Gold, a photo shoot by Geoph Aldora Espen and ScreamCraft Studio featuring J.A. Harris Photography. Stay tuned for an inside perspective on this collaboration before the photos are even released, check it out soon at www.geophaldoraespen.wordpress.com.
March 30th, 2013, was Post Apocalyptic. The event I had devised for over a month … thought of months and months before then.
On March 30th I decided to go to Chicago for a weekend art excursion. Waking up in the heart of Chicago and getting off Amtrak on foot and backpack. Carrying two paintings, an oversized piece and a more modestly sized one under each arm. Hot Chocolate carried a blank canvas.
We boarded the train in Kalamazoo, after a long drive and overcharging the debit for gasoline. Tickets were more expensive then advertised and customer service was not helpful, the train arrived 2.5 hours late.
However, with expectation of departing Kalamazoo at 9pm, we dropped in on Shakespeares Pub for an impromptu poetry performance. I had to storm the band and managers to get ahold of the mic.
And then we rushed off to the station in glamorous glory to find out the train would be arriving 2.5 hours late.
McDonalds to wait it out …
Boarding the train was a rush, it was lights out for us though, we had been up early in preparation and the slow departing rumble of tracks underneath sweeping us across miles and miles of land was hypnotic. I think trains will survive the apocalypse …
Waking up in Chicago felt like waking up in a dream, like waking up in each other’s dream. We were rushed off the train and directed out the station, I asked a conductor where a 24 hour diner or cafe would be and he told me, “go a block down this street and 6 blocks to your right”. We ended up walking the streets of West Chicago for hours before stopping at a little 24 hour hole in the wall called Jubilee; our first Chicago meal, garlic bread for a $1.50 each.
I was reminded of home by the bum on the street, slumped over sideways he had left a full can of 211 next to him. Quite the bum, in Lansing it’d be empty …
We continue to walk the streets. We meet a man in a yellow jacket riding a bicycle named Aaron who invites us to stay the night at his home and then rides his bike away, (we got his address and confirmed by phone however when we finally ended up at his doorstep on foot it was locked and his phone was off). He was very drunk. However, on the way to Aaron’s doorstep did we met two very friendly gentlemen, Matthew and Jeremy.
They suggested we make our way to Wicker Park (we heard many references to Wicker Park throughout our journey …). We would eventually do so after walking back from Aaron’s house to a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts we had spied earlier.
Wicker Park was the morning destination, we set out that morning feeling pretty good. Arriving turned out to be very worthwhile. Good conversation and morning sun in the park. Eventually however we had to continue our journey, and it was a good thing we left when we did. Shortly into our walk we spontaneously ran into an old friend who took us out for a good old fashioned easter brunch and drink at a very fine little place called Anthem. Cheers to adventure. Hot Chocolate put in an application and ownership was very responsive to bringing her on as a waitress/barback.
Our friends, Alex and Roderick, took us down to the pier and we all explored Michigan Ave a bit, making stops here and there, like Starbucks to meet the easter bunny. We also met Jeremy the Magician. And got to take lots of pictures at the mirrored bean in Millenium Park.
Alex and Roderick soon had to say said goodbye and left us with well wishes at a very cool exhibit in Millenium Park. We regret not having had taken pictures with them. Hot Chocolate and I decided to post up and determine our next move. We were eager to find a nice wide open park where we could relax. An hour or two of sleep at Dunkin Donuts the night before, as well as a morning spent on foot hauling paintings and our possessions by back pack was tiring.
I came out of Starbucks after using the bathroom to wash up and brush my teeth and Alexa had been approached by a man I would come to know as Phoenix. A long time local Phoenix was inspired to approach by my paintings, “This is going to be worth a lot of money someday …” Phoenix said. He had a hand on one of the paintings as he said it. Phoenix turned out to be an interesting man, he sat me down and hand drew me a map of the underground art movements happening in Chicago. He said it was what he would have wanted someone to do for him if he was in our position as it would save me a lot of time. He also spoke about the prejudice and segregation of the city, however Phoenix had hope for the youth. On departing Phoenix informed us he was professionally shoplifting, as a means to support his heroin usage.
We found our wide open park, with an excellent source of Vitamin C and an amazing view. Chicago skyline.
The city is excellent and made for great wandering. Great inspiration.
After leaving the park, which felt like the first moment we could rest and relax, we walked to the coast of Lake Michigan. It was surreal to think Lansing was on the other side of this great big body of water. The variety and quality of artistic eye candy throughout the Chicago streets was refreshing.
A hotel longue was where I penned ..
Walking through city streets
never quite sure who you’ll meet
feel gratitude for your feet
they carry you unto opportunity.
This city must be the promised land, where people condense like grains of sand
throbbing inside like an hour hand.
The sun it rises then sets and rises again
tracking it’s time thanks to prehistoric man
the sun it rises then sets and rises again,
what majesty and memories will that sun bring?
The opportunity to experience a second. A single … second.
A single moment when to say I is to say enough. For to
say I is to admit you exist and to admit you exist is to admit
the possibility for existence,
And think of the wonderful existence mankind is above all fit to lead
and think if mankind were just free. and chose to believe, to be and to live in accordance with belief
Dare to care. For to care is to offer prayer, but be like a vigilante when you approach spirituality. There are a lot of mystics out there ..
Dare to care, and care for that worth caring for. please.
Hot Chocolate and I found ourselves journaling regularly throughout our weekend, it was our only way to vent and think. That night we rode a subway for the first time, we rode to a little place I had discovered online through research, Beauty Bar. 50 cent beer and pizza while it lasts … we didn’t get any pizza, however we did make it to the place. After a 20 minute subway ride at 2.25 each one way. We ended up cabbing home later ..
Beauty Bar was a snazzy little place, pink sparkly walls, a cosmetologist painting nails; electronic music with complex bass and beat playing through a high quality dance floor system. Beauty Bar was a place where anything could happen, featuring a room full of cool fashion forward hipsters. There were old fashioned salon chairs people reclined in while sipping drinks and looking chic. The dance floor stayed empty the whole night, I however very much got it on.
Beauty Bar has a convenient back alley entrance/exit.
After a quick talk with the staff and bartender I was able to finally bust out the blank canvas Hot Chocolate had been carrying around and get down to business. I wanted to paint Chicago in it’s entirety. I choose to start painting a portrait … I wanted a face concretized that would be everything our journey and Chicago was.
We had a rough night after Beauty Bar. First a long walk to Hollywood Grill, a 24 hour diner we were informed was close by. Long walk. Both Hot Chocolate and I were drifting off a little after our meal and were awakened by a manager smacking the table and shouting, “This isn’t the bus station!”.
We did indeed decide to go back to Union Station at that point, closed. Closed after our taxi couldn’t find the 24 hour Starbucks and we paid twice what the subway would have cost. Arriving at the train station meant waiting around another hour or so until they opened, luckily a security guard was able to sneak us into the lobby of a skyscraper around 4am so we could use facilities.
At the train station we curled up on the floor in the waiting area of our boarding platform and were awakened by an intercom announcing no sleeping in the boarding area and an Amtrack police officer asking me to sit down in a little chair so he could question me. The officer was quelled after seeing our tickets and telling me he could make it so we did not ride the Amtrack and we had to find some other way to get home. I had asked him why I was being forced to sit down and listen to him and that was his answer …
We decided to leave and instead sought out a place of universally good customer service, Mcdonalds.
More sleep, peacefully. And I had the opportunity to meet some very cool local writers in the city, eager to tell me about their hometown and hear about our journey. After final moments before a monday sun rose into the Chicago skyline, Hot Chocolate and I ventured off with a newfound positive outlook, we had found rest at the McDonalds. About an hour or so of it.
Walking and walking took us to a grassy little hill next to a major intersection, I set up shop. Hot Chocolate and I fantasized about the city, dreaming and thinking of what things could be. The intersection we were face was major, perhaps a couple thousand people saw my paintings displayed on the hill …
Hot Chocolate and I were able to have a time of fun and adventure, we lived in the moment and we lived as Post Apocalyptic nomads exploring the city. This was our journey. Hot Chocolate and I both sacrificed a lot to make our journey, but with new experience comes new expression and our cycle of existence is only expanded by challenge.
Immortality is the foundation of a free society. Waking up to earth rising on the horizon and driving your hovercraft to work is free society. We live in an age rampant with technology, adaptation is fundamental to humanity. The tools now at our fingertips have the power to revolutionarily change the way we live, why can’t everyone afford them? I look to great minds of the past in thanks to these tools; I know where credit is due.
I am an artist. I come from poverty; I come from a long line of hard workingmen. Preachers, Lumberjacks, Carpet Installers. The human being is something special, it is a virus. It takes over systems and adapts them to serve it’s own survival and wellbeing. We revel in this glory, or we turn our face and let the world kiss our cheek. Arms, legs, hands, feet, toes, fingers are all finely attuned systems encoded to this world. With fine and precise action, these systems have the potential to accomplish great things. But of course, we come to the human brain, which is the seat of our glory.
I can feel a fire in my generation. I was born December 30th of 1991. I was the youngest student in my kindergarten; my birthday is so late in the year. I understand my generation. My generation will become technicians and politicians, football players and micro atomic particle researchers, philosophers, writers, readers, creators. My generation is potential; this moment is potential. I am an artist.
I apply my highest laws in selective recreation of the world around me. I am a student of philosophy just beginning my studies. I will provide my generation with the vision of what this world can be. I would sincerely love the opportunity to study at Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Moral Foundations of Capitalism Summer Student Conference. I am a man worthy of investment. Thank you very very much for your time and continued action.
HIP HOP FIASCO SECOND DISASTER 2/21/2013 @ THE LOFT, Lansing, Mi
The poetic monstrosity that is Dwayne Lauderdale Jr is a lot to handle. I threw his newly released mixtape “I’m Here” on my phone thinking it’d be a quick listen as I trampled through the snowy streets of Lansing. Turns out when Dwayne says he’s here, he’s like really fucking here.
The Loft was on last night. It was a crisp 517 evening down on Michigan Ave and the bump could be felt from the street. Jessie Ceballos, better recognized as the illustrious underground house party rapper SinSane doled out the star treatment to the girlfriend and I. We were party parked outside The Loft when the man Dwayne himself hops in the backseat. Dwayne’s good feeling vibe was palatable; the vision could be seen in his eyes. February 21 2013 was a good night to be alive. Sin and Dwayne’s chemistry is like the grin on a 10 year old setting out on a grand adventure.
Jessie, Dwayne, Alexa and I rolled hard into The Loft. We were pushing 12am. Finally greeting the beat that had set the tone for all of Michigan Ave that cold Thursday evening coming into The Loft was a breath of fresh air. Headliner Raphael Downes was the man responsible for the cool hipster hip-hop flavor in the air. Wulf Hogan the emcee on stage when we entered, another local boy, Wulf recently dropped his 2cd EP “Michigander”. The crowd was strong on a Thursday night. Hands down, Dwayne get’s my mad respect; quickly disappearing to get into his place Dwayne was up next.
Dwayne Lauderdale Jr stood with feet firmly planted. His grip on the mic was loose and he had his ever-present chill demeanor in place as he slowly started unraveling rap mastery over the beat. I was at The Loft for this moment. Poeticism falling like diamonds from the stage, DJ GlitterMagik set the tone for the evening. His smile lit up the stage, just grooving and grooving with the music. The head nod was infectious; my foot’s tapping right now. Dwayne lets it flow. Delivering his rhymes effortlessly and conversationally.
‘It was my first show and I definitely will be back for the next.’ says Jennifer Root, an attendee.
“Very laid back energetic. He got the crowds attention. Network with others. Overall great experience, first time seeing him perform.” – Renee Marie, attendee
“Overall the show had an exceptional turn out…a real hip hop crowd…Dwayne’s stage presence was felt…he delivered” – Mizz Illa, attendee
I talked to the man and got a little inside perspective on how he came to be the rapper he is, “Well I’ve been doing music since I was 7. At 14 I linked up with my childhood friend Jessie who connected me with other rappers; I started rapping in 2000.”
Dwayne’s presence filled the room. His set was delivered like a professional. Kyle Hickman, the coordinator behind Hip Hop Fiasco at The Loft says, “I booked it. I heard a bit, he is a very competent performer.”
Dwayne tells us, “I want the real soul felt music to come back alive! That’s what I do, bring good positive energy back to Lansing, not all this drama… Billionaire Recordings will be the biggest thing Lansing has ever seen on the hip hop tip… I promise.”
And Dwayne delivers. His spirit can already be felt permeating the concrete of his hometown, settling over Lansing’s inhabitants with a fresh wave of excitement and expectation. – Geoph Aldora Espen
INVITE ME TO YOUR EVENT. firstname.lastname@example.org
CONNECT WITH DWAYNE LAUDERDALE Jr
“I wanna sign a major deal! I’m here showcasing my talent as a singer/songwriter/rapper. Lansing has talent and “I’M HERE” proves it. Where do I wanna go next? As far as I can go! I wanna be known across the USA.” – Dwayne
CHECKOUT DWAYNE‘S MIXTAPE NOW
MARCH 30th will feature Dwayne and SinSane. POST APOCALYPTIC.
I open with … A Pawnee Legend
Tirawa Atius is the lord of all things and it is he alone who determines fate. At the beginning of the world, he set a large bull buffalo in the sky to the far northwest. With the passage of each year, the bull loses one hair; when all these hairs are gone, the world will end. As that hair falls, there will be widespread meteor showers, and the sun and moon will become dim.
The command for the final destruction of the world is in the hands of the four gods of the directions. The West will issue the command that the world be destroyed and the East will obey. Then the stars in heaven will fall to the new earth and become people. The people left in this world at the time of destruction will fly high into the sky and become stars themselves.
Yeah, it’s on.
I AM MONSTER.
Last night was the POST APOCALYPTIC pre plan meeting. Taking place just after the post ARTGASM conversation.
16 days from now is POST APOCALYPTIC. The most rad spring break crazy celebration ever to have graced 517. It’s going on and I have a tribe representing.
That’s 16 days strait of preparation and promotion. Online tickets at ARTGASM were relatively successful. I’ve got a check for $59.64 coming very soon. Those funds will be used to print fliers and posters for POST APOCALYPTIC. Time is so short I may need to borrow the money now.
There are three concerns for me in my position. Venue, performers, and promoters.
I need to create the perfect framework for all of these operations to flow easily. Composition of the organization. I need to compose my team like a painter composes a masterpiece.
I spent some time reading the story of creation from The Bible’s Genesis. If Adam was made of the dirt and Eve from a rib were they mankind’s first inter racial couple ? Brown and white skin tone together.
Genesis 22-24 sparks my imagination.
“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Imagine an adventure to reclaim the tree of life …
In Genesis 21 God slays an animal to provide skins to clothe man and woman. This the first blood sacrifice to hide man’s shame and cover his sin, an event that hearkens to the future when Jesus’ blood will be shed to atone for Man’s transgressions.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil was a mighty temptation. Finding yourself in perfect paradise, greens and blues all around you, yet that one delectable desire hangs just over your shoulder. Adam, Eve … was it worth it ?
Melius regere in Gehenna quam servire in Caelo … Better to reign in hell then serve in heaven, as Satan so states in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Would you choose knowledge over ignorance ? And if eternal damnation was the consequence ?
I’ve been involved in some crazy stuff lately. Having a moment of sheer joy last night with my mind body and spirit aligned into the action of accomplishing a single purpose was a great reprieve to my psyche.
The simplicity of form caught me. It’s indicators of expression were a subtle strength. Color used to sweep the plane of the canvas into space.
Black to decorate the surface. A cross at the very bottom edge of the composition. Red splatters in place of a heart, just beside a hand. Languages, flipped upside down, not to be understood.
I call this piece, Two Stick Figures and a Face …
Geoph Aldora Espen