Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MC on St. Steven | Glow

When projects of a certain weight come out of the ether and into my physical world, I take them very seriously. It is a special moment for an artist to be visited by inspiration, and when that inspiration can be quickly identified as something – a real something – it means it is timeto get to work, time to get serious, and time to ride on the pleasures of the creative process.
For years I have known that this project is a special one, and now that it is happening I know that I need to create a special family around me to make certain it can blossom and grow into the wonder I know it will become. Working with interns is something I love, and for this endeavor the impulse to bring one on was particularly strong. But with a strong impulse comes a certain heavy weight. When something resonates, grows, builds and evolves, you need a sounding board you can trust and rely upon. You need someone who is functioning on a similar plane as you are so that you can speak freely, share openly, and create a flowing language that passes between people without judgment orwavering, but with the sturdy strength of good intentions and keen (like)minds.

After ruminations and careful thinking, it was clear that Steven was the one for this project. I receive proposals for internships often, and the people who come to me are always so lovely. They’re talented. They’re eager to impress and please. They’re interested in the world and more times than not, they’re even fans of MC. What is not to love about this equation? But with Steven I see something more. Intuitively I know that he “gets it.” And not only does he get “it” (whatever that ambiguous “it” may be) but he also gets himself. And he takes time to know himself, learning about his own mind, investigate his own interests, and dip down deeply into the experienceof thinking about and responding to fashion in a way that is not just unique, but truly inspiring to me as an artist. He uses the written word to respond with the very same considered touch that he responds with his own dress.
I’ve given him the nickname St. Steven because there is always a bright glow around him (and the nod to the Grateful Dead song made it all the more fitting). Don’t let all of the black in his wardrobe fool you, friends. Steven is concentrated sunshine, and around his mind is the warm halo of life, light, and individuality!
I’m so pleased to have him with me onthis journey. As we blog, rally, write, sing, dance, draw, share and create you will hear his voice intermixed with mine. Please open your ears to what he has to say – it will be coming to you with soul.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A New Dawn | MC returns

For those of you who have spent time reading this blog over the past 6 years, you have come to know that I have an affinity for the counterculture of the 1960s and 70s. And truthfully, affinity is not the word. Passion is the word. Desire is the word. Fire in my belly is the phrase!

In looking back on my childhood it almost feels like I lived the short history of early rock ‘n’ roll between ages 10 and 20. At age 10, I was a card-carrying member of the Roy Orbison fan club, with nearly every 45rpm single he released playing on my mini-turntable at night, and hanging on my bedroom walls by day. By age 13, I not only discovered the Beatles, but also owned every record and could proudly sing most every lyric to every song they recorded – and eventually come to play most of them on the piano or guitar. By 14 I was hanging out on the weekends with my best friend Charlie, pawing through huge stacks of fake books with songs by the Grateful Dead or Bob Dylan. Friendships grew strong by way of those songs, and together, he and I began feeling the ethos of an era we both have come to enjoy as a certain center point in our creative and professional lives. By age 15 the Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, and any other gods and goddesses of the San Francisco sound owned spots at the top of my list and I was carefully articulating my own wardrobe to emulate the moves they made between ’67 and ’72. When my grandparents traveled to Arizona, I asked them to bring me a brown and beige Navajo blanket that I could make into a poncho, like the one Steven Stills wore at Woodstock. Unearthing my dad’s square-toed stovepipe boots that same year was a serious thrill, and I clearly remember pairing them with overalls, a headband and not much else on hot July days in Wisconsin. By 16 my guitars went electric and I was playing in bars with rock and roll bands of my own – a game I would play for years thereafter, and something that still shines a little light on me today when I travel home. By 20, I felt like I knew it all pretty well, and even if I didn’t (having not actually lived the era myself), I certainly knew the experience of having every Baby-Boomer I crossed paths with say “How do you know all of this stuff? It’s like you’re one of us...its like you were right there with us all 30 years ago!” Maybe I was there with them. Or maybe I’m here in this incarnation to cast a new spotlight on what is so clearly a very special moment in our cultural history that still resonates today.

This collection of experiences became the hand that held mine as I stepped into a corner of the complex and powerful history of our country that still excites me, still inspires me, and has prompted a new body of work that is now taking shape and bringing MC into the exciting potential of 2012!

Almost exactly one year ago I said out loud in my studio, “That’s it! I’m doing it! But first I need a sign – I need the world to tell me ‘YES! Now is the time and this is the time to do it!” The “it” I was speaking of was a project – a BIG project – to celebrate and honor the clothing and style of this era that I hold so close. What can it be? A book? A film? An exhibition? One of those? All of those? None of those, but something better? I was not, and am still not completely ready to say exactly what that “it” will be, but the work has started and the time has come to start sharing it all with you.

And as frosting on the cake, the universe heard my call and gave me what I asked for. A sign. That very evening as I was leaving the studio, I turned on my phone to see if I missed anything pertinent. After noticing a missed call from an unfamiliar area code, I listened to a voice mail in which a the gentle, calm and loving voice of a woman said “Hi Michael. This is Isis Aquarian calling from The Source Family. You don’t know me, but I have found your work and I love what you’re doing and simply felt compelled to call you and see if there is anything I can do to help you…” My sign had arrived and there was nothing subtle about it! Need a sign, MC? How about a phone call!?!

Isis and I started a dialogue that was exciting, enriching, and became one of several signs that I needed to keep moving with this inspiration that I’ve felt looming for so long. And before I knew it, I was flying to LA to meet Isis, spend time with her around the city visiting the original Source Family mansion, meeting magazine editors and book publishers, and connecting on a level that is carrying this project into the future. A month later that energy picked me up and carried me to San Francisco where my previous visits with Scrumbly of the Cockettes led me to meet Rumi Missabu and Fayette Hauser, two other very special faces in their wild and eclectic family of hippie-acid-freak-drag-queen-inspired costume that enlivened the Bay. A mere week after that, I was in a car and on my way to Sebastapol, staying at the home of Alexandra (Jacopetti) Hart, a true heroic voice of the counter culture and celebrated author of treasured Native Funk and Flash – a book that opened the doors of my mind to the wonder and potential of clothing.

The ride is getting faster and wilder, and the wind that it blows around me feels great! I have St. Steven as my co-pilot, and we’re ready to buckle up, follow the call and embrace this journey, sharing every part of it with you all along the way.

With Isis Aquarian of The Source Family, LA, California

With Fayette Hauser of The Cockettes, Russian Embassy House, San Francisco, CA

With Alexandra Hart, Author of Native Funk and Flash - Sebastapol, CA

Sunday, February 26, 2012

And....We're back!

After many months of quiet and sporadic posts, I am so pleased to be stepping back into my blog and breathing new life into a place where my ideas and work gather – a place I created on June 3, 2006 to share my world with anyone who cared to spend some time with it. Like most things, it has come and gone along the way, and seen fits of life and moments of quiet.

As of today - February 26, 2012 – I am pleased to say I am back into a phase of activity here. With the dawn of a new year and the birth of a collection of new and very exciting projects, I have the delight of hopping back into the gilded saddle of not just being an artist (that never stopped!), but being one who wants to share his life and work with you all. Thank you for reading. Thank you for staying interested in MC.

I’m glad you’re here.