Walking on a late Friday afternoon at Oakland Art Murmur, the bruising sweet sun in full array, it’s good to see the weird old America, the one Bob Dylan tapped into for inspiration, is alive and well, flourishing even.
Looking at a senator from Florida, a newly declared candidate for USA president, his tongue flapping wildly about sexual orientation, courts of law, the law, about which he knows nothing, on the sleek telly in some downtown Sacramento deposition parlor, a place that has the look and feel of a high end suburban office down to the plastic flowers, with a cheerful large lady making bread pudding from panettone on another telly, and right wing professional talkers on yet a third, one sees without tergiversation what we mainly feed upon, baloney, a flag pin on the mandatory color of serious office seekers, the shade of respectability for decades now, the hue that is overtaxed in attempting to confer gravitas upon weenies, dark blue. Continue reading
The West Oakland Specific Plan renderings, drawings, generated by machines, computers, the show and tell for the community, which presently have the look feel of a suburban candyland, Pleasanton, CA, for instance, with the whoosh of ugly cars ever present, architecture undistinguished, the kind done by developers of business parks. Looking at them, staring with utter concentration as you do any work of art, one is tempted to say, keep it crappy with the barbed wire intact.
It’s surreal, a symptom of the Dark Ages and Modern America, to dwell behind bars gates moats, to be in a cage same as prison, the White House, any kind of fame, the diff being the mattress is fine, the fish fresh, the art acceptable. Continue reading
As in deep space, the weird juxtapositions that occur on this island cut off from Oakland by an eleven lane freeway – a perfect reflection of America in our age – vast abundance, perpetual war and exhausting deprivation together in a stormy marriage, one acceptable to most, like the ancient giver of law, roads, sewers, aqueducts, administration, much that was admirable – Rome eternal the silvery toothless men said to each other in gilded libraries, a few stolen Greek masterpieces nearby, Continue reading
The voice with inflections deep and sonorous, a manly man’s man and paid actor safely behind the ramparts comes over the radio, poses a question: would you like to do something useful with your life presently deprived of a job over minimum wage, the bonus being health care & travel in exotic foreign parts? Then join the few, the proud, fight for the American Way, to paraphrase slightly. Continue reading
There’s no digesting the urbs, the unexpected pockets of progress, the people, who they are, what they do, of absorbing everything important, ravishing in their plenitude, the elusive details, except on foot.
Walk the streets enough in West Oakland and the outline appears, the American future that is, distinctly, brazenly, the pieces coming together in a new way as China, India, the Philippines, the other world with their desperate billions perform tasks once done here for fiddlesticks. Continue reading
In the midst of the flat lands dividing Oakland’s downtown from the parts to the west scissored off by a freeway, steel giants greet the dawn. Continue reading
After a long spell in places where a man can be left undisturbed to think, one is reminded of an unpleasant fact of life in this neck of the woods. If you are one of the many who feel the necessity to work, you become a request box for the destitute and desperate.