Note: Regarding L. Cohen / rain-coated, battered hat…

L. Cohen, home, Montréal

he (L. Cohen) always imagined himself as a writer,…

“rain-coated, battered hat pulled low above intense eyes, a history of injustice in his heart, a face too noble for revenge, walking the night along some wet boulevard, followed by the sympathy of countless audiences . . . loved by two or three beautiful women who could never have him.”

[source unclear]

Rabbit Holes of History: Japan, War & Post-war (incl. O. Stone + D. MacArthur) & Micronesia

plane on Palau island of Pelilu – site battle of Bloody Nose Ridge between Imperial Japan and Allied forces

My pal Tom wrote the following (March 27, 2017): 

Been watching Oliver Stone’s “History of the United States” on Netflix. I’ve read a lot of history, but this is really eye-opening stuff. Particularly, my opinion of Harry Truman has been completely altered. He knew the Japanese were going to surrender, but chose to drop the world’s first atomic bombs anyway, against the advice of the scientists who developed it and indeed 6 out of 7 of his own generals, simply to show the Soviets that America would not hesitate to invoke vast civilian casualties. In that context, it has to be one of the most reprehensible decisions in the history of the world.

Of course he was also an enthusiastic racist to his core, and did not see the Japanese as human beings.

I would recommend this series to anyone who wants to get beyond the propaganda and find a more accurate picture of the true heroes and villains of our recent history.

To which i replied: 

I’ve gone down this topic very deeply over the last few months with 3-20+ hour-long audiobooks, several documentaries and so on.

If you will permit me a few notes:

Continue reading Rabbit Holes of History: Japan, War & Post-war (incl. O. Stone + D. MacArthur) & Micronesia

Scrapjournal: Pacific Crossing / sketches & annotations (2017)

Pacific Crossing: map and conditions to Dutch Harbor, Unalaska (unable to port due to weather so head to Japan)

This scrapjournal is an “accordion-style” book (think that’s what you’d call it… though doesn’t create the dulcet tones of the musical instrument)  anyhow the paper unfolds in one long swath in vaguely Japanese-style.

Appropriately, the book is laden with sketches sketched in Japan whilst traveling by ship and stopping in a various ports of call from Hokkaido to Kyushu. First in pencil, then pen, then coloured with watercolours (sometimes pencils), and decorated with ephemeral bits. 

Pacific Crossing: annotations and observations re: ship life and operations (pen only)

What follows are a few sample hastily-snapped pages for archival amusement as not all are photographed and, as life goes, i no longer have this book, alas. If this situation changes, i’ll diligently update.

Pacific Crossing: annotations and observations re: ship life and operations (colour)

Continue reading Scrapjournal: Pacific Crossing / sketches & annotations (2017)

Riff: Art vs Stats / Personal expression is the pinnacle…

A solid guide book last centuries

From a response to a discussion somewhere at some time…

“Like the venerable Mr. Christopher Trottier (@atomicpoet) pointed out,… the crazy thing is, if you make awesome art, the stats (i.e. likes, tweets, subscribers, followers, paycheques, accolades, trophies…) automagically come.

It’s when you go chasing stats that you might get the quick sugar-high of cheap satisfaction but no one’s going to give a shit in a week, let alone 100 years from now.

Of course I understand that “business objectives” require performance and things going “up and to the right,” but that is accomplished by being interesting, pushing your envelope, being true to your authentic self, and respecting your audience.

Ergo: Roll your own media. Fuck stats, make art. Create for yourself, let others look over your shoulder. Personal expression is the pinnacle of the assortment of digital creation tools and distribution methods we (albeit awkwardly) call social media. 

Japanese Cinema etc: quick hits/notes

Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi, wanders – blind with cane-sword, ready for massage

Consider this a sloppy and not complete by any means roundup for Japanese and Japan-related cinema and other visual entertainment. 

Just quick hits, a few links, please take the time to add to it if you have something to say.

First, buddy Banghi puts forth:

a quick and dirty list focusing on directors highlights or favs rather than spamming a list of Kurosawa…

* Tokyo Story
* Tampopo
* High and low
* Castle of Cagliastro
* In the realm of the senses
* Kwaidan
* Akira
* Any/all Zatoichi
* Ballad of Narayama
* Rodan
* The Burmese harp
* Battle royale

Next, I made a little list of Japanese and related for folks coming to wedding as a primer – a few ideas to load up on your device for plane viewing to get ya in the spirit: Continue reading Japanese Cinema etc: quick hits/notes

Riff: Event Wrangling & Community Magic

(CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com. Feel free to use this picture. Please credit as shown.
If you are a person that I have taken a photo of, it’s yours (but I’d still be curious as to where it is).

A riff in reply to a conversation with Isabella Mori and others (FB iirc) about the notable conference/event/happening called Northern Voice and the reasons it sparked such goodness.

My thoughts about what makes events successful and satisfying: 

It starts with people wanting to be “part of something bigger than themselves” but then must be coupled with the reality of “getting things done” from logistical standpoint.

This is where communities so often struggle/fall apart with diverging visions – once dreaded money enters the scenario, the fun dissipates.

With this is mind, I find the best solution is finding ways to do things for “cheap and cheerful”… like in someone’s cabin, outside in a park, whatever venue is free, or no venue at all (as we did for True North Media House during the Vancouver Olympics).

As far as this organizational wrangling goes, (and this is something Northern Voice did so well), is having well-delegated committee to move things along.

I do know that there was different strong opinions within the organization, which can be useful, but as soon as any organization starts going to much into the “philosophical” boundaries of the event and/or starts pandering to sponsors, rather than letting the event happen organically (“event” being used very loosely here and could be replaced with campaign, activation, happening, be-in or whatever), the magic dissipates.

Northern Voice was magic because of the freeform parts like “Moose Camp“ and there was an element of randomness which was embraced rather than resisted.

Sponsorship was lightweight and clear and not over-bearing, and the fact that “almost anyone” could be a presenter was super important as many people had their first chance to express some selves in front of a crowd at that event.

This is a big difference from the various models of “sponsors get to speak” or a bunch of free speakers and then paying some out-of-town knucklehead to show up and do their stump speech and fly out immediately afterwards. #NotAGuru

The other part is of course is the undefinable “moment of time” which provides a container for the magic to happen.

In this case, we were obviously on the verge of something new and undefined and unbearably interesting. Certainly this timing is hard to duplicate except when the gut/heart/head all tell you the time feels right – and looking at these warm sentiments expressed by such lovely people here, maybe this is a time in which something is needed (again).

“It” will be different sure, but the difference makes it unique for its moment in time and the community which builds around it.

And remember, this doesn’t have to turn into an organize/branded/annual/sponsored event. It can just be a “potluck/salon/hang out” with wisdom sharing baked-in.

My experience wrangling suggests: Keep *it* lightweight, as simple as possible, focused on the one critical thing (personal expression or what have you…) rather than let the organization organize for the organization’s sake and get bogged down in the *business* of the organization.

Library of poetry, podcasts, painting, arts n' crafts, community building + global wanders