Garden & Gathering

Nature is Party to All

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River Cramer

River Cramer

I am very excited to announce my new personal website, which will effectively be my virtual portfolio. Go here if you want to read what I am writing for other people, buy what I am selling online, or see the pictures I am drawing. Sort of a little milestone. Thanks!

Cubist Poetry

Trying my hand in Cubist Poetry. Early Rexroth and Reverdy being my inspiration, I’ll post when complete.

THE SAME NUMBER

The hardly open eyes

The hand on the other shore

The sky

And everything that happens there

The leaning door

A head sticks out

From the frame
And through the shutters
You can see out
The sun fills everything
But the trees are still green

The falling hour

It gets warmer

And the houses are smaller
The passersby go less quickly
And always look up

The lamp shines on us now

Looking far away
We could see the light

Coming

We were happy

That evening

At the other house where somebody waits for us

-Pierre Reverdy

Our Mutual Friend. Brewery Project #1

Amber lives out of town. Actually Amber lives in a Denver suburb, which feels out of town. The closest brewery to my house is Black Shirt Brewing. When I started this project, I didn’t know about BSB. We decided to take a nice walk to Our Mutual Friend, which as far as I know it is the second closest brewery (River North Brewing may be closer, but by feet).

Amber and I have known each other for just under ten years. My best friend Jake met her at shows in the Denver area while I was attending a Seattle higher education institution. I wish I could remember the show we met at, it was probably Photo Atlas or Fear Before the March of Flames. Her hair was short, pearl button-ups, and jeans. I thought she was cute, and I hope that I told her that at least once. We talk about it now, laughing about how our friendship has developed. We have a lot of mutual friends; we don’t see them very often.

Amber’s hair is long now and I am losing mine. We catch up on small topics: how are friends are doing, what she is doing, and what I am doing. I talk to her about my projects and she her schooling. Her job. Her condo. The walk passes quickly and soon we are at Our Mutual Friend.

The brewery is busy. On Wednesday nights they have a running club. You start at the brewery and choose to do a 2-, 4-, or 7-mile loop. You get a wristband that gets you a dollar off beer when you return. Go 4 times and receive a free pint. Paul Michael from Mountain Versus Plains started the idea. He wanted people to have a fun opportunity to get out and get active.

Tonight they had three of their beers on tap. We shared tasters of all three. Two dark beers and one light, but I am not over excited about dark beers in the summer. It took barely half an hour to try all the beers. Our conversation was just starting to move deeper. We decided to pay up and head to Meadowlark across the street.

Meadowlark is a basement level bar off Larimer that hosts great shows in their small space. Many complain of the overtly hip attitude, but I go for their back patio. Large, filled with vines and other foliage, it is usually quite empty. We get cans of PBR and head to the back. In the dark, we start talking about what is important in our lives.

I tell her my goals of creating a specific network of people, all with different trades and abilities, to help Denver grow. Not grow in the sense of adding more people, but grow artistically and spiritually as a city. I am looking for the soul of Denver in its inhabitants, drawing them out and creating a greater work. I use ridiculous terms with her and romantically help her envision this idea. Truth is I do not even know for what I am looking. I have a faint idea, but the vision is not complete. Until then I can only have these conversations to slowly define this dream.

Amber tells me she wants to be involved. In some way, she wants to connect with her community. She doesn’t know what or where her community resides. I try to tell her it is all around her; she only needs to reach out. I understand this is easier said than done. I understand it is easy for me. I live in the city. I start drawing back into my mind, searching for solutions.

How can I help people connect? What does that look like? What does that mean? Where will these ideas, this blog, take me?

 

Hero of the Day

Jack White

“Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered “yes” was… zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, “Can you blame them?” How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences?  Just click your mouse.  Well here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click.  There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum).  The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being.  But we all know all of that, right?  Well, do we?  Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let’s wake each other up.

The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet.  So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication?  We know better.  We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others.  The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click?  You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there.  You put the record in their hands.  You make them drop the needle on the platter.  Then they’ll know.

Let’s wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s wake each other up.

Record Store Day: April 20, 2013

 

Failure (Moving Forward)

“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.” -Wendell Berry

Wondering how my November challenge went?

The first week was a wonderful exercise of overcoming an addiction. I deleted excessive apps that I don’t use on a regular basis. I found more time in my day to think uninterrupted. I listened to the wind. I heard tires spin on wet cement. I watched the rainfall. I felt more connected to the Earth.

After the first week I spent the weekend in Philadelphia. I brought my phone with me, to listen to music on the plane and take pictures in the city. After I got back from my trip, most days I kept my phone with me. At work I would turn it off and leave it in my locker, but not much changed.

The experiment was a failure. I didn’t want to write this post, until I went out for drinks with some guys. We were sitting around with our IPA’s talking about movies and looking things up on our phone. Christian called Phone Stack. We stacked our phones in the middle of the table and the first person to use their phone buys the next round.

What a beautiful and simple solution to an annoying problem. After talking to friends about this, I found it as a popular solution at parties. Everyone has to put their phone in a basket as they enter the party. Maybe there is a way to move forward.

 

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