Thursday, October 25, 2012

Iconoclast Mourn: Almost two months since my grandfather passed, but his sense of humor still lives on in me!

My Grandpa and I

     My last grandfather (my mothers father) passed almost two months ago. He was 88. It is a funny thing when loved ones pass, you think the world should stop, as it seems to have for you as well in that moment. However the world keeps turning and you amongst others related to you are left to suffer the harshest reality in life, death. 
     His passing wasn't unexpected, but it came much quicker than we all had thought. I will say that I am open to the idea of the paranormal. I can't deny this, as the time my grandfather passed his sister who lives eight hours away from him, felt a cold chill go through her as she was laying down for a rest. She had a feeling something had happened, and that she should call my mother. Something did happen, and I don't think she was imagining that experience. As well as my mother has said that she has since felt a hand pat her on her shoulders as he used to do. There is no denying whether it was his ghost/spirit or a psychic connection tethered by genetics/ the brain that we have yet to understand, I know he was there for them. 
    After the initial grieving process, today I can write about the sense of humor my grandfather had. I remember especially in the last ten or so years of his life that he always had a joke to say, or a one liner as he walked from his kitchen back into his bedroom. I don't think he ever grasped how funny he was or how much his life mattered to everyone. I did manage to write him a letter telling him all that I wanted to and knew that he needed to, a couple months before he passed. My mother said it made him feel good about himself. I have no regrets as I may have when my Dad's folks passed, but I was only a teen when his father passed, and twenty-one when his mother passed, but she suffered from dementia and didn't know who anyone was. I hope they know how I felt about them. 
   Below is a scan of a comedic response to property taxes in the city that he lived. I always thought this was hilarious, picturing an 80 year old man , my grandfather doing the things that he wrote and got published in his cities weekly paper. 

  This is how I will remember him. His sense of humor, that will course through my veins till the end. 

This clip I shot in 2004. My Grandpa never liked to be filmed. I picked it, because it was a clip where he smiles, laughs, and speaks my name. There is something about hearing his voice, and seeing him in his home again. It makes you feel that he is alive again, and at the very least alive within you.

My Grandmother opening her gifts, and my Grandfather comes to see.

Vintage Photos of my Grandfather:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does an Iconoclast Dance?

Does an Iconoclast Dance? 
     Yes, if they want to. I know I loved the way dance made me feel growing up. I started at Belinda's Dance Studio when I was five years of age. I learned tap, jazz, gymnastics, and ballet. When I got around to the age of six or seven I started doing dance competitions around Southern California, and in Laughlin, Nevada for Victor Dru competitions.
     I was an average dancer. Yes, Iconoclast don't always excel in every creative aspect. However we try as many as we are interested in. I was interested in dance from the age of five up till I was about twelve years old. The interest in wanting to dance has never decomposed into something I just did as an activity in the past. I continued to dance around my living room, and in public places such as the market. I would dance down the aisle, if no one was around in my own world and it made me feel really free. It isn't a surprise that once I started going to college, that I would pick up dance again.
    In 2002 I enrolled in a beginning ballet course. I nearly forgotten how demanding ballet is on your body, even more than jazz, tap, or gymnastics. I had fun being committed to the strict uniform and conduct that ballet lends itself to. It was definitely a fun challenge. The following semester I enrolled in a beginning jazz course. I must say jazz dance is my favorite out of all the ones I have learned. The professor made this class so much fun. I was pushed again to perfect the traditional jazz moves, that I had learned when I was a kid, and take it to another level. I also learned how limber my body was again. My professor noticed that and pushed that in me when we stretched etc. Which brings me back to when my ballet teacher as a kid would stretch my leg up and down, while my hand remained on the bar. I always thought that was crazy, that my leg could do that.
    The following semester I took a beginning jazz dance course that focused in African and Caribbean dance. I had never done that type of dance before. Not only did I have to reprogram the muscle memory in my body, but I had just as much of a challenge on my body as I did in ballet. I also had to get used to dancing in bare feet with a live drummer for music. We would have times where we would get into a circle and everyone one at a time would come in the center and randomly bust out moves in front of everyone to a live drum beat. This was very nerve wrecking for me. As much as I don't get too nervous to perform, as I do to give a speech, this felt a little more like a speech to me. However I went through with it, and learned that I could get over those fears.
   During my last Jazz course at the LBCC, I decided to try out for the Dance Concert. I tried out, and I made it in a small group for a lyrical-jazz piece, choreographed by a student dancer. During this time I learned about commitment to learning a dance piece that would be performed for three nights for a paid audience. I learned how to deal with difficult personalities that didn't feel that I should have been there, because I was new. Most importantly I learned about myself and how far that I had come back into dance in a year and a half's time.
    Silent Screams was the name of the dance for the LBCC Dance Concert. I actually never done lyrical-jazz before. I also thought the costumes left me feeling half dressed... A black bra with fishnet tights over as a top, but I learned to go with it. As a dancer you are meant to bring a choreographers vision to life, and this outfit was his vision, so I trusted him on that.
   In 2007 at Cal State Long Beach I took another beginning jazz course. This class was even more challenging as we had to learn how to choreograph our own routines for midterm and finals. During the finals I think I almost could have passed out from fright, which was something I never felt before when dancing. However that didn't make me want to stop from dancing. What has kept me from enjoying dance was the development of herniated disc/chronic pain in late 2007, which hung up my dancing shoes on that level for good. I still dance in burst at my house to this day, but performing arts is no longer a hobby that I can do anymore.
   However I want to credit dance for giving me the feeling of freedom and joy, giving me the ability to memorize quickly, being detailed oriented, being exposed to different kinds of music, giving me confidence, and ultimately landing me in the arts for good. I will always love watching dance, if I can not do it anymore. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Silent Screams : LBCC Dance Concert 2003

A few photos from when I danced at Belinda's Dance Studio as a child.

My Intrigue - Song lyrics I wrote ten to eleven years ago . I was honored someone online recorded and turned it into a song!

     I started writing song lyrics and poems when I was thirteen years old. I started to write , aspiring to write like Mariah Carey, Alanis Morissette, Jakob Dylan, and Fiona Apple. Over a years time I started to develop my own style of writing. However I held on to my influences, who wrote in a reactionary, honest, played with words, stream of conscious way (Mariah excluded) . 
    I wrote pop song lyrics, R and B song lyrics, and the deeper honest lyrics, however I will never be as great as those I aspire to write like. 
    When I was nineteen or about twenty I wrote this song called "My Intrigue." I shared the lyrics with my Alanis Morissette yahoo group, of which a lot of people would share their poems etc with everyone. I didn't expect anything. Then out of the blue, I got an MP3 back of my song lyrics set to an acoustic guitar and sung by one of the members Dana. She told me that she read it and the song lyrics inspired her to sing it and record it. I was honored. 
    It always shocks me when people ask me to write a set of lyrics for them, or want me to write a song for a contest to put in a Mariah Carey fanbook, because they enjoy how I write. 
It is just mind blowing and touching, because I honestly only write these song lyrics or poems to express myself and get out my feelings. Never in a million years do I ever expect anyone to like them or ask me to write for them. I just don't think my writing is on people's radar. 
  I've written song lyrics, poems, and one screen play in the course of seventeen years of my writing hobby. 

  I now share with you the song that inspired Dana to compose music to, and sing on. This will always be something that I will feel honored by. 

Listen to : My Intrigue (Written by Jennifer Risinger, Composed and Sung by Dana. )
It's a long song, the lyrics are below the video.

It has a angsty mid 90's vibe musically . 

"My Intrigue" 

Through your eyes you see me as a little girl

Through your eyes you see me as vulnerable

Through your eyes you see me as a sex driven kitten

Through your eyes you see a girl that you think you can deceive

Through my eyes I see a man who's got a lot to learn

You better think twice about what perception you have of me 

Cause in the end you won't be so sure of it


And I bet you think you got me figured out 

(But you'll never figure me out)

And I bet you think you got me figured out

(But you'll never figure me out)

And I bet you think you got me figured out

(But you'll never figure me out)

But somehow I twist it all about 

leaving you hanging and wanting my intrigue

my intrigue, my intrigue , my intrigue

Verse 2:

I look at you with such focus

That sometimes I see the dirt spots on your personality

I look at you with such carelessness

Sometimes I forget who you really are

I look at you with such realness

Sometimes I laugh cause your thoughts of beauty are so cute

I end up taken you in again 

Without fail you get me, but I end up getting you back

And oh, running after each other, again, and again, and again

(Chorus repeats)

Verse 3:
Don't get me I am fascinated by you

Don't get me wrong I want your flesh by mine

Don't get me wrong I have all these childish fantasies about you and me

Don't get me wrong I am asking about you

Until you tell me more, I can only keep reserved

...Unless you do 

(Chorus repeats)

Lyrics by : Jennifer R. 2000/2001

Music and Vocals by Dana

Iconoclast of the Day - Alanis Morissette 

Be Iconoclastic: Send your College Commencement to the President of the United States!

Be Iconoclastic: Send your College Commencement to The President!
The 8 by 10 photo I got from The White House!

On April 15th 2012 I was filling out College Commencement Announcements to all my family and friends, as I was to receive my BA Degree in Studio Art emphasis in Graphic Design in May 2012. 

   I had a few more announcements and thought "Who can I send these to?" I thought "President Obama." I like President Barack Obama. I even would call myself Democratic. I also know the economy is not great right now, but I do know that a lot of the decisions go on below him, so I'm not turned off by him. 

  I knew the President would never attend, nor see the invitation, but I still sent it. I wrote in a genuine yet witty manner, hoping whomever read it would appreciate it. I put it in the envelope, sealed it shut, and put as many patriotic stamps on it as possible. I sent it out, not knowing if I would get anything back from The White House. 

  Surprise! On May 5th 2012 , I received a huge manila envelope from The White House. I was excited and laughed a bit. I knew he hadn't seen it. I knew that his signature was in autopen, but it was still something very cool to receive. 

Below are photos of what I sent, and what I got back from The White House. I thank you President Obama and of course The White House Staff!

My note to President Obama

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Iconoclast Concert Experience - The Wallflowers - Album Release Concert at the Fonda Theatre 10/9/12

The Wallflowers : L to R : Jack Irons, Jakob Dylan, Greg Richling

     The Wallflowers have been apart of the Iconoclast musical canon for me since the day my father brought "Bringing Down the Horse" album into the house some sixteen years ago.
    I first saw them in 2009 at The House of Blues in Anaheim with my Dad. Fast forward to October 9th 2012, I would be going again, this time thanks to The Wallflowers via their twitter (My twitter: @BionicJen77). I won a pair of tickets to their album release concert at the Fonda Theatre for their brand new album in seven years "Glad All Over."  I was put on the "Guest List," in which I then preceded to get the lyrics "Everyone here's on the guest list" from their song "Witness" off the much beloved album "Breach" stuck in my head. 
     My father decided he couldn't go with, so my brother came along. It's good for my brother to hear what genius rock music should and does sound like. Time for him to jump on the iconoclast musical sound wave. I am not sure he quite road that wave, but at least he got to cut his teeth on it a little... Plant the memory in the seed that will grow through out his lifetime. Its all you can ask for really.  
The Wallflowers - L to R : Greg Richling, and Stuart Mathis
     Arrival at the Fonda Theatre:

     My brother and I got to the venue thirty to forty minutes before seven pm. We paid the jaw dropping twenty dollars for parking, and got in the "Guest List" line. 
     While I was in line I got to meet a very nice fellow Wally from Facebook, Ms. Nina. Later I would catch up with another very nice fellow Wally Ms. Katherine, and we would have so much fun singing every line, and keeping rude people trying to push forward to the front in front of us at bay. Not completely successful at that, but we managed to whip a few tall folks back to some proper concert behavior...Possibly restore their much missed dignity or respect.
     Anyhow I had that guest list line from "Witness" stuck in my head waiting to get in. And in a rare coincidental occurrence they actually played it for us all that night. 
     A little after seven and we were all unleashed into the domain of the ring masters otherwise known as The Wallflowers, but not before experiencing the opening act. They weren't bad. Brave group of guys to take on paying their dues opening for an audience that didn't know who they were... Nonetheless we receptively welcomed them. 

The Wallflowers : Rami Jaffee on the keys!
The Iconoclast of the day , The Wallflowers started to play! (Read on)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two Iconoclast - Fiona Apple & Quentin Tarantino

Two Iconoclasts - Fiona Apple & Quentin Tarantino 

The Sundance series "Iconoclasts" was the first time where I heard, and fell in love with the word "Iconoclast." The meaning it represented within the series of 'Creative Visionaries' talking about the alchemy of their work really spoke to me. 

Fiona Apple brought me to the series, but the word has stuck with my point of view on life and creativity ever since. Quentin Tarantino's words of how film excited him and how he discovered it as a child struck a chord as well as Fiona's story, in examining how performing arts such as dance, creative writing, and creativity in general excited me and moved me as a child as well. 

Watch some really interesting and thought provoking insights into two creative prodigies, and discover where and why my blog "The Current Iconoclast" got its name and importance in my life. 

"Who's they? There's nobody I've given that kind of authority over me to say I can't do anything. I can do anything that I want or that I can achieve. It's up to me. I don't ask permission. I may ask for forgiveness, but I don't ask for permission. There is no they, there is no they. And by saying there is a they, you are creating a they ." Quentin Tarantino on the people that told him for years that he couldn't do something, or that in film. 

This quote resonated with me and is in this part of the episode:

Iconoclast of the day - Fiona Apple - Again...Why? Because I can... It is good, and I share similar thoughts to it.

Expand your mind with Fiona Apple

Iconoclast Lip Color of the Day: MAC - Lady Danger 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins - My Concept used on America's Next Top Model, Cycle 4!


The Seven Deadly Sins - My concept used on America's Next Top Model (Cycle 4, 2005). 

The Process :

     Toward the end of cycle two of America's Next Top Model in 2004, they had a promotional contest "Viewer's Choice Challenge Competition." The contest was to come up with a photo shoot concept that if you won, it would be used in an episode on the following cycle of the show. As well as you would receive an autograph from Tyra Banks, the cast, and a trip to Los Angeles to attend an America's Next Top Model Party. 
     They were looking for a concept that would be: challenging for the girls, interesting for the audience to watch, that could be done within a certain time frame, and would meet other criteria . They then would select the top ten ideas to be voted on by the fans on the official America's Next Top Model Website for about two months time. The winner would get the grand prize and have their idea used on the show. 

The Alchemy behind my idea and reasons for entering:

     I was a fan of the show, and saw the advertisement for the contest on one of the episodes from cycle 2.  I decided to enter. I thought "Perhaps I could win this" on account of the fact that it wasn't a random drawing contest, it was a contest based on ideas that they would go through and decide. Plus you could enter as many ideas as you wanted, which for someone with an overactive idea generator for a mind was slight torture. 
     I started thinking of the two cycles that had already been completed . I thought about what I "the viewer" wanted to see them do, and I thought that the idea that would most likely work would be an instantly recognizable theme that a lot of people would get, and that they could turn into a photo shoot. 
     I started thinking of ideas. I was in the shower when I thought that each model could embody one of the "Seven deadly sins" in a grave site. That idea would be one of my first, of five ideas . I then would go on and submit thirty ideas anyways, because I couldn't stop the ideas from coming. I really wanted a chance to win. 
    I wanted to win because I was twenty-two at the time, I was going to college for Graphic Design, and I wanted some validation that I had at least the ability to come up with concepts to be able to become a graphic designer. I didn't care about the party, or the autographs that came along with it. I just wanted validation and to see my creativity come to life. 

I made it the to Semi- Finals : 

     I made it to the Semi- finals. The top ten ideas were posted on the site, and were up for voting as many times as you wanted for about two months. I asked everyone that I knew to vote for my idea, as I sat there obsessed with hitting the select and enter button. Then the two months of voting was over, and I had about a month to wait to see if I had won or not. 

And The Winner Is: 

     Not me... Apparently... The Zodiac idea won. While I thought that was an idea along the lines of what this show would want, lets be honest I thought it was pretty predictable and an outright bore. 

Tyra Banks and The Producers Want Your Idea: 

     Sometime had past and I forgot about the competition that I set out fighting tooth and nail to try and win. Then I got the phone call. The guy asked me if I was sitting down. (Really?) . I said "Yes, why?" He told me "Because Tyra Banks and The Producers want to use your idea and have decided to award you the Grand Prize as well!" He asked me how I felt about that, I said "I think it's fabulous." Insert second hand embarrassment here at my response. "Fabulous" ? Really ? What drag queen possessed me to say that? Well to be fair I had been watching "Sex and the City" lately, and that word popped up quite frequently that I suppose it thought it should pop right into my mouth at that moment. I'm not really the bubbly girl with a smile on her face type, so if an excellent drag queen phrase was all I could muster on the spot, then hey it would be better than saying "Ok" and not pulling out a response anywhere close to the one that the guy wanted out of me.

The Fancy Affidavit & Seeing my idea used on the show:

     They sent me official rules, an affidavit for the trip, which was now a New York Cover Girl trip. My mom looked at those papers and said "No" to the trip. Quite unfortunate, as I thought perhaps I could network... However the papers where written to cover that companies ass within an inch of its life and wasn't a "free" trip per say that it was probably better off that I didn't go anyways. 
     The episode for my idea was episode eight of Cycle 4 and it was titled "The Girl Who Gets The Bad News." How fitting that one of the models friend just passed away and she had to push through those emotions, while portraying "Wrath" at the bottom of a dug out grave at a cemetery in Los Angeles. 
      All eyes were on me indirectly as my immediate and extended family and friends watched the episode with me. They called afterwards and told me how great they thought it was. I sadly couldn't muster another wonderful drag queen phrase. 

This photo shoot turned out to be one of the most memorable ones:

     Till this day, every time I mention to someone who has watched the series that, that was my idea they go "That was you? I really loved that photo shoot." And many sites and youtube videos still remain focused on that shoot. That for me is the second most rewarding thing to coming out of winning the contest.

I edited this video clip of an example of how they translated my idea with one of the girls, and all of the photos at the judging table at the end of the episode. 

The Seven Deadly Sins Clip:

Here are screen captures of the voting system, with my idea on the shoot, the photos of each girl embodying one of the "Seven Deadly Sins" and a layout I did for it, that was included in a small booklet project for Intro into Computer Graphics course at CSULB.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Be Iconoclastic : About Me

Be Iconoclastic: About Me
This is a photo of myself in one of my most "natural" states. Plugged in to my ipod that shuffles through the many artist of whom I love, and of which generate and send my mind into an observant, and introspective inner monologue. This is where the mind of the Iconoclast dwells. 
Staple Cliche "About Me" Info: I am a thirty year old recent graduate from Cal State Long Beach University. I have a BA degree in Studio Art ; Emphasis in Graphic Design. 

About Me: 
     I am someone who has an insatiable appetite in wanting to understand who I am and who I am not. I am also someone who needs to express myself in various formats. The formats that support my self expression and my creativity are: creative writing, advertising, social media, graphic design, music, dance, and any other outlet that promotes that. 
   I am also someone who as a female believes in the concept of the Alpha Woman. This by no means is my declaration that I am a feminist. I just believe in women being able to be independent, strong minded and willed to do whatever they want within their personal lives and their professional lives. That they aren't under the thumb of a tyrant (if they don't have to be) telling them what their next move is, be it creatively, business wise, and otherwise with their art or own person. This does not mean I can not work under someone, but it means that I will never put myself in a position of where I find myself giving power to another person over my creativity or person for no reason. I always want to be aware, and be my own prototype and this is what a part of what "The Current Iconoclast" means to me. 

  The Current Iconoclast: The Blog   
     Over the course of the journey of The Current Iconoclast , my first blog I will be as unapologetic, transparent, and forthcoming with different tones on my view on life, popular culture, creativity, and everything in between. 
     An iconoclast to me means someone who is a creative visionary who through many different forms of communication, reveals the make up or alchemy of their life, and or work in their respective fields, unapologetically. This is something I strive to be, and I hope you do too! 

Come along with me, and discover your own inner iconoclast, as I discover mine! - Jennifer

Follow me on other Social Media: 

Iconoclast of the Day - Jonathan Barnbrook - Graphic Designer

The video below is an interview on how Barnbrook got into Graphic Design, his approach to design, and his thoughts on the human condition within design. His thoughts on design and what made him want to be a designer and express himself creatively that way, is exactly how I have felt for a very long time, as well.  He is an iconoclast in his own right. 

P.S. The tone of the blog will be serious, introspective, humorous, etc. 

I plan to blog three times a week minimum. If there is something I am loving that needs to be blogged about right away, you better believe it will be done ASAP!

Iconoclast Lip Color of the Day: MAC - Playtime