Thursday, October 9, 2008

Double Vision

I was sitting at LAX once, having just taken a shower; you can schedule showers in the Admiral’s Club there. This was quite a kick because the shower alone was bigger than my entire apartment at the time, I was actually covered in mud from working that day, and I was in fact not a member of the Admiral’s Club.

Once clean, I was sitting, trying to read 'The Dead' from Joyce’s The Dubliners while being continually distracted by this guy and his valet who were both sitting across from me. The pair were tended by “Special Personnel” who tend to such pairs in LA, only in LA. This guy was dressed in a white suit of another era and possibly another dimension. His valet was handling their drinks.

With nothing better to do, I eavesdropped to decode who was this man—deciphering celebrity identities has only recently been overtaken in popularity by Sudoku. I wrote down all sorts of notes in the margins of 'The Dead', ultimately abandoning the story all together. I heard, “Sony,” “Arista,” and “Aerosmith.” Once home, I hit HotBot and uncovered the identity: John Kalodner:John Kalodner. That bit of punctuation is no mistake: he ran with it after Foreigner credited him as such on the seminal album, Double Vision. Kalodner is (was—retired) an A&R guy and huge career builder for many bands, mostly including those that are hard on my point-of-view. His vibe was intriguing as was his embrace of punctuation: an active move toward calling out your own doppelganger.

Friends have told me many times that I have stunt doubles. I have been thrown out of a Wal-Mart in Flagstaff for looking like a guy who apparently had a history of nail theft at that location. Once, only once, I saw a guy who I thought looked like me. It was a weird deal… kind of like seeing a picture of yourself asleep: who took that picture? Odd.

The poet, Rives, spoke today at the Liu Lecture Series at Stanford: it was an experience as close to meeting my own doppelganger as I have ever encountered. We do not really look alike, and professionally, we slightly are misaligned. Yet, the works that I saw were spot on with justifications, motivations, explanations, and fascinations as those I have. It was a very strange experience in getting to know myself as friends turned to me with eyes asking if I was seeing this. Possibly they were checking to see if I was in fact sitting in the audience while presenting to… myself. I have to admit: I frequently feel that way. When you become interested in the obliterations of Japanese postal workers stationed in Manchuria, China in the late 1800s, this is the sort of thing you have to expect. Ditto with braille text messages in bottles. But, no longer! Rives dropped a bomb at the dead center of the paradigm shift from Design to design. His associative exposition and experience of craft, crafted an experience exposing associations inseparable between art and design. Sing it Leonard, sing it Jeff: Hallelujah! Today I awoke to find myself and to see myself validated, pared with a lovely burrito at lunch, too.

Kalodner’s website discusses his suits at length and in color: white. It is even noted what his undergarments are on any given day of the week. As an observationalist, a brilliant word I have stolen from Rives, I noted that on the day in question in the lounge at LAX, John appeared to be wearing boxer shorts, though his website dossier would purport otherwise. I alerted the webmistress of the disparity. She later replied that she got that comment with some regularity though in fact the confusion was due to the trouser lining showing through white suit cloth. Ha! At the time I felt odd to be among those who noticed. Today it feels brilliant.

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