Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The American Dream pt 10

For some reason I can't resolve the water in this picture. And that's interesting, because as the man said, the Meadowlands is all about the water, stupid.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You Can See My Junk

Well my studio has become a temporary storage site for some of the contents of the basement as I wait for the paint on the floor to dry in the newly constructed man-cave (a.k.a. kid's playroom). I'll have to wait most likely until next week before I can resume work.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The American Dream pt 9

Not 100% satisfied, I went down there not intending to pick up a brush at all. I do think the water is starting to look like it belongs in the picture (finally)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The American Dream pt 8

My version of Xanadu is starting to lean towards the realm of King Crimson

Kubla Christie Gets His Glass Slippers

I've been struggling with the urge to blog again about Xanadu, my favorite hot topic. I'm finding it harder to start any post about this subject because it requires such a long explanation for anyone not familiar with it. If you need some background to get caught up to speed start here and here.

I've been struggling with the urge to write something but once again I've found myself without any meaningful content to share because I haven't done any work on my new painting since last week. I've been following the Xanadu story in the news, but lately there's not been anything worth sharing. Last night I realized that there's a deeper meaning in this quagmire.

I'm going to do something terribly irresponsible here. I'm going to offer some wild speculation about Xanadu and New Jersey Governor Chris "Kubla" Christie, but since I'm not a real journalist, I can get away with such foolishness. Actually, since I'm an artist I can just claim to be using artistic license and say pretty much whatever I like.

Here it is: Chris Christie is going to run for president in 2012, and he added Triple Five to the list of New Jersey's corporate welfare recipients because they're going to give him a hefty sum of cash to help him achieve that goal. Triple Five, in case you don't know, is the owner of such shoppatainment orgy-plexes as the Mall of America. They now own the mess once known as Xanadu in the New Jersey Meadowlands, which they have re-named American Dream. Didn't they get the memo that the Meadowlands are where dreams go to die? Just ask Matt Dodge.

It never occurred to me before because until I read this article by Leslie Savon from The Nation I didn't know the Republicans were even remotely interested in Christie running in 2012. And now I get it. There's not a whole lot for Red State Republican voters to dislike about Christie. His recent missteps and slipping job approval are not widely known outside of New Jersey and the surrounding region. In fact, he's relatively unknown across the country aside from some anecdotes about what a great reformer he is. It has the makings of a good Cindarella story.

But locals know better. Here's an example of love for Kubla Christie, from a happy New Jerseyan who commented on a recent article on NorthJersey.com:

Sunday May 15, 2011, 6:05 AM - Resident8 says:
Is there any grants from the government that can help Christie make the blasted pension payments? Oh I forgot, public workers are middle class and that's not in Christie's best interest. Fat pile of garbage, I hope he chokes to death on his triple chin...

I think Resident8 cuts right to the heart of the matter and articulates his point rather eloquently. I know I've been unfair to Christie about this whole Xanadu thing. The state got into this mess under Jim McGreevey. But his decision to give handouts to Triple Five fits in nicely with his overall agenda of slashing and burning public education (he's a school voucher advocate) and jobs and services that are desperately needed while greasing the palms of millionaires to help facilitate his political ambitions.

Christie's blunders and transgressions won't be heard of beyond the Mid-Atlantic states for several years. It doesn't matter that he's not well-like here because he won't win New Jersey or any nearby state, so who cares what he does at home. Plus he's betting the house on Xanadu. If it succeeds, he wins. If it doesn't, the people that hate him the most will vote for a Democrat, which they would have anyway.

The rumors surrounding the maligned exterior of the complex seem to be pointing to the idea of improving the look by changing the multicolored metal skin with glass. They should keep some glass aside so Christie can make himself a pair of shoes to wear to the Ball.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

THE American Dream (the painting formerly known as Xanadu) Pt 7

"You have to be asleep to believe it."
– George Carlin

Just like the new owners did to the extravaganza that is the inspiration for this painting, I am forsaking the name Xanadu for a new name that should warm the hearts and empty the pockets of New Jerseyans and travelers from near and far. Care to guess what that new name is going to be?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can World's Largest Garbage Dump Attract 55 Million People Every Year?

The ante has been upped. Triple Five has now outdone themselves. Well, not yet, but they seem to think they will. A mere five miles from the commercial and entertainment capital of the world there will be a new beacon on the hill of material excess: American Dream.

Do you want to be indoors while pretending you're not? Go there. But not for another 3 years. That's when American Dream in the New Jersey swamp and infamous former dumping grounds known as The Meadowlands is slated to become reality.

You would have to be indoors to enjoy all of this because if you weren't, you would notice a rather odd potpourri of odors and you'd be getting eaten alive by gnats and mosquitos. Just take heart knowing that you were in The LARGEST RETAIL AND ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX IN THE WORLD.

This thing just keeps getting bigger. T5 is really rolling the dice now. They now have New Jersey Taxpayers' money but if it fails, it won't matter because most of the public is asleep at the wheel. Never mind that a state that is deeply in debt has forsaken teachers and cops in favor of indoor skiing and skydiving.

This entertainment-super-orgy-plex formerly known as Xanadu has been making regular appearances in the news for about the last 6 weeks. Each time it seems that the project and T5's ambitions seem to be growing beyond expectation. We expect to see this kind of thing in Dubai, not New Jersey where malls are everywhere, and the forms of entertainment offered at American Dreams are within easy striking distance (its not the middle of the desert, or the American midwest, where locals are starved for extravagance). They factor tourism into their figures, but no one besides T5 expects tourists to visit the region just for this place. It doesn't add up.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Xanadu Painting In Progress pt 6

This Cabernet Sauvignon has finally opened up. I was worried because it was a little pricey for as mediocre as it seemed after first opening the bottle. Either that or my taste buds are dulled from the Oreo's and pretzel rods.

As promised on Twitter, I refrained from listening to baseball (no Mets game tonight, they played this afternoon). I had Dead Weather and Stephen Malkmus on the iPod. The brushwork for painting skies can sometimes be like aerobics. I'm ready to crash.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Swinging For The Fences

As long as Xanadu keeps popping up in the news I'm gonna milk it. Its what I call a grab iron issue. Grab irons are the metal bars on trains that workers and hobos use to climb on board. Like a hobo grabbing the iron to hop a passing train, I am using the Xanadu issue to hop that train and use it to propel my Five Miles From Times Square project forward. I'm also not going to stop using the name Xanadu, and I'm discovering that neither is anyone in the press refraining from using it instead of the sparkling new name, American Dream. Xanadu is becoming part of the New Jersey culture and part of the Meadowlands folklore.

Each day lately there is a new story in the news with new commentary and details, like this one from today in RetailTrafficMag.com. It's becoming clear that Triple Five is going for broke with their American Dream. In the face of insurmountable odds, they're pulling out all of the stops and hoping that an over-the-top entertainment complex is going to be a huge success. It has to be, because anything less than perfection would be a catastrophe and would be a huge kick in the nuts of every resident of New Jersey who are going to be responsible for $400 million in state funds.

Practically everyone who knows about this is predicting that it will be an abject failure. Everyone, that is, except Triple Five and the Chris Christie administration. Many are hoping that it will at least succeed enough so that it won't close and leave New Jersey a legacy of corporate failure.

But mostly, the thing is so reviled that in spite of the damage already done to the environment, the state economy and the state's reputation, people want to see the huge fat cats involved fall on their faces because of what Xanadu represents: corporate greed, political short-sightedness and utter disregard for the real well-being of the public. We want to wag our fingers in the faces of those who thought a mega-mall-greed-plex was a good idea for a state overrun with such excesses. We want to say "we told you so."

Unfortunately for Triple Five, this is an all-or-nothing situation. There will be no middle ground.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Xanadu Painting In Progress pt 5

Maybe I should call it "American Dream"

Stately, Indeed

In a state where almost every kid lives close enough to a mall to ride a bike to one, the answer to the question, do we need American Dream @ Meadowlands is obviously no, but mostly for us no-funzniks who think malls are the incarnation of Hell.

In a state that is $43 billion in debt, where the governor has waged a war against everything the public needs such as social services, public services, police, fire department and education, the answer to the question, do we need to help pay for American Dream @ Meadowlands is "are you fucking kidding me?" This article from northjersey.com discusses the press conference and some of the latest details.

At a press conference today, New Jersey Kubla-In-Chief Chris Christie officially announced the deal to line the pockets of the new developers of New Jersey's favorite commercial orgy-plex-to-be with taxpayer financed, borrowed money. It was also an opportunity to announce that the original site that was called Xanadu will now occupy more square footage and feature even more ludicrous attractions than the original design, such as an aquarium and a glass-domed indoor amusement park with roller coasters.

The infamous exterior, which prompted Christie to dub the complex the "ugliest damn building in the state" will get a new look that will hopefully be suitable to Kubla Christie's taste. The world's largest Pepsi logo, a.k.a. the massive Ferris wheel, is still apparently going to be part of the center's final design.

Triple Five, the new owners and linguistic innovators who presented us with the site's patriotic new moniker claim that American Dream @ Meadowlands is projected to attract 50 million visitors each year. That's a tall order, and a generous prediction, and I won't be surprised if we see the building occupied by rats before long. But it seems to me that the vision of everyone involved is to take money from the taxpayers in an effort to convert them into creatures who live and play exclusively indoors.

The latest news on this hideous project has inspired the New York Times to sponsor a poetry contest, asking readers to submit their own re-writes of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem that inspired the original idea for the project. Congratulations to Steve Schoenwiesner of Montclair, NJ. Late tonight I'll post the latest progress on my personal inspiration regarding the human zoo formerly known as Xanadu.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Like Dreamers Do

I love Brian Donohue from Ledger Live because he hates this thing as much as I do. And he makes references to Samuel Tayor Coleridge which makes him cool. And he does his research, which makes him a respectable journalist. I have to admit, though, while I am not impressed by an indoor ski slope or sky diving simulator, I can't help but be a little excited about the worlds largest candy store. I like candy.