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“Taylor Mead is a performance poet, painter underground film star, comedic actor, astral clown, whimsical beatnik, refugee from old money, a true pop prince and the real son of Andy Warhol. Featured in over 100 films including many Warhol films, Mr. Mead is unequaled as the insouciant pop enigma who has seen everything and done it all.” – Penny Arcade

Taylor Mead passes on after a lifetime of art, much of which spent in the absurdist vein. Though his passing ends on a bitter note, the throngs of life/culture/societal clusterfuck having weighed down heavy during his last months. The same old song and dance it seems, gentrification and the trials and tribs of dealing with a system hellbent on getting rid of the old, and making way for the profit, damned the laws, screw the ethics… That story regarding Taylor’s recent struggles is written about here, wherein friend and photographer Clayton Patterson remarks about Taylor’s ongoing housing situation, “It’s going to kill him.”

An agreement apparently was reached in the last few weeks, but…

But it’s a sad tale, more than a few angles to ponder on art, the continual for profit growth paradigm in culture, and the end game to it all.

Put those absurdities aside and instead celebrate the experimental absurdity that was able to make some continual noise while alive, the “astral clown” as quoted above, Taylor Mead.

Taylor Mead, The Lower East Side Biography Project, excerpt from biography from Steve Zehentner on Vimeo.

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JOEY

Eat Your Vegetables

Joey heard Charles climb the creaky stairs, the opening of the bolted door and saw his daddy enter his room palming a head of wet lettuce. Charles was dressed in tan Dockers and a yellow golf shirt that read CromNet across his left breast. His blond hair was neatly trimmed and his face clean-shaven.

“You are going to eat this,” Charles said holding up the head of lettuce.

“I don’t like lettuce,” Joey replied.

“Get in your goddamned highchair!”

Scared, Joey scrambled off his red racecar bed and squeezed himself into the metal highchair.

“I work goddamn hard at the Internet company to get food to feed you and goddamn if you’re not going to eat your vegetables.”

Charles had removed Joey from school a year ago when he was thirteen. Thirteen was the age a student was legally allowed to halt their studies.

Joey had said it a million times before and he said it again now:

“If Mommy was here she wouldn’t make me eat my vegetables and if she was here, I probably would.”

Charles lifted an inquisitive brow. “Has mommy been trying to send you telepathic messages from heaven again? Did you rip the tinfoil?”

“Yes, and she said I didn’t have to eat my vegetables, but I didn’t rip the tinfoil.”

“I call bullshit, Joey,” Charles said, inspecting the floor-to-ceiling tinfoil. “Because I know for a fact that tinfoil keeps out all telepathic transmissions and I don’t see any holes or tears.”

Joey, wearing his silk pajamas with white trim, stared at Charles from his highchair with pert lips, his blue eyes offering nothing.

“You have an I.Q. of 80. You’re practically a retard staring at me with your dumb eyes. You know that?”

“Yes. I know, Daddy.”

Charles walked over and told Joey to open his mouth. Joey tightened his lips. Charles squished his mouth open and pressed the head of lettuce against it.

“Bite. I work hard at the Internet company to buy this food and I want you to eat your goddamned vegetables. Now take a bite. If you don’t, you’re going to die, Joey. You’re going to die of malnutrition.”

Joey batted the head of lettuce away. It came to rest near an empty glass container of chocolate milk next to his racecar bed.

“I need to go poopie,” Joey said.

Charles sighed. “Fine. Take your poopie and then you’re eating the lettuce.”

“Okay, Daddy,” Joey said.

Joey hopped off his highchair and entered his tiny bathroom. Charles had taken off the lock, but Joey shut the door, lowered his bottoms and sat down on a white urine-stained toilet.

He grunted and squeezed and heard a plop. He got up and looked at a nearly perfectly round ball of poop with a small crevice. Joey wished more would come. His stomach hurt, but he was glad to get some out. He had awful gas and pangs of constipation.

He flushed the toilet without wiping and opened the door.

“Did you wash your hands?” Charles asked.

“I forgot, Dad.”

“Goddamnit.” Charles grabbed him by the nap of his neck, twisted on the water, rubbed blue soap over his hands and put them under the stream and then toweled them off.

“You’re bad, Joey. Nothing but a tack in my ass. A dozen tacks in my ass.”

“I don’t mean to be tacks in your ass, Daddy.”

“Well, you are. Same routine every day.”

“Yesterday it was radishes and I had gone poopie earlier.”

“It doesn’t matter the type of vegetable, Joey. You won’t eat them is the point.”

It was true, he wouldn’t eat his vegetables and his daddy had kept him locked in his room as punishment until he would. After mommy died and the fat cops had taken the neighbor away, Joey couldn’t eat his vegetables. He once loved them, because his mommy had a garden teeming with all sorts of vegetables, and she loved them. Her garden was her passion and he associated eating vegetables with his love for his mommy. However, when the neighbor man ‘violated her love flower and put her to sleep in the garden’ as daddy put it, he couldn’t eat them. Never would he eat them. Vegetables equaled emotional pain.

“I will never eat my vegetables, Daddy.” Joey said with finality.

Charles eyes shrunk into a glare and he angrily chewed his bottom lip. He then lifted Joey off his feet and tossed him on the racecar bed. He quickly grabbed the head of lettuce, squeezed open Joey’s mouth, and twisted the ball of lettuce side to side. Joey’s face turned red as he began to wheeze and choke. Daddy then punched his left leg. Daddy had yelled every day and tried force feeding Joey, but this was the first time he had struck him. Joey reached back and tore away a section of tin foil which did nothing but enrage his father further.

“I told you never to mess with the tinfoil. Never!” He grated the head of lettuce deeper into his mouth and jabbed his ribs repeatedly. Joey finally slapped the lettuce away. He spit out remnants, regained his breath and said Mommy had just telepathically communicated that he didn’t have to eat his vegetables ever. Even though it had never been fully explained to him, Joey understood that telepathic communication were messages silently spoken from mind to mind. His daddy had always believed in some strange things Mommy used to tell him. It was harmless she had said. Silly distractions to keep him not so bitter about his underpaid and undervalued job at CromNet — the Internet company.

“Mommy also said you should let me leave my room.”

Charles stood up, hands on his hips and stared at Joey with fire. Joey was going to do more than leave his room, Charles thought. This had gone on nearly two months and this day, it would end. He no longer cared if Joey was only thirteen and it was his parental obligation to keep him until eighteen. He grabbed Joey’s ankles and pulled him from the bedroom, down the carpeted stairs, through the living room and down the concrete steps outside the house and into the yard.

Joey stood up, felt the back of his head and saw blood on his fingers.

“That hurt, Daddy!”

“You are no longer my son. Go!”

“But I don’t have any shoes.”

Without sitting, Charles pulled off his leather shoes and threw them at Joey who sat down on the grass in front of their two-story brick house and put them on. They were many sizes too big.

“You just go now,” Charles said.

Joey stood and shrugged. “Okay, Daddy. Can I keep in touch with you telepathically?”

“You can try whatever you want, but I’m going to tinfoil the entire house.”

“What happens if you’re at work?” Joey asked. “The Internet company won’t let you tinfoil your office.”

“You’re a smartass. The worst smartass I ever knew. Get off my property!”

“Okay. Bye, Dad,” Joey said.

Joey turned and walked away. He would walk the many miles to the river and swim in his underwear, he thought. Swimming was something he and his mommy once liked to do when he was much littler and she was alive; however, he promised himself as he walked down a sidewalk in his over-sized leather shoes, he would never eat another vegetable never, ever even if it meant he became malnourished and died.

Kelly Broich is the author of the novel PRECIOUS.  He is also the author of the video below.

Facebook link.

ECO BOXING (Collapse)

 

 

THE EARTH IS FOR ALL OF US (Collapse)

 

 

NOT AS GREEN AS ME (Eli Elliott)

 

 

YOU’VE GOT TO SAVE YOSELF (Buzz Coastin)


 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE NOT REAL (Collapse)

 

 

DOMINANT SPECIES (Collapse)

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The Ann Arbor film festival, the largest and longest running experimental/avant garde film fest, now in its 51st run, has been underway this past week. Filmmaker Jon Jost is in town, by chance, and gives his thoughts on the event, the selected films, and the current so called “Avant Garde” in general. In ’89 Jost won the Ann Arbor “Best of Fest” award with his experimental essay film “Plain Talk and Common Sense (uncommon senses)”

His summation, so far, is in line with the atmosphere I had expected: a nostalgia ridden regurgitation, with nothing really new, experimental, or avant garde.

Of a program made up of eleven films, each running from 2 to 30 minutes, I have to say there wasn’t one which I would call “experimental” or “avant garde” in any meaningful sense. Each was either an exhausted re-run of films I have seen 100 times (pixillated this, smashed and mashed filmic detritus as “style,” or run-of-the-mill animation, usually a bit on the messy side.)

As I mentioned elsewhere, their denial of digital (DV) works from the onset (late 90′s) began to cement their standing as no longer a relevant event for showcasing new cinema in the experimental and avant vein. They would eventually come around in 2003 with accepting digital, but not having understood the sped up digital environment and it’s future effects, they would find themselves 5 years behind the times, missing out on previous DV videomakers who were now morphing into HD experimenters, all the while ignoring the need to re-define just what “experimental” meant in present terms. Instead, satisfying the dominating nostalgia factor seemed to be of most importance. It seems the new works championed were re-hashed nostalgia factor films, playing up the usual “film leader” intro’s, scratches – now more purposefully placed, and other re-hash techniques. Nostalgia’s a bitch to break.

Jost mentions elements of the above and reveals that the majority present at the Ann Arbor fest, are not the young and the new, but the old entering the familiar museum. Instead of the young experiencing a breeding ground for current cinematic experiments, on a level to inspire/aspire to, works of such which flutter all around various corners of the internets, they are left to await the high horse nostalgia curtain to fall, so the welcoming aboard of a redefining of avant garde in the digital environment can, finally, take place.

Here’s the link to Jon’s post – AVANT HO

ELI E / KELLY B . “Moonscape of Failed Hope Finds a Yesteryear of Good Fortune”
Continued from their recent sessions.




TYKYLEVITS. “Se hänelle kertokaa”




BUZZ COASTIN. “SEE THE MAN AT TURD & PUNCH BOWL”
a video mix mashter of current event reality sewn together with commentary and mirrored with b-movie fictionality.




ANDY HECK BOYD “HELL HOLE (2013)”
a video art piece comprised completely of animated internet GIF’s, backed by random audio from television and cinema.

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On the one year anniversary of artist Mike Kelley’s departure, an hour and a half interview from 2004 has now been uploaded by AVA’s own Eli Elliott (who also filmed the piece; interview was by Gerry Fialka). As previously mentioned, the tape recently re-surfaced a month ago.

Mike Kelley worked in various mediums using various materials. From drawings to found object assemblage to performance video art. He drew on American culture, popular image and icon, politics, perversion, and more. Kelley also wrote books and performed experimental music. He started doing art in the 70′s, eventually becoming a heavyweight in the art world. In 2012, at age 57, he decided to call it quits, and killed himself.

The interview is an interesting look for those who are Mike Kelley fans, as well as others who had always been curious about Kelley and his work, his motivations, thoughts, etc.

What we also get is a good glimpse at Kelley’s character; the slightly nervous, hopped up, pissed off, and eerily emotional “boo-hoo” mannerisms. All of which can perhaps be a smattering of crumbs which help digest at least a little understanding on his choice to end his life one year ago.

Somewhere towards the very end of this interview Kelley breaks down, tears swell up seemingly out of nowhere, his voice heavily cracks; an instantaneous breakdown. I think this speaks of perhaps susceptibility to reaching such sudden emotional lows, which may have been the ground for going through with the action of ending it all.

Artist Mike Kelley Interview:

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A thought to be lost video interview of the late artist Mike Kelley was recently uncovered by Los Angeles artist Steve Craig.

Eli Elliott who had shot the interview, curated back in 2004 by Gerry Fialka, had been scouring his storage lockers for the past year after Mike’s death, for the tape. Elliott had actually left the tape with Craig years prior, and on a recent return to L.A. it was uncovered.

The full interview will be uploaded here on Absurdist Video Art on February 1st, 2013.

In the meantime Elliott has uploaded some nice nuggets of Kelley talking frankly about art and the avant garde. These brief pieces reveal some strong emotion and passion for what Mike was doing, as well as frustrations about the way the world was turning.