Monday, September 8, 2024

Join the Army: It’s the Answer to High Gas Prices

by Mills-McCoin
Illustration by Tim Dorsey
Army recruiters across the nation are under fire these days because of how they treat recruits who change their minds about surrendering their decision-making rights to the government (aka “joining the army”). There have been instances here in Houston at the Greenspoint Recruiting Station where the recruit-ers tell the recruit-ed that they’ll go to jail if they back out of their “binding contract” to a pre-enlistment program called the Delayed Entry Program.
I pondered all of this madness over whiskey and thought to myself, “Those sons of bitches.”
And then it hit me like shrapnel! I should see about joining the U.S. Army.
With only 48 hours to complete said task, I quickly climbed on to Ol’Reliable- the internet (or “internets” as our beloved Commander and Chief refers to it/them). is a well-oiled burrito filled with information, search engines, online applications and melted cheese. I perused the virtual grounds for a few minutes before searching for jobs. The keyword I searched for was “journalist”, which returned one career opportunity- Public Affairs Specialist (see Joseph Goebbels, I thought).
Public Affairs Specialist, obviously the most difficult job in the Army these days, consists of “researching, preparing and distributing news releases on Army personnel and activities”, amongst other patriotic responsibilities. Perhaps this job should be outsourced to one of the high dollar Hollywood PR firms (there’s a wholesale “tax dollar” joke in there somewhere). They take movies and actors of the same ilk as the U.S. Army and make them sing. Keep in mind: Arnold Schwarzenegger is their governor. Do you know what kind of “spin” one must be capable of in order to sell that idea to a general public of crazy people (California)? Wizardry.
I wonder why there aren’t more of them working in the public sector? Oh that’s right! THEY WOULD BE POOR! If you can manage the “public affairs” of the U.S. Army then you should be paid more than $22,000 per year. I’m thinking add two or three zeros to that salary and even James Carville would be interested in the job; or whoever handles Satan’s public affairs. Well wait a minute- the U.S. Government handles Satan’s public affairs, right? Wow, our future gets bleaker with every crap joke.
In any case, I explored for a bit longer and discovered the “Chat with a Recruiter” feature. And I’m sure it’s a lovely feature but “Chat with a Recruiter” doesn’t work well with Macs, which should alarm everyone because it means that the enemy is probably NOT using Windows Vista. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of using Windows Vista then you know that when it comes down to issues of National Security- we’re fucked.
After several minutes of cyber-battle, I decided to take on these salesmen face to face; so I immediately headed over to the U.S. Army Recruiting Station on West Gray between Waugh and Dunlavy.

At the door, I was greeted by two life-size, cardboard cutouts of one white soldier and one black soldier, both holding huge guns. The office itself was barren: no books on the shelves, no computers on any of the desks and only one army-man to field my questions (He was a beastly man with a look of regret on his face). It was sad and pathetic. How in the hell would you entice someone to join the Army in such squalor?
Well, they actually have an answer for that- up to $40,000 in enlistment bonuses. These bonuses are based on the recruit’s educational attainment and performance on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). I was told that the average score is considerably less than 50%- and that scares the shit out of me.
I left after a half hour of the commission-driven sales-soldier trying his damnedest to convince me that joining up was a good idea.
If anyone wants to join the Army, it should be for reasons of insanity, patriotism or a love of violence. Cold-blooded cash should not be your catalyst for such a grave decision. You’re a common street thug if money is you’re motivation; and we’re already overstocked with those in Washington- which begs a question: Who am I supposed to vote for in November if I want these enlistment bonuses cut from our National Spending?

Thursday, September 4, 2024

From Solid Earth to Primordial Water | Profile: Angelbert Metoyer

By Evan Dunivan

Time (A) + Memory (B) + Moment (C), at New Gallery/Thom Andriola, running September 13th – October 18th.

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” While Francis Bacon’s statement may be from nearly four centuries ago, it is an undeniable truth that cannot be stained by the confines of Time. Regretfully, in the 21st century, very few artists’ primary concern is the deepening of the Mystery. In such seemingly disparaging points in history, it is refreshing when an artist or group of artists appears on the scene with the ability to simultaneously bring depth and light to the Mystery.
As I set foot into Angelbert Metoyer’s spacious studio/laboratory, I am immediately given the impression that there is never a shortage of ideas, visions, or energy for this ambitious artist to channel into an eclectic assortment of work that takes one through aeons of time and into the transformation of Man. Metoyer’s original formula and approach have garnered him attention from museums, galleries, and collectors throughout the world. Over the course of the last 13 years, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations have been featured in shows throughout the U.S., as well as China, Cuba, Germany, and Peru, to name a few.
At first glance, you may find yourself dismissing the thousands of pieces lining the walls and taking up most of the floor space in his studio as the work of another Basquiat-derived artist serving up a blend of esoteric cryptography mixed with random Divine symbols and signs. However, one soon realizes any generalization of the sort would be an insufficient explanation for the visionary work that comes through Angelbert Metoyer.
Metoyer uses his art as research to delve far beyond the material plane of thinking. His ambition soars into cosmic concepts of the utmost importance that draw upon the mystical influence of William Blake or Jacob Böhme. Looking into one of Angelbert’s many pieces that are immersed in esoteric themes, you immediately recall that this is an example of what artists of all media should be living up to. To use art for anything less than a research and expression of Life is of little to no importance. With his unique concoction of symbolism, numerology, and enigmatic diagrams, all accentuated by a masterful fusing of colors, Angelbert Metoyer is reviving the long forgotten importance of Sacred Art. Throughout his works, you will find the common threads of Native American mythology, the astronomical importance of the Dogon tribe, and the frequent usage of ladders that seem to signify the axis mundi or possibly the portal of the soul. As I study one his pieces, War with God from the 2024 exhibition Dark Energy Splitting the Universe at Paul Rodgers’ 9W Gallery in New York, there is a sense of hypnotic captivation akin to Vajrayana mandalas and yantras.
Additionally, much of Metoyer’s inspiration is rooted in his family’s Créole heritage. He was born on 7-7-77 with a sixth finger on his left hand and a veil of skin over his face, auspicious signs that have become somewhat of a trademark with those who follow his work. Metoyer is the 13th Angelbert of his family, whose matriarchal lineage comes by way of Marie Thérèse Coincoin, a slave born at the Louisiana French outpost in Natchitoches. Coincoin was purchased and eventually freed by plantation owner Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer. Due to King Louis XIV passing the decree known as Code Noir, Coincoin could not marry Metoyer, but gave birth to 10 of his children. Once freed, Coincoin is believed to have received about 68 acres of land from Metoyer, as well as a generous land grant of around 660 acres from the Spanish king. Between 1794 and 1803, the series of land grants and purchase of several slaves are said to have led to the establishment of the Melrose plantation by Coincoin, making her the first freed African woman to own and operate a plantation. Additionally, she and her descendants are responsible for establishing the Créole community of Isle Brevelle and the first Catholic Church run by free people of color, the St. Augustine Catholic Church. Metoyer’s family has since become the subject of numerous articles and books that detail the development of the Créole people.
The integration of Flesh, Spirit, and Soul seems to be a focal point of Metoyer’s continuing research. Over the last several years, it has attracted the attention of many fellow artists and musicians, most recently poet/musician Saul Williams. Angelbert supplies the artwork for Williams’ latest release, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!. The album gained worldwide attention last year with Trent Reznor on board to produce it, as well as much hype centered around the plan of making it available for free on the Internet. Despite somewhat mixed reviews and disappointing results from this marketing approach, the album exposed Saul Williams to millions of new fans across the world, and provided many with a first time glimpse into the art of Angelbert Metoyer.
As of late, Metoyer has been preparing to debut a portion of his newest work at his upcoming Houston show, Time (A) + Memory (B) + Moment (C), at New Gallery/Thom Andriola, running September 13th – October 18th. Those fortunate enough to make it to this exhibition will be rewarded with the showing of Metoyer’s epic 13’x 13’ piece The House of Warriors. This piece has already received attention after being featured in shows in San Diego and Dallas, amongst other cities, and will surely be a focus at his upcoming show here in Houston. Additionally, September will mark his return to New York with a series of works debuting at the Dactyl Foundation. Before the end of the year, Metoyer is sure to be busy with his soon-to-be released book of collected works, I-AOI. He will also have several more shows throughout the U.S., including an exhibition at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas, and will participate in the Richard Wright at 100 exhibition at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN at the famed Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
At 31 years old, Metoyer has reached a crucial spot in his life and work where he is now ready to tie the last fifteen years of research together in an encyclopedic fashion. “Most of the work that I am showing is part of an ongoing experiment,” he says. My guess is that Metoyer’s ongoing experimentation will place him within a long line of prolific thinkers and doers who will be remembered for translating a vision of Mankind’s ultimate purpose for thousands of years and counting.