Michael Alan
October 8th, 2019.

‘Joker’ feels, breathes, and looks like New York City 1977, it also makes you deeply question the New York City of 2019. This is why I felt compelled to write this, I am not a movie reviewer, but I felt I must review ‘Joker’ in my own way, since a big part of my art protests / gags, shows and drawings are about being a clown. We the people and artists are treated like clowns, so what better than to run with it.
This is at the core of my heart in this writing.

A photo from of a performance by Michael Alan undertaken at the Whitney Museum of Art.

I Michael Alan, was born in Brooklyn during the black out of 1977 and associated riots, looting, and fires. It was a war. I had serious health problems as a young kid and kids bullied me and jumped me. Along with adults, teachers, and cops hating my look. I was a prankster cute kid that drew constantly, whilst internally struggling. Dealing with Gotham aka NYC the best way I could.
My financially stricken family was priced out of Brooklyn to Shit Island – one of the worst parts of NYC. I just wanted the lights to stop flickering, and live a simple life. But during this time period there were endless murders and shootings. My house was constantly robbed, and I was constantly ridiculed for being different, just walking down the street. This was my NYC from ages 5 to 11.

This led me down a path around age 11 where I grew to learn how to fight back, verses accepting and being killed. Does that make me a villain? If so then most of us native New Yorkers are, yet I disagree.
I won fights endlessly, even if the odds were against me. I learned to box, work hard and never let one asshole hold me back again.

I am the man who will jump on a rapist or any random bully. I will stop unfair bully chaos when I see it. I have and I will. That’s just me. Or is that who I became?

Most realise I am an artist with a NYC street background on a clear pursuit to create endlessly. I never left Gotham, never will. I am, at the core, a wacky NYC clown painting performer who laughs through this life that can be a sad joke at times.
We have the choice to live and laugh in order to really live. I wanna LIVE.

A photo of Michael Alan and his partner Jadda Cat in performance mode.

So finally the movie…
I didn’t know what to expect when seeing ‘Joker’ due to all the media crap. Joaquin Phoenix is maybe my favorite actor as I feel he is in it for the truth, challenge, and pain. Pain is weakness leaving the body. Joaquin is a man who puts on a smiling face.

Some Joker inspired art by Michael Alan.

As soon as the movie started I couldn’t move, think clear, or know what to feel. It was the wildest ride… what I saw was a film with 70’s New York City performance art mixed with academy award deserving acting, of an extremely complicated character, in a fucked up, sadly realistic city.

There is so much talk about the controversy surrounding the new Joker film, or this or that, or the violence. No one is talking about the real problems that the film points out.
I feel the media is afraid to dig into these matters.

The movie is effective because of the current state of the American nation. It is an artistic work relevant to exactly what is going on now. The movie is not just about the Joker cracking, or a new mad man. It is about the system cracking.

The news isn’t gonna say “the system is cracking” so they’re focusing on violence and gun use. I do not condone gun use. I hate guns, but the movie does play this trick on us. It’s a bit of full card monte. The dealer makes you think and follow one thing when it ends up being something else.

Reality check – we keep seeing movies about zombies, the end of the world; movies that hint at but don’t outright say that we’re fucked. The zombies aren’t real and the Avengers aren’t gonna save you, but there is always a Joker of one kind of another.
I vote for the art wacky jokers, the creative jokers, the anarchy painters.

The Joker himself in the film to me represents chance, a broken and abused soul, a domino. His actions are unintentional, not clear. Inspired by the lack of mental and loving care a person needs. That we all need.

In the movie, the government stops funding the Joker’s medication and therapy. Right now in America, this is and has been going on. We are more focused on a class about math than we are about teaching mental health, or authentic life.

We all live in oppression, whether poor or rich, black, green or white. There is always something / someone that controls us in this HUMAN system. We all were forced to agree before being born into this system that whacks us all upside the head.

If you don’t conform and / or fit into an elite, perfect performance then you are alien / a criminal. You can go mad. I’m not talking about violence or murder. I’m speaking about a separation, alienation, disregard, greed, and bullies. A lack of research, structure, and need – that all brew from the rat race.

I say this to everyone, every ethnicity, every class. Even though the film is about the Gotham of the 1970s and 80’s – a reference to the NYC that I grew up in – this energy of dismay is heavy and real, it takes lives. It is manifesting in new ways RIGHT NOW with gentrification, along with an extreme and irrational police force, government, and president.

The discord in communication is now. There is none, we are just voices in phones.

With and through all the traumas in NYC, the expression comes to life deep inside us. People are suffering.
The Joker is an extreme version of a suffering art clown. I can identify with the confusion of the character, his nervous laughter of “WTF”. His performance art dance of transformation to leave.
I feel the murders represent metaphors to understand and if the world don’t change then many could turn down this path… that path is sad, the reality of now is sad, we need hope. This conversation is important, imperative.

The reality that your life is a comedy is a way you can survive the reality of what it was like, and still is like to grow up on the outside here in NYC. The sea of shit.
No matter how high up you climb you are alien. If your health fails, or family dies you become withdrawn and everyone does, this is a reality of life.

If WE do not change the system, in favor of fixing the environment, along with health care, acceptance, ending police Hitlers, and the general lack of love/ loss of empathy we are headed for a crisis.

If the system doesn’t refocus on changing the world for the better and nurture true compassion and true meaning the people will revolt, some sort of harsh reality will fall on us deeper then any of us know.

We can’t continue as internet personas raging on a computer.

It’s a shame that death for many of us is a time that we wake up, maybe change. Let’s use this movie not for its violence and crazy but see the bigger picture of now and what may happen.
Take account and make change.

Go see Joker.

Go make a change in your life and others after.

Thank you Jaoquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips, cast and crew and everyone who made this possible. I have no idea who you people are!

Michael Alan, the painter clown of NYC.
October 8th 2019.