Jason Handelsman's Psychedelic and Personal Exploration of Echos Myron Art Show
Art by the author.
Disclaimer: Jason Handelsman will be exhibiting his artwork at this Echos Myron show.
Did you know that one of the most evil men in the history of the world, who was culpable for the systematic slaughter of millions of innocent people, was a struggling multi-media artist like us? The fact that he could not get into art school stoked his hatred for Jews and homosexuals and his fascination with ancient symbols led him to a cosmic planetary level of completely negative turmoil.
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I do not want this to happen to you. I want your innovative artwork (as a reflection of your life) to be so extremely positive so that it remodels our big beautiful world into an even more magnificent place. You are an incredible person, and I love you so much.
But wait, before we proceed, I would like to share some pertinent info regarding an upcoming art exhibition (you must attend the opening reception tonight) as well as a relevant personal anecdote as to how I was abducted by Nazi aliens back in the early '90s. That is correct, I was taken aboard the "Aryan" spaceship, where I saw some incredible and hideous things.
Because of the esoteric nature of this group show taking place at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, titled Echos Myron (curated by Beatriz Monteavaro and Priyadarsini Ray), I'm offering you a challenge. Let us astrally project together to a time in our galaxy when Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain were both alive and getting kicks out of their millions of dollars. Bear with me a moment, this personal tale will demonstrate how the 38 musicians and artists in this exhibition have been wired together to create the circuitry of a vast and intricate celestial contraption.
Back in the early '90s, two fabulous South Florida prog-metal/sludge bands: Cavity and Machine, shared a warehouse/rehearsal space in a dark, Southwestern corner of Miami. Having been friends with a number of the band's members during that glorious era, I frequently found myself hanging out in this delightful communal space. At that time in my life, I was swimming in a deep abyss of narcotics, more especially, hallucinogenics. In fact, if anyone had asked, "What do you do, young man?" during that period of my life, my answer was simply, "Drugs."
I had begun having comprehensive paranormal experiences at this time, including numerous alien abductions and out of body experiences while on miscellaneous types of mind-expanding psychotropic drugs.
And there I was, inside the luminous spaceship as the grey aliens informed me that they were leaving me a "souvenir." I cannot go into any more details here, since I have subsequently been followed around by Homeland Security because of my contact with these dangerous martians. However, as I descended back upon the earth, I discovered that the Anunnakis had indeed left me a large-black-softcover copy of Mein Kampf by that evil, formerly budding artist I mentioned before Adolf Hitler, on the doorstep of my mom's house. As I picked up the book in bewilderment, I looked up at the morning sky and watched the purple spaceship trails, once also witness by Jimi Hendrix.
"We're going to leave you a gift," echoed the extraterrestrial murmurs in my head. My mom was already yelling at me as I opened the front door, but I was still hallucinating. She resembled a large Sesame Street character as she howled, "Oy vey! He's reading Mein Kampf!!!"
I surreptitiously began reading the big black heavy-duty book in the Cavity/Machine warehouse mentioned above while smoking marijuana later that evening. The tome was filled with so much offensive hostility, that it made perfect sense to my Jewish 19-year-old, junkie-with-bad-acne-who-was-fond-of smoking-crack while tripping on LSD self.
Being high, the modulation of Adolf's prose reminded me of a column which existed in Thrasher Magazine in the late '80s called Puszone (written by Brian Schroeder a.k.a. Pushead). Pushead was a singer for the incredible band Septic Death. He was an expert on international punk rock movements (especially in Japan), he informed his readers about great music to check out, he owned Puszone record label, and as an artist, he drew these awesome skeletal diagrams which brought him some wealth later on (when disgraceful bands like Aerosmith used his artwork on their tour shirts).
"Handelsman," said a stoned comrade while I thoughtfully examined the book in a somewhat quiet corner of the Cavity/Machine warehouse, "You wanna see Chickenhead at Churchill's?" I nodded my head, closed the book, sat up, and walked into the car parked outside.
Cruising towards Churchill's Pub, I could not stop sharing my hysteria over this alien memento:
"Dude!" I exclaimed, "Hitler was a conceptual artist who went completely psychopathic with his own creative imagination! Check this out..." and as we drove through Little Havana towards Little Haiti, I read from the book out loud:
"'I wanted to become a painter... Yet, strange as it may seem, with the passing years, I became more and more interested in architecture... I regarded this as a natural complement to my gift as a painter, and only rejoiced inwardly at the extension of my artistic scope... By this time I was working independently as a painter of watercolors.'"
I looked at my friend driving the car and exclaimed, "Do you hear that? Hitler was making money selling his watercolor paintings?!" I continued reading out loud:
"'The question of the new flag, that is to say the form and appearance it must take, kept us very busy in those days... a black flag is incapable of attracting attention... white and blue was discarded, despite its admirable æsthetic appeal. And, generally speaking, with these colours it would have been difficult to attract attention to our movement. The same applies to black and white... I, as leader, was unwilling to make public my own design, as it was possible that someone else could come forward with a design just as good, if not better, than my own. As a matter of fact, a dental surgeon from Starnberg submitted a good design very similar to mine, with only one mistake, in that his swastika with curved corners was set upon a white background.'"
I continued reading my highlighted areas of Mein Kampf in utter disbelief, as the 1989 Volkswagen Bug pulled into the Churchill's parking lot, now with a Neurosis cassette blaring through the speakers. The driver listened as he parked, began rolling a doobie, and then sparked it up.
"'After innumerable trials, 'I decided upon a final form -- a flag of red material with a white disc bearing in its centre a black swastika. After many trials I obtained the correct proportions between the dimensions of the flag and of the white central disc, as well as that of the swastika. And this is how it has remained ever since. At the same time we immediately ordered the corresponding armlets for our squad of men who kept order at meetings, armlets of red material, a central white disc with the black swastika upon it.'"
I paused for a moment and wondered where he "ordered" these armbands from.
"Dude," interrupted the driver as he passed me the joint, "have you heard the new Assuck 7 inch?"
I held up the book and barked, "Are you not listening?!"
Minutes later, as I exhaled the marijuana smoke while the sweet music of Black Sabbath filled the automobile, I began to imagine what the world would be like if Adolf Hitler had gotten accepted to art school. I could see his Guggenheim installation with spinning swastikas and smiling eagles. Hitler would have been such a happy person. He may have pioneered a new movement in the German school of art. He would have had many gay and Jewish friends. But, life is filled with big decisions and bigger mistakes, and those actions sometimes alter the course of humanity.
As a side note, I missed Chickenhead because I was stuck in the parking lot being interrogated by the righteous punks: "Why are you carrying around a copy of Mein Kampf. Are you a racist?" they asked.
"No," I answered, "I am Jewish, and I hate Hitler. I just think that it is always an important strategy to know what your enemy is thinking. Plus," I continued, "The aliens gave me this book."
Someone then handed me another can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and there was peace in the world.
At this juncture in the blog, it is necessary to mention that Chickenhead had the greatest punk rock aesthetic in the history of South Florida music. The group's singer, Chuck Loose, later went on to play drums in a band called the Crumbs, which also included members of Cavity. Are you starting to notice how this is all coherently intertwined?
One of the curators of Echos Myron, Beatriz Monteavaro, also played drums for Cavity. Artists Rene Barge, Dan Gorostiaga, and Juan Montoya were in the band, as well. Chuck, Beatriz, Juan, Dan, and Rene will all be showing their work at Echos Myron this Friday night.
But wait, there's more!
In the video below, you will see a recent meeting of some other artists involved with this show (Kevin Arrow, Eddy Alvarez, Daniel Fiorda, Maitejosune Urrechaga). Make sure you check out the beautiful footage (1:14) of Beatriz drinking her first cup of David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee while sirens roar amidst the background.
In conclusion: This group exhibition is made up of artists who are also musicians (or vice versa), and have been involved with South Florida's punk/metal/hardcore scene for 10 years or more.
A recent conversation I had with artist Kris Garcia (whose work will be exhibited in the show) best summed up the general idea: "I think music has influenced almost everything I've ever done as far back as I can remember. I was part of that very little group in South Florida that was heavily seduced by heavy metal while everyone else had rap. I was dubbed the 'headbanger' in school. Naturally, I was drawn to the demonic and sometimes gore-soaked album covers these bands used. I fell in love with the art and music, and I would copy these album covers over and over. I went to Catholic school until I was expelled in 9th grade. Needless to say, I spent many accumulated hours in the principal's office for drawing these morbid pictures as opposed to doing my work."
I have been a huge fan of Kris' work for at least 10 years now. He has gone on to design logos for great hardcore bands like D.R.I. But on a personal level, Kris changed my life back in 2004.
You see, I was still having issues with drugs well into my early thirties, and I was so twisted one night that I could not even stand up. I was at death's door in a house somewhere and Kris is such a kind person, that he brought over a CD player with a copy of Dark Throne's Soulside Journey. He placed the CD player on the floor next to my head, and somehow looped the Dark Throne CD so that I lay there listening to the hypnotic music over and over until the sun came up. This gesture may have saved my life.
Echos Myron, curated by Priya Ray and Beatriz Monteavaro opens on Friday, September 5 at 6:30 until 10 p.m. at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. The exhibition will last until November 2 with a panel discussion on Wednesday, September 24, at 6:30 p.m. Call 954-921-3274, or visit artandculturecenter.org.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., and closed Monday. Gallery admission is $7 for adults; $4 for students, seniors, and children ages 4 to 17; and free to members and children 3 and under.
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