Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: May 2012

29 May 2012

Creative Overflow Before Summer Tour

[If you're reading this in an email, I promise you'll enjoy it more on my website.]


"It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness, to think that a thousand square miles are a thousand times more wonderful than one square mile.  That is not imagination.  No, it kills it..."
E.M. Forster, Howards End

A good thing to keep in mind as I load up the Windhorse, my beloved 1995 Subaru station wagon, to embark on an ambitious eight-week summer festival tour.  My new Texas driver's license in my pocket, I'm bittersweet about leaving my new home to embark on another shoestring adventure...but this is 2012, the year to either do it or forever hold your peace.  So here we go...!

Below is a list of all the festivals I'll be attending this summer – most of them as both a musical and visual performer, as well as a speaker on mind-bending topics like this.  But first, here is a smattering of creative offerings that fell in the cracks between bigger projects over the last few weeks:

"We Are Machines In The Ghost"

The next in my series of spontaneous rants about the collision between human-technology co-evolution and mystical spirituality.  This four-minute video examines how hard it is to draw the line between our minds and our tools – and it's only getting harder, as those tools become increasingly lifelike...

Custom-Painted Hats

Even with a busy summer looming ahead, I'm still open to talk with you about your own custom lid...because we all have a freak flag that needs flying, and I'm totally excited about helping you trigger sympathetic peak experiences in strangers as you walk by.  Here's the whole gallery of my hats so far.  I'm open to all kinds of suggestions for new work...


A few customers asked me to personalize the already-too-cool embroidered signature series hats I made in collaboration with Grassroots California.  I still have plenty left, although not in every size – if you'd like one before they're gone, drop me a line as soon as you can!  (And, obviously, I'll gladly accept a tip to make your 1-of-420 lid a one-of-a-kind.)



"The Crowd From Above"
2012 03 26 Ruta Maya (Esoteric Mondays)
16"x20" – paint markers on masonite panel
11"x17" signed poster prints: 1/$20, 2/$30, 3/$40 – email me

A quickie, after the last two epic dragon paintings...short and sweet and to the point.  For some reason this reminds me of an x-ray aerial image of everybody's dog stuck alone in the house all day – a metaphor for how so many of us are stranded in the lonely cubicles of our suburban modern hearts.  It doesn't have to be like this!  It won't always be like this.  And from above, we are just as much a sea of rippling grain...


Getting Into The Meme Game


Like a true friend, I turned my buddy Jeremy McDonough (aka Space Panda)'s least flattering photo ever into a web meme.  And it blew up!  Click that link above to share it on facebook, because Lord knows you have a friend who needs to see this.  (Here's a link to "Festival Keyboard Guy" on quickmeme if you want to browse other people's captions or make your own.)

...And this one's little too heady, maybe, to ever go viral.  Nonetheless, the resemblance is uncanny:


For The Readers...

• Spirit of Spider recently republished my awesome conversation with fellow live painter and geometry-head Kris Davidson – the guy who originally inspired me to start painting in the first place – in which we rap at length on what "realism" means in art, and exactly what kind of reality our art describes.  I still go back to this chat every once in a while for inspiration, and am super glad to see it's still getting mileage.

• My latest album, Golden Hour, got a lovely short review from the new avant-guitar website, New Wave of Acoustic Guitar, where I now stand alongside such incredible talents as Adrian Belew and Jon Gomm:

"I found myself getting lost in the music a lot, often forgetting I was listening to one guy!  Definitely a unique voice in the world of solo acoustic guitar."

Free copies of the album are available for anyone who'd like to blog about it.  Get ahold of me if you're interested, or have friends who are looking to feature something fresh...

Let's Meet Up This Summer!


...my second year as live art director means more artists and better gallery placement.  Come hang with us!


...my first main stage set at a festival is also my first sunrise set!  Luxuriously sacred, that's what this'll be.


...my first time on stage in Georgia, for a first-year event shaping up to be really great!


...my fourth year as live art director at Sonic Bloom, now graced with an amazing gallery by Tribe 13!


...one of my favorite places on this entire continent is Northern Arizona; I can't wait to be a part of this.


...resort accommodations will make this the plushest festival all summer.  Looking great for a first-year!


...absolutely my favorite small festival in the Midwest, this one balances art, music, and learning superbly.

19 May 2012

Surfing The Singularity & Other Heady Ideas

"So often do the spirits of great events stride on before the events. And in today already walks tomorrow."
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"My goal isn't to take away your confusion. Confusion is a fertile field in which everything is possible. If you think you 'know,' you've just calcified again."
– Ram Dass


It's my calling to open people up to a bigger panorama, to make the connections, to work magic with metaphor, to initiate people's imaginations and make them wonder at the world they are...which is why I savor the opportunity to get in front of groups and talk about deep time, the cosmos, technology, spirituality, and the evolution of the human experience...

Here I am doing my best Terence McKenna impersonation in the wildest, most free-roaming of these talks to date, on living through times of accelerating change – in which I discuss the convergence of cosmic conjunctions with the intensification of interconnected intelligences, and what kind of world that might mean for us in the years to come:


"Good While It Lasted"

The latest of my fretboard-tapping acoustic ballads, recorded live at The Convent in San Francisco – an actual convent, converted into an art co-op some years ago, where they host occasional acoustic shows in their lovely small chapel.  It seemed like the perfect place to sneak away alone and record this song, which I wrote while on ayahuasca retreat in Peru last March, when the end of the world was heavy on my mind.

Both technically and emotionally, this is probably my most intricate song yet – apologies for the camera's sound quality, but we'll have a better version soon.  Lyrics below:


Lyrics:
It came and it went; it rose and it crested
and all we had spent exceeded what we'd invested.
No hard feelings; I like to think we're beyond that.
One life is peeling; now darling, don't look back.

How many times must this motor die before
it's easier to walk there than to open that hood once more?
No hard feelings; I'd like to think we agree on that one little thing
but my head is reeling to think of what our hearts threw back...

It was good while it lasted, but now we are so far past it.
The dreams that we crafted dissolved in the dawn light's blast.
We've never been best at surrendering or falling back
but now that we've rafted across, we can let go at last.

GRCxMG: It's Finally Here!

After months of prototyping and eager anticipation, my fully-embroidered (and screen-printed!) collaboration with hat connoisseurs Grassroots California is finally here!  Check it out:


I only have a few of these in each size so if you'd like one please let me know right away!  The hat plus shipping is $65 and if you buy it from me it all goes directly to the artist.  (Buying it from Grassroots only helps my reputation.)  Just send the money with a note on your hat size and mailing address through the paypal "donate" link on my website...I'll have it in the mail to you immediately.



Reason #152 why I love my job.  Click on the picture to see the whole gallery from a lovely week of communion with enthusiastic revelers in both Denver and Dallas...

New Custom-Painted Hats

Some of these were private commissions; some of them ended up in Grassroots California's custom shop.  They're all sold now but if you want some unique and personal work done, just let me know...









Where I'll Be This Summer...

These are just the festival dates; I have a full calendar with additional shows in Kansas City, Boulder, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and more on my website as well as on Facebook.  I'm also eager to hear from anyone who wants me in their hometown – I do my best to play everywhere people want me!  So drop me a line if you want to help put something together...

If you want to attend Desert Rocks and don't have a ticket, using "michaelgarfield" as the promo code when you check out through their website will save you $10.  Not a bad way to set off into one of this summer's finest events!






07 May 2012

My Best Album & Finest Painting Yet

"Music is so powerful, it needs to be used for some kind of redeeming work. To lift people's spirits, to lift their souls."

Summer is upon us!  I know most of you are still in spring buds and blossoms, but my festival season started last week with the Sonic Bloom preparties in Denver and an amazing evening at the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science for The Manifestation Celebration...

This coming summer feels especially potent, rippling with both peaceful energy (long afternoons, buzzing cicadas, lazy rivers) and a burgeoning intensity (economic collapse, social network activism, ecological catastrophe, solar flares) that seems to presage a truly bizarre new world coming into being.

It's maybe even a little passe to say this now, but I get a strong sense that something beautiful is rising from the ashes as all of our familiar structures – religion, country, relationships, even the self – dissolve in the flow of these evolutionary rapids.  Here is the soundtrack I offer for these changes:


Improvised on solo acoustic guitar and hardware pedal effects at various inspiring Austin events this March, Golden Hour is my finest instrumental acoustic electronica to date – spacious, evocative, and wise.  Shimmering beat-sliced harmonics and filtered eBow basslines, sprawling slide riffs and soaring leads sing out on this hour of music created and offered as a score to your summer roadtrips, outdoor lovemaking, and days at the pool...a testament to the sacred beauty of this season:

"[Michael] is leading the charge in bringing a more human and soulful aspect back to electronic music."
– Jason White, aka Zympht

"Your sound is totally sunkissed Cali psych mysticism. That sound is classic and cannot be faked."
– Andy Rantzen of Pelican Daughters

Two of my personal favorites from this record, "Golden Hour" and "You're In My Self-Portrait," are free downloads – and you get three gorgeous cover art options courtesy of my man David Titterington when you buy the album.  You can stream the whole record free whenever you like.  Enjoy!

2012 04 12 The Parish (MiHKAL, Knowa Knowone, Soundshaman)
2012 04 13 Ruta Maya (ONE4ALL, Soundshaman, Matthew Ian Blagg, Miss Zap)
2012 04 16 Ruta Maya (Esoteric Mondays)
30" x 40" – paint markers on stretched canvas
11"x17" signed poster prints – $20 each or two for $30
Original painting available for sale – email me to inquire

This one was named inadvertently by my friend Chris Morphis, who came up to me at a show and captioned, "I thought we were dancin'; why we gotta be fightin'?"  That pretty much sums up the emotional energy behind this piece – the dyad, the dance, the lovers, tangled, polar, divided but united, evoking each other even when apart, the boundaries tidal, orbital, co-imbricated.

One of the most important things I learned in school for evolutionary biology is that what we call competition is equally true as cooperation from a different angle.  Predator and prey, host and parasite, victim and abuser, artist and audience – these are timeless pairings that require both partners as poles of a dynamic that transcends them.  You and I co-arise as opposite ends of the same event.  Even in our differences, we share the pearl of original awareness.  I am You.

Or, from Erik Davis's fantastic book, TechGnosis (Synchronicity alert: I read this while taking a break from typing):

"Alchemy places a tremendous emphasis on polarity, on the dynamic, erotic, and highly combustible interaction – or conjuctio – of contrary elements and states of being.  This propulsive ambiguity is also reflected in the question all alchemical scholars must confront as they investigate the history of the art:  What were these fellows actually doing?  Was the Great Work physical or spiritual, sexual or imaginal, grubby or contemplative?"

The complete answer is, as it frequently is, "both."

Click on these pictures for a closer look at the process and details of this piece:



I'll keep this email brief.  But here are just a couple of the brightest stars in an ever-growing line-up of luscious summer events where I'll be playing music, painting, and giving talks.  (My full calendar is here.)  



I hope to see you there!  Regardless, stay in touch and have a beautiful day...