Event

After the Storm

Lightning in a Bottle was fantastic. Kaytranada, Machinedrum, Bassnectar, Troyboi, Stephan Jacobs vs ill.Gates were the standouts. Ivy Lab was very outside the box, extremely left field and challenging, I described them in the moment as difficult and awesome. Big Wild was my favourite, he made me tremendously happy, his set was basically perfect. The only flaw with it all was that it was over too soon. Fastest fucking week of our lives. Some of the scheduling was tough with acts on at times that were impossible for us so sadly we missed KMLN, Filastine, Naughty Princess, El Papa Chango and Headphone Activist.

Also the late night offerings were confusingly poor. We trudged around helplessly for hours trying unsuccessfully to find a decent afterparty to take us to dawn while everything descended inexorably into house music. The house music was omnipresent and inescapable. At one point we traveled clear across festival grounds to escape bad house music only to be confronted with more bad house music. This isn’t meant to be some kind of diatribe against house music, but if it’s repetitive, forgettable, lifeless and boring, I’m not going to like it, I don’t care what genre of music it is. I’m starting to realize something I’ve known all along: what all these festivals is missing is me. Next time ill.Gates and NIGHT NURSE gotta go rogue. Ideally we should play the final hours and close out the party. End on a high note with nostalgia for the future and a touch of heartbreak.

We met a handsome hippie hipster and shared our wine with him, exchanging jokes and quips in the dark until the warm brightness of morning. Our new friend was one of Dylan’s fans and spoke knowledgeably about Dylan’s Billie Holiday song. He then talked fondly of his mother who was a nurse, I said it’d be fucking rad to have a goddamn mother who was a fucking nurse. “It’s awesome,” our new friend said. “She is amazing, really good, hardworking, loving, and with a smile that could melt an iceberg.” “Well we know now who to blame for global warming,” I said. “Wipe that smile off your face, woman. Snow, damn it, we need snow!”

The festival overall was an incredibly special experience with many wonderful moments. Thank you Lightning in a Bottle! That was beautiful.

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Art

Solar Egg

Solar Egg is an enormous elegant eggshaped woodburning sauna by Bigert & Bergstrom. The project is part of an urban redevelopment effort in Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden. The egg has a height of five meters and can seat up to eight people. It is comprised of a pine wood interior and has highly reflective goldplated steel exterior panels that reflect the environment surrounding the sauna. In the center rests a heartshaped stove cast from iron. Solar Egg is a sculptural symbol meant to prompt thoughts of rebirth. The sauna occupies a key position in the arctic climate of Lapland and is intended as a room for warmth and reflection. It is an incubator that nurtures conversation and the exchange of ideas. When not in use, Solar Egg can be broken down into 69 separate components parts, rendering the entire sauna completely mobile.

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Art

Many-eyed Monster

“Choosing to create only beauty feels artificial. Thus I create both ugliness and the beautiful. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. I project anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd and the irrational into my work. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).” Daisuke Ichiba

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Poetry

Be Near Me

Be near me when my light is low
When the blood creeps and the nerves
Prick and tingle and the heart is sick
And all the wheels of being slow

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust
And time a maniac scattering dust
And life a fury slinging flame

Be near me when I fade away
To point the term of human strife
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.

In Memoriam A.H.H.” Part 50
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Art

Mirror House

Mirage is part of an art installation series called “Desert X” which features site-specific work by new and emerging artists curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield. As part of the exhibit, California-based artist Doug Aitken created a house of mirrors inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the American West. Situated at the junction of the San Jacinto Mountains and the Coachella Valley, Mirage acts as a kaleidoscope to reflect and distort the surrounding arid and beautiful landscape.

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Excerpt

Pale Blue Dot

Look again at that dot. That’s home. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Carl Sagan

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Vignette

Nicknames

One festival night after his set Dylan was immediately surrounded by fans. He accepted compliments, told jokes, took photos, hobnobbed, hi fived, smiled big and grinned. Then one young fan apologetically suddenly said, “Sorry man, I just came up with a new nickname for you, but I’m not sure I should say it.” “Well now you gotta,” said Dylan gamely. “It takes a lot to offend me, so go ahead.” The fan sighed self-consciously and stalled for time. Then he said, “Over-the-hill Gates” in such a muttering tone as to be almost inaudible. Nonetheless what the young fan said still managed to be heard loud and clear by everyone near. I stifled a laugh and turned my head slightly away. Dylan’s face darkened as he scowled. This is a sight to see since Dylan’s default facial expression is happy-go-lucky if not outright zany. Dylan was annoyed. “Sorry dude,” said the young fan, and he did look sorry, even though all of us were trying hard pretending to not be laughing. Later we told Bil Bless what happened and he also got a good laugh in. Nice to see Bil Bless laugh as he usually seems depressed. Months later at another festival, Dylan was smiling grand and effusive hanging out after his set feeling fresh. He chatted contentedly with friends. Out of the blue a guy came streaking by, leaned into Dylan and hectically said, “Over-the-hill Gates” and with a worried face he scurried away. Dylan’s face darkened as he frowned, he looked quickly left and right, but it all happened too suddenly and the culprit fast disappeared. Then Dylan spied Bil Bless nearby in the shadows chuckling. You could tell he put the kid up to it. “Wiseguy,” said Dylan with eyes like slits, and he shook his fist at all of it.

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Conversation

It’s an Asian Thing

It seems because I am of unknowable age, background, orientation, classification, type and identity—and possibly also because I am reasonably attractive, outwardly mysterious, unboxable and byzantine, people are always asking me questions. They won’t stop with the questions and they tend pretty much to believe anything I tell them for answers. People believe literally just any old shit that I might feel like saying. Especially when I pull the inviolable Asian Card, people motherfucking don’t bat eyes.

I told a guy while we smoked outside some small city club that I was the girl in all those incredible Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon tavern fighting scenes when I was just seventeen. He gaped at me and did the sputtery version of blinking. “You were amazing,” he intoned, all hushed and whispering. Wondering then what in the Sam goddamned Hill I was doing slouching about in a nameless city at some no-account bar, I said, “Field work.” As in I was researching the role for my next Asian stab at sensational cinema. All excitement and reverence, he glowed with understanding. I gave him my smile that is exactly like a wink but with no winking.

Many people believe too that David Suzuki is my father. They are every time respectful and awed. I tell them he may be a famous environmentalist to the world at large but he’s just plain old dad to me. Another person another time said I looked incredibly familiar. I said, “Ever heard of Miss Saigon.” Guy stared at me flummoxed and gobsmacked both. Casting my eyes demurely half away down and in a voice that is synonymous with a shoulder’s shrug I both tuneful and dismissive said, “No biggie.”

The best though is this whole my feet getting smaller and smaller thing. I used I swear to wear size 7 and now I’m barely filling out a size 5½. When I raise my bare foot high and people gaze perplexed at my living proof truth of this, I tell them it’s the complex work of genetic ancestral memory. I love to throw around the term “genetic ancestral memory.”

My elaborations go like this: “My Eastern rising sun genes can sense that my feet were never manually bound, so now genetic ancestral memory is just sort of kicking the motherfuck in. My genes are doing the binding for me. Amazing, right?”

People maintain their intent faces of captivated interest and careful astonishment but reveal usually still a strain of confusion. Timing it perfectly I gaze chastely forward into the future and declare, “It’s an Asian thing.” The collective expression upon all those beneficent faces goes, “Oh!” and all is understood, believed, swallowed beautifully white people whole and everyone wins. They’ve learned still more fascinating wisdom of the East remarkable Asia type stuff and I’ve amused myself once again to my usual highly improbable always extravagant often unforgivable degree.

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Advice

Wear Sunscreen

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own experience.

I dispense this advice to you now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. You will not understand this power and beauty until they’ve faded but in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you, how good you really looked, and how wonderful you really were.

Don’t worry about the future. Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4PM on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Do not be reckless with other people’s hearts.
Don’t let others be reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people don’t know at 22 what they want to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds still don’t know.

Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance with enthusiasm and energy on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance, same as everybody.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old. When you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Be careful whose advice you try, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth…

Mary Schmich

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Vignette

Softer

In Bangkok we went to get a couples massage and had trouble finding a place that was legitimately for straight up massage and not for anything else. A few places we passed seemed immediately seedy or suspect. One place had the girls dressed beautifully in matching blood red Asian silk robes, they stood huddled close and frozen like a careful still life in front of the shop in the darkening night. The girls were exquisitely arranged close together group gazing straight ahead as though they were posing for an eternal picture that was always just about to be taken.

The women at these places called demurely out to prospective clients but when we approached they fell silent. I took this to mean these establishments were not meant for us. The girls at all the parlours looked beautiful, sweet and vague, some of them looked painfully young. I tried my best not to overthink the moment, not to gaze too intently or to judge. I of course still did all of those things.

We eventually finally found a place that seemed like it might be legit. The women there treated us with courteous welcome but with some reservation. Maybe this was because Dylan and I were foreigners, we looked and seemed strange, maybe it was because the place was actually for sex not massage but the workers were humouring us, naive innocent unversed obvious tourists that we were.

The place itself was pretty, clean, calm and nice. The atmosphere was soothing, dimly lit, and hushed, with small sparsely interiored bamboo chambers containing long thin floor cushions laterally arranged. Each space was divided from the next by simple thin curtains that could be silently moved aside. We were led into a chamber by two girls who looked sixteen. We were motioned to lay down next to each other, we smiled and held hands while the girls set about their tasks with a degree of professionalism and poise that was remarkable considering how young they seemed.

The girls conversed freely in soft tones while they worked. Dylan’s girl slowed a bit as she felt and considered his skin. When she got to his forearms and his hands, her amazement and wonder apparently became uncontainable. She made loud exclamations in excited rapid fire Thai. My girl weightlessly hurdled over my prone form and rushed to see. Massage girls from all the neighbouring chambers came crowding around. All the young women started gingerly touching Dylan’s skin. They caressed it reverently and made low murmuring sounds of appreciation and surprise as they marveled. They looked at each other in wonder as they petted and stroked. They made “Oooooooooooooooh” sounds. The girls couldn’t believe Dylan’s skin could be male and real. Such softness and whiteness on a man was beyond them. The girls stroked and conjectured and made “Oooooooooooooooh” sounds. Finally I cut in. I snapped my fingers and said brusquely, “Ladies. Please. My massage.” The chastened girls flew back to their posts at once, sheepish and still murmuring. Christ. What’s a woman gotta do to get a decent massage. Jeez.

And so the massage girls went back to their workaday lives. Collectively they recalled the dreamlike softness of the pale male foreigner’s delicate silken skin already like it was a distant and beautiful memory, a story to tell their grandchildren, even though Dylan was still right there. His massage girl set about to concluding Dylan’s massage with the greatest reverence. There was to her every motion immeasurable focus and exquisite care. My girl was okay but much more perfunctory. Also, as she was so young and tiny, I felt her maneuvers were a bit too jabby and poking. I suppressed comment and tried to relax. My face at times did the not comfortable brows furrowed thing. Dylan meanwhile laid all loungingly out at an apparent height of repose. There was a totality of effortlessness to his contentment. I scowled. He grinned.

I was basically relieved when my massage was over. Dylan claimed his was the best massage he ever got in his life. He surely was overstating the case. Mostly he was probably just proud and stoked to have his preternaturally soft womanish skin be so loudly exclaimed upon en masse in a Thai massage girl frenzy of elaborate appreciation and ecstatic notice. I told the whole story months later to Matty when he visited. Matty listened calmly with his habitual attentiveness and laidback ease. When I finished, Matty mused a single beat extra, stroked his chin slowly once, gazed into the infinite future and declared, “ill.GATES: Softer Than a Woman.” His was the voice of finality and conviction while I rolled my eyes into the limitless horizon of Dylan’s smile.

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Vignette

Joie de vivre

Dylan and I don’t ever really publicly display our affection so sometimes people don’t even know that we are together. Out at clubs, Dylan spends much of his time socializing, mingling, schmoozing, and chatting to fans, often he leaves me to my own devices. He knows that I can take care of myself and handle business, so he’s not exactly spending all of his time keeping an eagle’s eye guarding and protecting me. Usually shit runs fine but every once in a while I get bothered or harassed by any number of boring clueless desperate annoying persistent aggressive guys.

One time, me and my girls were all dancing and having fun. Suddenly some dude barges into our dance circle and starts drastically imposing himself. Some guys seem to think that if a girl isn’t handcuffed and chained to a man, she isn’t spoken for, and is thus fair game. These guys never seem to consider that the girl in question might not at all be stoked or interested, regardless of her current relationship status.

Anyway so this guy drunkenly and aggressively dances into each of us girls. He dances at each of us in turn, lewdly, suggestively, and unpleasantly. My girlfriends moved quickly from casual amusement to being distressed and upset. We gave each other disrupted and annoyed looks and glared at the guy. The guy kept thrusting into each of us under the apparent assumption that we couldn’t get enough. My girls and I were displeased. Dylan meanwhile was chewing his face off high on ecstasy and dancing like no man alive could be happier or more carefree. “Dylan,” I said to him in an undertone, “That guy is bothering us. Do something.”

It took me ages to get through to Dylan, so complete was his joie de vivre. Finally, I used my foot is being put down now voice, and Dylan snapped to. I explained the situation all over again in the gravest tones. Processing badness and untoward behaviour is hard to do when you’re Dylan, especially when you’re Dylan and you’re high on E.

Finally the husband understood. He puffed up his chest, widened his eyes, and smartly tapped the shoulder of some guy that had nothing at all to do with anything. Shoulder tapped random guy turned toward Dylan. All of us girls stood in a semi-circle watching. Dylan slow motion pointed at each of our vaginas with exaggerated emphasis. After each vagina had been accounted for, Dylan made a flourishing “NO” symbol by balling his hands into fists and crossing his forearms firmly forming a giant X. He accompanied this strong “NO” gesture with a slow single head shake that covered a wide distance from left to right and left again. Innocent random guy gazed at Dylan. His dude what the fuck face was truly great. Then wrongly accused innocent guy walked away.

“Fucking Jesus Christ, Dylan. WRONG GUY,” was what my facial expression tried to say. Dylan meanwhile reentered at once into his state of ecstatic joie de vivre, and returned to dancing, confident in a job well done, like no man living had ever done a job better, and like all life and he himself could hardly be more charming, perfect, pleasing and fun. The confidence of a happy husband. Fuck.

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Quote

There is a Little Darkness

“There is a little darkness, a little risk, in any real life. Homeopathic doses of murkiness must be taken if people are to find themselves. Traces of that dose are revealed whenever someone grows up and leaves home, or reinvents themselves. Whenever people fall in love, there is always a touch of manipulation, a little imperfection. A life entirely without shadows cannot be real.”

Jaron Lanier

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Music

Nobody Loves Me Like You

ROSTAM BATMANGLIJ Doc’s Song (End)
BROKEN. An End of the Beginning
NEW BASEMENT TAPES When I Get My Hands on You
LOW ROAR I’ll Keep Coming
LOW ROAR Nobody Loves Me Like You
MADE IN HEIGHTS Skylark Interbang
CHAOS CHAOS Do You Feel It
CLAMS CASINO Cry For Me [Unreleased]
FEVERKIN Dance With Knives
DIMOND SAINTS FEAT. YAARROHS Stay
CLAMS CASINO Back to You (Instrumental)
SAM COOKE & THE SOUL STIRRERS The Last Mile of the Way
PHYLLIS DILLON Don’t Stay Away
MAX COOPER Arc
WILLOW BEATS Alchemy
CHVRCHES Empty Threat (Big Wild Remix)
WIZ KHALIFA Black and Yellow
WHAT SO NOT High You Are (Branchez Remix)
FAT JOE FEAT. ASHANTI What’s Luv
NORA EN PURE You Are My Pride
CHOPSTICK DUBPLATE FEAT. B LEVY Answer Like A Soldier!
SBTRKT Wildfire
MAJOR LAZER FEAT. WILD BELLE Be Together
SIZZLA FEAT. V S The Formula (Liquid Stranger Remix)
CHRIS MARTIN Paper Loving
ILEMENTS Can’t Be Me
ANDREILIEN Spun (ill.GATES + Plurthlings Remix)
PROKO Make It Work
SYLVAN ESSO Play it Right
MITCH Give Me a Call
ANTHONY B FEAT. KONSHENS Beat Dem Bad (Freedom Fighter)
ILL.GATES & MIMOSA FEAT. BLOCKBOII Nitro
TROYBOI 7th Sense
TROYBOI Remember
SKRILLEX & DIPLO FEAT. KAI Mind
MATT HAROLD Disruption
NIGHTMARES ON WAX 195lbs
ONRA Mechanical
HENRY KRINKLE Stay
DENNIS ALCAPONE Spanish Amigo
ELLIPHANT FEAT. MØ One More
ZELLA DAY Compass (Louis The Child Remix)
NO DOUBT Settle Down (Baauer Remix)
LOS GHOSTS Go Low
WHAT SO NOT Get Busy Y’All
TANYA STEPHENS Welcome to the Rebelution
BOB & MARCIA Learning Things About You
MENTO Reach Out
SAMO SOUND BOY Save Wait Time
EMBRZ Slow Down
MACHINEDRUM FEAT. DAWN RICHARD Not Above That
DJ ZINC FEAT. MS DYNAMITE Wile Out
SIZZLA Champion Sound (Dov1 Remix)
JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ Step Out (Remix V4)
THE PIXIES Dig For Fire
YELLERKIN Tools (Louis the Child Remix)
DIE ANTWOORD Where’s My Fukn Cup Cake

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