He would also publish many articles about his concepts of art and the possibilities within the realm of the paintbrush. Magritte died in Brussels on August 15, 1967.

While Magritte acheived fame for a number of his paintings, the series of paintings which fascinate me are The Lovers, or Les Amants. Magritte painted these mysterious works in the summer of 1928. Each painting depicts a couple, the title implies they are in love, only the couple has their faces obscured by white sheets. The paintings present to the observer a moment in time. In the moment the lovers appear to be tender and passionate, posing either cheek to cheek, embracing in a kiss or standing closely at each other’s side. It is rumored to believe the paintings were inspired by the suicide of Magritte’s mother, Regina Bertinchamp. In 1912, when Magritte was only 14 years old his mother suceeded in an act she attempted numerous times before which must have deeply affected Magritte. Bertinchamp was unhappy and depressed throughout his childhood. One night she left the house and drowned herself in the Sambre river. The Magrittes searched for her, following her footprints to the river, where her body was discovered with her nightgown wrapped around her face. The theory behind the paintings being influenced by Bertinchamp’s death, consciously or subconsciously, is merely speculation. Magritte denied any correlation between his mother’s suicide and the shrouded faces in the paintings. Magritte did admit he enjoyed the attention and being referred to as the “son of a dead woman.”

What does that mean? A question Magritte was probably asked many times.

“My painting is visible images which conceal nothing. . . They evoke mystery and indeed when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question ‘What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.”

Is that the honest truth or is Magritte’s answer also shrouded in a sheet? Was this response simply a way to avoid revealing the truth behind his work? What do you feel about The Lovers? What do you see in the paintings? What comes to mind when you look at these images? Is it that love is blind or something deeper? We view and acknowledge a level of intimacy but also a separation. The image combined with the title evokes the notion of passion while being divided. When we fall in love are we forthcoming and honest with ones we share our beds with? I do not think we ever truly know the people we fall in love with. The white sheet could be a metaphor for the lovers being guarded against each other. It may be the defense mechanism that allows us frail humans an illusion of safety. It presumes that we can not be harmed if we never give ourselves away completely. Do you feel comfortable sharing all your thoughts with your lover? Do you believe that you know everything about your lover? I Think majority of people would confess they do not feel comfortable and are sadly doubtful they are privy to all information. There is an apprehension that occurs with being honest with a lover since it constructs vulnerability. I feel in many ways we are all walking holding hands with our veils over our faces, concealing our feelings and secrets.

Could the death of Magritte’s mother, the sight of her dead body play a larger role in the creation of The Lovers than he alludes? Is the white sheet a representation of death? Or are these the portraits of lost love? They may be the equivalent of the photos of past lovers we shelve, or stow away in shoe boxes. Hiding their faces so we do not have to be reminded of those we used to fall asleep to like old songs. Magritte manipulated perception, encouraging the betrayal of images. The Lovers may no longer be in love and that is why they are covered like corpses. Love has died and has been enveloped in a white sheet to spare us the indignity and the heartache. The sight alone could be too much to bear. I want to know what kept Rene Magritte up at night? I personally, wish I could sleep at night. Was he troubled by the fragility of the human heart? Or does he just want to entertain the thoughful and heartsick? Magritte paints a mystery by obscuring the identity and the facial expressions of the lovers. We concentrate on the embrace, we consider the brevity of the relationship, but still there is some secret. The secret is subjective depending on the viewer’s perception. Do we all wear masks? What do you think is the reason Magritte’s lovers are masked? I think, love itself, is dying to know.             -originally published on May 1, 2011 by Sean Gabler

magritte-les amants

 

 

 

Headbanger’s Ball

     Hey! Our first music video is finalized and up for viewing. Our band, Vincent Price is Right recorded an Ep, a little while ago and we’ve been eager to make something for it. The Ep is entitled Hessian, and is available on iTunes, Amazon and other outlets as well. Rip it and share it.

I have always loved the myth of Faust, though I have yet to read Geothe. Which is regarded as the quintessence of all versions.  The idea of selling your soul to the devil for wealth, power, knowledge or the hand of a woman is awesomely tempting. The silent film which we ripped off is brilliant as well if you get the chance, youtube or Netflix it.

We filmed it in December with Yvedy and Ricardo Sosa.  We were the first band of any genre to work with these talented dudes who have done a ton of work with upcoming Hip Hop artists. It was brick outside in the junkyards across from Shea Stadium. Fuck Citifield, it will always be Shea. We are all Queens natives and Mets fans, so it seemed cool since it is a run down, grimy place. Bums were watching us with furrowed brows. One guy sang Guns N’ Roses to us, “Welcome to the Jungle” and I’m fairly certain that it was the only english he spoke. It was a great time despite the frost. Also, on a side note, the city won their pending case for imminent domain, so in the future where we filmed will be hotels and restaurants not a haven for criminal activity. If you’ve ever had your car stolen in NYC, there is a good chance it got chopped up here.

Enjoy on behalf of myself and VPIR! If you like it please share and any and all social media outlets. Help us get the word out! Thank you! talk soon!  – Seano

Cremation Urns and Mookie Wilson

59th street bridge     Let’s recap. It snowed, which typically happens in other regions of the world without much disruption. Not in New York City, absolute panic behind the steering wheel resulting in huge fucking parking lots all over the place.  I ditched my car in Sunnyside and hopped on the 7 train. Pretty uneventful, really. Although I did read that there were an absurd amount of accidents. I get it.  The roads were icy. Di Blasio is already coming off bad.

In other useless info about me that you don’t really need.  I read This Is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper. I absolutely loved it. It was recommended and I kind of just grabbed it without really paying much attention to the synopsis. So when I started, one paragraph in it is apparent the book is situated around a fucked up family dealing with the loss of a parent, honestly I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to continue. Nonetheless, I read on. Completely different fucked up families. I really enjoyed the sarcasm and how bad shit begets more bad shit. I have low expectations about the film version. Now I’m reading Damned by Chuck Palahnuik, whose books I love but this one so far, not so much.  We’ll see.

I also listened to a lot of Goatwhore and Skeletonwitch. And some WU.

I also bought an urn to place my mother’s ashes.  It seems unreal to browse amazon for a receptacle to place human remains as you would for towels or a cookie jar.  It felt weird to ask others for opinions, “Does this urn seem comfy enough to you?” or “Do you think this decorative heart-shaped box comes in black?” I am actually dreading filling it. I know its only ashes, but it is my mother and i’m not sure if it has really set in yet. Anyone know a good grief councilor? I do think that having a piece of her will be morbidly comforting. I went with black and bronze with a carved floral pattern. I hope she likes it.

Just a few hours ago a woman who lives where I work gave me a present. A mets hat, old with mesh and a snapback signed by Mookie Wilson. I thought that was pretty nice of her. #LGM Alright I’ll check in later on.   – Seano

I feel like SHIT!

I often find myself writing about my feelings or incidents and I tend not to share. In all fairness, Who really cares? That sounds as I read it back to myself out loud as something said by a snotty adolescent than that of a 32 year old man. I believe for the most part we are all inundated by our own lives. There are a million things we need to get to in our day to day lives, maybe a blog or a poem I wrote is not a priority. It isn’t even one for myself at times, but I will attempt to really maintain a blog for 2014. Naturally I begin twenty days late.

It is possible that because of recent events I have been feeling all sorts of overwhelming emotions – good and bad, hence the Wordsworth quote above, although I’ll probably change that a million times so here, “For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”  It applies to more than just poetry, which I love but it can also apply to life.  Everything we do in life, is at its most basic crude root, is about feelings, and about how things make us feel. I am going to share how I feel about a whole laundry list of things over time.

I felt good about 2013.  In the sense that I felt I was for once truly productive. I had some unforgettable times with my friends. I completed a manuscript for my first novel.  I felt my poetry had matured and that I’d written some quality. Vincent Price Is Right, my band had recorded an Ep and we had played some momentous shows. I met some great people and amongst the chaos of all that and all the everyday life requirements a woman found me when I was feeling lost and indifferent. Now it’s wine glasses and switch blades. A great woman and the resurgence of pure love has a way to make everything irrelevant. And so we scavenge on.

Two weeks ago my mother passed away. I was at work when my little sister called to inform me. I hadn’t seen my mother in quite some time. I heard the words clearly, and yet when I told my Girlfriend, I was certain that what I said must have been untrue.  That maybe I had misheard my sister. Despite the fact that she had been unwell for years and we all kind of tensed at the thought of her with fear that death was approaching, it still seemed inaccurate.  I didn’t do what I was supposed to do like in the movies, I didn’t storm into the room while she was on the brink and tell her that I love her and everything was alright.  No. It didn’t happen like that at all. I was at work. We were all living our lives while she was alone in her apartment, sitting in her bed, clutching her broken heart. Myocardial Infarction. A massive heart attack. How befitting for all the metaphorical implications.

The guilt, grief and heartache comes in crushing waves only to dissipate with momentary bouts of relief at the thought she is no longer suffering or lonely. I gave her eulogy. I don’t know how I even got through it. I wanted her to know how I felt. How much I loved her. How much we all did. I don’t know if she heard me.  I don’t believe in heaven. I thought about the death of my Mother since my teens. I always thought I’d be the one to find her. There is no closure. I don’t believe in that either. The amount of love I have for the woman who created me is realized in the amount of pain I feel in my heart over her loss and how she lived her life. It is in itself, an overflow of powerful feelings. Powerful feelings that I have no control over. Everyone is comforting and has their own advice on how to cope, and I’m trying to deal with it the best I can. People tell me that wherever she is she is proud of me, but honestly I’m not so sure. Now I will stop and try to catch some elusive sleep and hope I see her in my dreams to apologize again and tell her I love her.

– seano