Monday, April 1, 2013

Year Four: Reflections


The April fool’s Joke that is no joke which makes it the biggest joke of all. It’s the anniversary of Dislocations. Every year I pause to reflect (a momentarily dislocating of Dislocations). Basically I just highlight some of my favorite blogs.

But first I digress.
Here’s my philosophy for (maybe of too) life.

(Or my three rules).
1) Life is hard. We must attempt to make it more pleasant for everyone we encounter or at least make sure we do not make it more unpleasant for them.
2) We must maximize the talents God has given us.
 3) We must continually gain as much knowledge as possible.

I fall short of following these rules, and it is thin consolation realizing most of us do. That’s why Life is hard leads.  However, we must strive to live up to this code. Well, it’s my code, so it’s my strive.

Four years… why did High School feel like eternal purgatory and now that my irrevocable sunset glares into my eyes, the quartets flash by like greased lightening on crank?

I started this blog on April 1st, 2009 and for those who still watch television shows, this is my annual clips episode.

There’s only rule for me when it comes to Dislocations. Stuff I feel like writing about. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

I have no time to properly copy edit. I apologize for the typos. Also, it seems there are a few less blog items every year. I hope less is more.

Here are some blogs worth remembering and returning to.

Last April, life was not so good. Perplexing and dire was how I felt and I actually put Dislocations on an unofficial hiatus. Then life got a little worse. Dislocations actually became dislocated. Then I saw somedebris, snapped a picture and had an idea about it and realized, no, dear reader, you deserve Dislocations. Okay, I don’t really give a crap about what readers, dear or otherwise, deserve. Dislocations just won’t die. I  got back into the swing. This post is nothing special, probably below average, but it sums up for me some of the things I was going through getting through last spring.

My favorite blog was a list: 10 Things About What Summer’sAbout. I actually started this spring of 2011 but it required a year to gestate. After I posted it, a friend sent me a list of things I like about autumn. But this wasn’t just about seasonal signifiers. I was exploring summer as Metaphor. Plus it gave me a chance to see connections between the disparate, which is how we see life, which ultimately is our existence.

Last spring, a street collapsed, giving downtow JC a sudden crater for a while.
I also saw an overturned car and became action news!

Sandy, Sandy, Sandy… our Katrina… electricity out for days, flooding…. we’re still negotiating out of some of the damage… a few posts featured Sandy related content, but this was the first after the deluge and the return of power, some dramatic day after pictures… never forget, until this year’s extreme weather event.

My favorite hobby, poking around the New Jersey Historic Room and Microfiche archive. In spite of being a major city in a populous state, few presidential candidates stop here, or if they do it’s Liberty State Park which provides a great photo-op and keeps them away from interacting with the riff-raff (which would be you and me). It wasn’t always that way. McGovernmade a Journal Square visit and FDR laid the corner stone for what became Liberty Medical. The newspaper clips are fun to read, but deeper scrutiny reveals wider social and political implications that reverberate in our current era, and I hope you find my analysis compelling.

McGovern died last year, which sparked a memoir piece about a grammar school flirtation electoral politics and an obsession with THAT GIRL.
I made a stab at a Charlie Louvin obit, which evolved into effusive praise. I had another attempt at an appreciation that panned out not.  I love the Louvin Brothers. I got into jags where it is nothing but Louvin for days. Charlie made a deathbed confessionturned into a memoir that I quite enjoyed, published a year or so after his passing onto the far shore. Pick up Satan is Real, it will change how you perceive country music, gospel music, Christian Theology and America. Tragic Songs of Life is the best non-Dylan collection of songs ever released (if you don’t agree you don’t know what you’re talking about).

So, sometime during the weeks before Christmas I wandered into the NewportMall with the express purpose of taking pictures of the decorations. Newport is a terrible mall, but malls are terrible places anyway and so in comparison it is no worse than some and better than more than a few.  Christmas is commercial, yet even within that commerciality, there are aspirations towards generosity, being considerate and expression of love and friendship. Next year the decorations will be different but the feelings will be the same. Bland, obvious, ordinary… everybody who lives around here, these pictures are part of your 2012 Christmas memories, but in the background, noticed then forgotten.  

For some reason I find Summer more conducive to Shakespeare than the rest of the year. Van Vorst was the setting for a memorable staging ofOthello, an especially fine interpretation of Desdemona highlighted. 

About every other year, one sees a rainbow in Jersey City. The weather conditions have to be right – to quote Credence – “have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?” – and the sun in the right place. Being an isthmus, Jersey City is prone to rainbows. This was the first time I happened to have a camera on me when the conditions beamed color across the sky.

My favorite reads. The second one so I guess it’s an annual Dislocations event.  I like lists, especially lists of books. Speaking of books, a bright note sounded on Newark Avenue in July with an actual opening of a new (although the inventory also includes used) Bookstore, Tachair Book Shoppe. Sadly though, the ole B. Daltonson 6th Avenue – the closest bookstore to any PATH station – went dark.
Rhyze is a gospel band that blends golden age gospel, contemporary Christian music and old-school funk, and their show, a reunion of sorts – apparently an earlier incarnation of the band was played secular soul – at Groove on Grove was notable. The music was not just fantastic, but as a regular attendee at JC’s Summer Music Series, this band attracted more non-friends than any other I’ve seen. It’s a tough gig for a musician, there’s a constant flow of pedestrians and commuters and most of the crowd know the band personally. This band actually paused the flow, their sound caught lots of ears, surprising and enticing. People not intending to listen to a set were simply unable to resist Rhyze! Might happen at many a GOG set, but this band attracted a genuine crowd.

Otherwise, a reggae Ska band Kiwi had a hot set I was lucky to see and the  Ones & Nines returned to close out the Summer, firing on all cylinders, a rocking finale to theseason.  What a great band!

Any Day Parade was my favorite JC band ever, and though ADP may be no more, two ADP spin off bands had their debuts in 2012.
The opening of a community garden named after a local activist was one of my favorite neighborhood events of the year. Sometimes all we need to make change and do good is each other.
 The Jersey City Film Forum was briefly revived before going on hiatus again due to lack of attendance. You people do not know what you’re missing. Wither though goest cineaste culture. I wrote this introduction to 7 Men From Now, one of my favorite films and a superb western. A few weeks later,Ciao Manhattan was screened, which I found revelatory. Film Forum's 2nd incarnation only attracted a small but loyal following, but some remarkable nights of cinema took place.

 Everyone’s favorite street fair is the The Feast that happens on 6th street every August. Prior to the actual street fair is a nine day novena, so this was the first time I blogged about that aspect, which only made the actual rice balls and lemoncello and retro bands and hanging out with friends and neighbors all the more fun and meaningful. 

All About Downtown Jersey City held its second edition. In spite of all the corporate friendliness and blatant real estate promotions, this was a fun event, some great bands, well layed out, concluding with a drum circle that roved East on Newark Avenue then settled in to beat some serious grooves around Grove PATH. A fine way to end the summer and also a nice tribute to improvement of an idea. The 1st was forgettable, the 2nd memorable.

Rediscovered statues of Mary was a reoccurring theme in the most recent Dislocations year. The first was in June, a tale of irony andnostalgia, about how a series of coincidences led to a discovery of an Italian icon that had been part of a Jersey City church for a century and warmly remembered. This blog post was actually translated into Italian and published in an Italian Magazine. Thanks Pat.

Then in July, the Jersey City Art School, during a cleaning project of an adjacent backyard, reclaimed a shrine to St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Mother.

A state of Our Lady of Fatima was restored by an anonymous art restorer right before Christmas, then a few weeks into the New Year, a statue of our Lady of Medigorje was anonymously returned to St. Mary’s.

These Mary Statue stories were fun to find out about, and I love the weirdness that four of them happened in one year’s time. I found out about each accidently. They’re little stories, very Jersey City centric, but they connect us to the history of our city and Dislocations is the only place you can read about these true if esoteric tales.

On the secular art front, “covered” a closing – one of the last art events held at Made With Love before it ceased to be –  by local illustrator and sometime street artist, Norm Kirby. Very talented guy who is using new materials – like wire and wood – in addition to sketches and ink,  but it’s all about the line for Kirby who has an extraordinary talent for infusing emotion, warmth and humanity in his lines. He has a unique talent to express much with so little. Who knew squiggles could be so profound?

Lunar New Year painted a fantastic mural.  Really interesting and talented cat, really into anonymity, did not want his picture taken. The mural is not just large, takes up three stories I reckon, but totally subjective. The faces are friends of his. Meaning eludes the viewer, but the obfuscation actually makes it more compelling.

For the annual JC Studio Art Tour, an old warehouse (are there any new ones?) was converted and packed with some awesome art. Shuttle buses – old school buses painted white, manufactured before the invention of the shock absorber – took patrons to and fro. For a night, the various art scenes in town came together and mingled, a gathering of the clans and everyone ignored how cliquey the JC artists community is. I also met the very vibrant and inspiring Laurie Kammers there

40 Owls is Jersey City based, and their first art show – Three Distinctive Ethnic Magical Tales (a real mouthful of a title) – was held this summer. I actually wrote the press release, a paid gig, and the story was picked up by more than a few places. The cool thing though, the show was held in Chelsea. Glitterati actually attended, upscale and artsy and just very Manhattan. Impressive indeed.

A fashion/art show accompanied the opening of the new location of the Fish With Braids Gallery. Really, one of the more unique nights of art and overall creativity to be had in J.C. last year.

That’s about it for my annual indulgence in reflection. Thanks for reading, encouragement, understanding and useful feedback. God Bless You All. Let us all keep on keeping on. I’ll see ya on down the line, bye and bye.

No comments:

Post a Comment