nothing makes a good weekend like mid 80’s expressionist art and enormous, strap your balls to a V2 rocket roller-fucking-coasters. it didn’t hurt either that i got to do both with a girl who is cultured but not conceited and hedonistic but not so much that she doesn’t make a great house-guest.
the first thing that the strokes and scrawls of a basquiat conjures in my mind is an old episode of law & order. probably because those old episodes are all that a callow fuck like myself knows about the new york of that era. (actually, those episodes are from the late 80’s) unlike the new episodes, new york looks old, dirty and ready to fuck you with a knife for a gram of crack. everyone is either a working stiff, homeless, addicted to drugs or so rich that you want to fucking choke them with their thousand dollar suit. almost all of those old episodes (or the good ones anyway) dealt with racism in some way. they made new york out to be a prime candidate for the first battle ground of a new civil war. also, all the cases were solved in one hour. miraculous.
it’s probably points out too well how little i know about art or the new york art scene in the 80’s when i compare jean michel basquiat’s work to a long running cop drama. but hey, i’m a child of a cathode ray god (i wonder if plasma screen would have made me smarter) and that’s the first thing i thought of. what really struck me after that first comparison was the raw emotion, the rage, that he was trying to lay down on canvas. i tried to reserve judgement about what i saw to be a lack of skill in his work, though i couldn’t help thinking “i could paint a better figure holding the brush in my ass”. what i knew i couldn’t do however, was evoke the feelings of a young black man living in the whoever-owns-the-most-wins 1980’s where the chasm between the rich and poor, black and white, seemed greater than ever. i couldn’t possibly bring whatever artistic talents i have to bear on hundreds of years of oppression, slavery, bigotry and violence against black people (i wonder how much he knew of his haitian ancestors uprising?). but, basquiat does just that with his almost childlike scrawls and figures.
one thing i didn’t like very much was his (over)use of the written word. some pieces contain more words than anything else. some of them used the words to create a texture and feeling, but most of the time i was just distracted by them– i have a compulsion to read everything i see. the words were most effective when they were used sparingly or seemed to title the work with a fatalistic humor, or when they became a design element and not something that needed to be read. i did however like the symbology that ran through his work, the most prominent being the crown, which made his seemingly downtrodden gutter-trash into a pharoah. i most liked his work when it was all color and form with no words to distract me.
i should show some basquiat to my little brother. then he could see that even he has a chance to hang in a museum one day (he just has a to be a self-righteous son-of-a-bitch).
i was read to be severely disappointed at six flags. i had pictured myself standing in a line so long that i actually would have to leave my house and drive away from the park to get to the end. i would be surrounded by mewling, snotty, sticky little fuckers who would incessantly whine and nag their blank-eyed, overweight, fanny pack wearing mother for two hour while the line slowly crept up the the ride. luckily it wasn’t all that bad. in fact, it was awesome.
six flags has way too many cool rides. we were there for six hours and we only managed to ride about 75% of the rollercoasters. we rode 8 coasters in all, but i’ll just give the highlights:
superman: the escape. i’m not sure what’s with the weird subtitle on this ride. what exactly is it an escape from? krypton? the fortress of solitude? no idea. despite it’s stupid name, superman is great. it’s one of those linear induction coasters, so i knew that it starts off really fast. the batman and robin ride at the six flags in jersey is like that. but, i had no idea how fast. it’s the only roller coaster i’ve ever been on that made me scream in the first second it started. the acceleration was incredible, as was shooting straight up into the air at the end of the track and feeling a moment of weightlessness before plummeting back down backwards. the thing sounds like a fucking jet plane take off from the outside.
goliath. holy. fuck. another one with a dumb name. it’s big… let’s name it goliath. but it’s still a great coaster. according the announcement (which played about 6 times before we got on the ride) goliath has a 255 ft. drop and reaches speeds of 85mph. when you’re up there though it feels more like a drop of “fucking shit we’re gonna die!” ft. and speeds of “my intestines are in the parking lot”ph. it combines the best aspects of the great, big wooden coasters with and the sleeker metal coasters. hell yeah!
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