Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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I met him on the set of Kill Shot. Back then - it was a year or two ago - I was making a futile attempt to, at once, supplement my miniscule revenue stream while learning a thing or two about professional filmmaking. I would do this by enlisting in the shameless and dream crushing army of movie extras. At that time, Joseph Gordon Levitt, to me, was but another actor in the seemingly endless sea of moderate on-screen talent. It wouldn't be for another year or two that I developed a true and fair appreciation for him as an artist and thinker.

At the time I had longish hair. Greasy and intentionally wavy, it hung in the awkward space between the bottom of my ears and the top of my shoulders. Joe also had a similar hair cut as well as similar stubble and body size. Thus I was hired to be his body double. I was to be wrapped in a blanket and uncomfortably tossed into the black-hole that is a Lincoln's trunk by six large assuming mobsters - also extras. My face was unseen much like the rest of my body. Why they didn't use a sack of Idaho potatoes I will never know. It would have been more cost effective. Not only would it not have to eat, it would provide others with food (after it was wrapped of course).

Lunch was served. I ate on the bench across from Joe who was engaged in conversation with his co-star Mickey Rourke. The spread was generous but contained too much seafood - I hate seafood. After lunch I jumped in a crew van heading from the lunch building back to the set. Joe jumped in the same van. We shared minimal conversation. Small talk at best. He was a nice fellow. He was newly single so we humored the idea that he would hook up with Avril Lavinge while we was in town north of the border. I imagined, in more of a casual intimate environment he would be, at the same time, funny, caring, bright and amusing. Arriving at set, he jumped out, as did I. That was that. I would have no further interaction with the Cobra Commander to-be outside of glances back and fourth on set.

Days ago I was at a friends house, actually working on the post production of a music video I am helping out with. Somehow, now a mystery, we drifted into the topic of Joe. My friend, we'll call him Elvis, went on to tell me about a video on YouTube where our man turns the tables on the ol' faithful Paparazzi. I went home, watched it with thorough enjoyment and began to think slightly more in depth about this character that I had such a fleeting exchange with so long ago.

The Paparazzi video, affectionately called "Pictures of Assholes" can be seen here:

Once completed, sealed was my fate to begin the wonderful and vicious time wasting activity that is "Related Video" surfing. After a few views, all of which are included in this blog so you can see for yourself, my unexciting and average opinion of Joe had been replaced by a new one. I saw a very bright light inside Joe. A light i wish I had and hope one day I will have. After "Pictures of Assholes" I saw "HitRECord" and a new side of Joe became as clear as a summer's day.


Express Your Self:

and the inspiring and haunting "Escargots"

In Joe, I now notice a man who we will see a lot more of, thankfully. A true artist, independent thinker and trail blazer. He exudes a passion and eccentricity that repossess any doubt I may have had that he will, in no uncertain terms, show us the meaning of art and expression in the years to come.

For once the capriciousness that is the modern day actor has led to a fruitful reward. A tree that has many bad apples, which are often times at the forefront of the public eye, has dropped a ripe specimen sure to seep it's nectar into an industry that is facing imminent death.

Keep inspiring Joe, fuck you're cool.
(support him and his posse and visit

writing under the influence,

Friday, July 24, 2009

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"Home Is Where The Art Is"

One's home is a complex notion,

whether one is at home or not.

Can a home follow one's constant motion,

or is it anchored in one spot?

Is a home where the heart is, or,

is a home where one rests their head?

Can one have two homes, three, or more,

or does one's home have to house their bed?

If one lives abroad is their home the world,

or is it the hotel, the suite or plane?

Is it the house from which they long ago hurled,

and, at that point, is one's travels in vain?

Perhaps one lives where they were raised,

but finds more solitude in some him or her.

Is home to them then where their parents praised

or in the arms of the person they prefer?

Is a home where one's majority of time is spent,

if so, is the cell to a prisoner that prisoner's home?

By that calculation, after all the years that went,

Most of our homes would be over a desk or tome.

I look around and see less homes than houses.

If you have the ladder, the former with it does not come.

Just as I do, I see less love than spouses.

As with the houses, one can be bought, the other must become.

It is this irony that causes me to question so.

Is the idea of a home that of a fleeting one?

Excuse my pessimistic manner of speaking though,

From a broken home I do come,

but of a broken family I am no son.

Can one be alone is one's home,

or must one have a crowd?

And do we only ever have one place,

that we can call a home aloud?

I have a family and I have true love,

but for a home I still do look.

When or how or if or what of,

are but answers only found in a book.

So my book I continue to search and write,

and it's page's I slowly fill.

But it's up to me to turn them in spite.

of the emptiness that haunts me still.

written by jeff campagna

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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I had a medical appointment today-nothing crazy- just an ECG to investigate the hole in my heart still lingering from my childhood. I walked from a nearby plaza to the medical building, as to avoid paid-parking, thus, entering through a different door than usual. It was out front of this door that I saw a sign that shot a jolt of discomfort through my viens and into my murmur-ridden heart. "Credit Valley Medical Arts" it read. I had never before seen the words Medical and Arts used together so proudly and everything about it seemed wrong.

Art, I thought, was something that had no set rules, only guidelines and standards set by those who practiced it in the past. Art, I thought, was something that one could never perfect and always possessed that existential and creative progression. Art, I thought, was something that one could enjoy if they wanted and ignore just the same. Art, I thought, had varying degrees of quality and experience but could never be 'wrong'. It was this set of personal definitions that furnished such discomfort. Medicine should have a very defined set of rules that are clear to all who work within it. Medicine should have a finite point where one is educated enough to practice it. Medicine should be something that can't be ignored and all who need it receive the same care. Medicine should have a large straight in between the banks of right and wrong.

Obviously this got me thinking deeply about 'Art' as I filled out the necessary information on the chipped clipboard in the waiting room (which, by the way, failed to reassure me in my state of concern). In art, to require perfection is to invite paralysis, and, in medicine, to require perfection is par for the course. In art, vision races far ahead of execution and the works we have yet to create almost always seem more real that the works that we have already produced. Whereas in medicine, vision and execution should always be, one would think, in league and sync. And in art, expression and self are such vital and valuable contributors to the work - it is, ultimately about the artist. Medicine is about care and precision and should always be about the patient, not the practician.

So what exactly do they mean by 'Medical Arts'? Perhaps I don't want to know. I have always thought one's 'craft' is the visible edge of one's 'art' and makes it an actual tangible experience.
So maybe this sign would have bared a slightly less worrying message if it read "Credit Valley Medical Craft". At the end of the day, art that deals with ideas is much more interesting than art that deals with technique - a statement where to replace art with medicine would manufacture panic in all those that pass through the hospital's revolving doors.

Monday, July 13, 2009

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Singer/Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock recalled: "I remember going to the Hope and Anchor (a pub where many folk punk acts played in London). The Pogues were all on stage and ready, it was a full house, but they hadn't started yet. Then this character shambled in through the door and shambled downstairs. I thought, 'Jesus, you're not letting that guy in are you?'. Then he walked on stage. That guy was Shane MacGowan."

If there is one thing that close friends know about me it's my unhealthy fascination with self-destructive artists and their aloof behavior, which, parenthetically, I believe contributes greatly to their creative endeavors. While these artists that fascinate me never intend such behavior it is their trend none-the-less, almost as a substratum throughout their entire life. Perhaps the poster-boy for such a character is Irish singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan; best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the prolific and influential Irish Folk/Rock/Punk band The Pogues. As you investigate their music further it will become increasingly clearer that The Pogues are to bands like Flogging Molly what The Beatles are to Coldplay.

I admire Shane. I love his music and what his music has done. I enjoy his personality and the magic that he posses and emits. I also find it interesting when fans love an artist so much more than the artist love's their fans, and for that matter, their music. A tale comes to mind, A Fairy-tale of New York if you will. It was the night of The Pogues sold-out Madison Square Gardens show in New York. Leading up to this, Shane and his band had started to drift apart, driving a wedge in the bands touring success - mainly caused by Shane's abuse of drugs and alcohol. Backstage before the show Shane was nowhere to be found, unless that is, you were putting down Guinness and polishing the bar with your sleeves at a local Irish pub. Shane had no intention of playing that night, as he grew sick of his band and his fans (I am reminded of the modern example of Kurt Cobain and song's like 'In Bloom'). Long story short, fifteen minutes before the show was to commence, a few hard-core Pogues fans, on their way to the arena, spotted Shane stumbling through the streets completely self unaware. He might have been a stray dog. Needless to say, they pulled Shane into their cab and made haste to Madison Square Gardens. The show went on and some lucky fans had a story for to tell their children (what entertainment those children find out of the story is another question. I'll get to that in a bit)

What has really begun to bother me, and is the stimuli for this entry, is the reputation that Shane is falling victim to as videos of him, at his lowest, become more popular on YouTube. Kids and teenagers poke fun at him, joke about his obvious intoxication and look up to him for his ability to consume alcohol, not his ability to write music and change the face of the industry. In fact, in that, they are probably completely unaware. I suppose this is the nature of the beast that is aging celebrity. As the previous generation that appreciated and grew with someone like Shane either dies off or moves on, Shane is still left in the boat that everyone has bailed out of. And as younger generations are ushered in they see a man like Shane for what he seems to be now and not for what he surely was then. It is impossible to recognize the arch and relevance of man when one's perspective is only that of the second half of their life, and not the first. Imagine watching only the second half of "Gladiator".

Hopefully, people who admire and respect Shane MacGowan for who he was and realize that these videos circulating the net are horrible inaccurate representations of who Shane's really was, will start to out-voice the drunkard youth. For a good read, check out a feature MAXIM did on Shane a few issues back. I forget the month, though somehow, I remember Shannon Elizabeth was on the cover;)

writing under the influence,

Shane Singing In a Pub In Ireland

Shane's Music Video for "That Woman Got Me Drinking" Starring and Directed by Johnny Depp

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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So Tania turned me on to this wicked video which, at first, feels like some low-quality fan video but packs itself full of mesmerizing surprises.

I don't think I have posted a music video since that wicked-ass Coldplay puppet video, but I must say, "Fuck You" by Lily Allen is the perfect off-the-wall follow -up.


writing under the influence,