Wayne Michael Reich

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Wayne Michael Reich
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Month: July 2010

Exile On Pretentious Street PT.3 (Spanking of the Candyass.)

“I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“The essence of cool is not giving a fuck.”- Anthony Bourdain

Hello Blogiteers!

Welcome back to the final slice in my pie of snark. But before we serve up our last course…. despite the tone of our last two and a half outings- I have seen a glimmer of faint hope in the artistic void.

And that glimmer comes from Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light. No, you are NOT imagining things. I said “Hope” and “Thomas Kinkade” in the same sentence. And I said it without the benefit of alcohol.Which is sort of ironic, because a few weeks ago….

Thomas Kinkade was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk.

And I now believe that any glimmer that’s ever been generated by TK comes from his consistently being lit up like a freaking Christmas tree. To take joy in someone else’s misfortune is a god-awful emotion. It’s terrible. Awful, in fact. Petty, really. Spiteful, of course. Selfish, in a word. Just downright mean. [
The German term for this joyful feeling is “Schadenfreude”.]

However, I think Karma gives you a mulligan every now and then. Especially when it comes to the creative endeavors, I like to think. And Thomas Kinkade is one of the poster boys for all the things I despise about the art business: Hypocrisy. Greed. And the worst transgression of all as far as I’m concerned- schlock work.

Of course, the world of art has its share of schlock artists, similar to the ones that infest the worlds of music, basket weaving, journalism, knitting, and to a lesser degree- Italian cooking shows, but TK has always gotten under my skin. It’s not because he’s successful. Or because he’s slapped his ethereally gauzy art on everything that can hold an image, from candles to chairs- in that regard, he’s like a schmaltzy, bible quoting version of KISS.

And even when they built a housing community BASED on his treacle saturated paintings- that still wasn’t enough to make me want to punch him in the face. So why does he aggravate me so darn much? It’s because he’s a hypocrite. Currently, TK is in a world of legal trouble- along with the alleged DUI, there are several alleged reports of public drunkenness, allegations of groping women, and he is currently being sued by former franchisees for fraud, unethical business practices, and breach of contract.

Also adding to the legal morass is the fact that TK’s parent company is in bankruptcy proceedings, despite its profits totaling over 50 MILLION DOLLARS last year. TK’s unique defense? All of the allegations are fraudulent, and come from people who are “jealous” of his good fortune. He allegedly did all of this, while claiming to be a “Good Christian”.

Apparently I missed that section in the good book where you can get publicly drunk, commit sexual assault, lie, cheat, steal, and bear false witness- and yet somehow maintain your platinum membership in the very exclusive ”First to be Swept Up in the Rapture” club.

It’s been my unfortunate experience that if you encounter people who have to tell you what they are constantly, they’re probably not very good at whatever it is. I know what you’re thinking. Despite that lead in, I’m not setting up another New Times journalist joke.

Not yet anyway. See, things are still brewing at NT after yours truly incurred some version of wrath via their online blog, known as Jackalope Ranch”™ [Hereafter referred to as JR] This all started after my email to JR’s Claire Lawton listing my complaint that NT has inadequate local arts coverage, went unanswered. [Did I mention her email by the way? Its Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com: say “hI” for me!]

The title of said blog was: “Wayne Michael Reich Disses First Friday, Paris Hilton, and New Times”. Not exactly the catchiest of titles, but what do I know about marketing? I’m just a humble artist doing his best to start a fire, and then put it out. But I learned a few things about myself:

  • I’m important! [“a central figure in the piece”]
  • I’m not shy. [“And he wasn’t shy about it.”]
  • I use many words. [“So far, the three posts, chalking in at close to 8,600 words”]
  • I have anger issues. [“Part two and two-and-a-half finds a charged-up Reich all pissed off”]

And as they say, knowing is half the battle. I could go on and point out the bad grammar, the lone spelling error, the disingenuous use of “Trolls”, but I won’t, as NT has the right to defend themselves in regard to my previous blog. This is America after all, and I’m all about debating the issues. Clearing the air as it were.

So please go read it, draw your own conclusions, then post a comment (at JR’s comment page, not here) and tell them (and me) what you think. Good or bad. You have power. You have influence. You have a voice.

USE IT.

And for those of you sending me emails agreeing with my position- post your opinion as well. They won’t know, unless you say something to them. Just telling me doesn’t help- you have to spread the message. So please, get involved. And you might just save a kitten. Or a puppy. Either or. Take your pick.

As I said, something is brewing regarding NT- I’m not at liberty to say what yet, so I will have to put this particular razorball on the back shelf for a while until it reveals itself.But I will be back to see what it’s up to, I promise. Moving on…. I apologize. It seems I’ve gotten off track yet again. Where were we? Oh yes.

Thomas Kinkade is a hypocritical, Hell bound hack, and I can’t think of any other time when someone’s fall from grace made me so gosh darn happy. And yes, I KNOW that’s wrong. But if I could offer a few words in my defense?

My current artistic gig is working as a master art framer, and as such- I’ve had to endure framing 300 prints of his “art”.  And with all due respect, it’s a G-damn miracle that I haven’t killed anyone yet because of it. If I see one more schmaltzy cottage glowing with ethereal light, I will form a serious plan of revenge involving a 5 gallon can of gasoline, a car battery, a turkey baster, and a pair of rubber gloves.

So, allow me this moment to dance joyfully, ok? Thank you. Now I am sympathetic to the fact that you, my loyal blogiteers, have had to read a whole bunch of rants over the last few weeks. Over 8000 words, according to Steve Jansen of NT, who thinks that’s a lot.

So on a more personal note: Screw you, NT’s Steve Jansen. My two grand-nieces have crayons that are sharper than you’ve ever been. And BTW?  5731 words are in this one, Steverino. Anywhos…. apparently, I write like I talk.

So, I can understand if you feel a bit lost or out of time with the current topic. Therefore as a public service, I will recap our first two and a half helpings:

Exile on Pretentious Street Part One (with apologies to the Rolling Stones):

I thoughtfully, and with great sensitivity- examined the problems of why we are having a talent drain in PHX and suggested Conspire Coffee as an alternative to other less interesting coffeehouses. Once again, with my usual soft touch and milk of human kindness approach.

Exile on Pretentious Street Part Two: (Mediocre Media, or me write pretty one day):

I investigated why a once marginally average free newspaper has been riding a greased pig to Hell lately in regards to the PHX art scene, premiered my new one act play showing a behind the scenes look at editorial creativity, compared myself to Dean Koontz, and wrapped it all up with a friendly missive to the New Times editorial department. I normally would have sent cookies too, but this Artbitch is on a very restricted budget these days, what with the overall uselessness of PHX’s art patrons, art critics and so called galleries.

Exile on Pretentious Street Part Two and a Half: (The Snark strikes back.):

I sent an email to NT “journalist” Claire Lawton to inquire as to why she was blowing smoke up fellow artistic colleague Peter Petrisko’s ass about getting in touch with me, and paid homage to the one and only Tate Hemlock- my Obi Wan of Snark. There was also a brief detour where I rhapsodized about the joys of mango jam, which rocks. In a display of kindness, I also suggested that my loyal blogiteers write Ms / Mrs. Lawton and offer to be her friend. [Her email is Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com by the way, in case you want to be friends too.]

See? I’m a giver. But I just know that I’m not going to get any love for it. Well, not from the New Times anyway. *Sigh* Oh well. Let’s move on, shall we?  As our grand title suggests, this one’s all about the artists. Ok- it’s not ALL the artists, which would be both impossible as well as highly impractical. So, let’s just stick with the most recent three that have found their way into my lair of snark, courtesy of their inclusion in an article from the “Big Brains” issue of New Times a few weeks ago.

And who are the newest candidates for my all new, bigger, better, badder, blender of bitchiness? [Say that fast, three times kids!]

Bigger, better, badder, blender of bitchiness!

Bigger, better, badder, blender of bitchiness!

Bigger, better, badder, blender of bitchiness!

Darn- I like that so much I’m going to put that on a shirt. Or I could ask Jason Alan Davis to make me some buttons. His buttons are awesome by the way, and can be purchased at Conspire Coffee, located off of Fifth Street and Roosevelt. Support your local artists, and they’ll support you. As I stated before in PT 2, the following critiques may annoy you a bit- especially if these people are your friends. If that happens to be true, I’m sorry.

But this is my blog, and whether you think its right or wrong, I speak my mind. So, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the studio- it’s obviously on fire. And as a special side note to my newest blog buddy, “A.N.”- you really might want to stop at this point, because I have a feeling the rest of this is really gonna tick you off .

In fact, I know it will.

But if you keep reading and that does happen, remember- I did warn you.And keep in mind- I tend to bleed easily. Forging ahead…… as a rule of thumb, I don’t mind ego or arrogance in the arts- I’d be a huge hypocrite if I did. In some circles, I’m known as an arrogant artist, an arrogant photographer, or just an arrogant ass. Sometimes all three, depending on the time, place, and person.

At least they’re talking about me- it’s when they stop, that I get worried. I was even described recently online as a “bitter misanthrope.” But, that’s sort of an upgrade, I guess.

See- the current opinion of me can change. Although my critics would probably say it’s not for the better. I find that attitude amusing, I really do. Because underneath all of this black roiling venom is actually a pretty nice guy. If I had friends, you could ask them.

[First person to recognize the cinematic source of that joke gets a cookie!]

But you have to get to know me first, I’m afraid. And for many people, that’s the hard part, because they just can’t get over what I’ve said, written or believe. Surprisingly- given my reputation for possessing an inflated ego, I really don’t care what people think of me. In the words of Perhelion Gallery owner Amy Young:

“You’d rather be right than be liked.”Spot on, Amy. Hopefully at the end of the day, we can all agree to disagree. And if we can’t, well….. it just means more cookies for me.Before I launch my hand grenades of snark, let’s go over the rules (established in PT 2) once again:

1) No whining from the peanut gallery.
2) No “I’m going to” threats.
3) No body touches the face… or the hair.

LET IT BEGIN!!!! Sorry about that, I was watching “Anchorman” and got carried away.

It is a funny movie though. Oh sorry- there is serious snarking to be done, so let us commence. As a painter and sometime photographer, the world of visual art is obviously close to my heart- and as such, I tend to be sort of a hard ass when it comes to giving out respect to my fellow creatives.

I know- you’re shocked.

One of my longtime beefs with NT has always been the puzzling lack of love shown to some of my local contemporaries. As egocentric as I am, I’ve always been good about shining the light on those whose work I respect, believe it or not. Sure, some of them get a brief mention every now and then in a NT fluff article, but overall- they’ve been mostly ignored by the so called media in this town, and quite frankly- that’s crap.

Talent is a rare commodity and it should be recognized and rewarded. I’ve never said there wasn’t amazing artists in this town, but if you depend on our local media to inform you of this, you will never know.

DISCLAIMER:

The following list is not entirely complete- it was compiled off the top of my head at 2 AM, so I may have missed a few people. I apologize. If you feel you should be on this list, email me and I will do my best to find a rational way to squeeze you into the next rant I write about the PHX art scene.

As a special offer of fair and balanced reporting to NT, if you have profiled any of the following in an article worth reading- email me as well, and I will do my best to stop mocking you for a wee bit.

A very wee bit. Who in my opinion deserves the love?

The Firehouse Gallery, 602 Radio.com, The Complainiacs- Hi Matt and Jimmy!, Tate Hemlock, Glen Allen of Chaos Gallery, Martin Hazine, Joi Carey, Tony Blei.,Yvette Arteaga, Lee Berger, Dain Quentin Gore, Michelle and Richard Bledsoe of Deus Ex Machina Gallery, ,Amy Young of Perhellion and Pravus Gallery, Conspire Coffee- HI Tristan: Your chai rocks!, Kathy Cone of Cone Arts, Anton Nowels, Mark Lipczynski, Debra Jones, Peter Petrisko, Tray Goodman and Inside Creative Minds, Jason Alan Davis,  Suzanne Falk, Mike and Jodi Maas, Joseph Charleston, Provoke Creative, Rafael Navarro, and Fausto Fernandez.

As I said, that’s just off the top of my head. Nevertheless, if I left you out, I promise I will make it up to you next time. Pinky swear. Not surprisingly, the “Wayne Michael Reich Artists I Respect Club” is a very exclusive membership, so as you can imagine, our first artist to be critiqued will obviously not be allowed in for quite some time.

Unless of course, he’s delivering pizza. Which in my opinion- might be a good career move. Following previously established Artbitch tradition; I will take the written word, in this case, New Time’s artist interviews from the “Big Brain” issue- and proceed to break it down via my snarky interpretation:

Peter Bugg:

“People were asking me, ‘How do you like Phoenix?'” he says. “And I was still like, ‘I don’t love it there.'”

– And I’m like: Don’t worry about it- we feel the same way about you.

“I started looking around and realized how much of an impact Phoenix had on my art.”

I can totally phone it in here as long as I bash LA, sneer at NYC, and seem deep.

“A series of high-profile shows”

– More than 10 people came, and they weren’t all relatives, I promise!

“about our obsession with pop culture and tabloid news (most notably “Paper or Plastic,” which offered mash-ups of celeb magazine covers,”

– I can use scissors and paste!

“and “World Exclusive!” about the graphic tease of tabloid headlines) merged the 29-year-old artist’s interest in photography and his observation that most of the information we get about Hollywood comes from pictures, rather than from text”.

– A brave artistic concept, considering it’s only been covered by musicians, artists, writers, and filmmakers since Hollywood began.

“Living here has really informed my work,”

– It hasn’t made it better, but at least it’s informed.  And knowing is half the battle!

“Before I moved here, I was taking photographs of my family and my friends, but then I got here and I didn’t have any family or friends to photograph.”

-Well, other than getting out and meeting people, I would suggest Eharmony.com. There seems to be lots of people there with time on their hands. By the way, you do know that there is lots of other stuff that can be photographed, right? May I suggest taking a refresher course in the art of photography? I think it would help, plus- you’d meet a whole new bunch of people at your community college, and that’s always fun.

“After a recent internship at a paparazzi photo agency in Los Angeles, Bugg returned to Tempe determined to apply his new insider’s perspective to art.”

– I couldn’t get a job at TMZ, because they already had someone vapid on staff. But on the up side, I’m really good at going through famous people’s garbage.

“It forced me to really think about what I wanted to do. And what I really wanted to do was make art about my passion for pop culture.”

– I want to watch TV while playing with my Kid Robot toys.

 “attention-grabbing show about the wicked life of Britney Spears”

– Wait till next year when I unveil both my MC Hammer sculptures and Vanilla Ice collages!

“With his most recent show, Bugg stepped away from using other people’s celebrity photos”

– How noble and brave of you to stop stealing others creative endeavors and calling it your work.

“I still don’t love the hot weather here,” Bugg says

– I cannot wait until I’m officially pretentious enough to move to LA.

“I actually meet other artists here all the time, which leads to conversations about art and opportunities for collaboration. That’s not something you get in, you know, New York or L.A”.                                     

– You’re right, Peter- I can’t think of a single artist there who collaborates. Not because what you said is true, but because my roster of artists in NYC and LA who do just topped off at about 60 or so, and clogged up my brain. But to be fair, that list was done off the top of my head at 2 in the morning..                                                                                                                                   
Artist friends of mine complain about living and working in New York City,” says Bugg,“                   –
It is a bitch working the late shift at White Castle, isn’t it?

“Because out there the attitude about artists is, ‘Oh, great, another one of you.’ But out here it’s, ‘Oh, you do art? Cool! We should hang out!’

– We’ll drink coffee and bitch about artists who’ve “sold out” by actually doing interesting work that they get paid for, while wondering how we can do the same without losing our street cred.

 Ahh… I tell ya, nothing feels better than unsheathing the claws and using a pretentious poseur as a scratching post. Yay- one down, two to go. Who’s up next on the chopping block? The best thing you can toss in front of a hungry Artbitch:. a “Performance Artist”.

Oh joy. Just what PHX needs, yet another mediocre egomaniac.

And yes, this is ME complaining about self-absorption, so you know it must be bad. If you travel in certain art circles, you know that I despise “performance art”- I’ve always considered it a refuge for the unskilled, the untalented, and the undisciplined.

[This opinion landed me a part in the quirky documentary “Hi, My Name is Ryan”- coming soon to DVD.]

I tend to regard the majority of said “art” as either self indulgent angry tripe, or self-indulgent angry absurdity, which in my humble opinion, can be summed up with one simple sentence: “I NEED ATTENTION ALL THE F**KING TIME AND I DON’T KNOW ANY OTHER WAY TO GET IT!!”

As with all things in life, this is not true in every case, and I willingly admit that. Jeff Falk for instance, has done a lot of stuff I like, Peter Petrisko is always solid, Eric Bogosian tends to be consistently good, Yoko Ono has some very innovative ideas every now and then, and even while wearing ice skates, Laurie Anderson is just plain brilliant.

Fortunately for me, our next artist to be verbally eviscerated is not cursed with brilliance of any sort. In creative terms- she’s about as genuine as a Prada handbag at the PHX Park n’ Swap. [If you don’t get that joke, consult a Scottsdale trophy wife- she’ll explain it to you.]

Kara Roschi:

“Five years ago, if you’d told artist Kara Roschi that she’d be giving away hand massages and getting lip-prints from strangers on her undergarments in the name of art, she’d have laughed at the joke.”

– Oh yeah, nothing’s funnier than focused mediocrity, especially when you’ve conned people into thinking your work is relevant.

“I always used my art as personal therapy. I got into work about intimacy because I was dealing with a long-term relationship when I moved into the downtown area,” 

Some advice, Kara from me to you? Next time consult a psychiatrist or a career counselor- they’re here to keep people like you, from annoying people like us.

“Roschi’s “Intimacy” performances are over;”

– Can I get a hug and an “Amen?”

“however, she plans to start a new series at First Fridays this summer”

– Son of a b@#*h!

‘Roschi’s off-the-wall solution is the Ridiculous Red Dress Tour, in which she and other local artists will parade through a different section of the art walk each First Friday clothed in poufy red gowns salvaged from local thrift shops. The idea, Roschi says, is that people will spot the gaudy garments and follow the parade, thus touring galleries they might otherwise have neglected. Clever, right?’

– Um no, actually. If Artlink’s free shuttles, the free entertainment, and the efforts of scores of much more talented PHX artists than you haven’t been able to make FF worthwhile, neither will your “ridiculous” game of self-absorbed dress up.

“Anyone who wants to take the tour will be encouraged to strap on a red corsage or don a red tie as a display of unity.”

– Hey everybody! Let’s pretend we’re going to the prom! That’s so much better than buying art, funding arts assistance programs or actually helping the arts scene in PHX become self sufficient, don’t you think?

“Roschi designed wood and metal structures containing fragile eggs that broke unexpectedly as visitors came through. The eggs that didn’t break were destroyed by Roschi in an egg-smashing extravaganza at the closing reception.”

– Wasting food is now called an “extravaganza”? Let’s check with all of the food banks and starving people to get their take on that. I’m quite sure they’ll have a different view about it.

I am so appalled by this pointlessly vapid “performance” that I don’t even have words to describe my utter contempt accurately. And I normally have ten phrases on hand to describe my utter contempt. Ten, I said. For the first time in my life, I’m actually speechless. Which I’m sure makes a whole bunch of my critics happy. Enjoy this brief moment. It will not last.

“Roschi is quick to confirm her status as a lifelong performer.”

– Because if she were an artist, she’d be a one trick pony.

“Performance art gives people another way to go out and engage, rather than watching TV or a movie.”

– Both of which are way more interesting than your “art”, and that even includes the ones starring Keanu Reeves. Seriously- I would rather watch the “Director’s Cut” of Johnny Mnemonic six times in a row, than sit through 5 minutes of one of your self indulgent “performances”.

“Even if it means giving out free hand massages”

– Do they come with happy endings?

 “and letting strangers leave kiss marks on her clothes,”

Oh wait, question answered. Thanks.

 “Roschi is determined to get Phoenicians to turn off American Idol”

– This I can actually get behind. However, I’m pretty sure her idea to accomplish this will somehow involve hoop skirts, or maybe even bustles. It might even work, considering it’s just as brilliant as her other “ideas”.

Once again, sorry. I really shouldn’t be so hard on Kara, come to think of it- she has given me a whole new respect for pointless artistic meandering. You’re not an artist, Kara- but you are one hell of a bad example. Two down, one to go- just in case you were keeping track. And if you think I’m being harsh, I do apologize yet again. I’m really sorry that these idiots keep ticking me off.

I’m trying to be nicer- I really am, but there’s an issue I just have to address. Whether its writers, musicians, or artists- no creative endeavor is safe from the scabrous clutches of Apathy and Mediocrity. It has been my sad personal experience that the mediocre and the gifted alike are expected to share the same stage in this town, and simply, I find that to be just fucked up.

Someone who is intentionally mediocre does not deserve the same perks as those who’ve invested their blood, sweat, and tears to become better- I for instance, would not challenge Suzanne Falk to a painting contest, or Tate Hemlock to a photography battle. If I did, I’d be wearing my ass as a hat.

Hence, that’s where Apathy plays a hand- when established artists are way too willing to roll over and give the metaphorical stage to the undeserving, who have not taken the time to hone their skills and possess virtually no discernible respect for the craft they claim to be so passionate about, the arts suffer.

And when those same useless poseurs take that stage, that’s where Mediocrity comes in. Most of you who’ve attended FF for years now have been subjected to it consistently- mixed among the talented are the half assed, the wannabes and the poseurs.The three tenors of Mediocrity, as it were. And one of them is singing now, so let’s listen in, shall we?

Jen Urso:

“graduated  in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in painting and sculpture.”                                     

To pass all you have to do is draw the cartoon squirrel! Personally, I always liked the pirate. Feel free to make up your own joke- I won’t be hurt. Really.

“I thought [Phoenix] was really beautiful,” she says. “I was fascinated with it, and I needed to get out of Pennsylvania because it’s cold and damp.”

– No one was buying my art, I really hate long winters, and I’ve been to Hershey Park like a million times, and their Superdooplerlooper roller coaster made me sick. Twice.

“It’s Urso’s willingness to take such risky journeys”

– I can only assume you’re walking outside around the Icehouse at 3am- if so, you are way ballsier than me, and I’m from New York. Or you’re nuts. Either way, best of luck to you.

“Artists are moving away from a singular focus on workmanship to a more conceptually driven aesthetic.”

– I can’t really draw, so I concentrate on the meaning of it all.

“Art schools are teaching students to question their motivations and accept failure as a learning experience.”

– And you wonder why art as an actual career is discouraged. We used to call that “experience”, but apparently it’s now a semester class worth half a credit. Failure is an inevitable fact of life, and the last time I failed at something, I’m pretty sure I didn’t need my art degree to do it. But as failures go- it was pretty.

“The project highlights the theme that flows through all of her work: It’s the journey that counts, not the destination.”

– Didn’t we already learn this from Kung Fu? Friends? Mac Gyver? The A Team?

“Urso scratched designs on a 350-pound rock,”

– I’m an Aborigine!

“slowly chiseled it apart”,

– I’m a quarry-man!

“and scattered the pieces around Phoenix.”

– I’m a litterbug!

“Rumor has it that locals were picking up pieces of rock as souvenirs weeks after the Icehouse performance.”

– That’s actually not a rumor, but cleaning up unwanted gravel in your yard isn’t exactly what I call souvenir hunting either. And as to people picking up pieces of the bigger rock left over- well, a good paperweight is hard to find these days, so Jen? Stop patting yourself on the back.

“For Urso, the chiseling of the rock was more important than the finished piece.”

Then why bother doing it at all? It seems you could have saved yourself a whole lot of trouble and wrist strain, by giving those expensive chisels to a sculptor who unlike you, can actually sculpt. 

It’s now 4 AM in my apartment. And after reading Jen’s quotes again, all I can say is this:

Ouch. My brain actually hurts. To think that “the IDEA of the art is more important than the finished art”, could become an artistic gold standard scares the heck out of me. And therein lies the problem- art is and should always be free of constraints, limitations, and borders.

To quote Giorgio Morandi: “A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.”

That’s pretty heady stuff, I think. And as an artist, it is what I try to aspire to.I don’t always succeed, to be sure. But I do try my best. One of the issues I’ve always had with artistic poseurs is that when confronted with their artistic failings, they fall back on the reprehensible hand grenade of the hack: “You just don’t get it.”

I’ll admit I don’t get a lot of things: “Sparkly” vampires. Prop. 1070 and 8, Jan Brewer, Skinny jeans for men, The Gin Blossoms, Artlink, The Roosevelt Corporation, Sarah Palin, (Sorry, I already covered that, didn’t I?) American Idol, Diet soda, reality television, subtle female “hints”, and why KISS just can’t stop touring even though we want them to.

But I do “get” art. And I know the difference between gold and dross. I could go on I’m sure- but we’d be here all day. And I just can’t do that to you after all this. You’re welcome.

Since it falls to a question of taste, it’s also an easily defendable position for them to hold.

Nice. They get to hit all detractors with the “unhip” brush, and then we have to prove that we do “get it”.And that distracts from the real truth of the matter. But we do have a pretty good weapon at the end of the day: Quality. True artists create something from nothing, no matter what the artistic discipline. And good work lasts. Bad work doesn’t.

It really is that simple. Bad is bad. Good is good. No matter what I say, or what you believe, truth wins out. Always. You might think I’m harsh. You might think I’m mean.You might think I’m arrogant. I’ve heard it before, and I’m sure I’ll hear it again.

But am I right? Usually. Sorry about that- it is a bitch to be me sometimes. And if you do good work, you have not a thing to worry about from little old me, do you? Of course not.

When people get mad at my little rants, I’ve decided that it must be for one of two reasons:

A- I’m completely out of line: Akin to claiming that any movie starring Keanu is worth seeing, this line of thinking suggests that I’m completely out of my mind, and therefore should be disregarded. This doesn’t happen often, I must happily admit.

B- I hit a nerve really close to home: This happens more often than not for one simple little reason-there’s a whole lot of truth to what I’ve said, and they don’t like it. You can’t ever get upset about something unless it’s got a grain of reality to it. And I don’t lie- if I say you suck, you most likely do and you know it.

And so does everyone else. They’re just too polite to say anything about it.

I’m not. If you can’t handle being criticized, get off the stage, and leave it to the grownups, candy ass. And if you can handle it, bring your “A” game, and make it worth our time. I’ll be honest- art is a huge facet of my personality. I LOVE it, eat it, breathe it, live it, in short- I worship it. And in my church of the artistic soul, there ain’t no room for Pretenders.

The exception being Chrissie Hynde. So, when I see any of the three tenors of Mediocrity, I feel compelled to speak up and out. Call it a compulsion. And it seems to be a communicable virus lately, thanks to my loyal blogiteers.

I believe that the Arts are sacred, and should be treated as such. I believe that the creative element in PHX should be paid what they’re worth I believe that if pissing people off is what it takes, I’m ready for the hit. So, take your best shot.

I got nothing but time. And a huge box of Ding Dongs.

“Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence.”James Cash Penney

 


Exile on Pretentious Street PT 2 1/2 (The Snark strikes back.)

Believe it or not, I can actually draw.”- attributed to Michelangelo.

Hello Blogiteers!

We’re taking a small detour from PT. 3 to bring you the following-

UPDATE!!!!!!

Due partially to my shameless plea to “viral” PT 2 of this blog among my friends, I received astounding E-mail feedback regarding my anti media rant which focused primarily on the local free rag known as the New Times. [Hereafter to be referred to as “NT”]

And surprisingly, it wasn’t just from the creative sector of PHX. Lawyers. Teachers, Baristas. Mechanics. Oh my! And one fellow blogger. But it just kept getting better.

My artistic brother in arms Peter Petrisko contacted me on my Facebook page and… oh wait- I’ll just have Pete explain in his own words.  Pete could not actually be here as he now lives in Tucson, so the role of Pete will, unfortunately be played by New Times “journalist” Craig Outhier writer of the article, “Who will Swipe Jordin’s V-card?”

[He will be reading from a prepared script, which fortunately for us, is not his own.]

“On May 26th, I left NT a comment suggesting it profile you as part of its ‘100 Creatives’, adding: “assuming that NT still gives voice to dissenting viewpoints” An editor emailed me back, saying NT gives voice to all kinds of viewpoints & would be in touch with you shortly. But now it’s been over a month & you have yet to be profiled.

What’s up with that?”

Nice work Craig! I wouldn’t quit that barista job just yet, though. What? Oh, you’re actually a journalist? Gah. Sorry, I forgot. But in my defense- with you it’s actually easy to forget. My sincerest apologies. Now where’s that Chai I ordered? [Sounds of chair being tipped over violently, footsteps, door being slammed shut.]

C’’mon Craig, I was joking! Don’t be like that! Um…. Craig had to leave because there was a big music story brewing at NT! Wait- my bad. Apparently, they needed someone to hold open the door to the Men’s room, as they don’t have a spare Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award they can use as a doorstop yet.

Finally- Craig’s playing to his strengths. Now where were we? Ahh, yes.

“Pete” had just told us all about a lack of follow through with NT regarding me, so how did I respond? From the FaceBook website:

WMR: aw shucks- I’m starting to think they don’t want my opinion. Can’t imagine why.

Pete: gee, that’s weird cuz you got all kinds of creative viewpoints. Maybe somebody should ask that editor what’s up? [ Email at: Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com if any somebodies should want to inquire].

WMR: you think it was something I said? LOL

Pete: don’t think it be what you say or do. Apparently the editors only take notice if you’re “vintage cool”. The rest is incidental & reported as such.

WMR: well that’s just rude! I’m vintage up to my hairstyle. I am so gonna post that email address. 🙂 [ Email at: Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com once again]. 

So, with that, our FB dialogue ended- for a while at least. And I had time to kill. The adage says that “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings” and they’re right. So, I tried to stay busy.

I read a few chapters from Bruce Campbell’s memoir: “If Chins could kill- Confessions of a B movie actor”. It’s awesome, by the way, Worked on this blog. Ditto. But to a lesser degree. I then skimmed a few of the “100 Creatives” postings on NT’s website, noticing that none seemed to generate more than 3 to 4 comments per article.

Wow. That’s some serious exposure.

Let’s see…four times 100 equals….. I know! A vast waste of time and energy. Not to mention- the formulaic questions that were asked bored me stiff. And when I’m stiffly bored, I turn all shades of bitchy. And no good comes of that.

Fun? Yes. Dialogue? Sure. Legal problems? Certainly. Good? I think not.

Left to my own devices, I decided to take matters into my own hands and find out why this Claire Lawton was blowing smoke up Pete’s ass regarding contacting me. I do good work.

I can talk and chew gum at the same time. I own a shitload of black clothing. I’m arrogant.

I’m egotistical. I’ve dated strippers!

What more does she need? [Her email is Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com just in case you were wondering too.]

So, balancing my laptop while simultaneously eating a mango jam sandwich, I composed the following email: [The mango jam comes from this awesome UK Indian food store in my neighborhood. And it is so darn yummy I cannot believe it. If you are into this sort of thing, email me and I will send you all the store info.] Sorry…I got distracted. But it is so darn good.

THE EMAIL:

“Ms. Lawton-

A while ago, Peter Petrisko informed me that you emailed him in relation to your ongoing “100 CREATIVES” online series- specifically about possibly contacting me, since you seemed to be interested in “differing viewpoints” as you put it.

Well, it’s been a month and I haven’t heard anything yet.

I can only assume you couldn’t find me, what with having to do that whole “Google” thing and all.
But it’s okay.

Because as a creative myself, I understand that tracking down stories, researching facts, and giving lip service to the PHX Arts community is a real grind. Sure, you could dedicate some weekly page space to a new or established artist instead of those 5 simple questions in an online Q&A that honestly nobody sees- but I’m not a NT editor.

They know what’s best, I’m sure. Now at my core I am a people person, so I’m gonna help you out. It’s my one time only offer. How? Well, there is always my blog for you to read, which defines my point of view rather clearly, I think. https://www.waynemichaelreich.com/

I really think you will enjoy it, but what do I know? I’m just a humble artist doing my humble best. Or maybe you have read it already- and that’s why you haven’t contacted me.Either way- I do look forward to hearing from you. I’m sure it’ll be an experience worth writing about. May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your home,

Sincerely, Wayne Michael Reich”

>FINI<

See? I can be nice. Friendly. Downright charming. And yet… NO RESPONSE. No “go f*** yourself”. Or a “bite me”. Not even a “slag off, you arrogant bastard wanker”. Personally, I’m a little hurt. Here I am extending the hand of creative professionalism, and it gets slapped away.

Ooh. Ouch. Ahh.

But not all is bleak on my artistic horizon, my loyal blogiteers. Remember Peter Petrisko?

Well, Pete read my little blog and decided on a course of action to help raise my spirits, and to a lesser extent- my artistic “cred”. I will let Peter’s plea speak for itself.

The SAVE WAYNE MICHAEL REICH DIGNITY campaign.

“Ok, folks, need your help here! On May 26th, I answered NT’s call asking for “100 Creatives” suggestions, by suggesting Wayne. I posted it as a comment, adding “if NT still gives voice to dissenting viewpoints”.

An editor emailed me back, saying NT gives voice to all kinds… of viewpoints & would contact him shortly – but no contact yet!

As many of you know, today is Wayne’s one-year anniversary of Living on Borrowed Time. He is also decidedly vintage uncool. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his caregiver, Ashley, report that he’s been eyeing the frosted cupcakes again. That’s never a good sign. HE NEEDS YOUR HELP!

His press scrapbook hasn’t had a good clipping added in god knows how long. Hell, let’s face it, there hasn’t been much in the way of bad clippings either lately. He probably just stares at those empty back pages, wondering how in the hell it all went so wrong, while calculating how many frosted cupcakes it’d take for a sugar OD.

And what would you do without a Wayne Michael Reich? Admit it, you’d miss his snarky attitude. Truth be told, he’s the last snark standing in downtown phoenix. But low spirits will crush that snark right out of him.

That, and cupcakes.

So help that badly dressed old artist out — by going to the NT’s “100 Creatives” (New Times Website) and suggesting it profile Wayne Michael Reich. Just leave a comment on whatever # profile is at top & suggest NT do a profile on Wayne Michael Reich.

And if you don’t want to do it for him, then do it for Wayne’s mom. Like you’d want people to do if it was YOUR mom. Cuz moms love to see their kids in the paper.

Thank you, Pete.

>BTW, that might be a badly worded campaign name there. It’s about dignity, period. Not Wayne’s personal dignity. Sorry for any confusion. I really gotta work harder on those campaign names I guess. – pete< ————— “

Wow. You gotta love that! But my friends weren’t done just yet. Enter the one and only Tate Hemlock, photographer extraordinaire.

Check out his work at: http://www.tatehemlock.com/  http://tatehemlock.deviantart.com/ http://www.modelmayhem.com/241133  http://twitter.com/tatehemlock

Tate is an incredibly talented cat, and his level of snark far surpasses my own. He’s the closet thing I have to Obi Wan Kenobi. A Jedi master of Snark as it were. And it was put to good use in my defense. Tate posted to the NT website, and commented on the #80 profile of Rachel Bess:

“No Wayne Michael Reich?!?? You have to be kidding me? People like myself ignore the Phx art scene because there’s a scene outside of AZ that’s more important (re: actual) but give Wayne props for actually caring. I have met few people in the AZ art scene who didn’t strike me as being pretentious wankers. Wayne is a beacon of light.”

A beacon of light. Check it kids: I’m an artistic lighthouse keeping the art boats from wrecking on the jagged shores of PHX.- a landlocked city. Well, um… you know what I mean. Anywhos….

That just rocks! But Tate wasn’t done yet. On Facebook he also posted this little tidbit.

“Seriously. Most of the people in this scene just pat themselves on the back congratulating themselves for getting themselves noticed. It’s a fucking Academy Awards show without the fucking Solid Gold dancers… Wayne Michael Reich just pisses you off for speaking the truth as he sees it.”

Damm- that’s a good review. But I also got this from one Garrett Buck Nelson [on FB as well] regarding my blog: “YOU WILL READ IT, YOU WILL LIKE IT, YOU WILL CLICK ON HIS “LIKE BUTTON” ON HIS FAN PAGE, YOU WILL RIP YOUR HAIR OUT IN ANTICIPATION FOR HIS NEXT BLOG ENTRY, NOW FLY MY MINIONS, FLY FLY AWAY AND DO AS I COMMAND! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (im sorry for the mad scientist-all-caps-yelling, but you really need to, he’s fargin great)”

And this from a well-established culture blogger: “Thanks for the link! I read Parts 1 & 2 and the First Friday screeds… and all in all, I got to say that is some damn fine vitriolic (and mostly on-point) writing. A lot of it was painfully funny and sadly true, and I look forward to reading part 3.”

I tell, ya kids, if I weren’t so egotistical already, this just might make me more insufferable than I am now. I am so starting to feel the love. So naturally, I want to share it all around.

If you feel like I do- post to the NT website as MUCH AS POSSIBLE, and TELL THEM!

Let me repeat that again: If you feel like I do- post to the NT website as MUCH AS POSSIBLE, and TELL THEM! Nothing, and I mean nothing- will change unless the creative community bands together and kicks some metaphysical ass.

Specifically- that of the editorial staff who oversees the lackluster coverage of the PHX arts scene. I receive tons of emails from people who agree with me, yet they don’t tell anyone else- in this case, NT and their editorial staff.

So stop talkin’ start doin’ already, would ya please? Go to their website: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/ And bring the artistic smackdown.

Feel free to drop my name, [NATCH] or any artist you are sick and tired of seeing ignored or passed over just because they possess more talent in their little finger than your average NT editor. Honestly? A few measly paragraphs in mostly unread online articles is hardly the way to “profile” the creative community of PHX.

Here’s an idea or two- hire someone who knows how to write about art- that means stop asking inane questions more suited to Match.com, and devote some consistent (IE: weekly) expansive page space to the art scene, and not just people who are tight with the writing staff.

Oh wait- maybe this is Match.com, and I’m out of line. Now, knowing how crappy the editorial staff is at NT- I can’t blame this Claire Lawton person, it’s not her fault. In fact, you should send her an email at: Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com and let her know this.

She seems rather shy and I think she could use some new friends. See? I’m helping.

And helping feels good.

“I am, as I’ve said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary.”- Billy Joel