Archive for the music Category

The Soundtrack of Spring 2013

Posted in Art, music, Photography with tags , , on May 16, 2015 by briancarnold

Some important changes in my life took root in the spring of 2013, really starting on March 5 to be exact.


There were two recordings I listened to obsessively those spring months, that really became a soundtrack for the time.  These recordings spoke to my feelings and needs, and the kinds of changes I wanted to see take place in my life.


Both recordings by Robert Fripp, the first the introductory track on the League of Crafty Guitarists’ album, the Invocation.  Such a beautiful track.


The second recording was side two of the King Crimson album Islands.  It’s kind of a sappy record, but it’s mostly about trying to overcome loneliness, about the need to have a meaningful connection with someone.  More importantly, it’s about the mistakes one has to make in life before recognizing that that connection is what we really need.


And so it goes…..

Solo Subversion

Posted in Art, music, Photography with tags on May 14, 2015 by briancarnold


When I first left college, I ended up working at the Tattered Cover, a very famous bookstore in Denver.  It was actually a great job to have right out of school; I love books, plus there were a lot of interesting people of all ages, artists and intellectuals of every variety.

I became very good friends with a musician named Ron Bucknam.  Ron was entirely unique.  He was utterly inaccessible as an artist, and yet one of the warmest, most genuine and sensitive people I’ve ever met.  He could bring the best of anybody out during conversation.

Out of college, and looking to develop my life as an artist, Ron was a huge influence of me.  Despite all the meaningless jobs he’d held throughout his life, he was steadfast that his real identity was as an artist and musician.  He was so devoted (he was diagnosed with cancer in October, but refused any treatment because he wanted to play music as long as possible), and yet remained completely obscure his whole life.  I loved everything he stood for with his music and art, even if I didn’t always like this music (though the cd Solo Subversion is a wonderful achievement!).

I heard that Ron passed away yesterday.  Hats off my friend, you were indeed an inspiring human being and artist.

Lunch Date

Posted in Art, music, Photography, poetry with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2015 by briancarnold


How IS loving somebody wrong? I mean, Jesus himself said, “I will know you by how you love one another.” It’s what we’re supposed to do. And it is challenging. But like many challenging things it’s also extremely rewarding. Loving people is hard. People are infuriating. They don’t do things my way. But I gotta accept that. I would prefer to be with you and all the messiness that entails than be all by myself trying to make it perfect for this princess.


It’s funny how people come into your life.  At times, it does seem like fate, that someone comes into your life to help you see and understand something a little bit more.


What do I even mean by love? I mean kindness, compassion, respect, forgiveness, being there for each other. I mean a softening in the face of adversity as well as a softening when confronted by beauty. And I think that working on love means working on the muscle to be able to pull back and see a bigger picture than just the most immediate feelings I may be having. I think that working on love means trusting enough to let you inside me and to let you change me while you’re in there. I want to work on a transformational-love-power that is able to do things beyond my imagining. I don’t need to know the destination already, the journey is what’s important.


About half a dozen times over the last 9-10 months, I’ve gotten together with Gretchen Phillips, a musician and artist based out of Austin, TX, always just for lunch or coffee.  She’s been in Ithaca this past year while her partner, Ann Cvetkovich, pursued a fellowship at Cornell.


We have this incredible opportunity and power to NOTICE the world around us. We can actually see the forest for the trees. We have the unique ability to lead the way down the path of love due to our experiences, innate sensitivities, vast courage and ability to fucking think for ourselves and not just follow the herd. Moo. It’s a big world out there. And I believe that individually we can create a life for ourselves that’s big enough to accommodate all of us and our big feelings. Because if nothing else, queers have big ass feelings!


We always had amazing conversations.  Gretchen is a remarkably thoughtful, outspoken, and unashamed to express herself.  We talked about creativity, art, love, depression, and spirituality; no small talk.  We originally got together because she needed some technical help with a photography project she was trying to put together, put the connection we found was much more.



Let me reiterate, yes, people bug me, too. I have big ass feelings myself. But what am I going to do? This particular lifetime I’m a human among humans. And luckily I have found myself fortunate enough to be among you people of Austin TX for years and years and years of this lifetime. I believe that ya’ll are excellent people for me to work with on this lifelong project of being a better lover, being more compassionate, more respectful of our differences, more quick to bond over our similarities, more centered without being just self-centered. I ask a lot of my queer self and I ask a lot of my queer people because I truly believe we’re special and can do a lot. I believe we’re leaders as lovers. Let’s continue to reach for each other!


I felt wonderful after each of lunches, like I both opened myself up in a meaningful way, and learned something valuable.  Given all that has gone on in my life this past year (so many transitions!), Gretchen seems like she came around to help me better understand my life at this moment.

He Regrets That We Cannot See the Paint Dripping

Posted in Art, literature, music, Photography, poetry with tags , , , on May 1, 2015 by briancarnold

He is not saying, he is painting.

trashcan proof

I spent most of morning scanning negatives I made in Denver a few weeks back and listening to John Cage read some of his work about Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Marcel Duchamp.


The dirt unceasingly does my thinking.

Puddle Trash

It was a rather beautiful combination, actually.


You are then free to deal with your freedom just as the artist dealt with his, not in the same manner, but nevertheless originally.

Brownie Bites

I’ve loved Cage since college, really an essential influence at an essential time.


We are in the glory of not knowing what we are doing.

Spray Paint

I still find his thoughts about life and art deeply moving and inspiring; it was a nice morning, thinking about picture.


A poetry of infinite possibilities.

Turning Back

Posted in Art, music, Photography with tags , on April 14, 2015 by briancarnold

It was kind of a slow night at gamelan rehearsal last night.


I can’t tell a lie, I gotta little bored and started looking at some photobooks I got out of the library just before rehearsal.


It was a nice combination, Javanese gamelan and Robert Adams’ photographs, the book Turning Back.


They are mostly pictures of clear cuts in Oregon, and yet there is a great beauty to the tragedy documented in the pictures.


Despite all that is broken, there is still beauty in the world.


There are some lovely thoughts at the back of the book too, accompanied by some photographs of apples made close to Adams’ home:

Photography is inherently fragmentary, and I find I base my faith on perfect moments.

Silence and Prayer

Posted in Art, literature, music, Photography with tags , on February 24, 2014 by briancarnold


So I finally started reading Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids.


Early in the book, she writes about her life with her family in New Jersey and Philadelphia.  She recounts her mother teaching her prayers, her daily prayers before bed.


Most interesting here, however, is that as she grows older she learns to understand prayer a bit differently.  She says she never understood prayer until she understood and accepted silence.


A lovely idea, that anything sublime about life is beyond words, and is felt but not known.


I remember reading something else Patti Smith wrote or said, something to the effect that the irreverent often know more about religion and spirituality; in challenging the boundaries, you know more about what the hold and what to value.

The Ins and Outs

Posted in Art, music, Photography with tags , on February 21, 2014 by briancarnold


Same days I feel the same, like nothing about me changes.  The same self just flowing through different circumstances.


Some days I feel like I am becoming something new, like my self is still being realized.


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