I am an extraordinary alien in
the greatest nation of all,
the land of the brave,
the land of the free,
the promised land,
the land of opportunities,
a nation at war,
in the city of dreams,
the greatest city in the world,
the diamond of the universe:
I possess extraordinary abilities in the musical field. I have never had a regular job; apart from my two summers at the paper plant in Hallstavik (www.holmenpaper.com) I’ve worked like a dog all my life but only as a hustler and a prostitute in my particular field.
I come to “art asylum nyc” thinking I would write something from an existential pow.
I see ugly artists detained in an art space in Chelsea (whitehouse.org) and start asking things like: Why did Martin (one of the guards and initiators of the project) ask you to have sex with him when you were not allowed to leave the premises and it therefore by necessity would have had to have been performed in the presence of all the others?…..and…when you in your application refer to Columbia today as a similarity historically to what happened in the eighties with the Escobar’s what do you mean?….and….do you think that having communist parents and being Jewish at the same time is an advantage compared to the other competitors in getting the visa?…and what does your communist grandma think of you wanting to come here?…..I non deliberately find myself asking the questions an immigrant officer would ask….and I look down on the participants since they haven’t gotten their visas yet and most of them won’t get any because they suck and haven’t really made any art but want to try to get it anyway by signing up for this gimmick….hmmmm and here I am having paid my dues, paid lawyers thousands of dollars…and there they are, these people that hope not to have to pay……we all have to pay if we want to stay I silently think…
So a question would be if an artist should be treated differently from others because they are artists? (what makes an artist different from a normal person?) I think they should and I want to refer to “Not clown” written and produced and acted by the brilliant and may I add very sexy perhaps and hopefully without knowing it, Linda Johns (Elisabeth Doss, www.physicalplant.com, theater2.nytimes.com/2006/03/20/theater/reviews/20clow.html) in which the setting is a post 9/11 prosecution of clowns, molested, beaten, amputated and locked up in detention center basements in suburban prisons by Mengele-like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde father figures experimenting on clowns to make Frankenstein monsters …..
I have never heard about an artist taping bombs to himself, blowing up people. For the most part I would say that artists are thinkers and one would assume that they have some respect for creation as a juxtaposition to death (some normal people do too)….so an artist would not impose death to others and can therefore not ever be classified as terrorists, artists are outsiders and unable to walk where others have walked before, listen to what some a leader or religious or political gimmick has to say or order them to do…..so they should be allowed to travel wherever they want and work there too.
So this guy that was chosen out of hundreds of applicants to be detained doesn’t show up because the new immigrant policy with Mexico did not allow him into the country, and now there is a movement in Mexico and Mexicans in the US for him to get him his visa….At the announcement of the winner, the detention officers gave it to him for political reasons and another additional (pro bono art asylum case) was given to the one who painted novels but didn’t have any material at hand so she tried to break the rules of the prison by putting her creative force into smart thinking…..good for her (id like to see her novels) and then I have to run…..
I hurry up to the hairmodel casting (offering a possible 150 dollar a day three day shoot and a free haircut) which I have no time to stay for because I need to go to the Consulate General of Sweden for a reception for the film I made the music to (www.Kill yourdarlingsmovie.com) and which opens at the Tribeca filmfestival the day after….at the reception I run into my old theater coach who sent me out of class the very first time I tried Uta Haagens’ exercise number one, (never tried any of those again)….she was there with her best friends, the actress who played the lead in the movie (Lolita Davidovitch). My teacher didn’t remember me cause I was shaved then, now I have hair all over (things that NYC does to a guy)….I gave her the soundtrack as a revenge (failed actress I bet, it seems more in love with her own voice than with the purpose of putting her students into some kind of functional work environment, quite dedicated to the arts though in spite of her age, I’ll give her that).….
………any way so there is another female person there at the reception that once hit on me in Sweden at a wrap party for a TV-show I wrote the music for. – You’re cute , she said, and we almost kissed. She is an actress too (one of those blonde ones) and she would have liked to have starred in the movie I just scored but most of all she wants to sing jazz (like I do)… so..….I find out after years of courting her (getting nowhere after the confession below) that she has teamed up with this total jerk at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in NYC who is in charge of the cultural affairs (meaning he likes to hear himself sing and strum the guitar at the receptions for old ladies but really wants to sing jazz too) his main asset is the huge apartment where he let’s cute girls like the earlier mentioned blonde stay (I tried to get in for a week when I was between apartments and it was impossible though he lives there alone in three bedrooms). Some times these blondes buy into his game, which she obviously did, seriously made me rethink about her intelligence….still, I sent her a text that she could give me a call whenever she got bored by the Norse (I’m one myself so she would still be amongst them if she’d ever) ….no response…..
Years earlier she turned her back on me when I said I was a father of two and had left everything (though first having paid for their mothers education, gotten her a job and bought her a house) and to go to America (in love of course with a total maniac, Swedish girl turned actress in LA, drug addict, joined the AA like everybody else) a totally unforgivable crime I admit but still a necessity in order to pursue art in a state where things had gotten so consolidated that nothing was going anywhere…….paid some law bitch that I met on Sunset Blvd through a friend thousands of dollars and she told med the
artist visa, o1, was only for a year when she knew I could have gotten three, so she had me come back the year after, pay another couple of thousand and this time I told her I wanted the three year one….yeah….and, she was also the one who said that I needed a sponsor when I had spent six months preparing my file, backtracking 20 years of work and was ready to send in the application. I had to hustle to get a Swedish friend who just happens to run a very successful company and just happens to love music, so I was lucky, if it hadn’t been for him I’d be fucked (thanks Rich)..……..…. …..I had to find a sponsor for an artist visa? An artist doesn’t have a sponsor, who the fuck came up with that stupidity? It’s against the law of art. Game over.
Is Vermont better than Arizona? (east coast and west coast immigration processing centers) They (the lawyers) always say whatever benefits them so the NYC lawyer says Vermont is best and that people in Arizona are mean and carry guns are mean and the LA lawyer says Arizona is great and Vermont sucks……..so I ask the guys that put together the whole project, “art asylum nyc”, Wooloo productions (wooloo.org) How much of this is art and how much is politics? and they say 90 politics 10 art…….So you’re not artists? - No we started an online forum for refugees in Europe……..Wow, .are there refugees in Europe? I didn’t know that, like African refugees you mean…? Like Chinese and stuff?….then I wanted to ask them what their take on the ultimate three step method for getting residency artist or not…..(it ended up in me trying to formulate a quite resent and still somewhat abstract reflection….
Try to get a visa (good luck)
2. Marriage. (recommended by lawyers)
You find an American person of the opposite sex, bring that person to your home country, get married and a temporary greencard relatively fast compared to trying to change your status already in the US…..(marrying here)…
3. Reproduction. (advanced)
I might lack some crucial info here but if im not mistaking the constitution says that an American is a person born in the United States, therefore it should be possible, even if you don’t marry but simply reproduce and to have an offspring that is born here which automatically becomes American and as a consequence secures both of it’s parents a chance to stay. (This might lead to other complications like costs for childcare, schooling, college funds and child support etc that might drive the artist out of the country anyway) but as a method and with some stability behind it this could be quite doable for the average foreign person, probably practiced by those who do not have stability as I see this as the last way in.
From an artistic point of view one might think that an offspring (another human being), ugly or cute, no matter what problematic situations might be the cause, of course as always is the ultimate piece of art …
Well, I don’t think the Wooloo guys really had that take on the whole project…or even ever thought of their project as something even close to those existential variables (though they had Foucault’s prison book on their table) but …they invited me to stop for a chat whenever and if I’d ever come to Berlin (my sister married in Cuba married at 17 a 45 year old German scientist just to get the fuck out of Cuba. She studies philosophy at the university in Berlin and I really want to go and see her cause she kind and sweet but I always think I can’t go cause I got to get my fucking visa here before I can go anywhere, I’d like to go to see my father in Havana too but forget about that, I guess)….…..these are kids trying to do something….they create virtual worlds on the internet and want it to manifest itself in real life….and they succeed, like with the movement stirred up in Mexico for the guy to get his artist visa…..so, bottom-line:
I’m gonna talk to the lawyer connected to this project Mr. Aharoni, cause the non-profit immigrant organization (that charge only a nominal fee) that I’ve found (through my Dominican friends with years of experience hustling with these matters) have no experience in handling o1’s (artist visas) I want to see if he could help me get the greencard cause if these people can get an o1 I should be able to get a greencard.
(I walk away from art asylum with a feeling that it’s a good thing, that everything happens for a purpose, and I realize as I step out of the White Box (whiteboxny.org) that I’ve been here before, by coincidence, election day last year. I was riding my bike, observing a party. As I always do in those situations I crashed it, and served myself some of the communal food put out on the tables by the entrance, as the polls started showing the fact that Kerry was a given loser (the administration could not have asked for a better opponent) the cheering turned rather blunt and the spectators took the posture of bears facing four year hibernation, well knowing that no president at war has ever lost an election I left. Two days later I was floored by the well written second inaugural speech and found it logical walking away the second time that art asylum took place in the very same space…)
…..finally think of the old Russian man who looks like a bum but has studied international politics at Oxford and that has granted me a great art space for my staged reading of the Mayakovsky poem Pro Eto on the grounds that no one cares about anything anymore, Mayakovksy sure did. - We must change that, he said, - there are things that are important and worth the pain, things that not necessary has to do with personal gain.
…..and on that note…..Los Angeles, Indianoplace, Minneanoplace, New York, Havana, Stockholm, Moscow, Saigon, Bethlehem and Babylon…
PS: it is confirmed hereby by Mr. Aharoni (who has an office wall to wall with signed photographs of idols such as Norah Jones and Johnny Rotten) who happened to be the one I was recommended by and Israeli friend on a visit to the city 3 years ago and went for an introductory consultation to (he wanted me to pay him 250 in cash after I had told him what I was trying to do, something I didn’t have of course cause I thought it was for free), that my solution #3 above is highly impractical. No one can petition for anyone else who is not at least 21 of age him or herself, reproduce, stay illegally for 21 years and you are home free (if you are still friends with your offspring). I got away by telling him I would pay him on my next visit, lost his number and didn’t know how to contact him when I arrived. He is willing to give some advice on my case if I pay him the 250, another 250 when I see him next time and 400 for checking my testimonial letters, it not cheap to try to stay in America. His involvement in Art Asylum NYC was just coincidental. He just happened to be in a good mood when he checked his e-mail that day. Mr Aharoni expressed concern for the American consulates around the world and the increased burden they have been put on since 9/11 without getting any increased funding.