The scintillating life of Creative Director/ Variety Entertainer, Christian Fitzharris, and his never ending voyage to do everything in the world. ( at a respectful pace... of course)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poetry.

Poetry is always there to replenish me when I need it.
It can be grabbed at any time and injected like a much needed medicine to a quaking man.
Charles Bukowski introduced me to the versatility of poetry. He was dead at the time, but he didn't seem to complain about it.
Regarding poetry, Bukowski once said in an interview (and I’ll have to paraphrase since I couldn’t find the correct track out of my albums of his work)….Poetry is a kind of fancified way to scream a little in a self indulgent style.

But that’s what’s nice about it. You discover different poets and their styles and you sort out a menu to your own tastes. How do you want to feel? Read and invoke that state.

My personal menu is: Bukowski, for real life grit and unflinching truth.
Kerouac, for a verbal rollercoaster that may or may not end when you get back to the boarding area and it may continue backwards or descend down through the floor to a whole new ride.
Rimbaud, whets my appetite for luscious passion and thick dark ruby red blood wine on the lips of my lady.
Sylvia Plath, can form verbal pops and truncated stops that are fun to read, like all great poetry, out loud.
Whitman paints great visions and Yeats offers light fare for mystic minds.
Pound is good in doses to be thought about later and Herman Melville’ s, “Moby Dick” is NOT poetry, but I swear it can be read aloud and eaten one bite at a time like a hearty meal and you’d swear it was poetry by the end.

So since, my friend pointed out that it’s National Poetry month, I thought I’d give the gift of referring some of my favorites so that they may be enjoyed by others.

I once performed on a reality television show, “Steve Harvey’s Big Time!” (on the notable network, “The WB”) competing for $10, 000. I was performing one of the variety acts we did in for the Crazy Horse, Paris. The shoot lasted all day and was exhausting. The attitude was degrading, as you would expect being “judged” by Pauly Shore. Our professional world renowned act ,which was the “taste” of festivals and shows in Europe, was being called, “The stupidest thing I’ve ever seen” by the dregs of circa 1990’s even 80’s television “personalities”.

At the shows peak, I was in the position to win the $10, 000, but I was exhausted, irritable, and consoling myself with the warm thought that EITHER I was about to win $10,000 OR I was about to be released back to my hotel room to regain my soul.

I was ousted by a man with firecrackers strapped to his chest and I celebrated my release by jumping down off the couch ( since I was a miniature Elvis Presley) and made my exit mouthing curse words and derogatory epithets against the successor and all witnesses laughing in all directions.

I was free and in much need for quality soul replenishment.
The town car drove me back to the beautiful hotel room at the Kodak Theater where they hold the Academy Awards every year, and I drank in the sweet filling meat of Jack Kerouac. Page for page as I read I was reminded of the beauty of life and it’s depth. And page for page I was baptized back into the real world. My contribution being degraded was just a night terror. Passing like a few dark clouds on a sunny day.
And poetry was there when I needed it most to remind me that I am more than any one project. Thanks poetry. You made me whole again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Everyone's a Superstar in Little League!

I read an interview with a father who just relocated his family from Texas to New York. His son is in the highest division of Little League and the parents attended a meeting to go over the upcoming season with the coaches. The voice on the phone with the father said, “What is your child’s skill level? So we know where to place him?”
“Isn’t there a draft?” his Texas accent marked him as an outsider already.
“No. We’ll go over all the details at the meeting this Wednesday night”.

Wednesday night the father was one of about two hundred parents in attendance to get the details of the new Little League season.
The one detail that stuck out he almost missed.

Wait, they are not going to keep track of standings for anybody’s record for the season. “What?” the father mumbled to himself and stood up at the Question and Answer session to clarify.

“Did I misunderstand? Did you say you’re not going to keep track of anyone’s standings for the season in the majors division?” he asked.
“Yes” the coach answered succinctly.
“Why?” he countered. “Like that’s my question, why?”
“We want to make sure at the end of the season that everyone all our teams are basically 500” he stated.

“Wait a minute…so your goal for everybody during the course of the year, for my son included, at the end of the year is total mediocrity? You want them all to be 500 at the end of the season? That’s the goal.”

“Well we don’t put it like that” the coach lobbed back.

“I’m sure your don’t, but that’s what your striving for, complete and utter mediocrity. Well, that’s what the playoffs are for. Who’s the regular season for? What are you doing all year by teaching them that competition is not important, that they shouldn’t be striving for excellence, that they’re supposed to get better?” he asked.

He looked around the room for one other parent to join in, in support, and no one moved. He was alone on this one. He is the outsider. In Texas they even keep track of the score during tee ball games! Tee ball. Where, in some states everyone hits a home run off the tee and if you strike out at first they let you stay on the base as to not hurt your feelings.

As I read this interview I couldn’t help thinking to myself.
What kind of world has been forming?
Was I the last generation to operate by “rules” and traditional “heartless” forces of logical competition and common sense?

And we wonder why our teenagers and twenty somethings grow up to be self-centered arrogant emasculated prigs? Tisk tisk, me thinks.
I can recall every spanking and discipline I received as a teenager and can honestly say, “Yep, I deserved that.” I was being loud and disrespectful thinking I was funny and I virtually asked for the consequences I received.
And I grew from them.
I needed to be pushed to take responsibility for my own actions.
And I have.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Another round of goat's milk, garcon!"


There are a lot of great places to buy fresh vegetables and meat for the table with a strong discount compared to the grocery stores in our area. Pittsburgh's cost of living is reasonable and the surrounding farms bring in fresh food of all kinds making living here all the more pleasurable.

My fiance has a treasure map of locations with the freshest foods at the lowest cost. You just have to know what to get. And where. In order to maximize the savings.
Meat can be procured just out of town by a butcher that is supplied by the local farms. The Co-op, five minutes from our home, has great herbs and seasonings of all kinds including "Thai" and "Jamaican" which I swear can be used in place of agent orange for chemical warfare by taking your breath away once exposed to the air and imbedding microscopic pepper powder down your throat causing you or anyone else who passes down the store aisle to cough and sneeze for minutes on end. But when rubbed into vegetables or meat..c'est magnifique!!
We have Farmers' Markets all over Pittsburgh where you can get goat cheese, goat milk, as well as homemade jellies from the Amish farmers who bring them in from their farms in rural Pennsylvania. There's also great veggies, so crisp and fresh they are like eating your way through a vegan version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory gone Amazon forest style! Crunchy giant carrots and fresh plump tomatoes. Chris has been randomly picking untried vegetables and learning how to throw them together and serve them up with an assortment of presentational formats.

She's been cooking everything from scratch using the ingredients from our city wide treasure hunt.
Fresh carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Raw veggies from the farms. Organic teas.

We are even taking a class with "Grow Pittsburgh" http://www.growpittsburgh.org/growpittsburgh/
and learning to garden our own food in our backyard. I didn't know that there were so many ways to grow food. Even if you live in an apartment complex!

Now that the pantry is full and so are our bellies...we can focus on creating the projects we want and the life we want to live.
"Another round of goat's milk, garcon! Merci."

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Acidic Astral Waterworld?

A lot of my dreams involve my work.
The nightmare is usually stressful and drawn out.
Horrifying in a completely mundane and repetitious way.

When I worked for Crazy Horse, Paris at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,the reoccurring dream was getting through the never ending people and casinos to get to my show on time to perform. This would repeat , but my dream self would never get wise to the fact it was just a dream and stress out every time.

The last three nights have progressed from tedious to absurd.
Dream One: “The Touring” nightmare- Waiting for the elevator on luggage day , but there are only two elevators and everyone else is already done packing and I haven’t started yet.

Dream Two: I have to go onstage in a few minutes and I have little make-up, no hat ,and no shoes , but…I think I can pull it off….

And last night, Dream Three: Hanging out at an apartment and I’m led out to a bar where people are chugging beer in a dark room laughing with music and I go into the restroom (washroom for you Canadians) and it is customized with a lot of black stone urinals of all shapes and sizes and my friends are doing urine tricks peeing in two or three different directions like an acidic warm water show as might be seen at an old “Bullwinkles” restaurant in Santa Clara, California or the Bellagio fountain symphony in Las Vegas.
I tried to tune out the mist filled air and find a private place to finish my business.

Everyone one of these dreams had more than twenty people from KOOZA in them.

THE MORAL TO THE STORY: Living, traveling, working, eating, partying, and surviving on tour the last three years with a couple hundred people makes an impression on you as a full organism. You can shake it off daily, but you have to admire the levels of subconscious experience that the brain has undergone the last few years. You can move forward in your daily life, but there may be tracers and flashbacks that surface unexpectedly.
And as Randy Quaid said in “National Lampoons’Christmas Vacation” when the dog was humping his leg, “It’s best to just let’em finish”.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Watchmen"...what a pile.

The good thing about NOT seeing any movies over the last four years on tour with Cirque du Soleil is that now that I am off tour I can rent the movies at the library. One film I wanted to see was "Watchmen" based on the graphic novel.
When it was about to be released there was great anticipation. A slew of graphic novels turned cinema have had great success over the years. "Sin City" being one of my favorites. ( I also like to stay current with pop culture references to use in my improvisation as needed. Maybe I can throw in a reference or two that will make a head turn or get a savvy chuckle.)

"Watchmen" was annoying from early on in the film.
The overkill use of cliche music from the era started becoming more offensive as the movie trotted on. But I guess you need to beat people over the head so they know what time frame the film takes place in.

The main offense?
I hate movies that introduce characters late in the film. "Watchmen" is a never ending character introduction through the whole thing.
"But, Christian..." critic says in a tiny voice "you need to learn who the characters of the "Watchmen" superhero group are to understand the story." Yes, I do Captain Obvious, but there are many ways to do that without starting the whole story from the beginning over and over again! This is this hero and here's how he was created. This is this guy and he suffered this tragedy and now he can do this cool stuff...sheesh. A lot of films introduce multiple characters by putting them all in a situation which shows what they're about and we move on! Not in "Watchmen" though! Nope.
It's a bunch of mini-bio documentary pieces slapped together with a pop music through line and the ever over used nuclear war threat. (Which looking at daily news headlines...won't be going anywhere soon in entertainment mediums.)

Thankfully they spared the back stories of three of the remaining "Watchmen" to get on with the movie.

I haven't read the graphic novel ( I tried, but fiction is a struggle for my ADHD to get through) ,but the film has scenes taken directly from Science Fiction successes, Robert Heinlien's "Stranger in a Strange land" to "The Matrix".

And finally...it all comes down to the omnipotent "Dr. Manhattan", an emo nuclear superhero who can do anything in the world except NOT be a big passive aggressive wussy. And "Adrian" , a metro sexual brainiac who flaunts his intellectual superiority like a Level 200 Dungeons and Dragons Master at a POG convention in 1993 because unlike his POG conventioneers, HE has statistical skills honed from years in his parents basement drinking Jolt and eating pizza hut.

So Nuclear Emo and Metro Faux Hawk get into a slap fight and Faux Hawk reasons with Emo about the logic behind his plan so he can save his silky smooth skin from being harshly a braised in a fight.

Finale? Humans are stupid and can’t be trusted to decide the fate of their own planet so we will kill a million to save a billion. At least Rorschach kept his integrity.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The esoteric meaning of, "See ya later chumps!"

As I sit here in my "Hemmingway" gazebo on a wicker chair enjoying the balmy breeze of PIttsburgh sipping a mojito waiting to take in a movie in my living room, I think about the fact that in my old job I would be doing a great amount of work and sweating today...for no money.

In tribute to my fellow Kooza comrades, I will abstain from bringing in an income today and try my best to rest as much as possible unencumbered by pads for the knees or maquillage for the face.

Let my cosmetic-less cosmogony cast off the debasement of my bodily form and bring me face to face with the macrocosmic peace that resoundingly shouts to all limitations, "See ya later chumps!"

With that I bid you, "Merde!" and broken legs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's a "Shriner"?


Some people have seen Shriners in parades driving tiny cars or wearing their emblem the red fez hat which makes them noticeable in any situation, but many do not know the origins of this fraternity.

In 1870 a group of Freemasons in Manhattan, NY would meet for lunch and fellowship. They formed a club dedicated to fun and fraternity to balance the austere work of self advancement performed in the Masonic Lodge. They took it upon themselves to collect money and donate it to a charitable cause. In time they wanted their own organization to focus their funds into to help children in need of medical operations. Children born with clef lips, spinal problems, and those harmed in burns are all given the opportunity to live a more full life through medical enhancement and surgeries paid for by the Shriners of North America.

My introduction to this great fraternity came after I had already been active in Freemasonry for seven years. I was initiated through the "Hot Sands" Ceremonial in the particularly hot sanded Las Vegas, Nevada in 2005. I donated my time in the day on weekends to getting the word out for the Shrine by performing in the parades in the local Vegas community and also entertaining children at the clinics to be diagnosed for treatment at one of the Shrine hospitals.
These clinics were challenge because of the varied emotions swimming around the doctors offices during diagnosis. Emotions run high, but spending one on one time with the children doing magic tricks and teaching them to juggle keeps their minds off the stress and uncertainty of such a serious condition. The parents enjoy the mood being lightened as well and it takes some of the heavy load off their shoulders. It is intense though. Seeing the bright positivity in the eyes of a five year old who has had her face, literally melted, is a difficult audience to make laugh no matter your experience level. You want to cry yourself , but you are there to help the rest of the people NOT be emotional. It is a difficult balance, but well worth the effort and time.

Being back in a community like Pittsburgh allows me to enjoy the reciprocation the Shrine offers the world and I love it!

(Incidentally, my hat in KOOZA is a small yellow fez which I suggested. I tried to make a small red fez in 2005 for the parades with the Shriners , but alas my crafting efforts were all for naught. In 2007 the hat was finally done correctly except for the color, but that's okay the idea is there and it was created as a literal, "hat tip" to the Shriner organization.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crystal Penis is Energized by Swami for Easter.


Today we made a pilgrimage to the mountains of West Sunbury in Pennsylvania and witnessed the consecration of a shiva lingam by a Swami from Mysore, India. His name is Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and he makes this tour through North America once a year. He is a great Sage who is world-renowned for mystical music compositions as well as for uplifting humanity through Healing and Meditation concerts. This years event was attended by devotees from Ontario, Canada, New Jersey, New York, Alabama, North Carolina,

We got to the retreat center just before Swamiji arrived and immediately performed a wedding for some of his disciples. Then he blessed the sacred rock and proceeded into the temple to perform the energization ceremony of the shiva lingam (crystal penis). Why a phallic crystal? To symbolize consciousness in its primordial form; the eternal energy from which all creation emerges. This symbolic oval shape is a reminder of the underlying, unifying force of all creation, without beginning or end. Since God/Source Energy/Brahma/Allah is everywhere present, then God is inherent within all, including rocks, nature and naturally within the rare gift of the crystal Shiva Lingam.

We chanted "Om Na Shivaya" with hundreds of Swamiji's disciples and received blessings from this Master from Mysore.
I tried to get a few pictures, but the iPhone is not ideal for long range photography. Zoom ins and cropping paid off in the end.

The children did a wonderful short performance opulently dressed as deities and demi gods from Hindu lore. My favorites were Krishna and Radha as well as a small hyper active child acting like a menacing Kali. Kids put red ink on their hands to represent blood from the battles documented in such classic Vedic texts as the Mahabhrata.

People pounded plentiful platefuls of prasadam/
And ate cake created and baked-
A lot of flour was devoured.
(That's what happens when you mix a metaphysical day and Kool Keith on earphones...and you're a rap artist and blogging.)

We touched the crystal shiva lingam and received turmeric roots to fight skin diseases! Woo hoo!

All in all fun times in the mountains with crystal phalluses and great people.

Happy Easter!










http://www.dattaretreatcenter.org/

Friday, April 2, 2010

"I live in a "dry" city?"

"Is this a joke?", I ask myself.
Is this possible? It seems legit.

Of all the places I could have moved. I moved from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Las Vegas. Sin City. Where what happens stays.
And I moved to the borough of Wilkinsburg in the city of Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania.

How can this be a "dry" city? I can cross the street and drink at four or five pubs ON MY WAY to the beer store at the corner. It’s not a “dry” city. It’s a “dry” borough.
“What the heck is a borough?” I grew up in California. We don’t have boroughs.
I thought a “borough” was a nickname for a part of town like, “Polish hill” or “Chinatown”.
Not so….poor niave, Christian.

A borough can be many things to many countries or areas. My borough, Wilkinsburg, has it’s own government and laws which in this case includes a restriction against bars.

When you cross the street from my house you are in the city of Pittsburgh.
I reside in the borough of Wilkinsburg by a few feet.
Wilkinsburg has been alcohol free since 1871 when it separated from Pittsburgh to maintain religious integrity. It took the name, “The Holy City” and declared that no bars would be allowed within borough limits.

So let me get this straight:

My name is Christian. I live in “The Holy City”.
My house number is equivalent to “Satan” in Hebrew Numerology.

A perfect balance of light and dark. Yin and Yang. City and borough.

Learn more about where YOU live at the following website! http://www.city-data.com
Maybe you live in a dry borough too and we can be booze free borough buddies.