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Jess Williamson closing a living-room-show | Los Angeles, 2014

Jess Williamson closing a living-room-show | Los Angeles, 2014

GRACE | Los Angeles, 2014

GRACE | Los Angeles, 2014

Cristina & Jocelyn | Marfa, 2013

Cristina & Jocelyn | Marfa, 2013

Destin, 2013

Destin, 2013

Troian as Juliet, post-Exiles shoot | Mojave Desert, 2010

Troian as Juliet, post-Exiles shoot | Mojave Desert, 2010

Los Angeles, 2010

Los Angeles, 2010

Haircut | Los Angeles, 2008

Haircut | Los Angeles, 2008

TRIP

by shane coffey, 2014


Part One:


It was like a warm hood being poured over my eyes. In all the confusion, it took a couple seconds to realize I’d been hit and the hood was a red curtain of blood - my blood. Before I could see, I was hit again. This time in the mouth and I was crumpled out on the cement like a snubbed cigarette. When I woke up, things were black. Oh, great, this is what death is? Shit, where are those shiny gates I heard about? Where are the angels and late friends? Where’s Louie Armstrong? And what’s that noise? The road? Sounded like a dirt road. Sounded like dirt and rocks. I wasn’t dead after all. Much worse, in fact. Whoopee me, huh? I checked my pockets for the gold - nothing. I felt around the trunk, searching for something - anything. I guess, in my attempt to find my way around the trunk, I was much too loud for whoever was driving because the radio quickly put a blanket on whatever noise I was making. Mos Def filled my ears at first. Then a pop song. Once the driver was bored of that, an old country music station came on. Whoever the captain was, he had quite the eclectic ear for all kinds of music, I thought. That, or this was a stolen car - and he was fussing with the radio until his type of tune played. I forget what played exactly, but let’s be a little humorous and say it was Woody Guthrie’s Car Song. My stomach turned. I must have swallowed an ocean of blood and tongue before we finally came to a stop. The car turned off - this is when I probably pissed myself - at least, I hope that was my own urine I smelled. The stench, a cocktail of blood, busted lips, and shattered teeth - I wanted to puke, but I held it in. Holding it in made me puke. What the hell have I gotten myself into now? Where the hell am I? The smell was awful. The driver door shut and I heard footsteps - the ground sounded like boots on rocks. My kidnapper walked around perturbed a bit. I could tell he was a large man when he stepped onto the trunk of the car - then to the roof.

“Come on, come on, come on,” he repeated.

He was looking for a signal - for his phone, I gathered.

“My man?” He asked into his phone. “I think Trip bailed on me. He was following close for awhile before the darkness swallowed his headlights right up. No, wait…hold on…yeah, I see him now. No problem, boss-man, I’ll call you back.”

He hung up and hopped off the car. Another vehicle - sounded like a diesel truck - pulled up. This guy gets out of the truck - his gait seemed lighter. He must be a smaller man, wearing tennis shoes.

“I thought you got cold feet Trip.” my kidnapper said with some kind of disturbed simper.
“No,” said Trip, who spoke towards his feet - probably pigeon-toed.
“Where the hell did ya go?”
“Gas station.”
“You ready? He’s in there,” 
“Sure.”
“Sure? What’s that, sure?”
“I mean, yeah. I’m ready. Sure. Yes. Let’s do this.”
“You don’t get all the way out here to do a job and say, ‘sure, amigo, sure, sure.’”
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Sure, you’re here alright. Sure you are.”

There was some kind of exchange between them and I heard the jingling of keys.

“You can go now,” Trip told my kidnapper.
“Naw, Trip, my orders are to make sure you do this.”
“Orders?”
“What? ‘fucks that suppose to mean?”
“Nothin’.”

Things were heating up out there.

“What, you gotta stand over my shoulder and watch?” Trip asked.
“My orders are to witness the deed, report back, and you’re in the clear.”
“And here I thought I was comin’ out here to be killed.”
“Boy, you got some head on those shoulders, Trip. Me? Kill you? I tell you what, get the job done and I’ll take you out for a beer. How’s that sound?”
“Sounds good, but, really, I’d rather do this alone, Marlon.”

Marlon, my kidnapper, calmly pressed his boots into a pile of rocks and calmly spoke, “Now, Trip. I need you to listen to me. I’ve been vouching for you from day one. I’ve trusted you from the beginning, dawg. But the brothers back there…they think you’re a spy of sorts.”
“I’m no spy, man.”
“That’s what I told ‘em. But your behavior as of late…well, I’m beginning to have doubts myself. So you listen to me…” 

Marlon lit a cigarette and continued, “I’m gonna stand right over here. You’re gonna open that trunk and get the job done. That way, I won’t have my doubts anymore. That way, we all can sleep a little better.”

There was a long silence after that.

Then Trip asked, “Do I gotta see him?”
“How else would you know if you killed the bitch?”
“I mean…I brought a can of gas with me…from the station.”
“You sick motherfucker,” my kidnapper said, sounding like he was smiling from ear to ear.
“What’d this kid do anyway?”
“Nada, my man. But don’t you worry. No family, no friends. Just another junky from the streets. This bitch won’t be missed.”
“How do you know he’s a junky?”
“Found this in his pockets.”

I heard Marlon toss Trip something. My stash, most likely. It was starting to come back to me - my day, my night. I spent most of the morning waiting on my dealer - this punk rich kid who hated eye-contact. He goes by Gold and calls his favorite product by the same name. I was particularly anxious that morning - it must have been days since my last meal. I spent the rest of the day getting high in alleyways and sucking down the Red Stripes I had stashed in Marauder’s tent. Marauder is an 80-year-old schizophrenic Cuban dude who’d been on the streets since Plato. If anyone would miss me, I think Marauder might. 

“Why him?” Trip asked.
“Don’t be stupid, goddamn it. This bitch saw the whole operation going down.”

What operation? I hadn’t the slightest clue what this hillbilly was talking about. Then again, I rarely know what people are talking about. Ever since Idaho - back when I did have a family - I was probably around 6 when that shit split - go-cart accident at the Miniature Golf place…ever since then, I’ve had problems with knowing what the fuck was going on - in general. See, my head was cracked like glass after that. I had my first taste of being fucked-up on barbituates and such on my 7th birthday, in ICU - a day after the go-cart mess.

“Are you sure he saw everything?” Trip asked.
“Well, he saw ME! And that means, he could finger me in a line-up! Now, boss-man and the rest of the crew - because of YOU - don’t really have the strongest faith in old Marlon anymore, ya dig, Trip? If this bitch in the trunk gets outta here alive, he could stumble over to the bulls, describe what happened, and I’d be arrested. Now, I know and you know that I wouldn’t rat out any one of us. But, the crew? They aren’t so sure about you…or me anymore. All signs are tellin’ me: if I get pinched, I’ll be swimming dead before I put the orange on. Once this trunk bitch’s lights are turned off, we earn our trust back. Are we clear? You kill him, I watch. That means, I know you’re not a bull yourself, and I trust you 100 percent. Then, I make the call to boss-man, maybe even text him a selfie of me and you with the corpse…then pow! He trusts me again. If he trusts me, he trusts you, and we go out for some fuckin’ beers. Do you understand? Jesus! You’re a dense motherfucker, Trip, I swear to my dead mother, rest in peace, God Almighty, boy oh boy! You ready, or what?”
“Sure.”
“Hey. Asshole. Sure? You ready or what?”
“Sure, man. Sure. Sure. Yes!”
“Sure, you’re ready. Sure you are.”
“I’m fuckin’ with you Marlon. I’m ready. No problem.”
“That’s my man Trip.”

See, I didn’t really understand one word that was just said. What the fuck did I witness earlier? I didn’t see nothing going down! No operations! No Marlons! All I wanted to do was get the hell outta there. And maybe get my gold back. I worked the streets hard for that shit! See, I rap for green on the streets. My hip-hop name is Dublin. 

The keys jingled.

“Hold up, Marlon, I gotta piss first.”
“Goddamn it, Trip, quit stallin’!”
“Sorry, I’ve been shooting coffee down my throat this whole drive. Haven’t you?”
“Alright, let’s be quick.”

I listened to the two of them piss on either side of the car. Marlon’s sounded like a flood, washing away ant homes and tearing the rocks apart. Trip peed more shyly - I bet he’s one of those dudes that tries to avoid the water in a toilet, hoping that the girl he brought home won’t be able to hear the stream. They zipped up their flies.

“Now, you’re ready, huh?” Marlon asked.
“Sure,” said Trip, all smiles. I think I heard Marlon smile too.

After a couple year-long seconds of silence, I heard the keys slide in and turn. This was it, I thought. For some reason, I remembered Christmas time in Idaho. My mom and dad were singing. See, they were a nutty pair - both Irish drunks who found joy in everything, I think. They were playing the piano - Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues - and singing the parts, accented and all. The funny thing was, I couldn’t see myself. Where the hell was I? By the tree? Was I happy? I had to be happy then, right?

The trunk opened.

…to be continued…

Alp House | Austria, 2012

Alp House | Austria, 2012

layrasparks: Shane, I saw you once, by the Echo Park Lake. You were taking a photo, and were so immersed in it, that you seemed to shut the whole world out. You didn't see anyone or anything, but the object of your photograph. Everyone saw you, though. Everybody, each and every onlooker was interested in the picture you took, since you took it with so much devotion and affinity. They all knew you were an artist. I hope you know that, too. Happy birthday Shane, and however famous you become,don't forget that.

Thank you, Layra, for your kind words and for this photograph: Spirals in the Sink x

RIP PSH
by shane coffey, february 2, 2014


My hero died today. Why? How? I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. It makes today dark. It makes me cry. It makes me pray. I don’t like it and I feel like it’s unfair. It isn’t right. Fuck you God, is what I think today. Fuck you Grim Reaper. Why him? Why my hero? Philip Seymour Hoffman, rest in peace. He’s more important to me than most people I’ve met. It’s strange: what I feel right now. There are no words but there must be words. There are no intelligent words, that’s why I must type freely, without thought - only feeling. That’s why, what I’m writing right now, is and will be scatter-brained and all over the place. I’m writing this without putting too much thought into it, but it seems too necessary. I lost someone important. We all did. Today was Superbowl Sunday. Today was a dear friend’s 27th birthday. Today was Groundhog Day. Today, Sunday, February 2, 2014, was the day Philip Seymour Hoffman died. The New York Times say it was a heroin overdose. They say they found a needle in his arm. They say they found drugs at his home in Greenwich Village. They say a lot of things. The New York Post pissed me off, reading their account. I don’t like what they say usually. In fact, fuck the New York Post. And yes, I’m shocked, as we all are. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the greatest living actors. Artists! Persons! I’m depressed, to be honest. He was my hero. IS still my hero. He’s incomparable. One of a kind. He will always be a hero to me. He will always be the person I study, the person I read on and about, the person I want to be like. The person I look up to. He was a sensitive man, I’ve gathered. Some times the world is too loud for someone so vulnerable, so available. Maybe. Perhaps that was it. That old saying. It’s all so terribly depressing. What’s P.T. Anderson doing right now? Where are Hoffman’s kids? His girlfriend? His family? Where are Hoffman’s people at right now? Fuck it, where are Phil’s people? I called and still call him Phil. Why? He’s one of those artists. I feel and have always felt like he was something different. We all did. He’s that reminder. You watch his films and think, “Oh, THIS is why I’m pursuing this profession.” When times have been bad, I always thought of Phil. He was and still is that artist who inspires me to wake up and create. And learn. And pursue. And work. Everything in me wants to give the people - who knew him best - comfort. If I, a man who has never had the honor of meeting Phil, feel this much heartbreak, I can’t imagine the anguish and sorrow those who were close to him feel. I’m writing this, wiping tears away from my stupid cheeks and thinking about Scent of a Woman. I’m thinking about Twister! I’m thinking about Boogie Nights. I’m thinking about The Big Lebowski. In all of the mentioned films, he was beautiful in…he was my favorite. Oh…Happiness! Who saw that? Phil was phenomenal and gross and beautiful and disgusting and genius. He was my professor, teaching me and ALL of his pupils how to be. How to be. How to BE. How to be supporting roles. How to be characters. How to be HUMANS. PEOPLE! I’m thinking about Flawless…one of my favorite performances of all time. Then there’s Magnolia. Watch him in that…go to school…learn. There’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. There’s Almost Famous… Jesus!! I saw these movies as a student, knowing that Phil would teach me something…teach me more than any other actor. He finds the wounds in people. The vulnerability. The weaknesses. He finds the darkness. It’s so rare, especially these days. He found the man and the boy and the alien in everyone he portrayed. Godbless him. He’s KING in my Heaven. He found that thing we’re all afraid of. Watch him and you’ll see it. You’ll see it in YOURSELF. He has taught me more than any modern artist. When I saw Love Liza, I knew he was my favorite living actor. He became one of those rare people who I placed in that high position reserved for artists who slapped me into paralyzation. He made me want to work harder, after I came-to. He made me want to become better - a better actor, a better human. And I can’t talk about Punch Drunk Love without talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman. 25th Hour? Get the fuck outta here! Even Cold Mountain! Terrible movie, but Phil? Brilliant. Hell, I hate Along Came Polly, but I find myself quoting Phil’s lines from that movie monthly. Then we have Capote. No words, right? Then we have Synecdoche, New York. Again, no words. It’s in my top 10: sincerely, one of the greatest films ever made. Then came his brilliant performance in Doubt. And who saw Mary and Max? Again, I continued to fall in love. Again, I continued to learn more. Pirate Radio was just alright, but did you see Phil on that boat?? Then he directed and starred in Jack Goes Boating…which was a limited release - I wish I could have seen him perform it live in New York (not to mention his portrayal of Willy Loman). But if you want a master-class in acting, watch that film - watch ALL of his films. His performances in Ides of March and Moneyball convinced me I liked those films (they aren’t good movies). Then The Master came out. No words. I walked away thinking and knowing, “Okay, he’s the greatest actor to ever walk the face of the earth.” And who saw A Late Quartet? If you haven’t, please watch it. Please, please, please watch it. I don’t know. I’ve left out many of his brilliant performances, but if you’re interested in a man who never let himself off the hook - a man who was never satisfied with just the SKIN of human (he needed to know the bones, the marrow, the BLOOD) - do yourself a favor and indulge deeply into his work. Please watch everything Phil has done. Today, we lost someone very important. It’s a strange feeling, mourning for someone you never met and never knew personally. But I mourn and will continue to mourn. We lost a beautiful man today. We lost someone I, and a lot of people, care about. He is and will continue to be missed. Rest well, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Thank you for all that you gave me and everybody. We love you. I love you. With all of my soul, thank you. Rest well, genius. Rest well.

“I had insecurities and fears like everybody does, and I got over it. But I was interested in the parts of me that struggled with those things.” - PSH

 

A drunk | Wisconsin, 2008

A drunk | Wisconsin, 2008

Drug bust | Venice Beach, 2011

Drug bust | Venice Beach, 2011

New York City, 2009

New York City, 2009

Troian texting me | Los Angeles, 2011

Troian texting me | Los Angeles, 2011

THEME BY PARTI