Kurt Wilde is Dead!

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 4:38 AM

Kurt Wilde is dead! 

Publication continues @ http://wearethedoomed.tumblr.com/

Why I care about AIDS

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 8:11 AM


When was the last time you thought about AIDS?   

Until recently, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the last time I had.  I can remember watching public service announcements in between episodes of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid urging me to “learn the facts about AIDS.”  Just 15 years ago, the concern about AIDS was high enough that public service announcements were broadcast during Saturday morning cartoons.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen or heard anything about AIDS that wasn’t part of a build up to world AIDS day. 

As of 2009 there were 33.3 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.  2.6 million were newly infected that year and 1.8 million died as a direct result of their infection.  That’s a recruiting advantage of just under 1 million people.

At the end of 2007, there were approximately 600,000 Americans living with HIV and 470,902 with AIDS.  These numbers are increasing annually. 

It is estimated that one in every five people living with HIV haven’t had their infection diagnosed.  HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic that is not going away anytime soon.  Although there antiviral treatments that can slow the advance of the HIV infection, there is no actual cure.  Additionally, such treatments are expensive and available only in developed countries. 

The tragedy of HIV/AIDS is that it is 100% preventable.

The fight against HIV and AIDS is ongoing.  You can help combat the virus by donating money to AIDS foundations and by volunteering.  Such contributions are essential and greatly appreciated, but if you’re short on cash and time you can still help fight the virus by understanding how it’s transmitted, practicing safe sex, avoid sharing needles, and treating people living with HIV/AIDS with dignity and respect rather than the repulsion that ought to be reserved for victims of Zombie Flu. 

HIV/AIDS is not Africa’s problem, it’s not Black America’s problem, and it’s not a Gay Community problem; it’s the worlds problem. 

Be aware.  Be safe.  Contribute.

Thank you,
-K.W.

Statistics taken from: http://www.avert.org/
Donate at:

The ArchAndroid Invades the Grammys

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 9:56 AM


Four months ago, as I was clinging to the stage, front and center, of Kansas’ Liberty Music Hall, the Grammy’s hadn’t yet crossed my mind.  Nor would they that evening.  The sensory overload of the performance I was about to witness would overwhelm any construction of coherent thought.  The only reaction the sheer power projected by Janelle Monáe’s performance of her ArchAndroid set permitted, would be one of release. 
For Monáe, this particular performance would be special for her.  A native of Kansas City, much of the intimate venue’s balcony was filled by her family and friends.  Just prior to aggressively claiming my position in front of the stage, I had met one of her uncles in the bathroom.  I didn’t realize it yet, but fate had been kind to me.  This happened to be the only show on her tour I would be able to attend and it also happened to be the show where she would have extra stage time due to the presence of her family.  Standing in front of the stage, dressed in my tuxedo, I was ready for the show to start, and so it did.


The lights cut out, fog machines obscured the stage, and projectors blurred images that appeared to be of Monáe and from Frtiz Lang’s Metropolis, a film Monáe deliberately draws from to present the narrative of her concept character, Cindi Mayweather.  Masked figures in black robes bounce across the stage, and finally Janelle Monáe emerges belting her lyrics in a pristine tuxedo and her signature hair style.  The energy in her dancing and singing is contagious and it emanates throughout the crowd.  I felt an admiring grin crack my face, a puppy dog expression really.  It wouldn’t leave until well after the show. 

What followed was the most encapsulating performance in which I had ever assumed an active role.  A reluctant dancer by nature, I found it impossible to just nod along with the beat.  I don’t think that Monáe drew from the enthusiastic response of her audience the way other performers do, rather, she seemed to constantly generate it.  Four months after the event, I still can feel the power of that performance resonating in my chest.  Recalling the way she acknowledged her costumed Fandroids in the front row with eye contact and a wave still causes a ripple of excitement to rise from my stomach, as if I were still riding that roller coaster.  Yet, nearly every time I’ve shared this story, I’ve also had to explain who Janelle Monáe, and perhaps play one of her songs. But tonight, no more. 

Tonight is Music’s biggest night of the year.  Tonight is the 53rd Grammy Awards presentation.  Janelle Monáe, though deserving of higher honors, is up for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” for her single with Big Boi, Tightrope, and “Best Contemporary R&B Album” for her ArchAndroid LP.  And while I hope she wins both, as a committed Fandroid, what I am more excited about is her performance.  Janelle Monáe is arguably the most underappreciated artist of the past two years.  Previously, she has appeared on stage with Stevie Wonder, made Dancing with the Stars interesting for a night, and rocked the late night audience on Letterman; but this performance will constitute an unprecedented level of exposure she’s garnered to date, and it’s about damn time.  

My confidence in Janelle Monáe’s ability to bring it tonight is unwavering.  The vision behind her music and stage performance is deep and next to performances by Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, it ought to seem bottomless.  My only hope is that this isn’t overlooked by the American audience, who has a tendency to appreciate fleeting teen sensations and tits over deserving artists.  That being said, style is almost never unappreciated, and Janelle Monáe has got plenty of that.
I am excited for tonight, and I’m excited for Janelle Monáe.  As best I can, I wish her the all the luck in the world, and encourage everyone to watch what ought to be a truly special performance.  She’s not just a great voice, she’s a great visionary. 
-K.W.

Photo Notes: All photos are original and property of the author

On a Korean Mountain side

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 10:19 AM

The image is still clear.  After several days it’s still as securely cemented to the back of my skull as it was when my subconscious initially created it.  It’s little more than an image.  The events of the dream have faded, but the picture of you sitting next to me on a black leather couch, hair slightly obscuring the right side of your face casting a shadow over your eyes is as clear as ever.  We were indoors, a house.  Perhaps it was ours.  Along with the image is an innate understanding that we are together and have been for a while, maybe even for years.  I move a steady hand to brush the hair from your face and as I do a warmth feeling fills me.  Then I wake up shivering.  Who are you?
At 3:30am in the Korean mountains some twenty four miles from the demilitarized zone, the temperature is a stinging negative twelve degrees Fahrenheit.  Absent from the tent extension to my Fire Direction Center (FDC) track vehicle is the mechanical drone and rush of warm air from the heater.  It shut off at some time during the night.  The cold air penetrates my body so thoroughly it feels like my bone marrow is steadily freezing into shards that scrape and poke at me from the inside.  
 When you wake up in cold that severe, you wake up gasping.  Even though you’ve been shivering for an unknown period of time, the cold has stiffened your muscles as your body held a fetal position in an instinctive effort to retain body heat and it’s hard to move.  All you want to do is go back to sleep, but you can’t, you’re too cold.  So you get up.
             The cold is what I’ll remember most from my first Field Training Exercise (FTX) here in Korea.  Commanding my first convoy, emplacing upon the firing point, and hearing my FDC chief transmit my first fire mission to the gun line are all significant first time experiences that I’ll always be able to recall, but they are overshadowed in my memory.  The constant stinging cold will always be what comes to mind when I think about my first FTX.  It’s physically embedded in my memory.  Even thinking about it now, I feel the blood withdraw from my fingers and when I close my eyes, I see you. 

Photo Notes:
All images are original and from the author’s personal catalogue. 
Image 1: Platoon Paladin battery emplaced on a snowy firing position. 
Image 2: My field command center.
Image 3: My FDC.  This is also where I slept.   

Bowie

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 10:36 AM

Today (8 January 2010) David Bowie turned 64.  Those of you who know me well already know the profound impact Bowie has had on my life and on my creative energy, so I don't want to get into that too much here.  One interesting story about it though, the last women who was terribly important to me, in a romantic context, walked into my room and remarked that I had more pictures of David Bowie than of her, which was true.  Half amused, half exasperated, she accused me of being more in love with Bowie than with her.  This also may have been true.  I'm not sure. What I do know is that for the past eight years there hasn't been a day where the phrase, "David Bowie" hasn't floated across my mind.

For his birthday I had intended to do a write up about how great Bowie is and to work in some strong personal insights, but lets face it, that's been done by plenty of star crossed fans before me and frankly it's a little unbecoming to fawn over any one in such a manner.  Instead, I'd like to offer you the opportunity to listen to my top 3 favorite Bowie songs.  I'll also include some honorable mentions that you can look up yourself should you have the interest.

3:  Heroes (1977)



This is the best known single of the Berlin Trilogy.  For me, this is the ultimate love song and the vocal range Bowie projects really delivers the emotion and encapsulates the listener in the illusion of invincibility and isolation that only love can create.

2.  Ashes to Ashes (1980)



This is another highly emotional selection.  In this song Bowie revisits the character of Major Tom, who helped him break out in the late 1960s.   Ten years later, the isolation Major Tom faces is not the cold, emptiness of space, but the equally gripping cold and isolation of addiction.  At the time, Bowie himself was just emerging from a strong personal addiction to cocaine.  I've chosen to include the music video version because in it's time it was the most expensive and blatantly artistic video to date.

1.  Moonage Daydream (1971)



If there ever was a question about where the title this blog came from, this selection answers it.  I couldn't embark on a creative adventure without some constant reminder or tribute to Bowie and nothing fit better than my favorite song.  Bowie wrote "Moonage Daydream" while experimenting with his "hat" method.  He wrote out lines, lyrics, and quotes, cut them up, and placed them into a hat.  From that hat, Bowie would draw slips of paper and form his song through random selection.  This particular live performance is from his famous Ziggy Stardust tour where he demolished societal  boundaries concerning performance, sexuality, and masculinity.  The tour set the standard for the glam rock era.

Other notable songs
Space Oddity:  Bowie's break out song and the first song I of his I remember hearing.  It hooked me.
We are Hungry Men:  An early song and interesting take on overpopulation
Life on Mars: Wonderful.
Cat People: Fun song, recently was brilliantly used by Quentin Tarantino in Inglorious Bastards.

Albums to listen to from start to finish:
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust: The most successful concept album of all time.
Station to Station: I think this is his most powerful work.

Night Shift

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 5:37 AM

To catch up, two weeks ago I left the country to spend a year abroad in South Korea.  I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do anything exciting or particularly interesting, but even so I like it here all the same.  I think there is a certain mystique about living abroad, an inherent excitement, that keeps things interesting in the beginning even when a lack of activity would suggest otherwise.

I spent New Year’s Eve on duty as the ranking official in charge of an empty building.  I wasn’t alone.  I had a subordinate, a nineteen year old kid from Texas, assigned to assist me.  His responsibilities amounted to cleaning the common areas in the building and sitting next to desk near the entrance and the phone should someone come calling while I conducted a security sweep.  When I checked in, Texas was already at the desk, sharpening a set of knives.  Later he would proudly explain to me that his family owns 73 guns and doesn’t consider that to be excessive.  After we exchanged greetings I got a sense from his small talk that he was feeling me out, hoping to determine that I wouldn’t mind if put in a dip. 
Our shift was to last from 9:00pm to 5:00am.  The duty log showed that the previous pair on duty had cleaned the common areas.  A brief inspection appeared to confirm the claim and as there was no one in the building to reverse the conditions, I told Texas not to worry about the cleaning detail.  The building itself didn’t appear to be in bad shape; it still had electricity and heat.  There wasn’t a reason for anyone to have anything to do with the building expect, perhaps, groups or pairs looking for seclusion to engage in prohibited activities which our presence was intended to discourage. 
Aside from patrolling halls and the perimeter of the building once an hour, there wasn’t anything we had to do while time ticked away to the New Year and the end of our shift.  Texas was eager to share his life stories and his interests.  I’ve found this to be true of most junior soldiers.  I listened, commenting when appropriate, over the pages of an issue of Uncut I had picked up because David Bowie was on the cover.  This is how I learned that Texas, while on leave, had drunkenly married a girl in a court house who he had dated periodically since middle school.  The girl was pregnant from the contributions of a third party and this was a circumstance that Texas was aware of and one that preceded the marriage.  After sharing this, Texas lamented that he couldn’t divorce the girl until he returned from Korea and that he couldn’t afford to until she birthed her child, an event for which the Army would provide him with travel arrangements.  I suggested an annulment given the length of the marriage.  Old advice rang in my ears: “never be shocked by the stories you’ll hear.”
Still eager to share, Texas invited me to watch a performance by his favorite comedian on his laptop.  I accepted.  I had never heard of Rodney Carrington.  He turned out to be a redneck comedian from Dallas.  I’ve always felt that the “Blue Collar” comedy is mislabeled; it is almost always redneck, and I’ve never much cared for redneck comedy.  It’s not that I consider myself too good for redneck comedy; I have just always found it to be inferior to my tastes.  An audience of flabby, white Americans, cheering wildly and flashing the stage, men and women alike, as Rodney performs a song the proclaims, “show me your boobs if you love your country!” while an American flag waving on the screen behind him emphasizes my sentiment.  Incidentally, many members from this audience are the same people who shout about morality when equal (gay) rights, and teaching science (evolution) in schools are hot button issues.    
As a general rule, I never take a grown man wearing cowboy boots and/or a cowboy hat seriously or pay one any attention if I can help it.
At one in the morning I stand up from our desk to do my hourly rounds.  Upon stepping outside I am greeted by cold air that floods my longs, chilling my body temperature.  It stings at my nose and makes my eyes water.  The snow squeaks and crunches beneath my feet as a walk along the west side of the building.  I am alone.  It’s a new year.  At this particular moment, my friends back home haven’t even started getting ready for their evening festivities.  I haven’t sent a message to my mother in nearly five days; she probably hates that.  I’m not sad or lonely, I’m pensive.  I have twelve full months to spend here, to establish my footing for the next five years, and appreciate a world completely foreign to the one I know.  Unlike Texas, I don’t intend to spend those months bereaving the time spent away from my friends and family.  Rather, I mean to come home with good stories to share with them. 
It’s 2011, and all is well for me in the land of the morning calm.-K.W.

Off Hiatus

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Posted by Kurt Wilde | Posted in | Posted on 5:15 AM

A while back a friend of mine, whose opinion I highly regard, advised me not to hide behind a character.  The effort it took to remove myself from this characters writing has thus far resulted in six unsatisfying compositions.  Although there was no intention to hide behind a character in those works, that has been the effective result due to a lack of publication.  I've already resolved this concern and ill get back to you very soon. 

In the mean time, stay alive.
-K.W.