Edward Ka-Spel’s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading
“Which of my many poor decisions brought me here?” she thought to herself. Was it owning a body that exceeded its warranty? She’d had a good run. Thirty years is a long time to keep yourself alive if you really have no skill at it. She’d been awfully careless with her allergies. Every decision to eat or touch or breathe had to be in delicate balance with the outside world. It became so exhausting after a while. She did the things she shouldn’t, just to prove she still could. Continue reading
A day with her mother in Brenham, nestled in the rolling central hills. Spring, bluebonnets scattered thickly in all the fields and along the side of the state highways. Never felt more Texan than when her heart swelled at the sight of them. The Blue Bell creamery, the tour of the ice cream being made and packaged and then sweet little scoops. Then the nunnery where they bred miniature horses, a newborn foal quietly nuzzling his mother in a stall. Antique stores with armadillos on the walls and diners and the outline of Texas everywhere. She would be leaving soon. Continue reading
He knew she would always be there, knowing he would always be there, waiting.
They had never met. He knew she was a world away from him. She came to him in his dreams, her voice lingering but quickly fading in those hazy moments upon waking. It was like a record listened to backwards to reveal secret messages, but just as he felt he was beginning to comprehend it it was gone, leaving him cold and alone in his studio apartment. Continue reading
The wide-bladed, dully green St. Augustine grass was smooth and comparatively cool against the soles of her feet, a welcome respite from the sun-baked asphalt. She was wandering the neighborhood today, with no particular destination in mind, and had just crossed over from the sidewalks of her block to the field that made up most of the community park around the corner. The playground was deserted. There were unavoidably large outcroppings of clover here, the interspersed white flowers tickling her, but she was careful not to step on the dandelions. She didn’t want to crush any future wishes. Continue reading
Rita carefully folded her periwinkle sundress and placed it in the bottom drawer of her walnut dresser. She picked up the empty basket and returned it to the laundry room. She used to enjoy the ritual of exchanging her summer clothes for the sweaters and turtlenecks she used to fight the chill of autumn, but this time it, like seemingly everything lately, was making her a little sad.
It was only five o’clock, but already the day felt as if it had gone on far too long. Rita considered going to bed, but knew if she did her mother would nag her about the importance of keeping a regular sleep schedule. So instead she walked to the backyard and sat on the slab of concrete that tried unsuccessfully to pass as a porch. Continue reading
This Saturday, June 27th, 2015, was the memorial for Dale Comer. This is the text of the speech I gave.
At the memorial, the Dale Comer Scholarship was announced, providing at least $500 a year for Broadcast Engineering students at Bates Technical College in Tacoma. If you would like to make a donation, send a check with “Dale Comer Scholarship” on the memo line to:
KBTC Public Television
2320 S. 19th St
Tacoma, WA 98405
When Dale passed away, I was devastated. He was my best friend. The last time I talked to him on the phone, it sounded like he was actually on the upswing, so when I found out he was fading fast, it hit extra hard.
I was lucky enough to visit him before he passed, and even though he couldn’t really talk, he was still there, he could still communicate. And… even as he lay dying, HE comforted ME when I broke down crying. That’s kind of Dale in a nutshell. Continue reading
To No Big Surprise
It was a lousy gig, but at this point any gig was worth taking. I had all the usual bullshit dreams of coming to New York and making it as an actor but here I was dressed up every day in a monkey suit for the screaming kids at a second-rate pizza joint. At the moment I was outside on my cigarette break, no longer noticing that the jaded lunchtime crowd didn’t notice me. Going out and getting falling-down drunk seemed like a good plan for tonight. This sure is a great town. Not soul-crushing at all. Continue reading
His eyes slowly fluttered open and he stared at the ceiling. Here it was, his thirteenth birthday. He hadn’t expected thirteen to feel that different from twelve, but something did feel off and unfamiliar somehow. Arthur stretched his bony arms backwards over his head and then sat up, rubbing his rumpled hair.
At the kitchen table downstairs, his mother already had his favorite breakfast of orange juice, french toast, and a sunny-side-up egg laid out for him. As he sat down, she hurried in from the kitchen, grabbing his shoulders and kissing his cheek. “Good morning, birthday boy!” she said overly cheerfully. Continue reading
She was on the couch devouring a novel, her warm little brown dachshund cuddled up against her. He was nestled in the crook of her arm, sleeping with the peace of the innocent. Occasionally she could feel his stubby legs stirring against her as he dreamed, perhaps of chasing but never catching rabbits in a sun-dappled meadow or just running long, triumphant laps around the neighborhood park where she sometimes took him, everything an adventure. The whisper of the book’s turning leaves called and answered with his quiet, sleepy breaths. She wished she could ever be as perfectly contented. Continue reading