Tag Archives: Steve Kado

Can We All Get Along!? (By Steve Kado)

Margaux Williamson: Steve Kado is one of my favourite artist people in town – who is sometimes not in town. He has startled and delighted me while standing on stage with a microphone and he is also very fun to talk to while not on stage.  He doesn’t write often and I asked if he would write something for Back to the World. He sent a post from L.A.

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By Steve Kado

My friends and I were driving from Los Angeles to Tijuana to go to an art opening. Everyone in the car was involved in art to different degrees. One of our number was actually in the show we were going down to see. Three were from Australia and New Zealand; I was/am from Toronto. In San Diego we picked up Scott, a genuine American, who was in town visiting his mom – normally he lives in the desert where he builds his own house and designs books. At the same time, that weekend, there was a massive manhunt on for Christopher Dorner, the disgruntled victim of discrimination and racism within the LAPD who had had enough and gone on a cop-killing shooting spree. Confusingly, he did not exclusively kill cops, but also family members of cops.

Being that everyone in the car was from the arts, news-awareness was not always a strong point. Also, some people were travelling in America, not residents or even one-time-residents, and we all know how hard it is to keep up with the news when you’re on vacation. Unable, somehow, to bear listening to any news on the radio, we heard no broadcasts or music and tried to discuss the issue amongst ourselves. Earlier I had read that manifesto Dorner wrote. I would say that it was very easy to be sympathetic to him until he got to the killing part, and especially when he broadened the killing part to include family members of cops.

We were fuzzy on the excesses of the LAPD reaction. We had all heard something to the effect that they had shot up several (one? two? three?) different trucks, all because they feared Dorner was inside. In every case they had been wrong – Dorner was not in either of the vehicles they did in fact shoot at, neither vehicle was the make, model or colour of Dorner’s, and in one case the occupants were not even the right gender or number, being instead two Latina women doing a paper route. The asymmetrical and seemingly random armed response by the police force towards “trucks” as a category did, regrettably, seem to support aspects of Dorner’s manifesto.

Reflecting on it all now, one must also say that the silence about what happened to the police officers who reacted so excessively towards widely varying vehicles and people (at least in the news I’m getting) leads one to believe that perhaps nothing has really changed since the Rodney King and Rampart division scandals that Dorner mentions in his screed.

The mantra-like repetition of the phrase “cop killer” by others in conversation, before the car trip and during, led to the first attempt to hear music – Amy put John Maus’ Cop Killer on her phone. Playing out of the tinny speakers, all we could hear over road noise was the incessant repetition of the phrase “cop killer.” Scott put on the Body Count song of the same title but somehow it didn’t stick, despite arguably being more relevant to the specific situation and police force in question. All that night and the next day we would gloomily intone, a la John Maus, those two words.

After the opening we went to a very democratic dancing area. All types, ages and sizes were out there, giving it to the parquet flooring. We got very drunk. Then, around 2 am, a group of men with camouflage balaclavas, assault rifles and (perversely) GoPro cameras strapped to their heads trooped in. Taking one look at our half-antipodean gang the armed men (who seemed to be police) decided that we were of no consequence to them. They proceeded to ignore us while many of the other patrons in the bar were spread out against the walls, searched, forced to empty their pockets and line everything they owned up in neat lines on the ground and other such things. Finding nothing of interest, the armed men left, the music came on again a bit louder than before and things continued as if nothing had happened.

Back in LA, days later, Travis and I are walking from the Gold Line up to his house on a hill in Lincoln Heights. Every yard on the street he lives on is fenced in and contains between 2-4 dogs. These dogs are never walked, vary widely in size and do nothing but run in their yards and bark. The first day I arrived and woke up at Travis’, the first living animal I saw was the chihuahua across the street vigorously humping the terrier across the street. Choral waves of barking follow the passage of anything human or mechanical up or down the street. Acoustically, it is close, for me, to hell. Tonight, however, the dogs are quiet. “Cop killer,” we confide to each other, awed by the night’s silence. Almost immediately, a slow moving police car cruises by, checking us out with its search light. Neither of us match the profile of Christopher Dorner: Travis is a six-foot-something white beanpole and I am a less tall half-Asian person wearing a large backpack with huge glasses. Neither of us is an ex-reservist, neither of us seems interested in killing cops. The cops drive off but then circle back a minute later, just to make sure that we haven’t somehow merged Voltron-style into a cop-killing ex-reservist.

Later that week, the entire saga came to an end. Dorner was killed in a fire started by incendiary smoke grenades lobbed into the mountain cabin that he was hiding out in. He shot at and killed some more police before the fire got him. This was, more or less, how we all expected this to end. Watching CNN’s coverage of the minute details of one of Dorner’s police victims’ funerals in a Vietnamese restaurant, Travis and I try and make sense of a military ritual where a horse is led around with a pair of boots lodged backwards in the stirrups. It looks like someone had been riding a horse backwards and then vanished, leaving their boots behind. Neither of us can hear the CNN anchors explaining this over the din of noodles and slurping that fill the air. Everything from the emergence of a disgruntled ex-cop on a killing spree to the excessive reaction of the police once threatened and the inevitable Waco-like showdown felt grimly pre-recorded. But no one told us about the boot-thing that would happen at the end.

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Filed under events, guest post, music, other, TV/video, visual art

Tea With Chris: Wikipedia Group Sex

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I haven’t been online much this week, because I just moved and the wireless network at my new crib has been down for an agonizing span of time, but I couldn’t fail to mark the birthday of that all-time-great human once and again called Prince. Though his relationship with the Internet is a complicated one, I feel like he’d appreciate the spirit of this orgy-related scheme. If not, well, Michael DeForge drew a comic (also about the Internet (sorry, Prince)).

Margaux: The Toronto monthly lecture series Trampoline Hall (where people lecture on subjects where they are not professionally expert) has been going on for over 10 years. I was involved in it for many of those years, as was/is this blog’s Carl Wilson. I think I saw my other colleague, Chris Randle, take money at the door recently.

I went to the most recent show this past Monday night because Steve Kado was curating. I am a fan of Steve Kado’s performance work and mind and figured it would be a show I’d be interested in. Every month is curated by a different person. The show, hosted by my boyfriend Misha Glouberman, is always a good mix of stable and unstable. The structure of the show, designed by Misha and Sheila Heti, is always the same and the lecturers and curators and audience are always different. Misha does a brilliant job every time at creating a conversation with the lecturers and the whole room – and also at bringing the funny to the too-serious and finding the meaning in the too-funny (or the not-too-funny).

The show on Monday kind of floored me, which is pretty great for a show you’ve been watching for this long. I’ve been a bit slow to appreciate theatre, but the well-oiled machine of Trampoline Hall combined with the spontaneity of (always exactly) 130 people in the room reminded me of what a good old fashioned machine, that makes brand new things, looks like.

Steve’s show circled around epic adventures and time. The lectures by Guy Halpern, Amelia Erhardt and Chris Boni were a pleasure. Chris Boni stole the show (or made the show) with a confusingly dead-on abstract meditation on slow motion. At one point, in patiently describing a battle scene in the Iliad, Chris talked about the moment in the scene when you remember that you’re not the one looking up at the shining sword. Chris looked out to the audience and reminded us that that would be the moment when you remember it’s the hero’s hand that’s holding the shining sword, not your own. He said that that’s when your imagined body moves back to the other side and remembers it is only watching and not holding anything. That’s the kind of information you get from slowing down time.

This wonderful Mr. Rogers autotune collaboration between John D. Boswell and PBS basically sums up what I love about a good show and also sums up the art I’ve been working on this year. I guess that’s not surprising since I paid quite a lot of attention to Mr. Rogers once.

Carl: The Canadian government is starting an anti-terrorism unit in Alberta that smacks of the stinging taste of Cointelpro.

Speaking of civil liberties, one of the best pieces of music journalism recently revealed how people around the world are still losing those rights – or worse – simply because they are into heavy metal music. It sounds silly, at our distance from the Tipper Gore era, but if you’re in Poland, or Iraq, or many other places, it’s no joke. And keeping in mind the West Memphis Three, North Americans shouldn’t get too complacent about how easily our cultural tastes might suddenly be held in evidence against us.

I’m very excited about the release next week of the first album in 11 years by Rebecca Gates, former leader of one of my favourite bands ever, the Spinanes – you might remember my extended exegesis about their song “Hawaiian Baby” in the early days of Back to the World.

On a more personal note, this weekend is Twangfest, a country/alt-country/Americana/whateva festival in St. Louis, MO, that began as a gleam in the eye of an email listserv that was one of my formative Internet – and music-criticism – experiences. I first attended Twangfest 3, in 1999. I recall, to use the term loosely, some large part of it taking part in a ditch behind a hotel where there were dance lessons and many bottles of bourbon. The last time I was there, it was the tenth anniversary. Tonight it’s Twangfest 16, which makes me feel very, very old. And I wish I were there.

Among the many reasons is that headlining tonight is Wussy, the Ohio rock group Robert Christgau recently called the best band in America, making a strong case with which I am inclined to agree. Wussy is led by singer-songwriters Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver, the latter of whom fronted another one of my favourite bands ever, the Ass Ponys, in the ’90s (and played one of the most memorable Twangfest sets back then). So while I make a private toast to absent friends, please enjoy this joyful tune, “Yellow Cotton Dress,” dedicated to them all.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson