TS5Q II: Moses Gates

Posted: January 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Dream List II | Comments Off

He’s written arguably the best, most-definitive work on urban exploration, Hidden Cities. Thus, he’s my hero. You can get a sense of the book via the video linked below.

He also wrote back to my request for an interview within a few hours. And then I sat on that for, oh, a few months. Well, the better part of a year. Embarrassing.

Taking the better late than never approach, here’s some wisdom from an amazing traveler. Check his website for added info on his journeys, which are quite amazing.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
It’s funny, I was just talking with a friend about ranking which of the seven deadly sins we fall victim to (for the record, my weakness are, in order, are Sloth, Lust, & Pride. I’ll fall victim to Gluttony on occasion, and then Envy, Greed and Wrath I’m pretty good about).

For me, it’s somewhat strangely Sloth. Maybe not “Sloth” per se, but I need a lot of downtime to let the creative process kind of work it’s way through my head. I need to not be sleep deprived. I need to not be constantly focused on some other project. I need to not be doing anything and let stuff just kind of percolate in my brain for a while. I’m a slow and sporadic writer, and I’ve learned that in order to get those waves of creativity and inspiration to ride, there also has to be a good amount of slothfulness.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
That anyone has any idea of what they’re actually doing. The amount of evidence needed is scaled up the higher up the influence & responsibility chain you go.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
It’s not either/or. I need both. It’s a cycle anyway – contentment leads to restlessness leads to creative productivity leads to contentment leads to more restlessness.

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
Can I say none of the above? I put the chances of all of these at (1/∞).

Five: Question for you: You can choose to wake up tomorrow and be a woman for as long as you want. But you have to choose how long now. How long do you choose?
Stumped!


TS5Q II: Roddy “Radiation” Byers

Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Dream List II | Comments Off

roddybyersLet’s be honest about this project. It was dead. In the grave. With a shovelful of dirt about to be pitched into the gaping maw of TS5Q. In a big, initial push of interview requests, only Robbie Rist had responded. All other notes going out across the giant digital transom were falling away, unloved.

In light of our introductory note (death, dirt, passings of time and what-not), it’s appropriate that TS5Q is being kept alive via the efforts of an Austin-based mortician, my pal Kellee. We’ve never talked in person, despite living in the city for a few months last year. (This year?) But we keep in touch pretty regularly via that one social networking site. And when Kellee offered a hook-up with an old friend like Roddy “Radiation” Byers, who am I to keep a good project down?

Roddy’s been a key member of The Specials, while playing the last 10 years with his own group, the Skabilly Rebels.

Let’s go to the man’s own website for a bio, which we’ll condense here:

Roderick James Byers (a.k.a. Roddy Radiation) was born 5/5/55 to a trumpet playing father and a “Movie Mad” mother, in the year of Rock’n’Roll, when Elvis and Dean were “Rebels with a Cause”.
Roddy’s early tastes in music ran to the more outrageous pop and R’n’B bands such as The Rolling Stones , The Kinks, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. At this time Roddy also acquired a long lasting love of Blues and early Rock’n’Roll.
The early seventies saw Roddy adopt a “Ziggy Stardust” persona as “Roddy Radiation”, a nickname given to him by his brother Chris.
From the Glam Rock days, Rod discovered other more eccentric artists such as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and the seminal proto punk group, The New York Dolls.
Roddy’s first proper group based on these early influences was The Wild Boys, formed in 1975. Short spikey hair, drainpipe jeans, and cover songs such as “No Fun” and “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” along with Roddy’s early songs “1980′s Teddy Boy” and a song called “Concrete Jungle”.
But Coventry was not London, and Rod would have to wait a few more years until a certain local nutter (Jerry Dammers) asked Roddy to punk up his new band “The Coventry Automatics” – nee “The Specials”…

Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
Well er…. Sex ,Booze, Loud guitars, hot Chicks , Flashy clothers , but no drugs please!

For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
Pass?

For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
I write when im depressed n fucked up mostly..

Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
I don’t think any will happen, but total peace would be nice mannn!

For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture or (item X) that made all the difference.

Seeing the Rolling Stones on the B.B.C. “Top of the pops” doing “Jumping Jack Flash” made me want too play Rock,n,Roll.


TS5Q II: Robbie Rist

Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Dream List II | Comments Off

There are many ways in which we can split up the human species. Let’s make teams through useful lines of delineation!

We’ve got those who’ve been Iceland. And those who’ve not. Those who’ve enjoyed the study of mathematics. And those who haven’t. Those who’ve distinguished themselves through slightly-off-center, web-based projects. And those who dream to do just that.

There are those among us who know the existence of a television character named Cousin Oliver. The rest of you? Please learn up.

Robbie Rist was a successful child actor, with roles in a variety of network television shows in the 1970s. Today, he continues to work in the entertainment industry, primarily a voice actor. In the former guise, he was Cousin Oliver, a member of the cast for the last episodes of “The Brady Bunch.” As a kid, I definitely knew Cousin Oliver.

So it was interesting to hear from Rist, himself, who was put in touch by my friend Julia. I’m not sure of their connection, but I’m glad it exists, as Rist contacted me back within a matter of 24-hours. I thank him, Julia and the universe for the first entry in the second round of TS5Q.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
Wrath, pride and lust. They seem to be the ones that have the most to prove.

Gluttony doesn’t need to make art. It is it’s own reward.

Envy makes you make crappy art because you are trying to be somebody else and I always say that the only thing worse than failing being somebody else is succeeding being somebody else.

Sloth? Just makes you stay home with the XBox.

Greed? You never make anything decent when you are avariciously trying to make money at it. Look at any reality teevee talent show.

There’s only two kinds of art. Fuck you art and fuck me art. Wrath, pride and lust are the perfect ingredients.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
The existence of an all knowing, all loving maker. There’s too much of the ‘not loving’ thing in this world.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?

I believe all art dorks have restless souls. No “normal” person says, “I have something I want to say to you but i can’t put it in words so I have come up with this interpretive dance.” If artists were content by nature they would just be talking.

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?

Total war. No doubt. We are still stuck in our “angry monkey” phase so peace is pretty much outta the question. And space people? What the hell would they want with a bunch of dumb monkeys? Maybe…..medical experiments….

Do you have a question for me? (What is it?)
What is your favourite deadly sin?
Thanks for asking. I think lust, for all the garden-variety reasons.

(We apologize for the lack of image. No photo or link to photo was sent. And shots from the subject’s Facebook page weren’t allowed uploading. If you’re Robbie Rist…)


Relaunch

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Meta | Comments Off

The site’s back, for another year of unsuccessfully tracking down interviews with the interesting people of the world.

Well, some people have agreed, it’s true. They’re here.

The new list of targets includes YouTube prankster Andrew Hales. He’s so funny.

(Oh, thanks to any of you who dropped in thanks to the Ariel X thumbnail just posted to Facebook. Welcome. And thanks, Ariel.)


TS5Q Lagniappes: Bill Keaggy

Posted: July 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Lagniappes | Comments Off

If there’s a need to nominate a cool guy in my neighborhood, it’s gotta be Bill Keaggy.

Around this part of the world (a hip corner of the 314 area code) his efforts are well-established.

Increasingly, they’re nationally known, as well.

There’s “Milk, Eggs, Vodka.”

Along with “50 Sad Chairs.”

And, of course, there’s his project mothership.

When this blog went on hiatus, I held out the thought that a couple late-arriving pieces might still hit the in-box. In reality, Bill got me these a few weeks back, but I’ve been distracted and haven’t paid due courtesy by posting his thoughts up here. So, our first TS5Q Lagniappe, of which there may be more. As with this concept, generally, there’s always hope.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?

In this order: Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Pride. At least for today.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
That there’s no link between long fingernails and depression.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
I’ve always assumed restlessness, but if think about it my favorite projects don’t usually come from a restless need to make something — they simply came from noticing one thing while I was doing something else. Then I took it and ran with it. So I guess my projects, once begun, are fueled and finished by restlessness. Although contentment doesn’t really get things done and restlessness can be very distracting.

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
You can always count on war. I’m not a pessimist, I’m a disappointed optimist, to paraphrase someone, although I can’t remember who.

Five. Select/discuss any one of the following options.
- Five-a: You lost it as a child and you want it back.
- Five-b: You are concerned about your food and its origins.
- Five-c: These are your generation’s greatest successes.
+ Five-d: For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture or (item X) that made all the difference.
- Five-e: Do you have a question for me? (What is it?)

Mid- to late 1980s Freestylin’ Magazine pretty much made all the difference. Combine that with a Dead Kennedys’ “Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death” cassette and you have my teenage mind shift. Somehow, some way, for some reason, the little local department store in Columbiana, Ohio had that album for sale. I bought it (to be honest I actually put a discounted price sticker on it so it was $2.99 instead of $7.99) and it reset my head forever. In fact, one day 10 years ago my wife Diane and I were at a country bar out by the Katy Trail and we got to talking to some bored teenager whose mom was working there. I gave him all the DK tapes I had in my car in the hopes they would get in his head too, and get him out of the small town he hated.


-30-

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Meta | Comments Off

Officially, today marks the end of this oddball project, with four entries coming in under the wire. Though the date-stamp on the page may read May 2, it’s definitely May 1. In fact, as I’m typing this, it’s only 20-odd minutes ’til midnight, which’ll mean May 2, which’ll mean no more TS5Q updates.

That said, if a few orphans filter through the digital transom, they’ll be added here. Goodness knows that I asked enough folks for one, or two, to still come along, unexpectedly. And it’d be rude to not post them if they do arrive.

Perhaps it was rude to expect anyone to answer any of these Qs, for any reason, under any circumstances. Dunno. It was all intended to be a bit of a lark, really,  a reason to bug some old friends, or to put a line out to people I’d like to interview, but would otherwise have no reason to contact. I love projects with a random edge to them. And, not-so-subtly, I often wonder what makes one quirky project a book-worthy-mega-hit and another one a bit of online roadkill. On that count, I’m still as ig’nert as ever.

There’s another lark to come, but not until the end of summer, when a couple of St. Louis-related, web projects will come to a close. When that new one’s ready for inspection, it’ll be linked here.

Thanks for answering questions, those of you that did. And thanks for reading, those of you that did. Over, out.

Thomas Crone
11:50 p.m., CST
May 1, 2011
STL, MO


TS5Q: DJ Lance Rock

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: The List of 100 | Tags: , | Comments Off

When this silliness began a year ago, my original dream list contained people that I knew, people that I knew would never talk to me (if I could even get word to them), and people that somewhat knew but had no real reason to chime in on a random interview project. DJ Lance Rock fell into the last category, more or less. He’s a friend of friends and he’s a St. Louisan and he’s a good egg, according to all. He’s also a successful entertainer these days, so there was no guarantee of this one ever happening.

Over the past year, though, he visited his hometown a few different times and I ran into him on more than one occasion. The project was discussed each time, to the point where I was certain that every trip back to St. Louis for him contained a tiny black cloud, this little bit of worry that I’d pop out of the bushes and ask if he’d had time to work out the answers to TS5Q. While I never popped outta the bushes, literally, I’m pretty sure I provided at least a few “ayie!” moments. If so, sorry, dude.

But the star of “Yo Gabba Gabba!” came through. And we chalk up one more member of The List of 100. Who won’t have to stress running into me any more.

Thanks for making my year, sir. Seriously. We end on a high note, for real.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
Lust or Envy. Desire in a positive or negative way is usually a motivational force.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
I recently watched the entire series of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos,” so I’m going to say extraterrestrial life. Simply because the odds of a life form that could or would want to make contact with us, and for us to be able to communicate with them are so great that it seems extremely unlikely.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
Restlessness. If I’m content, I tend to get a little complacent. Whereas when I’m restless, ideas come to me constantly

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
I don’t think it’s likely that any of these events will occur during my lifetime.

Five-d: For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture or (item X) that made all the difference.
I have been influenced by so many amazing books, records, films, art and experiences, I can’t pick just one, since they have all contributed to my being. However, I am going to say “The Simpsons.” It has so many layers of appeal. It’s awesome satire, has some of the sharpest writing of any show on television, and has so many divergent cultural references. I mean what other show has referenced or included James Brown, The Ramones, Gore Vidal and Judge Judy?


TS5Q: David Meiklejohn

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Meta | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Though I don’t know David Meiklejohn, I semi-sorta-kinda know the person about whom he’s created a well-received documentary, Davy Rothbart of “My Heart is an Idiot.” And though I’ve not seen the film at the time of this writing, I have seen the trailer, have talked to people who’ve seen the film and do semi-sorta-kinda know Davy. So there is a kinship. Especially because those people, the ones who saw the film, liked it. And I like them, so I’m sure I’d like it, if not even love it.

This much I know: I like answers that David sent. They’re right here. Read them. Then watch the trailer, below. And special note to David: if you’ve got a photo, I’ll replace this goofy graphic with a still or a headshot. Thanks.

(David’s touring the film right now. Check out the doc’s website and see if you can’t track it down, live.)

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
I don’t mean to play the iconoclast, but I’m more attracted to art that makes use of virtues rather than vices, and bravery is the most inspiring virtue, for me.  I just finished a full-length documentary called My Heart is an Idiot, and it’s primarily about FOUND Magazine creator Davy Rothbart and his roller coaster love life, but it portrays the romantic stories of other people in Davy’s life as well.  To let your lovelife be filmed and then shown to audiences takes a lot of courage, and the bravery of the subjects of the film inspires me to be more brave in my own life, love-related and otherwise.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
I’d like more evidence that people are reading poetry.  Deep inside I know that poetry is badass and powerful, and I know that everyone wants more badassness in their lives, so I keep waiting to see proof that poetry is being read, savored, and shared.  There’s not as much evidence of this for my liking, but maybe if I keep demanding that people read poetry, more will.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
I’m easily distracted, and I have self-diagnosed high-functioning OCD, which basically means I work best if my work area is tidy and I’m wearing shoes.  For that reason, I’d say contentment.  However, I also find myself regularly waking up at 4am full of ideas that make it impossible to sleep, so I get up and start working out whatever creative business is in my head, and I love that kind of restless enthusiasm.  Can I make up the word “restentlessment” and claim that one instead?

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen.
All three, and what’s important to remember is that all three have already happened and are continuing to happen.  If you ask someone in Palestine or Darfur or Iraq or Libya whether total war will happen in their lifetime, they’ll tell you to look around, it’s already here.  And at the same time, a gardener in Detroit is planting zucchini in an abandoned plot of land where an elementary school used to be, and that peace is total and pervasive.  Reaching outside our own perspective teaches us that it’s not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “where.”  And as far as spacepeople coming to our planet, you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or X-Files fanatic to believe that there are truths beyond our comprehension that exist right in front of our eyes.  Also: Lady GaGa.

Five. For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture, or (item X) that made all the difference.
I’m not sure the person I’d be if I hadn’t read any of Jean Genet’s writings.  Probably a banker instead of an artist.  And probably someone who wouldn’t steal your silverware when your back is turned.  Which I am, so look out.


TS5Q: LJ Lindhurst

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: More Than 100 | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

True, LJ Lindhurst was a part of the one of the great newspaper staffs in collegiate history, the Webster University Journal of the… well, of the last century. But let’s not limit her to just that bit of alumna trivia.

She’s also a painter, a graphic artist and a teacher in New York City.

Regarding the painting, this info is found on her website: I am a photorealist painter, and I work from original photographs of images that I find personally appealing. I like to explore the colors and textures of objects at a macro level. My paintings typically feature close-up views of tiny objects; I am particularly drawn to toys, candies, and other often-overlooked detritus of our popular culture. I find that when you isolate and magnify small details from these otherwise insignificant objects, they reveal more than just their hidden beauty; the mere act of enlarging these items to thousands of times their natural size and rendering all of the detail in paint creates a distinctly absurd sense of comedy. I like to think that my work makes people laugh, or at the very least it makes them more aware that there are entire worlds of beauty in even the tiniest object in their landscape.

She’s also usually got a funny aside, or two, whether or person or via e-mail, so this one back was a treat. Thanks, LJ.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
First of all, I must confess that I had to look on Wikipedia to see what exactly the seven deadly sins are—and I’ve even seen that movie “Seven! Ah well, that doesn’t mean I am any closer to answering this question.  I was raised in an indignantly non-religious household, so I always fail to grasp even the broadest of Biblical references. But I guess if I had to choose one, I’d say wrath definitely makes the best art. There’s nothing like the result of a good fury.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
That politics and politicians actually have any impact on my life.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
Definitely contentment. If I am restless, I cannot concentrate, and 99% of my work is fueled by intense concentration on minute detail.

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
I’d have to say total war. Though I am rooting for the appearance of spacemen/spacewomen (and by the way, nice shoutout to the ladies that you bothered to include “spacewomen” in that scenairo).

Five. Select/discuss any one of the following options.
Five-d: For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture or (item X) that made all the difference.
When I was in 7th grade, we took a trip to the St. Louis Art Museum. This was the first time I’d seen Chuck Close’s painting, Keith. I remember looking at it forever, and repeatedly returning to it during our visit. I simply couldn’t believe it was a painting and not a photo—but more than that, I couldn’t believe that someone would do something like this. Why would someone try to make a painting that looked like a photo? And why would someone choose such a thing for a subject? It blew my mind.  There have been few moments in my life when I felt that spark, that desire to be and do something. I will never forget that afternoon. I know it was nothing more than simply viewing a painting in an art museum, but it will forever feel to me like the day my eyes were opened.


TS5Q: James Combs

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: More Than 100 | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Some time back, a group called Arson Garden played the rock clubs of the Midwest. They were amazing. Just awesome. Killer.

When the five-piece from Bloomington, IN, eventually disbanded, after a handful of great releases on an equal number of doomed indie labels, guitarist and songwriter James Combs released some solo work. Primarily releasing music through himself or the eclectic Ubiquity label, Combs went from the edgy rock of Arson Garden to a decidedly calmer guise, creating smart music for smart people. He also stepped into the forefront as a singer with those solo releases, after sharing some counterpoint vocals in AG.

These days, he’s playing music again with his sister, April Combs, along with Laurie Burnham. The trio Honneycombs has strengths, ala the vocal harmonies and clever hooks. If the tornadic passion of an Arson Garden show’s a thing of the past, the Combs siblings still know their way around a pop song. And a player with the skill of James deserves the right to recreate himself as many times as he wishes.

One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
Well its not avarice, sloth, discouragement, envy or gluttony. So that would leave us with lust, vanity, and wrath. I think good art comes from all of them. Personally I am not that into wrath.

Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
Ghosts – I have had friends tell me very convincing personal ghost stories – friends whom I really admire with no agenda whatsoever. In fact two women who I most admire have told me chilling, detailed ghost experiences they had staying in 100 year old hotels – one in San Francisco, one in New York. One saw a ghost sitting on the end of her bed and told it to leave, which it did. The other felt menaced and harassed by an obvious presence all night and checked out the next day. I can’t explain their experiences – but I am going to have to have a similar experience myself before I can fully accept them. I believe my friends and I simultaneously can’t reconcile their stories with my experience. So I am kind of stuck on ghosts.

Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
Cycles of both – I am happy in my personal life right now – I adore my wife and we have a beautiful baby son who we are mad for. But for about three weeks last October, I got strangely inspired to write an entire, very focused record examining a much more tumultuous period in my life – when I first moved to LA after bouncing from city to city. Everything was torn down at that moment and I was starting from scratch. Everything that came out of me felt completely candid, completely accurate. Like being where I am now allowed me to have the tools to write a record about where I was then.

But strangely I don’t have the language to write about right now. This is a very emotionally resonant time for me but it needs to play out more before I will know how to write about it.

So I suppose the best recipe for creative productivity as far as I am concerned is: being content but knowing turmoil.

Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war,or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
Spacemen. Absolutely spacemen.

Five-a: You lost it as a child and you want it back.
I remember: a tan plastic clock radio, a bona fide wooden nickel and a 1910 dime, a faux fur blanket, a used hospital bed, a school tape recorder, 3 cassette tapes with home made radio shows and recordings of “Happy Days” reruns, a hand-me-down Rubber Soul with lipstick marks on John, a blue wooden toybox built by a janitor from school with missing fingers named John Flynn, a 3/4 size Yamaha acoustic guitar, a yellow legal pad with a story about cavalry soldiers, an aluminum bat, all those plastic guns, the interior book for Magical Mystery Tour.

Where are those things? I would like them back, please. Except for the plastic guns – they can stay where they are.

(Photo credit: Gina Weathersby; Laurie, James, April, left to right.)