Mar 31, 2006
Our ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the Iraqi government that George Bush wants the current president Ibrahim al-Jaafari out. The Shiites were pissed at this. They were under the impression they could elect who they wanted as president. Wasn't this a democracy? But when our counrty has a hundred and thirty thousand troops on their soil, didn't anyone tell them we'd get to have a big say in who is in charge of their "so-called democracy"? Al-Jaafari is in favor of the shiites maintaining their militias. Moktada al-Sadr, the dude we tried to arrest who has his own army is a big supporter of al-Jaafari. Of course these guys want to have their people armed. It's obvious at some point the place is going to implode. I would also want all of my peeps heavily armed when that happens. I can also understand why our government wants to manipulate who is in charge even if it means exposing that it really isn't a democracy. It's such a mess at this point that I don't think anyone really cares. We are all just delaying the inevitable, letting them duke it out amongst themselves. Last man standing wins.
Bud Selig has opened up a probe of steroid use in baseball. They've hired Ex-senate majority leader George Mitchell to lead the investigation. They could save a lot of time and money by hiring me. Bonds, guilty. McGuire, guilty. Giambi, guilty. Sosa, guilty. Palmeiro, guilty. Canseco, guilty. Sheffield, guilty. It's too bad Bonds and McGuire never really broke Roger Marris record of 61 homers in a season. There was definitely funny business going on. It was impossible for decades to hit 60 homers in a season and all of a sudden, it's no problem for 30 homer a year dudes to be wacking 70. The biggest problem is that Bonds is probably going to break Henry Aaron's record of 755. One thing is for sure, Henry didn't take anything to enhance his performance except maybe a steak sandwich. Then there is the great Sadaharu Oh. He is Japan's all time home run king. This sucker hit 868 of them. I don't care what league he's in, that's an accomplishment. All he took to enhance his performance was an occasional tekkamaki and a few glasses of hot sake. Imagine if Aaron, Ruth and Sadaharu had taken steroids, they would've each hit over a thousand homers. And we all know Bonds couldn't have done that.
Mar 30, 2006
El Jefe Bush was in Mexico recently at a summit to discuss ways workers may enter the U.S. legally to work for a few years. A guest worker program. Conservative Republicans are against anyone being let in to this country unless they are white and Republican. That's not really true but it is funny. My feeling is that Bush seems to have it right on this one. We need to be a country very open to immigration. I have some friends from Russia and Japan whose lives were very disrupted after 9/11. They started to get hassled by employers who were scared. They seem to be having visa problems they didn't have before. Basically it was very difficult to be in America if you were foreign. A few left. We have like 12 million undocumented workers here. The vast majority are hard working people who dig america and would love to live here permanently. We also have a system that doesn't work. Sometimes you have to throw convention out the window. I like Bush's idea of letting immigrants get a work permit if they have a job, work for 6 years, and pay their taxes, they then get put on the fast track to citizenship. They're going to be here regardless. Let's be welcoming. I compare it to the marijuana laws in this country. It's always been illegal but half the country is doing it or selling it or buying it. It is known to be less potent than beer or cigarettes that kill you. But we continue with these stupid laws instead of legalizing it and collecting taxes on it. Just like our immigration laws, they don't work. So instead of the status quo Bush is willing to try address it. And just like our dumb pot laws have no effect we should not be afraid to try something different and see what happens. Or who knows i could be totally wrong like i usually am.
Mar 29, 2006
When I draw on the street I am mainly approached by two groups of people. African american men and Chinese men. They seem to be the most curious and have the least amount of inhibitions about approaching people they don't know on the street. I'm not saying this is 100% the case and i'm not making any kind of racist observation. But it happens in such large numbers that I find it worth noting. I like being approached on the street by strangers. It's great when they ask if they can thumb through my work and we talk about it for a while. When I was in Venice, Chinese tourists would come up to me while I was drawing and literally take the book out of my hand without asking and pass it around to each other. Sometimes in large tour groups. I really found I loved when that happened. They had no qualms doing it. Chinese men would sit squatting next to me jammed so close with their face inches from the paper while I drew. It was amazing. I can't explain how good that made me feel. But no one else does that. No one wants to invade anyone's space. When I drew this firehouse I was approached by some of the firemen. They loved my drawing so I sent them some prints. They wrote me and said one is framed and hanging proudly in their firehouse on 18th street. So the lesson is good things can happen when you interact with total strangers on the street.
My friend Jun is a legend in New York City nightlife. When she exits a cab in front of a club the seas part. She is beloved by the wildest underground club kids in the world. I usually go the bed at eleven and i struggle to just stay up that late. I have forced myself lately to go out with Jun because it is such a scene to be with her. Tuesday night she took me to Susan Barsch's Happy Valley party in a club on 27th street. On this night Marilyn Manson's wife Dita Von Teese was performing. Jun and i were right up front. Dita does a burlesque show. The grand fianle is her practically nude in a giant martini glass full of sudsy water. She was splashing around quite a bit. I didn't get wet because Jun's wig blocked any water that might have reached me. As far as these perfomance things go i must say this Dita babe was quite something. I only lasted until about one thirty. I was a bit overwhelmed by the smoke. You are not allowed to smoke in bars in New York but there must be some rule i don't know about. Transvestites, lesbians, drag queens and outragously dressed japanese divas can smoke to their hearts content. It's comforting to know that while i sleep soundly each night, there is lots of wild activity going on all around my neighborhood.
Mar 28, 2006
Terrell Owens got signed by the Dallas Cowboys. He is one nutty dude. All the articles I read said he will do well there but only because if he doesn't it could be over for him. Bill Parcells is at the end of his career so it's now or never for him too. We will all be watching just in case it all blows up. That's what we really want to see anyway. Deep down Cowboy fans hate T.O. They remember when he dissed them in their own stadium. It's sort of like watching Yankee fans pretend they are happy with Johnny Damon. Oh yeah, we like really love him. Every fantasy football coach will take a pass on Terrell next year. But at some point someone will have to pull the trigger. They won't be happy about it though. Me, i'm a Buffalo Bills fan and I would have been thrilled to root for him if he went to Buffalo. Yes i'm as big a hypocrite as everyone else. I am happy to see him with the Cowboys because I predict he will once again unravel. Don't forget, Drew "hands of stone" Bledsoe is tossing him the ball.
Mar 24, 2006
Sometimes I like to do little doodles on napkins and stuff. It really entertains the kiddies. My girlfriend always refers to me as "squirrel." I'm a real whirlwind of activities. I'm always doing the dishes and cleaning my apartment, making the bed, watering my plants. There is not a speck of dust in my apartment. People always ask me, "who's your maid?" When they find out it's me, they look at me like i'm nut's, which I am. I can't help it. I'm just wired that way. Plus i'm always painting or drawing or cleaning up after i've just drawn or painted. My closets are immaculate. All my shoes and hats are all lined up. It's insane, I really should post a picture. Also when we get to a crosswalk I always run in front of the cars just as the light changes. I like to make mad dashes. Her apartment is right by the west side highway. She always panics as we approch the crosswalk to get across. She says that squirrels always end up flattened on some road or off ramp. I'd like to keep writing about this topic but I have to go scrub my toilet and shower.
Mar 21, 2006
When I first put up my web site I sent the link to a lot of artists whose work I admire. I don't know them personally and have never met any of them. They are the great artists of our time whose works have kept me motivated. There is no better feeling in the world than when you open your email and there is a letter from James Jean or Gary Taxali or John John Jesse. Wow that blew my mind. To think people like that were actually taking the time to look at my work. Amazing. I'll never get over how amazing this internet is. When I heard from Plines and the Wooster Collective saying how much they love what i'm doing, I actually did a little jig. It was around St. Patrick's day anyway. Also my good friend Danny Gregory, whose work I think is brilliant, gave me such great compliments. Deep down I really do have doubts about if I am any good or not. Hearing from all these wonderful artists has helped me feel better about what i'm up to. Can't wait to see what i come up with next.
Mar 14, 2006
Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne are seen here celebrating in Wyoming. The Vice President is so happy to see his approval ratings hovering around zero. He was quoted as saying " i haven't had approval ratings this high in about three years." He's obviously looking to spend the political capital he has suddenly come into. Sources close to Cheney, who aren't in jail or under indictment, say he is thinking about cherry picking information to get us into wars with North Korea and Iran. These wars will probably occur as we get closer to the 2006 elections. In the meantime he and his old lady will be enjoying a nice bowl of squirrel soup.
I've started a new sketch book. It will be filled with common household items. Everything from batteries to bubble gum to Band-Aids to Pepto-Bismol. I can practice drawing around my house or office if i have any spare time. It doesn't take much to do one of these, so it is fun and not too taxing. I wanted to do a drawing of good old Bazooka bubble gum. I can't seem to find it anywhere. I'm sure i'll track it down some place. I wonder what a piece costs. Probably a quarter by now. Well maybe just a nickel. When i was a kid it was a penny. Plus you would keep all the Bazooka joe comics and then send away for cool decoder rings and whatnot.
Mar 13, 2006
My friend Frankie Vigilante loves to drink at the Raven on the corner of 12th street and avenue A. If you pop your head in most any time, he'll be there. It was his home away from home. He even had all of the bartenders attend his wedding and it was up in Buffalo. I recieved a call from Frankie the other morning. He told me he was sitting at his usual stool the evening before at around 6:30 PM. Some dude was working on the boiler in the basement. He came running up and said everyone has to get out. The whole downstairs was on fire. Frankie said he took off. He even left money sitting on the bar. The whole place went up quickly. They were able to run into the building and get all the residents upstairs safely out. It's a total loss. Just like Katrina it makes you realize just how fragile everything is. Well at least no one was hurt. Now we'll have to discover a different place to hang out and make some new friends.
I feel like a dad. My website is finally launched. It has been a long slow agonizing process. Having no computer skills, it always seemed like a pipe dream to have my own blog and website. But i never gave up. It was a series of a thousnad little obstacles followed by a thousand little victories. Angelo is a guy i work with who knows his way around computers. He said i had to start by getting all my ads together in the form of high rez jpgs. It was a big pain in the ass. I had to track down all my old stuff. Lots of scanning. It took a few weeks to get all of that straightened out. Next was how to deal with my paintings and sculptures i have in my apartment. I tried to shoot them with my digital camera but they looked like crap. I was doing a shoot with my friend Chris Collins and i mentioned to him my dilemma. He said his retoucher Dan photographs the artwork for Sotherby's. As a favor to me Chris had Dan and his assistant Weston come to my place and set up a studio in my apartment. We spent ten hours lighting and photographing all of my large paintings. It was a huge undertaking. Dan took a few weeks to retouch everything. Angelo showed me how to size everything for the web. I had to get all my tv commercials together. My friend Monte helped me do that and he gave it to me in formats for the web. I wrote and designed my stupid bio. Next i had to find someone to put it all together. I searched for people on the web but they all wanted five grand to do it. I told them i designed the whole thing, the look, the architecture. I will even give them everything on disks already sized and ready for the web. They didn't care, five grand. I asked some friends to recommend people but no one returned my calls. All these cats must be real busy. I was at Chris's studio a few weeks later talking about my troubles trying to get someone to help me. His receptionist Leila told me she had a friend who might be able to help me. I called and he said i just needed a technician. That's how i met Angie Garcia. She came into my life to save me. She was busy so it took quite a few weeks to finish but finally the day has arrived to launch my webite. Tommykane.com is born and i couldn't be more proud.
My talented friend Danny Gregory has come out with a great book. It's called The Creative License. It's about finding that long lost creative person that's in all of us and how art can enrich one's life. He also explains a lot about journaling which is something that has changed me. Danny was nice enough to include a few pages about me. I was very flattered to be in his book. So for someone who comes across my site and is looking for a way to try the same thing i'm doing, buying this book would be a good first step. It's the next best thing to having a great art teacher follow you around all day helping you. Don't be intimidated, you don't need to draw as well as me to want to do it. Drawing is for everyone. You just have to be willing to take that first step. So many people i meet see what i'm up to and say they would like to start to draw too. I even buy blank journals for some. They just never seem to get untracked. I know it's hard to fit this stuff into our busy lives but i know once you start doing this drawing business you will be hooked. Trust me. Danny's book is available on Amazon.com.
When you live in New York City you don't really get to interact with nature. The hardest part is the winters. You never really see a sunset or sunrise in the city. In the winter it is dark all the time. Today is March 29th and i am feeling like the winter is finally behind me. It's staying light out until about 6:45. I am itching to see some nature, get some sun on my face, be outside with just a t-shirt on. Yun wants to go to Washington DC at the end of the month to see the cherry blossoms. I've never seen that before. I will definately bring my sketch book and do some journal drawings. Probably in color. If they are any good i'll post them here. Last week i bought some porterhouse steaks and went to my friend Frankie V's house for a bar-b-que. It was about 10 degrees out but who cares. Frankie had a bar-b-que the day of our big snowstorm this year. He had to shovel a path just to get to the grill. When you live in New York you go to extremes to get a little feeling like your out in nature. Even if it means bar-b-queing on avenue B when it's 10 degrees out.
I'm very new to all this blogging stuff and believe me i don't know a thing about computers. Blogger.com is such an easy site that i didn't need too much help getting started. I noticed that some other boggers didn't use the provided templates. Somehow they were creating their own designs. Then i read about a site called: psyc.horm.org. It's great and very easy to use. Even an idiot like me had very little trouble. Through quite a bit of trial and error i finally arrived on my page design. Being an artist i still had a few little changes i wanted to make. I was having trouble figuring out where a certain thing was in the html code on my blogger template. So i sent an e-mail to Aideen, he created the psyc.horm.org site. He's a very young kid in Tehran, Iran. To my astonishment he wrote back to me the very next day. It's amazing the connections you can make on the internet. A close friend told me she wanted to buy a rug on e-bay. She noticed the seller was in Afghanistan. That fact stopped her from making the transaction because she said she dosen't trust what our goverment is up to. You never know when you can get put on some list, or send up a little red flag somewhere because of who you are communicating with overseas. I usually don't think about that kind of stuff. My friend is from Japan so sometimes she gets hassled at american airports and taken in to little rooms for questioning. Me on the other hand like the fact i can make friends with a kid in Iran. It's important that real people make connections with each other while our mutual governments embarrass the hell out of us on a daily basis. George W. Bush and Hilary Clinton sure as hell couldn't help me out with my html issues but thankfully my friend in Tehran can. The more we make friends with each other the harder it will be for our governments to want to push each other towards a you know what.
Two and a half years ago i shaved my head. It was the best thing i've ever done. You eliminate so much hassle from your life. I really don't need a mirror anymore. No more shampoo, conditioner, comb, brush, hairdryer, gel, you name it. I bought one of those professional buzzers and i do it myself once a week. Although there was something nice about going to the barber. Now maybe once a year i go to my old russian guy on 14th street. It's a disgusting little place but he gives a great shave. Maybe i'll go for a spring cleaning. Get the old face and dome professionally shaved. It's a great experience getting shaved by someone who really knows what they're doing. The first time i did it i was in Italy with my friend Pat Lango. I was so amazed by what the barber did at certain places on my face. I was like, oh that's what i'm supposed to do by my chin and lips. Now i get it. When he was done i didn't have to shave for two weeks. I'm going to get it done for my birthday. March 30th.
Mar 10, 2006
I am not the most computer savy dude in town. I've been trying to fool around with photoshop a bit. I colorized a few of my black and white sketches. Hopefully i'll get better as i stumble around. This drawing is one of my first results. Maybe the fact i don't have a clue what i'm doing helps in a way to give it this look. It's very interesting to see the combination of my hand crafted drawings mixed with the precision colorizing of the computer. It looks like a frame from a japanese anime film.
There is a young writer in my office named John Kim. He asked me if i wanted to help him do some ads for a charity. I broke out into a little rendition of "we are the world, we are the children." First we had to find an orginization that needed some help from a few swarmy advertising creatives. John's sister had a friend who worked at an orginization called The MIllennium Promise. Check them out at www.millenniumpromise.org. He contacted them and sure enough they needed an ad and like pronto. Turns out Oprah Winfrey heard about this joint and wanted to donate a free page in her magazine for them to run an ad and get some publicity. John called at just the right moment. Of course they needed it right away which didn't give us much time to think of something. Creatives like to take a lot of time to come up with ads because we are usually stoned or hungover. Anyway John and i worked together for two afternoons coming up with stuff at a photo shoot we were doing for Georges Dubouef wine. There was five ads we really liked. The nice people at Millennium Promise were blown away by what we came up with. One of the ads will be in O magazine's next issue. I have to give John most of the credit on this one. They are really his ideas. It's nice for a change to be involved in doing ads for a worhty cause. Usually i'm busy doing ads for chemical companies, cigarette makers, booze and firearms distributors. The tagline above the website says, "Ensure that ours is the last generation to know poverty."
I was happy to read in the papers the other day that Boy George will not go to trial for his cocaine bust in New York City. The reason i was happy is because my good friend Kyoko was the girl who happened to be at his apartment that night. Knowing Kyoko, it's hard to imagine her as a witness in a trial. I had dinner with her the night before the alleged incident occurred. Kyoko is from Japan and her english is very rough and hard to completely understand. Let me put it this way, even if she spoke perfect english she would be hard to understand. When you ask her a question her thoughts run all over the place. Say for example you asked her what happened the night she was arrested at George's house, she might launch into a diatribe about Janice Dickenson stealing items she admired from her friends apartment. Or she could start getting upset that her gym won't allow her to smoke cigarettes while she's working out. You get the idea. Anyway the police had to be worried that she was a potential witness. The notes they took the night they questioned her must be hilarious. The second she would have opened her mouth on the witness stand you could have sent everyone home. Case thrown out. Plus you have to see her in person. She dresses like a drag queen. Clothes she makes herself. She has bright pink hair but sometimes she wears a blond wig. The full effect is quite something. My friend Jun and Kyoko have been close friend's with Boy George for years. Now that this is behind them they can get back to doing what they do best, going out to clubs every night till the break of dawn dressed like sexy circus clowns.
Mar 9, 2006
I'm not a good writer at all. I've never done much of it. I have problems enough trying to read a book or two. But i do love this blogging stuff. I feel i don't have to write too much or be too clever or impress anyone. It's a nice little place to archive my musings. Also it is a great way for a beginner like me to practice writing. I mostly do it to post my drawings. Writing a little paragraph helps my sketches come to life a bit more. Hopefully if i can keep this up i'll improve over time. Maybe the thing to do is check back to this blog every couple of years to see if my writings are getting any better. Somehow i doubt it though.
Mar 6, 2006
The most interesting thing about the Oscars for me was that i knew three people whose names were mentioned during the show. The most famous being Ang Lee. I met Ang twenty five years ago through my friend Pat Lango. Pat was a bike messenger at the time. He also happened to be a gifted writer. He'd somehow gotten mixed up with some producers from a company owned by Saturday Night Live. They would pair up talented young writers and directors. Pat asked me if he could use my apartment during the day to work with his partner because his place was too small. His partner turned out to be Ang. He was fresh out of NYU film school. He gave me his student film in the hopes i could get him some work directing commercials. I showed his film to everyone in my office at the time but they were nervous because he just graduated and had never done a commercial before. I was a very young kid and had no pull. I should mention his student film was quite amazing. It was a Romeo and Juliet type story set in modern chinatown and little italy. The story revolved around a young italian american police officer with ties to the mob who grew up on mulberry street and his love affair with a chinese girl from a strict family. There are great tensions because the chinese are buying up most of little italy at the time. The italian hold on the neighborhood is steadily slipping away. Anyway i was happy he won. The next person i knew was Arianne Phillips. She was a stylist who worked on all of my early advertising jobs. She was up for Best Costumes for "Walk The Line." She didn't win. Last but not least, my friend Keith Young was mentioned. He was a choreographer i met twenty years ago through an ex-girlfriend. When i started making music videos for MTV my director, Ken Nahoum, asked if i knew any choreographers and he was a bit shocked when i said "yes i did." Last night when Three 6 Mafia won for the best song with "It's hard out here for a Pimp," i was surprised to hear the first person they thanked was their choreographer Keith Young. After a while i waiting for my name to be mentioned.
Mar 1, 2006
I draw in all different types of journals. The hardest to sketch in is the small moleskine. I use them because they fit into my pocket and i can take them with me anytime. My other books i need to carry in a man purse. It's not so easy drawing in that little space. It might be fine for some people but i need room to get my groove going. I feel like i'm trying to thread a needle when i draw in those little suckers. Don't get me wrong, i do some real nice drawings in them but it is a wrestling match. Each time i finish one i say to myself, i will never buy one of those little things again. Here i am about to finish one up and what did i go and do. Bought another one. What a dope.
I don't know if you've seen that movie "The Aquatic Life?" Everyone i know who saw it hated it. So i never bothered to watch it. Then one day there it was staring at me from the shelf of the video store. I had very little expectations and low and behold, i dug the movie. The best thing about it was the music. There is this portugese sailor on the ship and every once in a while he is sitting on deck with a guitar singing. Each time he would sing i would say, "what the hell song is that?' I would know it but couldn't quite place it. Then i would realize it was David Bowie. It would happen again and again in the movie. Each time i couldn't place the song. Finally i would recognize some Ziggy Stardust tune. By the fifth song i finally got what was going on. If you haven't seen the movie or even if you have, get the soundtrack. It's very trippy and there are a lot of extra Bowie tunes that weren't in the film. The album is "The Life Aquatic studio sessions" by Seu Jorge. You'll love it if you dig David Bowie.
My eyes are slowly starting to go. I need glasses to read. Forget about menus in restaurants. I even bought one of those devices they sell on television called "the owl." It's a little credit card that has a built-in magnifying glass and light. Anyway the point i'm trying to make is how difficult it is for me to try to draw at night. It would be hard for anyone to do but more so for me. I did manage to chicken scratch this one out from my friend Simon's roof. I am always looking for a challenge and this sure was. I'm quite happy with the result.
The Noguchi Museum is a groovy little place in Long Island City. Guch made a lot of interesting sculptures with huge rocks. But he is best known for his lamps. If you visit the museum online you can see every lamp the man ever designed. They are also for sale. He built a nice little sculpture garden inside. Anyone who chose Long Island City for the location of his studio has to be a cool dude. On a side note if you want to buy an apartment, you can get one for cheap there. The place is desolate. You heard it here, in ten years you won't be able to go near the place. Long live the Guch.
I noticed in my sketchbooks that i draw beer often. When i was a little kid my dad and uncle were always watching Mets games and having a cold beer or three. Every once in a while they would give me a sip if i asked. Those first few times my eyes rolled into the back of my head with disgust. Man, that is the worst crap i've ever tasted. Finally at a certain age it doesn't taste so bad anymore. I'm not saying it tasted good, but it was sort of drinkable. Then you reach a point where it's actually tasty. I'm not sure what age that is. Now every once in a while when i have that first sip of a beer after a hard day i get that flashback to when i was a kid. It's something about the taste that makes me feel like a kid having that first sip that didn't taste too bad. They always drank Reingold. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes me have that flashback. It doesn't happen too often. I can't wait for spring to come. My friend Lipp and i always go the The St. Mark's Alehouse on 8th street in New York City. They have big windows that are open to the street so you can interact with the urchins. If you're ever in New York and pass by and see a nut sitting in the window with a sketchbook, say hello it will probably be me.