I was thinking of my friends in New Orleans as I made this piece, the beads and ornamentation, the echo of Lafcadio Hearn who left New Orleans to live in Tokyo, find much alike in those places. Some of my collectors have whined that the Japanese things have been too decorative and too pretty. Maybe there is something to that…who knows. Myself, I feel like they are good representations of the Tokyo I experienced, as elegant and ornamental as that place may be. I love the graphic sensibility of Japanese comics and graphic art; the more, more, more of it. If it is not for you, well, this is what makes a horserace, and I give not a fuck.
New Orleans is also like this ñ color and shapes and sweat and nature all commingled into a lovely kind of sweet gumbo for the eyes. I’m especially happy for my other city in the wake of the SAINTS . . . BOO YAH!!!!!! It is the indication that this holy place is back. My friends from NOLA texted, called and e-mailed their collective joy from all parts of the city yesterday, and I was overjoyed and over the moon for them. I also made a neat pile of cash on the game ñ the Saints being 6-point dogs. I’m betting more than one bookie lost his shirt yesterday.
I go to places like New Orleans, Tokyo and New York for sanity, for the joy and the mysterious poetry of those streets. It is odd how I feel at home on the streets of New Orleans and Tokyo, and like a foreigner on the streets of Chicago lately. At times there seems to be this untethering of my belonging to this city. The desire to wander is more and more part of my work and make-up. I have been the dutiful son to Chicago; I feel like I have done my bit here and I want to put the rest of the world in my work and see it with my own eyes.
I enjoyed performing This Train so much because I feel like it was a fair look at this place. I love and hate this city, and I’ll always need it, it is my home. But I also feel tremendously at home in New York and New Orleans, Tokyo and Austin. You couldn’t give me other places, but these ones I dearly treasure. This spring I’ll go to Prague and Istanbul, and I hope I love those cities as much.
In Ueno Park in Tokyo, all manner of gorgeous songbirds can be found and actually heard. It is a magical place. See it before you shuffle off of this planet. You’ll thank me.