“Shi-Bu-Ki-“

If you’ve never seen this before (and at about 4 million views, how have you not?) then you’ve missed some incredible drumming with accompaniment: two amazing physical performances that, to my uneducated ear, demanded sounds from their instruments that were implausible at least. I did say the performance was incredible, did I not?

Collaboration between master of Japanese drums (Ei-tetsu Hayashi) and master of Shamisen (Shinn-ichi Kino-shita)

The title of the song “SHI-BU-KI” is the Japanese pronunciation of “飛沫(しぶき)” which is the Japanese splash of the sea wave.

From the National Theater, Chiyoda, Tokyo · Folk Performing Performance in 1997

I’m not a big enthusiast for live music, figuring that my own lack of musical chops makes me a less than ideal member of the audience which, let’s face it, is part the performance of any live performance art.

On the other hand, it also means that some of my most vivid memories of performances have only somewhat to do with the art: like one hot, humid late June sunset concert in Grant Park, a piano concerto that demanded a very physical performance from the pianist who came to play fully suited. Would he survive the performance?

This video was twice that…

“Six Guys”

When I encountered this video from animator Ripley Howarth, I was convinced that I had seen it before yet if so it could not have been the entire video as this left me happily fulfilled. Who could imagine this effect from something firmly within the horror genre? But Howarth squared my circle.

The other thing Six Guys reminded me of was the 1965 film by Polish Director Wojciech Has, The Saragossa Manuscript. Well… they do have in common a magically surreal journey as a central part of the storytelling, but Six Guys is very much a horror movie.

It’s Been a Gas

Photo by Roman.

There is a part of archeology that studies the history of individual buildings as reflected by the physical structure of the building: the ways in which culture, technology and economics influenced not only the original construction but also what has been added or repurposed or deleted and what has been left behind as too troublesome to remove. That last is what you are looking at here: redundant gas lines.

Public Private Spaces

dsc06184
Photo by Roman.

When I first thought about posting these images, it was mostly to observe how property management seems to be taken with the idea of creating private public spaces for their tenants. It would be a nice lead-in to a rant about excessive and exploitative rents, but… It’s not a new story… Only that recently two buildings along Sheridan Road have added private plazas in public view and they were not buildings that I would have predicted to do so. Not that I stare at crystal balls all day, but you know what I mean. As a sign of the apocalypse it would provide a good place to start a rant about Rogers Park gentrifying… And maybe it is this time for sure… but it’s been threatening to do so all the decades I’ve lived here.

So what am I left with? Mostly the incongruity of the meanings we impose on our human landscape.

dsc06205
Photo by Roman.
dsc02000
Photo by Roman.

.

Smoke Break

This from director Alan Sahin’s Vimeo channel: “Before changing a tyre, between a starter and a main course, after admitting a patient: seven places where people are on a cigarette break.”

For a while before smoking was banned altogether on METRA commuter trains, smokers were segregated into designated smoking areas, usually half a passenger car. The cars were divided in the middle by an entrance / exit foyer so the halves were separate.

On late evening trips returning from the suburbs, I generally sat in the non-smoking half. Most of us were bound for the Chicago terminus so there was always a queue to exit the car. And as the train pulled onto the arrival track, the doors between the sections would open. My non-smoking side would shuffle forward in silence but from the smoking section a wall of smoke, conversation and laughter rolled forth. The contrast was amazing.

Whatever else it is, nicotine addiction is convivial.

Love Locks 4-Ever

Yep. That’s what they are: love locks. Wikipedia even has an article about them as they do present something of a nuisance at times. Apparently the locks are something like humans. Once they have a foothold, they multiply and take over. Clearly something must be done and soon. Perhaps playing on an endless loop Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dash Light” would be a prophylaxis…

Did I ever tell you that I once witnessed this song performed, at a wedding, by a half dozen or so couples… Lip-synced or sung; I’m sure that some of them knew the lyrics to their part. I treasure the memory as it is too strange to be real but it is.

Water Ritual

dsc00461
Photo by Roman

Among the many puzzling if not quaint customs preserved by the natives of Chicago is the weekly Watering of the Concrete. Since this is mostly a summertime ceremony, it can be quite refreshing on the hottest of days. The origins and meanings of the ritual are quite obscure but are said to be related to another ritual, The Paying of the Rent.