Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back To the Song Talkers

So, as you know, I like to talk songs. Sometimes, talking a song yields better results than other times. For a good example, you can read my blog entry, Kid, I Wanna Be a Man in Motion , or the sequel at  Song Talking II: Electric Boogaloo.

So, as you see, you just talk the lyrics of a song and hope that either the people you're talking to join in or that they become baffled beyond measure and you get a good laugh. This was a case of the latter.

My pal Aldo calls me from across the quad on NCCU's Campus. I wave and alter my course to intercept him. He's a good pal, but we don't share any classes this semester. He's got a young kid with him (Aldo and I are approximately the same age). He introduces himself, but since I don't like people's given names I immediately dub him as HipHop.

Aldo and I exchange pleasantries. Then, he gets this look on his face like he just learned that there's free pizza in the next room. He swats HipHop on the shoulder and says to me, "This cat has some problems with school. You should give him some advice."

I do not have time for this. I have to get across campus for a class within the next 7 minutes and I am NOT a fast walker. I look at my watch. 6 minutes.

HipHop says, "What? It's nothin'."

Aldo says, "Dude, tell him what you were telling me!"

HipHop says, "What's he going to be able to tell me that no one else could?"

I stop looking at my watch. I look at Aldo. He's grinning like the Joker in a poisoned squirt-flower gag factory. HipHop is looking at me as if to say, "this dried up old loser can't help me."

I hear myself say, "What's your problem, Son."

Aldo says, "This cat has some deep knowledge, man. You have got to listen to him."

HipHop sighs. He actually sighs, his doubt is so deep.

"What's his problem?" I ask Aldo.

"He can't handle all his work." He's beaming.

"How many hours are you taking?"

"Twelve," HipHop says. Twelve. The card catalog of my mind is working overtime while I talk.

Damn! Good thing I'm not paying for this...oh wait, I AM paying!

And then, it comes to me...

"That's a lot," I say. I take a deep breath. I squint at him, focus on him. "My friend," I say, "you have to learn to pace yourself. For the pressure. You're just like everybody else." I clench my fist. "Pressure."

He's looking at me, brain empty. I sigh, like I was talking to an obstinate four-year-old.

"You've only had to run so far, so good. But, you will come to a place where the only thing you feel are loaded guns in your face. And you'll have to deal with pressure."

If I had a quarter for every beautiful woman that pointed a gun at me...

I look at him as if to say, "eh? Right?" He reads my look and nods. He agrees. Pressure is a bitch.

I turn to Aldo and say, "They used to call ME paranoid."

Aldo asks, "From pressure?" I nod. He's picked up on it already.

"Yeah," I say. I turn back to HipHop and point at him. "But, even YOU cannot avoid pressure."

"No, I can't," he quickly agrees. He thinks he understands. He wants to show us his wisdom. He adds, "Every professor asks so much. Do this, do that! They act like no other prof is doing the same thing!"

Aldo can barely keep his shit together.

I nod sagely. I'm good at the sagely nod. "Yeah. But you..." I almost add too much. I'm gonna be statin' the obvious here, but there are rules to this. You can add to the song to help it make sense in the context with which you are using it, but you can't add too much. That's cheating.

I hesitate. I jab a finger into HipHop's chest and say,  accusingly, "YOU turn the tapdance into your crusade. Now, here you are with your faith and your...Peter Pan advice."

Aldo adds, "damn right"

HipHop looks at him and wonders if he's missing something. He focuses on me again, taking my words more seriously. He asks, "I give Peter Pan advice or...I get Peter Pan advice?"

Aldo smacks him on the shoulder like a big brother and says, "You TAKE Peter Pan advice." Then, he taps his own temples and says in a hiss, "You have got to listen! Listen to the words!"

HipHop feels out of his depth, but he wants to catch on. He wants to understand. He concentrates again, staring at me.

I reach out and grab his jaw. I'm aware this is punching territory. I don't know this kid. But, I'm also twice as big as him. And the effect will be AWESOME. I turn his face a little to one side and say, "You have no scars on your face," as if I was showing exhibit A to the court. "And you cannot handle pressure."

Aldo screams, "PRESSURE." making both the kid and me flinch. Jesus.

Now I'm blaming the kid for being young. I roll my eyes. "All grown up and no place to go. Psych 101. Psych 102. And what do you know?"

"True," HipHop mumbles.

And it's here that I realize a big problem with my choice in song. There is no answer! He just keeps going on about pressure, pressure, pressure. He never gives you any actual advice. So, HipHop's brain is working harder than a freshman at a Stephen Hawking event and I have nothing to give him. He's over there nodding to me, trying to show that he gets it, wanting to ask some clarifying question. ANYTHING to help him understand. I've used my power for evil, not for good.

I lower my voice and say, almost to myself, "All your life is channel 13. Sesame Street. What does it mean?"

Aldo hits the kid again. "I'll tell you what it means. Pressure."

"Pressure," the kid repeats. He nods. "Pressure. I feel that."

All together now: "Pressure!"
I feel like shit. Aldo is damned near pissing himself. I take pity on the kid...for about 3 seconds. But, I also hate to leave something unfinished.

I put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't ask for help."


"You're all alone. You'll have to answer to you own pressure."

He nods again.

"Look," I say, trying to be understanding. "I'm sure you have some cosmic rationale. But here you are in the ninth." I mime holding a baseball bat, standing at the plate. I look off in the distance. "Two men out and three men on. Nowhere to look but inside where we all respond to..." I make it a question.

He nods. "Pressure," he says.

"Yeah," I say. "Pressure."

Aldo has taken a few steps away from us. His back is to me. His shoulders are shaking. I can't look at him right now.

"Does that make sense?" I ask HipHop.

"Kinda," he says. " gotta take care of your own shit?"

Sure, that sounds good to me. I give another sagely nod. "That's right. That's right."

Aldo says, back still to us, "Two men out and..."

And then, we break into laughter. I think I pee a little. Aldo says, "Baseball. I never knew what the fuck he was talking about!"

And I lose it. I laugh all the way to class...

...where I come in 5 minutes late...AGAIN.

Have you done it yet? Try it and let me know how it works. Or, if I've done it to you feel free to let the world know how annoying it is!


Thursday, February 7, 2013


6" x 6"
Oil on Canvas
$ 75

This was the Valentine's Day Challenge that I took on with Jelaine Faunce, Pablo Villicana Lara, and Kittie Gallagher-Ballard. These are amazing artists and it has been a great honor and a lot of fun working with them on this challenge. I'll be posting all of their work in the next day or so, with links to their websites. Prepare to be blown away!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Art Video: The Comforting Flame

Just finished painting "The Comforting Flame," my take of a modern version of Hestia. The model is my very beautiful friend Amanda Winstead who so graciously sat for me.

This painting was a fun challenge for me. The strange use of light caused by the flame did interesting things to the colors. The model didn't actually sit in front of a blazing fire. Instead, I created the effect after-the-fact through playing with lit paper and how the flame looked where the model sat.

My inner pyromaniac really enjoyed himself!

I'd love to hear what you think about the video. Check it out below...

Friday, February 1, 2013

What Is Your Music Age?

I'm Staton, the Obvious, and I've got a simple game for you:

What is the newest song for which you know ALL of the lyrics to?

Now, do you know the lyrics to at least 1 more song from that same year? If so, that's your music age!

Your music age is the age that you stopped growing musically. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. This is a judgement free zone, my friends! Why two songs? Because sometimes there are outliers. Just because you know Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink to That)" does not mean you are a youthful 2 years old. Especially if the next newest song you can quote is "Bye Bye Bye" by N'Sync (2000). You've got to be able to quote two songs from the same year for it to count.

Ain't no lie. Why, why, why?

So, say you're 40 years old and you can quote "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Haggar AND "Stuck On You" by Lionel Ritchie, then you're a very beautiful (but middle aged) 29 years old in music years.

But, let's say you're 64 years old and you know all the words to Lady Gaga's "Judas" and Coldplay's "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" then you're a very youthful 2 years old in music years!

One foot on the break and one on the gas. Hey!
Maybe someone should have put the breaks on the jumpsuit.

This one is going to take some thought, but I want to hear the answers.

And for the record, I have a lot of outliers. But, it turns out I'm about 5 years old, thank to the Ting Tings and The All American Rejects.

What are your two songs and the year?