An homage in drone to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “Wind, Sand and Stars.”
“The first stars tremble as if shimmering in green water. Hours must pass before their glimmer hardens into the frozen glitter of diamonds…”
In summer 1992, between my Junior and Senior years of college, I was an intern in Rolling Stone’s editorial department assigned to work on the magazine’s 25th Anniversary issue. Memorable for many reasons, though not enough to warrant a memoir, the summer shot me human-cannonball style into the hyper-reality of a myth-making enterprise. The highlight of highlights came right around August, when via a series of flukes, I enjoyed(?) a 90 second phone conversation(?) with Hunter S. Thompson. He left me with a question I pose to myself, to this day, every so often, as I drift off.
Damn you, HT. RIP, HT
Dateline Providence, Rhode Island, January 1992. Junior year Spring semester at Brown University found me installed as the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine called Issues, at the time almost a “monthly,” 3 issues per semester, each with a 5000 copy run. Issues on my watch covered AIDS and sexuality, a police crackdown on financial aid protests and even went to Salem, MA, looking for witches. We spurred debate, schooled a few wannabes and proved that literate students both produce and crave literate commentary.
I wasn’t keen on written letters, though, and spent most of my time outside of class writing and performing music and also producing, directing and writing television shows for the campus TV station, BTV. Still, I had seen the impact that a well put-together magazine could have on communities (especially with the AIDS issue), and I thought maybe, maybe, a future lay in writing for and/or running a magazine.
Print was still king then, and Rolling Stone, one of few conduits to rock n’ roll in my cable-less teenage suburban New Jersey upbringing, was to me a king among kings. The magazine had a summer internship that was somewhat legendary among college magazine and newspaper editors.…
Transient Lines (bandcamp | freemusicarchive) – the entire record – soundtracks artist Eric M Smith‘s drawing and painting of a griffin in real time. Bonus sound artifact: the environmental sounds of Smith’s pen and ink-on-paper strokes are left underneath the music, which I always <3. Bonus trivia: The Higgins Ink original factory and the mansion behind it in which the Higgins family lived are 50 yards down the block and across the street from my home in Brooklyn. The factory was converted into apartments in the 70s and the mansion now houses a music school. Full circles, everywhere.
Published on Feb 17, 2014
Drawing and painting a griffin. Real time video.
– Higgins black magic ink
– Nikko G nib
– holbein watercolor burnt sienna, yellow ochre, permanent green no. 1, crimson lake
– windsor newton white ink
– strathmore coldpress 140lb watercolor paper
Music: Westy Reflector, Transient Lines: https://westyreflector.net/
My portfolio: http://ericmsmith.com
This New York Post headline (“I Could Have Saved Him”) screamed at me from a newsstand on 5th Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn a couple days after receiving this week’s challenge, and I couldn’t shake it. As the weekend closed, I looked at the front pages of all the other papers in town with this challenge in mind, including a couple hyperlocal rags (NY Times, NY Observer, NY Daily News, Brooklyn Eagle, Park Slope Courier, etc…), but no other story stuck with me like this one, falling lock-step into the context of this Junto challenge celebrating the 100th birthday of William S. Burroughs.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin dealer has convinced himself that he could have prevented Hoffman’s death had he been shooting up with him. The brief interview has overtones of a Burroughs scene and, for sure, this guy – a jazz musician with a penchant for junk – is a character straight out of the Naked Lunch Interzone.
I cut words from a lot of the sentences to fit the flow of the song, but this didn’t seem to violate the spirit of the assignment. Burroughs used so many ellipses in his writing that it’s hard to tell if he ever published a single sentence in its logical order. His style gave me some air cover.
Put a simple, dumb rock song together tonight to prop up the words. Psyched to get it in just under the wire. One live guitar track, one live synth and a vocal (one-take with one punch-in) over drum/bass loops arranged in Acid. I’ve been cycling through E-G-A and E-D-A progressions recently, and this track runs around those while capo’ed on the second fret for the D-form E-chord.
The “problem” with tabloids like the Post, though, is that we would never have gotten a cover story on a living Philip Seymour Hoffman with the headline “We Should Save Him Today.”…