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There’ll be a brief pause whilst AmericanEyeball.com makes a subtle shift. Please be patient; Rome wasn’t eaten in a day.

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Rest assured, AmericanEyeball.com is an Universal Constant, kinda’ like pie.

 

 

 

TALES of WANDER…on Tour!

Here are this year’s dates for storytelling sessions by yours truly, “The Last American Hitch-Hiker”…try out some excerpts from past performances here >>> THUMB it.

Future additions to the tour will include Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas!!!

shadow

IOWA

August 23, 3pm…Beaverdale Books (Des Moines)

August 28, 5pm…Plain Talk Books (Des Moines)

August 30, 5pm…ORPHEUM Theatre (Fairfield)

 

IMG_9576

MINNESOTA

October 10, 11, 12
HOOT ON THE ROOT Art n Music Fest
Lanesboro, MN

HEADSPACE Art Show > July 12

ALTWALK 029Soon, you shall have a chance to see nuggets of brain on display.

Local creative craniums have invented stimulating skull fodder for your viewing pleasure at Jailhouse Arts, Buena Vista. Simply put, “We’re Having an Art Party!” The theme is HEADSPACE. There was a feverish response from imaginitive misfits in the form of sculpture, painting, drawing, etcetera. Those of you who frequent the streets of BV may have noticed the menacingly provocative skull which has appeared on E. Main…this gnarly noggin was fabricated out of junk by the resident artist known as “EYEBALL” and his friend J.P., a genius of welded weirdness. Other marvelously mind-full treats await your hungry eyes. Morsels for your mouth; baked goodies, home-made hors d’ouvres, and yum-yums from the Asian Palate. Wine and beer will provide brain-fuzz as you thrill at the brain-buzz of imagination. “Just Be.Man” will be our lyricist and scientist of sound, providing cerebral vibrations throughout the evening, stepping it up higher and higher until the roof comes off the joint late in the night. This shall be a crowning event of spontaneous proportions. We hope that you will join us in the merrymaking.

Saturday, July 12 from 5pm until our heads explode! Jailhouse Arts, 414 E. Main.

makin’ HEADway

Summer is here, and the smell of burning metal is in the air…in a good way. Reason being, my friend J.P. has arrived from Terlingua, TX to join me in the making of weirdness, wildness, wonder-full-ness in the form of JUNK “SKULLPTURES”.

Pictured below is JAWS, the first of several pieces we’re making at Jailhouse Arts, here in Buena Vista, CO. This and future Gnarly Noggins can be experienced up-close at the upcoming HEADSPACE Art Show at Jailhouse Arts on July 12. JAWS is made from a wheelbarrow, red metal from a truck, discs from an old piece of farm equipment, a crowbar, teeth from a harvesting machine, and other various rusty items.

JAWS 008Backside of JAWS, showing the disc-y skull-duggery…JAWS

We’re also currently conjuring a Phoenix to be mounted on the roof of the gallery…this freaky bird has escaped the confines of conformity and is burning its way to the heavens above…it will allow the wind to be its guide, spinning whichever way the tempest points. PHOENiX FREE is made from an old bed-frame (most likely painted with lead paint, thus J.P.’s wearing an air respirator), a MONARK bike from the 50′s, old corrugated tin, etc.PHOENiXParts is parts…MORE TO COME!JAWS 013

 

!!! FUNKY JUNK !!!

The rust made me do it. Maybe I got tetanus or something and it corrupted my brain in ways that cannot be explained. I’ve cut/scratched/maimed myself plenty of times while working on rusty metal frames and sculptures. Is it possible that the rust got into my bloodstream and gradually made me into a reformed and damaged thing? Maybe I’m finally getting my patina. Sure is a pretty word for the surface corruption of old wrecked-up crap.

!!!!!!!!!!  This Art Show is on MARCH FIRST at the Funky Starlight Theatre  !!!!!!!!!!!

I’m curating my Fifth FUNKY JUNK! Art Show, with immeasurable help from my friend, Zbynek “The Prolific Apocalyptic” Najser. Now, strolling wistfully down Degeneracy Lane, re-animating the artifacts of ruination in anticipation of the new/old installation, I will give you a short and twisted history of the show. Our first edition of FJ spawned a beast which hovers at the gates of Terlingua Ghost Town, preventing the souls of those who enter from ever leaving. Flying Cinnabar Cootie was conceived and animated by J.P. and myself. The Cootie, on one of its night-time forages, was deftly captured by Thomas Avery in the photo below.1595Amongst other tackle, this insectile apparition was created from a motorcycle tank, barbecue grill, chains, electric window motor, pieces of rusty tin, some crazy muffler parts, and a generous sprinkling of tarantula fur. The monstrosity we hatched pierced my skin and I was at once infected. Now, whence I spend any period of time without creating sculpture from scrap-metal, I get the itch.

Each show, with its stained-glass-spectrum of visual art on the walls, floor, and ceiling, is accompanied by those fun, warped people who like to dress according to theme. The most outrageously constructed apparel has landed on the show-floor, worn by adventurous local fauna.

SPACE JUNK

Cast-aside relics from our recent past = the most interesting art-making material, because they have lived a full life already. THINGS used by humans, especially in a place such as Terlingua where people are efficient and clever, have already been through a series of processes: used until broken, fixed multiple times and used again for their original purpose. Already scratched and dented, these objects are often taken and utilized for a whole new funktion, maybe deconstructed to get at parts which can be employed elsewhere. Next, these pieces of beat-up chunks of industrial flotsam go into a state of limbo, sitting somewhere in a pile of kin, waiting for mutants like me to come along…people who can look beyond the ugly and into the lovely. Somewhere within the wreckage, they hunt for life.

A perfect example of the life-cycle of junk is the Storm Beetle; born of the most eclectic of circumstances, it is an insect which only has wings during the mating season, when it must fly into the upper levels of the troposphere to copulate during the lightning storms of May and June. This beetle uses a blue beacon to signal its partner while hovering amongst nacreous clouds of ice, the sapphire glow emanating and reflecting magnificently. Once their brief love-dance is complete, the beetles shed their wings instantly and begin to plummet downward, back towards the Earth below, aiming their posterior at sandy creekbeds, where they crash in a spray of rock, sand, and dust. Partially submerged, the beetles begin to auger their way deep into the crust, where, in a state of dormancy, they await the rains of September for rebirth and proliferation. George Womack and I released one specimen (pictured below) into the atmosphere by combining the ever-buggish moto-tank with some brake pads, an old German lantern, re-bar and springs, a huge gear, a spade, an auger, ceiling fan wings, and the juice from a hundred persimmons.

STORM BEETLE

I’ve been notified of something interesting. TEXAS INDEPENDENCE DAY is March first! I am still learning about these traditions. Here is my take on it >>> FREAKISHLY RE-FOUND, AVANT-GARBAGED, MIND-BENDINGLY MASTER-PIECE-ED, OLD-FANG-DELICIOUSLY, NEW-MANGLED ART…could things be any more independent than that?

!!!!!!!!!!  This Art Show is on MARCH FIRST at the Funky Starlight Theatre  !!!!!!!!!!!

Art can be contributed by anyone in any media…no entry fee, as usual…all art is accepted and put into the show. Leave your work on the dancefloor in the Starlight Theatre by 11pm Wednesday, February 26. Get inspired and make something OR just plan a Funked-Up Outfit for the opening party…White Trash or Tribal Trash or whatever you think of… no better way to extol INDEPENDENCE than being our FUNKY INDEPENDENT TRIBE OF SELVES.

MARCH FIRST at the Funky Starlight Theatre from 6pm until late late late… and, as you know >>> “We Put the FUNK in Your JUNK!”

FUNKOJUNKO

AMPED

NEW YEAR…still here.

Is this OK? I know it seems like forever since the old orbital odometer clicked over. My New Year’s Entry comes after a month of recovery from those intense end-of-year confusions and contusions…this way, I’m less inclined to make foolish delusional resolutions which last about as long as a Luden’s Wild Cherry throat lozenge. In fact, I shall make no determinations about my future here whatsoever. The only two inspirational propositions I shall include, prompted by recent events, are: Waste No Time and Show Your Love to Those Around You. Simple as that.

Honestly, this post is more about my creative cultivation of last year, a year that was much like a peach with the sweetest flesh…yet I somehow managed to chip a tooth on the pit. Shall we jump straight to said pit? Yes, let’s get it over with. I must assure you that I am anything but a pessimist; therefore, I have found quite a number of ways to salve the fact that I broke my foot at the end of July. How’s this for optimism:

“At least it’s mostly un-broken…only two of the twenty-six bones of my foot were fractured, AND I get to tell people that I did it while dancing.”      Mark Eyeball Kneeskern

The real problem, of course, is my “Stubborn Man Syndrome”, which kept me from going to get an x-ray for about three weeks. Apparently, I have less nerves in my left foot than most people, because it sure didn’t hurt like it was broken! To be honest, money concerns also affected my judgement to some degree (a classic symptom of the syndrome). Regardless, I am still dealing with the foot problem and could be for some time, but the following list will show you how I’ve handled the frustration of my somewhat static existence resulting from the boo-boo.

  1. Being immobilized magnified my attention towards the skills of drawing, writing,    singing, researching, family history preservation, etc. etc.
  2. More time was spent with my folks, who are truly a pleasure to be around…I was  able to get to know them better than ever this last Fall.
  3. I developed a sincere empathy for those who are not able to perambulate as well as  they used to…
  4. I found out how amazing my friends and family really are…so many of them were  sweet as honey, helping me in so many ways. (Including the Witch of Smoky  Mountain who made me a quick batch of Comfrey Salve. Seriously, if you need  natural healing herbs and salves and tinctures, I can hook you up.)
  5. I became more conscious of my body and its needs, strengths, limitations, and  general workings, while gaining an appreciation of the complexity of the living  machine and accepting that I need to treat it with more respect and  forethought.

So, as far as pits go, mine was not so tough. It almost seemed as though I was being rewarded for my stubbornness! Ironically, as my mobility diminished, my world got bigger…I was reaching into spaces far-removed from my normal realm. For example, I’m not one to think too much about politics, yet at the end of 2013 I had time to research and write an article called “Super Women and Silver Feet” for The Big Bend Gazette. This pilot piece is the first in a series leading up to the election of Texas’ new governor. The experience is giving me new chops and I am feeling more confident in my skills.

Words became the main peach-flesh of my creative existence in 2013; after all, my first real book was printed in June. “The Last American Hitch-Hiker” is an earnest effort to create something of lasting worth for anyone who’s got rambling wrinkles in their brain. Whether measured by time, effort, or sheer pride of workmanship, this novel represents the highest level of creativity I have achieved to date. I am anxious to write the next one.

“Is life about making something and then moving on to the next project?” In this case, “Definitely not.” While working on the blueprints of my new idea, I shall be dwelling in the house of the previous one for some time. With a book, especially one of the self-published variety, the writer must extend words eloquently out from the tactile ream and into the realm of living and breathing pulp. There’s no better way to get a book into the hands of people who will appreciate it most than by presenting its stories using the oral tradition. This deepens the adventure even further, transforming the text into something entertaining for a live audience. I am not allowing myself to simply read passages, instead performing stories from the book, revealing morals and truisms which lie within, while doing anything I can to make people laugh out loud (which gives me the greatest thrill). I cherish the end of the evening, when the floor opens for questions and discussions, allowing for some interesting, and often hilarious, interactions. Hopefully, some useful thoughts are picked up by folks in the crowd and taken to other destinations…where they are passed along yet again.

Always, I have dreamt of reaching out with my creative work to make contact with the viewer, even making them a participant in the process. One might do so with drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography, but a book has the greatest potential. The written word has enabled me finally to speak directly with my audience; it has opened the clearest channel for communicating my ideas. Dealing with a broken foot has been one of the most challenging, and rewarding, experiences of my life.

REMEMBER: if handled properly, a pit may conceive delicious fruit…

Coaxing Rain

Cry of battle, announcement of rites, audible directions for the navigation of ships, inspiration of the drink, call to worship, accompaniment for lovers…pulse of any living thing…music.

An exploration into the writing, making, and performing of music has begun for me. I played alto sax in Junior high and sang in the High School chorus, but was never serious about either. Many times, I found myself messing around with instruments, thinking I would like to instantly know how to play them, because I could always hear the music in my head, but hadn’t the sufficient desire to go through the learning process. Seven years ago I purchased a djembe (standard African drum with goatskin head) for half-price at a music shop. Here was an instrument which did not require me to have lessons or read books to become fairly good. After a couple years, I was performing occasionally as a beatmaker for local fire-dancers here in Terlingua. Otherwise, I’ve used the drum as a way to release savage rhythms into the desert sky, sometimes attempting to coax moisture down from the mocking clouds.

Next, strewn across my path of lazy musical development, was the gut-bucket >>> Washtub-Bass. I had truly found the ultimate instrument for three reasons. One, I could build it myself for next-to-nothing. Two, I didn’t have to take lessons to learn it. Three, every band is looking for a bass-player, but no one wants to play bass! The washtub allows for incredible flexibility in playing, is always a conversation-piece, and provides me with a key to access the talent of other musicians. Now, I must subject these musicians to my writing, hopefully convincing them to join me in creating songs that will cause women to faint, men to pump their fists, and children to run around in circles until they fall down.

Living here in Terlingua amongst the folks who have demonstrated many examples of finely crafted music, I am inclined to follow in their footsteps and try out one of the greatest challenges in writing: the construction of lyrical stories packed with meaning. I was already steeped in Tom Waits’ textural semi-autobiographical outpourings…Tom is a highly regarded cat in the field and I’ve been listening to him since 1987, when I purchased a cassette tape of “Frank’s Wild Years”, inspired by a video I saw on Much Music in which Waits was singing the original “Downtown Train”. Of course, I went to the music store and picked up the wrong Tom Waits cassette tape with the wrong train song on it. (Later, I found out that every Tom Waits album has a train song on it.) I didn’t know at the time that “Frank’s Wild Years” was the music from an operetta of the same name that Tom and his wife wrote and produced for a short run in Chicago. Hell, I didn’t even know what an operetta was. It was not something I enjoyed listening to at first. Jarring rhythms that sometimes disintegrated into simple noise, Wait’s cheese-grated vocals, and crappy instrumental flourishes all congealing into something the like of which I had never experienced in music. After sticking the tape in a drawer for a week or so, a strange magnetism pulled me back to the thing. The second time I listened to “Frank’s Wild Years,” it sounded different. I suppose my brain had the whole week to chew on the raw material, breaking it down into something I could digest. Every day for a month or so, I listened to the album. The baudy, grimy, textural, rude, crude, mad-dog poetic album had…wonderful dissonance. Once I got my teeth into the flesh of the discordant beast, I was hooked. Now, I’m after the marrow.

From the beginning to the end, I recognized that Waits was conveying a rambling storyline of sorts, possibly about a man’s own smoggy, drunken perception of his rise to temporary fame and sudden fall from the low precipice. It’s since been described on Wait’s site as a “rag to rags” tale. My own experience with peripatetic elucidation has recently come to a head, as I’ve detailed and published the accumulated experiences of over 15,000 miles of uncommon modus operandi in a hefty book titled “The Last American Hitch-Hiker”. Please check out a few excerpts from the book >>> HITCHSo I wrote a book and I’m proud of it…but songwriting is a whole other vegetable. I feel as if I might be up to the task…my ability to tell stories has been proven to an extent. Hopefully I’ll be able to coax some rain from the clouds with my new songwriting feather. Here’s what I have so far…”GREY HOUND” is about a recent trip I took, “90 DAYS” is about taking off hitch-hiking like I do every year, “The PLASTIC SONG” is about how it ain’t what it used to be, “Where Are You?” is about waiting for someone, and “GOD Lives in the SUN” is about a possibly devastating future solar flare. These are cheaply recorded and are best heard on headphones. Enjoy and let me know what you think! >>> EYE SONGS

Here in Terlingua, we’re gearing up for the next art show, which just so happens to be about Music! Check out the details…you may still wish to get involved! >>> SONG YOU VERY MUCH

Blood and Oatmeal

I’ve been thinking a lot about blood. Now, don’t back away from the screen, I’m talking about blood pressure. Specifically, my blood pressure. I started to wonder about it, because I have this broken foot, which you may have heard about by now. { I wrote a dark, nasty little diatribe about it >>> ROGUE FOOT } After learning about melatonin and how it is only produced in the absence of light, I have fully adjusted my schedule to get about as much of the bone-regulating hormone as I can. { MELATONIN }

Thus, I believe my bones are well on their way to full recovery; however, sometimes my foot becomes quite red and itchy, which is naturally of great concern. Yesterday, I was sitting here with a cup of coffee, trying to get some writing done while stewing about my blushing foot, which really was feeling quite terrible. According to legend, creative types are supposed to invent astounding works of art when subjected to suffering, but I was far too distracted by my affliction of the foot to be able to focus on the task at hand.

The previous evening had been spent drinking beer and playing washtub bass, accompanying a couple of amazing musicians at Long Draw Pizza here in Terlingua, TX. So, maybe I’d been just a little too active and my foot was talking back…hard to play a washtub without your feet, ya’ know. Lately, though, I’ve been doing a lot of wash-tubbing without any adverse reaction, so I couldn’t blame the ol’ gut bucket.

Blood seemed to be pooling in my foot, that much was clear, but Why?Why?Why? I began trying to figure it out on my own, using amateur deduction…it was either that, or go to my local Witch-Doctor. (I should note here that “local” can mean 120 miles away when you’re in this region.) One idea that suddenly twitched should have been an obvious one…leg muscles in the condemned limb, especially those of the calf, have become weakened and noticeably smaller. Calf-muscles essentially act as “second hearts” in that they pump blood back up from our lowest extremities. I clearly need to begin a regimen of calf-strengthening…right away! I also began doing push-ups and sit-ups, thinking also that a raised heart-rate could get my juices flowing around more zestfully.

Sitting at the table, heart thudding madly from the workout, a thought stumbled nervously across my mind, and then plunged into the murky depths of my coffee mug. Most certainly, I was dehydrated from the beer last night and now, the morning coffee was adding to the condition…my body’s supply of H-2-O was far below the acceptable level. I immediately took a huge drink of water. It’s funny, I’m always preaching about how water is so damned important, yet I often forget to ingest enough of it myself. Here’s the standard hydration equation for those of you who wish to know: take one half of your body weight (in pounds) and the resulting number is how many ounces you should drink per day when not doing anything strenuous. Example: if you weigh 180 pounds, drink at least 90 ounces of water each day.

While researching, I came across a website that compares blood to oatmeal. Let me elaborate; the site conveyed the idea that when blood is lacking a certain water content, it becomes thick, much like that of my favorite mushy breakfast-grain. When the blood is really low on water, they likened it to oatmeal that coagulates at the bottom of the pot…you can turn the pot upside-down and it doesn’t run out. At first, I did a double-take and thought “Is this a joke?” Blood and oatmeal just don’t seem congruous.

Yet, I found it to be a legitimate site. Our blood actually does get thick and sludgy when we don’t drink enough water, and this thickness causes high blood pressure. Your blood (on a good day) is 50% water, and it doesn’t take long for this number to drop below healthy levels. You’re not going to stroke out from one day of being dehydrated. High blood pressure has an accumulated effect…over the course of years, it will weaken your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. In addition, high blood pressure causes bone loss and sleep apnea. { view the link from MAYO Clinic, where I got much education on the subject >>> MAYO } For all of these reasons and more, staying hydrated throughout your life can improve the quality and duration of living.

Ironically, oatmeal has been found to lower the blood pressure of hypertensive people…it can actually take the place of pharmaceuticals in many cases. If we eat beneficial foods and get regular exercise, we need less medical treatment. Sounds stupidly obvious, but many of us still insist on making poor dietary and lifestyle choices. I am as guilty as the next person…being dehydrated much of my life has surely not done my body any favors, and if you saw my “diet-plan” from the college years, you’d wonder how I even survived.

Obviously, many human ailments can be prevented and even treated with one simple prescription: DRINK MORE WATER. From now on, I am going to practice what I preach in regards to the subject. It may not be the final cure for my foot, but I will henceforth bestow upon my body generous amounts of that Aqua Pura, that Liquid Vitality, that…Elixir of Life.