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Saturday, February 13, 2010


crouse park, sparta, 12feb09

Yesterday, driving from the post office across Hwy18 on Grayson St to Lucas Pasley's house to pick up some Kenyan coffee, I passed this site of
the skateboard park awestruck by the beauty of the odd-shaped forms and the snow patterns they made. Driving by, I saw a fence around an outdoor sculpture exhibit by a New York minimalist, maybe Tony Smith or Robert Morris (google them), snow a part of the art form. It looked like the fence was to keep people out when it's to keep people in. I couldn't get a photograph of the whole. It would have been best with movie camera to look at while going by it, or just enjoy driving by, these forms and others outside the picture changing their relationships to each other as you drive by. I about went into the snow bank beside the road from gaping at it. From the start a few years ago I've thought this skateboard park a beautiful work of contemporary outdoor sculpture that big cities would pay millions to commission a big name NY artist to put in front of a civic center or a big public space like that. People skating all over it makes it all the better. Living art.

I honestly do see it as a work of public art and it's in the right place for it, between Crouse Park, Sparta's only public recreational space, and the county jail, the anti-recreational space. That it's accidental art makes it all the better. I tend to believe the best art happens accidentally, without mind in it, or conscious composition. A rock. Every rock, even gravel in the road, is a perfect work of accidental sculpture. Any rock you pick up, if you study it a little bit you'll find a beautiful form unique unto itself as a human fingerprint.

I like to paint pictures of rocks for their "accidental" abstract designs in details as well as the whole. Like watermelons. I love painting the abstract designs in watermelons that are every pattern unique to the individual watermelon. I love that uniqueness in bulk, several watermelons of the same variety, each with it's own unique designs. This is how God works. No two alike. Take a truckload of rubber duckies. They're all as close to alike as can be machined. Apples in a truckload are all the same and each one unique. Like a truckload of humans. All the same, but very, very different from each other, even if they're the same race, gender, age, size and weight.

Earlier today I saw Jackie Chan's New Police Story. Or Police Story 3. He's a Hong Kong detective with a heart and a kung fu master. In the Asian world he's not the only one. When he gets into a kung fu match with somebody, they're both really fast, blocking kicks and punches. A kick or jab that doesn't get blocked hurts. Being able to take it carries equal importance in the martial arts with giving it. In this particular Police Story episode Xtreme skaters and bicycle riders run through the movie. This particular bunch does Xtreme the Xtreme way. Their skate and bike park is on top of a 50 or so story Hong Kong skyscraper. At the place where it's a long swoop upward for the bike part where they turn around in the air and head back down, or turn in the air and land on the ledge at the top, which is maybe 3 feet wide, the other side is straight down to the street. They think that's fun. They're what Steve Martin would call wild and crazy guys.

They were wild and crazy criminals too, killing cops was their kicks. They robbed banks and killed every cop that came to the scene. It was a way of making money, which none of them needed, and a way to get a bunch of cops together to kill them all. The gang was a problem. Unfortunately for them, they let Jackie Chan live when they had him in their sights. He saw the police could neither outwit nor outshoot them. They didn't take into account that Detective Jackie Chan can play kung fu of the mind too. He prevailed using mind when he couldn't get them physically. Clever movie.

I've noticed that Hong Kong action movies since Jan 1, 2000 when the city went from a British colony to mainland China overnight, went from using guns maximum to guns minimum. Hong Kong action movies had got to the place where they started with guns shooting, ended with guns shooting and guns were shooting all the way in between. Flashy mindless eye candy. Anger going off all over the place all the time. Mainland China doesn't like guns. People don't have guns. Only the army has guns. We won't go into that.

The action films I've seen made since 2000 in Hong Kong are more mind kung fu oriented. Pardon the pun. Accident. Too good to delete. Opposing forces whatever they are focus more on mental maneuvering, using mind instead of guns to get the money they're always after. I applaud the change. I like post 2000 Hong Kong action movies a lot better than the ones before. A turn literally overnight from mindless to mindful. It's like Hong Kong is still the free-spirited place it's always been, but reined in after a headlong race into decadence.

Going by what I've seen in films, major change of mind has occurred in Hong Kong for the much better in my way of seeing. The props of cheap shots they were using didn't work anymore. They've raised the nature of conflict a level from brute force to mind. Now they play mental kung fu. I'm not a big action movie fan, though I unapologetically like one from time to time for seasoning. When they quit using guns, then it got real inventive. Before, more gunshots per minute was inventive. Inventive now is butcher knives, hatchets, swords and other blood-letting implements, watching someone die as the puddle of blood they're lying in gets bigger, and their eyes get that look. Crazy shit. The Asian pop market is the same as our pop market, anger, anger, anger in all forms of expression, rage, explosions, bullets flying everywhere. Don't stick your head out the door.

I see it as visualizations of the mental state of a large portion of humanity, this seething anger that is perhaps pacified by the characters in these films who act out mentally for the viewers so they don't have to do it. I think I remember hearing something about a statistic law enforcement in cities have found, that when a big action movie like Rambo or Schwarzenegger is playing, crime is way down that weekend. The criminals are being pacified. In that way of seeing it, these movies do have a place in the positive category. Middle class soccer moms don't have to watch them if they don't want to, (sorry for the redundancy, middle class -- soccer mom) but there's an awful lot of people who have wretched lives they project onto other people through varieties of crime. Pacification is a good thing for the angry folks. We all have to live together, like it or don't. Ozzy Osborne and Alice Cooper can eat all the bat heads they want. Have a good'n. And, you know, that lunatic bullshit sells. Therefore, it's valid. It's a pacifier we're really happy we have without knowing it. Like garbage men that take out the trash in the night while we sleep, they bite heads off of bats for a lot of fans who want to do it themselves, but can't handle it--pay somebody to do it for them. Pacifiers. You never thought you'd see a bat head for a pacifier, did you?

I evidently have a streak of anger running through me. That's ok. It used to be really bad. In fact, I came to the mountains to work hard labor on a farm and work some of that anger off. It took a long time, but it worked. It was a blessed day when I realized one day the anger I held inside went way down. I don't mind having some anger left. It's no big deal when it's not in abundance. I like to see Chow Yun Fat and Mira Sorvino in Replacement Killers running all the time, guns a-blazin, through showers of bullets and they don't get hit by any of them. That's good kung fu.
It takes a master to dodge bullets from half a dozen machine guns at once in a hallway with no place to hide. Chow Yun Fat (of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) can do it. It seems that now I laugh at my anger. I watch these movies for the humor. All 3 of the Police Story movies are as funny to me as Marx Brothers films. Jackie Chan makes shoot em ups into comedy. It's all perspective.

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