Event: ULTRAVIOLENCE 2022
Event Date: 09/23/2022
The power of a slow lead soundtrack.
A voice that speaks with the affect and vocal fry of a man perpetually floating.
I have felt it in the vibrations and collective psychic ether, my friends.
Thump, thump, thump. You feel it too, if you open yourself to it. Thump, thump, thump. The beat of a drum, the throb of a muscle, stronger and stronger. Thump, thump, thump. Insistent. Hear me. Recognize me. Thump, thump, thump. Feed me.
The black screen fades into a man on a rocky peak. It’s clear that he’s in Painted Desert, likely somewhere east of the Grand Canyon. His looks carry the lean, lupine sort of beauty that makes life easy on people. Far too lanky to ever be muscular, he nonetheless carried most of his weight in his chest and shoulders, his body yogi-narrow. He is a study in mishmash hippie aesthetics: baggy Thai fisherman pants, blonde hair forced into an approximation of dreadlocks, feathers, beads, tattoos, and shoeless to let his dusty dogs feel the earth. The sun, rising over the formations, bathes him. He looks positively radiant, cut from stone, a lone figure amidst the glory of nature. Eyes closed, at peace, meditating on the larger questions.
A desire, a yearning.
We can rise up, if we truly believe. We can become one with that pulse, we can feed that hunger, we can be both the drum and the hand that hits it all at once.
As the dust swirls about him, as the music takes on tempo. the view fades to another scene. A dirt floor, radiant umber, is trod upon by many men, all stout and thick in the neck, every one of them to an individual wearing a loincloth. The chyron at the bottom of the screen defines this place, this sacred ground, as Mumbai, the building an Akhara–a site where one learns to wrestle. Not just any hooking, either: Pehlwani, the ancient art of grappling in India. He stands a head or two above the other men. Lifting as they lift. Stretching as they stretch. Grappling as they grapple, shoulders crashing into shoulders, arms working to gain advantage. He crashes to the dirt–he makes others crash to the dirt. His eyes, heterochromatic, carry a permanent glassiness that is indicative of extensive psychoactive substance use.
As the grappling subsides, we cut to the men around a well. As the guru wreaths them in incense, a bucket is retrieved.
The man goes first in the ritual bathing.
Society told you that knuckling down was the only answer.
Bootstraps. 401ks. Sheep existence until sheep death. But there is so much light and beauty, even you can see it. Playing at the edges of your gray worldview. If you focus on it, you can even hear it. The songs, the love, the joy, the energy.
The vibes of a tomorrow you can’t ever seem to make it to.
But what if you could?
Fading back to the Painted Desert, the man drops himself into a low, frankly impressive, horse stance. This, he transitions to a TKD crane stance. From this, he drops his legs back and lower his body into Tai Chi Chuan, Lute Playing form. This could be the kata of a true world warrior. Someone who has hybridized style after style and made them part of his very sinews, his mind, heart, and soul.
It could also be the kata of someone who has zero focus. The image shifts to a ratty looking wrestling ring in a run-down section of a city. The chyron on the bottom of the screen informs us: Kinshasa, Republic of Congo. Inside the ring, a mountainous man, black as midnight, is performing some manner of war dance as a man behind him beats a drum and chants. Catch Fetiche is like the wrestling we know, filtered through Vodou–and as the crowd around the ring parts, we can see that our man has taken time here as well. He walks to the ring with purpose, holding a smoking piece of Palo Santo, as a priest behind him brandishes a chicken and a curved, wicked looking blade. Where many would act bemused in what is clearly something of a camp atmosphere, he does not. His eyes though silated never falter, and he pauses periodically to wafte the smoke over his head and kneel before continuing, as if drawing further power.
As he reaches the edge of the ring, smoke and humanity enwreathing him, the priest does what one expects a man with a chicken and a knife to do. The man lets his face bathe in the blood before leaping, flat footed, into the ring. Blessed and consecrated.
I sell you nothing.
I give you nothing.
I am an opener of doors, a shatterer of walls, a breaker of seals.
I am a method by which the mundane can touch the great power of these cosmos. I am a lightning rod, a conduit, for something greater than all of us. The very fabric of what we experience down to the cells is a miracle.
But if you’re asleep, you can’t appreciate that.
You can’t feel the mother drum.
Back to the desert, he clambers down to the ground. He works his legs into a proper lotus position, his face showing a ghost of a smile as he remembers. It is uncertain where we are now. It appears to be a disused industrial space of some kind, long stretches of asphalt and concrete buildings that nature is slowly swallowing whole again. Vines are choking hard angles, trees are piercing the edifice.
Moon, floodlights, and what appear to be the odd torch are illuminating a circle of people. Within it, a brawny man with a shaved head is putting up the proverbial dukes. Opposite is our subject.
Doing Capoeira. Full Eddy Gordo. He sways towards the man with the approach of something resembling a breakdancer, arms and legs swinging, his smirk one of confidence–until the smirk gets socked through the back of his neck with an absolutely sickening right straight punch. Its force is such that his lower body continues its forward momentum, and there is a pregnant moment where it looks like his entire body is being suspended by the connection of the punch before he collapses to the ground in a lifeless heap.
The crowd’s activity dies down for a moment. Legitimate fear. The brawny warrior is arms up, cheering, Rocky at the stairtop–until the murmurs make him turn.
Our man has kipped to his feet. His lip is split like Overeem, blood positively soaking his face. And he strides toward the stunned combatant, who rears back to finish the job–before the hippie leaps into the air and contorts his body before turning the other man inside out with an aerial roundhouse kick!
The crowd stares in abject, agape, amazement.
He gathers some of the blood from his chin and makes a crimson circle on his forehead, a third eye, his broken smile the picture of serenity.
The images merge. Illuminated by artificial light, his mouth ragged and bleeding, his forehead bearing his third eye mark. Illuminated by the Sun, fully healed, transcending in meditative bliss. Entirely destroyed and entirely put together. But this isn’t a study in dichotomy. The environs and methods are different–the destination is the same. The fade holds, both images only at half opacity, as all four eyes open at once, staring directly at us–through us.
You can continue to live your life. Work your job. Pray to the god of capital, which is the god the world at large reveres the most.
Or you can break free.
I am ascendent.
Won’t you join me?