MAILING LIST SIGNUP
Nearing two months later and his demise feels like an already distant memory yet immediately accessible traumatic event, the latter of which I will indulge in therapeutically graphic detail so content warning. My close bonds had encouraged me to at once feel as sad as I needed, but also all the necessary resentment. So until I’m done pawning off my dad’s death, I won’t rest at night in peace. That said I might have low-key undiagnosed narcolepsy.
The question still spins in my head of whether he died fast and relatively painlessly or if it was a miserable and lonesome exit. I’m gonna admit I hope it leans to the former.
As I edit this essay, the power’s been out for over an hour, so I’ll replay in my head Dan’s dissertation of his music’s origins in relation to his father, and how I’ve realized—as an outdoor bedroom filmmaker projecting onto Dan’s creative journey—the parallels I need to relate through to not feel so damn alone. [Cause y’know it’d be nice if people in your local personal life reached out, but it’s apparently easier to not make the effort and instead excuse themselves with the it’s-too-awkward-at-this-point card, so I like to think that if they did reach out I’d say “naahh it’s fine fuck off” anyway].
Deathconsciousness was borne from the death of Dan’s father; Open Doom Crescendo birthed with the demise of mine.
Similarly to his dad dying suddenly 2 days after a clean bill of upswing health—my dad was just cleared out of months of hospitalization / rehab, recovery on the upswing, then dying suddenly 2 days later. And he had at last fully relented off alcohol and smoking, go figure. [The rehab was for mobility, not detox]
Dan spoke with me about the necessity our bodies have of dealing with trauma. Discovering our fathers’ bodies isn’t something we should punish ourselves into reliving regularly. If I go out of my way to actively replay the act of turning dad’s already-cold-&-death-smelling corpse, the feeling of futilely pushing his chest to the guiding of 911-on-speaker, how easily I must’ve broken a rib on the first pushes, and the uncanny wheezes deflating out of his foaming-out mouth and that face I’ve gotten so used to resenting / pitying / feeling-guilty-towards… if I go out of my way to actively replay all this, it’s not exactly constructive.
But at some point we deal with it to necessity. Whether it’s Dan crying a year after, or I on the megabus to Toronto (but pragmatically, so I don’t non-sequitur sob when asking strangers directions to Front street (it was not in front)).
But for clarity, my crying was out of processing dad’s death and my unreconciliated relationship with him—not because I was taking the megabus nor because I had to go to Toronto. Not sorry Toronto-bashing Montrealers; your audiovisual gatekeepers are even more impossibly pretentious here than there.
Open Doom Crescendo is a bazillion things. One of them is reckoning and mourning my father in advance. If you think I’m retconning that for my own hype, then look no further than the part of the film ~13 minutes in where I tell dad to suck a duck’s butt. And while any of you naysayers are at it, y’all too! It’s almost too well-timed, that during a heated exchange about how Mom and I have to pay for his wrongs, I commanded him to not die until after I’ve finished the film, cause he will not drag down the one self-actualizing thing that gave me existential purpose.
So it’s indeed poetic that I finished the film, then he came home, settled down, and left for the last time those next few days. Guess he had the last say—forcing me to get his funeral done with days before taking his ghost along to the Paradise.
“Today could be your day.”
The whole time producing ODC, I was racing against dad dying any day. The guy never took care of his health and regularly had crises. He similarly collapsed in the exact same spot some summers back, but we were there in the moment to find him and phone an ambulance in time. And the selfish part of me hoped I could complete the film before he really went through with it, cause he had already fucked our lives enough and he wasn’t gonna fuck the one metaphysical thing that would transcend him, especially since he clichéd-didn’t give a shit about and disapproved of my art.
To this day I reckon with how isolating this specific creative space is.
But we do not create outsider art for approval or cause we got permission—whether from our father or institutions or gatekeepers, all conveniently patriarchal.
We do not record into a pinhole mic, film a 3-hour odyssey with a poor man’s proto-DSLR, give everything we got into a thing that no one wanted or was waiting for cause it would impress people into loving us.
We do it cause we don’t have time to wait, nor would we have waited. And I’ve seen enough personal and external suffering to get that the world is largely set up to not give a damngod crud about art from outsiders.
Thus the very act of exerting that art as outsiders is an act they cannot take away from. It’s a mic they cannot undrop and a projection of light they cannot undigitize.
That’s why I will always look to the outsiders and the ones who made their way without the capital or beauty privilege or instant access. Even if I never find the outreach that the insiders do, I don’t ever have to compete with them. I don’t even need to brag cause bragging is the desperation to convince I and them that I outdid them. Open Doom Crescendo is a hard fucking fact that I outdid them. And if you think you’re better than us radical outsider artists, then YOU go make a 3-hour narrative epic with the resources I scraped; YOU go produce that feature-length Deathconsciousness-equivalent that’ll save as many lives as it has.
It’s not a coincidence that music inspires me more than any other art form, even through cinema. People ask what’s the genre of ODC and I have a much more natural time referencing lo-fi metal than I do “existential adventure” or “Asian futurism”.
By peanut-butter-spreading the legacy that Dan has ushered—this through my own medium—I know what I’m giving is different and matters. Because no one else is making the narrative cinema-equivalent of an alternative lo-fi progressive metal post-punk punk rock hip-hop concept album. And no one ever will until even people with the metaphorical-if-applicable cojones brave my work to the point that even plagiarizing posers pay attention.
I love you to Hell and back and back again Dan. Thank you for having me in your excellently nice life.
Make the thing no one asked for. Launch it at the posers and hacks. Make, protect, teach. Find the ones who’ll care. They’re out there.
We’re not waiting but we’re out here.