Below the video you'll find better quality pics of the images used, though you can also find them on our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/jackblankhsh/.
Definitely been a while since I finished something musical, let alone for the Scarecrow music project. With any luck this'll be the start of some fresh videos coming out the pipeline. Starting off first with a simple low (low, low) budget lyric video for a song entitled "Enjoy Melting (Acidic Aeon Flux)." It's a piece that's got what I like to call a psychodelic vibe, blending metal and Tom Waits. Inspiration for the title and lyrics came from recollecting the show Aeon Flux. Because I don't want to influence a listeners reaction too much I'll just say that said inspiration followed a train of thought imagining a sexy surreal woman who's as dangerous to love as she is impossible to resist.
Below the video you'll find better quality pics of the images used, though you can also find them on our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/jackblankhsh/.
JANUARY 20, 2017 – the resistance begins
Sirens randomly wailed as emergency vehicles screamed towards grim scenarios. For any city native it’s a common sound, though one is tempted to call it foreshadowing. A palpable dread pollutes the dreamlike atmosphere of this fog shrouded metropolis. Any other night it might feel like the start of adventure and perhaps it still does, though one can’t help feeling what lies ahead is too dark to enjoy. Yet, it’s the perfect time for Chicago to feel ethereal. The last few months have certainly felt unreal.
In that time America elected a new president. By many standards the man is barely human. A mass of congealed hate and rotted dumpster meat wrapped in ruby cheeked Peking duck skin, cloaked in a miasmic aura of narcissism, dishonesty, and the kind of childishness one hopes never to see in a world leader; there are many facets to this wicked pig. Like a matryoshka doll many entities exist within his soul: the Twitter crazed tantrum throwing teenager, world’s most successful conman, the unstoppable pussy grabbing hand rapist, demagogue extraordinaire, and gold plated plutocrat. His obvious flaws caused Olympic grade mental gymnastic in many of his followers, while he fought hard to ultimately lose the popular vote, yet still become president.
So on the night of his inauguration thousands gathered in Chicago. In Washington protesters assembled for the event itself, but they got off on the wrong foot. Violence erupted, and though brief, it tainted the message. The goal of these protests is not to spill blood, or burn the world, it’s to avoid silence. Activists want to show where they stand: against what is coming. This is especially necessary now given Trump’s pathological lying, and routine desire to rewrite history for his benefit. Even after winning the election he found it so implausible that he lost the popular vote he began alleging voter fraud. Not only does he operate under the delusion the country loves him he thinks reality is open to revision, particularly if it doesn’t match the fantasy in his head. That’s why people are gathering in order to leave a mark which cannot be denied.
Walking there, distracted by bleak visions of tomorrow – Vlad and Donnie raping Lady Liberty while dead eyed Stepford wife Melania watches, waiting to be told what to think, and press secretary Spicer prepares alternative facts to explain the grotesquery favorably – I wandered down the wrong street. Instead of joining at the designated assembly point, Wabash and Wacker, I strolled down an empty avenue cordoned off by a smattering of cops. However, police made no move to stop a solitary oddity drifting with the trickle of 9-to-Fivers. I blended in, and got a chance to observe the cops in waiting.
Chicago police have a long history with protests, not all of it good, but in that time they’ve learned a thing or two. Instead of trying to herd the rally they simply fortified the only target of assault. The odds of anyone getting within spitting distance seemed improbable, and because I beat them by chance I will eternally regret not taking the opportunity to hork a wad of phlegm at the building. An officer moved a barricade aside to let me out of the area, complimenting my sideburns as I passed. It made me wonder about their feelings. Some may not have voted for him, but are now ordered to protect his property like dutiful centurions. One can only hope that given a crisis of conscious, a moment that requires humanity not slave devotion to orders, they’ll do the right thing. But for now they simply want the night to pass peacefully. They aren’t alone.
Demonstrators assembled loosely, crowding into a tighter collective by Kupcinet Bridge. There to shout across the river at the name TRUMP glowing in blue tinted lights. Among the masses a throng of musicians calling themselves Sousaphones Against Hate provided an odd soundtrack to the evening’s events. One doesn’t think of sousaphones when picturing a protest, but they added a flavor to the affair more clichéd choices would not. There’s something about a brass band playing “The Imperial March” – it put a smile on the face of a man dressed as a nuclear missile, his costume chillingly implicative, but given the music one could only grin as well.
Homemade signs declared the litany of grievances against President Trump from his failures as a human being and business person to his grotesque, undesirable political agenda. It’s unnerving to watch a young woman hold up a sign in hopes of reminding the world she’s deserves decent treatment because she doesn’t expect it in Trump’s America. After all, she isn’t the right color, or on the right side, literally and figuratively, though it is heartening to witness so many gathered to stand with her.
Amidst the activists at least two different publications vied for attention. Handed for free to any who wanted them, one extolled the virtues of socialism, the other communism, while both asserted this presidency is the fault of capitalism. Some took the papers gladly, though a few accepted them with a roll of the eyes destining them for the trash can unread. Wandering the crowd I picked up discussions as protesters tried to comprehend how this reality came into being. Everyone seemed to subscribe to their own theories which tended to lean toward their personal cause. African Americans asserted racism as a primary factor in Trump’s win, while many women blamed sexism, but it’s important to note no one dismissed anyone else’s idea… except for one young man jabbering a slew of Orwellian weed tangled gibberish. Many politely ignored him. The point being that under a microscope everyone there clearly believed in a different cause, specific to their personal lives, yet those factors go somewhat to the wayside as activists assembled to resist the new president.
A problem with contemporary protests is that everyone wants to come together as one but be heard individually. Of one goal, demonstrators expect to be heard in multiple voices, each distinguishable from the whole. This results in a garbled message. However, that didn’t happen here. Whatever a person’s reasons, everyone came to protest Trump. And that message came across.
That made it sad when the various local news outlets seemed reluctant to record anything. I watched camera operators fiddle with equipment, but not shoot a thing. They swapped idle chit chat waiting for, I can only assume, something unpleasant. Riots are ratings gold after all. I thought maybe they wanted to wait until the crowd reached a more sizable proportion, but honestly, the mass never reached anything critical. Though thousands may’ve come a casual glance could tell the number easily stayed below ten, possibly even five… or dare say two. Friday’s rally didn’t have an astonishing turnout, though Saturday would demonstrate perhaps many merely opted to wait to march in solidarity with the women of America.
Still, this is a new era. Reliance on old media is unnecessary. I saw several in attendance recording, live streaming, photographing and video documenting the event. The regular news may not have covered Friday’s protest in-depth, but the irregular new news, beamed out across social media, spoke volumes.
The night started. Chants kicked up then died down, not enough voices joining in. An organizer shouted into a crackling PA system that occasionally cut out, her voice vanishing before returning midsentence in a cloud of static. Volunteers passed out chant sheets, so anyone in attendance would know what to say. Glancing over one I noticed a preponderance of, “2, 4, 6, 8…” followed by rhymes like, “No more violence, no more hate.” After an hour, though, standing around felt like doing nothing, so I went into Hoyt, a nearby hotel tavern. Also I needed to piss.
Inside I found a pair of bottle blondes taking selfies, giggling over white wine without a care in the world. Most eyes glued to the Hawks game on TV. A few tourists glanced out the windows, and as if for the first time noticed the protesters choking the street. They speculated about what could be happening. It didn’t seem clear despite the “fuck Trump” signs and mass of humanity shouting anti-Trump rhetoric. Then in true tourist fashion they hurried to the windows to snap pics, capturing real world souvenirs.
Then midway through a refreshing Scotch I saw the protesters start marching. I slammed the contents of my glass, and hurried outside.
“This is it!” I thought, “The resistance has begun!”
Rushing to catch up I saw the demonstrators halt at Michigan Avenue. Anticipating the attempt police stood ready to hold the movement back. So for a time the protest seemed destined to merely pinball between two streets until a group of activists turned the flow towards the river walk.
Anxious to storm the Tower, the march poured down the concrete steps. Hurrying to lower Wacker the maneuver seemed naïve. Surely police must’ve anticipated such a move, though in fact they didn’t need to. As already mentioned, barricades stood preventing anyone from getting close enough to piss on the gutters out front. But motion feels like action, so the bulk of protesters surged onward. Signs held aloft elicited honks of support from passing motorists. Cheering, feeling rejuvenated, on the road to success, the march circled like a shark.
It was then I saw a couple pausing from the protest to take a picture. Passing by the infamous Billy Goat Tavern, a boyfriend photographed his girlfriend. She posed to have, not only the landmark, but her sign in the photo as well. The march slowly getting away from them, while they made sure to get the right shot.
Shortly afterward I heard two demonstrators talking:
“Which street do we turn down to get to Trump Tower?”
“The next one?”
This exchange taking place a block after the relevant street. I thought about directing them, but momentum seemed in favor of simply wandering the streets, shouting for attention. When an organizer cried out, “We’re going to Lakeshore Drive!” trying to corral the herd to the Chicago landmark I departed from the march. Gumming up LSD with protesters has become a predictable move in recent years. It felt like the obligatory song of a one hit wonder trying to win back fans drifting to the exit. Make no mistake, the spirit is willing, the flesh is not weak, but the movement is already fatigued.
Every day is a fresh pot of awful drunk choking back vomit. This weekend’s protests are important, but they are more indicative of what’s to come rather than anything expected to effect change. It would take god-sized optimism bordering on lunatic naivety to presume protests alone will unseat this “man.” This is only the beginning.
Now that it's proven a call to action can assemble the masses it’s time to consider the next move. It isn’t enough to simply get people together. Protests, after all, are more symbolic than effective. Their main accomplishment is proving there is a movement, but they have to have an impact on something other than awareness of said movement.
A friend of mine put it best, and if I may paraphrase: it starts with a snowflake building to an avalanche. We now need the avalanche.
This week I've been busy putting together a video for the song "I'm in Love with a 21st Century Witch." Part of me thinks I should reduce the title yet also find the length strangely humorous. However, it's been a labor intensive process. That's mainly due to the fact I decided to make as much of the content stop motion as possible. I'm not saying everything I do will ultimately be used, but fingers crossed I can put together enough to give the video some weird creepy flare. The downside, though, is that I didn't have time to put together anything too in-depth.
I didn't want to just crank out some gibberish -- splatting words across a page, hoping something sticks into an intriguing shape. Still, I found time to indulge in something, for lack of better phrasing, casually focused. It required effort, but it didn't feel like work. It felt like taking a break from the tedium of stop motion.
But without further blather, here are some scribbles.
Old spymasters used to whisper about intentional sacrifices, low level info catchers killed for Kali in the hope she spared the world. And spurious reasoning seemed to prove them right. For every Bond wannabe bleeding to death in a Moroccan alley, drowning in Venetian streets, murdered mid-sex, the world lived another day.
Such thoughts come to mind considering the night ahead. At my buddy Sid’s, the neighbors have painted their faces into colorful calavera, while they kill chickens for the orishas. I offer them a bottle of rum from the freezer. They take it gladly, and I wish them the best of luck.
“Which rum you give them?” Sid asks.
I shrug, “Does it matter?”
Sid says, “Yeah, if you want the offering to mean anything.”
He checks the freezer for what’s missing. Nodding he says, “That’ll do.”
“Since when do you believe in gods?”
He sighs, “Since we need all the help we can get.”
The sentiment seems shared by all this evening. On the stroll to Mr. G’s we pass wild mummeries. The street lamps have all been shot out. Lighting the way are burning pyres covered in various birds. Exsanguinations of goats run red rivers down the gutter. Revelers in phantasmagorical maquillage dance to music blasting out of cars, houses, and nearby bars, a chaotic cacophony of mixed styles blending into a delightful mess. The noise is meant to get the attention of the heavens; and some assist the effort by wearing ornate accoutrements: decorative plastic eyewear, ridiculous elaborate hats, and fake flower leis. Whatever may glance down from above will surely get an eye snagged on the sight below.
A yellow muscle car comes screaming around a corner, the “driver” seated on the roof wearing Viking horns. He opens his mouth to shout something, but the vehicle drifts into a parked pickup. As the two cars disintegrate the “driver” is flung out into the darkness. Everyone cheers. No one checks on him, though a keen ear may’ve detected the sound of snapping branches… or bones. Either he survived, or he belongs to the gods. One more sacrifice to earn us a better tomorrow.
We stepped into Mr. G’s, and joined the worldwide effort, contributing our own sacrificial brain cells, aiming for a global googolplex.
For whatever reason, the owner of Mr. G’s decided to hire a DJ, a young Puerto Rican with a neck tattoo, who plugged his laptop into the stereo system, and proceeded to run a playlist. Sid, unable to stomach electronic music for more than thirty seconds, did his best to remain calm, but forty seconds in started lobbing empty shot glasses at the DJ. The practice caught on, and Regulars eventually rained glasses at the DJ until he fled. I took his laptop, appraised its value, but decided it would be safer to smash it out of existence lest he return.
Without prompting Reilly starts a story:
“Someone’s talkin’ like, ‘No one really knows when a new year starts.’ ’nd I’m like, ‘Okay, that’s interesting.’ Noddin’ Ima sippin’ muh beer, I realize ‘s a cup of piss. Literal piss.”
“Literally,” I correct him. Why I have no idea.
“You wanna finish my story?”
Shake my head, “Nope.”
“Right. So liter-rally piss. Happy?”
“I’m fucking telling a story,” Reilly says.
“Then finish it,” signaling for a round of shots.
Reilly takes a minute to remember his place, “So this jackhole is yammering about are-bit-tarry , dates.”
I suspect he meant arbitrary, however, I let that one slide. GG pours us a few artillery shells, while Sid finishes rolling a joint. She flashes a playful frown that says, “Really? All out in the open?” to which Sid replies by blowing her kiss. She catches it with one hand, rubs her vagina, and sashays to another waiting customer.
Reilly continues, “Sos he’s talkin’, while I’m like why I got dis piss? Fogs is clearin’, but not fast enough. I mean I might not’ve needed to be holding it for fuck’s sake. Then I ‘member Fake Dave was in the bathroom.”
“The Fake Dave?” I ask, “The real Fake Dave?”
“The one and only,” Reilly nods.
Sid taps me on the shoulder. Laws being what they are, it’s necessary to go outside to smoke.
I say, “Hold that thought Reilly.”
“For a beer I might.”
Oddly enough, I don’t feel a need to buy the end of the story. On the way out I can hear Reilly wrapping things up. Tossing words to any ear willing to hear he sits basically talking to himself.
Pool balls collide, cracking like thunder. The jukebox sings as if the seventies are alive and well; that era of rock still reigns supreme. A delivery boy arrives carrying several pizzas, and is promptly hogtied, and thrown in the basement – no one feels like paying. Several of the senior lady-regulars slip off to have their way with him, while the rest of us pound beers, and gorge on greasy pizza. A few folks sing along with the jukebox, though they can’t quite remember the lyrics:
“A dull lesson sent pumps into a vat
With a boulder for a shoulder
Feeling kind and colder, I tripped that Mary go down
With her cock teasing, wheezing, and sneezing
Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche
In the middle of the fight.
Blinded by the right, warped up like a douche
In the riddle of the night...”
And they keep singing even after the song is over. Bobby and Jennifer decide now is as good a time as any to go over the details of their custody battle, while their kids desperately focus on the television showing New York’s countdown. No illusion about their future, I buy the kids thimbles of whiskey. Sid disappears with GG, and a half hour later the two come back wearing each other’s t-shirts, her tits turning the Motörhead logo into something three double d; only I know better than to make stupid jokes. Mainly because they think no one’s ever seen the two vanish to her battered GTO for a quickie. The secrecy is part of the romance.
Ol’ Davy shouts, “Let the booze flow like blood refilling soldiers in the war against sobriety.”
A few cheer the old poet, “Sláinte, Davy.” He’ll never finish the piece, though he’ll cover a bar napkin in inky murmurs.
It could be any Friday, Saturday, or Tuesday. The only difference is that at midnight silence descends. The septuagenarians emerge from their basement orgy with the bewildered delivery boy. The jukebox karaoke crowd halts their performance. Bob and Jennifer cease fire. Their kids start the countdown, and soon the whole bar is one voice, “Five, four, three, two…” and as the new year approaches I walk outside with a pint. A brief ovation comes muffled through the door.
Lighting a cigarette I can see the sacrificial pyres are now just embers. The red rivers no longer flow, though the stains remain. Even the wreckage from the ghost driven car/catapult vanished at some point. The revelers though, they still dot the streets, shooting fireworks into the sky, adding temporary stars to the night. Brief constellations made of Roman candle ammo offer a new astrology – the promise of a new day. And shuffling out of the dark is a figure in a horned Viking hat. He looks dazed, but not confused. His eyes are set on the door to Mr. G’s. What didn’t kill him made him thirsty, a taste of madness is never enough – it’s time to glut on insanity.
Holding the door open I say, “Glad to see you made it.”
So a new year begins.