Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Studying Fine Arts in Canada made me aware of the significance and inevitability of culture and history. I was born in a multicultural country that prescribed no distinct ethnicity, and with virtually no knowledge of my own lineage, I felt a desperate need to resist the pervasive T.V. and hamburger heritage that seemed the only option. As an artist, I found myself in a sort of stylistic vacuum, selecting my modes of creation from a history that did not feel like my own. While it gave me freedom for experimentation and discovery, it left little meaning apart from the personal or arbitrary. As a result, I resolved to learn more about my family, which in time became an exploration of my county, self and art.
In addition to my cultural identity crisis, I was burdened, as many young Canadians, by unmanageable student debts. I had to find a way to solve this problem. I decided to go to South Korea and teach English. On the way, I stopped to visit my grandfather (Frank Macri) in Windsor Ontario. The last time I saw him was thirty years ago; I was four years old. When I arrived in Windsor, I was surprised to find an extended family that included aunts, uncles and cousins that I never knew existed. It was highly rewarding and informative in more ways than I had hoped. Of course the time was too short, as I had to get on a plane and travel several thousand miles, into a culture where I did not speak the language or know any of the customs. In truth, I knew almost nothing about Korea. One thing I did know was that my great uncle was waiting for me there.
Back in my hometown Winnipeg, Manitoba, my uncle George “Gary” Alfred Hansen, also strove to discover his roots. He was researching the family history from the Hansen (my mother’s) side. When I left for Korea he told me about my great uncle who was buried in Busan. Private Alfred Earnest Roy Hansen was killed on February 25th, 1951 while trying to advance with his unit (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) to repel the invaders out of South Korea. I was told Alfred always looked up to his older brothers who served in WWII and my grandfather who was a police officer. Alfred felt his family had sacrificed a great deal to serve their country and to defend the oppressed. He was compelled to do the same. So when the Korean conflict began, he enlisted. The memories of war and its horrific events were still very fresh in the minds of many people then, so when an invading dictatorship entered South Korea it was seen as the only right thing to do.
Gary found my great aunt Clara, Alfred’s sister, to be an excellent source of information. She was very close to Alfred, being near in age. She remained in their birthplace, Spearhill, Manitoba, when many of the older siblings had gone on to the “big city” of Winnipeg. She was able to relay humorous anecdotes, like how Alfred would catch garter snakes to scare his sister Edith or anyone who did not know how harmless they were. Later, Alfred moved to Winnipeg to live with my grandfather, George. Clara would visit and help cook and clean for the hapless young bachelors. They came from a big family and were used to supporting each other in any way they could. Their upbringing instilled compassion and strong moral values. They cared for family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. It was this system of ideals that led Alfred to volunteer to help a country and a cause half a world away, for a people he had never met. Gary told me that after speaking with Alfred’s brothers and sisters, it was clear, that even decades later he was deeply missed. Despite their loss, all spoke proudly of his sacrifice and service in Korea and to his country.
I promised to visit the Busan United Nations Memorial Cemetery and lay flowers at Alfred’s grave. I would be the first from our family (the Hansens) to have the opportunity to do so. After a few months in Korea I was pleasantly surprised to find my newly discovered cousin Kimberly (from the Macri family) would also be coming to the land of the morning calm. We met in Busan, and with the help of some mutual Korean friends, we found our way to the UN cemetery. It was only then that the scale of this event became evident. The conflict had a profound impact on the history of Korea, as well as thousands of families around the world, including my own.
The beautiful grounds were pristine and picturesque with flowers and sculptures and architecture befitting the sentiment of solemn pride. Following a narrow path, we found Alfred’s grave directly adjacent to the base of a Canadian flag. It gave me a strange patriotic comfort that he was the closest to it. I recognized the flag as a symbol of home. It was as if the immediate area, where my great uncle laid, was a tiny piece of Canada.
When I knelt down to look at the plaque that marked his resting place, I was shocked to see his age was merely twenty-three years old. Being my grandfather’s brother, I mistakenly expected him to be an old man. Scanning some of the nearby headstones I realized most of the soldiers were younger than I, some being only eighteen. I felt a flood of emotions and thoughts of my family enter my mind. I thought of my own privileged upbringing, my grandmother, and how she taught our family the relationship between love and duty. I envisioned her son, my uncle Gary, who is a police officer in Canada. He carries not only the names of Alfred and my grandfather (George), but the moral principals that lead him to contribute to society as they did. I thought of my wonderful friends and the children I teach here in Korea and realized that without the sacrifice of Alfred and countless others, I would likely not have had the honor to meet them. The lesson to be gleaned from this inspiring experience was clear. Even thousands of miles away, I felt connected, at home, feeling the soundness of the morals Alfred was taught, and knew that they lived on in subsequent generations.
In response, I have created a portrait as a tribute to Alfred’s contribution to the Korean War, our family, and my quest for understanding who I am and where I come from. At the very least, I have learned that we are all, in some measure, the sum of our actions, and that the past can inform us, as to what our actions may mean to the future.
David Frank Macri
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
In other words, what is the origin of the word fuck? Originally, this was a quite acceptable word! It was recorded in a dictionary in 1598 (John Florio's A Worlde of Wordes, London: Arnold Hatfield for Edw. Blount). It is remotely derived from the Latin futuere and Old German ficken/fucken meaning 'to strike or penetrate', which had the slang meaning 'to copulate'. Eric Partridge, a famous etymologist, said that the German word was related to the Latin words for "pugilist," "puncture," and "prick." The word, which entered English in the late 15th century, became rarer in print in the 18th century when it came to be regarded as vulgar. It was even banned from the Oxford English Dictionary. In 1960, Grove Press (in the US) won a court case permitting it to print the word legally for the first time in centuries -- in D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover (written in 1928). One folk etymology, which is incorrect, is that it derives from "[booked] for unlawful carnal knowledge."
Saturday, October 20, 2007
At the Pawn shop I bought for martial arts dvds for the price of one!
Return of the Tiger:
Tiger Wong is a kung fu master who lives with his ailing mother. Tiger has taken a vow to his dead father to never use his skills to kill...But when a local thug recruits five thai boxers to kill Mr. Fung, the Fung family asks Tiger to help them avenge the crime. His mother won't allow it. Eventually the killers attack Tiger's mohter and he is forced to go after them. starts martial arts icons Jimmy Wang Yu and Chiao Chiao.
Man, have you noticed how many people are gambling these days? I went to the husky to get some coffee and I observed 4 people come in each of different age and description and each of them bought some gambling tickets. What's up with that? Im at the swimming people in the change room and these two high-school dudes walk by talking about the 649. What's up with that?
Im a little bit depressed because I don't have much money and this is supposed to be harvest season. So I made myself a magic hat (helm of awe) and it's working well.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
There would appear to be something vaguely pagan and even demonic about Duende. Duende is a spirit of art, much the opposite of the Muse.
Where the Muse brings golden inspiration, Duende brings blood. The Muse speaks of life, yet Duende sings of death. Duende is not inspiration, Duende is a struggle, a dark force, having very little to do with outer beauty, a struggle present in the artist's soul, the struggle of knowing that death is imminent. It is this knowledge of death that awaits and the despair that stems from it that produce Duende, and Duende will then color the artist's work with gut-wrenching authenticity, painful hues and tones that produce strong, vibrant art.
"So, then, the duende is a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.
"Everything that has black sounds in it, has duende." (ie emotional 'blackness').
"This ‘mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained’ is, in sum, the spirit of the earth, the same duende that scorched Nietzsche’s heart as he searched for its outer form on the Rialto Bridge and in Bizet’s music, without finding it---"
"The arrival of the duende presupposes a radical change to all the old kinds of form, brings totally unknown and fresh sensations, with the qualities of a newly created rose, miraculous, generating an almost religious enthusiasm."
"All the arts are capable of duende, but where it naturally creates most space, as in music, dance and spoken poetry, the living flesh is needed to interpret them, since they have forms that are born and die, perpetually, and raise their contours above the precise present." 
— García Lorca, Theory and Play of the Duende
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
This is the fantastic Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I discovered her a while back and since i'm on a constant hunt for recordings or footage. Her guitar playing is ridiculously great, and her vocal style is like none other. She was very dedicated to the church but occasionally played outside the church for which she got a lot of flack. But apparently she had a huge following in her day, she filled a whole stadium for her wedding.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
bar too crowded to move
danny dangerboy and i sit on the floor in front while
half empty beers whiz by over our heads and
crash into the wire,
spray young K with beer
getting it in his eyes
while he sings
with a good natured and
as if mick and keith met in one body
wearing the suit of the emperor leo atridies--
and old-soul pretty
and "heart within a stone"
makes my ears bleed,
quietest song of the night.
If i don't live for all that much longer, it says
then maybe i'll get to see ya soon.
You might have lived forever
if you hadn't died trying
guess there's really nothing
left to do
except that i'm weird
and I do and say the wrong things,
make bad choices on a regular basis,
drink too much beer (sometimes),
foget what makes me
who i am--
but at least,
as beer cans whiz by above my head,
i've picked the right friends.
Friday, October 12, 2007
The God of Wisdom caught and tamed the WinniPegasus, and presented her to the Muses at Mount ALFA. After she became the horse of the Muses, she was at the service of the poets.
Will the Winnipegasus be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the Winnipegasus with band in the furrow? or will she harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust her, because her strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to her? Wilt thou believe her, that she will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
everywhere the winged horse struck hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth.
“[It] had the face of a woman, the tail of a peacock, and could gallop in a single stride as far as the eye could see.”
They then rose into the first heaven, then the second, then the next, until the seventh
It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. and is said to appear in conjunction with the arrival of a sage. It is a good omen.
Although it looks fearsome, the Winnipegasus only punishes the wicked. It can walk on grass yet not trample the blades and it can also walk on water. Being a peaceful creature, its diet does not include flesh. It takes great care when it walks never to tread on any living thing, and it is said to appear only in areas ruled by a wise and benevolent leader (some say even if this area is only a house). It is normally gentle but can become fierce if a pure person is threatened by a sinner, spouting flames from its mouth and exercising other fearsome powers that vary from story to story.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The war for supremacy of the ALFA council begins. Captaining the forces of Facebook Lorne (the Claw) VonRoberts who is just about to perform his signature move on to the guy who started all the controversy Sky (the Birdman) Onosson (offscreen). Meanwhile, Blogspot team leader Dan (the ALFA-Dog) Saidman prepares to punish erstwhile Greek god James (Hermes) Culleton for his suggestion that Dan change his nickname to "The Landlord."
BEHOLD THE SECRETS SHALL BE REVEALED
a message from the smoky tiger
Salutations brothers and sisters of the alfa squad. Someof you may or may not know me already my name is the smoky tiger and I have been aiding you through my disciples for some time now since oriignally being summoned by the fire.
This message is to inform you that a brand new ally is headed your way. Adepts have been working in secret over the past few months for your benifit. Diligantly they have been casting spells, mixing potions, consulting the stars; creating the portal through which a great being may be summoned.
Have you ever heard of the Winnipegasus? Have you ever ridden on a Winnipegasus?
A Winnipegasus is a horse with wings.
Monday, October 08, 2007
watching the waves rise and fall
(for they do not shift on the horizontal plane at all).
A habit of thought doesn't make it real;
nor desire of someone, in turn,
make them feel.
I am in a moment,
caught in the turn of the wheel,
falling vertically head over heels.
I am the waves that rise and fall,
and I am no better than you,
and I am not above it (at) all.
The Label Gallery, aka A Label for Artists is a gallery at 510 Portage Avenue dedicated to music and art.
The ALfA blog is a weblog dedicated to cultural stuff(art, music, poetry, etc.) made up of a group of people who have common interests, one of which is Winnipeg.
I don't think these two things are the same thing. Are they? This site is not the Label Gallery. Or is it?
Your thoughts people?
(sky's facebook thingy made me wonder this, dan's identity is Label Gallery in facebook...can you see the confusion?)
Friday, October 05, 2007
First post in some time... I recently came across the tarot after not looking at it for quite a long time (years and years) and had forgotten how much meaning is to be found in it. I got a personal reading from a computer, but I think the meaning of these cards transcends even that (and funny, I'm not usually in any way superstitious or overly spiritual).
Anyways, there are two cards that appeared multiple times in the set given to me: The Emperor and The Fool. They are together as both of my 'core cards' and my 'luck cards'. I've always felt some affinity for The Fool, so that made a lot of sense. Also, the characteristics of the Emperor are pretty close to general personality traits for Capricorns, of which I am one (I think my own astrological profile is fairly accurate, for whatever reason...), so that seems reasonable.
These two cards are in many ways contradictory - the Fool is all about risk, impulse, freedom, living in the moment, while the Emperor is about control, conformity, conservativity. What is the medium between these two? In other words, how can one find balance between such opposing inner forces??
The Lovers showed up as one of my 'power cards' (along with the Fool). Love, empathy, passion. In Freudian terms, the ego mediating between the id and the super-ego.
There's definitely something to this I think...