Thymotic

Thymotic

We currently have a best seller on our hands. Someone who says the days that were a source of melancholy for the pomos exploring a new ironic sensibility were an anomaly of history. An anomaly reaping off an economic structure undone with the cool rationalization that a return to a set of values would stem their decay – a chance for counter, tragedy for busted up polemics, barriers came down to mosh in atomic charged fields.

We are the new neutron. We don't get involved.
We are the new neutron. We don’t get involved.

Promised sunrise and some lost helicopters in a desert, a course got charted that brought one tremendous innovation to the wider world, irking those keeping track and personifying the amorphous – capital flight tilting the axis.

The unleashed vessel...
The unleashed vessel…
... once in rebellion, once in jest.
… once in rebellion, once in jest.

On Chelsea walls the cramped basement and bone littered back garden of ABCNoRio turns warehouse, the broken psyches of Wardance now cinemascope as homoerotic prole rubbings, oozing pointillist acrylics.

In that decay we rearranged.
In that decay we rearranged.

Armed American iconography. No trucks.
Armed American iconography. No trucks.
Native New Yorker moniker. To dye for.
Native New Yorker moniker. To dye for.
A Voice photographer, now based in Jersey City, counting herself lucky having spent a semester abroad in London, snapped the guests. Dutifully asking permission each time, desperate to move back to the city, when detecting an accent inquiring the heritage and pressing the case for providence, punishing the coy ones in the edit. The gallery offers the pleasure of taking Rivington to Prince – distilled mosh pit to militarized street art – arming iconography for proper measure nostalgia trippin’, packaging like fine Tetra Pak wine on boards with no trucks. The Native New Yorker moniker now sweeping such polite inquiry, germinating from formerly derided Bridge-and-Tunnel culture no longer relegated to the outer boroughs. Much talk of hipsterism invading these conclaves of Juicy. Irony is landlords are much more attuned to the long form trade winds blowing stretch limo bottle culture that distilled clubs of broken beats for the gambit of incessant speculation turned gleeful corruption.

The empty nest. Toss the money in the air!
The empty nest. Toss the money in the air!

The city is empty nest now – an exclusive destination for inhabitants of elite bubbles maintained by legions of servants back home in last third of the world conclaves. Some technoutopic apps can pick up the slack, fostering just the right amount of distance from the rabble, the taxi driver, the short order cook, the culture provider, stepping on the regulation fray of bought off inspectors and handed down medallions. No bulwark to stand in the they-ok-now-OTB repatriating capital, broken window theories as cartoonish sheen guarding the rental bubble, DNA labs in the petty art crime business, reiterating the parroted fact that there is no message, simply breach.
pixeldust

Gloria Virtutis Umbra.
Gloria Virtutis Umbra.

Overheard banter in a Chelsea elevator –

Sorry I don’t speak French.
Cuban. We’re Cuban.
Close. Related.

[ romance ]

Cuban first off the boat.
Raise finger.
First off the plane.

[ entitlement ]
pixeldust

Entitlement correction...
Entitlement correction…

You wouldn’t go back then?

[ affirmation ]

Such a shame.
Such a beautiful place.
Even if he were gone.

[ mourning ]

It’s starting again.

[ glance ]

... unsure...
… unsure…
... of what.
… of what.
pixeldust
Triumph of the Like.
Triumph of the Like.

The sack of Rome, after all, isn’t due to the churning import of a warrior class. Instead a sweet combination Moët Hennessy heart flush comeuppance and a periphery bathed by a little molecule stilling critical barbarian faculties. Meanwhile years of relentless pat downs and good will compensation represents the double rainbow triumph of Like over grit.
Superhero Crunch.
Superhero Crunch.
We ask who do we do.
We ask who do we do.
Marking this triumph, the very same day, not very far removed, managed chaos breaks out in the newly renovated rotunda. The assembled super nest crunch. We ask who do we do. We do who we did. Marvel at the bed spread. Cotton candy at the banquet. Cages for the zones of elemental chaos, now bathed in sunshine. Sweeping the stuffing past the shuffling ministers in blue.
Do who we did.
Do who we did.
Elemental forces at work.
Elemental forces at work.
Managed chaos in the rotunda.
Managed chaos in the rotunda.
Cotton candy at the banquet.
Cotton candy at the banquet.
Sweeping the stuffing past the shuffling ministers in blue.
Sweeping the stuffing past the shuffling ministers in blue.

Crunk

The week finally ended with Krugman being a ‘bumblefuck’. But let’s backtrack a bit. Part of the Brooklyn arts resurgence is heavily financed by student loans. Be it on the one hand people in ‘programs’ or for the graduated strata people feeding themselves to the youngens as adjuncts to get a piece of that loan money by maintaining the plethora of ‘programs’. Sure in speculative hot Billyburg you’ll have a chauffeured SUV pop out a discreetly hipster camouflaged tech mogul of the new bit pay or almost passé sharing economy who then disappears behind some nondescript warehouse door. Most are glad to know these well positioned individuals on the tit of the vast sloshing money streams that might be VC or just HFT. There is the disquieting realization though that the aesthetic of a glasshole video stream is similar to a Shark in a fish tank preying on the violations of mere mortals tripping on some new social faux pas as defined by the lawyered up. In any case these guys know how to hold onto their money.

skidoo: hold the C.R.E.A.M.
skidoo: hold the C.R.E.A.M.

Big promises are made for philanthropy in later life but right now its best to just get a buzz started, keep the costs down, and build some culture sharing cred. Krugman, nobel laureate et al, can’t fathom why the financial voodoo machine might be continually mythologizing the ‘skills gap’.

Turning large tricks.
Turning large tricks.
He makes a great liberal case for not ‘punishing workers’ but is unwilling to recognize that what banks want to do is print money and the current AAA way is to issue federally backed student debt that can’t be discharged. No one is interested in imparting ‘skills’. It’s about loading up debt, stupid. And managing endowments.
Eyes on you - loading, loading, loading...
Eyes on you – loading, loading, loading…
It’s what funds the arts, makes the rental market hot, keeps the Apple hardware refreshed, and defines ‘sharing’ as the most natural thing in the world, affording all the illusion of free by reducing with a grand gesture of de-commodification all (creative) human activity to an experienced ‘fun’ value. Getting compensated is a matter of hustle yet discharging debt means turning some pretty large tricks.

All I remember is the suspect package.
“All I remember is the suspect package.”

Next up a gaming conference. Serious business these days because games have sex appeal – nothing like a line of peeps snaking around the block willing to drop a fitty for GTAV. This one happened to be serious speaking about sex in video games and the conundrum of the buxom female form lifted from comic books as wire frame, super hero boys aren’t too shabby either, yet the complete absence of the depiction of sex. Seems there is some enforcement code involved policing the virtual, tinkered with by politicians who we learned this week are engaged in real world gun running.

Fingering around MUD edges...
Fingering around MUD edges…
... then some MOD penetration.
… then some MOD penetration.

Bonefied but boring.
Bonefied but boring.
Auriea earns Millennial canonization.
Auriea earns Millennial canonization.

pixeldust
So there I was making a day of it in the BK, a day later painting the walls of a photo studio belonging to a young woman running a successful small photography business. I wanted to ask about the crunk that was issuing off a tommy’s iPhone. Were they listening to the lyrics? Just the beats? Does the blackness function as a mask so the lyrics don’t matter? Is it just that the misogyny isn’t real? For sure it’s hot painting walls to that. Up and down, surface coat glisten. Slosh it all about to get some more paint on the roller. In the back of my mind is the concept of “Happy Ending” which really only has one connotation while listening to Crunk. Yet at the gaming conference the two German women presenting their game with a protagonist female character, “Happy Ending” is still the stalwart fulfillment of marriage prospects with the added twist that they come at the end of a long series of sexual conquests in a surprisingly extensive set, rendered in 8-bit diversity.

From Kama Sutra...
From Kama Sutra…
... to Kool smokes.
… to Kool smokes.

pixeldust
While the irony that marriage might still be considered a “Happy Ending” at the end of a string of sexual conquests escapes no one in the US, the nostalgia is bitter sweet and not as brutishly funny as it might be in German liberated feminist circles. The stark reality is that in the US depending on the social safety net leaves one pretty much destitute for generations to come. The literalness that a marriage might imply a better shot at maintaining the economic status quo for raising offspring remains with societal imposed conflict a source of anxiety for women. While not happy, marriage may spell relief from a life of economic struggle.

Find the hole.
Find the hole.
Swipe for goodness.
Swipe for goodness.

pixeldust
It takes a lot of resources, luck, and less and less so hard work to be able to provide the chance for a child to attain near the same economic security that a parent enjoys now. So irony in this case, inspired by the freedom with social support existing for young women starting families in Europe seeing the happy arrival at marriage as a series of sexual conquests of men does not hold out the same possibility for turning the tables in America simply because of the level of predation and lack of support that bootstrapping freedom ‘offers’ young folks in America.

A balanced approach...
A balanced approach…
... fully monitored.
… fully monitored.

pixeldust
This might be why in the US “Happy Ending” in practice is a negotiated commodity, forbidden or not, with no illusion that this activity might be seen as conquest. Instead more and more so it is the currency that delineates just another form of income to keep the ravages of the well situated profit takers at bay ensuring that you live another day above squalor.

She gots the goods.
She gots the goods.
Who gots the goods?
Who gots the goods?

pixeldust
Not to take this argument too far, but this situation does predicate a level of anxiety that is fostering a new found solidarity among young women, esp. in the social media space. It is easy to launch campaigns in this new found solidarity space to say, stop telling women to smile on the street, or commiserate about creeps lashing out on the subway. In this sense oppressed groups are learning to be enforcers of new sorts of mores to counter the anxiety and the discomfort imposed by artificial societal scarcity.

What's your social?
What’s your social?

Yet these campaigns do nothing against the true mechanisms of injustice. They may fill costly prisons with sex offenders with no hope of rehabilitation and may put a cop in every subway car. But they do not make the subway run any quicker, quieter or provide any other modern comforts. Lastly they don’t make it any cheaper for the commuter either or relieve any more of the anxiety. All they do is make taking a cab more enticing and something to strive towards by joining a hurried elite actively wrecking the world with their amplified and shielded “activity”.

Fodder for ridicule.
Fodder for ridicule.

After such Washington Mews academic inspiration, heading on down the Bushwick rabbit hole for deeper shades of gray wondering on the elaborate fiction spun that when Mr. Disney has the rights to the Poppins novel and has made idle fantasy from it, showered her with a small stack of cash yet then ignores her. At the premiere will the corporate entity Disney fill in for the failings of the man, take her by the arm to lead her into the palace where all anxiety is relieved in fantasy? Bullshit.

Down the Bushwick rabbit hole.
Down the Bushwick rabbit hole.

Measured inclusion.
Measured inclusion.
Tethered profusion.
Tethered profusion.

Third eye meets...
Third eye meets…
... skeptical eye.
… skeptical eye.

pixeldust
After much Wildlife wild night inspiration, the masked protuberance of the day again makes itself felt. A conference, this time “Make it Green” with envy rather than red with lust. Yet these aspects of sustainability are two sides of the same shard. Fashion in the form of amoebas – kits for hands and head all pointing to a littered ocean yet providing minimal mitigation.

Minimal mitigation in amoeba head gear.
Minimal mitigation in amoeba head gear.

Proposing a body that doesn't necessarily conform.
“Proposing a body that doesn’t necessarily conform.”
Design subservient to gestural narrative.
“Design subservient to gestural narrative.”

pixeldust
Everything I wear has a story.
“Everything I wear has a story.”
Sustainability quickly draws the focus to material, possession, reuse and the concept of the local. Major concern – how do the models feel? Protuberance seen as protective or even shelter rather than cumbersome. A question on below the border scrap issues the response “I don’t live in a society where I am deprived. Rather the opposite, excess is the norm.”
Make it Green.
Make it Green.
In another room a pop-up shop laments the fact that we refuse to reuse refuse. Even the prospect of “free” can’t counter the notion of getting dirty. “There exists still some shame in making things. Everyhting I have on has a story. That’s a wonderful thing for objects to have.”

Life is recycled energy from which creation occurs.
Life is recycled energy from which creation occurs.

Finally after having endured existential woe, a spectrum mechanics spanning from game play to fabrication, with a late night respite full of dead on perception, a light drizzle of rain leads me knocking on a Clinton Hill front door to learn that life itself is churning creation and nothing but form and effort is truly new. A pop up with a fashion past and politicized awareness for the things that might have been… discarded.

Messages enforced upon the thread go critical.
Messages enforced upon the thread go critical.
Lighting the way... off kilter.
Lighting the way… off kilter.

Après moi, le déluge.
Après moi, le déluge.

Tekne

Tekne

Meet a sweets in the Manhattan lower mids to jet to an opening that promises the oportunity to demolish some preconceptions with bits of red foam. Failing miserably, the click BOOM click of a prescriptive haze of cards washes over like attending the school of no chances. It stills the heart to peer into the endless plexiglass vortex.

Click BOOM Click.
Click BOOM Click.

Around the corner, frack in full effect a demo of upstaters takes the block between Avenue fundraiser and then, fully realized, we scamper for some temperate Brooklyn climate.

Don't frack this Guv'nor: full monty pirate booty care in a prescriptive haze of cards.
Don’t frack this Guv’nor: full monty pirate booty care in a prescriptive haze of cards.

We find with Plato views of the artist mind elucidating the first inklings of intolerance. Basis theory for all ejections from the Polis subsequent. A Nebraskan transplant who muscled himself into the starkly minimal composer scene was beamed back to Brooklyn via Skype. After having bounced across the pond for bouts of looped elegance an artistic reality of being expat not for former love of country but for demonstrable lack of financials. Yet Skype seems the perfect medium for push-button loops and subtle glitchy deconstructs, upgrading the tragic hungry artist to the untethered aloof.

Untethered aloof as new normal.
Untethered aloof as new normal.
Listening in: manic stage signals.
Listening in: manic stage signals.

Straddle in the jumble.
Straddle in the jumble.
A composer in a boxed transmission.
A composer in a boxed transmission.

Desperate measure...
Desperate measures…
... for desperate times...
… for desperate times…

... impart pensive reassurances to the avant-garde of staged conflict unravelling just due east of over there.
… impart pensive reassurances to the avant-garde of staged conflict unravelling just due east of over there.

Stubborn refusal of dry ice to take on liquid form cracks against the eardrum.
Stubborn refusal of dry ice to take on liquid form cracks against the eardrum.
Further down the road to ruin, now in NASA bona fide form, the glacial pace of impending doom is met with the sounds of stubborn refusal for dry ice to take on liquid form. On metal mic-ed for effect.

Monotonic Surfaces.
Monotonic Surfaces.
The sweet change of success.
The sweet change of success.
Triangles as the last vestige criticizing for free.
Triangles as the last vestige criticizing for free.
Then freestyling the subaltern blues...
Then freestyling the subaltern blues…
... to comment on the list of itemized deductions for cultural ambassadors taking the last exit to pedigree.
… to comment on the list of itemized deductions for cultural ambassadors taking the last exit to pedigree.

Man Hustle

Man Hustle

It may seem to some that this bit of Bushwick madness invading the Lower East Side is attempting to turn comedy inside out, but really a return to comedic roots is what’s at stake here. Old Man Hustle is a staple comedy hole-in-the-wall and this is simply the circus from the bizarro world returning for some third party narrative on the, ahem, finer points of life. Mr. Silver, who conducts ringside calamity on a biweekly basis at the French leave-your-senses Bizarre in Bushwick, arrives to screeches and howls at the Old Man Hustle for a more intimate affair and a more narrative approach to put-it-out-there outrageousness.

Mr. Silver takes a Bushwick circus to Manhattan...
Mr. Silver takes a Bushwick circus to Manhattan…
... for AIR escapades in text form.
… for AIR escapades in text form.

Not quite content tho with classic standup, a man may loose his shirt.

After some coaxing...
After some coaxing…
... to be transformed.
… to be transformed.
... a struggle ensues...
… a struggle ensues…
... a man may lose his shirt...
… a man may lose his shirt…
A Kodak moment at the Old Man Hustle.
A Kodak moment at the Old Man Hustle.

The humor has bite so that bouts of nervous energy suffuse the room. Every one of these men finds time to mention their wives or in one case a long trail of random encounters, as if to pay homage before daring to be quite the tasteless brute with words. We skate round and round in the millennial mind until arriving at some seeming insignificance that does the trick for laughter or grief or both. The little things under absurd scrutiny, that make it all matter so much less.

Crimean nervous energy evaporates with the inspired...
Crimean nervous energy evaporates with the inspired…
... game controller suicides upstate in Kodak-branded Rochester.
… game controller suicides upstate in Kodak-branded Rochester.
Food and sex...
Food and sex…
... a running joke, yet surprisingly quite appetizing.
… a running joke, yet surprisingly quite appetizing.
Finding the tinged spice of life in cucumber flavored water...
Finding the tinged spice of life in cucumber flavored water…
... after a bout of pharmaceutical memory loss.
… after a bout of pharmaceutical memory loss.
A whirlwind process makes a mockery of 'relations'.
A whirlwind process makes a mockery of ‘relations’.
After, in messy mayhem...
After, in messy mayhem…
... we regard the male take on male.
… we regard the male take on male.
The muppet monster sheen...
The muppet monster sheen…
... makes stars of everyone in the room.
… makes stars of everyone in the room.
A shattered recording no further from the truth.
A shattered recording no further from the truth.
Left with a bewildered look...
Left with a bewildered look…
... for the MAN HUSTLE.
… for the MAN HUSTLE.

Mycelia

Mycelia

Spend the day with a gaggle of Mycologists and the perspective shifts immensely. Van Cortlandt Park is still crunchy underfoot with an icy snow cover and the crew assured me we wouldn’t find any large specimen and therefore shift our focus to fungi which don’t quite fit the mold. We found lots of shelf-like mushrooms hanging off the side of logs and then those that spread across the surface of rotten twigs. We couldn’t have trudged through the woods more than three city blocks yet uncovered hundreds of oddly shaped colorful spongy life forms. Together we would walk perhaps no more than twenty paces before fanning out and then re-congregating with our finds stuck to pieces of bark or on twigs, each ushering the rattling off of a different latin incantation establishing their particular genus. Identifying characteristics such as whether they had spikes or pores, were hard like wood or soft like jelly, what colors they sported – sometimes determined by dousing them with a few drops of ammonia, sat on a shelf or had a stem – the latter which inspired much excitement in the group this early in the season. All in all with so little distance covered, the scale of having experienced this macro world for a few hours on this brisk sunny day established a serene sense of being quite apart from the rush and bustle of a hurried world.




A newly identified species around these parts.
A newly identified species around these parts.

Solitarity

Solitarity

The pendulum always swings back in the other direction” remains the faith based initiative for the banal hope of a reactionary tendency. “It’s our turn now” reimagines creative tendencies of yore in tome form. Such is the poetic justice of today as we progress five quarters past the inconceivable notion for those that cling. As the world of allies and alliences shatters into less and less recognizable form, distant revelations expose the notion of governing as the most paranoid actor on the block, paralyzed by inescapable representation. Can the arts project a less static notion of reality to the intractable indifference of the disillusioned? Who has not lost everything yet?

Don't Tread On We

The exhibitionist notion of the city as a quiet stage has reduced all hustle and bustle to a smeared blur. More messy than in styles past, we are left with a certain solitary experience of urban space when we finally succeed in tuning it all out. Dropping into an introspective void of structure and form the commons is not quite yet uninhabited.

Drink your champagne and laugh while you still can... Soon we'll gather in number that will make the ground beneath us rumble.
Drink your champagne and laugh while you still can… Soon we’ll gather in number that will make the ground beneath us rumble.

Moving on from a dearth of the neutral in the not quite objectified form, we escape the present political conundrums of climate and environment with the slow, deliberate meditation on the cyclical. Progress creeps in stark contrast to continued reclamation of the wild. Weeds and brambles track the seasons better than our derailed notion of progress.

Seemingly derailed notion of progress lives on in the macro.
Seemingly derailed notion of progress lives on in the macro.
Weeds and brambles track dreams deferred.
Weeds and brambles track dreams deferred.
Everything went green.
Everything went green.

How green can we be?

The new new grapes of wrath.
The new new grapes of wrath.
Action and answered...
Action and answered…
... at the help click.
… at the help click.
Shoot to buy.
Shoot to buy.

Is there salvation at the end of the tunnel?

Tunnel lovestance.
Tunnel lovestance.
Spectator mode sardine action.
Spectator mode sardine action.
A yarn of brash consequence - beauty absolute.
A yarn of brash consequence – beauty absolute.

To gather an overview with a positive notion it might be fun to pivot to the everyday creative. Leaving spectator mode let’s spin a yarn of sly circumstance.

The wrappings as the main event.
The wrappings as the main event.
Have a photo and a pedestal.
Have a photo and a pedestal.
In up cycled fashion...
In up cycled fashion…
... art mingles.
… art mingles.
Ambrosia...
Ambrosia…
... and tunes.
… and tunes.
Faraway sights...
Faraway sights…
... inspire caress.
… inspire caress.

Space extends beyond the pale – you may try the goods!

Space extends beyond the pale...
Space extends beyond the pale…
... work here, play there.
… work here, play there.
Faraday cage for semblance.
Faraday cage for semblance.
A different kind of...
A different kind of…
... sensory deprecation.
… sensory deprecation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One final stop for future thought reborn: Detroit gathers a state of…

Emergency Nothing.
Emergency Nothing.
Perpetual fall photo wall.
Perpetual fall photo wall.
Crowds abound.
Crowds abound.
Wolf on wolf clothing.
Wolf on wolf clothing.
Circle makes a square.
Circle makes a square.
The art engages in light banter...
The art engages in light banter…
... while the artist stands by.
… while the artist stands by.

Kathmandu

Kathmandu

Valentines Day can be a bit stressful for those searching. It’s best to approach such a day completely randomly. A week ago the preparations were already massively underway. So much red, so much pink and so much advice that will teach any man how to cry. But then again hearts and cupids can be fun and even a bit mischievous. Something, though seems to have gotten a hold of retail to don a certain lavishness not seen before. While performing a bit of predatory shopping happened upon a sight. Is it perhaps because we are all already so interconnected?

Crush-worthy * D E A L S *

Sorry for the blur but it really does say Crush-worthy * D E A L S *. This kind of cheekiness is genuine public service to relieve some of the pressures associated with our official day for love. The excitement already started to build when #ActivistPickUpLines started trending:

“I’m a socialist in the streets but an anarchist in the sheets,” #activistpickuplines.
— Elizabeth Sauvage (@petitehope) February 14, 2014

Suddenly an invite popped up for an event at the Chocolate Factory in Bushwick that promised less thinking about me + you with a keen mission to fundraise for a school in Kathmandu. Quite romantic search for love on a mission to Kathmandu, who could resist? Whipped up some chocolate treats and headed to the chocolate factory in Bushwick. The dance floor was in full swing, we all had a delicious time.


Find out more about the Kathmandu project in Nepal from the 108 Lives Project. The sugar free / dairy free chocolate recipe that sustained us that night, which might sustain your journey to Kathmandu:

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Heat the coconut oil.
  2. Crisp the hazelnuts in the hot oil.
  3. Take the pan off the fire and begin to heat with a double pan of water.
  4. Add the cocoa until the oil begins to get thick.
  5. Add the stevia a few drops at a time until a sweetness starts to show in the taste.
  6. Grind the green pepper into the mixture and drizzle on the coarse salt.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the raw honey.
  8. Fill silicon forms and chill in freezer for thirty minutes.
  9. Wrap in cellophane and chill some more.
Fresh chocolate just broke the mold.
Fresh chocolate just broke the mold.
Cup'O'Chocolate.
Cup’O’Chocolate.

Idiotarod

Idiotarod

Lucky thirteen was the first time I found Idiotarod. I showed up at the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of winter and saw the Idiots gather below. You could lump it into one of the “urban expression” series of events which have discarded seriousness for communal silliness, confrontation for fun, art for parody yet by doing all these things crafts a permissive space for the “everyday participant” to test their constitution, writing their own first amendment in a day filled with grueling farce.

Idiotarod 2013 staging ground under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Idiotarod 2013 staging ground under the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s a race and last year was set in post-Sandy Red Hook to try to bring some business to the area as every spot is a different locale, offering the local drink and chow. This year the course returned to more familiar haunts in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, although now more used to Bugaboos and rustic artisan shopping rather than silly, off-the-hook shopping cart races.

Idiots pool warmth and good cheer in Greenpoint this year.
Idiots pool warmth and good cheer in Greenpoint this year.
Predatory Shoppers pay homage to street murals.
Predatory Shoppers pay homage to street murals.

Shopping carts are now foreign matter in this part of Brooklyn where space is at a premium and store shelves cannot afford to offer wide lanes for maneuvering steel wheeled baskets, a trend hitting much of New York as supermarkets with their basic ingredients flee the onslaught of the ready made with higher margins and less fuss. What became clear though as the race progressed is that some of the rational for the route had to do with the beautiful wall murals we passed where most of the crews would stop, pose and snap photos. Idiotarod became a fun way to show solidarity by dressing up in absurd costume, for the proper selfie in front of these massive street art mural dotting the newly chic area.

The Kostume Kult Octopi stop to pose at the Buff Monster mural.
The Kostume Kult Octopi stop to pose at the Buff Monster mural.
Predatory shopping gets a paddling from a tentacle of the Kostume Kult Octopus.
Predatory shopping gets a paddling from a tentacle of the Kostume Kult Octopus.

Having been a voyeur the year before, this time we got a crew together to do our own silliness. Trying to develop a journalist approach, I found that volunteering or being a part of the action in a meaningful way, not fretting about objectivity, I am finding new ways for the unfolding events to affect me.

One professional photographer/grasshopper contemplates the mural El Puente.
One professional photographer/grasshopper contemplates the mural El Puente.

A lot of journalism is now copy-paste press release, social media fallout recounting, or Instagram photo rebroadcasting. A fresh look might mean hitting the streets and being over the top silly.

Our crew showed up decked out in fur and a cart shaped like a vulture and called ourselves the Predatory Shoppers with the swagger that we firmly believed that American Hustle will surely win the Oscar for Best Musical. We had a banging sound system which didn’t leave us odd cart out for long. Of course we had murdered all the animals for the fur, that is the bed bugs from the thrift shops with a generous dusting of baking soda, making sure to rip off all the old tags that said Fake Fur Made in China. We were the dogs from up north that had just noticed the silliness and were now raising objections. Except that they were raised on our too true costuming rather than a too fake trademark violation. One bar even refused to serve us in this getup.

That refusal might be due to a communication issue on what Predatory Shopping is and how much wits we had about us to have the critical faculties to see it through. The quote I kept giving was “We don’t fuck around. We get that XBOX on black friday and we watch the big game on a big screen,” while in the next breath urging everyone to catch the film Midway Journey. In total agreement that wearing fur in this case was only designed to leave a slightly bitter, critical aftertaste to the silliness of the day, the wholesale switch to synthetics will surely kill more, and in the wild, in the long long long run of their endless existence. If plastics embody the proverbial eye of our current civilization, they see each kill as just a blink of temporary wrapping, just as we pretend to use them for that very purpose, seemingly not privy to their permanence.

Debating the finer points of idiocy.
Debating the finer points of idiocy.

Debates surrounding preparation for Idiotarod always revolve around how to procure a cart. I spent the day on foot bringing compost to the local park and empties to the local recycling center. I asked first at the recycling center because shopping carts are the workhorses of the informal recycling economy. Tons are carted off every day in the city and cashed in for 5¢ a pop in machines linked to giant conveyor belts separating plastic from aluminum from glass for crushing and smashing and then to be reformed.

Deep sea recycling: view from inside the tin can.
Deep sea recycling: view from inside the tin can.

So the carts are at a premium, and I was immediately greeted with suspicion and told what a high price such a wheeled steel carriage can command. So I walked back towards the parks department compost drop off and saw a cart half buried in a snowdrift in their compound. They were holding that for one of the recyclers, they explained it was usually locked up but they did have two more they could offer me. Low and behold one sported that classic shape from the Idiotarod logo with the tapered front basket in solid steel. It wheeled great even through snow banks.

Heavy glass meets heavy beats: Predatory Shopping vulture rocking spontaneous dance floor action captured by photographers.
Heavy glass meets heavy beats: Predatory Shopping vulture artcart rocking spontaneous dance floor action captured by photographers.

Stoked, it was transformed overnight into a winged vulture with reclaimed speakers mounted on the side in winged pine boxes salvaged from crates of imported Spanish and French wine. The shape of the vulture head and body in the cart was made of that pine as well and painted black while a black umbrella destroyed in the last gusty city rains became the skirt for the winged speakers. A lot of our team hadn’t met before and so we arrived in staggered succession. I brought the cart by subway, receiving help at the L train exit for each of the two levels to Bedford Avenue street level. After the speakers were mounted and the sound went live spontaneous dance parties broke out and photographers devoted heavy glass to capture the action.

Judges exploit every idiotic gesture for their own gain. And the gain for general idiocy.
Judges exploit every idiotic gesture for their own gain. And the gain for general idiocy.

A big part of the performance of Idiotarod is the judging. There is a certain measure of creativity demanded from “corrupt officials” dealing with “Idiots”.

Judges revel in their ultimate power to create idiocy.
Judges revel in their ultimate power to create idiocy.

Bribes are encouraged, rationalization frowned upon.

This does not deter them from the task at hand, which could be something arbitrary.
This does not deter them from the task at hand, which could be something arbitrary.

So when I arrived late the judges knew immediately where the other furry people were but it became the running obstacle to find the group in one place as the pack never really formed, unlike say the Octopi or Nintendo crews.

Nintendo Crew declared love all day yet performed quiet, masterful sabotage.
Nintendo Crew declared love all day yet performed quiet, masterful sabotage.
Team cute.
Team cute.

Seeming eerily as if we were running with the Tines, our pack scattered while our artcart, adopted for the tunes it played, wiled somewhere else. We sported a particularly disorganized furry idiocy.

The pack goes scatter.
The pack goes scatter.
Best in Winners.
Best in Winners.

Yet the cart was fast, the tunes were heavy, the team cute, so that we pulled through, not with a cash prize, which was reserved for someone else, but with the Best Music award, one day before the Grammys, having fully convinced the judges that they had been transported back to the nineties, without the use of a Tardis or a steampunk time machine, although most likely in tandem with these beautiful artcarts.

The Tardis enforced further idiocy in the space-time continuum.
The Tardis enforced further idiocy in the space-time continuum.
Steampunk dialed in fun times.
Steampunk dialed in fun times.

The final sprint across the Williamsburg bridge landed us in darkness and exhaustion so that half-seven felt like two in the morning.