Saturday, June 11, 2011

Escape Artist

By James Curcio

This past year, I've completed three book-length projects. I've blogged I don't know how many pages of articles on this and other sites. Though I have many other writing projects on my mind for the future, I have been feeling my brain changing gears. Or maybe it isn't my brain, maybe it's little robots or aliens that control my creative output. How would I know? I wouldn't.

Regardless, whatever it is that controls these things, I can feel the frequency shifting. I'm burned out on writing for the time being and am feeling my auditory and visual circuits turning on.

That's not to say that they've been off - the past two years I've worked on two albums for HoodooEngine and a bunch of early material for the soundtrack for a movie that didn't make it to post production. But I've really been focused on writing. It's where my head and my heart have been at. And suddenly, they're just not.

Shifts like this tend to go across the board for me. I find myself humming melodies and harmonies along with the music I'm listening to more, I find myself bursting into tears seemingly spontaneously from particularly beautiful pieces of music. Writing and even speaking have become more of a chore.

This isn't new to me. I think it goes along with having your head in so many places at once. The bulb burns out if you focus too much on one area, and you need to give it a little time and replace it.

This past week I went to see Zoe Keating at World Cafe Live in Philly. While waiting for her show, I had the luck to happen upon Dustin O'Halloran and several other musicians performing his pieces. (His was one of the pieces that has recently made me cry, if you're wondering. The other is Beethoven's 7th 2nd movement, which Zoe randomly "covered" in her show, though it had been stuck in my head for nearly a week at that point.)

Rather than give you a lot of words, here are some samples of their work:

Opus 28 Dustin O'Halloran live in Berlin

Zoe Keating performing Escape Artist

My posting here may show this shift of focus, consisting more of media and less of long passages of text. We will see. I named this post after Zoe's piece because the theme is similar. She explained at the show that it was about being evicted from a shared studio space in urban San Fran, and moving to the country, and wondering what she was doing there... and moving back to the city... and wondering what she was doing there. I feel a bit like that right now. And I also know what it is like to lose group spaces. I used to be part of a collective in upstate NY that had several rather large shared A/V studios. Many days I think, if we only had access to that space and that equipment now... But space and equipment is expensive to keep. Art rarely pays what it costs. It's an addiction that some of us can't help but feed, or learn to feed. Or die. So, moving on--

If you're curious what I'm looking towards...

As many of you know Citizen Y: Blueprint Of A Ritual Experience has already been released on Amazon. An eBook version will be available on Weaponized shortly. The Immanence of Myth is down to the wire now, and should be on Amazon by August at the latest. There is a fair chance I will have an announcement to make shortly about the publication of Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End and the release of HoodooEngine's Murder The World. All of that combined represents the substantial bulk of my focus the past few years, and will free me up to look towards new projects -- when I'm not trying to promote those works, of course.

I'm thinking about starting a new music project that allows me more freedom of emotional expression than HoodooEngine does. Don't get me wrong, I love working on HE, but I wouldn't describe any of it as particularly beautiful, or haunting. HE songs aren't landscapes, they don't breathe. They are by design like an angry locomotive or hive of bees, buzzing in your head with unrelenting hate. BEE HATE. I'm hoping I can collaborate with some old friends on this new project, including Molly Zenobia, whom I played guitar for back in college. (Or maybe I'll join up on something she's working on already. I don't know yet.)

Maybe I'll only collaborate with women on this next one. It'd be some sort of weird inversion of the energy of HE. It's too early to say.

I will also be giving more attention back to Nyssa, the prequel to Fallen Nation, once I can get FN off my plate. It is another modern myth, with more of a dark fairy tale feel to it. At the same time, I intend to begin a web video series for FN as I look towards trying to get a related feature film produced.

Finally, I will be helping Daniel edit season 1 of the Gonzomentary: Clark so we can release it on DVD and re-release the episodes online, and look towards working on season 2, "Tito's Place."

Oh yeah. Of course, we will continue to run content here, however the nature of that content shifts over time.

Amidst all of this, as if that wasn't enough, I need to figure out how I'm going to be eating and paying rent in months to come. All in all it looks to be an eventful summer, though whether it is productive or a complete catastrophe always remains to be seen. I hope you continue along for the ride, and help support the work we're all doing here with your pocketbooks as well as all the complements. (Much as I love them, they don't keep the lights on.)

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on

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