Category Archives: events

a rainyday vision from America

rainyDay_street

it was a typical New England crawling rainyday commute this morning

i live up on the North Shore — not on Cape Ann or anything cool like that, but over in Boxford on that side-smirk curl of 95N that bends its sarcastic way up to Newburyport and eventually into New Hampshire — and it almost seems inevitable at this point that my commute, no matter what the weather now, is going to be an hour or more to just get 30 miles south of where i live into Burlington

in the rain though, as anyone living in Massachusetts hates to admit but fully knows, the snail-pace stop-n-go of the aqua-commuter nightmare seems to slow to this echochamber timestillness that can only really be humanly dealt with through pure zen meditation mindtricks among other pleasant distractions

needless to say, i despise being caught in traffic — but — at the tender age of 44 i’m finally learning how to cope

today, for instance, there’s this little area on the commute down where 95 and 128 meet to create this wonderful bottleneck of confusion — this is where the grand slowdown typically starts in a big way and this is where my mind takes me high above the Google Earth view of what i’m actually experiencing as the bug inside my metal trap on the highway

today is a special day, though

its Thursday

i love Thursdays, don’t you?

time seemed rather frozen and so i decided to get out for a while, you know? and stretch my legs a bit and maybe wander around between the cars

the natural coolness of the air and the raindrops on the skin of my head between my thinning hair felt really refreshing and i felt more alive than i normally do and, strangely enough, more free than when i’m traveling at 80 to 90 mph on an open stretch of highway on what feel like better days to drive

i guess embracing my stuckness now made me appreciate the moment in a new way

i could move around in the moment, across the 4 lanes of people all cozily tucked into their cars, and get an entirely different perspective on the wild collective, transpersonal simultaneity of our everyday post-humanic experience as a loosely-connected living organism

i guess that i essentially see people and other animals as no better-differentiated in the grand taxonomy of life and death than the virus

but we’re such an invigorating virus, are we not? we’re just fucking electric

motors humming; radios blasting with morning shows and music and djs talking to callers and little snippets of the news beaming in from gawd knows where; some commuters on their mobile devices, talking with loved ones or checking their work calendar to then text or email in their up-to-the-minute status of potential lateness as if the world wouldn’t move on without their invaluable, important input into the universe; normally i’m in my car sing-screaming with some Tenacious D, partially working out the angry energy of feeling so fucking stuck in my car and utterly helpless and partially anticipating the frustrations of the day to come at Corporation X { you fill in the blank as its a fairly unremarkable and familiar unfortunate universal experience of disempowerment, awkward team fumbling, animal kingdom domination psychopolitics and the like that all boils down to the futility of theatre and bullshit and ennui and trying as hard as you can to keep sane like some sort of Cuckoo’s Nest clown McMurphy trying so hard, oh so hard, to just keep my lip zipped and take my daily dose }

but the sensation and feeling of the rain between the cars and the slowness of the cars around me feels so good, oh so good

my normal frustrations almost feel like they’ve stayed somehow in my car parked on the side of the road with the 4-way flashers blinking like sin and evil and hardship

at this point i realize i’m actually walking through the 4 lanes of creeping traffic in search of something

i’m not exactly sure what it is, but its something like poetry or humanity or the very heartbeat soul of humanity Herself

but its so hard to hear it

that is, if its even here at all anymore

shells-sea

coming to theatre near you — The Nigerian Frequency

‘in a world where people and machines live in perfect harmony side by side, and where virtual ‘friendles’ help guide us through our experiences in the world to help optimize the quality of our human life … one man faces an extraordinary challenge … ‘

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but seriously folks — just dropping you this friendly blogPost about a movie made by some dear friends of mine out in the remote nether regions of Chelmsford, Massachusetts

over the last year Matt and Zachary Scott, Pat Snow, and Christopher Borden diligently squeezed in bursts of productive writing and fieldwork filming with an extensive and complicated cast of virtual and real actors to bring you a tale filled with dark humor commentary about our dystopian near-future humanity as effected by cryptically-dysfunctional and subversive social media technologies 

written and directed by Matt ScottThe Nigerian Frequency explores the psychoSocial tension that could actually foretell the unfortunate post-humanic fate for our future-state humanity

read this official press release to get the official low down on The Nigerian Frequency

see the official Nigerian Frequency film trailer up on Vimeo

The Nigerian Frequency will premier at 7pm out at The Somerville Theatre as the official kick-off feature-length film for The 39th Boston Sci-Fi Film Festivalgo to this Eventbrite link to get tickets to The Nigerian Frequency or head on over to this Eventbrite page to get more info and ticket packages for more lengthy fun at The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival

after the premier of The Nigerian Frequency, the writer and director Matt Scott and a small, select portion of the production team and crew will linger for an official question and answer panel to reflect on the themes of the film and the processes of making The Nigerian Frequency, so please come on out and join in on the intellectually absurdist science fiction fun on February 7th

we hope to see you there

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the theatre of Work, ReVisited

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back in 2009 when i still conducted critical design research for Dynamic Media Institute in Boston i decided to start up a presentation series aimed specifically at helping my greener friends coming into the industry with some of the basic challenges they might encounter along the journey of their profesional lives

i’ve encountered more than my fair share of interesting twists and turns in my rather adventurous career as an accomplished experience design professional — and some of the joys and tribulations of navigating the glorious terrain can benefit by simply continuously building a better and better understanding and awareness of the environments in which we need to perform

in delving into the digital archives of my mind i recently rediscovered a few slides appropriately titled the theatre of Work — survival tips for newcomers to the workForce

the theatre of Work

the phrase by itself starts to imply some of my subconscious views and feelings regarding: the social dynamics; the essential personal behaviors we need to exude while performing; and general feel of the landscape set up by the workaday world as a means of reaching toward success for ourselves and for the companies we work for

i am an experience designer and a performance artist

i never studied the theatre, which is an important key differentiator i need to continually remind myself of along the way

its also vitally important to have an unrelenting sense of self-awareness and continuous introspective reflection for the kind of trek we’re all on within ANY industry

just this hybrid mash-up between designer and artist can have extremely important internally conflicting motivations embedded within the very nature of each role

but anyhow, i digress { i just heard someone on blogging across the way stand up and scream, ‘DigreSsioN!’ ala that famous set of passages from A Catcher in the Rye ;] }

after living a little longer and experiencing a few more years of this life of work we all live and breathe, i believe i have even deeper, more profound wisdom to share than i originally intended by designing up a few slides for a future-such talk to be about workerly advice

i am therefore re-opening this thread of thought — copy-pasting the open Keynote file and the PSD folder from my portable harddrive back onto my current active MacBook Pro device to really start digging into what new significance i can bring to the table to help people navigate the choppy waters and hopefully not make all of the same foolish mistakes i’ve made along the way

i know my triathlon could’ve gone a LOT smoother so far had i just had proper mentorship or perhaps better personal self-awareness and more thoughtful empathy to guide me

but i’m an impatient clown, for the most part

i always want the impossible and i design to reach for the bluest of the bluest skies

i would be more of a fool, however, if i continue to noodle and clown without ever learning and growing for the journeys i’ve made — and i feel that if i share some of my story in a thoughtful and meaningful way it might actually make up for my own silly idiocies and hopefully make for a better overall experience for colleagues, friends, acquaintances and frenemies that even care to listen at this point

i need to focus on my storyFirst presentation out at Massachusetts College of Art for the next few weeks, but i also hope to put some time into this theatre of Work concept, too, as it is near and dear to my heart — i want to help people and give them better perspective and hopefully facilitate better and better experiences in the world through my designwork and my design leadership

but, until then — shove off, bitchez! ;]

 

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Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise — Saturday, June 8

on Saturday, June 8th — Lee Todd Lacks, Tom Swafford and i will appear at Matt Samolis‘ ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise,‘ a new and interdisciplinary performance works events out at Nave Gallery in Somerville

Check out more info up on The Book, aight?

we’ll perform a new composition of Lee Todd’s written in A flat minor with relative wholetone flourishes and micropolyrhythmic, purposely dissonant percussive undertone accompaniment with a slightly woody taste wildly reminiscent of 1984 or so aptly entitled ‘Ghost Mall’ — you won’t want to miss it — i’m serious — well, okay, i really have no idea who you are right now, right? the technology i used to put this blogpost together can’t really dynamically detect who might be reading this post in the moment and then, based upon your innermost desires and personal likes or dislikes in music then assess whether you might or might not want to miss it, this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ that Matt Samolis is putting on out at that wickid cool Nave Gallery in the general Somerville districts of Massachusetts and all, but, hey, i have the write to pretend and play and let’s pretend for just a second that WordPress allowed for that post-humanic, überCreepy and simulated predictive functionality, okay?

woah

yeah

that’d be, like, kind of simultaneously amazing, this kind of stuff we dream up and invite, but also a little bit annoying and probably a little bit broken

like

it might not get it EXACTLY right, right?

but we’d kind of ignore the fact that it’d be a little ‘off,’ right? like we normally do — and we’d probably think, like, woah — oh my gawd, that’s pretty fucking awesome — who the hell dreamt this cool, new innovative trick up? how’d they implement that? was there some sort of direct emotional sensor that somehow reached out via webcam into my retina to pull out my wants, needs and personal tastes in music and performance art?

probably not

i bet it’d just be kind of random, but we’d believe there’d be this wonderfully creative and epically smart algorithm of pure genius behind it all — that somehow data answers every question we have and that any tiny miraculous event can be somehow utterly dewonderfied through scientific conjecture and fully quantifiable proof of anything seemingly magical, real or exciting

hey

i’d go out to this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ — ‘sGonna be off da hook ‘n shit

i can tell it is

probably the best way you can spend your Saturday night { unless, of course, you’re going out to that competing Mobius event happening on the verySame night — jeez! }

the Boston music scene

Mascara

right now Boston is quite literally dripping with eclectic and wonderful creative talent in the Boston music scene — and music right now in this town quite nicely blends out into other equally interesting, mind expanding genres of live entertainment, with many bands and music acts blurring their onstage presentation into the realms of performance art, burlesque, theatre and pure provocation

any MassHole out there right now can head into Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, Jamaica Plain and any of the other wonderful buroughs of Boston proper and see an evening overbrimming with live mulitband original independent musicianship that will simply blow your mind

and you can enjoy both a wide variety of music genre as well as a depth and breadth of pure live stage presentation and dynamics that i believe far surpass what you would see out of any other metropolis around the world

i mean, i’d call it a Boston music renaissance at this point

its THAT fucking good

drop on into Lizard Lounge, Church, Middle East Café, Club Passim, Midway Café, Precinct, PA’s Lounge, and so many others on any night you have some free time and you’re bound to see a set of world-class, life changing independent music all for the ridiculously reasonable price of a small door fee and a few pints of beer — the kind of bang you get for your buck is utterly INSANE for all you music fans out in the Boston area, and you all know it

its interesting, too, as a huge fan of the Boston music scene that’s pretty much lived in this area since my humble birth at Malden Hospital back in 1969, to see the evolution and many revolutions of an artform over the span of so much time

with the gentle decline of the actual auspices of the Record Industry overlordage, too, the rise of this independent spirit of the musician truly flourishes

i don’t know about you, but i really never go into Aerosmith and Boston and all that classic rock, big dick-waggin’ arena shit from the previous Boston music scene in the heyday of the record bizz — i don’t own Toys in the Attic on cassette or More Than a Feeling, this shit makes my skin crawl and it just reminds me of sports arenas and people acting like social retards, needing to smoke a joint before any sense of real creative expression or alternative views enter the common man mindSpace, like this fucking era and genre of music is still somehow fucking radical and wild where, to me, its all about heroin and the general numbness of the masses, a numbness that drugs and music gives us all permission to suddenly feel something, to maybe move our white-ass bodies to the beat and scream out Dream On at the top of our lungs while totally ripping up our vocal cords with a big bottle of Bud Lite in our left hand and a fist raised and pumping with our right — those sly sideways gay looks we give our classic rawkin’ buddies, like, ‘Yeah, we live for these moments, man!’ while flushing a hundred dollars away for the Great Woods ticket knowing i’ll be back in the office with a hangover and SO many wacky Margaritaville tailgating stories like a good neo-serfed citizen of suppression, despair and crushed hopes — i guess its not THAT bad, really, it just makes for really good writing and the judgment is right in line with the level of individuality and freedom we get to experience or express in the United States

fucking Aerosmith

don’t get me wrong, though, i used to really love The Cars

i think they’re sonically far more interesting than bands like Aerosmith — it might be more of a textural thing for me, and the fact that big guitar solos just remind me of a bunch of guys with mullets, beer and wife beaters all hanging out on their parents’ back porch talking about women in a disrespectful yet totally hilarious and caricaturist way — good fodder for me as an unprofessional part-time comedian and someone just trying to get to any sense of real, valuable time and more intellectually stimulating discourse

all that’s beside the point, though — the music scene in Boston right now excites me — its Alive! and real and there’s such variety in the mix of what you can see on a nightly basis — and the parade of talent seems neverending, prolific and truly unique on so many levels — and alongside the performance art scene and the revival and rise of burlesque as a renewed national medium for political commentary, sexual and current event awareness, movement art and comedy, the music scene in Boston passionately conveys the energy and spirit of this city and the larger New England area in general — if we’re no longer revolutionary as Joe Citizen in this day and age, our musicians carry the torch to that vital sense of defiance and rebellion so sorely needed right now in the world, and our musicians lead the way

Mascara, Schooltree, Count Zero, Jaggery, Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, Goli and Bury Me Standing { previously Fluttr Effect }, Sarah Rabdau and the Self-Employed Assassins, What Time is It Mr. Fox?, Do Not Forsake Me My Darling, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets, Endation — I could go on and on and on with the list of band names, both researched and simply known off the tip of my brainstem — i’ve seen almost all of these bands in one form or another out at Johnny D’s or The Cantab Lounge or elsewhere, and there’s both the current state of each genius band of musicians as well as the rich history of the individual acts, the mythos, if you will, and the rather prolific creation story that’s moved each band and musician from their mythical origins to the place each act finds themselves in today

there’s a richness and texture and a performative delivery i witness out at the clubs that’s like no other era in the Boston music scene

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i’m a bit of a broken dabbler myself when it comes to music — so i totally get what’s happening up on stage from the unique perspective of someone that knows the language and knows all of the activities, exercises and elements that go into putting together the music, putting together an ensemble and putting on a show — but these musicians, i don’t know, they really make it seem too easy, its all so effortless on the surface, which goes to show the level of craftsmanship and professionalism the Boston scene delivers

and the genius also comes from a very humble place for these acts — they’re all SO giving to their audience, and all so appreciative — its very apparent and transparent to me that the musicians and performers have a nurturing and beautiful little family up there on stage, and that sense of family extends to all of the offstage real life preparations and social aspects of this art, that too, shows through in the work and in the seamless delivery of such a complicated form of expressive communication

and you, as a person in the audience, you feel part of that family every step of the way — you’ve been invited into the heart and soul of each act and as they come off stage or get up there to set up everyone takes the time to say hello, to thank you for coming out to support their work and their vision of what a show can be, and there is no sense of separation, of fourth wall hierarchical disparagement, of any better than airs or politics — i think there’s a thoughtful sense of understanding how integral the audience, the performer and the work itself come together to create the actual live experience and completion of the work — there’s a deep, almost Duchampian comprehension of the craft and of this amazing sense of community that all timeless artwork must strike with the audience, viewer and ultimately the participant of the entire experience — and at this moment in time, whether its all entirely on the subconscious level of each musician’s mindflow or whether its at the forefront and deepest concern of each iterative performance, the Boston music scene emotionally succeeds in this spirit of inclusivity in the work — we’re invited in through the window to a party that’s illicit and raucous and vulnerable and realthis is where real life is, not on reality television or on the social web { that’s all just a mere performance of reality }, its right up here on center stage under the spotlight or not, but up here where these universal themes play out for us all, to relive personal scenarios and to re-examine the human spirit of our existence and the general chaos of nature and the world

its such a beautiful thing to see

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Making a show of it

Artist Vela Phelan of Gang Clan Mafia — photo provided courtesy of JONATHAN WIGGS / GLOBE STAFF

Artist Vela Phelan of Gang Clan Mafia — photo provided courtesy of JONATHAN WIGGS / GLOBE STAFF

Its totally exciting to see the recent press about the vibrant performance art scene in Boston as covered by Cate McQuaid in The Boston Globe in her article Making a show of it { for some reason delivered with a re-imagined headline ‘Performance art is thriving in Boston‘ in the eVersion on bostonglobe.com }

The amazing historic reference to Raphael Montalez Ortiz’ destructive Fluxus work aired on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show way back when — direct references to Mobius all over the article, and deservedly so — mention of all the groups and spaces that’ve come and gone over the years, like Meme, Oni Gallery and others { they failed to mention Cambridge’s legendary venues, like: Zeitgeist Gallery; Out of the Blue Gallery; Open Faucet Productions; Squawk; Naked City Coffeehouse; the Art Cheerleaders; and Burlesque Revival Association ( better known as BRA ) as well as other more musicky venues that regularly support performance art on a regular basis, like: Lizard Lounge; TT the Bears Place, Middle East Café; Precinct Bar; PAs Lounge; Milky Way Lounge and Lanes; Midway Café; Middlesex Lounge; Book Cellar Café; Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center; The Actor’s Guild Workshop; Club OBERON; and so on, etcetera }

Of course, front and center and most vital to the performance art scene to me and to SO many others growing up in the Greater Boston Area is the legendary and incomparable Marilyn Arsem — the founder of Mobius and such a passionate performance artist, educator, mentor and performance artist community leader in Boston and around the world — without her contributions and the amazing and gentle spirit she brings to performance art, and without the photodocumentary contributions of her incredibly visionary and talented late husband Bob Raymond — I think the Boston performance art scene wouldn’t be what it is today

And what better time than now to experience and celebrate live performance art? The article quotes Arsem’s definition of performance art as:

‘An action designed and executed by an artist that takes place in time and space with or without an audience’

… and as vague and confusing as that might seem, its such a refreshing and honest way to describe this rather unique and elusive artistic, expressive medium — and its actually far more specific than the now seemingly rather outdated, original New York City definition of performance art by RoseLee Goldberg from her book Performance: Live Art Since 1960. Goldberg says performance art is:

‘Live art by artists’

Seems a lot simpler than Arsem’s definition, right? I think Goldberg does go on to elaborate more on the extreme interdisciplinary tendancies and potentials for performance art, as do most folks trying to help drive better understanding about what performance art is and isn’t — but I prefer Arsem’s definition mostly because it describes an audience, and as a user-centered and experience design professional this concept of audience is at the core of what experience and performance art is all about — and then, in the end, I also tend to trust Arsem’s definition of performance art more just due to the fact that Marilyn is a living, breathing, passionate performance artist, whereas Goldberg comes from the comfortable and removed distance of being an art critic and historian

Anyhow, back to the point — so cool to see this recent press about performance art and the promotion of such amazing professionals as Marilyn Arsem, Bob Raymond, Vela Phelan and others working in this space — you can read the full article here on Boston Globe dot com — and if you’re not quite up to speed on the vast and interesting history of performance art as a medium, you can check out more context on Wikipedia here, which I personally hope will lead you to deeper research and reading on the topic in books, journals, magazines and on Amazon’s Kindle eReader { but not The Nook }

mediaLuscious Design + Art Review

i just recently finished editing up the official exhibition catalog for mediaLuscious Design + Art Review — thanks to everyone for not only showing your work and participating in such an amazing gallery exhibition, but for also patiently putting up with my random email requests for photos, writings, input and feedback over the last few weeks

i have to say — this is probably the best book i’ve put together to-date, much better-looking in my mind’s eye than my own thesis even, which can probably be contributed to the fact that this project of capturing the spirit, energy, community and fun of this show was done for DMI and The DMI Family moreso than myself

anyhow, after a few more tweaks here ‘n there, i will be sure to post this up to Blurb and get a print proof to deliberate — and then and only then the book will be open for more public consumption via Blurb, ISSUU or wherever

[: what a show :]

Social Media Breakfast 15 | CommuniSpace | Watertown MA

Here we go … just a few of the many photos I took while at the SMB15 with Bryan Person, Rachel Happe and Diane Hessan all talking about ‘The Power and Peril of Online Communities’

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Jelly

an interesting new way for people to get together and work side by side … a little more open than your typical office environment … check it out …

What is Jelly? from Amit Gupta on Vimeo.

i’m gettin’ all Jelly at a theatre near you … cya