“THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A GOOD NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE TO CHEER YOU UP”: THE WHYS AND HOWS OF MOTORCYCLING by Dave Reeves

From Arthur No. 35, in stores now…

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Illustration by Lale Westvind. “You’re going to need a good orange or pink leather jacket and a helmet with a Mohawk sewn into it. People think motorcyclists wear this stuff because they are dicks. Not at all. Motorcycle people dress like assholes in order to be noticed. The rider wants you to hate him, because not being seen on a motorcycle is to risk being invisible forever more.”

LET ME FINISH
by Dave Reeves

Gash, Crash, Ash: Nobody Rides for Free

If ever the world gets to be too much there’s nothing like a good near-death experience to cheer you up. I know this because I got one parked in the driveway.



It’s called a motorcycle and you need to get one. Cheap insurance. Less gas. No pesky seatbelts. And those two wheels mean inherent instability, a condition familiar to readers of this magazine.



Admit it, when you’re stuck in your cage in traffic and a motorcycle enthusiast blows by on a rolling vibrator with a girl hugging onto him real tight you hate him. That’s the natural reaction of a loser when confronted with pure energy conservationalist. Despite all appearances, a stinking apehanger Harley rider and his niece risk their lives to use less gas, tires and common sense than anybody in a car. The man is hero, a conscientious objector to the oil wars. He and his ilk have the moral high ground on every liberal in his gas guzzling, slave labor-manufactured Prius.

Sure, a lot motorcyclists gang up with mean names like Mongols or Cretins or CHIPS. That’s just to cover up how much they care for the earth. I’m here to tell you from long experience that motorcycle gang members don’t waste water by showering, hardly ever even use a toilet and if they do, they never flush. 



No, you cannot borrow mine. A motorcycle, like guns and heroin, can’t be lent out. This is because of the Death in it. Nobody can hold your hand to walk you into something cool as Death. Nossir, you got to walk that lonesome valley all by yourself.



So come and join the friendly world of motorcycling, a sport that you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life, however short that may be. Here are some helpful pointers to help you get the rubber on the road.



First off, don’t go running your mouth about buying a bike before you do it. Keep it hush-hush because people who love you are going to beg you not to get one. And they are going to cry. But people who love you be damned. What do they know?



Your so-called family members will fixate on the tabloid dangers of motorcycles, overlooking the myriad health benefits. For instance, there is no way to smoke while riding a motorcycle. And you can cry all you want inside your helmet and no one can see you. I know that crying isn’t really a health thing, but it was all I had.



They say that the first week you ride your bike is the most dangerous, except, of course, for your last week. Hee hee. Gallows humor is the funnest part of being a “donorcyclist.” It’s a way of coping, because it ain’t nothing nice on the street. Traffic snarls and jams. Riding safely is about making choices rapidly, any of which might be your last. Chances are that a driver will apply ketchup to a French fry while taking a left and BAM. All those right choices you made were for nothing. So, yuk it up while you can.



You’re going to need a good orange or pink leather jacket and a helmet with a Mohawk sewn into it. People think motorcyclists wear this stuff because they are dicks. Not at all. Motorcycle people dress like assholes in order to be noticed. Same thing with the loud pipes. The rider wants you to hate him, because not being seen on a motorcycle is to risk being invisible forever more. How many of my two-wheeled brethren will ride out this evening only to see the dawn in Valhalla? Not enough to stop global warming.



There’s no rhyme or reason to who gets chewed up by the road. Riders both good and bad are routinely mashed up by random winds, sexting and 16-year-olds. Nothing to be done about it except pay it forward at the blood bank.

Motorbikers develop a spiritual side because a lot of their friends are dead. As a responsible ‘cyclist you’ll learn little tricks like keeping a flask in your suit to put the fun back in the funeral. Funeral tip: never Ouija board with the widow!



The next step to becoming a motorcyclist is to decide with which brand he or she affiliates. A motorcycle is a fashion accessory, like a hat for your ass. These are some helpful guidelines as to who rides which type of asshat:



Harley Davidson- if he isn’t a dentist then there’s a 90 percent chance that he’s in need of one.


Honda people – chicken hands.


Triumph- soccer not football.


Kawasaki- kills Armenians like Turkey.


Goldwing- half a Buick.


BMW guys- overserved Bloody Marys.


Ducati- Catholic damage, likes to rage.


Two-stroke dirt bikers- conceived in a porta jon.



When purchasing a death trap it also may behoove one to consider the reputed reliability of each manufacturer. If history is a guide, Bavarian Motor Works are proven in all terrains, as BMW’s have blitzkrieged Moscow, chewed up Tunisia and flown the English channel. Conversely, no one has ever flown a Harley Davidson airplane, anywhere.



It’s important to pick your machine carefully as you would a religion, as you’ll have to go to the Mechanic to drink shitty wine, pay obeisance and tithe one or five times a month. The first rule of fixing a motorcycle is no one can really fix a motorcycle. This means you’ll get to know your grease monkey—excuse me—Grease God, very well, and over time, you might even learn to not hate him.

Mechanics say cryptic shit, charge you more money than you thought it was possible and then take a month to look at your bike. This is normal mechanic behavior. Show no fear, make yourself bigger, advance. Make offerings. They like the good stuff in life like whippets, Jim Beam and the ravings of insane women at dawn.

After the initial bribe party, if things went well, and you are cool enough, the mechanic will begin to pretend to fix your bike. You’ll renegotiate a price. After the price is agreed upon it will go up again. Who are you to complain? The combustion chamber of a motorcycle engine burns what little lead the liberals have left us in our fuels to make a golden flame to power your steely mount. Alchemy was never cheap. Whatever you have to tell yourself to pay the money and shut up. Resistance is futile, because the second rule is all motorcycles are about to break down all the time. Here’s a hint: when finally The Mechanic works on your bike chew up a couple Adderals and spit it in his drink to help him focus.

Once you get that motorcycle going, it’s totally killer, dude. The great god Pan flutes through gaps in your helmet and teeth. A flick of the wrist truncates ten foot dividing lines to little white orbs. Which reminds you to take your pills. Or maybe you did already? You can’t remember. Anyway. Riding a motorcycle is an emotional experience and, as with all emotional experiences, it helps to be a little drunk. Sober people don’t ride down the road between cars full of people watching pornos in their headrests. That would be crazy.

As with all attempts at near death, proper dosage is key. There are a lot of factors to be considered in how many beers a person should drink in order to pilot a motorcycle safely. Also, it’s important to remember what you ate that day, and if it was laced. It’s up to you to know this stuff as a motorcycle driver because policemen won’t pull you over to give you the friendly drunk reminder ticket like they do for cars. They know that, sooner or later, drunk bikers get pulled over by the great Cop in the Sky. So, rule of thumb is drink exactly one or two drinks per hour or twenty minutes of riding.

The enormity of the danger inherent in two wheeled motorized transportation forces the motorcyler to become a student of luck, and luck is a pagan thing. So, you have to worship the Devil. Buddhism is also an alternative, due to the fact that karma doesn’t kill. It is with this axiom in mind that I do a bad deed a day: steal candy from babies, prank call old ladies, litter—anything to exploit the “karma doesn’t kill” loophole and ride my machine longer. If the good die young then I’m going to live forever.


Though Dave Reeves has been riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles for six years straight, the article he wrote this month scared him from riding anymore. Dave Reeves chickened out and bought a truck. He is a cowardly war mongerer. Dave also writes movies and is probably working on a book.

[ENERGY JUSTICE] "Siphon Your Way to Financial Freedom" by Dave Reeves (Arthur No. 17/July 2005)

Originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 17 (July 2005)

illo by Greg Cook

Siphon Your Way to Financial Freedom
by Dave Reeves

1. Pick your siphon
Get a clear hose, six feet long and at least an inch in diameter. Make sure you get a thick-walled hose because you are going to have to push it all the way down the gasshole of an SUV. Hardware stores sell them for about a buck a foot. Get a five-gallon gas can while you are at it.

2. Find a target
SUVs’ 40-gallon tanks are the most profitable vehicles from which to liberate gas. The sense of panic the SUV driver feels when his behemoth gets less than the normal ten miles to the gallon is an added benefit.

Try to pick a full one and don’t be deterred by silly gas tank locks which are merely cosmetic and can be turned with almost any key.

Donut shops provide great gas hunting because it’s like a law that police cars have to be all the way full all the time.

3. Sightlines
Getting caught siphoning is not cool. So pull your vehicle next to the target and open up the doors to make a little room where you can do the deed unobserved. Put your gas can on the ground in between the doors. If someone eyeballs you pretend like you are changing clothes.

4. Hose pushing
Push the hose down into the target tank till you think you hit the gas.

5. Start sucking
Start sucking on the hose and get the gas going. If you were smart and got the clear hose you’ll see the copper-colored nectar coming and be able to get the hose out of your mouth and channel the flow into the intended receptacle. If you sleep on this step your breath will smell like west Texas for no less than three days.

6. Drain the pain away
Once the siphon gets going it will flow steady and strong into your gas can.

The “Siphon Effect” can be explained with all sorts of scientifical facts about how “atmospheric pressure” maintains the vacuum you created when you sucked gas from the higher “gravitational potential energy” up in the vehicle which seeks to stabilize itself by flowing into the can on the ground, but all that bullshit obscures the fact that the “Siphon Effect” is actually just magic.

I can get five gallons in four minutes flat. That’s three bucks a minute, and you can’t make that at Walmart.

THE WILD AND WONDERFUL WHITES OF WEST VIRGINIA

Recently ballistic plastic design advanced to a level where Crackro-American people could be filmed in the wild. So, Julien Nitzberg lived spent a year among a Clan of mountain folk in order to examine the habits and rituals of Jessco White aka “The Tap Dancing Outlaw” and his kin.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia studies each member of the White family tree with detail and empathy reminiscent of William Faulkner’s treatment of the Snopes Family. Follow the White Family Tree up from the roots of tap dancer D. Ray who knew 52 more tapdance steps than any other dancer through the trunk of Jessco who kicked those steps until he was the most famous man in West Virginia to the present branch of hyperactive great grandchild, flicking the camera off and vowing to commit patricide.

Nitzberg examines the traditional rituals of mountain folk such as “Mousey” White’s mission to rape her husband upon release from jail. We are also allowed to witness the mourning rites of this Noble Clan which may include murderous “rampage” accompanied by a three-day shootout with police, or run into traffic and “just get run over.” For the Whites there is no in between.

The music and choreography are original. The costumes are excellent. The dialogue is comparable to the best of Rudy Wurlitzer.

Please take the time to see this groundbreaking documentary before domestic stabbings, crushed-up pills and unsupervised gunplay kill off the last Rebels in an increasingly conformist society.

More: wildandwonderfulwhites.com

DEFENDER NINE: "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." —Paul Gauguin

IF YOU MISSED THE LAST EIGHT OF THESE HERE’S THE QUICK PITCH:

Even though the only thing Che ever put on his shirt was blood, sweat and little bits of traitor brains,

Andre the Giant doesn’t have a posse,

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and by the time anybody got around to defending Brooklyn it was just another Alamo,

the revolutionary bent of the modern T-shirt fad suggested that, despite years of anger management classes, behavior medication and lack of decent education Americans can still get mad enough to shell out twenty something dollars to be rebellious. Which means a lot, considering votes are free.

Young people sporting the shadow of the AK 47, cameos of violent revolutionaries and whatever Shepherd Fairey decided to steal that week did so in order to appear dangerous, which is often all that is needed to keep predators in check.

In short, the T-shirt kings of the last century had misunderestimated azimuth in the vacuum of pop, overshot fashion and ended up in politics.

It was with these fads that I rediscovered hope in the generation with the X hung on it. I wasn’t the only one. Continue reading

Defense Industry Report VIII: WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD CRIMES GONE?

So. 9/11. Boom Boom. Civil rights canceled. Special Delivery. Airmail. And woe is us, for the forked phallus of Wall Street was the lodestone of the Bush Gang, without which maps and words lost meaning, until Operation “Enduring Freedom” kicked down the doors of the wrong war.

Most of the real terrorists were killed at the crash site, so the Department of Justice took advantage of aggressive new statutes to give a violent monster named “Free” twenty years of jail for burning down a beautiful young Truck. National discourse about this chain of events was relegated to sloganeering as the recently purchased Fourth Estate parroted the “For Us or against Us” hokum coming from our beloved “leaders”.

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The message to The Left was clear: Motherfuckers ain’t up against The Wall no more. A New Dark Age was upon us, complete with thumbscrews and crusaders. So, all the protest kids lost their phone numbers, changed aliases, switched partners and cooped up in different crash pads. Scared. Riots failed to occur where they were guaranteed before and, consequently, tomatoes lost their flavor.

I put my Defend Brooklyn militia project on the back burner. Who knew what a “terrorism czar” was, or what he thought about jingoistic AK 47 t shirts? The Brooklyn we were defending had been overrun, anyway. By people like me, who I hate. It was fucked up.

see what happens if you sleep on defense

The profits accrued during those <911 days afforded me the scratch to start looking for a neighborhood with hardwood floors where I could dig in and the copycat hipsters couldn’t follow me to make my rents go up. Queens was too complicated and there were too many honkies in Harlem. The South Bronx had real potential as the place from which to Defend Brooklyn.

The great restructuring of American cities by Robert Moses has rendered the south Bronx into a prep jail. The rate of incarceration was so high that certain surviving elders felt it wise to teach a lethal fighting style to the local youth in order to enable them to stay out of gangs.
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It was a good pitch, anyway. Soon “Jail Karate” had a producer and some Swedish television station showed interest. (Films like “Jail Karate” constitute escapism in Sweden because an effective social system has dulled Svenski graffiti, hip hop and street violence to the most boring in the world.)

Jail Karate’s thesis dovetailed nicely with the previous Defend Brooklyn work and helped me define the nature of the resolve worn so readily on so many T-shirts. The clannish atmosphere of the various dojos and the vulgar noblesse oblige of the Bush administration made me want to conjure a serious, violent left-wing militia into existence, if only just to have someone to talk to.

Inside Man bank robbers

Friends of mine from New Orleans told me about this guy named Jac Currie hacking the “Defend Brooklyn” meme with “Defend New Orleans.” Apparently he was claiming that he was the genius behind the brand that was sweeping the nation.

It didn’t bother me that much as I was busy parsing what it meant to “Defend” a neighborhood with a bunch of Five Percenters and Werner Herzog’s production manager without getting killed. I’d become inured to salon crusties making chippie money off my reverse prole drift since the third weekend.

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the original bite defend new orleans

Jac Currie’s plagiarized “Defend New Orleans” shirt had an old musket which will make a nice paddle the next time they blow the levies. I won’t even bother to crack on the skull-with-mohawk stencil stolen from Manic Panic hair dye kit. I emailed this Jac Currie and told him that I was about to hire a bunch of lawyers to monkeyfuck him if he didn’t quit messing with my Defense Industry project. I figured that would be all it took, as the threat of a righteous copyright litigation had worked on all the other wannabes.

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Biters copying my work all over the country proved that I had a nationwide mandate. This spurred me to try and create more complex types of manipulation than just a T shirt. I was going to use my enormous talent as a documenter and a writertarian to subvert the dominant paradigm from within the military industrial entertainment complex, and make tons of money.

My first assignment was a piece on Larry Clark for The Face magazine, from which I quote myself, respectfully, with permission:

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You are familiar with Larry Clark’s photography even if you have never perused his seminal photobooks Tulsa(1971) or Teenage lust (1983). Before Larry was a film director he was already ‘the photographer who changed American films and photography.’ The proof is found in the works of Mario Sorrenti, Nick Knight, Terry Richardson, Juergen Teller, Corrine Day, Nan Goldin, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Alexie Hay, David Armstrong or Steven Klein (whose work graces the cover of this magazine).

So many photographers have bled Larry’s art for their advertising work that Larry has been implicated as the father of heroin chic. One critic so profoundly misunderstood the situation that he said “Kids” looked like a bad Calvin Klein ad.’ This is why Larry refers to anyone in the industry as “fashion cunts.”

“They got it all wrong. They don’t understand it. I’m documenting real life. They thought it was all about the drugs. They take what I do, use it and make a lot of money at it. My art is personal. I don’t fucking sell clothes. And then some art director goes out and buys a book and says ‘Here it is! This is the next ad campaign!’ Is that supposed to be talent?” Then Larry calls them cunts again.”

TULSA 1971

It was unnerving to listen to Larry rail about photograpers who’d stolen his style while they took the picture of him, as if Larry hadn’t shot a guy over a poker debt.

At the time, I thought all the outrage was due to Mister Clark’s prison inculcation, as his conversation is peppered with dogmatic rules like “Don’t talk for nobody,” “Get people back” and “Don’t pop off with no antisemitic bullshit.” Plus, it was hard to hate Steven Klein and his boyfriend as they were nice, cute, and didn’t call anybody the “C” word while their assistants made us coffee. They even let Larry pet their great danes.

The plagiarism implicit in mimeo art and sampled music had eroded the ethics of the arts world allowing Larry to be brazenly robbed in more than one format. If you believe a 19-year-old is capable of being the “creator” of a feature film like “Kids” then you might believe Larry Clark made Gummo, pissing him off all over again.

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I didn’t know that having someone successfully plagiarize your work is akin to an artistic rape, resulting in a bastard which the artist can neither claim or deny. Or how distracting it is to lay in bed night after night thinking about how you are going to hit somebody in the head with a brick for pissing on your life work.

It wasn’t until I got the first emails accusing me of being the jerk for stealing Jac Currie’s idea that I began to understand the rage.
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I was lying in bed, too angry to sleep, realizing that if violence was part of the Defend Brooklyn ouvre then plagiarism of that work demands a violent response. Or else I lose my tough guy rights. I called Jac Currie’s answering machine and called him a fashion cunt and told him I was serious about the lawyers and the monkeyfucking. For some reason I got no return call.

Then Hurricane Katrina hit. The “Defend New Orleans” flag made great video bites for the national news, emblematic of the necessary feel-good story about town pride bringing people together after a racist storm. Someone sent me a link of Jac Currie claiming the Defense Industry as his own on television.

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I couldn’t believe it. After all my revolutionary talk and half-assed planning it had been stolen by a shakey-voiced party chaser wearing my name out like a bitch. Then I recognized him. The salon bedhead. The hundred dollar jeans slouched off the ass. I saw him get off the RISD bus. Jac Currie was the very guy we were Defending Brooklyn from! Of course he would be related to that thieving-ass Ellen

I called some evil people I knew and plotted a trip to The Big Easy.

COME STALK THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS IN THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT: ANATOMY OF A BITER