Sunday, December 2, 2007

Apples, cranberries, and stuffing! Oh my!

During the summer, my favorite snack was splitting up a Granny Smith apple, spritzing it with fresh lime juice, and tossing it all up with dried cranberries. Yummdiddilyumptious!



Early fall, this evolved into the sliced Granny Smith being slathered with cinnamon-raisin peanut butter and sprinkling it with dried cranberries. Awesome!



Late fall, I completely jumped off the tracks with the discovery of a bacon and chocolate candy bar. The bar is made by Vosges, creators of haut chocolate. They call it "Mo's Bacon Bar." It's a combination of smoked bacon, sea salt and deep milk chocolate. Genius!!! I was munching on it in class with someone, and we both agreed it could use some puffed rice.



Actually, we said Rice Krispies. But, a company that describes their product as "haut" probably shuns ingredients hawked by three elves. So I came up with this idea of making Rice Krispie cupcakes topped off by a bacon-chocolate frosting. With tiny bits of bacon sprinkled on top. I was preparing to make this masterpiece...




BUT THEN CAME THANKSGIVING.



My family is so invested in Thanksgiving, we have pre-Thanksgiving meals to warm up for the big feast.


pre-Thanksgiving meals
World Famous Sloppy Joes
"the slurps heard 'round the world!"


Butternut Chutney
butternut chunks
chopped bell peppers [yellow, green, red]
carmelized onions
dried cranberries
peach, pineapple, & tomato salsa
Saute, serve in wraps & laissez les bon temps roulez, cher!


Practice Pies
"duplicates that are taste-tested to ensure
no nasty surprises await on the BIG DAY"

blueberry
pumpkin


Thanksgiving Meal
Tom Turkey
stuffing
mashed potatoes
green bean casserole
cranberry sauce (fresh, not canned)
buttermilk biscuits
drop biscuits
gravy
pumpkin pie
cherry pie
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream



My mom makes enough stuffing to feed a platoon of Marines. In my refrigerator, I have one casserole dish chock full of stuffing, a doggie-bag wrapped bundle of stuffing, and three 1-gallon bags bursting with stuffing. Other people descended on Tom Turkey like carrion birds, the biscuits were gone by breakfast the next morning, and the green beans & mashed potatoes were magically whisked away by somebody. Everybody gets gravy. We regard gravy like Telly Savalas regards moolah in Vegas: "When I got it, baby, everybody's got it!" But, the stuffing is mine. You want it, you gotta bleed for it.



I'm so happy every time I come home because it's time to heat up stuffing, which I roll up in a wrap with chilled cranberry sauce. Hurts so good!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wowsa, Wowsa!


I had a conversation today about how the postmodern Western world was catching up to the African experience of art. In traditional African art (the distinction must be made), an object was made to be used and transformed by the owner. It could be transformed by the adding of color, using the object in a ceremonial function, or performing with the object. But, the art was not made with the idea of being stuck to a wall and gazed upon by a walking stream of observers. Too many Westerners believe art appreciation is passively receiving the message contained in the art object. Standing and looking at a painting at the wall. Walking around with a headphone listening to some disembodied voice tell you about the painting on the wall. Sitting at a music hall or theater: listening to classical music or watching the ballet. There is applause expected from the audience. It is a strictly battened down "call and response" form of performance.


There has been a proliferation of venues, including 'respectable' museums, that provide a place to conduct time-based art, performance art, and installations which demand the audience do more than sit on their behinds or gaze with wide eyes. All of this contemporary art is not hidden in seedy alleys or off the mainstream map. It's right there to be sampled by anybody, educated or not. Is it because so much of popular culture is interactive? Blogging about ANTM, creating your own iMix, podcasting about hated celebrities...you can easily insert your opinion/experience into the ether. Why not expect the same from high culture when you enter that arena? Anyway, that was my hunch. I hadn't done any follow up research or exploration. Tripping through the 'internets,' I found this article on www.nytimes.com. Read it!!! The topic is in the same vein of my conversation and hunch, but comes up with a different reason. It's written by Natalie Angier, the author of one of my fave quotes: "If you are or ever have been a girl, you know that girls are aggressive. This is news the way the Code of Hammurabi is news."


THE DANCE OF EVOLUTION, OR HOW ART GOT ITS START

_____________________________________________________________



If you enjoyed the Mahler post, check out this blog/website that's devoted to classical composers, musicians, and performers of African descent.

AfriClassical.com
AfriClassical the Blog

It's very interesting, especially finding out that Beethoven composed a piece for a black violinist. Except they had a falling out and Beethoven renamed it and gave it to someone else. Juicy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Strange Thing Is...

I'm reading this review of various vegetarian/vegan restaurants in San Francisco (because of the Bean & FGN). I'm very tempted to try Millennium. I love evoo, which is always pushing the balls against the wall with the myriad ingredients in their dishes. When they pull it off, the food sings and I'm having Sally-fits and declaring my undying love. As some of you have witnessed, I'm pledged to the chicken at Sel de le Terre...but possibly running off with the spaghetti bolognese at The Grotto. Seriously, I'm leading two entrees on. Possibly it's indicative of my commitment issues, but dammit! what if there's something better out there?



If you haven't guessed, I'm not a vegetarian...not even a 90% one. But, the food description of Millennium is so veddy, veddy tempting. Plus, I like fruits and vegetables...as long as they haven't been dried up to look like animal fetuses. I once bought a bag of nutritious, healthy fruit for snacking purposes. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag and felt like I had just entered Gil Grissom's office. Yuck. Anyway, doesn't this sound delish?

"Such is Mr. Tucker's skill that the food at Millennium attains a gustatory cohesion not suggested by the eclectic ingredients. The shredded Indian Red peach salad ($8.95) — which, besides tender peaches, included baby heirloom lettuce, green papaya, chili-dusted peanuts, and the sweet zing of a light Thai lime leaf dressing — blossoms on the tongue like a bouquet."
So, Mr. Gregory Dicum has me completely dug in and drooling, and then he hits me with a slap to the face. He describes the experience that is Cafe Gratitude, possibly the most touchy-feely, let's-love-one-another-right-now place outside of Oprah's television studio.

"The restaurant's décor is derived from a board game developed by the owners and built into each table. It encourages diners to express gratitude for one another and for the bounty the universe has bestowed upon anyone likely to walk in the door. After seating us, the hostess looked in our eyes and asked, 'What's great about today?'"

Plus, dishes are named things like "I Am Succulent" and "I Am Rich." Ugh. I would so vomit. Normally, this kind of attitude would cause spitting and violence on my part. The strange thing is...the food sounds like it might be worth enduring this disgusting display of "goodness." Almond hummus with raw garlic? Yumm. The juices sound fantastic, too. If I'm in San Francisco, I might try this place. But, I'm going to act crazier than a rabid dog. Tin foil hat to keep out alien transmissions, barking like a dog, and a necklace of fingers. And, they'll have to accept it because they're such loving hippies.

Q: "What's great about today?"
A: "I peed without blood."

Catch the rest of the article, "Expanding the Frontiers of the Vegetarian Plate," on http://www.nytimes/. It's brought to you by American Express.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Biting Into Mahler


While riding the T, I have often made room for the crowds emptying out of Symphony Hall after a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Thursday night, I finally became one of the chattering throng pushing their way home via the “E” Line.

To be honest, the thought of sitting and listening to orchestral music unaccompanied by a vocal or dance performance had never appealed to me. I’d rather crank up a CD at home where I can dance to it. Intuition tells me rising from one’s seat and doing grand jetés and impersonating a dying swan is outside the pale when attending the symphony. Most of the people I surveyed for “Who and What They Know” agreed with me. They’d rather go to a ballet performance than a classical music performance because the stimulus of a symphony was very hard to imagine.

They’ve obviously never encountered Prof. Gregory Slowik. An image of what was to come at Symphony Hall came to life as I listened to Prof. Slowik introduce and expound on the music that we would hear the following evening. Learning the history of the music and the featured composers was essential to creating anticipation for what was to follow.

As the distance between centuries grows, their history and customs can desiccate to irrelevant dust. Sustaining the arts means keeping its long dead creators fleshy and full of juice to quicken the new audience’s appetite. My favorite historical tidbit was learning of Mahler’s Judaic faith and how it hindered his inclusion in a Roman Catholic patronage system. Prof. Slowik’s asserted that the tweaking of “Frére Jacques,” and the presence of klezmer and gypsy glissandos constituted a grand thumbing of the nose to the powers that be. Immediately, my imagination was piqued and I began to consider how these sounds might be realized by a live orchestra.

The BSO performs at Symphony Hall, “one of the two or three finest concert halls in the world.1” The space seems smaller than the Wang Theater, which might explain why all the seats were filled for the BSO and there were notable gaps at the Boston Ballet. However, it did seem like the same crowd was in attendance—older, Caucasian and seemingly affluent. More foreign tongues were heard and there were no children present at the BSO.

Three pieces were performed in this order: Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D, “London;” Elliott Carter’s Horn Concerto (2006), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D. The music’s order was confusing at first. Haydn’s music seemed more accessible for enjoyment, but it was first in line. The Boston Ballet put its crowd-pleaser at the end and the more esoteric piece up front. I wondered if it was my general ignorance of classical music traditions, or if the BSO has the influence to demand more of its audiences.

The Haydn piece would be the one that would cause me to drop my overcoat to reveal my tutu and ballet superpowers. The melody was so lively and irrepressible. The Haydn really started the night with an energetic bounce. Being forced to sit still during music that so beckons movement in response is a challenge. James Levine, the conductor, is the luckiest man in the room because he has the right to move along with the music.

Despite Haydn’s sprightly tempo, Levine managed to fit the “minimalist” mold that Prof. Slowik described in his pre-performance lecture. His movements were circumscribed and didn’t distract from the wonderful music being played. The second piece by Elliott Carter was a distinct departure from the Haydn. Carter’s music was more of a tone poem. His music inspired my mind to paint blocks of color marred by contrasting trickles, depicting an urban scene in broad, impressionistic strokes. The performance was a world debut, and Carter was on hand to hear it and come on stage to accept a standing ovation.

The evening concluded with a delicious performance of Mahler. Levine threw off his minimalist cloak and exhorted his orchestra with every inch of his body including his hair. At times, I thought he might fall off his chair. The conducting style was so different from the first half, I wondered if Levine was so passionate because of his love of Mahler, or did the piece demand the conductor to physically communicate the strength and commitment needed to perform the piece? The charged music seemed to create a magnetic force pulling everyone towards center stage.

The long standing ovation left my hands tingling and tender. After Levine and the musicians took their last bows, I streamed out with the excited crowd into the street and down into the Green Line tunnels. I understood the program’s order only after feasting on the night’s music. Haydn’s composition was a refreshing surprise to whet the appetite. Carter’s Horn Concerto (2006) served up a nourishing slice of introspection. The succulent Mahler performance was meant to be ravished and I fell on the music with pleasure. As I crowded onto the subway, I hoped no one noticed the juice dribbling down my chin.

1 http://www.bostonsymphonyhall.org/bso/mods/toc_01_gen_images.jsp?id=bcat11630155

I'm lost in the supermarket...

I would like to thank The Clash for picking me up off the floor. I also have to thank that bag of Ritz Cheese Sandwich Snacks. And, I can't forget the woman who fluffed up my hot chocolate. I want to thank my mom for believing in me when others wouldn't. That's why I had the courage to add three packets of sugar, Domino's sugar, to my chocolate drink. Before long I was munching and bobbing while describing a night with Mahler...my train wasn't in vain.

Thank you, America! God bless the love of sugar and utterly unnatural orange food!

I now have a reason to visit Toronto. Toronto seemed like the most American-like city in Canada, and I don't know why I would obtain a passport to tour a place just like home. But! My hometown doesn't have an awesome hotel plugged into the art scene like Toronto has the Gladstone Hotel. The rooms are designed by artists; the bar looks amazing; and the history of the place deserves a cascade of snaps, y'all.

www.gladstonehotel.com


Check out the link above, and tell me you don't want to learn more about Toronto. Plus, FGN is from there. She actually might be from some dinky town way off the stake, but Toronto is something we all know.


I might be spending a month in New York during the summer. I'm applying to a program that immerses students in the New York art world. Lodging is at the 92nd St. Y, which is well known for its art and lecture programming. It would also necessitate me getting a cell phone. So, I might be leashed electronically by the New Year. iPhone or nothing, baby.




Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Seen" during first half of November

Leaving the marble counter one night.
Dark street, nearly deserted.
Me, dim light, and a swirling mass of fluff.
On the sidewalk.

Were they alive?
What happened here?
Tip toe. Tip toe.
Preserve life when you can.

Pretty magic in the dark.

Approaching the marble counter this morning.
Aaahh. This path must be taken.
Sunlight and yellow leaves beckon.
Can't tell where branches end, and ground begins.

Head swivels for best vantage.
No camera with me, just my eye.
What's that!

Mirrored discs hang in the branches.
I didn't do it.
Climb down the bank for close-up.
Veteran's Day Miracle.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coffee tongue

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning with the sweats and hot flashes. If it had been a cold sweat, I would have known it was the ancestors telling me the world was out of balance. Because the icky feeling had heat, I knew it was either my health or my environment. I stumbled out of bed (weird thing: my dog was crotchety, too, and couldn't settle down) and made it to the kitchen. Clutching the counter, I proceeded to make two slapdash hummus and tabbouleh sammiches. The tabbouleh was a bit heavy on the red onion and I had to have some sweet to counter it. With a big glass of water and a jar of cinnamon-raisin swirl peanut butter (yum!), I flopped down on the couch to watch late night TV with my pooch. She got some peanut butter, too. Must of done the trick. As soon as she licked her dollop off my finger, she was stretched out and dreaming on a burgundy fleece cloud. I was feeling much better, too, but needed some Serenity action to help me drift back to sleep around 5:00 a.m.


Next meal time was sometime during the morning while manning the marble counter. Swallowed a banana and hot water. Started feeling weird again. Grabbed pizza and black coffee for lunch, which has left me with a coffee tongue. I lived with it for about 40 minutes. Someone started using the Turtle, and I was afraid I'd be breathing beany breath over their shoulder. So, a stick of spearmint just sacrificed itself for my minty well-being.

I HEART LARRY.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Albino Frog




It's cold enough now for me to stuff a knit cap on my head and wrap a scarf around my neck. The effect squashes my features and I look like an albino frog (at least in the reflections on a moving T). I debated using "frog" versus "toad." I decided on frog because I resemble a genteel and intellectual creature. Not that toads aren't intellectual but I doubt they appreciate fine porcelain. My feeble frog possesses exquisite manners and enjoys Earl Grey tea and history tomes by a warm fire most nights. His weakened constitution demands a diet of thin gruel and wilted lettuce. However, he does occasionally indulge with a bit of strawberry Kookaburra licorice. One piece keeps him occupied through 200 pages of The Complete Works of Tacitus.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

ODD JOBS: Portraits of Unusual Occupations


Schiff, Nancy Rica. Odd Jobs Portraits of Unusual Occupations. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2002.

Examples -


Condom Tester
Page Turner
Baby Handler
Bra Designer
Dinosaur Duster
Tampon Tester (he' a man)




I, myself, was very intrigued by the clockmaster. If only I didn't have a fear of heights.

Or, the solfeggist sounded like a cool job. But, I'm half-deaf from years of walkmans and ipods.

Then, there was the riddler. No, he's not the archenemy of a superhero. He "riddles" wine bottles so sediment doesn't build up. 40,000 a day. Sounds like a great internship opportunity if I wanted to be a sommelier or vintner, but I don't think I could spend the rest of my days doing that.


Can anyone tell me what a "theriogenologist" is? Before I read this book, I had no idea.

A golf ball diver can make $64,000 a year.

A diener can be found in every hospital.

This is a good book to flip through when you're unhappy with your job. You'll either be inspired to break out or be quite happy to discover that there is something worse than your job.

Monday, October 1, 2007

"About Me" - September


LOVEBIRDS - 1998

The train creeps in at midnight. A single sign rises out of the dark. The stark warning is bold: THOU SHALL NOT KILL. When I call the B&B from the station, my host gives explicit directions, “Say ‘Ber-GUN-dy,’ not ‘Burgundy,’ or you’ll get dumped in the projects and we’ll never see you.” In my room, I feel buzzed from the danger. I wake up in a comfy chenille bed. Exploding clouds mar the spanking new blue sky; two lovely mutts knock me down with sloppy kisses as I leave my room. I swing the courtyard gate open and enter the beauty of a New Orleans day. The boxy shotgun houses are washed in bright colors highlighted with white or sea green piping. Every now and then, a rebel pink or purple peeks in between. I shuck my inappropriate pants and oxford shirt for honey linen shorts and a red bippy shirt, Chuck T low-riders. The mutts bark approvingly as I bounce out on my second try. I drink in huge exotic blooms on winding vines; shiny beads hang from wrought iron balconies. Calliope music from a riverboat bubbles over the Quarter and imbues a spirit of bonhomie. Spiced coffee and sugared beignets by the riverside absolve the city’s sins from the previous night.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Seen" things - September 18, 2007


Standing on a T platform on a sunny day with a light blue sky:

The station is an above-ground stop, but both platforms offer shelter with angled roofs. The roofs don't meet though. Standing about three feet from the edge, the opposite platform's roof cuts off the sky from the bottom. The roof under which you're standing cuts off the sky from the top. You now have a "wide-screen" canvas.

This day, the canvas was a minimalist study on the color of blue. Except for one cloud. It was a perfect popcorn cloud. The kind of cloud drawn by kids with confident, happy curves. It wouldn't stay that way. The cloud wasn't being moved by a wind, so it stayed in the same spot. It's shape was shifting due to inner forces. I was hypnotized.

The next shape was a human figure lying down, but my vantage point was eye-level behind the head with the feet disappearing away from me. The body was a closed form, so I wondered if this was someone being prepared for burial or was it a mummy on display in the sky.

The next two shapes took the form of my dog. She's white and fluffy, too. The cloud mimed two of her favorite reclining positions. It was a very talented cloud. It shaded her nose just right, and nailed her frazzled ears.

The cloud then whirled up into a fierce Japanese witch. Her billowing cape was obscuring something, but her gaze was implacable. What kind of omen was that?

Then, the train pulled in. I wondered what was going on inside that cloud to cause it to roil like that. Far away, it was an object of amusement. Up close, I suspect something beautiful and terrifying could be observed.

Emerging from the underworld:

It never fails. I always forget there's a living, moving world above me when I travel underground. The train pulls itself above ground, and I'm surprised to see masses of people crawling all over the surface. I'm Persephone every day. Part of me is happy to see the vibrancy and to know I will rejoin them soon. The other part of me is annoyed to know that my presence was not missed and life went on while I was captive in the tunnels.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I Did Last Weekend, part deux


Before going to the Open Studios, I listened to a presentation by one of the artists, Candy Nartonis, who would be showing there. She also had a hand in organizing it, I believe. She lives in a building of lofts dedicated to providing relatively affordable live/work space for artists. At one point, she commented that the building housed more than just visual artists. I asked if they had any poets and she affirmed they did. His name is Bei Ling. He was imprisoned in China for publishing his poetry. He told me Susan Sontag was instrumental in arranging his release from China and establishing him here in the U.S.

Candy Nartonis had encouraged us to bring $20 to Open Studios because we would be able to find something in that price range. I immediately determined that I would visit Bei Ling and he would have dibs on my $20 bill first. I wasn't disappointed. He was quite lovely to meet, and offered me green tea. Unfortunately, I only had three hours to experience the Open Studios (the options were dizzying), and couldn't stay. He graciously signed my book and I hope to attend a reading of his soon. He's involved in PEN, and I think he's a founding member of the
Independent Chinese PEN Center. They are Chinese writers in exile and in China concerned "with the rights of Chinese language writers throughout the world."

I haven't had much time to munch on his book, but what I have sampled is quite good. His poems are printed in Chinese next to the English translations. Try and find a copy of his book (inquire at an independent bookstore that's dedicated to international literature or poetry OR ask for it at your library--although they might not have it in their collection, they probably can acquire it for you through interlibrary loan.).
For more information about PEN, click here.

Book Info:
Bei Ling, Selected Poems (1980 - 1995), ISBN # 957-28408-3-5


Monday, September 17, 2007

What I Did Last Weekend


"After 'Self-Portrait'" - Jeremy Paten

I went to the South End Open Studios and I had a glorious time. Pine Street Inn, which is an organization that serves the needs of Boston's homeless, had artwork on display, too. There was some exciting work to be seen, but unfortunately, the art wasn't displayed very well. They have a lot to exhibit, but no space or outlet for exhibition. I instantly thought of Whole Foods, which hangs community art in its stores...at least, my store does. Can anyone think of other outlets where art like that could be hung or used?

I remember the YA/YA organization in New Orleans. They were very involved in getting young artists (school age, K-12) and their work to be taken seriously--creating art, framing it, exhibiting the work, attending opening receptions, and selling their art. Remember: I was manager of Children's Hour, where we sold children's art off our walls. (The image in this post is part of a large picture (too huge for my dinky scanner) drawn by Jeremy Paten; Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, and after staring at it for two days on the gallery walls, I gave in and bought it.)

I didn't have my camera with me on Open Studios day (I have temporarily misplaced the battery charger...yikes!) but there were two outstanding sculptures and striking two-dimensional art to be seen at the Pine Street Inn.

I met a lot of amazing people during the Open Studios (more posts to follow) but I'm so excited about a possible opportunity to work with Pine Street Inn and integrate communities that might think they're distinct but use the arts to knit them together (or show them that they are more linked then each supposed).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Vroom! Vroom!






















Brad Pitt

by Aaron Smith

With cotton candy armpits and sugary
Crevices, sweat glazing your donut skin.
Have you ever been fat, Brad?
Have you ever wanted a Snickers
More than love and lain on your bed
While the phone rang and rolled one
On your tongue, afraid to eat it, afraid
It would make your jeans too tight? Have you
Barfed, Brad, because you ate it,
Ate all the take-out, licked
Brown sauce off the box while you sobbed?
Brad Pitt down in the pits chaining menthol
Ciggys in your thick-wallet life,
It’s not so bad Brad, sad Brad, is it?




From Blue on Blue Ground by Aaron Smith © 2005.

Somebody's Gonna Hurt Someone, Before The Night Is Through


The Mad Hatter's Tea Party has finally concluded. For 31 days, I restricted myself to 170 songs dedicated to ebullience and rebirth (with a super quick foray into pineapple songs and retro sambas). Now, I'm splashing in the big pool again with over 6500 songs. And, it was a delight to hear non-vocal rhythms provided by DJ Spooky, Ellington, and Mozart. I don't know how I lived without "Fireflies (November 10th)" by The Stairs, but I don't have to anymore.

Highlights from playlist:

"Feeling Good," Nina Simone (99 play counts)
"Redemption Song," Bob Marley (2 play counts)

"Just Like A Woman," Nina Simone --B.D. sounds so much better when Nina vocalizes his lyrics:
"She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl.

"Redemption," Johnny Cash (Jesus Christ, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane: coinky-dink? discuss amongst yourselves, I've got SPAM on the stove.)

"Yegelle Tezata," Mulatu Astatke

"Cherry Bomb," Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
"Love Is All Around," Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (kick-butt cover of the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme)

"Heartache Tonight," The Eagles (when playing RISK and I can see there are no more obstacles to my world domination, I jump up, start dancing and singing this song to cruelly rub it in.)

IT'S MY WORLD, Y'ALL JUST RENT!!!!

"About Me" August 2007


I was the girl who always got to play with the boys no matter what the game or plan. I ran fast. I climbed fences. I caught balls and scored touchdowns. But, I wasn't a tomboy, there's a difference. I was good enough to ramble with the neighborhood boys, and girl enough to do it in pretty, starched sundresses. My hair ribbons match my frilly socks, but I punched and tackled like a defensive lineman. The place was Harrisburg, PA, and the time was the Disco and Shag Carpet Seventies. I remember Harrisburg as a green maze of slopes and curves. Blue mountains slip and slide into town making a straight-ahead view impossible. I have a permanent tip of the head from always craning to see around the corner and over the hill...(click on Wild & Wooly link in profile to read more)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Following the Water Carrier












I had an amazing Saturday. The marble counter is closed on the weekends for now, so I was free to follow a performance artist from the ICA to the Boston Harbor Islands. His name is Ernesto Pujols, and he has led walks from the ICA to various destinations in Boston and its Harbor Islands. I had missed the previous three walks, but I was able to be carried along to Lovell's Island on Saturday.

While we gathered outside the museum's door (the ICA doesn't open until 10:00 a.m., and our walk would begin at 9:30 a.m.), I made the decision not to take pictures during the walk. My digital camera makes "woof!" noises every time it snaps a picture. I thought it would be inappropriate and intrusive to let that happen. I only took pictures when I could get far away enough not to let it bother others.

The museum guards shepherded us up to the fourth-floor gallery before the museum opened at 9:20 a.m. The first thing I saw was a small table made out of wood barrel staves with a metal top. The top was engraved with the Boston coastline. Five glass bottles with stoppers lay on it. They were hand blown and I perceived that they must be in the shape of the five islands that were the Water Carrier's destinations. Three of the bottles were filled. One contained clear water except for a spot of green. I couldn't tell if it was a discoloration from the bottle or algae. The other two bottles carried water and sediment, each different in texture. I compared the empty bottles to the map of the islands, and tried to guess which one would be chosen.

I suddenly noticed there was a man dressed in all white standing up against the wall directly opposite of the table. He was dressed in 19th-century seaman's clothes with bare feet. His feet, hands, and face were painted white. He wore a white stocking cap on his head. The only color to be seen were the tea-tinted lenses in his spectacles; his eyes were closed. I backed up against a gallery wall myself to wait for the walk to begin. Their were seven people in our group and gallery guards blocking us from the other exhibits (museum still not open). Feet were crossed, uncrossed; some people meandered to and fro; fidgeting, coughing and sneezing were heard (much like the noises heard in a theater after the lights go down but before the play begins). Eventually, we were all up against our walls with our attention on the Water Carrier. The tension built the longer we waited. It occurred to me that we were all now islands ringed around the Water Carrier--islands calling him forth to our world. I was also tickled that we all stood there waiting for the art to come off the wall.

Eventually, the Water Carrier awoke and broke away from the wall. He selected a bottle after listening to the empty bottles. He placed the bottle in his bag and turned towards the exit. We then followed him down the stairs, out the museum, along the harbor walk, and to the ferries. As well as carrying that bottle, the Water Carrier was a vessel bearing us along and transforming us with the journey. I felt we were all taken out of the city even though we were walking its pavements and stones. Because he was barefoot, the Water Carrier was sensitive to the terrain: cool, polished concrete in the ICA; hot pavement; wooden planks along the harbor; and outbreaks of cobblestones. Because he was in a vulnerable state, I think all the walkers/followers projected themselves into him and tried to see this city and harbor with fresh eyes instead of barely taking it in as we normally do rushing through our lives.

I found myself wondering what he was seeing, if he saw anything. From my perspective behind him, he didn't seem to notice or react to the differences between his time and ours. Occasionally, he would gaze up at a tall building and seem taken by it. But, he seemed to be listening to this world more than seeing it. The Water Carrier seemed to very aware of the water and the open end of the harbor. It was if he could hear the islands or the memories left there.

I also pondered if the Water Carrier was born anew each time he woke from the wall. Was he a completely blank canvas this day, or did memories of his past walks intrude on his consciousness? (The artist comments on his performances and his experiences on his blog documenting his project: The Water Carrier's Journey.) First, he led us to Georges Island where we waited for a smaller boat to ferry us to Lovell's Island. This was where I was able to take the pictures above. The Water Carrier stayed on the dock; he was disinterested in the rest of the island. He created a lot of attention. Georges Island had more people than Boston's waterfront. I explored the perimeter of the dock and visitor's center. There was not enough time to duck up into the fort behind us, but it was tempting.

Lovell's Island is much smaller than Georges Island, whose hill and fort looms over the dock. Lovell's dock leads to a landscape more like the beach dunes seen on the Maine coast. The trees and plants are kept short and angled by salty sea winds. The Water Carrier led us down a path where the plants eventually obscured the horizon but not the sky. I saw very strange formations on the stalks. One woman kept her eyes low to pick and eat blackberries.

As we walked further from the dock and further inland, he led us to the abandoned fort on Lovell's, a huge ruin crumbling into the foliage. The landscape had changed from windswept stalks and brush to large dark conifers, some of which were upended. Up until now, the Water Carrier had been silent. We had mostly followed his lead and kept conversation to a minimum. (Can you imagine? A bunch of Americans grouped together not chatting about weather, hometowns, and sports teams!) He climbed stairs to first level rooms that had long ago lost their walls and doors; we hung back to observe his motions. Large iron rings hung from the remaining walls. The Water Carrier emphatically clanged them. I'm not sure if he was calling forth the memories and ghosts of the island, or was he creating a vibration to guide him on his way? He did the same thing in three or four of these outdoor rooms. I tried to place myself in different places each time to change my perspective. The last time, I will admit, I was concerned with the biting black flies that would descend on anything that stopped moving. (I whipped out the bug repellent and started spraying. Two of my fellow walkers shared my repellent as well.)

Since I hadn't followed the Water Carrier up to the last abandoned room, I positioned myself at the bottom of the steps where he would descend. The stairway was overgrown with vines and growth. There were white fluffs rolling about on its steps (similar to the last stages of a dandelion's life). I waited to see how the Water Carrier's movements would affect these delicate structures. He delicately picked his feet through the decayed plants causing the fluffs to roll or fly up. A white moth fluttered upwards past his feet and legs. It was quite beautiful to watch.

He led us out of the forest and we climbed up to a sunny harbor view. Below us was a typical New England beach--more rocks than sand. Three women picnicked up above the rock line in the shade of the trees. Two people were lounging by the rock line, and four women bathed sedately in the water. The Water Carrier walked down to the water's edge where the waves lapped his white feet. It was so hot and humid. I longed to roll up my pant cuffs and kick off my socks and sneakers to feel the water on my feet--just like the Water Carrier. He removed the bottle from his bag. He unstopped the vessel to begin collecting water. I crept as close as I could. I watched him position the bottle in the sand in such a way that it was not his hands or motions that guided the water into the bottle. The water came to the bottle through the rhythm of the waves. I felt that was an important part of the process, that the Water Carrier remain a conduit that joined natural elements and his followers together in a quiet place and time.

After collecting the water, he inspected it and then replaced the stopper. I was one of the three women who got to hold the bottle and view it. It had sediment, a dark-colored sand. The bottle was not overly full, and holding it above head created a glorious combination of light, glass and sand. The Water Carrier retrieved the bottle from me (that was a treat!) and then led us further down the beach.

Along the way, I collected rocks from the beach. This was also an opportunity to shield my eyes from the glare of the noonday sun. I had picked up rocks on Georges Island and had them in my bag. I thought it was fitting since I feel I'm more of the earth than the sky. I am the carrier of rocks. I kept finding beautiful, odd-shaped and unusual rocks and shells. I felt it wouldn't be right to carry off so many rocks, and I wanted to leave a mark on the island. When I saw that we would be turning off the beach and back to the ferry landing, I quickly built a cairn with my rocks and shells. I think a woman--not in our group but captivated by the Water Carrier and his followers--took a picture of it after I walked away.


Then, we retraced our steps--two ferry rides and back to the harbor walk. Boston was more populated now and the Water Carrier created quite a commotion on his return trip. "Ghost" was the most common comment. The ICA was also bustling upon our return; they were hosting a children's play date. Lots of exclamations and expressions of delight were observed. Honestly, I was gritting my teeth as we climbed up the four flights. I was a bit done in from hunger (hadn't eaten since 7:30 a.m. and it was close to 1 p.m.), the heat, and the overexposure to unfiltered light. But, it was worth it. A crowd gathered in the gallery to watch the Water Carrier return the vessel. Then, he was gone. It was over, just like that.

I feel that Bostonians are creatures of routine. Your Boston identity is so tied to your job and its demands. We scurry from home to work, and back. You know your neighborhood very well, but the grind of work and routine hampers you from breaking out of what you know. Something extraordinary or an external pressure has to cause Bostonians to go places they don't know--to break them out of their routine. It doesn't just happen to longtime residents; the scads of transitory college students stick to their campuses, or the familiar jaunt to the North End for pastries. If it's not on your T line, it doesn't really penetrate your mindset. I was very grateful that the ICA got me on a ferry to experience the Harbor Islands.

Living here for decades, I had never traveled out over the harbor. I also enjoyed the contemplative nature of the journey. I was traveling without a tangible purpose. I was not leading myself or others. I was traveling just to move and explore my surroundings with all my senses. True, I was there to follow the Water Carrier. He was the impetus for the journey. But, he acted as a focal point. In meditation, you are supposed to zero in on an image or sound so the outer world can fade into the background. I felt that this man-in-white was just that. Focusing on him, my everyday existence faded away and I became more aware. I noticed how the ground changed rapidly underfoot in the city; I delighted in watching the ferry create foam on the water; and I watched how the light and foliage changed as the Water Carrier walked under and through it.

The Water Carrier has one more performance. He'll lead people to Brewster's Island and interact with the lighthouse keeper there. The other walks, I believe, were free except for the ferry fare, $12 round trip. My walk was entirely free as the ICA popped for the tickets (heat discount) and I was appreciative of the gesture. However, the Brewster Island walk will require reservations, a $28 fee (which includes ferry fare), and if you want a packaged lunch, that's an additional $12. The marble counter will be up and running, and I'll be back to manning it on the weekends. I'm going to try to switch shifts because I think it will be a marvelous delight to experience. If you want more information for yourself, go to the ICA page with all the trip details.




Monday, August 20, 2007

OK, maybe I was wrong...maybe there is something up there I'd like to see


Good Morning, I'm catching up on my Space News Updates from Bill Harwood of CBS, and it looks like they had a good exchange with one of the students they talked to while in orbit. It has always been my opinion there is nothing up in sky that I particularly want to SEE. Rather, I'm interested in what I could possibly HEAR. I want to listen to the universe expand/contract (what is the current theory?). But, this sounds pretty awesome. I could possibly be wrong about the visual temptation. As some of you know, me being wrong only happens once a year. The jury is still deliberating, so don't light the fireworks yet.

In one of the more interesting exchanges, a student asked if the astronauts could see constellations in space from their lofty perch above Earth's atmosphere.

"You know, initially when we first came up here, both the space shuttle and the space station were both very lit up, almost like a small city, and it made it tough to see anything," Drew said. "Actually, I had an easier time seeing stars in Houston. Last night, we turned out all the lights on both the shuttle and the station, looked out the window and it as a glorious sight out there. You could see the entire Milky Way, you could see the dust clouds of the Milky Way, I think Barb even saw a shooting star beneath us last night. We saw thunder storms over the world, it was pretty fabulous, you could make out all the constellations in the sky."

"It was interesting," Morgan said, "it started out in the orbit we were in, we were at night time and we were looking out at the night sky and all the things Al just described we could see. We were traveling over Africa at the time, but looking out at the night sky. And then as we got to the Indian Ocean, it was black, black, black and that's where we saw all the thunderstorms. And I don't think any of us had ever seen anything quite that bright, those flashes of light.

"And then off in the distance, in another, say, 20 minutes or so, a thin blue line started appearing. And that blue line got thicker and thicker, it started to get a little blurred and all these different colors of blue were in that line and we realized we were looking at the horizon with the sunrise coming and we could see layers of cloud in that horizon. Within just a few minutes, our faces were totally lit up and the space station was shimmering, the solar arrays were just like the orange filaments in your toaster, they were just shimmering, bright, bright, bright gold. It was a beautiful sight."

Later, Drew, a veteran military helicopter pilot making his first space flight, described what it's like to blast off aboard a shuttle for Idaho Public Television:

"There was no doubt when the solid rocket boosters lit, it was just like being inside of a washing machine that was in a bad spin cycle. There was a pretty good shake going up the whole way, just a tremendous amount of sheer fun. We knew we were heading off the planet! There was a big thump when the solid rocket boosters left the orbiter and then it was a much smoother ride from there on up but the Gs started picking up. It felt like there was something heavy standing on my chest. ... It took effort to breathe the whole time. In fact, I kind of felt myself wheezing for the last few minutes as we were going through three Gs. And then suddenly we went from 3 Gs to nothing, I felt my body just slam against the shoulder straps of the seat, it was almost like we recoiled off the back of the seat and we were weightless. I want to find another quarter to put back in there and go for another ride!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Soy Beans Killed the DairyMaid Star

SHE LIVES IN A NEW WAVE WORLD

Wow! That's worth 10 votes.


Aaaaah! Just came home and discovered something extra-special in the silver cupboard. Some people just replied simply: Cora Mae or the Ukrainian dairymaid. Some indicated their choice and gave various explanations for it. Quite amusing, they were. But, you have been all one, two, three--no, eight-upped by one respondent. On the back of the postcard above, more of the dairymaid's tale was revealed.

"Local legend has it this is the very stretch of Interstate that the Ukrainian dairymaid set out on to seek her fortune in the dwindling field of dairymaiding. She finally came upon the great, magical Iowa State Fair where she got a job pouring milk and churning butter in the Living History exhibit. I saw her Friday. She says, 'Wassup.'"
Wow! That just made my day, especially after aggravating my neck injury from New Year's 1997. I'm still twitching and wincing like a fool, but I've got a smile on my face. Thanks, P.S.!!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Biblio Notes: I Heart Cecil Castelluci, Aug. 11, 2007


"Love is All Around," (a.k.a. the theme to The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
- Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Working at the marble counter, this title passed through my hands. A story about a group of misfit girls conducting covert art attacks on their suburban cookie-cutter town? (Aaaah. Sporking. Good times. OK, sporking isn't art...yet.) I loved, loved, loved this graphic novel. Yes. Graphic novel. Normally, I eschew le novel graphique. Usually the number of panels crammed on a page, and the visual info crammed into each panel makes my eyes twitch. Eeyuch. In this case, Jim Rugg's illustrations are much cleaner and sooooo appealing, but not saccharine. And, Ms. Cecil Castellucci's story is very well written. Her characterizations and dialogue take delicate bites out of the typical teenager stereotypes pushed in the mainstream. This is the graphic novel Jane Austen would read with hot tea and snickerdoodles. You will be left very satisfied with a smile and crumbs on your mouth.

Pre-Plain Janes comic/g.n. experience:
  • Archie (crushed on Jughead, chose Veronica),
  • Richie Rich,
  • JTHM (he reminded me of my first schoolyard crush),]

Post-Plain Janes comic/g.n. experience:
  • American Born Chinese (a beautiful rendering of fractured identity),
  • Street Angel (almost reminds me of tween Spinner before she moved to Wisconsin--haven't finished it yet)

Cecil Castellucci:
The Plain Janes (co-creator), graphic novel, sequel on the way

Beige, YA novel

Boy Proof, YA novel (on request through ILL)

Queen of Cool, YA novel

a.k.a. : Cecil Seaskull, she makes films and music as well
www.misscecil.com


Jim Rugg:
The Plain Janes (co-creator)

Street Angel (co-creator)

Afrodisiac (co-creator)

Pittsburgh Steelers fan (I'm pretty sure. Way to Go, Steelers! Way to Go!)
www.jimrugg.com




Thursday, August 9, 2007

Storyville Portraits/Bellocq's Ophelia


(Plate 2, circa 1912, EJ Bellocq, printed by Lee Friedlander, Storyville Portraits)

After reading a great essay on poets.org, I discovered a book called Bellocq's Ophelia written by Natasha Trethewey. It's a series of poems written as letters from a Storyville prostitute to her girlhood friend, now a schoolmarm in their rural hometown. Ophelia is black, but can pass. The letters reveal her path to the brothel and how she endures her time there. Trethewey meditates on "the gaze," those who wield it and those subject to it. At first, Ophelia is just a possession/thing to be looked at and be looked through. After her encounters with Bellocq, we see her reclaim her own gaze, her own "looking," and develop her skill of seeing through photography.

E.J. Bellocq was an early twentieth-century photographer who took a series of portraits of the workers of Storyville, a closed and legal district for prostitution in New Orleans. His glass negatives were discovered by Lee Friedlander, who reproduced and printed the portraits for the Museum of Modern Art. Trewethey was inspired by the portraits, and some poems are hung on the imagery of specific plates. I think it's phenomenal. Not only does she flesh out the women snapped by Bellocq, she has a sincere appreciation of how vision can be transformed/carried by a camera.

I highly recommend this slim volume of poetry. And, I recommend you get to your nearest library and find E.J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits and view the lovely pictures that inspired Ms. Trethewey. I knew of Bellocq and his portraits, especially from the cover of Whores in History: Prostitution in Western Society by Nickie Roberts. [Those striped stockings are irresistible.]
"In his own way, in these pictures, Bellocq consummates many love affairs. Johnny Wiggs understood this when he saw, to his amazement, that Bellocq's prostitutes are beautiful....Beautiful innocently or tenderly or wickedly or joyfully or obscenely, but all beautiful, in the sense that they are present, unique, irreplaceable, believable, receptive. Each of these pictures is the product of a successful alliance.

A skillful photographer can photograph anything well. To do better than that he must photograph what he loves. Some love geometry; some love sunlight on mountains; some love the streets of their city. Bellocq apparently loved women, with the undiscriminating constancy of a genius. If he was in conventional terms impotent, he was in his eyes and spirit an indefatigable lover." ---John Szarkowski


I think Szarkowski is perceptive about a photographer's process (if chauvinistic in his pronouns), and I like that he understood that Bellocq saw prostitutes as living humans, not immobile objects to be used, ignored or shunned. If you're not familiar with Bellocq, he was oddly shaped, and that might have hindered any normal relationships with females. Bellocq paid the prostitutes for their time, but apparently not for sexual favors. It would be interesting to compare this series with Philip-Lorca diCorcia's series with male hookers.

Trethewey creating not only a poem, but a biography, that was framed by a previous work of art is fascinating to me. I recently heard someone describe historians as people who want to know about the unnamed, unmentioned and overlooked characters in the history books. I think artists pursue these questions as well, but instead of collecting facts, they dig for visual evidence (discovered or constructed).

Reading her poems, you will gain insight on what existence is like for "the other." You will recognize or begin to glean what it is like to be viewed with an assigned identity, not necessarily your own. And, what it's like for "the other" to walk with the included when the ability to blend in puts them--the included--at ease. The anxiety of waiting for them to finally notice your difference, and watching the behaviour perceptibly shift. Or, the included stumble over their prejudice, and "the other" speaks up and makes them aware the target is in their presence.



"October 1911"

Just the other day I fancied myself
a club woman, like you,
in my proper street clothes--

a new bow on my white straw hat,
my white linen jacket cleaned
and pressed, a modest bit of gingham

at the collar. So attired, I ventured out,
beyond the confines of the district,
to do my share of good deeds, visit

the sanatorium, a sick sister, her body
invaded by the invisible specter
of our work. Bellocq met me there,

set his camera to this scene: a woman
standing in the middle of the frame,
and off to the right, barely in the picture,

what she might become--the sick one
sleeping, hospital curtain pulled back,
only her face showing, disconnected

from the body she has begun to lose.
To the left, dressing gowns hanging empty
on the door. And beyond that door,

what you cannot see

Later, my visit over,
I walked out into bright afternoon, the sun
harsh, scouring everything--my face

the face a man recognized. (And here
I hesitate to tell you--) I was escorted
to the police station, guilty of being

where I was not allowed to be, a woman
notoriously abandoned to lewdness.
There, I posed for another lens, suffered

indecencies I cannot bear to describe.
You will not see those photographs--
paint smeared on my face, my hair

loosed and wild--a doppelganger
whose face I loathe but must confront.
I know now that if we choose

to keep any part of what is behind us,
we must take all of it, hold each moment
up to the light like a photograph--

this picture I send you of my good work,
a modest portrait for my mother,
even my rough image in a police file.

--Natasha Trethewey
Bellocq's Ophelia




Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shazaam!


I'm still in and out of the lab. And, the photo gods are not ignoring my pleas. I have 2.99 prints from the tricky negatives. So, the printing is not utterly maddening. However, I can't share the images on the web. I tried printing my remembered fairy tale on 8 X 10 paper, but way too much information for that size frame. So, I jumped up to 11 X 14 and now it's not cramped and so busy. My dinky scanner can't fit that size print with the proper framing, so, you're out of luck.

The origins of the project came from my memory of being told a fairy tale (Sleeping Beauty) twice: the first tale would be the way white people would act out the tale; and, the second would be the way black folk would do it. If this was the 60s or 70s, I think I would have kept to that division of black and white. But, the time is the brand new Aughts, and some black people have achieved or acquired enough capital to not be excluded from mainstream American culture (this is a very debatable point with lots of shady corners to investigate, so I'm very aware of that, please, feel free to argue amongst yourselves).

I became less enamored of presenting a perceived white culture, and I realized it was more about the dominant trend of current American culture, commercialism. So, there are traces of black in the first fairy tale. Obviously, the "awkward/evil" fairy is a black hen, but I chose to make her an animal for two reasons. One, animal totems are used throughout many religions and spiritual practices. Even Christians use the "lamb" to symbolize an aspect of Christ. (My knowledge of Christianity is not thorough. Please, correct me when I err.) The second reason I chose an animal form for Ms. La-La is that "politically correct" white Americans will not say race is the source of their rejection/resistance/discomfort with non-Caucasians. They have been educated to encode their prejudice with variations of the thought "Why can't they be more like us?"

There are acceptable forms of blackness, especially if white corporate American can obtain a profit from them. That's why the "nice/good" fairy takes the shapely form of Beyonce. (This is no statement about Beyonce as a person or performer, I'm just using the carefully crafted persona that is put out there to sell records. I have paid $1.98 for two of her singles, and I feel perfectly entitled to handle that persona as I see fit...like a proper American, I've paid the fees to participate in her story.) I don't mean to say that the "nice/good" fairy is a sell-out, I'm presenting the other way to engage with the culture of the first fairy tale. Both fairies are negotiating with the culture: one does so on the culture's terms, the other on her own terms.

The other trace of blackness will appear on the handsome prince. If you examine him closely, you should notice that his hands are black but his head is white. I don't think it's a gross overstatement to say that young American males have usually appropriated parts of black culture to enliven their youth. It's an example of taking one part out of the whole to fit your viewpoint/agenda, and in America, you've probably "paid" for the privilege. (The misogynistic/gangsta style of rap is consumed primarily by white, suburban, male teenagers--why? Rap isn't just gangsta, it can't be defined by just that style.) The handsome young prince is also outfitted in togs designed by Ozwald Boateng, an immensely talented "bespoke couturier" born in Ghana and raised in London. You'd have to be a bit of a fashionista to see that, but it's there.

While working on the first fairy tale and discussing it with others, I also realized how "male" the dominant culture is in this story. Before the king marries the queen, her land is more pastoral and doesn't feature many buildings. After the marriage, tall skyscrapers and multiplying structures cover the fields of daisies.

While contemplating these tales, I had to confront my own American-ness and how we so easily believe we're the alpha and the omega. I realized that like so many of us, my childhood was shaped/infiltrated/tainted by Disney. I was remembering a fairy tale as presented by corporate America. It struck me (as they are hardly faithful or accurate in their retellings) that the original tale is European and that it was probably nothing like the Disney version or my memory. Researching it, I discovered, yes, there are many discrepancies between all of them.

Spinner's memory: two fairies only
Disney's version: three, I think
Perrault: 13 fairies

Spinner's memory: ends with marriage of Beauty and handsome prince
Disney's version: ends with wedding and happily ever after
Perrault: the marriage only concludes the second act, the third act is dominated by a wicked mother-in-law who is an ogress who eats children and hankers after her grandchildren

What they all have in common, though, is that Beauty is a mute object who is handled and moved through her story by others with a voice/power.

I'm almost finished with the first half of my project: portraying the remembered fairy tale. The second half of the project will be my portrayal of the re-authored version of Sleeping Beauty. And, this Beauty will not be a mute object, she's all mouth!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"About Me" July 2007

I have Muppet hair (Animal! Animal! Animal!). My hair and I have come to a detente. We let each other alone and most of the bad feelings each of us has instigated have dissipated (mostly). I've come to realize we're actually similar: both of us need the illusion of control to be cuddly, bright things; asserting your authority and telling us what to do will bring only snarls and sneers.

Having hinted at the fractious dealings of myself and hair, let me say I absolutely love my curls. Hair is what I see in the mirror and demands the daily upkeep of outrageously expensive shampoos and conditioners. I feel my lovely curls and only really "see" them with my fingertips. Occasionally, I get a peek at a perfectly delineated curl. Otherwise, they lovingly wrap around an insecure digit or play "bounce" with bored ones. Individuals are loved and cosseted; but once their uniqueness is lost in a group of others, distrust is born and aggression soon follows. As the wise gentlemen of the elements have said, "That's the Way of the World."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Postal Art



Thank you to everyone who responded to the postal art question. Not everyone has replied with their choice, so get your votes in. As of now, "Cora Mae" is definitely beating the "Ukrainian dairymaid." I love people's reasons for their choice as well and the surprises in my silver cupboard definitely make my day. Thanks Again!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Click below to watch over
BABY DOLL LOST

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lab Shuffle

I'm developing film and praying to the photo gods (a la Sally Mann) that something usable comes out...and maybe, a brilliant mistake or two.

"Beer Bottle Mama" - Andy Reynolds
"Ich steh an deiner Krippe hier" - Orchester des Bayerischen
"Free Up" - Chris Tambu Herbert
"The Lovecats" - The Cure
"Backstabbers" - The O'Jays
"The Long Run" - The Eagles
"The Fat Man" - Fats Domino
"Fantasy" - Earth, Wind & Fire
"Careless Love" - Quincy Jones
"Forward Motion" - Jazzhole
"Trimmed and Burning" - Built to Spill
"Your Turn to Cry" - Bettye LaVette
"Smoke" - Ben Folds Five
"Christmas Time Blues" - Roy Milton
"Happy" - The Rolling Stones
"The Party" - Kraze
"Brilliant Mistake" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
"Fever" (live) - Peggy Lee
"I Wanna Be Around" - Dinah Washington
"Shanti/Ashtangi" - Madonna

I've Been Working Too Long

I have been working non-stop to the point I don't know what day it is. I showed up at the marble counter this morning thinking I was on time. But there was no supervisor or superJenn.

Of course, I flipped out. And, nobody goes nuts like I do. I immediately thought I missed the memo about the place being fumigated and any minute, men in white haz-mat suits were about to gas me to death. I frantically searched the office blog for new postings. Then, I checked the office schedule. Lo and behold, I was 30 minutes early. Ha Ha.

Unlike you lucky ones, I have no weekends. They're all weekdays to me. And, the marble counter doesn't open until 8:30 on this day devoted to Zeus' father.

But, all was not in vain. I met a gorgeous black man who illustrates children's books and also is a fine artist. I did him a favor (he looked lost). I'm sure he's not available. So fine, so talented and single? And, if he is single, then I'm sure he's an upstanding Baptist. And, that won't mix with my heathen ways.

Nobody sings the blues like I do, non?