All posts by madgemidgely

Mandie Shattuck is a modern day Renaissance woman. She is self taught painter, writer and performer currently living in Cheyenne, Wy. Her art is a response to our shifting consciousness in our ever evolving world. Her topics revolve around self awareness and empowerment.

Post-Apocolyptic Laundry

Imagine if you will- a tech-dominated world where people are slowly trickling in.  Their one domestic responsibility is to have responsibility for their own laundry.  In divided groups at certain times, they trek down to the last slow-running river in order to beat the shit out of their clothes.  This is their way of staying connected to nature and need. However, the scene is always distorted somehow by the leftover frequencies that pollute the air.

This piece is about a  woman trying to remember the “other world” she uses to live in, and she feels a very strong desire to share these memories with anyone who will listen.  In this world, it is rarely silent, but there are only certain times when it is permissible to speak.  The tones of the reception are measuring the frequency of the output from the people, and if the speaker derails into topics not meant for discussion- the frequency reflects that.

This is a personal compilation of solo creations I have made in the last month.  I would like to add more stories to this because I want to introduce you to Maggie- and her story is incredible.  We wouldn’t know about the Laundry Lady if we didn’t recognize Maggie and her participation in bringing her to view.

Please enjoy- Post-Apocalyptic Laundry-

 

 

Perfections

My wonderful collaborator, Alessandro, has veered off into some Indian Raga path- and the smooth transition he takes into that expanded soundscape is gently adding new dimensions to the overall tonal frequency that has been our adaptations.

I am still sloppily grasping at chords and hitting wrong notes with confidence.

And by accident- we create perfection.

This new piece Most Angry Bungalow is my new favorite anthem.

To me, it speaks to memories brought up in a current moment.   The echo of the past interwoven with the present.  Like two long lost lovers, who fell out of fortune- finding themselves together again in the four walls they use to call home.   Talking in new tones as they recall a leftover yesterday that still chimes heartstrings.

This beautiful accident was simply two artists in two places who speak the same language and read the same music- but it is completely etheric- there is no proof, no conversation claiming any specific musical direction- our individual hands led by some unseen force that felt the need for this song to be reborn.  Because it is and it isn’t ours alone- Ale and me- acting simply as conduits of this reminder.

Enjoy-

If Your Local Government Wants To Thrive On Tourism, They Are Mismanaging Your Town

Name me places that thrive on tourism…

Resorts; ski, sea, tropical, Disney.

Cruises?

Destinations?  State parks, hot springs, trailheads?

Road Side Attractions… Wall Drug; Chugwater, Wamsutter, Buford population of 1.

Let’s face it- tourism as infrastructure isn’t a sustainable solution in our changing society… people save money to escape their real-life for a short-lived fantasy of something else, and there are plenty of communities that cater to that idea; locals saving their own money for a potential week of escape from a place people flock to for another place that people flock to.

Meanwhile, the hard-working locals are ignoring their own back yard because everyone enjoys a change of pace and scenery and there is no adventure left when you realize your own home town is concerned with the acquisition of money from temporary visitors.  You begin to notice businesses and services are focused on catering to seasonal visitors, which portrays an attitude that commerce and governmental spending is not concerned about local needs or desires.

It seems as though these days, every little town with no vision would like to live off of tourism- and it’s gross in a multitude of ways.

  1. It doesn’t honor its residence- it makes them buy into unsustainable ideas based on a “legend” or “myth”- it supports a fable that is long due for transparency.
  2. It capitalizes off its own citizens on a multitude of energetic levels- a buy-in of sorts- via commerce.
  3. Citizens rarely see viable returns in the long term benefit.  Revenue isn’t allocated the way citizens would agree to en mass.  Options are limited to the public.  Money speaks and we have a city that knows a cash cow when they see it and have historically used the funds from it with no regard to the everyday man that volunteers to make this kind trap possible.

 

 

When I was in my early twenties, I moved to Keystone Colorado with about five hundred dollars to my name.  It was the summer season and there weren’t many people around.  I got a job and a room in employee housing.  I would be working at the Sport Shack and renting out bikes and paddle boats and alpaca tours in the summer.  The pay was about $8.00 an hour.  It wasn’t much- but it was enough, and I would have a free ski pass come winter- that was the benefit and reason I moved to the mountain resort town.

Here are some things you may not know about living at a ski resort- everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING is inflated when it comes to cost.  Keystone Resort is in the same big company as Vail and Breckenridge and other well known high-end ski destinations.  However, Keystone was considered “the family resort”- as it wasn’t “as high end” as a place like Vail. That didn’t matter, everything was inflated.

All of these resort “towns” are filled with overpriced condos, restaurants and bougie boutique type stores.   Nothing a normal everyday person who works for the resort can afford or even wants.  There are maybe two reasonably priced eateries that are not fast food, and a couple of gritty pubs where the locals hang out and spend what they make.

For a young person, a resort town is just code word for “Work hard, play harder.”  But is it sustainable?

In my opinion- no.  I knew people well into their 50’s and 60’s who couldn’t hold a relationship and were forced to have roommates half their age in order to pay rent for houses they could never afford to buy on the wages they made.  If you weren’t in a management position with the potential of raises and moving up the corporate ladder, you couldn’t expect to see much inflation in your paycheck.  Most people worked more than one job, working at the mountain even part-time at least got you a ski pass which was at least a five-hundred-dollar value.

When you live in a resort town, you realize you must be reliant on your pass/id card.  If you don’t have it, you don’t receive the employee discount.  If you were like me and had to ride two gondolas to get to work, and you forgot to bring lunch and your passcard, you would pay $10.25 for a hamburger that cost $1.25 to make.  Employee discount brought the burger down to about $8.00, one hour of work on the low end.  I know this because I was dating a person who was a food purchaser for the resort.

When he told me this, I got very angry- not just for the employees, but for hard-working families that save all year for one weekend, or week away to do something fun.

Resorts have their own taxes.  I think at the time I was working it was around 9% on all purchases within the resort.  To add insult to injury, the place didn’t even have two-ply toilet tissue in the restrooms.  So, you could eat an overpriced burger that wasn’t that good and would probably give you the runs, only to have to wipe with weak tissue paper.   This was even the case at Beaver Creek, one of the more posh resorts in the Vail Kingdom.

I give this anecdote because it exemplifies the unsustainable nature these locations set as “normal” for the individuals who do not make top dollar for what they do, but they still pay top dollar while they drain their life energy into making more money for people with empires and networks.

Every year the resort appeared to make more, but as they restructured corporate, benefits for the little guy continued to shrink.  “Sure we offer insurance but we are dropping visual benefits next quarter, and you will be paying more for the standard health stuff because we are switching service providers, no out of network plans.”   It looks like corporate criminal money laundering in collusion with the local government within these obviously controlled environments where large sums of money are changing hands.

There aren’t a lot of positions to grow into when you live in a place like that unless you can make something for yourself- maybe start a tree cutting business, or become a builder, be prepared to pay for a license and liability insurance that won’t be cheap.

On the flip side, the corporation in cooperation with local government has the benefit that every year there are hundreds of new, young, liberated people who want a good time in nature- the types who aren’t really keen on planning for the future.   The type to move on to some other adventure and never even THINK about local politics and the amounts of currency being passed around them. They are the perfect little worker drones.  They will be worked until they come to their senses and move away or keep at it until they die.  You would be surprised how many young people die in these places.  Drugs and alcohol are always easy to find, and you can tell that there is a deep depression being covered by an illusion of “fun.”

Honestly, I did have a great time when I was there but I just love being in the mountains and this was an easy way to make it happen, however, the people that I knew during that time in my life were trainwrecks waiting to happen and I wasn’t totally shocked about the deaths that occurred after I left.

I don’t miss paying rent in an overpriced run-down condo,  whose owner was probably making bank off of a property they would never live in, nor appeared to have pride in due to only being interested in owning investment properties while living in some other state.

I realized I didn’t want to live in a tourist trap.

I want to live in a place that genuinely cares for its citizens. A town that realizes that it wouldn’t even exist without all those individuals who may not make much money that are the gears and wheels of industry and commerce.  A real place, with real people that eschews big chain retailers in trade for small locally owned business’ with a vision of spreading wealth and opportunity.

It seems like a big dream because the government and large corporations make small business ownership difficult and expensive.  The system really has its bias on bigger is better, but is it?

My hometown spends all year petitioning small business’ for handouts for one very large weeklong event that happens in July.  An event DRIVEN by volunteers that bring in MILLIONS of dollars in revenue.  Only a few hands ever touch that revenue.

To the average person, who doesn’t volunteer or participate in some way, the whole thing is a headache.  Our population doubles in size, and you know there are areas to avoid because of congestion and bad/drunk drivers.  Forget about going to your favorite eatery, you will be driving around looking for parking for an hour only to end up on a waitlist for what seems like forever.  If you are lucky, maybe you can go on your own vacation for a week just to avoid the mess of it.

Passing through town on your way to somewhere else and need a place to sleep?  Good luck finding a hotel room.  And if you do find one expect to pay triple what the pricing will be a week later.

It’s virtual insanity and our local government is one of the biggest supporters.

What about the everyday people who petition the local government with good ideas focused on the local year-round population that is not about making the city money? Forget it.  They don’t want to hear your ideas, they just want to push paper and encourage you to sign up to volunteer your time in one of the various ways the town attempts to appear to be something that it isn’t.

We have to see the local government for what they are actually about- money and control of resources.  It’s only about the citizens insofar that the citizens help them get the money and control of the resources.  But the money rarely recirculates down to the little guy, and we don’t see much happening that is beneficial for the citizenry that are the moving pieces of progress.  This needs to change with speed and force.  As citizens, we need to re-evaluate those who hold power on a local level and examine their connections and agenda.

We need representation by people who are for the people, not the representation of money grabbers who back door deal within their shady networks that leverage the citizens in their desire to monopolize a location.

It’s time for those types to go!

Let’s make towns worth living in, and if we get some visitors, “Cool, I hope you had an enjoyable experience.  Oh, you want to move here? Lovely, it’s a really pleasant place to live.  Yeah, what you see is what you get.  Not some myth, legend or tourist trap.”

 

 

 

Here Are My Albums

Ale and I have been continuing to pass each other soundbites through the ether in hopes of finally healing some dark human wound that we all possess and would like to ascend from, so you can imagine that sometimes things get weird.

These albums are no exception.  They are audio journies in long-form. They have the power to take you where you need to go- if you have the patience to listen and relax into it.

These compositions have been a pleasure to make and they really force me to be present with all synapses firing.  I am not in a preconceived attempt- I simply do what I feel like doing in a moment; that may be a vocal reading, collecting sounds or beating the shit out of an instrument in a way it was not designed to be used.

This process has developed into quite a conduit of expression and creativity that keeps me on my toes when it comes to imagination.  This is what I want to share with you.

I want you to take the grit with the beauty and awkward and the graceful interlude.   To feel all of it for yourself with no preconceived notion of where it will lead you.  All I ask is that you invite your imagination for the journey.  And thank Alessandro Muresu for any grace that comes from these compositions- he has the gentle touch that balances everything you hear within these gifts.

All of his contact info is in the video description. Subscribe to his channel, he makes new music EVERY DAY!

Let me know how it plays out for you in the end!

 

What is going on?

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill
Of hope for a destination
I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood
Of man for whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
“What’s going on?!”

Lyrics “What’s Up” 4 Non Blondes

 

I’ve been off of Facebook now, for some months.

It was my source of local relation and information about the microcosm I live within.

It was my way to know about social happenings and city evolutions.

It was the place of the updates about my up and coming 20th high school reunion.

I wonder if I threw away a useful network.

Now it’s just me and the people who are in direct contact with my daily life with no pretense.

Now it is me and animals and vegetation and Gma.

These recent days have been full of insight that comes in sparingly in regard to outside parties, however, it hasn’t stopped the insights I have been pulling in and building since before the FB exodus.

What the hell is happening in my town?

Oh, just The Story of Old in a  New Digital Era.

I am on twitter @MadgeMidgely– my local newspaper The Wyoming Tribue Eagle posts on twitter.  Almost every published article is behind a paywall.  Why then use Twitter?  I don’t think more than a handful of people follow them.    Many of these published pieces are basic AP Wire reporting from other places across the map- yet, still behind a paywall.

The most worthwhile reporting in the aforementioned periodical are obits and police blotters.  It is generic and lacks substance when it comes to the content of local reporting.

A few of the things I want to know, as of recently-is in regard to the magnanimous money drops made in our downtown area.  I want to know what the hell is happening under our noses through developing backdoor deals.   I want to know how the “Good Ole Boys” club is adapting to the digital age by funding the progeny lines of wealth, and what it means to the regular Cheyenne resident in the long run.

I don’t want to pay $14.00 for a cocktail downtown to impress anyone.  Look into the scam of alcohol pricing.

I like to go to my favorite hole in the wall pub when I get the chance and have a reasonably priced adult beverage while having a conversation with old-timer locals who work hard for people who have the money and tend to abuse their help.   Sounds like a good time, right?

My attention toward them is like a rainbow during a storm,  and each time I see these people, these residents of the city I live in, I see how time and lack of appreciation are taking its toll.   If anyone shows up to a memorial for them, it will be because of the potential for free drinks, or to brag about what a good job they did for business… That will be the end of it, until some night down the line, a patron gets drunk and sentimental, and maybe says something out of line or provocative.

These are the type of people who live downtown, but will never be able to enjoy what it has to offer as the money dumps and changes proceed without consideration to the local community.

It kind of sounds like gentrification.

Those with money are not asking what Cheyenne NEEDS as a city with a variable in demographics, however, they are putting their money where their desires are, and these aren’t “passion projects”- these are investments.

Of course, a person can invest in their own passion project, but this usually comes later once an entrepreneur type is more established.

Investments require only a passion to make large amounts of residual income.  Something that pays for itself over and over again- something the investor finds useful to their own vision and benefit.

Why does it feel like my city has no planning?

Because it doesn’t it seem to with any legitimacy.  This is a town that once was segregated by the direction of the roads- where “colored people” couldn’t purchase property in the Avenues.

It mostly appears to be a hustle and shuffle behind closed doors between people with money and vision over drinks outside of government regulation.  The government is complacent in just trying to find streams of income without actually planning the city based on its needs and developing a unique personality. Oh and some of these money streams hold government positions.

I live in a town of nepotism.

We are like the old western town fronts that were just pieces of boards propped up and painted in some sort of nostalgia that wants to shift on a dime and become “hip”- but it has no foundation for such a broad jump.   Just because it “wants to be” something, doesn’t mean that it is, or is ready for what it means for a dramatic personality shift in a drastic and different direction.

I want to think that the younger entrepreneurs in my city mean the best, and are using their wealth in that direction- but I sense they are connected to the streams of wealth that are unrealizable for the average joe, and that connection alone is going put them in places of authority that they may or may not actually deserve.

Politics is interesting as it is one of the few ways a supported individual can make insane strides by blowing hot air up innocent asses just by spouting a vision that most likely will never come to fruition in the way the average person expects-  it sets people up to become accustomed to that kind of  lose delegation through promises with little argument.

It’s time we look beyond the excitement that appears with the hope of the “next new exciting thing” and to start building something that has longevity and value to the people who call this place “home.”

We need to ask ourselves as a community, “what do we actually need, and what do we actually want?”   And that is what we need to petition for and realize- even if it means finding ways around the common construct that we take for granted to provide us infrastructure.

If those who are in tight with the acquisition of property and moving large dollar sums really want to “help” their community, they will ask those questions and listen very carefully to answers of the people.

It is fine if Cheyenne decides to be a modest but interesting destination.

We don’t need to compete if we find our own voice and integrity.  Sadly it is becoming evident that we will not be able to rely on our governing parties and their networks to ring lead that kind of mission when they have the best and easiest connections to resources.

It is going to have to be a community of people who demand transparency and who are willing to call out corruption and malfeasance, then disseminate that information to the residence to decide for themselves about.   That in and of itself is a battle of interest vs. disinterest.

Life can be hard enough without investing in politics.  Most people want to live and let live and hope they have enough to fund their life with a little leftover, or for that unexpected expense.  These won’t be the people in the $425,000 condo’s that are the gateway to the “up and coming” art district for interest.

No, the people who would actually do best in an art district, are not the seeds the city wants to be planted in that area, and they couldn’t afford it anyway.   Those people would flip the investment on its head with new ideas that don’t necessarily pop dollar signs in the eyes of investors- those ideas could be the rejuvenation this small city needs.

Now is the time to make it known that we want certain things to happen unless we settle and let go of the reigns, just to see how it unfolds as we continue to complain about the outcomes.

Your move citizens of Cheyenne, your move.