Happening in Kansas City
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March is upon us, and we are finally starting to see some hints of spring! When the weather shifts, it is time to escape the house. This month I went out and about to catch up with my old friend Charles S. McVey, a musician who plays in the Lawrence and Kansas City area. McVey has most recently been involved in the indie rock duo Ponyboy. (the band’s name includes the period), with McVey on bass and vocals and David Zey on drums.
McVey also writes music, and he has made a canvas of his body through body modification. McVey is an intelligent and witty man whom I am proud to call a friend.
1. How long have you been making music?
Well, I’ve been performing in one capacity or another most of my life. My grandfather was very pro-active starting me in my youth as a singer and bought me my first piano as well. In high school, I started experimenting with sound-on-sound type compositions and eventually started performing in coffeehouses. I started my first band in the mid-’90s, and ever since, I’ve had my hand in some sort of project.
2. How would you describe the music you make with Ponyboy., and how does it differ from what you’ve done previously?
Ponyboy. initially started as an attempt to fuse the sludge of Athens, Georgia’s Harvey Milk with the over-the-top depressive observations of Xiu Xiu. I’m not sure if that’s what it is today, but that was my original idea. I had become frustrated with the “Gay Suicide Epidemic of 2010,” and what I found to be a semi-contrived message in the “It Gets Better” movement. I decided to reach out to outsider youth with an empathic, yet non-comforting response to the same feelings. That’s sort of the gist of most Ponyboy. lyrics. Our music sounds quite different from the solo recordings on piano I made the years before, but I think there has been some level of confrontation in most of the projects I’ve worked with. The sound may change, but the attitude is usually the same or similar.
3. Ponyboy. has scored some music for Buck Angel (Buck Angel is a transmasculine porn star who is hot! hot! hot!). How on earth did that come about?
I met Buck and his wife at a Fetish Ball in Dallas, Texas, in 2010. We became friends, and I sent him some of the early “Dick Trilogy” demos. He said he was working on a new film and would like to use some of our music in the background. Most of our songs were fairly short at the time, so I proposed we write lengthier instrumental tracks to accompany the project. Most of the music for Sexing the Transman XXX was assembled from recording jam sessions and then editing them into actual compositions. The editing process was sort of my 21st-century take on the late ’60s improvisational jazz recordings made by Miles Davis. His band would just track, and then the recordings were edited down to make more stable compositions. I actually like this process, and it’s the same method we used in the composition of Ponyboy.’s 2012 release, Pussy Killer.
4. Where can our readers see Ponyboy. perform?
Currently, nowhere. I’m in the middle of working on some new ideas. I usually just tell people, “I’m thinking about things.”
5. Are you working on anything outside of Ponyboy.?
I dabble a bit with the idea of expanding into some other artistic areas but haven’t gotten anything put together. I’ve focused most of my creative energy on Ponyboy. in the past three years, which has allowed me to tap into other artistic parts of my brain via video production, album art, and performance. In 2012, we shot a remake of the viral video “1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick” to accompany the “Pussy Killer” project and received a lot of criticism and some hate mail, a first for me. Last year, we started work on a remake of a classic pop-art film. However the project has been shelved due to concerns over possible litigation. Most recently, I started working on a performance art piece only to find that some of the fundamental staples of the piece are illegal to do in a public setting in Kansas, so I’m considering doing a video version instead. Art is hard.
6. Do you feel as though you use your music as a form of advocacy?
Quite honestly, it’s the only form of advocacy I’ve really felt comfortable in participating in. I still have too much of a soul left to focus on political circles and organizations.
7. You’ve been working with music for quite some time and have a number of CDs out. Any plans to leave Lawrence to work on “making it big”?
Actually, I am leaving Lawrence for an undetermined amount of time, but plan to continue in some fashion. There might be another Ponyboy. record in the future, and there might not. It’s really up in the air. As far as “making it big,” I gave up on that long ago. I prefer having an outsider posture. Financial stability and outside support sometimes leads good artists into making contrived work in order to support themselves or maintain a lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. I’d rather just say what I want to say and not have to answer to anyone else. I like pissing people off too much to “sell out” and be nice.
8. Now anyone who knows you or has seen pictures knows that you have some gorgeous body art. Which is your favorite tattoo, and what inspired it?
It is really hard for me to have a favorite anything, and I love getting tattooed. On my left arm, a moon from a bigger image interplays with two numbers due to the placement. It creates this sort of sequence of moon-2-3 on my wrist, and I think it looks kind of like a spell. Also, I recently got a design with a buck and goat head with a pentagram between them on my lower abdomen. I think those are probably my favorites.
9. Any new ink coming in the future?
Oh yeah. Big plans.
10. And we can’t forget your piercings (I know you have quite a few, many below the belt)! How do you find inspiration for your body art?
I was rather gun-shy about piercing at first, but after I learned more, I started experimenting (or being experimented on) with piercing. At this point in my life, I really enjoy body modification and feel like I’ve been able to use it to enhance my appearance rather than detract from it. Many people outside the Body Mod community can only see the pain or the permanence involved, but it is more of an involved experience than that. I’ve found being on a serious weightlifting and diet regimen is far more painful and taxing than any piercing or tattoo. Most of my tattoos relate to one of three things: experiences, specific people, and religious or spiritual concepts, but I bet that’s the answer you’d get from most people.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
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Stay safe and get tested!
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Is there any cost?
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“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.