Monday, April 7, 2014

APRIL: THE END

This edition of NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS is all about THE END – an unlikely theme for Spring, maybe, but a theme nonetheless. It was a long winter, you guys, and I'm glad to see it go (I KNOW YOU'RE WITH ME).

As always, a huge thanks to this month's contributors – Jen Feldman, Casey Weir, and Sarah Leflar – for letting me share their work, and a thanks to Y-O-U for subscribing. If it's your first time here, the Panda Head Newsletter is an art + literary companion piece to Panda Head Blog; a tiny little themed magazine mailing out on the first Monday of each month. With a rotating cast of contributors from DC and beyond, it's a whole new creature each and every time, and I hope you dig.

Until May!
Morgan

image via

THE END OF...

Queens, NY
New Zealand
New Zealand
Macon, GA
Israel
Cripple Creek, CO
Canary Islands
Bakersfield, CA

Jen Feldman collects and blogs Street View images at LeviathanMD.tumblr.com.

TO COMMUNICATE INTIMATELY WITH OTHERS

by Casey Weir. image via 

I finally arrived at the commune this morning after a truly miserable flight. Were it not such that all of my fellow passengers were dedicated and passionate members of the Stupid Club, I may have actually been able to fall asleep as we flew westward over the Indian Ocean. We were packed in, all of us, like socks in my underwear on a Saturday night, ready to party, hot and stuffy. I was cramped next to one of those truly impressive creatures who somehow manage to expand your understanding of how obese a person is actually capable of becoming. Diamonds are expensive; this man was expansive. It would be misleading to say he was sitting next to me, for it appeared more as if the man had been poured from a gigantic ladle onto that unfortunate seat, like human sludge or hot pancake batter, his folds of fat and skin hanging over each other before finally spilling into a morbid periphery.

And this is why I decided to join the commune: to escape the war against the world, to overcome the chocolate vipers of misanthropy, to feel apart of something, anything, for the love. More than ever in my life do I feel the need to communicate intimately with others, all of whom I loath, for the last attempt didn’t go very well. I surprised my ex-girlfriend at her front door with the verse of a song by Method Man: “Ex-girlfriend, how you been? I heard you still tryin’ to fuck with other women, man!” By the time I got to “soon as I turn my back you try to fuck my homies,” the police had arrived and I was on the run, determined to finish the song as I ran through back alleyways, jumping over little dogs and sticky-bun wrappers before finally making it to my mother’s basement.

So that was a failure. But life, as I have read about it, is not to be lived avoiding the prospect of failure; failure is certain and unavoidable. What truly matters is something Atul Gawande of the New York Times once referred to in a commencement address to Williams College: the mastery of rescue. And so my intentions are to rescue myself, transforming the failure of my flaccid spirit into an opportunity for redemption and, if I’m lucky, the resurrection of my penis. I will have my communion with another, even if I have to pluck every one of the hairs off my chest only to have them grafted to the bottoms of my feet, then tickled by a thousand little feathers until I’ve pissed and shit myself twenty times over. But no more than twenty; I couldn’t bear more than twenty.

I knew it was time for a major change when I started having delusions of super-human superiority amid the general public who was, to my disappointment, totally oblivious and probably just as disinterested in how wonderful I am to myself. I would sit in a movie theatre and imagine levitating towards the middle of the air-space above the audience, where my arms would extend out to each side, revealing my full wingspan as my head fell back, eyes closed, listening to the crowd react just before suddenly shooting upwards through the ceiling, leaving the debris to fall on everyone, who would walk back to their cars later and text their friends, telling them how a young man worthy of worship started flying in the middle of their movie, and how they would all painfully desire to strap that young man down to a cold metal chair and do a sexy dance for him to watch.

I wondered what I to do, knowing it what must be done could be nothing short of a life-changing adventure to overcome this feeling of heroic and lonely isolation. I thought maybe I could hike along the Iranian border with a backpack full of fireworks and pornography. That would really stir things up! Then when the bad guys came I could go out with a fight, or at least an individual dance routine characterized by a lack of rhythm and consistency as I refuse to be taken alive.

Alas, I realized that it wasn’t nature with which I needed to be reconnected; it was my fellow man! And I would surely achieve this kind of reconnection in a community organized around the basic human need satisfied by the feeling of being together, needing each other, together with a rigid, unbending adherence to the practice of self-denial. I wondered if any hot baby cakes would be at the commune. Duh, of course! I’ve had seen that movie The Beach like a hundred times. I hoped they weren’t a bunch of dirty fucking hippies. It was time to throw on the tuxedo, report to the first gathering, and rejoin humanity.

Casey Weir is a writer living in Alexandria, VA. He blogs at CaseyWeird.tumblr.com.

SARAH LEFLAR

Untitled, 2012. Found objects, Plastidip. 28in x 52in

Untitled, 2012. Found objects, Plastidip. 28in x 52in
detail of previous piece

Untitled, 2012. Found objects, flocking material. 14in x 20in 

I was introduced to Sarah Leflar's work last Spring; heavy on found objects and ordinary construction materials (particle board, flocking material, styrofoam, etc), it was up my alley in a way that stuck with me for a long time afterwards. Above, a few images of her work that felt fitting with this month's theme of THE END – many thanks to Sarah for letting me share.

more of her work can be viewed at SarahLeflar.com.

THE END OF THE ROAD


Sometimes a serving spoon sits JUST the right way in the utensil container, and the overhead light from the stove bounces off of it JUST SO, and the little spotlight that it creates on the wall is so pretty, so heavenly, SO JUST RIGHT that it transfixes you and your Sunday-morning hangover as if you were a small Midwestern child, freshly emerged from a station wagon and a nap and fourteen hours across both prairies and highways, rubbing your eyes free of Oklahoma-borne sleep and experiencing your first blurry glance, your first bracing, salty, sand-pecked mouthful of ocean air, in any September, on any rocky coast America has to offer.