RED DOOR MAGAZINE
Issue #19, 2017
A personal note… to the Wild Child reading this, with gratitude:
When you stand by the window
And outside life goes by
And people are just shadows
Of a dirty lie
When your heart is exploding
Will you let it burn
And you look around
There’s no return
What do you do now
What do you do now
Do you sit down and wait and cry
When it’s all too late?
When you live in a dark
And cold and chilly hole
And you know where you are
That’s the human soul
And your feet keep on walking
Leaving every hope
And children are born
All around the globe
What do you do now?
(Song: What do you do now – Savage Rose)
I’ve been walking around in circles for the last couple of months trying to find the strength to write this that I’m about to tell you. There are two lit candles and a glass of whiskey by my side, Pink Floyd is playing in the background and two little kittens (my new guardians) nap on a chair next to me, while I prepare to write what is one of the most personal editorials for this magazine. Please, bear with me.
As many of you know, Red Door has been in hiatus for quite a while, and for this I must apologize. It isn’t that I have given up on the idea of this magazine, as it has been one of my main priorities since the beginning of 2009 and continues to be one of my greatest prides wherever I go. It’s something more sinister and hollow, like the silence that creeps in on you in the middle of winter, when you least expect it.
For many of us, 2016 was a miserable year. Wherever you look there is sorrow, loss and insanity, inequality and strange forces blurring the path ahead, and sometimes the projects we love and the things we are passionate about, become a faded picture in the background as you walk blindly through the storm.
On July 10 of 2016, while in my apartment here in Denmark, I received news that my beloved ex, who was also my best friend, in many ways a voice of sanity in my head and the push that allowed me to advance in my creative projects throughout the last 10 years, had passed away in New York, at the age of 38. I’m not good at explaining these things, but to give you an idea, I can tell you, I started seeing in black and white when I found out it happened.
A talented songwriter and unbelievable musician, David Vanegas was known by the artist community of New York also for his kindness, the warmth of his heart and his ability to lighten up the room wherever he arrived. I didn’t simply fall in love when I first met him, at 19. It was as if I suddenly had been transported into an alternate reality where magic, love, humanity and hope were our daily bread and anything we could possibly dream of was reachable and part of our mutual vision.
It was in those days that, during a walk through 5pointz in Long Island City, on an open-studios weekend, David and I arrived to the top floor and saw a studio with a red door and a Horus eye above it. There was nice music blasting from inside the room and a smell of incense filtered through the corners of the door, but no one opened when we knocked. We sat by a window nearby and stared at Manhattan, wondering what kind of art, what kind of people were on the other side of that room. In a way, it represented also the curiosity we had experienced before all the other visits to artists in the area, or the happiness of finding a good book or a good record, a good meal or a good party; a reason to smile while temporarily forgetting the struggles and boredoms of living in the city.
David had been trying to create a zine for a while and had postponed the idea, but that night, it just occurred to us that if we joined forces, we could document everything we saw and everything that marveled us, and maybe by doing so, we could help others be marveled and develop collaborations in spite of not being in the same location. With him as the cofounder, as my sidekick and motivation, Red Door Magazine was born.
With his music collaborations under the segment “Confessions of a Noisefiend”, David not only told us of the classic bands that had inspired him, such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Captain Beefheart, amongst others… but also, what spoke to him as he explored, again and again, the underground venues of New York and of the US. Carla Bozulich, A Place to Bury Strangers, Indian Jewelry, and many more, presented with the humble yet sincere voice of someone who breathes and exhales music.
Those were the days, I tell you. We were happy. We levitated.
Return to the nightmare of 2016. As I stumble through the chaos of burying a great love, 15 days of being back in New York and while sitting in David’s kitchen trying to drink some coffee, I get yet another hellish phone call, once more from the other side of the planet, informing me that my husband, Henrik “Heinzz” Malm, had passed away in our apartment in Denmark, at the age of 43.
Come round two of the most intense desolation and pain I have ever felt in my life. We had only been married for a year. In spite of the ups and downs of our new relationship, my heart danced in gratitude every time I heard Henrik play the piano, for I had never met anyone who played this instrument with such energy, grace and dedication. Apart from the fact that Henrik had built a dream of a practice space for musicians and maintained it for over 20 years, he introduced me to a gigantic network of artists who were members of the union of musicians he helped found, and also all those who greeted me as if we had been friends all of our life. I never felt unwelcome in Denmark because music was our mutual friend.
As if this weren’t enough, when Red Door became a collective, and then a gallery here in Copenhagen, Henrik put on his handyman outfit and helped us build it from zero, doing everything in his power to make sure we had great sound, great lights, great drinks, and the support from his community every time we had an exhibition.
So you see, it isn’t just my loves who have departed. It is also two big pillars who allowed Red Door to take form and exist. How can one ever put some sense into those days?
The shattered pieces that are my heart now can barely bring themselves to share this very personal, intimate story with you, now that my two warriors are no longer by my side… but I believe it is important, because in spite of my personal grief, my inability to completely return to whom I was and the lack of shine in my eyes, I believe, with all of my being, that everything they taught me and those who knew them, that unstoppable passion for music, for concerts, for lyrics, for good books, for traveling, for believing in people, was not in vain. No way! I have Red Door as proof of this.
Here we are, in the year 2017, living a dystopian reality that resonates too closely to the nightmarish vision George Orwell told us about in his novel 1984. I’m sure you understand, sometimes it’s hella tough to raise my head. Wherever I look, the darkness has spread. The threat the world faces now due to those in power leaves me speechless and in tears, feeling overwhelmed and very small. But I know I am not the only one panicking and waking up with feelings of dread and disillusion.
Maybe that’s why I’ve found the strength to write you this. Because I cannot just hide in fear and sadness watching everything crumble. That’s not how Henrik and David would’ve liked to see me, nor all the other warriors who stood before us in times of war and despair.
I pick up the pieces of this beating heart and write you, because I have also been reminded by the gigantic community of worldthreaders that Red Door allowed me to meet, that there is love in the world. We are stronger. We won’t be separated. We will not be silenced.
Red Door Magazine is back, red as the fire that injustice awakens in our guts. Red as the desire to document those of us still standing. Let this continue to be an open space where you, too, can share your fight, your battles and your process. That is my only desire and my pushing force now. If I can continue providing this space, then the past 10 years have taught me well. Welcome it, please, with open arms, like a wounded friend who wishes to continue standing by your side, until we all, together, once again, see the sun.
I leave you with one eternal, beautiful memory. In August of 2015 David traveled to Denmark to meet Henrik and attend our wedding celebration, which we chose to call “A Feast of Friends”. Over 13 bands performed, around 300 people attended, and I for a second thought I would explode in happiness.
When we returned to Copenhagen, David and Henrik sat on the floor next to a crate full of vinyls and started comparing notes on bands they went nuts for. They hugged and laughed and then, for who knows how long, took turns telling me about a band called Savage Rose, which they both really digged. They incessantly repeated I would’ve loved to see the band live. Savage Rose started in 1968. They’ve released more than 20 albums. A long period from the mid 70s until early 90s, they turned their back to the international record industry. During this time they devoted their time and music to political causes like the Palestinian refugees, Kurdish separatism, the Black Panther movement and other left wing causes.
I made the decision to go to the band’s 50th anniversary concert in Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen, to honor their memory. They knew me so well!
I wept through the entire concert and was charged, once again, by memories of love, of life, and of strength. Annisette Koppel, now 68, sang with a voice that pierced through my jaded shell and revived me. Barefoot, with her long black hair and a red dress, she gave the finger to the current fucktards trying to break us (I’m not even gonna bother mentioning them because you know who I’m talking about), and then she said it and sang it so very simple and clear, with a selection of songs from the album Love and Freedom, amongst others, that I almost felt embarrassed for not having written you sooner.
I leave you with the song Wild Child, which David and Henrik wanted to make a cover of, one day when we could finally jam together again… and with a wonderful selection by our correspondents of articles, art and music, to hopefully pass this renewed hope to you. In memory of two great warriors without whom Red Door wouldn’t have been.
To David “Hechicero” Vanegas and Henrik “Heinzz” Malm. You light my fire!
With love and poetry,
always at your service.
Elizabeth Torres aka Ms.Neverstop.
I hear the sound of voices
And a working day begins
My souvenir is misfortune
And a burning heart within
I’m a Wild Child…
The echo of a guitar
And the singers standing by
They tell about her future
But they never tell me why
I’m a Wild Child…
The world is in my hands
The sorrow in my name
Since I heard you cry for me
I’ve never been the same
I’m a Wild Child…
I’m throwing down a coin
Into the wishing well
I hear it hits the water
As a rambler hits the trail
I’m a Wild Child…
So when you see me passing by
Looking for some help
Don’t talk, don’t laugh, don’t criticize
But care about yourself
I’m a Wild Child.
(Song: Wild Child – Savage Rose)
The Neon Rebel: INITIATION … with LY DE ANGELES
Visual/Experimental Poetry Video: Laura Arena
The Origin of Water, The Origin of People.
-José María Zonta
por Elízabeth Torres (New York, 2015).
Video: Wild Child – Savage Rose.
Copenhagen Red Door Collective: firstname.lastname@example.org
Art in Memoriam of David Vanegas by Miller Almario Gamba