Magnetic Midnight on the Lost in the Dream Tour

Inside the Beacham Theatre last Wednesday night was like being on a different planet. Lost In The Dream, the latest album by The War On Drugs, created an atmosphere that drowned out all notion of the hipster bar crawl going on outside in biker-ville Orlando, Florida.

Having the top spot on album lists by big guys like Uncut, Pitchfork, Spin and NPR, The War on Drugs are no longer strangers to packed out venues. And yet they made the big brick box Beacham seem somehow intimate. Kind of like story time… on a different planet.

The mood peaked toward the end of this verse in an “Ocean Between The Waves”:

Just wanna lay in the moonlight, see the light shine in, see you in the outline. It never gets too dark to find, anybody at anytime.

In this KEXP performance, the lead singer describes that song as having a “midnight vibe”. I feel like the whole concert Wednesday night had a similar feel. There was a sense of stealing away from the world at large, witnessing magic—capturing something rare, like the sight of the aurora borealis.

This is truly magnetic midnight music. The whole concert was like the shimmery wash of a shooting star, punctuated by the powerful chorus sections and the breathy dylan-esque inflection of the lead singer.

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Magic.

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Psych Rock Collection from YSL

Drop in to the scene for just a moment and it’s not terribly difficult to sense the tide of psychedelia is once again on the rise.

Pink Floyd release a new album, The Endless River, after 20 years. Entire music festivals in the genre are springing up, such as the Austin Psych Fest. And bands like Tame Impala, Elephant Stone, The Black Angels, and The GOASTT (all on the bill at the Austin Psych Fest, by the way) are absolutely lapping it up.

And the more in-tune of the major fashion houses are not skipping a beat.

One of the latest collections from the iconic Yves Saint Laurent is proof of that. Rather overtly titled PSYCH ROCK COLLECTION, it cooly combines an eclectic 60’s and 70’s rock and roll vibe mixed with world fashions and accessories, dripped onto the waifish, long-haired, androgynous models set in a bucolic landscape.

Psych fashion may have a reputation for being out-of-this-world, where the loudness of the prints and combinations, as well as the sheer eclecticism of the garb, win out every time.

But to me, psych isn’t all about look. It’s about reference. It’s about a—perhaps slightly cerebral—nod to the turn-of-the-century dandy, the grittiness of a sweaty 50’s beatnik, combined with the mysticism of an acid-dropping hippy.

Like wearing your intellect, philosophy, and musical tastes—literally—on your sleeve, psych is a great outlet for distilling a series of very different influences down to tell your own individual story. And Yves Saint Laurent is smartly and elegantly capitalizing on it.

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Inspiration Between the Pages of Books

When most people speak of inspiration they soak up from books, they’re refering to the imagery that plays out in their imagination as the plot runs its course, or the bits of wisdom they get from great thinkers that help us see our own lives through a much clearer lens.

We all get that. But I get another type of inspiration from my books. Sometimes it almost falls right out of the book into my lap or onto the floor. That is, those magic little slips of paper—card stock, magazine clippings, napkins, travel tickets, or hand written notes—we use to mark our pages in a moment of unplanned-for-page-marking-emergency, when no rightful bookmark is to be found.

I very often open a volume that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while and delight to find some old scrap that reminds me of precisely where I was in my life when I first picked up the book, who I was, and what I was looking for. These magic little slips of paper seem to bond with the books themselves and tell their own story, a very personal story, about the reader.

Here is my story in so many out of context words on a page, in the bookmarks that marked those pages, and the books themselves.

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Entrance

What better foray into starting a site than an article about entrance.That is, about crossing a threshold into a space or an experience. This first article also happens to feature another sort of entrance, otherwise known as Guy Blakeslee, lead singer of his current band, The Entrance Band, and his latest, eponymous solo project. How are the two intertwined?

Well, this site is one product of a creative journey—now moving at warp speed—that all started from a conversation with the artist. Articulate, soft-spoken, but very secure, Guy left his mark on me when he came to Florence, where I’d been living for two years, to perform with The Entrance Band.

I was stalling out in Florence but had managed to pick up some work doing music reviews and band interviews, and I decided to jump on this [very rare] occasion when a genuinely cool band from The States made its way from the modern world of LA to the stronghold of Renaissance art and Italo-centric street style. A friend of the concert promoter, I easily got an in to hang out with the band before the show and ask a few questions.

It was meant to be my first real, inspired interview. Motivated by a genuine love of the music and curiosity to interact with the band. I saw it as a mini, big break. But it turned out to be far more than that.

I did my spiel, asking them all the pertinent questions, demonstrating some knowledge of the band, and perhaps stumbling through some of the facts in an attempt to seem more professional than I was. Why did I wait so long to ask what I really wanted to ask? Maybe because I thought that wasn’t what mattered. Rather, what mattered was to fill a certain role, fulfill a job requirement. Be the rock and roll band interviewer. We wrapped up. It was what it was. I may post the actual interview on this site eventually, although it no longer has any pressing importance.

Maybe Guy sensed that I was holding back in my questions. Maybe he was taken aback that most of them had been directed not toward him but to his bassist Paz Lenchantin about her role directing their latest music videos, including the mystical-technicolor-dream No Needs. Either way, he approached me again just before the band went on and said he’d be open to talking more if I had anything else I wanted to ask.

That’s when the real interview started. Not an interview worth publishing necessarily. But an interaction that would prove so profound that it’s entirely responsible for the existence of this website, and countless other creative works—everything from songs on the banjo, ukulele and piano, poems, paintings, collages, the creation of a collective art studio space and dark room in the center of Florence. And the buck don’t stop there.

(Yes, Guy, if you ever read this, I took your words to heart. They’ve been a mantra for me ever since, They were the catalyst for moving me out of a creative dark age and into the light.)

What was it he said?

To sum it up, he said write. He said, try to follow the tenets of The Artist’s Way. Clear your consciousness. Un-muddy the waters. Let it flow.

It’s not always easy. It’s a process. It’s a practice. It’s a faith in the power of creativity to heal our spirit. It’s an awareness that creativity is part of our natural state, a place where we belong, inherently. Not a place we need a certain level of talent or experience to gain access to. It’s elusive, but it is not exclusive.

It’s not only not exclusive, but it beckons us to it. Our creative blocks are us denying—out of self-loathing, deprivation, or fear—to follow the way. When you allow yourself, in a temporary state of pure, childlike curiosity and loss of inhibition, to wander down the path, you’ll find that you aren’t going far away into a foreign world, but are coming ever closer to your deepest self.

I always fantasized about what mojo was. That mystical and alluring aura around some, which is sometimes confused with a basic sex appeal, but in reality is something far more compelling, more potent. I could never put my finger on it.

But those fleeting moments when I’m able to wander down the path and face myself, reflected back at me through the mystical waters, I feel it. Like a rush of pure life. My mojo.

This site is about radiating it out to the world.

Imperial Mojo.

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