Sunday, July 24, 2011

Paradise Fragments: Hibbleton Independent, The Downtown Fullerton Art Walk, Mark Mothersbaugh

“Okay, I’ll be a part of this world.”

--Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

I have this idea for a literary/art magazine, put out through Hibbleton. It will feature artwork, interviews, poetry, stories, essays, comics—everyhing that we are all about. But how do I do this? I have never done anything like this before.

I meet with Steve Westbrook, a colleague at Cal State Fullerton who runs the Creative Writing Club and is advisor for the annual literary journal at Cal State—DASH. Steve helped start DASH.

We get coffee a few times. He shows me some journals. We talk about putting out calls for submissions of poetry and stories. We get a couple more people involved and form a mini editorial board.

I start interviewing artists.

We put out a call for submissions.

I give Tony the material and he lays it out.

I look for a printer we can afford.

We find one in Anaheim. It’s gonna cost about $400 for 100 copies. I can’t afford that, but I convince the other gallery owners that this is something we should do. We pool our money and pay for printing.

They day comes when I get to pick them up from the printer, and as I look over this thing I helped make, I am again overcome with euphoria. I helped do this.

...

A cordless microphone rests against my chest. I’m standing in a warehouse full of people watching my friend Ryan’s band playing. It’s the release party for Hibbleton Independent—our new magazine of art and writing that I envisioned and, with the help of friends, made.

I organized this party in this art studio/warehouse that very few people, prior to tonight, even knew about. And now it is full of people, listening to music, looking at art, new magazines, listening to poets read. This community I helped incarnate.

(As I write this, I’m sitting in Hibbleton Gallery, and two of my students walk in, with pens and notebooks in their hands, jotting down notes on the artwork, for the extra credit I assigned.)

I look around at the faces surrounding me—friends, family, artists, writers, musicians—everyone here together. We are not alone.

Earlier, I talked to Mike (who owns this warehouse) about taking over the abandoned juice factory across the street, and turning it into an artists colony with studios, a common garden, etc.

And now the music stops and everyone is clapping and I walk up to the stage and speak through the cordless microphone:

“Let’s hear it for The Waltz, everyone!” Everyone claps.

I remember, a year or two ago, when I was walking down Wilshire Ave. wearing a KPFK t-shirt with a microphone on it, and I noticed in the reflection of a store window it looked like I had a microphone over my heart. And, a few days later, I was in my kitchen making spaghetti and I looked out the window into our storage room and I could see both my reflection in the window and through the window and my reflection was superimposed over the micophone stand in the storage room so, again, it looked like I had a microphone over my heart.

And now I speak though the cordless microphone: “Thank you all for coming out tonight and supporting local art, writing, and music. I’m happy you all came. Good night.”

...

I have this idea for a Downtown Fullerton Art Walk. It occurs to me that we cannot survive as a gallery if we don’t get more people involved. We have to literally change the culture of downtown. How can we do this? One day, I walk around downtown with a clipboard and a pen, talking to local business owners, asking if they would like to put art on their walls once a month and be a part of this.

After a week or so, I get about 20 interested venues—coffee shops, salons, vintage stores, galleries, the Fullerton Museum.

Meetings and more meetings. It will kick off the first Friday of next month. We make posters, a web site, a facebook page. And then the day comes.

It is a huge success. Thousands of people are walking around downtown Fullerton on a Friday night for the purpose of art, not to get drunk. There are families with children walking around.

I wander around thinking “I did this.” I think, “Maybe this is the meaning/purpose of my life.” If I died tomorrow, I would be happy knowing that I helped contribute this to the world.

...

If money is not your primary motivation, you get to do some pretty fucking awesome things. Landon and I are driving to Los Angeles to interview Mark Mothersbaugh for Hibbleton Independent.

“Dude, Mark Mothersbaugh!”

“Mark fucking Mothersbaugh!”

“DEVO, The Life Aquatic, Pee Wee’s Playhouse!”

“No big deal.”

We arrive at his studio, a large green circular building on Sunset.

We meet Mark and shake hands. We shake hands with Mark Mothersbaugh.

Before the interview, he gives us a tour of his studio.

“This is one of the original ‘Energy Dome’ hats.”

“Here are some paintings I did.”

“This is where I record music.”

“Here are some of my synthesizers.”

We sit down in one of his recording rooms and do the interview. He talks about the Kent State Massacre, about DEVO, about Pee Wee’s Playhouse, about working with Wes Anderson, about his artwork.

After the interview, I say, “You know I really love the music you did for The Life Aquatic.”

He walks over to one of his synthesizers and starts playing the music for me. A private concert by Mark Mothersbaugh. No big deal.

If money is not your primary motivation, you get to do some pretty fucking awesome things.

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