V
incent B. Rain is a pedestrian dreamer with a street view of life and a rather beat and beaten background full of warts and suffering. Perhaps he fails to understand that failure is possible or that failure might even be inevetibale. He lives by the seeming illusion that he is a genuine success and destined to leave his mark on the human consciousness. He will tell you that it's his dharma to forever persist and expound a vision that lives in his soul. The evidence would show that much of his life was a plot to avoid everything mundane in some far fetched notion that ordinary pedestrians can dream..... or can ever have any hope of seeing a billion twinkling stars up high from a gum-infested dog-soiled sidewalk. Who is this Vincent B. Rain and why should we care?

Don't we already have enough songwriters, poets, literary writers, street photographers and film aspirants? Why in hell do we need Vincent B. Rain? Is there some possibility we can have him committed to an insane asylum? Is he suffering from delusions of grandeur? Shouldn't he be a retired plumber by now or running some boring corporation? What if anything is his contribution to society? If Vincent B. Rain did not make his mark in youth, then what the hell is he thinking in a world where aging artists have no hope of anything? These are the same questions that Vincent B.Rain asked himself for decades after he decided that he was never going to be one thing, a quitter.

A Street View of Human Relevance
Rain has become oblivious to his own shortcomings. He lives by a belief that any creative visionary can "make it real" and attain a lasting effect upon others. His fundamental modus operandi is to keep on plugging just like any other serious artist or performer. That is to say, he has never given up on his songwriting and he believes that genuine efforts at poetry can be tremendously relevant in a civilization that does not often stop to smell the flowers... if it even has any flowers left. He believes that mindful photography can trancend today's vast commoditization of contemporaneous imagery. In essence, he feels that Vincent B.Rain is a brand hellbent on providing a missing substance to a human society starved for meaning. He would tell you that life, art, expression, poetry, literary writing and photography are nothing without a genuine effort at philosophical innovation.

Philosopher-Dreamer
Vincent B.Rain has often said that he is first and foremost, always a philosopher who expresses his unique view of life when he sings, recites his poetry, labors on long term literary projects or does prolific street photography. Philosophy is the nexus and heart of all Vincent B. Rain pursuits. Philosophy he would say, is not the academic study of philosophers, it is an intense reflection on the deeper meaning of ordinay life. Ignore it at your eventual peril. Rain would try to make you understand that having lived only to enjoy the passage of time, will inevitably lead to a meaningless and trivial mortal end. If Vincent B. Rain is anything, he is a dreamer in the tradition of great dreamers. The creative luminaries who have inspired him are all philosopher-dreamers, regardless that they may be known as photographers, poets or writers.

Paris

Cops & Lovers, Place Saint-Germaine des-Pres, Paris
photo by Rain, 2011 mai 18

The best escape from mundacity is obviously to dream. But how do we dream properly? What does our materialistic society know about the astonishing dream powers of ancient times? Isn't dreaming just a copout from reality? Isn't it more important to pursue social acceptance, status, income and influence over others? Do we even have time to dream anymore? Or as Rain himself would ask, "has any one of you ever had one tuly astonishing dream in your whole life?" And why aren't you having that kind of dream every night and day? And why aren't you able to live that dream? What are the roadbocks that stop all of us from achieving a utopian world?

On a down to Earth level, Rain came about a philosophy of envisionment through his own personal dreams from his earliest years. Like any artist, his creative work eventually became a practical expression of those dreams. He not only dreams constantly in a lucid sense in the daytime. He even journalizes his night dreams and has a select number of profound dreams that happened in his youth which he has mined for deeper meaning. He works his dreams daily in poems, songs, photo images and other forms of creative expression. He has often said that life without dreams is a living death more than death itself. Therefore he exploits metaphors like rain and gypsies and carnivals and vampires to suggest that we must use our ability to feel on a deeper level. The favorite metaphor of Vincent B. Rain is rain because it is the ultimate imposition of a cosmic power over the mundane plans of man. Rain the heavenly substance, is oblivious to our designs.

The Rain Method
Like many creatives, Vincent B. Rain subscribes to the idea that inspiration comes from an outside source beyond the human pale. It comes at unexpected moments. It cannot be scheduled to specific hours of the day. Inspiration might come from anywhere or anythng through free association of the mind. But the actual source is not clearly tangible. It is more attributable to the divine.

The Rain method is perhaps nothing new. It is to do and redo, to write and rewrite, to photograph in prolific quantity, and then to bring forward whatever appears to work or represent the essence that was in his mind from the beginning. For writing purposes over the last quarter century, Rain has always armed himself with an ink pen and some index cards in his shirt pocket because inspiration is too important to neglect and become forgotten. When inspiration comes, it often dissolves into nothingness if not written down. Likewise in photography, Rain is usually armed with a camera. Although it's not unusual to see him taking long walks with a camera, a bag of lenses and a tripod, an ordinary smart phone is also ideal as his camera." It's not really the camera that matters" he will tell you, "it's the eye".

The Obscure Camera
The mainstay of Vincent B. Rain's work has always been his photography, although vast amounts of it are archived and have not yet been made public. There have been cases of relatively obscure photographers who became famous only after they died because they were too busy shooting to take the time necessary to put their work out for public consumption. Rain has always felt that capturing and cultivating images is vastly more important than the time consuming aspect of photographic self promotion. Important images after all, are usually nothing if they do not become more intrinsically valuable with age.

Songwriting and Poetics
Vincent B. Rain had a long but difficult aspiration to become a singer. It was like all else, a pedestrian aproach to something that usually requires a lot of collaboration and some knowledge of music. His singing aspiration began at the age of eight in 1959 in the industrial backdrop of Akron, Ohio but was crushed by certain cruel forces. By the time Rain reached his thirties in Denver, he found it impossible to avoid immersing himself into songwriting and poetry, largely because it was the 1980s, a time when mentally fun and aberrant "alternative" music was replacing an earlier brand of rock music that was becoming watered down and often boring. Rain, a fan of early Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and Pink Floyd, thrived in the 1980s on songs from Patti Smith, Davd Bowie, The Human League (Don't You Want Me), The Flying Lizards (Money), PeterMurphy, Bauhaus, Cabaret Voltaire, Roxy Music, The Stranglers (Midnight Summer Dream) and so much other wonderful fodder for inspiration. But in contrast, when spinning a radio dial one evening in the mid-1980s, he encountered only mundane top forty garbage. Thus he told himself "if this crap can be on the radio, then I need to start writing songs." Actually he had written his first as a teenager around 1968.

Rain, by now in his thirties, encountered a few practcal and cultural problems. He was already beyond the prime of youth. He had no instrumental talents such as guitar or piano. His vocal ability was restricted by some degree of asthmatic experience. To make matters worse, he had been smoking copious amounts of marijuana for two decades until he quit in 1989. His writing talent was not exactly what it would be later. And worst of all, he had serious stage fright. Nevertheless, after being aggravated by top forty sounds that night, he decided to immerse himself into songwriting as an act of vengeance toward all the crap that has somehow found its place in the public consumption. His songwriting led to greater immersion into poetry and vice versa. Rain however and for various reasons, did not become a public performer beyond obscure local circles. Thus he calls himself a songwriter poet who is longing to work inside of a sound studio environment that he has fruitlessly dreamed of creating. But knock on wood, he is approaching the financial capability to pull it off.

You will probably not see Vincent B. Rain ever become a staple of the cabaret circuit as he detests the bar scene, rarely drinks and may never have the right musicians willing to back his performance despite his plans to try. Instead, you are more likely to encounter the songs of Vincent B.Rain only after he has engaged some time working in a studio. Otherwise, many of his songs and poems are intended for specific short and feature length films that he aspires to produce. The film aspect of Rain's high hopes are a long shot not ready for much discussion. The best of them number about a half dozen. One is a vampire comedy about an outsider artist who stuggles to make it. Rain has poured oceans of hours into attempts at this kind of writing. He has no professional film-making credentials. But he regards his well developed photographic experience as the eye that every film-maker needs to execute good projects. His skill for building plots is in need of further development. But his craft for conceiving literary and film scenes is very strong.

Literary Writing
It is highy ironic that more of Rain's time is consumed by unseen literary effort than his more readily apparent poetry, songs and photograpy. This is because Rain regards himself as a "slow cooker", the kind of literary writer who builds a very deep and well researched foundation to anything he writes. His literary writing consistes largely of written sketches for scenes that he has written prolifically. One of them is an intended epic story of outsider children based on his own childhood and many other children that he knew. This project has already consumed decades of research as well one three month journey to Europe and is not expected to be fully developed for another ten to fifteen years (ie 2024).

In addition to intensive research on past events and persons known to Rain, the development of this particular work has employed a system of memory reconstruction in order to build a narrative chronicle that will become the basis of the story. The work is an examination of several lives of outsider children. But in essence it will be a deep examination of civilazion beyond the milleu familiar to Rain and his peers. The research portion of the project will require at least two additional three month journeys to Europe as money avails. Part of this has to do with digging up some family history of being captured by the Nazis in World War Two. His mother, who came from a Catholic home, was held prisoner in a German home from 1944 to 1945 and this plays into the background of the story about these later children. Rain is also planning significant American travels to bolster research for the literary work. Rain believes that it may very well become the master work of his life although he engages many other creative projects simultaneously. The previously mentioned vampire story is likewise intended to become a literary work first before it might be rendered as a screenplay.

Rain's time has always been divided by obsessive personal studies and the creative writing that these studies inspire. Generally, Rain spends at least a few hours per day soaking up world news from the Internet and reading stacks of magazine and newspaper articles. Thus he feels attuned to the world on a day to day basis and thinks he can see it's future to some reasonable extent. Rain occasonally watches art films or foreign films but otherwise has little regard for typical American film fare and watches television no more than a few hours in an entire year because he regards it as mostly mundane and destructive to his own creative flow.

By all means, Vincent B.Rain is still pedestrian and obscure but has rarely spent a day in the last 35 years when he has not dedicated at least one to twelve hours to his craft. Rain would have you believe that writing should not follow any ready-made formula and should not be rushed. But some progress has been made. At this juncture he has written and memorized enough songs to sing a 90 minute set. He has amassed enough prime photographs that he could do gallery shows nonstop for a few years if he geared up for the actual work of making prints.

At this juncture (2014 May) Rain is more focused on his planned American journey, along with a second three month journey to Paris and France and Germany early in 2015 or 2016 to do more photography and motion image work (ie video). In 2011, Rain shot more than 8,000 raw images and short video segments in Paris and northern France including Charleville. Many of these images portray the beauty of cemeteries like Pere Lachaise and various scenes of street life. You are likely to see more of them here at some point. He cannot say specifically when he will begin to put some of his moving image work on YouTube or Vimeo.

Rest assured, downpours are in the making, and they will come only as the heavens agree.

Following are some Vincent B. Rain quotes describing his philosophy and approach to creative expression...

"Most of the news we read, and most of the movies we see, have only passing value. Poetry often amounts to a nebulous cry of personal frustration. Songs tend to socialize our biological urges but less often speak of true love. Many of the situation comedies we see on TV tell us when to laugh only by the use of canned laughter. The editor pushes a button that plays a recording. We know we are supposed to laugh. Likewise we give the appropriate Pavlovian response to Madison Avenue, whose writers deliver endless copy redefining culture as if it were just a consumer phenomenon. And the masses follow. Many people go out and purchase whatever is said to be cool in order to find the safety of membership. Thus, it was true in the Denver real estate market when a new condo was named the Jack Kerouac Lofts. Thus I have a saying. "It all ends up in K-Mart." But real culture comes from real writers, artists, orators, thinkers and rebels. Madison Avenue and Hollywood mostly just follow and distort. Don't get me wrong. Writers everywhere are struggling to get it right. But good writers never write for a market. They write for an audience. They want to reach hearts and minds even if there's no pay. The greatest reward is to give birth to somethong that will redefine legitimacy and viability, something that will empower somebody who deserves to know strength, something that will make the greatest hidden seeds grow and teach us more than the institutions of education and narrow religiosity ever could. True artists and creative writers are never poor. We feel rich and blessed to have incessant visions amidst oceans of the blindfolded."

"Good writers condition their awareness to penetrate the mundacity of everything. Banality is everywhere today, because we exist to eat. We must live instead to create something with a deeper meaning. I aspire to be your pundit, prophet, poet, essayist, philosopher, and rebel screenwriter. I want to break your ribs with laughter and make you wail rivers of tears. And when I write horror, I want to be your wanted terrorist armed with an unlicensed typewriter." "True artists and creative writers are never poor. We feel rich and blessed to have incessant visions amidst oceans of the blindfolded."

"I would not be surprised if all my work is thrown onto the trash upon my death, by some landlord who has no clue to its actual substance, no clue to what a dreamer is and no clue to what I was. Nor would I be surprised if on the other hand, I live a long life and authentically earn the audience that is more important to my work than the harsh glare of the public spotlight. As an outsider, I never could stand that particular kind of publc expectation. The purpose of great work is for it to live beyond death for the benefit of others, that they may acquire the kind of vision to experience a kind of light that was absent or unkown to them."

 




(edited 2014 May 01 Thursday)









Vincent B. Rain

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