So I ummm, wrote a sequel to the the Book of the Is. It's called, predictably, The Book of the Un.
You may have supported the Kickstarter for it a few months ago. I appreciate it.
I'm having sort of a pre-book release party on Oct 1st at the 111 Minna Gallery in SF. http://www.sfiop.org/posts/events/decent-into-madness/
There is a chapter in the book on the Fallen Cosmos, so we are re-imaging that show for this book release party. As a parade. Yes. A parade. You can hear all about this event and other events we do by signing up on the "event list" for the San Francisco Institute of Possibility here: http://lists.sfiop.org.customers.tigertech.net/mailman/listinfo/announcements--16
I'm sending this bit of writing out as a teaser for the new book because you are on my list. Enjoy!
Excerpt From the Book of the Un: Sorcery chapter:
I discovered flamenco too late. I’m simply too old to ever be able to play my guitar in anything more than a pedestrian way in regards to Spanish music. There just aren’t enough years left in my body to develop the techniques. I ran out of road. Maybe next time. Have you ever experienced Flamenco? It’s a stunning, powerful thing. The music has a sadness to it absent from our pop music candy-coated crap, but also a sureness. A dignity. A resolve. The dancers embody striking poise and yet somehow easy comfort. The hand gestures look like flowers and the poly-rhythms they clap transfix you and you get lost in the beauty. The fire roars. The wine flows. The guitars thrum in perfect syncopation to percussive stomping and the throaty singing of songs about young love lost, an amplitude of stars litters the night sky as this show is presented to anyone within earshot as a gift… imagine, if you would for a moment, that this show is a place a magical creature would like to vis it. A jinn or a Fey creature, like a fairy, an imp or maybe just a spirit. The Spanish call this: the duende.
The duende is a momentary burst of inspiration, the blush of all that is truly alive, all that the performer is creating at a certain moment. The duende resembles what Goeth called the “demoniacal.” It manifests itself principally among musicians and poets of the spoken word, rather than among painters and architects, for it needs the trembling of the moment and then a long silence. —Federico Garcia Lorca, In Search of Duende
The Greeks introduced the 9 Muses to describe where artistic inspiration comes from. The Spaniards had a more direct approach.
The magic that Flamenco creates is defined two ways:
Wait! Come back! You can’t use logic or cynicism to elude duende! It will find you, it’s impossible to hide!
The Gypsy fable goes something like this: when the perfect scene is set, there are spirits from a magical place that can cross over to our world and when they come you can feel it as a kind of electricity in the air. They can make mischief. They also make magical connections possible. These jinn or fairies come “through the eyes” when you see great art or beauty and link you to the divine. But they only come when many eyes are seeing the beauty. They come for shows.
Duende is the Spanish word for seeing God through the beauty of show.
Maybe duende is some of these things:
The insanely complicated feelings a first time poet performer reads their words from memory to a crowd of 400 people: risk, vulnerability, excitement, approval, crippling self-doubt and surrender.
Or how a matador does a dance with a bull that is so impossibly beautiful the Moors would point and yell “God!”(Allah! with a Moorish accent is pronounced Olé!)
When you see an opera singer hit a super high note, and hold it with passionate resolve and the hair stands up on the back of your neck: that’s more than years of vocal lessons. The lights, the props, the smoke machine, the acting, the audience… it’s a ritual that summons duende, of course.
The sleeper who kills it at karaoke. Just nails it, you didn’t see that coming. It was like a magical little elf possessed him or something!
Moshing to At The Gates with a thousand other metal heads when they extend the intro to a song to just one note crunching in 4/4 time. The meanest, evilest sounds at an ungodly volume and surrendering to total catharsis. And feeling perfectly safe, totally free and holding bloodlust as your body becomes one with the music as it flies through the air, knowing you won’t be able to count the bruises tomorrow. And not caring.
You’ve got $500 on the table. The craps table is packed. You shake the dice and let them fly! Time slows down as they hit the table, the air is thick, excitement is high… it kinda seems like it’s the same thing… what is that? I honestly don’t know. I have to think about that…
The feeling as the car pulls away from the curb departing on a road trip with dear friends with no destination. That magical energy in that car, playing that music at that volume everyone screaming the lyrics and feeling free and full of possibility.
The magical aura of a glowing bride, surrounded by the love of family and friends… flowers on the ground and everywhere, festive decorations, endless feasting and wine… tell me the elf can resist that shit, no way!
It’s the last 2 laps of the Indy 500, there are 2 cars battling for the prize way out front and the car in back does the “slingshot” and catches the front car unawares and zooms to victory!!!!! No, that’s not really it actually. There’s no duende there.
“The notion of duende (from duen de casa, “master of the house”) came to [Lorca] from popular Spanish culture, where the duende is a playful hobgoblin, a household spirit fond of hiding things, breaking plates, causing noise, and making a general nuisance of himself. But Lorca was aware of another popular usage of the term. In Andalusia people say of certain toreros and flamenco artists that they have duende—an inexplicable power of attraction, the ability, on rare occasions, to send waves of emotion through those watching and listening to them.” —Christopher Maurer, In Search of Duende
When you get these magical moments, this duende, an odd thing happens. You have to pretend you don’t notice, or you will dispel the magic. But time slows down. Vision comes into better focus. A kind of lightning lingers in the air like ozone. This is the domain of goose bumps as you are spellbound and ALWAYS fully present in moment. This is the place of transcendence. You are brought here by inspiration and drawn away by fear or doubt. Trying to even write this down makes me feel like a traitor, but I really feel like we have to cheat at least a little because shits kinda going crazy out there. We have to survive this technological adolescence we are going through and not lose all of the wisdom and connections to things that aren’t machines now that we have them doing so much for us. We need to remember that cultures in the past lived for duende and other art forms, and worked only to eat and survive.
“The muse, the beloved, and duende are three ways of thinking of what is the source of poetry, and all three seem to me different names or different ways to think about something that is not entirely reasonable, not entirely subject to the will, not entirely rational. “ —Edward Hirsch, The Demon and the Angel
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