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Archive for June, 2011

Buddha bits

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Pula, Croatia Buddha – foto by Smith

Buddha left his wife
Buddha abandoned his child
Waited beneath tree
For enlightenment
And the life unentangled
To walk with oneness

— Smith, 6-21-2011

Buddha with snake – foto by Smith

Buddha bounce – assemblage & foto by Smith

Buddha bead – assemblage & foto by Smith


Sold, 1990s, now

Monday, June 20th, 2011

“Sold” – sculpture & foto by Smith

Spent Father’s Day out at my in-laws repainting an old sculpture of mine that had weathered and fallen apart over the past 15 years of outdoor Cleveland weather.

Now the weather will slowly wear the glossy sheen away and the iron cage she’s in will begin to rust and an orange red color will slowly creep through and stain the white enamel at random points.

In another ten years I’ll have to paint it again when it falls apart.

I love process art that’s slowly ever-changing.

“Sold” – sculpture & fotos by Smith

This is what it originally looked like somewhere back in the 1990s when new. The bamboo frame it was hanging in fell apart after weathering ten years of Cleveland winters.

original format of “Sold” – sculpture & foto by Smith


No blog

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Blue Smith – foto by Smith

It’s another day with no blog
My mind’s lazy as a frog
Sitting on a log

— Smith 6-19-2011

Quo Vadis – foto by Smith


The Lady from Shanghai, 1947

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

still from The Lady from Shanghai – foto by Smith

Saw for the second time one of my favorite film noirs – The Lady from Shanghai starring Orson Welles and his estranged wife Rita Hayworth. The 1947 film was written, produced and directed by Welles as well.

I shot these stills from my laptop monitor of the film’s finale which is a shootout in a fun house and hall of mirrors. This is the most surreal American film I’ve seen, and my favorite Orson Welles film as well, although I do dearly love A Touch of Evil, 1958 — what a change from the thin slim handsome Welles of 1947 to the at least 100 pounds heavier Welles in the 1958 film.

I’d love to see Welles’ original version because the film’s release was delayed due to heavy editing by Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn, who insisted on cutting about an hour from Welles’s final cut.

stills from The Lady from Shanghai – fotos by Smith


Party Poopers

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Scene article – foto by Smith

I’m going to have to raise my rates. The Cleveland Scene article below refers to me as an “expert” and a “writing professional.” That’s gotta be worth something somewhere somehow sometime, right?

Party Poopers
Our experts weigh in on summer 2011’s hottest songs
by Adam Burroughs
Scene Magazine June 15-21, 2011

There are so many things to love about summer: the sun, the beach, the long days, the pop songs we’ll hear a gazillion times. But how durable are those songs that will be blasting out of our cars, iPods, and deck stereos for the next three months? We asked a panel of music and writing professionals about three of the hottest singles right now. And because they’re professionals, they dutifully separated the celebrity from the song and picked apart the lyrical and compositional elements of each. Party poopers? Maybe. But even Dylan had his critics.

“Till the World Ends”

Steven B. Smith, poet and former publisher of the Cleveland ‘zine ArtCrimes, says there’s no flow, story arc, or connectivity in the lyrics from section to section in Britney Spears’ apocalyptic dance-floor jam. Still, he points out that the line “tongue tied in knots” is a phrase used in B-movies to refer to fellatio. So Brit gets points for that.

Then there’s the line “You know I can take it to the next level baby.” “You know, I’ve heard that so much,” says Katie Daley, a performance poet and writing teacher. “I’ve heard that from guys in bars 20 years ago.”

As for the music itself, Steven Mark Kohn, a composer and composition teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, calls “Till the World Ends” just plain boring. But he gives the song a little credit for being “sonically powerful.” “The skeleton is basic and simple, and there ain’t much there,” he says. “But what is done around it is rather ingenious.”

“Born This Way”

Smith says the first single from Lady Gaga’s new hit album “could easily have been a so-so poem I’d hear at an open-mic poetry reading.” While shallow and obvious, Smith says, “Born This Way” has “a good message with a few dark hints of transvestites and drag queen shadows tossed into the mix.”

Daley, however, uncovers a little more depth in the song. “[This] could be an anthem to people who are feeling way outside — especially sexually, and I think that’s needed,” she says. “I appreciate that in the song, that there’s a little bit of a story with specific details on the speaker’s experience, as opposed to getting on the dance floor and whatever.”

Kohn gives kudos to the arrangement, vibrant synthesizers, and Gaga’s voice, but he doesn’t find the music fresh or interesting. “The same four chords repeat,” he says with a sigh. “A key change might be nice, but that might also throw people off who are hooked on the hypnotic groove.”

“On the Floor”

Smith likes the crude, animal-like energy of Pitbull’s opening blasts on Jennifer Lopez’s comeback single. But her response is pretty lame — especially considering she uses the word “floor” 25 times in 52 lines. “Jennifer’s lines are witless entreaties to drink and dance and vomit and fuck,” he says. “As song and poetry, it’s insipid.”

Daley agrees. “I found absolutely nothing surprising, specific, or moving about this,” she says.

Musically, “On the Floor” has even less appeal, according to Kohn. “Harmonically static,” he says, noting that the entire chorus is made up of one chord. However, he calls the four-chord verse “lovely” and acknowledges that it’s an arresting song. Still, it’s a musically uninteresting piece.

So how will summer 2011’s most ubiquitous pop songs fare in the long run? “They seem like cheap replicas manufactured by formula in a used Barbie Doll factory,” sniffs Smith. “They lack heat, head, or heart. But they’re making folks rich, so what can I say?”

Daley thinks it all comes down to how they’re sold. “It’s a very highly sophisticated science that people, adolescents — whoever is the biggest part of the buying public of these songs — are responding more to marketing than they are to content,” she says.

“I’m not going to slam these artists,” says Kohn. “I have respect for people who are hardworking professionals. There’s excellence even in these songs. [But] if we were just analyzing the music — notes on a page, not even the arrangement, just the notes played on a piano — this shit is all boring as hell.”

Cleveland Scene
Original article at

Since I sound rather catty in the article above, I’ll round this out with a foto of our cat Mandy that the writer took during the interview.

our cat Mandy – foto by Adam Burroughs


Flux U

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Flux U – foto by Smith

Flux U – that’s my school . . . good old Flux University, teacher of shadows, links, angles, kinks, sky blue, green too.

Going to start a new business manufacturing Quantum Pockets — you’d only need to buy one because they literally hold everything, your entire universe uncollapsed in one endless Heisenberg probability wave. Don’t leave home without it.

Evidence Bag

That said
or this done
out comes the evidence bag
puzzle pieces
quantum analysis
till confusion rains
the cat’s put back
in the box
and all returns to all
with no done
that said
this done
out comes the evidence bag

— Smith, 2009

Evidence – foto by Smith


Look what the Cudney drug in

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

1 old Mother Dwarf & 2 old Smiths – foto by David Cudney

You never know when reality is going to toss something from your long forgotten alcohol-filled past up onto your current shore.

David Cudney, an ex-Cleveland assemblage artist who split for Albuquerque, New Mexico maybe 20 years ago or so, posted one of my mother’s and two of my old assemblages from his art collection on my FaceBook wall.

These are from the late 1980s and/or early 1990s, back in my heavy drinking days. (I quit alcohol April 21, 1991 after drinking myself to death and waking up in intensive care).

Here’s a poem from the same period.

Self Portrait

I am an alcoholic and a
drugoholic and a
bookoholic and a
(I use laser beams)

I drink it if I got it and I
smoke it ‘til it’s gone

— Smith, 1990

1994 Mother Dwarf art from collection of David Cudney – foto by David Cudney

1993 Smith art from collection of David Cudney – foto by David Cudney

1987 Smith art from collection of David Cudney – foto by David Cudney


This Price Ain’t Right

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Lullaby of why – foto by Smith

This Price Ain’t Right

No flow to know cuz I’m off my game
Ain’t got the coin for this Quantum Arcade
Nor the “I am” in aim

On slippery slope to Satan’s side
Smoke like water runs mad a Capella
The high whore tarnished silver away
Words rolling round
Bouncing bout the holes
Shadow dancing before the darkens arc

Our primitive brains
Got us started and sustained
Till we over-farted the air
Fucked the fair
And pissed too often upstream
Turned our dreams to schemes
Aimed to maim and murder

Got to do the old algorithm & blues
In this land of the spree, the home of the knave
And the bland and the need and the greed of the grave

Fooled by the son, startled by the stretch
Lulled by lies in a lullaby of why
This was what is
Dead movie dead word dead street
Dead beach dead burl dead beat
Everything comes to a head
Little head big head dead head wet head

Keep telling people I ain’t Bonnie
And you’re not my Clyde
But they’re waiting for us to go down in a hail of enemies
So high we’d go as low we come
But no
We won’t defeat ourselves
By eating our self

These things I know
For I used to be called Hair Ball
Until I was coughed up by Cosmic Cat

— Smith, 6-14-2011

Cosmic Toad – foto by Smith


Rabbit run

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Rabbit painting in Krakow, Poland – fotos by Smith

Brother Grim

Scamper little bunny
Run for cover fast
Protect your carrots
Forget the nest
The fox is hungry
The wolf he wants
Bunny tummy
Plus all the rest
Of the critters
Of forest
Far larger than you
Are looking
For cooking
Material too
So run funny bunny
My money’s on you
George Bush is too stupid
To ever catch you
Said the souls of the slaughtered
To the living few

Said the souls of the slaughtered
To the living few

— Smith, 2005

Rabbit multiplication – foto by Smith


Zappy Zapper (yesterday . . . and today)

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Yesterday – fotos by Smith

Today – foto by Smith


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