Archive for January, 2013


Chelsea Hotel # 2
36″ x 24″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick on Canvas

The gradually stumbled upon “Lost Souls/ Fallen Angels/ Dive Bar/ Dangerously Nocturnal People/  Beautifully Sad Music” type series combining my love of great sad songs, early renaissance religious art, graffiti/stencil street art and seedy city underbellies rolls on. I like the idea of portraying everyday(or every night) people who might have made some wrong turns as saints and angels. This one I was listening to some of the sadder, older Ryan Adams(not BRYAN Adams) until I heard his song about the Chelsea Hotel. Then it was all about one of the greatest songs of all time by one of the greatest songwriters…Chelsea Hotel # 2. The Lyrics to most of the song are on this one…I think this one works. Here are the Lyrics:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.
Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don’t need you,
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music.”

And then you got away, didn’t you babe…

I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.

Here’s some Ryan and The God Leonard Cohen




Born To Die
24″ x 36″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick, Paper, Headphone Wire & Nail on Canvas

fra angelicostencil_graffiti_beansI have been doing nudes for the first time in a loooong time and it started in an almost Anime style and morphed into Stencil Graffiti territory. I am also finally incorporating my love of Early Renaissance religious/ gold-leaf halo type work(think Fra Angelico). I am alllllso using the films like Hardcore Life, American Friend, Boogie Nights and even 80’s trash like Angel as inspiration for the whole Fallen Angel/ Seedy nightlife feel…girls who made a few too many mistakes, late night dive bars, lost innocence, youth, etc… The soundtrack while painting was Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die/ Paradise double Lp. I even used a still from one of her videos in this and attached it 002with headphone wire with holes punched by a nail…both attached to the painting. I love the idea of everyday fallen angels and I am intrigued by the combination(sort-of) of very old, classical styles with the newer, 003more immediate street art that has been a passion of mine since I can remember(it might have been my earliest artistic influence and definitely the earliest things I ever drew. I remember doing tags in kindergarten, long before I cared about any traditional art. I love tying it all together. It is feeling pretty good for now.



The Bad Ones
18″ x 24″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick on Canvas

Another night in refuge studio produces another piece. I am now in a phase that seems to involve nudity…who knows what that’s all about. I was listening to the album The Bad Ones by Blonds. I wanted to do a pin-up but wanted it to look like a stencil/graffiti piece. She is by hand, with a brush. I am not patient enough to make a stencil. Anyway, there are lyrics to two songs on here. They are below for your enjoyment( well, the first song is, I couldn’t find the other…so…here is another from the album. I was listening to it as well.)



Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk   1977 EMI (Originally on Kling-Klang)

022I was recently on an Electronic/ Krautrock kick and I wanted to replace my much-to-well-worn copy of Trans-Europe Express. While at the record store I got skunked on the Kraftwerk, but re-discovered another great electronic album from a very unlikely source(more of this to come). So, basically I am reviewing my original copy that has…a lot of…character. It’s not that bad, actually…I am just kinda crotchety when it comes to these things.  Anyway, I will not say much about T-E E because so much has been said about it already, be it in reviews or, more importantly, by other artists albums which were so strongly influenced by Kraftwerk’s landmark album. If you listen to Radiohead, Bowie’s incredible “Berlin Trilogy”, most New-Wave bands or even Afrika Bambaataa’s classic, Planet Rock, one cannot help but notice that none of this music 024would’ve sounded like this without Kraftwerk. Just check out The title track’s synth line after the vocorder “trans-Europe Express” chant amd then look up Planet rock…you get the picture. Kraftwerk will someday be regarded as important to popular music as the Beatles, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix…you name it. They didn’t push musical boundaries, because they forged a new kind of music. There were no rules. They built their own instruments. Nothing could sound like this.  Here are some tracks…enjoy


Trans – Neil Young   1982 Geffen Records

And now for the sleeper. The last guy anyone would expect an electronic album from. Neil young has given the world some of the most beautiful acoustic music it has ever heard as well as some of the most introspective and daring electric guitar jams. He was known and loved for these two things…which is probably what made him make this album. He is famous for being extremely prolific and when record label execs would try to corner him by saying”we want a classic rock album”, he delivered them an album of rock-a-billy cheese…because he could.

012He had recently got his hands on a Synclavier and a Vocorder and started to make these songs(he admitted later, under the influence of Kraftwerk) that would baffle his fans and critics alike. It was generally hated and it was never released on cd in the U.S.. Hence, it is basically unknown and that is a shame because it is amazing. As with everything Neil does, it is beautifully recorded and mastered. The pressing is great and it’s lack of popularity kind of assured it being in near mint condition and very inexpensive. Songs like We R In Control actually still manage to rock. Transformer Man has heart and almost resembled an opera if Klaus Nomi performed it. The album brings a warmth and soul to the so-called Krautrock genre that is usually not present. Also, the album art is great…from the Deloreon type space cars on the cover to the heart-in-blade runner and computer font on the back. I was very happy to pay only 3.99 for this near-mint copy of a 30 year old classic…until I thought about it more. It’s kind of sad the something like this could be relegated to a bargin-bin. There is more background to the story that made me thing this(from 1980-1982 he was spending most of his time with his son Ben, who was going through therapy sessions after being born with Cerebral Palsy and was not able to speak. The songs he was writing were laced with the emotions he was dealing with and the lyrics and tone of this and the album previous, Re-ac-tor, reflect that). I guess I find it hard to write off an artists work simply because it wasn’t what people wanted at the time. No matter, through technology, you don’t need a record player to hear this work now…here it is

We R In Control

Transformer Man

Sample and Hold


From Bell’s website: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.

Alcohol by Volume:  7.0%
Original Gravity:  1.064
Shelf Life:  6 months
Dates Available:  Year Round


look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle

Look:  A beer doesn’t get much prettier than this. Light amber color, with bubbles spread throughout. Creamy, one finger head that turned into a thin layer of foam after the first few sips and left plenty of lacing down the glass.

Bouquet: Floral hops, slightest hints of Cotton Candy and Mango. A bit of wet wood in the background, but in a very god way. Not as in your face with the smell as most American IPAs.

Taste: Hop forward and Malt background. The taste is smooth citrus fruit, lemons and malts; nice and easy. There’s a piney backbone but the lemony citrus wins out.
Feel:  Light, moderate mouthfeel, perfect carbonation. Not resinous at all.

Overall:  A great beer by all accounts. I prefer my IPAs to be a bit hoppier. Usually, if I want this kind of balance , I’ll get an English IPA. Still,  Two Hearted falls somewhere in the middle to me. I really enjoyed it. It was one of six that I chose from the new beer shop that let’s you build a six pack. I will definitely be getting more of this one. My favorite of the 6 I selected.


An Average Night In Refugee Studio.

No easel, record’s playing, newspaper on the floor, smudges all over from fingers, feet(in this case elbow)…the only thing missing is either a cup of tea or a glass of bourbon(just not pictured here). This post is mainly for me to have everything I painted in one place and kinda in order. It all started this year with two veeeery small pieces(I only mention this because I like to work large) for a charity exhibit benefiting a suicide hotline in NYC. It took off from there with various series and some one-offs. Some were sold, some were made for special people in my life and most hang on my walls. I generally put my ipod on shuffle while I am gathering materials and getting the space ready and most of the time a song jumps out and sets the mood. Sometimes I put on records, sometimes I leave the ipod shuffling and see what happens. In a few cases below, I will list the music that helped make these, although some will be more obvious than others. Anyway, here is 2012(basically from April on…)



Those two were only 5″ X 7″. But that’s all I needed to get the juices flowing. I was painting again.


This one was huge(for my work space anyway…36″ X 48″ I was listening to Coltrane albums non-stop for this. This was the first time I ever started to paint with nothing in mind. It was amazing. I wasn’t worried about how anything was supposed to look…total creation. I just listened to the music and went with it. Also, working on the floor is great for me, I kneel, lay, sit and straddle the canvas. I always find thumbs, toes, arm prints…I really get into it.


Below starts a Freddie Mercury series, but it didn’t start out that way. I heard a song off of Queen’s first album and played the album over and over. The next day I wanted to paint Freddie again(I was on a Queen kick now) so that night I painted something inspired by Queen II. The next morning I wanted to keep going and realized that the canvases were shaped (sorta) like playing cards so I decided that I would finish with 4 and make them each a suit(Queen of Hearts, Diamonds etc…) This was interesting to me as it progressed because I hadn’t don any realism/portraiture for years…I was trained but hated realism so I abandoned it for a long time. On the second piece, I did a portrait that was basically the equivalent of a stencil, just black and white-no real shading but then it progressed. I liked mixing abstract with realism.





Now another big one…could it be anything less for Prince. I had used pieces of a mirror ball and other things for texture previously, but Prince got a purple feather boa and zebra skin…Another big piece


This was done for the cover of a friend’s book/manifesto I was listening to the Clash, Gil Scott-Heron and Slayer, trying to distill the energy of Wilkins Frias



I started a series of blues musicians here. Also, the portrait of Lady Day is probably the most classical technique I will employ for a long time. I enjoyed it, but it was around this time I found myself being too concerned with the technique…I am done with worrying about technique. The art is in the journey and when I am “working” at making something look a certain way, it wasn’t as much fun. I loved the outcome though



This one was interesting as it has two kinds of booze and some hot sauce mixed into the paint, labels from said booze and hot sauce, speaker wire laced through the canvas and a rubber chicken foot attached to it.


Inspired by some stencil graffiti I saw and Sigur Ros


The only painting I have ever done where I didn’t coat the canvas in black to start(I always like to start with black…always have)


The four pics below are really of two pieces. I had painted each one and the weeks later was moved to paint, but didn’t have canvas so I took them down off the wall and painted over them. They are shown in order here.


I was watching Aguirre Wrath Of God and Kinski’s rage inspired me to take this off the wall and pillage it


Woke up from a dream where I was doing Chekov…these were the lines…I got out of bed and painted this in about an hour(mostly drying time of the blue so I could write the lines)


Similar story, except with a book on Crowley

003 (2)

001 (3)

This last one was done election night. I was in the middle of worrying about the election, studying for exams, and intentionally not getting laid…those three things really found their way into this piece – pic of Obama, Chemical Formulas up top and my first nude…which carried over into my work in 2013(see this post )



LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides  –  Lee Hazlewood           2012   180g Record Store Day Special Issue

014Psychedelic Country…You gotta love that shit. Lee Hazlewood’s music is like Lou Reed performing to a Bacharach-scored spaghetti western on acid…and that can’t be bad. Mr. Hazlewood has made a long career and a lot of albums(with femme fatales like Ann Margaret and Nancy Sinatra) full of songs that are so melodic and lush they would make Neil Diamond blush and so bizarrely haunting they could have been on Tom Waits’ mid-career lp’s. This 2 lp compilation, made for this year’s Record Store Day, is full of the fucked up vibes that you feel as though you’re listening to elevator music if you swallowed a fist full of molly just before the doors closed. Side C is where it’s at with No Train To Stockholm (Scandinavian cowboy music?), Won’t You Tell Your Dreams and my favorite, Hey Cowboy in all it’s bizarre-death-dream glory.

The 180 gram double lp collection was remastered and pressed beautifully here. The strings soar and the horns almost seem to drip giving Lee and his bombshells a beautifully strange environment to dance in. And once again, packaging reigns here…the pic speaks for itself. Fuckin’ Lee Hazlewood!

Hey Cowboy


(Pic is actually from Bath Music Festival later that summer)

1970/03/07 Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA  71.44   AUD, B+/A-

Set List:
01 Intro ~ Tune Up [4.45]  02 Sharleena [9.21]   03 Preamble To Twinkle Tits [1.28]
04 Twinkle Tits [7.17]  05 Interlude [2.28]  06 Preamble To Directly From My Heart To You [1.36]
07 Directly From My Heart To You [5.34]  08 Preamble To Chunga’s Revenge [1.22]
09 Chunga’s Revenge [23.22] 10 Preamble To Willie The Pimp [2.33] 11 Willie The Pimp [11.59]

This time, it’s the spring 1970 Hot Rats band, consisting of FZ(guitar), Max Bennett(bass), Aynsley Dunbar(drums), Sugarcane Harris(electric violin), Ian Underwood(keyboards, alto saxophone) tearing the roof down with material from Hot Rats and (the at the time, still unreleased) Chunga’s Revenge. This band was given a distinct identity and feel among Zappa geeks by the addition of Sugarcane’s electric violin. He is showcased on this night with a great setlist, perfect for his improv style. This night is also preserved with a great(especially for it’s time) recording that has been lovingly restored by the folks at What a night this must’ve been.

After the tune up, the band launches into an early, psychadelic-bluesy(compared to it’s later reggae incarnation) version of Sharleena. The first Frank solo is great, but then Sugarcane ratchets it up a notch on his solo, hosing the crowd with a rainbow assault of slithering notes that wash over the crowd, leaving them in a daze. This daze doesn’t have time to last, as Frank steps it up again on his second solo and destroys the room…he can do this at will. Finally, as if sensing the crowd needs to be rescued, Sugarcane comes back and simply plays beautiful variations on the Sharleena theme and puts out the fires before wrapping the song up and giving the crowd a breather. That’s how Frank opens a show!

Next up is Twinkle Tits, which is an amazing journey that fuses jazz and baroque together into a hyper ballet of notes, tones and time signatures that all battle for balance. At times it feels like it might all fall apart but that’s the thing about Franks bands…they held it together. I don’t know how, but they did. Around the 5:40 mark the band drops out, leaving just drums and bass to hold the groove for a few seconds(the musical equivalent of taking a deep breath before jumping off a cliff into unknown waters). Then Franks comes in and takes the song into a war zone for about a minute and a half, until the recording is unfortunately cut and comes back into the “interlude”, which is in itself, amazing…I just can’t help but wonder what the hell must have happened on that stage during the minutes the tape was cut. Maybe it got so crazy the tape recorder couldn’t handle it and just shut itself off? Ha, maybe not, but it’s just a thought.

Following the madness of the opening numbers, Frank gives the crowd a chance to recover with a fairly straightforward blues, Directly From My Heart To You. There is a great Sugarcane solo here, but this serves mainly as a rest for the beast that was to be unleashed next…

Chunga’s Revenge would prove in years to be a staple in Frank’s repertoire, opening many shows and serving as a band intro vehicle, but on this night it was something much, much more. First, the song had yet to be released on an album yet, so the crowd was probably hearing it for the first time on that night. Second, it was played with such ferocity that even the band must’ve been a little scared. Finally, it was a juggernaut, lasting over 20 minutes, going in a hundred different directions. Sometimes the band would lock in on a groove and ride it together for a bit and then someone would jump out of the gate and try and pull it in a different direction. It was true collaboration and improvisation, only touching down here and there to return to the safety of it’s great bass line theme… and then, Boom! the band is off again, shredding the building to pieces. There are too many amazing moments to mention(FZ taking delicate control around the 10:07 mark only to abuse his Gibson shortly after is one), so included below are two youtube clips containing the entire trip. Enjoy.

The whole thing winds down with Willie The Pimp…well it doesn’t wind down as much as it comes to an end…there is no letting up here, more like closure. It, like the rest of this amazing performance, is not to be missed.

Frank and the boys were on fucking fire this night. I am so glad to have finally heard this incendiary performance captured in such fine quality. Thanks again to If you haven’t heard this show yet, download it and prepare to have your mind blown. If you HAVE heard this recording before…well, listen again and PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN…AGAIN.


Chunga’s Revenge (pt. 1)

Chunga’s Revenge (pt. 2)

This is an amazing doc loaded with great footage all about the notorious year of 1977 in NYC. It chronicles the necessity/birth/rise of Punk downtown, Disco from the Gay scene to midtown and Hip Hop in the Bronx. It puts it all in context politically and culturally. One of the best docs on NYC in the 70’s I’ve ever seen….enjoy

023It’s Your World – Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson    1976 Arista Records

Side one “Just Before Sundown”

“It’s Your World” (3:52)    “Possum Slim” (6:00)    “New York City” (4:45)

Side two “Nightfall”

“17th Street” (5:45)    “Tomorrow’s Trane” (7:20)   “Must Be Something” (5:20)

Side three “Late Evening”

“Home Is Where the Hatred Is” (12:10)    “Bicentennial Blues” (8:40)

Side four “Midnight and Morning”

“The Bottle” (13:30)    “Sharing” (5:55)

024This double lp concert set was recorded on the bicentennial (July 1st-4th 1976) and reflects the mood of the United States in the truest sense…reflection being an exact opposite view. While the rich white men were busy chopping up the country, everyone else was scrappin’. This set is loaded with biting commentary that is masked only by the funky and almost airy (not soft…airy…the flutes lent a counterpoint of  lightness that was practically a necessity).  The tunes were a mix of soul, funk, spoken word and jazz that big Gil is now legendary for and considering the size of this project, it never feels lost or meandering. Cuts like side 0213’s “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” and “Bicentennial Blues” put you right in the middle of the feelings of hopelessness the non-rich, non-white, non-male’s were living with. There is also a huge vibe of NYC haze in here and all one has to do is look up the doc “NYC 77″(see next post) to see the state of things for the 5 boros(well, the Bronx/Brooklyn mainly). Remember that Daily News cover “Ford to NYC…Drop Dead”…think of that and pop these lp’s on your turntable. Allmusic writer Hal Horowitz praises the record as G.S-H’s most completely realized work, and that “its Centennial-centric time frame” makes it “lose little of its impact… These tunes have lost none of their lyrical edge or incisiveness throughout the years”. I generally disagree with everything this asshole says buy in this case, I couldn’t agree more…so today, if only today…I wouldn’t shank Hal Horowitz…Thanks Gil