Saturday, October 26, 2013

Events of the Psyche

 in which I aim to make clearer what brews within the recesses of my psyche

Up to now my blog posting has been inspired by my story, art and events and I have tried to make them aesthetically presentable from the material that was available to me.  The darker areas of my psyche inspire this one and throw up questions rather than promote my accomplishments. 10 days ago I torn a ligament in my right shoulder and bruised my right arm heavily. Any movement I do is quite uncomfortable, very awkward and potentially painful. Sleeping especially is difficult. Compared to many people's suffering, this is no big deal, but nevertheless it makes me think.

From Carl Jung's Red Book

Carl Jung divides the Psyche into three parts, the conscious mind or ego, the personal unconscious, which is everything not presently conscious and the collective unconscious which can be called our psychic inheritance and which is made up of archetypes. So, which controls our daily life? An ever shifting fluid combination of all of these elements, and if we ever think that we are in complete control of our actions, we have another thing coming at any moment. Jung also suggests that enlightenment is not just following a bright light (master, religion, etc), but shining a light to the darkness at the bottom of our soul. I think that a combination of following the light and shining light onto the darkness might be the ticket.

Halloween reveler in Chinatown

A few days ago my friend Vanessa Massey posted this on face book:

There is no karma, just habits of thoughts:
"When you begin to understand that which is like unto itself is drawn, then it is easier and easier to understand that you are offering a signal, and the entire Universe responds. And when you finally get that, and you begin to exercise some deliberate control about the signal that you offer, then it really begins to be fun, because then you recognize that nothing happens outside of your creative control. There are no things that happen by chance or by circumstance. There is nothing that is happening because of something you vibrated a long time ago or in a past life. It is not about what you were born into. It is only about what you are, right now, in this red hot fresh moment emitting."

Shortly after sunrise on a recent morning.

There might not be a lasting karma, but if we don’t clear past traumas, resentments then they continue to muddle around in our subconscious and are still part of our present vibrational make up. I don’t believe in accidents and I do believe that I create my experiences. I aim to take responsibility for my experiences. One of the biggest realizations for me has been to give up blaming others for how I feel. Ultimately I also have to give up blaming myself. This might be the harder one even.

Silk scarf by Caty Monnier

For a long time I have watched certain patterns in my life. Whenever I go through a rough time and deep lying conflicts act out in my psyche they come to the surface with a bang, if they are not addressed and cleared. In my case, this typically leads to a so-called accident often including a broken bone. I can follow this all the way back to my 6 year old self, and other events at 14 years, 20, 31, 37, 41, 59 and the most recent about 10 days ago. The damages include a concussion, broken arm, damaged foot, smashed elbow, dislocated shoulder, broken clavicle, and finally torn ligament in my right shoulder. I have wires in my elbow and rods going down my forearm. Somehow the big Dieter is not fully taking care and is not fully accepting of the little dieter inside. 

Re-Make/Re-Model. The Beatles Rubber Soul
Before my last event I was going through a very rough patch that led to my ego suggesting that I have failed in major areas of my life, that society generally accepts as essential. 
Throughout most of my life I have not given much of a hoot about what society thought of me and reveled in the outsider and rebel status. Yet, in recent years I have consciously worked on breaking down barriers that I had build between me and rest of the world, or certain parts of it. 

unfinished oil on linen - detail - dieter runge
What I mean is that I no longer aim to see myself as a member of an outsider group or a cultural or political avant-garde, a hipster who is better or ahead, but another human being who exists with the same struggles and is really no different than anyone else. I subscribe to the Mayan saying that, ‘I am another you.’ Besides my daily practice, obvious progress, and the overall feeling of being more at one with my true Self, I realize that up to now I have not been able to clear deep seated issues of my psyche, that seem to cook up a dark soup whenever things get a bit rough and spill over with an element of violence like a pressure cooker when I am stuck.

small study in oil -  dieter runge - 2013

How can I prevent this from happening? How can I truly evolve and accept this tar pit as my friend Angelica Wheis put it, who had a near fatal car accident recently. She suggests that we learn to swim in the tar pits, a beautiful metaphor that hints at the potential danger, like falling into sliding sands. Shining light on the tar pit has to be followed by acceptance and ultimately forgiveness. Often we might be able to forgive others for a something they have ‘done’ to us, but can we truly forgive our selves?
This seems to be the real difficulty. Besides trying to make things clearer to my self, I aim at starting a conversation. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the present this time

 in which I talk about my life at the pool house until everything gets busted open by a swift kung fu kick.

the house from a neighbor's boat

and from the water side with prints drying

Yesterday I messaged a friend that I was going to the opera to see Turnadot and he came back with the question what the opera has to do with the New York Niggers. My answer was: “It’s all in my life” and that the NYN had quite a few fans from the opera world and that Leo and I used to occasionally hang out with opera singers and musicians on the upper Westside. New York and Hawaii are the two places where I spend almost as much time as growing up in Germany, the three places I have called home. I live on the island of Oahu now for almost 23 years, my first 6 month on the North Shore and in the Kailua/Kaneohe area since, so I want to talk about this home. 

they don't call it rainbow state for nothing
 don't miss this special link

sun and rain

mango tree still looking for a home

reality check -  plenty planes and copters

pure kitsch sometimes

the view on canvas
garden by the sea


black gold

The northeast coast of Oahu is called the windward side facing the Pacific Ocean with the Ko’olau mountain range behind. It is a special place with more rain than the Honolulu or the west sides of the island and therefore greener and a little cooler too. For 15 years I worked on the beach in Kailua teaching windsurfing and kitesurfing until I started graduate school. Since I finished my MFA thesis exhibition in 2008 I have tried to make my life making art and music and teaching art, taiji, yoga and occasionally still kitesurfing. I have taught art in Colorado and New York City, painted houses and done other odd jobs and since this fall work as a substitute teacher.

kitesurfing on the Northshore, pic Stephen Whitesell  

and in the backyard. pic Steve Chismar

heading out for glassy surf on early Thanksgiving morning

The center of my life since 2008 has been the 2 ½ story cottage I rent on the shore of Kaneohe Bay. It has a magical view and I have a 10’ x 20’ downstairs studio where I print, make music and work on other art projects. It also has a couch where guests sleep or I do when guests use my bedroom area. There are no separate rooms. I love being here, cooking in my outside kitchen and working at home whenever I can. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with the rent. This is what people here call the ‘price of paradise,’ Wages are very low, compared to places on the mainland, while the rents are very high, because there are enough people who are able to buy anything attractive and lower income housing is scarce. When you walk down Kailua Beach you’ll find up to ½ of the houses/estates empty.

wood blocks

mixing ink. pic Alorah Kwock

clean up. pic Alorah Kwock

rolling ink.pic Alorah Kwock

prepping the paper. pic Alorah Kwock
fixie prints

Jason Farris checking out his first ever wood block print

studio looking east

24" block - scrolls on mulberry paper

48" block on linen
Here is video walk through my studio/house as I was winding down a printing session a few years back.

My typical day looks like this: up at 4:30, bathroom, neti pot, drink some hot water followed by pranayama and meditation (ca 1hr+), followed by asanas. The length of my asana session depends on whether I work at home or away. If I work at home I usually cook for lunch and eat the leftover for dinner, without it going into the fridge, trying to avoid keeping leftovers longer than 24hrs. When I work away then I cook the night before. I’m up before the chickens and in bed not long after them. This keeps me pretty balanced and healthy (knock on wood). (hahaha, not always. later edit, see below) This lifestyle also has an element of isolation, since the art and music scene is happening in town of course and many of my friends have moved to other islands or different parts of Oahu.

Kayo Iwaki, fellow yoga teacher, practicing

DIY pallette, brush and paint storage on wheels

Stephen & Maya at a dinner

Gaye Chan, Lian Lederman, Alleta Van Patten, Jaimey Hamilton, Thanksgiving

Susanne Pridoehl and Toren visiting from Germany
never too early to express yourself

Friends come over for dinner or bbq’s and visitors from Europe, Japan, the mainland or wherever are always welcome to stay . I love to share the blessings. I have a little garden where I am just successful enough to grow some greens. We do stand up paddling right from here and occasionally have parties where my band plays. Of course I do venture into town and participate in exhibitions, play with my band, or go to dinners or concerts. But hanging out late at night throws me off for a couple of days and I don’t miss the night life very much having lived it in the 70’s and 80’s probably several lifetimes worth. Whenever I get a chance to play though, I still rock out whenever  possible.

the author in front of his rock'n roll wood block prints at a pop-up

Brandon Lund, Stephen Niles, Will Williams III
with Taylor and Jordan Fite

occasionally nothing can be done - just looking up


Last Monday I tore a ligament in my right shoulder demonstrating some kung fu stuff to one of my taiji students. I hadn’t practiced this in 30 years. Now, everything I do is very slow, awkward and potentially painful. This includes typing of course. Siri doesn’t understand me yet. I have been going through a difficult time trying to become open to new possibilities and exploring my inner demons and resistances. Now, all of that is cracked open in one single move.....
in case you missed this funky video from my 64th b-day. Gotta love that wha wha!

the wildlife doing their thing

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Life of the New York Niggers, Oct 1978, part 2

in which we continue to show life in lower Manhattan in a time when President Ford tells New York to Drop Dead.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Iolsta Hat, a great poet, singer, performer, fashion pioneer and friend. During the research for this blog I came upon this news (see epilogue), so most of the blog is written before I knew.

Iolsta Hat
Looking West down Canal St at Varick St (7th Ave). The NYN loft bldg in ctr back.
The author in front of 474 Grenwich St.

Keep the comments and questions coming, face book, e-mails, anything is welcome. Last week somebody wrote that the blog takes a lot of work. Yes, but it is work of love, especially when it connects us. Besides that, I try not to be attached to the fruits of my labor, yeah, that is hard sometimes. All photos in this blog were taken by Martin (Mattus) Simons on his trip to NY in the fall of 1978, unless otherwise indicated.

 Scanning the 400 or so negatives, took time, probably 12 hrs at least (Big Mahalo to Stephen Whitesell), then selecting, resizing and making adjustments, mostly using PS curves, on each picture separately, another 8 hrs. Writing one blog, probably more than a full day. A fellow musician told me how much he liked the music links, “so much energy,” he said.  I try to select and place them so it is a soundtrack to the story. In one of the first shots in this video the Stones pay tribute to CBGB's and the movement that made them obsolete, for a while at least. The album is their attempt to catch up and in the following tour Mick wears Vivian Westwood clothes. The Bee Gees still ruled the Top 100. No punk anywhere on that horizon. The only song by the new artists to break into top 100 was Patti Smith's Because the Night, co-written by The Boss.

Iolsta Hat

Iolsta Hat

These pictures feature Iolsta Hat again. She was such a talented and fascinating woman and Mattus took lots of pictures of her, so we go along with it. It does lead to the confusing impression that she was an important part of the band, which wasn’t the case. She just came up for a couple of songs, one in particular was the Communist’s Let’s Blow Up Soho. Soho is the neighborhood between Houston and Canal St and Broadway and 6th Ave, which by this time already had undergone the transformation from a nowhere land, where only artists and musicians lived to featuring galleries and more and more clothing stores. For more background on this time in NY check out the excellent documentary NY 77 The Coolest Year in Hell, which brings the whole emergence of hip-hop, punk and disco into its historical context. Yes, it even explains the story of the naked ladies riding on white horses on Halloween that year, which we witnessed. You have to understand that disco was one response to the dangerous raw city and the need to have a good time. But the soundtrack of the scenes and people shown here went more like this: L.A.M.F. came out in 1978 on vinyl and Johnny Thunders and other musicians sometimes dropped by for a late night jam at the loft parties.
From the fire escape you looked right onto the corner of Canal and Varick streets and the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. At rush hour often all cars came to a stop, engines running, honking everywhere. Imagine this on a hot New York summer afternoon in the 100's. Yeeeehah!

Rush hr at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.
As you can see there were no separate rooms or any other divisions. We all lived together.

The ranch.

Aid Haid, ?, The Pope.

Visitors, especially from Germany kept coming all year, brought on by the exploding scene in Germany, the desire to experience the origins of the new wave of music, my writing in No Fun magazine and $ 99 flights of Laker Airways.

The Pope, Loose Toulouse.

Two European visitors, Leo, The Pope.

Rarely did we eat like this; a communal meal only happened because of Mattus' visit or whenever I had money.

Eating together on stage.

3 Germans in front of Radio City Music Hall...

and at Times Square.

I cut out a stencil and here we are making t-shirts. I also had New York Niggers stenciled over an entire jacket. The story is told in an older blog.

Mattus working on something.

Mattus making t-shirts.

Not sure what I'm doing here, but pretty foussed.

Detour, Iolsta, George. DIY guitar pick earring.

Putting up 500 or a thousand posters was mandatory every time. It wasn't without danger either when somebody broke a window on the second floor of a building and a bunch of glass rained on me; almost couldn't play. I had to get stitches in the flesh between my thumb and first finger. Here we're putting up posters for the Oktober Fest party at the loft.

the author, Leo, wheat paste, brush and flyers

yeah, covered everything

Oktoberfest flyer

 Downtown denizens at the party. Michelle Robinson, center, before she became the last girlfriend of Sid Vicious.

Michell Robinson Center

Al, left, Stereo, right

Al and Billy Stereo, fellow musicians from Chicago. NYN wasn't the only band featuring black musicians playing rock'n roll.

Xsessive was a musician and The Ghosts were his band. He left his tag everywhere.

Iolsta talking to Michelle Robinson.

NYN attracted artists...

...and rock'n rollers. Angel Rodriguez

Scene in the kitchen. Angel in the back.
 The two pictures above show Angel Rodriguez in a Vivian Westwood sweater. Angel was the soul of Trash & Vaudeville and always stylish. I didn't know her then, but a year from this moment we would work together at Trash. For more about Angel and T&V check out previous blogs.

Audience. Steve De Martis in leather jacket.

Mattus wrote an article about his NY trip for Hollow Skai’s No Fun magazine, later published in the book Wir Waren Helden Fuer Einen Tag. The day of the NYN party Mattus first went to a Ramones gig way out in Queens. We’ll pick up his story when he is back at the loft (I left all the capitals and punctuations like it is in the book and translated it as closely as possible): 

Detour, Loos, Leo, George.
This was the lineup for that moment. We played Max's and other places. A year later we recorded the single produced by Leo and me and all new members. See older posts. The songs were Headliner written by Leo and my first song just Like Dresden 45.

Mattus writes: “ I had put up 8 spots, so you could see something al least – THE NEW YORK NIGGERS played with total abandon. They are always awesome when they have an audience. Their playing and stage presence gets wilder and wilder and culminates in << Let’s Blow up Soho>>, when Iolsta (x – COMMUNISTS) joins them on stage and sings lead. Then they play  “Search & Destroy” (Iggy & The Stooges). Steve de Martis, who lives next door (ex – ERASERS), can’t control himself , steals the mike from Pope Leo and rages, and the NY NIGGERS can’t stop.

Iolsta, Loos, Steve during S&D.

The band playing Search & Destroy

The author joins the audience and dons a new shirt for the 2nd set.

George Darrow - intense

The NIGGERS play rather POWERfull and fast. The new drummer George has a good beat and an even better ear; he is from Queens and played with the MIGHTY MINDS. Detour* pushes and wants to play faster and faster. In S&D he plays a staccato rhythm and his einz, zwei, drei, vier count always kicks the band into high gear. Loose Toulouse,former bassplayer with the COMMUNISTS, plays a sexy clean bass with fast runs, that you can’t follow. Pope Leo’s soli float above it all (Leo destroyed his best Gibson guitar at another party when they played S&D). Leo is the bandleader and wrote most of the songs.

* Aid Haid converted Dieter to Detour, it stuck for a while, but didn’t make it into my later NY life, good.

The Pope giving an interview
The NYN were written up a few times. Glenn O"Brian from Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine came up with this quote: "The New York Niggers sound like Jimmy Hendrix jamming with the New York Dolls." generously poetic.

Mattus again: " During the second set around 3:00 AM, the NY Niggers eventually jump off the stage and spill into the audience. The audience went nuts dancing and suddenly collapsed into one huge pile on the floor. – it was also crowded at the door to the fire escape. People just wanted to get out, hang out or make out.”


The Pope playing a solo.

Door to the fire escape, Aid, unidentified, Leo.

Rotz Kotz poster and drawing.

Unfortunately, Mattus didn’t take too many pictures of the action in the second set, he describes. Most likely because he was too involved himself.
Besides loving to play we also tried to make some money to help with the rent. Only Leo had a real job, as chef at the restaurant 1 Fifth (Ave). We either sold drinks as you see here or charged at the door and provided drinks. Everything was super low budget and so was the wine, beer or vodka.

Aid Haid, Michelle Robinson (back), Steve de Martis, and Tony at the bar.

we're trying to make the rent.

Yes, there was dancing, I don't think we can tell from the pictures how wild this or other parties really were. Mattus was most likely not ready to take pictures when things got a bit more funky.

get down with your bad self.

the author later that night.

After the gig, time to wind down

Loos Toulouse

George Darrow

The author.

Mattus, George.

George & Leo.

Too loose?

The author contemplating the future?


During my customary research and checking on youtube for links, I came upon these comments on   the Dresden 45 single.

youtube screenshot

  This is the first time I hear that Iolsta has passed away. After our time living in 474 Greenwich, I saw Iolsta occasionally for a while and then lost touch with her. She had gotten involved with another musician guy who's name I forgot. He played a sort of industrial slow heavy metal and had a very dark vision, was into Aleister Crowley and other black magick stuff, but most of all abused Iolsta. I have no idea what happened to her.

The other comment makes me equally sad. For German Neo-Nazis, the bombing of Dresden is a rallying cry, which I could not anticipate when I wrote the song. I am really at a loss of what to say about this right now, only that racism in 2013 is quite depressing to me.

Another comment talks about the hatred in the song. The sentiment in the song is trying to be kind in the midst of desperation. I offered the writer to send him a copy of the lyrics. Here they are again, so you can make your own judgement.

Dresden 45 lyrics and collage with guitar string. Pic taken in front of CBGB's winter 78.

I remember this as a more innocent time, full of enthusiasm and the spirit of do it yourself and anything is possible. Of course we did ran up against the walls of a certain reality of power and prejudice, especially with our name, but I will be forever grateful for this time and the opportunity of living in a multicultural and multiracial group. I thank everyone who was there from the bottom of my heart.

Nothing is ever the same except the stillness in the center of our being.


Documentary on NY and the connection between Punk, Disco and Hip Hop: NY 77 The coolest year in hell. 

Paul Ott/Hollow Skai (publishers), Wir Waren Helden fuer Einen Tag, Reinbeck, 1983.