Category Archives: West coast

Grabbing Waves and Assholes in Safari Hats

Jibs was at home with nothing to do, boredom settled into him. Staying at home all day wasn’t his cup of tea but shear laziness had kept him indoors since waking up late this morning. He looked at the clock, 2:34p.m. Boredom irritated Jibs like a nagging woman. He tried to shake this dullness off without leaving the house. First he went through an entire circuit of calisthenics while listening to to the radio but after he finished he only felt more energized. He made a ham sandwich, it was good, and then it was gone.

“Grrrrrrrr……”

He was bored, yet still refused to go outside. Jibs didn’t particularly hate the day; in fact he loved being outside but a mild case of agoraphobia rooted into him. He looked outside and made a low growl to himself again. Desperate, he went to his library. His hand passed various classics the likes of Mark Twain, Martin Luther King, and Aldous Huxley until retrieving its target. He stared at the DVD box in his hand “Phat Ass’d Anal Princess’s Vol. 3.” He hesitated for moment, shrugged his shoulders, and inserted the movie. Half way through the first scene, he’d seen enough. Finally he gave in and decided the best thing to do now was go out for a drive. Jibs grabbed his car keys and headed outside to his 1972 faded lime green Monte Carlo.

Coasting aimlessly through the neighborhood began to lighten his mode. He took lefts and rights as his heart desired. Feeling the warm summer sun on his face made him smile. ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’ He thought to himself with a smile. The car was a gutted out shit-box barely qualifying as an automobile. It was loud, there was no radio or windows, but Jibs could give a damn. A bad day was turning into a good day, and in his mind he was winning. Suddenly as if waking from a half-dream he remembered the joint in the ashtray. To this he smiled an even wider grin. Yes, Jibs was undeniably winning. His eyes went into scanning mode for a discreet place to smoke. After rolling through a few blocks he found it.

Jibs came to a stop in front of a tiny park and killed the engine. Opening the ashtray he found the neatly rolled joint and imparted a look that read a cool “Hell yeah.”  He put the joint in his mouth and quickly eyed around for any neighbors walking their dogs. The coast was clear and with the flick of a Bic the joint was lit. He dragged sweet marijuana smoke into lungs and let out a tiny cough then blew smoke outside the window. Three more puffs and he began to feel the intoxicating waves of ganja goodness span over him. He melted into the driver’s seat. Through half closed, puffy red eyes he wondered just what was wrong with the world. The answers to everything seemed so clear to him. In that soft lull he began to profess stoney wisdom in his mind- ‘ All the unnecessary killing and problems… Man everyone just got’s it all wrong. God and war… it ain’t nothing but’an illusion. The answer… is no answer, the answer can be found… in rays of the OOH SHIT!!!’  Jibs spit the joint on his lap and burned his pinky finger with the cherry. At the end of a block, facing his car, stood a man wearing black pants and a black jacket with a silver-grey badge sown over the left breast. In his stoned brain Jibs attempted to deal with the situation.

‘Fuck man a fucking cop! Awwww…damn where the hell he come from?! Shit, just my goddamn luck. Right when I start turning this shitty ass day around it has to find somehow to fuck me in ass… Alright man stay cool… don’t act suspicious, you’re just minding your own business. Alright check your eyes…’

Jibs looked into rearview mirror.

‘Shit! They’re red like the devil.. Ok man keep cool. Maybe he’ll just leave.’

Man proceeded to light a cigarette.

‘Damn it! .. Ok if I leave, it might look suspicious and he could tell me to pull over, but if I stay then I’ll be fucked for sure. Man, the hell with this, I’m outta here.’

Of all the times the Monte Carlo had failed to start on him this had to be one of the worst. The clicks emitting from the faulty starter grabbed the attention of the jacket wearing man and he walked towards the stalling car. Jibs cursed under his breath while hurriedly throwing a story together. The man was at his passenger window.

Montey won’t start,” asked the man.

                “Yeah … it just….uhh.”

Jibs gave up a big smile and laughed. The badge sown on the man’s jacket was the Raiders’ emblem.

Ha ha….man! I thought you were a cop”

A cop? Would a cop be out here… smokin’ weed?”

The man took a drag off a joint.

I’ll help you pop start her up”

Jibs was confused and relieved. The man got behind the car and yelled out to let off the break. Jibs gave him thumbs up and he started pushing. The car got rolling to a good speed and the man yelled “POP IT!” Jibs popped the clutch and the whole bucket rattled and bounced. The wheels gripped the asphalt for a second as the engine turned The tail pipe coughed out a fat cloud of black exhaust right into the man’s face. In the rear view mirror Jibs could see the man swearing between his coughs. Jibs gave him a friendly wave as he drove along his merry way.

Man, craziness. The last thing I need right now is some cop bullshit. The fuckers are always around to tug on your balls and never around when you actually need the bastards.’

He drove off. It was a close call and he knew it. Things were tough enough as is, now put an arrest, car impoundment, court date, and legal fees on top of the whole mess and what was a man to do? All anyone wants in this crazy mixed up world a little peace. This life can get to you.  Although the troubles in most people’s lives are everyday struggles, one couldn’t deny it would get under your skin and push your head underwater until you couldn’t take it anymore.

He drove out of the suburbs and got on to Highway 78 West. The car didn’t have a radio and so Jib’s listened to the sounds of the road and cars engines with their dull roars. Warm ocean air blew into his face and the sun moved west in the sky.  The highway looked like gold under the California sun. In Jibs’ mind he thought of very little. Just keeping his eyes on the road, he sped on towards the beach.

He arrived at downtown and eased his car onto the wide, palm tree and liquor store studded boulevard. You had everything there. Marines with their jarhead haircuts walked in packs checking out where to get the booze and some ass, street losers figuring out how to do nothing, surfers carrying boards, bikini girls, and all the nobody’s in between. This was his city and would always be his city. The warm sun felt like a blanket on his skin and he drove on from the south side of the 101 to the north and turned left towards the beach area parking lot. It was a pay lot but Jibs never paid for parking, for him it was a matter of ethics, ‘These places shouldn’t even be pay parking, it’s on the beach, man c’mon.’ But the reality was that parting with 3 dollars would put a sting in his pocket.

He pulled into a front row spot and watched the scene before him. The beautiful girls were sunbathing and surf was breaking in rhythmic pulse. There were other goings on but he wasn’t concerned. Waves built off in the horizon and every surfer jockeyed for the inside position and thus get that ride. All those waves were beautiful, but after the ninth set something special was happening. In the horizon there approached no ordinary wave but this majestic thing of power, a blue mountain rushing like a train from way out showing no sign of slowing down. It built continually higher, surpassing the crest of all the others, its perfect form seemed of the divine. The wave’s radiating energy refused to be ignored and commanded the attention of everyone on the beach. Some suffers paddled away for fear of everything it was, yet others fought to put themselves in alignment. The way it rose seemed impossible and still it did. Five surfers broke away from the pack and reached the magnificent swell. Paddling with everything in them, they clawed their arms into the slope driving themselves downward with every stroke. Two surfers took the lead position, each trying to out paddle the other but there was only room for one and the inside man wanted it the badest. Out hustling the other man, he moved ahead of his rival and stood. The wave curled directly behind him but he glided across the face like a bird against the blue sky, ducking just in time for the lip to throw over his head and explode on the surface in a thundering smash of white water. For three seconds he disappeared into the barrel and everyone thought he was toast. The wave blinded onlookers with a massive section of sun like a massive panel of curved glass. Then within this blinding light his dark figured raced out of the barrel while the wave behind him crashed into an avalanche. He coasted on pure momentum and raised his arms in victory then let himself fall into the sea. Whoever that guy was, he won, he beat life, he beat the odds and everyone else who tried to take this away from him. Jibs looked on and smiled. He got out and stood in front of his car basking in the collective glory of what he’d just witnessed.

That’s right, fuck you world. We won’t all give in that easy. Won’t cave in the way you’d like us to. There’s some of us who still got the will to fight. You can beat us down with all your bills and bullshit, kick us to the ground till we’re spitting up blood and you’ll think we’re finished. But, don’t look too surprised when one of us reaches under our bruised bellies and comes up throwing a face full of dirt and kicking you square in the balls.’

He heard something behind him and turned around. An overweight meter maid wearing a plastic safari hat with an electronic citation dispenser was taking note of his license plate.  “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hold on sir,” yelled Jibs.

“There is no ticket displayed on the dash,” the city worker replied without looking up.

“I do have my ticket!” Jibs moved up close to distract him from his little machine. The man looked up unconvinced with a bored expression as Jibs put on his best fake smile. “It’s in my car, sir. If you’d just gimmie a second. I put it in my wallet and it’s in the glove box.” The man stood there not finding Jibs’ smile contagious at the very least.  With a humble bow and raising a finger signaling it would only take a second, he backed towards the driver’s side opening the door, smiling all the while. He sat into the driver’s seat and stirred papers around the glove box. Looking into the rearview he saw the meter maid becoming increasingly agitated. Jibs cheerfully called back, “Just a second, got a lot of papers and documents in here.” But the man wasn’t buying and raised up his dispenser to finish writing up the citation. Jibs knew he was done. He stopped messing around the glove box for the alleged wallet with the imaginary ticket. Jibs watching the fat man spell out his inevitable 60$ parking spot, when a concerned looking women walked up to the man jabbering and pointing at a group of youngsters passing around an open container in brown paper bag. Seizing the opportunity, Jibs went for the ignition. The tires skidded backwards on the sandy lot as he reversed out while cranking the wheel to straighten out. The meter maid broke away from the lady and ran to the driver’s side pounding on the window screaming for Jibs to stop. With eyes strait forward in determination, Jibs punched the gas and sandblasted the fat man and nosey lady in a stinging shower. Jibs shot out of the parking lot, ran a stop sign, and was gone. Gone like a summer breeze.

Jibs made for Highway 78 and drove east away from the beach. With the sun setting behind him, the sky was a magnificent orchestra of reds, oranges, and yellows. He smiled the whole way because he knew that he’d won. He refused to be pushed around by the asshole, gigantic safari hat wearing world. No, not him, he was a fighter just like the surfer was a fighter. And now he was surfing that great beautiful wave and nothing could stop him. It was things like this that kept him going, the tiny victories in the face of overwhelming defeat. Those little neatly packaged “fuck you’s” we manage to pull off. Jibs lay back in his seat taking it all in. Tomorrow he probably wouldn’t be so but that was ok. Sometimes there’s just enough momentum to cruise safely past the next shit storm. After that, well, that’s another story.

 

photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/ethnoscape/339126182/

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Gutter Surrealism and Punk culture

I want to write about Gutter Surrealism and its relation to Punk culture. The reason I want to address this is because Gutter Surrealism is heavily influenced by the madness and beauty of punk culture. First of all I want make it clear: I’m not a punk and I’m not trying to pass for one either. Gutter Surrealism is its own legitimate movement seeking to cut out its own path. But there’s a lot of similarities the two have in common; a spirit of DIY (do it yourself), liberation, anti-authority, high energy, anti-mind control, you get the picture.

I’ve always been fascinated with the underdog. It’s a personal thing of mine. Whenever I watch a youtube video of someone running away from the cops, I instinctually cheer him on. The news actors (I only use the term “reporter” when connected with real journalists. Everyone else is just an actor) can say whatever they want about the guy. In that moment he’s the hero to me. After they catch him, he goes back to being just another ordinary baby killer or whatever awful thing people tend to become. I’m not saying all underdogs are criminals because that’s obviously not true. But if you’re an underdog yourself, you’ll quickly learn the law is not on your side. You become suspicious of anyone in power.

It was while I studied Art History and Theory at SDSU, that I became convinced that throughout history, weirdos were always more interesting and imaginative than normal people. It was around this time that my younger sisters were fully immersed in the underground punk scene. They started telling me about these things called “sewer shows,” which are hardcore punk rock performances literally down in the sewers. The whole idea was surreal, I had to check it out and so I tagged along. The experience was amazing. Mosh pits, people were throwing up graffiti murals, hardcore punk rock music, booze and herb everywhere, everyone having a good time. It was a different world down there. I got smashed off a box of wine and thrashed around in the mosh pit. Some guy even had a homemade flamethrower strapped to his back. He was guiding people through the darkened tunnels with gigantic fireballs.

CA sewer show at secret location

The whole event opened my eyes. We’ve been conditioned to always ask for permission. This group of people circumvented that whole process and made it happen. What hit me the hardest about being down there was the overwhelming sense of freedom. You could do anything you wanted to and were encouraged to. But there was always a base level of respect maintained. People got stupid, but not that kind of stupid. If somebody was an anger junkie, they’d step in the mosh pit and go insane. What I’m saying is that there was a place for everyone. The only time I got negative vibes was after we returned to the city level. Some Neo Nazi mistook my shaved head for being one of him. Besides that, it was beautiful. Yet, the fact that you gotta go hide in the sewers to enjoy music and be free, said something to me about how we live. The message isn’t a 100% clear to me, but I felt there was a definite connection between that subculture and Surrealism.

It’s been said, that the only place we are ever truly free is in our dreams. We can be and have anything we want. The world is yours. As the saying goes, “In your dreams.” Yes, exactly. But what happens when we want to take that freedom that is in our head and move it into reality? That’s where things get complicated. In the world we live in, real prime freedom costs money. Not everyone can afford that pure uncut freedom, but everyone wants to get high off it. If you’re rich then you can afford the freedom to do the most bizarre things and get away with it (just look at R. Kelly). If you’re poor, then you make it happen any way you can.

It was through this shared love of real freedom, by hardcore punk and surrealism that “Gutter Surrealism” was born to me. The term “Gutter Surrealism” came to me after I finished writing Blubber Island. I did a Google search and found only scant remarks. I’m still looking for other Gutter Surrealists in all forms of art. My longtime  friend Cahnan Hickey (bassist of California Punk band Corpspazm) describes G.S as “trashy and mind bending.” I know he gets it. I’m including this bit from Blubber Island which I believes captures the poetry of G.S,

“He took the last drag and flicked his burning cigarette over the edge. At that moment, a strong wind picked up, and the smoking butt flew away like a bird set free.”

It’s about seeing beauty in the ugly things, yet they always remain ugly. Click here to read an example of Gutter Surrealism.

Photo Credits

Dali Photo from: http://tracyinthestars-tracyinthestars.blogspot.jp/2010/08/rebirth-of-salvador-dali.html

Corpspazm Photo http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/corpspazm