By Hills Snyder
There is no I in
team they say, but for Gordy Grundy, Viceroy of The Western States, “Gong
Long” is a pass play. Possibly a USC pass play,
with Lindsey Buckingham selling Cokes and directing the marching
band with a straw. I can see him from the press box where I write.
the field, tray of cups hanging around his neck like you’d
see on a kid who probably also has a paper route. He can see
the entire field
from the aisle steps that split the stadium at the 50-yard line.
And on the left, over in the corner by the fluorescent orange
foot in the end zone, is the Viceroy himself. Smiling.
And that’s pretty much [this art mans’s mantra. Shit] if it
isn’t: everything right down the middle. It’s not irony, but
it does possess a steely ascot mouth way of engaging in a lightly upbeat
notsmirk, which leaves the shadow of a doubt. To appreciate it you have
to employ a skewered, one-legged palindrome technocity in order to have
any chance of fingering it out. I mean the smirk or maybe the ascot. Whichever
it is, it’s inscrutable like Sarah Palin, but also hopey-dopey as
you’d find in a hobbit-humped-out sled garage from 1972.
All of this is to do with The Fellowship of Fortuna, a scaffolding of
images and slogans assembled by Mr. Grundy.
Now, rock for 47 seconds to Better Than: A Modern Day Mantra:
The split is right there, hiding in plain sight: Fell For. This, perhaps
the ultimate double entendre, allows the duality of lover and sucker.
is at the heart of The Fellowship, as you will surely see, if you choose to
investigate further. This is the brilliance of the system — you make it what it is
by giving it attention. Its ready form of branding makes for quick assimilation.
It can make one cry (true story — ask Gordy). It utilizes a strategy somewhat
similar to that of the Colbert Report in that it mimics that which it critiques.
But this it quickly leaves for the green hills. It really is about light, but
its gorgeous graphic acumen builds to a commentary on how branding is at work
with even the most serious of traditions. So it creates a series of taught but
flexible planar surfaces that are made of the tension between the upright and
horizontal members of its skeletal structure. It’s fun to bounce on. Basically
it functions like an inflatable castle.
There is no further
West for America. That’s what the voice-over Viceroy
will tell you in No Further West, a previous piece. He means California.
The video features a very Ed Ruscha looking title panel, and the Leslie
and The Badgers
song in a companion work, Mecca Fortune, also ably locates the Fellowship
Leslie Stevens’ voice invites empathy and hangs comfortably on the song.
She sings easy, like falling off a wood fence on purpose, laughing. The sound
of a drape laid across a favored object. Sometimes, mid-phrase she splits the
words in half, swallowing a syllable. I wish she’d use the word
Mulwray in a song, letting the frontside of the R-sound fade down the
backside of her
So-Cal optimism across the board, with an edge of thoughtful fingertips
tapping together in a scheming prayer. Reconciliation, the Trey of
Cups, but held in
the hand of a character played by Vincent Price. It’s all about the isness
and the wasness or something. And the way Gordy tells it, it’s
about the shallbeness too.
He posits a power thinking I’ve noticed and I’m just yes-ticed. Because
I choose to be. His philosophy embodies the mid-’60s New Existentialism
of Colin Wilson — your consciousness determines the room. An
early example of the power of positive thinking interpreted via quantum
Don’t write the ending till bedtime and wake up with a smile.
not insincere but it is self-seducing: rely on the kindness of strangers,
especially if you’re a stranger to yourself.
If you tell a lie, you’ll turn into a donkey.
These are just some of the truths to live by offered by The Fellowship. No,
truthfully, I made them up in a parallel universe. Actual tenets later.
It is said that Buddy Ebsen was a follower, even before there was any documentation
of the movement. Some people refuse to acknowledge this. But, as with all things
Better Than, the choice is yours, friend.
Trick me into saying the title of this piece backwards, and I’ll
go back to The 5th Dimension where I came from.
The reason I’m telling you all this, is that each week for 21
weeks, the Current will be bringing The Fellowship of Fortuna directly
to you one way or
another. Just watch this page for the next five months and go online
to view new videos, which Gordy has been cranking out in between making
I’ve chosen my favorite tenets from The Fellowship of Fortuna,
10 of them, though there seems to be a limitless supply:
1. Laughter oxygenates the soul.
2. We’ll take the high seas or no seas at all.
3. When we talk about luck, we start talking about choice.
4. Always in development, always under scrutiny, always in evaluation.
5. Use your art to prove that religion is fashion.
6. To have Sea Legs is to appreciate life.
7. Fortuna has a beautiful, intriguing face with a quirky smile, like the Statue
of Liberty or Angelina Jolie.
8. Why is there a pearl missing from the Crown of Fortuna? Because life is
OK, so I could only find eight that I really liked. But here are two more:
9. You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?
10. Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.
Melanie Safka should be offered an honorary lifetime membership.
Witness an artwork of infinite scope, universal mystery, and life-affirming
11. Still the searcher must ride the dark horse.
That’s from a Neil Young song. I quoted it in a paper I wrote
on Buddhism for a Philosophy class I took at Texas Tech in 1970. The
professor did not like
The Fellowship of Fortuna absorbs 47 times its weight in excess.
I’m finding it hard to concentrate. Fortuna is slippery when wit. I’m
just trying to tell you about Gordy so you can check out the infinite beauty
and stuff. It’s worth it. He means it. What more do you want? •
Snyder writes occasionally about art. More of his writing can
be found at www.hillssnyder.com
Report this comment
On 2/4/2009 1:03:11 PM, Anonymous said:
What a fucked up article to feature on the cover.The only part worth
printing is the last line, wich explains what the author is trying
to convey and why he
is doing it in such a convoluted manner-and withouth internet power it would
make less sense.Stick it in a new creative writing section (what happened to
the back page?) along with half of the "are they being sarcastic?" run-ons
of que que.
sorry for being so harsh- its just how i feel.
Im sure the art will be better next week!
Report this comment On 2/4/2009 2:25:41 PM, Anonymous said:
I thought it was great. The guy's website is interesting. I wouldn't mind some
Report this comment On 2/4/2009 2:27:16 PM, Anonymous said:
The artist's stuff is awesome. More graphic art than fine art, but
still. Is this "religion" thing for real though?
Report this comment On 2/4/2009 3:02:10 PM, Anonymous said:
This was just the schlep who was willing to submit his article for free or next
to free this week. They can't pay for quality, so they don't.
Report this comment On 2/4/2009 4:31:02 PM, hills said:
Dear Anonymous #1,
Thanks for sharing your feelings re the article. I always want to know
how people feel about my work, though I gather your objections are
for Gordy’s work
too. Either way, I stand by The Fellowship of Fortuna, just as I stand by my
words --- that’s why I put my name on them.
Even though I know you use the term in a derogatory way, where I come
up” is praise. As in “Man, that was really fucked up.” Or “Do
you even know how fucked up that was.” Or even “Trés
fucked up, no?”
But, just in case this parlance leaves you, well, less than fucked
up, I can offer some paraphrases. Try “delightfully marginal” --- “pleasantly
random” --- or perhaps the retro “outasight.”
Anyway, regardless of what idiom you favor, I have to ask you something:
Are you really prepared to suggest sarcasm after listening to Leslie
and The Badgers?
If so, I’m not sure that you can be persuaded, but I am sincere,
just as is Gordy. Elaine Wolff, the Editor of The Current, knows from
that this is how I feel --- that is why she asked me to write the intro
Report this comment On 2/4/2009 9:03:14 PM, Anonymous said:
haha, I loved it! Personally, my mantra of choice would be the show LOST, but
thats fine, Gordy is a working artist and aint no shame in working. Nuff said.
There was no need for language of war from these anonymous-es. Thats just plain
ignernt. Wash your mouf out.
I think it was written just fine.
Its about the next 5 months now.
Report this comment On 2/5/2009 12:48:41 AM, Anonymous said:
So whats the difference between graphic and 'Fine Art'??!!
Report this comment On 2/5/2009 12:58:48 AM, Anonymous said:
Leslie And The Badgers? Hot.
Report this comment On 2/5/2009 3:25:20 AM, Anonymous said:
Brilliant! Gordy is a visionary with a passion for the pen....I really enjoyed
Report this comment On 2/5/2009 5:39:07 PM, Anonymous said:
This is wild shit!
Report this comment On 2/6/2009 2:12:17 AM, Anonymous said:
A-OK! FORTUNA IS FOR ME!! =) I love it. it's fun. fantastic. and GOOD LOOKING!
all you bitter cynics need aliddle or alotta love....i'm going for BETTER THAN!
Report this comment On 2/10/2009 12:24:25 PM, Anonymous said:
Do we get one of these very week?
Report this comment
On 2/10/2009 12:50:46 PM, Elaine Wolff, Editor of the SA Current said:
Yes! Tomorrow and every Wednesday for the next 20 weeks a new Gordy Grundy artwork/idea
can be accessed by clicking on the Fortuna Rising link on our home page. Tell
your friends and neighbors and that coworker you sort of offended and want to
make amends with.