Archive by Author
May 13, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under Uncategorized.
Web site NEWS is found below as the first column.
All OPINION pieces follow that column.
May 13, 2013: I have added TONS of new photos to existing galleries: “1940s Hot Rods and the Teenagers Who Loved Them“, “Propaganda Posters“, “Beautiful Women“, “Predicting the Future“, “The VERY Best Pin Ups“, “The Best of Rat Rods“, “Dream Cars, Concept Cars, and Nightmares“, “Goofy Cars a.k.a. Folk Art“, “I HATE jerk offs“, “Yeh, but NEVER MAKE ME SEE THAT animal, human, thing, tattoo EVER AGAIN!”, “Really, REALLY Dead Animals“, and a NEW Gallery: “Car Wrecks. REAL Car Wrecks“. This one is no joke.
April 27, 2013: A new gallery (just beginning) for you design freaks: “Kid, put down the pencil real slow-like… and back away from your sketch pad!“
You’ll find it here:
April 26, 2013: A new gallery has been built for your enjoyment. It is called “The VERY Best Pin Ups!“ … and they ARE.
April 19, 2013: A new gallery has been built for your amazement! It is called “The Year of the Futures: Past Eras fantasizing about Future Eras“.
I love Predictions.
They’re so HOPEFUL in their hallucinatory way…
April 18, 2013: The FUTURES Antiques “Best Offer” Gallery has passed on. It had a good life. It wanted me to tell you “Thanks for all your support these last few years”.
Rest in Peace, old friend.
A new gallery has been built, and can be found on the first “SHOP” page. It is called “Today’s Strange Image“. Count on it.
April 8, 2013: “Propaganda Posters“. Here is another new gallery with TONS of great posters trying to convince you to think their way. They are funny, horrifying, intense, silly, insulting, sneaky, and very often visually beautiful. Open the gallery from this link:
March 1, 2013: “Before Photos Lied“. This is the name of the new gallery I began today, found at:
What was Life like BEFORE Photoshop? Before digital cameras? Before computers? I will show you.
Click on the gallery to open it, click on the first photo to enlarge it, then just click “Next” to your heart’s content.
Photos don’t lie. Life was simpler… and wierder.
And, I think you’ll also enjoy this brand new gallery on my web site: “EAT HERE: REAL diners – no stinkin’ retro faux-nostalgia ‘ooh remember when’ dining experiences” !! Make it the REAL THING or nothin’ at all, pal !!
Open it, click on the first shot, then just keep clicking “NEXT” !
Pass me the mustard. The bright YELLOW mustard!
4-19-13: Currently, I have unresolved photo processing difficulties limiting preparation and posting of new item images. Please have patience.
A challenging GALLERY: “Why your animal would leave you if it could“.
It is both an “exhibition” and a psychological test. View it. If you look at any of these photos and say “Awwww… ain’t that CUTE!!??“, you may be one of the people whose pets secretly hate you. You can find this gallery on page 2 (“NEXT”) of the “SHOP” page.
AND, I am always adding more photos to my “Beautiful Women” Gallery. It is on the second “SHOP” page. Here you will find the most beautiful women of the last 100+ years (!), including GENE TIERNEY, BETTY PAGE, ISABELLE ADJANI, ZOOEY DESCHANEL, PATRICIA ARQUETTE, MARILYN MONROE, ELIZABETH TAYLOR, CLARA BOW, BARBARA PALVIN, AVA GARDNER, ALICE TERRY, BRIGITTE HELM, VIRNA LISI, NATALIE WOOD, AMANDA SEYFRIED, BRIGITTE BARDOT, and many, MANY more. (If you can identify any of the unnamed women, please send the information to me!) This gallery will NEVER be complete! There are so many beautiful women!!
You’ll enjoy these insights into the world of television and “The Wheel of Fortune“!
Read this from a man who was there:
I offered an old, t.v. show, game-worn, autographed “Wheel of Fortune” letter here on my web site. It sold. During chats with my customer, I learned he collected W. of F. items due to his being ON the show! I asked about that experience. He responded with this great story. It is absolutely fascinating!
Growing daily: I have other NEW galleries on my web site! “40′s Hot Rods and the Teens Who Loved Them“, “Rat Rods“, “Dream Cars & Nightmares“, AND, “‘I woke up screaming… and then I screamed MORE!!’ – Journeys into the Ugly Interior“. If you are interested in Concept Cars, Lead Sleds, Low Riders, Decor, creativity, odd things, American culture, and/or other automobiles, you will enjoy these [slightly-hidden-from-view] galleries!
COMING SOON ALL THE TIME: Great things waiting for their portraits!
You may have noticed FUTURESantiques.com was “quiet” for a few weeks. Virginia was having unusually pleasant weather which allowed me to quietly work alone on the exterior of our home – maintaining what is good and making improvements where needed or wanted – in other words, giving it “the love”. Now, with the change in weather, I’ve come inside and returned to web site uploads and commentaries.
For a sample of what I am doing to our home, click on this link:
REMEMBER: IT IS IN PROGRESS but your comments are welcome!
There is much more to come !!
March 17, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under Larger Forces at Work.
A good customer of mine recently purchased more 1952 Raymond Loewy ”Service 2000″ dish ware. I’ve seen photos of his table settings. Creative and beautiful. I’m glad I can help. This guy deserves free rein and a budget to produce a book on table arrangements.
We all have our little niches of insight… AND blindness.
I don’t know how we get some of them… others I do.
I’m NOT talking about academic Education and Training (or lack of). It’s that OTHER stuff which seems to form from thin air… during times passing unnoticed. I put a lot of weight on Education - much of which is far from an institutional experience. Most of any life time is NOT spent in formal Education, yet many people accept the thought that “We LEARN in school, then REPEAT on the OUTSIDE what we learned while INSIDE. That’s that.”
Perhaps most parents understand the limits of that thought, but after my years of teaching I must say many, many parents DO hand over most of the responsibility of educating their children to various institutions. I’m NOT talking about any specific group like high or low income single parents, OR, specific institutions like public or private school or church. I AM talking about parents who give EXCESS weight to the institution over their own guidance of that unique child.
THAT isn’t education. It’s barely policing. But who am I to talk? I didn’t raise kids day in and day out for decades. But, I am an ex-child. I struggled with all the venues of education – school teachers, parents, other adults, the medias, the streets, peers… and depending upon the day, month and year, one source held significant power as EASILY as another.
Lately, I’ve considered the impact pop music had on me while a young teen. Sure, I had a brain, yet I also had my “heroes” – right or wrong, good or bad, real or fake – many in the music industry, with MOST of their effect from lyrics and publicized behaviors.
It’s laughable NOW, but it wasn’t then. My life and brain were smaller. My body was drowning in an overabundance of new juices. Through delivery girls like Joannie Sommers, Shelley Fabares, The Angels, The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes, The Crystals… ALL FEMALES!… I was instructed how girls wanted to be treated: with roughness, distance, uncertainty, and as a carnival prize and a second-class creature from another planet. Girls had unreliable thoughts and moods, said “no” when they meant “yes,” and could be had by offering a few softly uttered words or unhealthy candies in a heart-shaped, flat red cardboard box.
By 8th grade, people told me I looked at least 18 years old. This was GREAT for me because I gained illegitimate access to all sorts of activities and behaviors with older people. I’d recently been uprooted from my entire life through a cross-country move, and was so lonely, so angry, and so sad and confused over this, I would’ve attached myself to a box of dynamite if it would’ve said friendly things. In fact, I sort of did just that.
While an 8th grader, my 9th grade steady girlfriend looked as much 18 as did I. (The more mature-appearing kids always find one another.) She was pretty, stylish, and already owned her adult figure of 40-28-38. Her mother was seldom home. Her father was alcoholic, missing a leg, and beat both females. I encouraged my girlfriend to run from this one-legged man when he’d go on a rampage. She left her bedroom window unlatched. There I was at 14 learning about girls from her, her family, teen magazines, peer rumor, and musical heroes.
“This girl must be the ‘right’ girl/woman…” because she was not only good looking and “stacked”, she behaved the way I was being taught she should. I learned the more I mistreated her the more she’d warm up to me. If I hit her she’d tell me she loved me. And, SHE knew she had the “right” boy/man not only because I looked fashionable and was part of the In Crowd but because I too behaved as I should. MY actions proved to her I was emotional – thus, I LOVED her. Listen to the tunes of that era! We were good students.
In the cross-country move, I’d lost much of significance in my life. In its place was a vague feeling – I had little for comparison – and I was uncomfortable with what I apparently expected to do for her and my relationship to “work”. I didn’t like the idea of growing up if THIS is what it meant! WHAT WAS NEXT???
Within the next year, we broke up (not due to any great wisdom on either of our parts), she dropped out of school, was becoming alcoholic, got married and began having babies. Eventually, one by one, each of her three husbands ended up in prison. She and I kept in touch (during her good, communicative spells) for 25 years but, sadly – slowly – I gave up on her. To this day it depresses me to think about it. I could no longer stand by someone who was a landmine. It was too difficult. I’d worried about her for a quarter century, I was never of any help, and it was time for me to go. I had to move on… and away.
It seems to take an entire lifetime to find and remove some of those early ideas installed in the backwater areas of our brains. Could our parents have helped protect us from these confusions if they’d just asked that one more question? … the kind of questions I would’ve (at the time) considered intrusive and none of their damned business?
“Where did you get those car parts?”
“……………from a friend.”
(“Whew! This is gonna be easy…”)
February 19, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under The Antiques, Design and Art World.
I was recently called a “motorhead”, and it’s true. I am. I’m not the “shade tree mechanic/how to” type like I once was, but I am the design type. The “how to” type is a dying breed as microchips replace more and more mechanical parts of the car. By “design” I don’t mean only the appearance of the body and interior. Much of that is mere passing fashion – tail fins – “style” – not true design.
TRUE Design is a very complex set of issues for any object/idea, whether a painting, city, or car. For me, AUTOMOBILES are THE focal point – THE Zen object – of practical, everyday design (in “first world” nations). Many designers/teams fail miserably, and when they do, the cost to us is in money, comfort, and LIVES. It is serious business. When you read the stats on recalls and class action law suits, or listen to water cooler griping, it begins to add up that some bring you misery while others greatly reduce those odds. Yugo… or Toyota?
Okay, point made. It’s obvious at that level. Going deeper into it, I’m extremely interested in the efforts made by an honorable company to produce the “right” cars. What IS “the right car”? (All these thoughts can be applied to most objects, and some art.) At the company’s most basic level it’s their car they want you to buy and later not sue them. You’ll hopefully be a repeat customer when the time comes, all the while telling others about your car owning experience. So far, this doesn’t include many considerations that would raise the company up to the “honorable” level. A huge company can still produce very unreliable cars and treat their customers like crap. Chrysler comes to mind, but is far from alone. (Do you know what American car has the worst reliability record, the most problems yet the highest resale value, and the most dedicated customer base? Think about it. I’ll tell you later. Try to figure it out.)
What’s pathetic is the human urge to DENY our poor decisions, and, be concerned with IMAGE beyond what even your energy and budget can handle. “Image” is the only thing that can explain why millions of people would continue to accept low standards and big trouble from a machine and its representatives. Such companies rely on this phenomenon of “image defensiveness”. Most people would rather lie about their car than admit they’d been an idiot.
Alright, so why do CARS – machines that merely roll really fast along a path and hopefully stop when and where we choose – become a point of meditation? (Hey, it’s NOT just me thinking about this! Look at the shelves of magazine and book stores!) So, what makes a car ”right”? …
- They must fit the human body. (Duh, right????? No! I’ve been in cars where the FIT was WRONG – I don’t mean just “uncomfortable” – I mean because important aspects were given secondary status to another design consideration! A good example is in most Lamborghinis where foot pedals are terribly off driver-center in order to accommodate the turning angles of the front wheels which intrude deep into the leg tunnels! Those wacky, emotional, impractical Italians!! A third of a million bucks for a car with the pedals in the wrong place? Is this some sort of “exclusivity” thing? “Yeh, the ONLY thing I’m not thrilled with about my NEW ‘LAMBO’ (!!) is that pesky PEDAL problem. You DO know what I’m talking about, DON’T YOU?? I mean, you pay nearly a half million for a car, you should get more, right?! Am I RIGHT!!?? But hey, it’s a LAMBORGHINI!” … Those brilliant, sneaky Italians!)
- Cars simplify life. They give us more leisure time. (Yes, it IS a self-fulfilling prophecy in a country that redesigned itself to be “auto-centric,” but it IS the current reality for 99% of us.)
- They are rolling advertisements as to how we want to be “seen”. Image. We can’t take our HOUSES with us so the transportable things – car, clothes, hair – become our mobile Symbols. (Someone out there right now is saying: “Well, I AM NOT one of those people that use a CAR as a way to describe myself! In fact, I chose a car that DIDN’T describe me! IT says “THIS person doesn’t want to be understood by the car they drive! ……………………….. oops.”)
- Humans love challenges. Scientists and technicians love to wrestle with major earthly forces such as friction and gravity. We built large wooden boats for sailing off into the Nothingness at the edge of the water looking for the edge of the world. We built ships that scorched us to a Moon with no air or water. Humans NEED challenges. Cars challenge designers to create vehicles which demand many - and often opposing - concepts such as the power to reach, hold, and have speed in reserve vs fuel efficiency, or creating forward speed (lack of friction) vs the ability to corner and stop moving (abundance of friction). (Cars have gone over 700 miles per hour ON LAND, so clearly other issues are in our daily-car equation.)
- Cars challenge stylists (the “Appearance” people) to create an overall look (and feel, sound, and smell) that will not just attract buyers but satisfy the emotions and psychology of homo autosapiens. And, as if that weren’t complex enough, they try to meet the demands of constantly changing fashion within cultures and sub-cultures. (For example, there is no single color that has always been the favorite. In fact, the MEANING of most colors changes all the time! MEANING? I’ll give you an example: To keep the price affordable on the original Model T Ford, it was offered only in black. BLACK paint was the cheapest, so black cars meant AFFORDABLE. The more expensive, exclusive cars were NEVER black during those years. They were two and three tone celebrations of the palette. During WWII, BLACK changed to mean SOMBER, SERIOUS, and PATRIOTIC (black was also good for air raid “black outs”). After the war, BLACK went back to meaning LOW PRICED and CONSERVATIVE when it was again more expensive to buy a 2 or 3-toned car. In the 60′s, BLACK meant RESERVED, COOL, and POWERFUL as we rejected the excesses of the 50′s. Then there was the 70′s. (General shudder) In the 80′s, BLACK returned to now mean TECHNO, POWERFUL, and SUAVE. But IT’S JUST PAINT, RIGHT???? It’s just “black”! Wrong.) (You might enjoy this: over 250 exhaust notes were recorded, studied, and considered before one was chosen for the Mazda Miata. Did you think cars SOUND like they do… well, just “because”? Why does a Cadillac horn sound so distinct from a Volkswagen? Is one right and one wrong?)
- Cars challenge designers to protect the occupants from incredible forces such as high wind, water pressure, firey explosions inside the engine, and impact with immovable objects. (How do you make a car strong enough to withstand a front end crash yet light enough to get 40 miles per gallon? How do you design a tire to stay attached to a wet road when speed limits are higher than the point of “hydroplaning” (when a car lifts off the ground and is sliding atop water only) – even if the driver knows better? How do you design an all-terrain vehicle to cross a river and climb over boulders but not tip over at a corner in the mall because you were traveling one mile per hour over its limit? Why, how do you design control switches to be in the RIGHT, user friendly, keep working, and “feel” solid, sophisticated, and silky? There’s been all sorts of research into that!)
And let’s not forget that OTHER factor: YOU. If you don’t check the oil, if you drive like an idiot, you’ll end up by the side of the road stranded or legless asking stupid questions like how THIS could have happened and why didn’t the car company protect you from yourself? Duh.
Ask yourself this: “How did Chrysler get away with designing the “PT Cruiser”? Why have so many of them sold?” (Chrysler IS an interesting visual design company despite its terrible mechanical record. (If they would only DECIDE to build their products with even a hint of reliability!) WHAT is in our “cultural air” that would encourage such design in the first place, AND, secondly make it such a success? (Yeh, and how about their “Prowler”, taken out of production????)
Obviously this is a subject with which I am capable of driving on and on – and on – (pun intended) – AND right over (pun intended), so I’ll brake for now (pun intended) and pick up (pun intended) again on some later roadside diner with greasy food and real coffee.
PS: The car with all the yearly problems decade after decade but the dedicated fan base? The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette. Gawd Bless Amerika!
February 18, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under What Really Matters.
With Kate Bush on the stereo (“The Red Shoes”): Outside, it’s chilly, rainy, gray, and windy. Inside, it’s light, warm, dry, and Bushy. It hardly gets any better. I’ve had decent sales today from the moment I opened the computer. If it was like this every day, I might even get some retirement socked away…
…………Okay, let’s not get carried off. Kate does that to me.
There’s a young boy named ”Justin” (about 10 years old), who lives nearby. He stops to see me when he’s walking home from errands at 7-11. (He seems to buy a lot of Twinkies for his Mom.) He loves my Miata sports car and is always bugging me to “drive it”.
“Yeh, right Justin, sure!!!”
I have fun with him about it. I keep throwing excuses at him, and he keeps coming back for more. Originally, I’d tell him things like “Okay, come back at 5:30 and we’ll discuss it…”… he’d light up… then realize I planned to be gone at 5:00. He no longer expects me to EVER say “yes” but my excuses must now be elaborate and creative since I used up all the easy ones a year ago.
We’ve built an entire Abbott and Costello routine.
“Okay Justin, you’re close enough to legal now I’ve decided you can drive my car to the corner and back… but first I’ll need a deposit in case something happens… and I’ll need a release form from your Mom, so send her by, let me discuss the “conditions” with her, and I’ll run it past my lawyer. If all that goes fine, we’ll look over my schedule – and YOURS of course. I think about 11:00 a.m. on a weekday is best for me….”
“But I’m IN SCHOOL then!”
“…dang, THAT IS a problem. Okay, we’ll try another day, but get your Mom down here, and we’ll discuss the $10,000. deposit…”
“…Well yeh! Plus she has to sign the release saying if you kill yourself not only do I get a NEW car but can’t be held responsible for your lousy driving… you know, like if you wreck and all we can find are a few little scraps of you that the street sweeper missed…”
“Hey. You don’t even know how to shift the gears, so we HAVE to look at these REAL possibilities, pal!”
Justin is black, short for his age, and sports a huge, 1970 style Afro hair do… you know, like twice the size of his head. I’ve always liked those ‘Fros, but on him - looking even younger than his age, short, with a happy face and eyes framed in silver wire-rimmed spectacles - it seems overworked. Justin may be considered a “nerd” within his school community. I don’t know. He’s too nice to be a “cool” guy associated with the “cool” crowd, I am sure. His Mom, a large woman about 30 years old, has walked by with her son many, many times. In good weather I might be outside basking in the sun or working but SHE has never acknowledged my existence… not to chat or even say hello… nothing. She seems angry and distrustful… won’t even make eye contact. I don’t take it personally. It could be a Man thing, it could be a White Man thing, it could be a Stranger thing. I have no clue.
What surprises me is Justin has NOT absorbed her feelings and reflected them back at me. Nor have I ever seen a father figure anywhere near him, and he does not run with a crowd of boys having fun OR causing trouble.
“Man, I’m NEVER gonna get to drive your car!”
“…sure you ARE, Justin, but there are DETAILS that have to be worked out!”
“Well, how about if I bought it from you for like… a thousand dollars a year?”
“Hmmm… so what will you do, deliver the money to the graveyard?”
“Do the math, buddy! You’d owe me $23,000. That’s 23 years. You’d be delivering final payments to me with a shovel! I’m more impatient than that!”
This is what we do. He’s a nice kid.
February 17, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under Films, FILMS - 2006+.
For someone who doesn’t get paid, I see and write about a lot of films. I see them because I love them. I write about them so I can later look them up and review my thoughts. Let’s face it – not all movies are memorable or worth a second viewing, and, my memory sucks.
As in the past, I again watched “The Big Sleep” (1945 & 1946), starring who-else-but pop culture icons Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. My previous viewings left me with mixed, unenthusiastic feelings. It’s not a stand-out film… at least not the 1946 version I’d always seen released to the public. However, recently I purchased a dvd that held a 1945 version. My wife and I decided to watch 1945 one night, and 1946 the next. Stick with me on this…
“The Big Sleep” was made during the war and sent first to our soldiers overseas. Whether this shipment was a gesture of Patriotism by Hollywood or merely an easy way to test market a movie without getting critics involved, you decide. Either way, the studio learned a few things related to their investment: 1) the story was complex but sufficiently clear, and Bacall, the female they wanted to sell as the Star, had serious competition in Martha Vickers who played her lovely, flirtatious, out-in-left field sister. I agree with what must have been the soldiers responses: Vickers is much better. Bacall was neither equal in looks or acting dynamics… but, she had Bogart.
In 1945, at age 46, Bogart was a big star. Bacall, at age 23, had a couple films on her resume - box office bombs. Investors were afraid one more flop would kill her with the public. Bogart had other big issues in his life: he was alcoholic, married, and had the hots for Bacall. He was becoming known for unreliable behavior and costing Warner Brothers more money through delays. In 1945 Hollywood, neither of these as-is people were a solid investment.
This is where it becomes easy to say “I’m going to stop reading about Hollywood and its machinations, and stick to watching films.” But, like driving by the proverbial car wreck and seeing damaged people getting loaded into ambulances or hearses, I admit my wife and I look on. There’s a “tabloid history” angle hard to ignore… now made even easier with a tablet computer next to us on the sofa for immediate research after the film.
“The Big Sleep” needed to be “re-vamped”. Literally. Most everyone had a vested interest in getting Bogey and Bacall into the limelight without unnecessary delays. This would require editing out the “problems” and shooting additional scenes to be inserted. Removal of film footage focused on Martha Vickers. The studio wanted Bacall as the marketable Star, and Bogart wanted Bacall as… well, for the time being anyhow, his mistress. Bacall no doubt saw the scrawls on the walls – she was on her way out and other women could out-dazzle her. But, now she had a big star who would fight for her in ways she could not. Vickers, too good to be removed entirely, was snipped out until no longer a screen “distraction”, and with the newly created open spots in the film, additional Bogart/Bacall scenes were created – scenes with plenty of Hollywood Heat. The people who needed to make money would make more money. The people with careers on the line would ally in ways necessary for self-defense and power. A product would be altered, careers would be sculpted, people would be built up or torn down, and the public would be none the wiser while happily paying their twenty five cents at the box office window to see Their Stars. Only later would they debate a confusing, incomplete-feeling plot.
All is Glorious in Hollywood… just don’t wander into the back lots.
(PS: Martha Vickers’ career and life would flail about unsuccessfully up to her death at age 46 in 1971.)
February 16, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under Uncategorized.
Yes, this is a Confession. I collect photos of beautiful women. I am a Flaming Heterosexual. I’ve been gratefully married for decades, AND, I continue to love beauty. Sue me. I love women.
During my hobby of collecting images, I run across anomalies and outright lies such as what you see above. One is a fake, one is not. Feel free to decide for yourself, and, if you’d like, cast your vote here.
Personally, I hate liars.
(PS: If anyone can identify the original artist who did this lovely shot, please inform me so s/he can receive proper credit.)
February 15, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under The Antiques, Design and Art World.
February 21, 2003: (Dedicated to younger artists everywhere in all mediums)
I am listening to an album by Leonard Cohen. It contains some of the best lyrics of all time and he uses back up vocalists better than anyone else. I once thought (at age 20) I SHOULD simply overlook his BAD, ROUGH voice for the better qualities of his music. (Wow… Why do we EVER think we totally understand ANYTHING?)
If I must pick ONE Cohen album (for the proverbial “desert island”), it would be his first, titled “Leonard Cohen” (c. 1970). On it is ”Suzanne,” “So Long Mary Anne,” and “The Sisters of Mercy” and many other pieces of brilliance. Truly, he is an artist who has not received the broad level of respect and renown deserved. Everyone else performs his music… but seldom does it justice.
A pattern of preferences formed as I worked through my twenties. I preferred Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Melanie Safka, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Marianne Faithful, Tom Waits, and Nico with the Velvet Underground over artists such as Joan Baez, Glen Campbell, Scott McKenzie, and others with “pretty” voices. For awhile I thought it was that I preferred rougher, straightforward, unadorned music… but I’d stumble across an artist – such as Vivaldi – who would break my nice, tight, little concept! If anyone was ornate and sweet, it was Vivaldi! Therefore, somehow, I was looking for answers in a “less right” place.
For me, as a young artist, these were important questions. They functioned as gauges to my personality. How could my own Art be honest if I didn’t understand this process of selection? My Thesis Chairman once said to me: “Your best work is your darkest work.” For the time, he was right. For the most part, he’s still right. I prefer salt over sugar. I prefer painters Franz Kline, Willem DeKooning, Vincent Van Gogh, and the etchings of Rembrandt van Rijn over artists Frank Frazetta, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Auguste Renoir, and Georgia O’Keeffe. I prefer whiskey over wine. I smoked non-filter, non-menthol cigarettes. I loved Mexican food, not French. I didn’t want a car with an automatic transmission, power windows, or a cushy ride. I wanted the top to come down and blast me with the wind and sun. I kept snakes and dogs not cats and parakeets. I cussed a lot and intentionally misspelled words. I loved the desert, its cacti, heat, scorpions, and wild pigs, not the seashore with its soft, lapping edge. Yet, it was too easy to think I simply preferred being rough around the edges - thinking, creating, and behaving in unsubtle (“honest”) ways. It simply wasn’t right on the mark, and if I was going to be truly accurate (honest) in my self expression, I had to identify what was hiding out in the open. I much preferred Brian Eno over Philip Glass. Why????
The missing link was “internal logic”!
I’ll say it again:
The missing link was “INTERNAL LOGIC”!
I once listened to a university trained black vocalist – a woman well trained in European OPERA - perform slave songs using her highly stylized, Italianesque, operatic voice. There was NO internal logic. It was dishonest – or call it contradictory – to the intent. She wasn’t trying to be witty, sarcastic, or ironic. She just didn’t “get it”. She was Pat Boone crooning the Sex Pistols. She was Vivaldi’s orchestra performing African fertility ritual tribal music. Henry Mancini performing Nirvana.
You have intent, you have tools, and you have a language. If you want to depict the world as a lovely, colorful, soft place you don’t use black & white Intaglio etching as your medium. You use a palette of pastels on genteel paper. THAT’S when “I got it” (for as obvious as it must sound now)… Leonard Cohen’s voice – rough, sour, angry, depressed, conflicted - was perfect – PERFECT – for HIS lyrics. Vivaldi wasn’t talking about the misery and eventual death of tortured humans – HE celebrated the beauty of four seasons, and used the appropriate tools in masterful ways to reach HIS goals.. like all other powerful artists with intelligence.
Talk about the light bulb going on! Chopin knew he needed the piano, not the banjo! My “darkest” work was better not simply because it was how I ”saw” the world, but because what I had to say was said best with etching on metal, using black ink formed into lines and rough areas of tone smashed into damp, heavy paper. I’d always felt “at home” with that medium. Now I knew better why and could move on with the insight I needed for faster growth and stronger images.
In the bigger picture, it’s not about visual art, music, or dance. It’s about SELECTING from the AVAILABLE ELEMENTS of your DAY, using those appropriate for the betterment of the LIFE you are intentionally creating for yourself and those around you.
Thank you my Educators, my Overseers, my Challengers, my Friends & Protectors – you Heavy People.
February 14, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under What Really Matters.
(Recalling 2003:) (Thank you to Bernadette Kinlaw for helping with this rewrite)
Reggie, one of FUTURES Antiques “pickers” delivered items for my inspection. Some I liked, and, despite the nation’s poor economic conditions, he offered fair deals. I need the inventory, and I wanted to help him, so I bought some things. But this is not why I’m writing.
We began talking. He’s a hell of a nice guy. Another customer was nearby, and the three of us started a long conversation. Reggie announced he’d finally begun receiving the monthly payments owed to him from the Veterans Administration.
They’ve been putting him off — stalling him — since 1976, when he came home from Vietnam.
He’s not bitter or angry. I would be. I have been and am, because of what I saw happen to friends and acquaintances who went to Vietnam. These men returned filled with fear, delusions, hate, violence, and addiction to admininstered drugs. Or, returned in a pine box. In the 1960s and 70s I was against that war and prepared to deny the draft. Now I was talking with a man who served in the Marines, LEAD everyone else into that Hell.
The paperwork for Reggie’s service from 1970 to 1976 was finally approved in 2000, 24 years after he came home. Three more years passed before he began receiving his rightful, monthly benefits. Oh, but DON’T think the benefits are retroactive to when he came home from the war in 1976. No, benefits only begin upon approval and activation of paperwork. THAT is 2003, NOT when he left Vietnam. As we talked, I became angrier. Reggie practically had to calm me down.
We’re the same age but I DON’T have Agent Orange in my lungs and cells. I didn’t go to Vietnam. I don’t carry the unimaginable images, sounds, and odors in my head. He did, and he does.
I said, “Let me ask you something - and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want.”
Reggie said, “Okay.”
“IF you could go back to 1970, would you do things differently?
He’d already thought about it. He didn’t hesitate.
“Yes, I’d take the 4 years of prison. time instead, even with all the problems that follow you through life with a record like that… I’d do it that way because of what I know now. They lied to us, they took away what was promised, they treated us badly even before we got home. You think we didn’t know we were being sprayed with Agent Orange? We knew. We didn’t know it was as bad as it was, but we knew. We did what we were told. When they said, ‘Kill anything that moves from this line, north,’ we did it. After we were done, then the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard came in for clean up. No one communicated worth a damn. Because of that, one in every 4 or 5 of our men were killed from ‘friendly fire’… our own guns… target coordinates were screwed up… bombs were sent in… and we took the hits.”
The other man listened closely. His father served in Vietnam and was then laid up for years from Agent Orange, while our government denied the facts and those affected. For decades, Agent Orange was a “classified secret”. Allow me to translate: ”Keep denying these soldiers – delay – wait for them to die – to die on the vine waiting for their help. We can’t AFFORD to pay out all those benefits. Leave them hanging. To Hell with them. Again.”
But, it’s no longer a secret. (No thanks going to the bureaucrats on our payroll). Is ANYONE WITHIN THE SYSTEM informing our youth, our fresh soldiers in our newest “political unrest” what they will face not only in battle but (if they’re lucky) when they return home? If they make it back, they’ll still be facing the same lousy bureaucratic odds.
I am ANGRY. I want SOMEONE to do a feature article on this… then I want someone else to do one… and then someone else to do another. I don’t want this to go away. I don’t want this to be a fad. I don’t want one more soldier treated poorly after doing what WE ASKED OF him.
You can bet someone out there is going to say:
”Hey, I DIDN’T ask them to risk a thing!”
I tried using that same detached argument years ago.
It’s bull shit. We all play a part. We all are responsible.
February 5, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under What Really Matters.
I’m listening to “Jethro Tull” on the stereo. For all the recognition they received, it still seems less than they deserve. They were one sophisticated group of musicians.
In the early 1970′s, I helped jockey discs for friends at an independent FM radio station. They liked how I lined up music for an evening. Being left to our own devices, we truly “ran the show”. I loved doing it, and this gave the real DJ’s a break.
It was SUCH a pleasure to receive the latest Jethro Tull, Jimmie Spheeris, Stevie Wonder, Blind Faith, Melanie, Mark & Almond, Joe Cocker, Marvin Gaye, or Led Zeppelin vinyl! They were shipped to the station, free, as promotions. Sure, also sent was LOTS of junk, but, if you had the patience, previewing crate loads of mystery-albums could offer up a new, waiting-to-be-discovered genius.
When we found one – a perfectly cut gem mixed in with the mud such as Jimmie Spheeris’ first album “Isle of View” – oh MAN did we play it! Since NO ONE told US how to run the show, if we played a cut and liked it, we played the entire side, and if we liked that we flipped it over and played the entire “B” side, and if we wanted to hear the “A” side again, we flipped it over right then!! And you know what? No one EVER called to complain. We received nothing but compliments and support.
It was a GLORIOUS opportunity. It was glorious and we KNEW IT even THEN. It was a period of time in OUR lives which we could NOT take for granted. We celebrated that time AT that time.
Watch for them now in YOUR time.
February 4, 2013 by Ronn Ives, under What Really Matters.
While playing at being a ”dj” (helping my real radio DJ pals), I was an Art major at Colorado State Univ.. I lived outside of town (Ft. Collins) with Khismarr, my Afghan Hound, in a homey, old 1957 trailer.
In the previous post, I mentioned how my good friends and I KNEW, RIGHT THEN, and WITHOUT A DOUBT - we were living in the middle of OUR VERY OWN “Classic” phase of Life. SUCH an exciting feeling! However, I also felt I was outgrowing C.S.U. and needed new, more intense challenges from professors. By that time, my challenges and support were coming from nurtured relationships with good friends - few of whom were fellow Art majors. ”Area of study” could not have mattered less.
Creativity is CreAtivity is CrEaTiVity. These good friends did not need the ability to say “Well, have you tried upping the ratio of nitric acid to water by 8 percent when etching a softground on magnesium?” That was my solo job and pleasure. I didn’t tell them how to study biology or psychology. What we DID DO for one another was question MODES…
“AND JUST WHY is it you’re supposed to AVOID the use of WORDS in a drawing?”
“What might happen to your psych group if you met at each other’s homes instead of the classroom, and you served wine & coffee?”
“Who SAID you can’t broadcast this album immediately again? It’s great. TRY IT!”
“Sure, I’ll help you catch snakes for your Bio experiment!”
First and foremost, Best Friends defend you against YOURSELF, and secondarily against others. They don’t let you get lazy, nor do they let you go over the Edges you find.
They ask you to:
- share it along the way, and
- defend them too.
What a joy.