Signs of Life

or: Thom Stitt's ongoing document of Vancouver's moods

Come Fly the Psychedelic Skies

I miss getting into my zone. It rarely happens. When I sneak my way in it’s a bit like this: I’m in the edit bay, something right is happening and I’m just trying to keep up with it. One idea stacks on another and another and they keep flowing - There’s an invisible spring somewhere and an invisible levee has broken and I don’t want sleep, food, or toilets to get in the way. It’s been a while. I found the zone again this weekend.

I may have also discovered a new passion - Visual accompaniment to live music. This first video will be playing at Shambhala fest at the RockPit stage. I hope to do many more. DJs, musicmakers, party-throwers, and friends and allies of all of the above, hit me up! Maybe at some point I’ll have this stuff available through an online store, but for now it’s just in the kitchen.

The idea is this: I create the video to random music using only footage that has come through the camera in my hands. I allow the chaos in the footage to do its thing regarding rhythm. Inevitably there will be pattern overlaps with almost any music you play it with. What I hope to have is something like an album full of song-length clips, each done in a single sitting. I have a nigh-bottomless well of nutrient-rich video content from years of taking my camera everywhere and NOT editing it down, and here it is at last: A place for it. Old sleeping lovelies dusted and allowed to breathe again.

It glitters and it’s grimy. And it’s quick - 15 minutes of the good stuff took me about 2 days in the kitchen. I keep everything in Final Cut and I keep the effects simple to manage - color correction and luma keys are all I use. It’s easy in post because the footage I begin with is properly crazy. Mostly because I’m crazy, but I’m happy to have somewhere this footage can go. Keep in mind everything moves - the lights twinkle, the raindrops trickle, the smoking plane tumbles and the silk dancer flies. It’s designed to be large and bright and accompanied by loud music that people move to. If people at the show stop dancing and stare at the screens for a while, I may consider the video TOO successful, but nonetheless, a glee-squirm is a good feel.

Once Shambhala’s underway I’ll put together a short version of this reel and publish it for the enjoyment of all. Just add music. Now if anyone’s going to be at Shambhala, stop by RockPit at night and take some photos for me.

Effigy, BC - Trailer

Here it be: A peek at what’s cooking on my documentary on the Vancouver hockey riots. My goal is to have this thing out during the playoff season. The Canucks are expected to do well, and I don’t think the timing could be better.

For now, here’s a little look at the movie - the tone, the noise, the images. Please spread the word, if there’s anyone at all you think may be interested in this, pass it forward with the note that this little documentary will be done by the end of the hockey season. Look forward to it!

In the kitchen, simmering: Effigy, BC

I’ve (finally) officially started the edit on my Vancouver Riots documentary. I’ve been sitting on the footage for nearly a year, and now, going into the new playoffs, I’m finally feeling like I know what to say. This documentary isn’t an informational research-and-interview deal. I am not asking professors of sociology why people act like they do. I just go out with my camera and notice things, and some of those things I notice while the camera is running. I hope the camera notices them too.

The edit’s going to be a little bit on the gruelling side, but I’m already excited about what I have, and I’ll be releasing a short trailer in the next week. I’ve been working on it the last couple of days, and while I’m struggling to find the right pace and music, and it’s entirely too long to boot, I’m quite stirred and excited.

A couple shots made it into Memory Machine, but I’m sitting on the best stuff for now. I promise to stay postin’!
Effigy, BC

New movie: Memory Machine

I’ve been assembling some (and by “some” I mean a mean fraction) of my summertime cinematographs into something resembling a whole. This is a lot like my winter movie Warm Places - less a story and more an album of moving images with a theme.

Hopefully this tugs on a particular string or two. If not, it’s got plenty of pretty pictures to tide anyone over with a few minutes to spare.

These prints will fly directly into your hands

I’ve just gotten myself set up at the Saatchi Gallery Online. If anyone’s interested in purchasing a print, you can sign up for free and place an order. Right now I only have a few photos up, but there will be many more coming.

Thom Stitt at the Saatchi Gallery Online

Who doesn’t love to spend money? Don’t you feel slightly depressed about something in your life? Consumption therapy is proven to work. Buy something pretty, and not only do you get a high-quality framed photo, but you also get eternal love from me (included free).

Moonlight in Yaletown

Skeleton Slime - The Nature of Charlie Immer’s Jellatinous World

Fine print: I am not affiliated in any way with Charlie Immer, the artist. I nearly stare into his amazing artwork and decipher my own stories. Imagine the following in the voice of David Attenborough or Stephen Fry, if you please.

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Charlie. Charlie’s a pink jellynoid from another realm, a world made almost entirely of various jelly substances. Charlie spends most of his time exploring his world and taking photographs of the various goings-on. It’s all pretty standard stuff for the jellynoids, but once he discovered that these scenes are an absolute novelty in our subdued 3-dimensional universe, he began to bring his photos across into what we call the “real world” for the enjoyment and education of all. It’s a very colorful cartoon world similar to ours but different in certain key respects. Let’s see if we can sort out some of the nature of this fascinating world.

Here’s Charlie going for a swim in a tendril foliage lake. Good form, Chuck! The sea here is a lighter-viscosity jelly substance, close to the density of some naturally-growing tendrils. Tendrils are like the plants of this world, but they have nervous systems and are fully conscious. How this works is mostly unknown, but it’s been theorized that they share a kind of diffused, shared mental computation, lacking a focused brain organ. Some of these tendrils that grow in the jelly-waters live in a partially-melted state, so in fact most of the lakes and oceans of this world are at least partially conscious, if fairly inexplicable to comprehend.

It's what's on the inside that counts

Here’s Charlie on a particularly obese and sweltering day. See how his torso’s jelly-skin is see-through? That happens sometimes. You can really see what people are made of in this world - Charlie’s species can have trouble expressing emotions using facial features, so this sort of adaptive display helps communicate a great deal of information. These creatures’ outer shells are highly malleable and can take on a wide array of forms. Each one has to be ‘grown,’ much like a crab’s shell. Wow, look at how rich and full Charlie’s insides are! This is truly a grand jellyman, right at home on a brisk jog through the technicolor tendrils.

Oh, here’s an expressive fellow! This one’s learned to modify his shell in a playful manner. It should be noted however, that he clearly does not have the rich insides that Charlie boasts. Don’t let the cheerful visage fool you - This one’s mostly an empty husk, and highly untrustworthy. Such a figure in Charlie’s world should be approached with a high degree of caution. What’s most likely happened here is that this is an old jellynoid who’s mostly dead, and is left without a skeleton but only a hardened shell and the vestige of a highly-demented brain. His husk, when it hardens, will make a great molding ground for other smaller jellyfolk to shape new heads and bodies.

Here’s a cheerful bit of mischief! Charlie calls this photo “Scare Glow” - it’s a friend who’s currently in the process of forming a new jelly-shell. He’s managed to make his insides glow different colors (likely by ingesting certain jelly substances which occur in the wild), putting on quite a show for the tendrils in the foliage forest. You might think those are lightning bolts in the distance, but in fact they’re just regular old glowing, dangling stormcloud nerves.

Peekaboo! Here’s what it looks like when a jellynoid decides to discard his current jellyshell. Shells can get overly stiff and inexpressive after a while. You don’t want to be a social outcast, do you? Well then you’d better discard your jellyshell when it starts getting stiff! Don’t worry, a new jelly membrane will begin to grow almost immediately. You can shape it however you want! The longer you wait to discard your jellyshell, the less this process hurts. It’s generally inadvisable and can be harmful to the identity and organs to discard a membraneous shell that hasn’t had time to form with a jellynoid’s “personality.” This appears to be a perfect time to discard - the nerves have no trouble separating from the husk, which separates very cleanly.

Uh oooh! This is a bit of brotherly teasing in an autumn meadow. “Look at me! I’m YOU! hahahaha!” Don’t let it disturb you too much. Although if the brother took off his face as well and then they switched faces, there would be some small risk of total identity shifting, but this is something that isn’t terribly out of the ordinary in this world, especially under the influence of the tendril meadows.

It’s a little-known fact that the creatures Gumby and Pokey are based on hail from the Jellynoid world. This is a rare shot of a Gumby-jelly taming a wild Pokey-jelly. Notice the rainbow rain. Most drops are delicious, but some are positively poisonous. Fuschia, for example, tastes like candy, whereas hot pink drops will actually turn your insides into candy, promptly making you food for certain species of tendril.

Oh, dear. Here’s a rather gruesome scene. This is the inverse of the Shape-Fitter husk from earlier. Here there is only the skeleton and a vestigial jellybrain, which takes a long time to fully die off. It’s unknown exactly how jellybrains work, but one theory says that the actual substance of the brain, when it eventually lowers in viscosity enough to melt fully will eventually grow into tendrils, and that all tendrils are the stuff of former jellynoid brains.

There aren’t too many of these skeleton “fixtures” but it should be noted that their almost total lack of any visible jelly whatsoever can be seen as an abomination to many jellypeople. This one, which has lost its lower torso completely, is permanently grown into the edge of the Western Tendril Woods near the coast, and has been nearly totally overtaken by tendrils. It mercilessly eats tiny jellybean people to feed the foliage tendrils which now constitute its innards. This is a peek at an interesting facet of the Jelly Kingdom - symbiotic ecosystems occuring around single intelligent (or formerly-intelligent) organisms - similar to ourselves and the bacteria in our digestive tract, but with far more diversity. We’ll focus more on these on a future blog entry. If you want to take a look through more of Charlie’s fascinating photographs, check out charlieimmer.com.

The Light at Jericho

Some photos from the weekend, mostly centered around Jericho Beach. Great time with Sam Kim and Amanda Catching, both of whom helped a great deal here. The photo through the wooden railing was only possible with Sam’s flash chicanery, and the prism refraction technique is Amanda’s brainchild. We all steal heartily from each other.

This summer is unbearably mild in Vancouver. It’s a summer through a sheer curtain. We know there’s something amazing on the other side, but we can’t quite get it clearly. I don’t know if we’ll really have a summer this year.

Upside: This makes the glimpsing all the more spectacular on the eyeballs.

The Light at Jericho

Jericho WindowRainbow fragments

The Night FishermenCity on stiltsAliums!The PillarsAnother harbor light stormFamily Beach Soccer at DuskIt's getting dark; Shine your lights.

Artistic Social Commentary on Youtube, or a Girl Snapping on Camera?

There’s a video making the viral rounds by the title “Girl goes nuts not having a boyfriend.” Since it started picking up the views, the uploader enabled revenue sharing and mentioned in the description:

THIS IS NOT ME. I Repeat, THIS IS NOT ME!
I came across this on Tumblr actually and felt the biggest urge to put on Youtube honestly… It’s hard to tell if she’s trolling or just completely retarded I personally think.

Additionally, there’s an annotation added at the beginning of the video which is by-default on, reading:

Like: Agreed, this girl is a nutcase or you’d fap to this. Dislike: Just not weird enough for you.

Or, how about another possibility? That it may be a piece of insightful satirical performance art skewering the grotesqueries of today’s social pressures on teenaged girls. As loathe as I am to bring this video’s re-poster more sleazy ad revenue, I’m not sure how else to show it. So that being established, I’ll let you watch the video and decide, and then I’ll make my case.

Whoa. So, assuming she didn’t just snap on camera (odds probably low, considering how sharp she is as she prepares us that what we’re about to see is “crazy” and “weird”), this is maybe goddamn enlightening stuff. Please indulge me, as I indulge myself, in some pretentious banter.

Times are changing rapidly, off the rails, changing by the year, changing like crazy. This young girl is in the middle of that Hell, and as a teenager no less. We must imagine that she may be tapped in to something.

Now when she completes her cool, collected preparatory intro, she immediately switches characters, and the story begins. Here she plays the part of the sort of girls she feels surrounded by, the ones that “win” at the larger social game, and very soon takes on a most frightening character. This new figure appears utterly desperate to put on whatever mask will win her points in today’s social game, going through whatever motions, however ridiculous, are accepted. But she’s not playing the exterior, she’s playing the subtext. She’s outright showing you what’s going on inside some of the girls you may recognize. She’s merely revealing a glimpse at the ghost within - that is, we have now entered the Spirit Realm. Myazaki fans who wear glasses should take them off here and recall his imaginative visions as you watch the rest of this video.

Now she has become ethereal, the true spirit of Desperation. This Spirit seems capable of incredibly graceful movement it seems, if the dance itself contains absolutely no grace. This spirit vessel is a powerful one. Grotesque and with a strong sort of magnetism. This may be a spirit that some will cling to (or, from another perspective, some will be clinged-to by this spirit) in order to navigate the labyrinth of being a social animal called a “human.” Now watch, as the farther we go in the video, the more and more this spirit shows itself clearly through the mask-on-a-mask.

That’s the uber-pretentious cliff’s notes as to why this may be an amazing piece of performance art. Or, it could be that very sparse possibility that this girl just became unhinged on camera. I can only really speak for my own experience: Her collected explanatory intro, the immediate “switch” into character, and the arc of that character are all very telling to me.

But until it comes out what the girl herself has to say on this potentially viral youtube-generation masterwork, we’ll have to wonder at the possibilities. It could be that the pressure has gotten to her, that she is venting some terrible demon that’s threatening to inhabit her. It could be a carefully-contrived piece of youtube artwork. It could be a combination, or it could be neither. Either way, it provides a valuable glimpse at the frightening spirits that inhabit today’s teenage social structure.

This thing NEEDS to put on a mask so you will like it.

Another possibility is that perhaps this girl is destined to become an actor. I’m sure she’ll be quite alright in whatever world awaits her - She just needs to survive High School first.

A light reminder as you go about your day

Just a brief refreshment in case it’s been a while:

1. We don’t know what we are.
2. We don’t know why or how we exist.
3. We don’t know where we’re going.

The aggregate collected knowledge and experience of all humankind has only glimpsed possibilities to the contrary, but nobody anywhere knows.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to remember this. Please enjoy the use of this map of existence if you slip out of this reality on your way into dreams tonight. You’re somewhere in that crazy waveform in the middle. Also keep in mind this is a 2-dimensional image flattened down from an unknown number of dimensions. I hope you find it more pleasing to look at than your local mall’s directory map.

[caption id=”attachment_113” align=”aligncenter” width=”600” caption=”This map might get you out of (or into) a few tight spots.”]A Current Explorer's Map of Existence, Zoomed Quite Far Out, So Lacking in Details; Also Flattened[/caption]

Thank you, have a pleasant evening!

Suburban Stew and the Cudder Concerto

The city’s down the highway. Follow the skytrain. It’s a glistening jewel just over the next hill. There might be plumes of black smoke rising out of it, but don’t worry about that, it’s just another sign that something is seriously awry in the human psyche. Especially at risk are any human souls residing in the suburbs. A comfortable, familiar risk by most measures.

Social networks have revealed that many of the guilty parties during the riots were financially well-off suburban youths. High school students with scholarships and brand new clothes, living in houses with yards on both sides, out in the highway hill country. But this isn’t about the riots - I’ll get to that some other time. This is about a concert in the Burbs the night after the riots. But it’s a story, like many of my stories, about connecting and misconnecting.

In the middle of Vancouver’s nearest suburb, just in the dip of a couple shallow hills (so it feels cozy), is little Deer Lake. An adorable lake park beset by tiny Canadian highways and just down the hill from British Columbia’s largest shopping mall. Maybe Deer Lake is so adorable because it’s a mish-mash of introduced species and recent growth. The wild, strange, complex place that existed before it was settled was destroyed nearly immediately by logging. Now it’s some kind of papier-mache replica of itself, but it’s still undeniably adorable. Deer Lake’s access is ever-so-slightly more sub-urban, ever-so-slightly more inclined to producing as its nightly offspring long wanderings along the sides of empty, meandering highways. This isn’t like trotting to the Vogue downtown, surrounded by light rail trains, flashing neon, and dense channels of major bus lines. These are weary lands.

All of this knowledge awaited me. Embarking, I only knew two things:

- Early summer evening in the park

- Kid Cudi concert

Dis map is crazy

Unsure of when the Kid Cudi show actually started, I took a cab. The following thirty minutes of my life would have been familiar to anyone who has ever played the Sega game Crazy Taxi. The suburban jungle was an utter distress to my driver, who had no idea how to get to Deer Lake and frantically flipped between his iphone’s GPS and someone at the Yellow Cab dispatch who I imagine had Google Maps open with a traffic overlay. I was part of a new logistical cab experience - a mechanized technological feat that involves constant radiation to and from orbiting machines which whip at abominable speeds above the sky and around the world. The driver couldn’t cope with the traffic and roads out here, but thankfully he had little trouble coping with the beaming of radiation precisely to and from these machines over and over again. I could see that for him, his mission was dire. Halfway through the trip, three u-turns in, sweat on his temples, temporarily at a stoplight, assuming my need to be dire, he made a decision so weighty it sent shuddering ripples through the car. He buckled his seatbelt.

I wondered if it might have been the first time since his driving exam that he had taken such a drastic measure. I already had mine buckled, but I got the sense there was some OTHER thing I was forgetting to buckle, some other latch I didn’t know how to fasten.

I had the idea now that Deer Lake Park wasn’t going to have the home-in-Kansas feeling of the city. Looking around me, walking on the sidewalks and through the grass was the result of what must have been the last bell for classes at some high school just on the other side of a nearby 80s time warp. The Kid Cudi concert pilgrimage was in full effect. With this neon rabble as my audience, the cab driver swerved to a stop on a median in the middle of a two-lane road and ran my credit card the old-fashioned way, to the quiet soundtrack of a crackling engine and shuffling footsteps and low chatter. In 360 degrees, outside all of my surrounding windows were bobbing patterns of hot pink, electric blue, and brain-piercing orange.

I made my way through the entrance, amazed at how many young adult women were following around what seemed to be baby-faced headband-peacocks bragging about how they stomped on something. Mass production has favored the hormones of only one sex it seems. I found an ideal empty patch at my preferred spot - in the middle, just in front of the sound booth, my back to the fence, a chill stranger to my left, a large stack of pizza boxes to my right as plain as can be, daring me to wonder at its origin.

The opening act was appropriately known as The Knux.  They tore it up and took the opportunity to bring the riots in: “C’mon, this is Vancouver, isn’t this the crowd that rioted?” They also took a minute to remind people that violence isn’t the answer (but peace and love are ingredients in it).

Cudi got what one might call “mad love” upon his appearance. He had a full live band. They launched directly into Revofev. Crowd was down.

I stood back and enjoyed the show, took in the air, and noticed that I was at the core of a central channel of people movement. Looking down you could get a glimpse of what it might look like from above. Rocks, banks, streams. Veins, arteries, junctions. People moving in, out, through similar but subtly shifting circulatory channels. As in any crowd, it was becoming an organism, a complex system rising out of chaos. Down on my level it became clear that they formed paths in a leg forest. I noticed forks, deltas, capillaries. People came from all directions, their stops and starts mitigated by their position in the crowd and their level of asshole-ness (the scale goes from “Non-Asshole / Meekling” to “Screaming Ass-Hole”). I formulated a few crowd-physics ideas at Sasquatch Fest, and continued to notice how it worked here - the sizes of personal buffer zones breathing and zipping with the moving particles, forming regular channels in order to minimize distraction. Many people came and went - sometimes clogging the channels without realizing it, thinking, “hey, here’s a clear spot!” - but before long were bumped-into enough to un-clog and continue back down (sometimes up) the stream. Thus the paths through the leg forest were trod and formed. Occasionally by stiff-shouldered security personnel scanning the crowd and lecturing - even angrily - at groups who were smoking pot. Can we replace these paid staff with something more useful already? Can we hire people to police assholes instead of hiring police that are assholes?

Paths Through a Hedge Maze

A wide berth was kept around the pizza boxes. I exploited it, a large semi-circle buffer zone pre-built, and a regular junction of rotating strangers in front. Right now, it had stabilized to a group of short, attractive females, the ages of whom I could not in a million years guess, assuming my surroundings as they were. There was one maniac forward and to the right who I felt deserved his own fresco painting. He put on a show in the crowd to rival Cudi. He was white and gaunt, his clothes baggy enough to hold tenfold his lean girth - one got the feeling these clothes were designed for someone who might spontaneously transform into a hulk-like beast. At one point during the night he had a girl on his shoulders and he carried her like it was perfectly normal to be wearing a sentient hat of thighs, waist, breasts, arms, and human head, plus a scarf made of legs. His attire for the evening established, he proceeded to dance HARD with a second girl, hard enough to cause injury in a lesser spirit, all while rapping with an earnest ferocity. To top it off - He held aloft the small fire of his lighter so Cudi would know he cared. I wasn’t sure if the girl on his shoulders was concerned about the sudden occasional source of flame launching toward her face from her violently bobbing stool, but this dude was too busy not giving a fuck for that sort of nonsense. This was the Cudi Zone, and it was time for the star concert-goers to show their top shit - If a few eyebrows get singed in the process, so be it. I understood now why his clothes had to be so enormous - his tiny body could barely contain him - how could tiny clothes? This guy’s watermark was so high it was the least one could do to nod understanding and shrink down into the righteous ground below.

Who cares?

This is an image of the Maniac at the concert, but it’s too terrible to do any justice unless it’s way out of focus and you imagine it being super awesome somehow.

What this landscape screamed for was a short stepping stool in front of the mixing booth. Straight shot to center stage. Free to all shorties. No need to squeeze your thighs around some badass’s ears for a game of “Fireball Dodge” - although hopefully that option will always be available to the right person. You girls know who you are.

Notice the flow of people around the booth, assuming a venue isn’t too crowded. Right in the center is the greatest buffer zone. This is the spot, due to the booth corners being such dense traffic channels. Like drafting behind a fast car.  Put the stool down. Make some friends, help the short people connect with [insert favorite rockstar]. If only I had gotten his name, I would name this stool-based-vantage-point-machine after the fire-wielding Deer Lake Maniac.

Giggle. Glint. Flash. Something is distracting me. Little glittery explosions. Holy shit I’m in the middle of a fucking battleground.

Let me back up a second. Scott Mescudi is doing his thing right up there with the band. He’s enjoying the vibe, making an honest effort to connect with the crowd. The problem: Many of his suburban fans at Deer Lake seem to be consuming candy-feasts for their minds at their local mall’s “Culture for Sale” store. It’s hard not to focus on it. Still, I like these people somehow. I might hate them if I were attending High School with them, but they were trying, somehow, with what they had, which is a fairly seriously sick world to inherit. In glances I saw some quiet dorky non-presences on the sidelines. They stood out by their lack of screaming color or head plumage. In a crowd of people demanding visual attention, the usual chameleons became birds of paradise. They were, like me, perhaps unaware that there were rules of teen concert attendance. How many of this crowd connected on a deeper level with the music, and how many are here only because it’s the place to be?

Cudi sings about feeling alienated from a high, lonely vantage while trying and frequently failing to operate his cogs in the machine (One must wonder what his honest experience is onstage at a venue like this). Perhaps that is telling. Perhaps beneath the screaming green caps are brains swirling with some urge to be a little more honest but happy for now if Cudi does the painful part of the work for them. Scott Mescudi writes lyrics by filtering his self-concept through his music. The extremely personal nature of it all means that many critics reviewing a Cudi album are also putting him on the couch for a psychological assessment. It’s no wonder he gives no time to the haters. Baring your young soul, by turns empathetic and self-destructive, isn’t easy to do in public. When he opened the set, he prepared the crowd: “Welcome. Welcome you. I am your big brother. What do I have to say to the kids?” And then he said what he had to say. I trust some of them were actually listening. I can confirm that at least a few were not.

But enough of everyone else. I need to float up only slightly and I achieve enough thrust for take-off - I am bewildered by the big-screen visuals. They have me flying, expanding outward and gliding through an electric music tunnel. It is warping, changing. Now over a multi-dimensional landscape made of shimmering SOMETHING, and if only I could figure out what that something actually WAS I would really be onto… Oh god, the colors… Wait, what?

*Wink!* Aaah!

Giggle. Glint. Glitter. Flash. Glance. Snicker.

Something stirs on the northern front. Like some mischievous pixie in a fairytale, another winking set of mascara eyes secretly giggling and gleaming in the tiny flashes of her iphone 4, reminding me that I am a human something that looks a certain way, and as far as I’m concerned, I can’t really give a fuck what that is right now.

Did I call this a social battleground before? I take that back. This shit’s a minefield. I’m on my own stage in this little pocket and there’s no escaping it now. While the tiny clicking puffs of light continued, I kept waiting for the Wiz-Kid to mention the riots that we had somehow created in the city last night. It never happened. Perhaps on purpose - but he didn’t miss a beat to talk about himself, his “old shit” (meaning from a couple years ago), his new music, his side projects, and his sincere love for every Canadian show he played when he was on the come-up - just nothing about the riots. Perhaps this was a deliberate measure to keep things positive. Cudi always made an effort, though, toward honest connection. He appreciated the marijuana-smokers as conduits in the crowd, and you could see that he would have had a joint if he wasn’t playing a venue policed by the stiff-spine patrol clunking like robots through the forest paths. He talked about his upcoming short film with Shia LaBoeuf called “Maniac” - making sure to check the crowd for special connections with fans who already knew about it. I think Cudi craves these little connections because a crowd like this can feel so distant otherwise. If it’s a single organism, then what is its quality? It’s a multi-colored logo-splattered Jackson Pollock bib. A huge bowl of candy-colored mallrats and their riotous, imprisoned hearts.

So the giggling eyes and the flashing of iphones continued. I swear to God, I thought to myself, they’re all posing in front of me, like I’m one of those giant toy soldiers in London. Standing guard for Her Majesty’s whatever-the-fuck, keeping it safe from the tourist hordes. Are they doing this because they think I’m a ridiculous creep or because they want to get my attention? Perhaps it started with the latter and evolved to the former. None of this group of girls is trying to communicate with me, nobody getting my attention, everybody just snickering and assuming I can rummage through the games and figure out what they’re playing. But more pressingly, are they 15 or 22? This madness continued on some level for the entire show. Daring to walk amongst Romans, I felt I was being strung up. Somewhere is a blog or a series of facebook photos with me in the background and the caption: “this creepy weirdo totally ignored us the entire time - Look how out of it he is!’

The show ended in mild sparking misconnections. Cudi took off and the background track for “These Worries” began to play. Staff immediately ran out on stage and soon the track cut out. Was it an encore fail? Cudi came out to appease the crowd with what I guess might have been the second song of the encore, but I was feeling what Cudi may have felt - I can only do so much here.

I didn’t stick around to watch the rabble disperse. I dispersed. But my night in the suburbs had only begun.

Next time! On blah-blah-blah:
Lost on highways. Tin-can prisoners. Strangers scared shitless of their own fear. And a glimpse of the world’s end.