Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pooh's thoughts on Swine Flu

While I'm certainly following news about the Swine flu, and have a bit of paranoia (I have a daughter, after all, who attends public school in the city, where many of the cases have been identified), I also fall victim to some of the humor...

Yesterday morning I saw a woman on the train wearing a mask- she jumped every time a person sniffled, and in avoiding touching any of the bars used to brace oneself from the motions of the train, she let herself be thrust against the rest of us.

I laughed at her, to which she appeared to take offense. (or so it seemed, as she walked indignantly to the other side of the train) But really... the lady might give herself a heart attack worrying before she contracts Swine Flu!

Anyway, it's too early to tell whether this particular flu strain will develop into a pandemic, but I think all of us- even the skeptics who think that the virus is a ridiculous government scare tactic, are keeping abreast of updates.

(A brief aside... Have you ever noticed how it's mostly young, entitled people who prefer to combat an idea rather than discuss it? It's the same thing I did when I was a teenager, when I was insecure and wanted to convince people I was smarter than I really am. The philosopher Deleuze had some great things to say about this sort of thing...)

Amanda Browder opening at 303 Grand

Wanna see some great sculpture right here in Brooklyn? Well, what are you doing this weekend...?

I met Amanda back in Madison, Wisconsin, while she was in the MFA program at UW Madison.

Here's a write-up about her opening:

This coming Friday, May 1st, 5pm-8pm, 303GRAND presents sculpture artist Amanda Browder, "mad scientist of scavenger art assemblage, uses hundreds of fabrics to stitch together a surreal and disorientating world in which anything seems possible." So come by, grab a drink and have a chat with the artist herself!

CALL TO ACTION: With the help from Wearable Collections, we are accepting donations of any fabric, sheets, blankets, and/or clothing (the brighter and more colorful the better) for Amanda's latest project, "House Blanket." Her goal is to get enough fabric to sew a colorful blanket that will cover and entire Greenpoint building. "After living in Greenpoint for 2 years, and feeling sick with how many apartments have that god-awful aluminum siding on them. The project will be a warm wake-up to the monochromatic droll of beige siding...ugh!" We will be collecting items starting Monday, April 27th until May 5th.

So swing by 303GRAND with some left over fabric, your moms old polyyester floral print bell bottoms, and your grannies old knitted blanket thats been in your closet for years and donate it for a great cause!


The following picture shows Anevay at a friend's wedding here in NY wearing a hat Amanda made! (October, 2001)

Cute, huh?

If you're unable to make the opening tomorrow, no fear- the show runs through May 10th (303GRAND is open between 12-5).

Check out Amanda's artist website for more info, or the 303GRAND site to learn more about the space.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flyover vs. Fly-by

If you've been following the 'news', you'll know that one of the Boeing 747s used by Obama and an F-16 jet did a flyover of lower Manhattan, circling the Statue of Liberty and scaring the shit out of office workers who remember the 2001 attacks...

What was Caldera thinking?! (he's the Director of the White House military who took the blame for the incident) Doesn't he know that only these two testosterone-idiots are allowed fly-bys:

Here's a few shots of a bag I embroidered. Granted, the plane isn't a Boeing 747, and I took artistic license with the skyline, but I think it's pretty obvious to what I'm referring:

Want one of these bags for yourself? Check 'em out in my shop.

See my work! (Also, this is my 100th posting!!)

Yesterday I went and talked to the lovely ladies over at Spacecraft, and we decided on a date for my solo art show! Drum-roll, please...

Friday, June 12th!!


The evening coincides with the Williamsburg Every 2nd Friday Art Crawl event, during which 30 neighborhood galleries open their doors from 6:30 - 10, with openings, closings, and other special events (as well as fun after parties)!

It'll be a great night for all of you in the area to not only check out my art at Spacecraft, but to check out many of the other fantastic local galleries and businesses.

Stay tuned for more details.

For more info about the Williamsburg Every 2nd Friday Art Crawl, please refer to Raw Mag (as they are currently working on the Williamsburg Gallery Association site).

Also, this Friday I'm dropping off a load of my bags that will be sold at 1:46 Watch Repair and Design Collective. Here is part of the description from the website about the collective:

"1:46 Watch Repair & Designer Collective is a unique pairing of trades by husband/wife team Leo De La Cruz and Lisa Fortin, who live behind the shop in a garden apartment with their two small daughters.

Leo has been tinkering with watches for most of his life, taking over the family business 10 years ago in Ridgewood NY. His first exposure, however, was as a child in the Dominican Republic where he'd sit under his father's work bench taking timepieces apart and putting them back together. Marcelino taught the trade to both of his sons, and Leo has now begun to pass the knowledge to his nephew, Hansel.

Lisa has an extensive background in graphic and costume design, but has put her creative energies into the jewelry and accessories line Steel Couture for the past 7 years. She uses labor-intensive techniques to create an edgy, trendsetting vision. Along with her own work, 1:46 features a dozen local designers of distinctive talent, showcasing wares ranging from jewelry and accessories to bath products and housewares.

1:46 opened it's doors in the summer of 2007, a unique venue where watches are serviced and emerging designers are debuted. And though Williamsburg offers up many objects d'art, repeat customers say that here they find some of the best. Pair that with the best watchmaker in town and you've got more than one reason to stop in."

The collective is located 1/2 block from the Bedford Avenue L-train stop, just one train station away from Manhattan, right here in Williamsburg (it's located on N. 7th; between Bedford and Berry Streets)!

For those of you who don't live in NY, make sure to check out some of my embroidered clothing and bags on my online shop. Unfortunately, I have yet to get my art website up and running, so you'll have to hold off on seeing much of my work. I'll try to keep posting pictures of some of the canvases I'm working on.

Thanks to all of you for the continued support!!

(By the way... the photo above has nothing to do with my art, galleries, exhibitions, or really anything at all. It's just a photo of me taken a few years ago- with short hair- and since I just found it, I thought it would be fun to post!)

My Little Red Book

Without going into specifics about changes my daughter is seeing in her growing body, I will say that puberty, budding breasts and periods are topics that these days are very much discussed in our small household.

When I was a girl, I was mortified to talk about the changes I saw in my body. My daughter is different. She appears to embrace change, and excitedly talks about all of the ways her body will someday change.

My daughter is an avid reader, and for this reason I think she might benefit from reading 'My Little Red Book', which is an anthology of stories about first periods, collected from women of all ages from around the world.

I took the following description from the website for the book:

"The accounts range from light-hearted (the editor got hers while water skiing in a yellow bathing suit) to heart-stopping (a first period discovered just as one girl was about to be strip-searched by the Nazis). The contributors include well-known women writers (Meg Cabot, Erica Jong, Gloria Steinem, Cecily von Ziegesar), alongside today's teens. And while the authors differ in race, faith, or cultural background, their stories share a common bond: they are all accessible, deeply honest, and highly informative. Whatever a girl experiences or expects, she'll find stories that speak to her thoughts and feelings.

Ultimately, My Little Red Book is more than a collection of stories. It is a call for a change in attitude, for a new way of seeing periods. In a time when the taboo around menstruation seems to be one of the few left standing, it makes a difficult subject easier to talk about, and helps girls feel proud instead of embarrassed or ashamed. By revealing what it feels like to undergo this experience first hand, and giving women the chance to explain their feelings in their own words, it aims to provide support, entertainment, and a starting point for discussion for mothers and daughters everywhere. It is a book every girl should have. Period."

Sounds great, doesn't it? I wish the book had been out when I was a little girl. Oh well, it's never too late...

Any other ideas for great books or, even better, websites ('cause they're free!) that introduce the subject of growing up, puberty, being a kick-ass girl?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Siamese Twins

Last night I started yet another canvas (I'm taking a break from 'The Last Supper'), and worked on it for a bit this morning after dropping Anevay off to school. I need to add many details (I'm envisioning a string of pearls, or rather, two strings, one for each neck), which will probably take awhile...

I started coming up with ideas for the next canvases, most of which will involve animals, 18th Century costume (clearly not an element in the canvas you see above), and, well, a little macabre gore. I'm constantly fascinated by the fact that humans, for all of our pretense of being clean and civilized, are really rather beastly, both in mind and body.

As some of you may know, I've been selling some of my embroidered clothing and a couple of canvases at the Brooklyn Collective. Yesterday I found out that one of my canvases sold:

As you can see, there are some similarities to some of my older pieces (bird heads, decapitations, even the shoes). It's fun to play with these components!

It's nice to have two projects going at the same time... When I'm burned out on the writing, I can turn to my canvases. In turn, by the time I finish a few canvases, my fingers are generally so blistered and my brain so dull from such mindless work, that I'm chomping at the bit to get back to working on the book! Not a bad system I seem to be sliding into...

Now if I could only figure out a way to sustain myself with the art-making and writing!


Baby steps...

Monday, April 27, 2009

A typical New York weekend...

SATURDAY: Picnic at Battery Park in Tribeca.

This is a view of the park from the apartment of our hosts. The group is down there somewhere... Can you see them?

This is also a shot taken from the living room of our host. Can you tell which NY landmark is in the distance?

I love this shot of the park. The kid and his bat, the ball flying in the air, the couple brazenly making out...

Clearly, Anevay is miserable...

Still miserable...
One of the hosts had a machine that beaded the kids' hair. Cool, huh?

We did some damage to the packaged food we brought...

On our way home we ran into a group of break-dancers by the Brooklyn Bridge. These ladies were pretty strong...

Some weirdo had a pet rabbit on the train. A little girl let him play with her stuffed bunny... Apparently the rabbit had just come from hanging out in Central Park all day. Not a bad life for a rabbit.

SUNDAY: Central Park

Courtney, Anevay, and mixed-martial arts... I think Anevay won. Oh, and yes, Anevay is wearing the same thing she wore on Saturday. Her choice, not mine. Sigh.

The girls. Anyone know how to break a kid of a nail-biting habit?

Courtney was pretty proud of herself for climbing the tree.

Anevay, however, was proud until she realized that she was stuck...

Alice in Wonderland.

Aja and Anevay raced. Aja won, Anevay cried... Until Aja reminded Anevay that her legs are as long as Anevay's entire body, and that it would just be plain weird if she hadn't won.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend in the city. We saw a load of friends, and exhausted ourselves running around, playing ball, and climbing trees.

Looking forward to the summer!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Disney, BBC, Earth, my art, and the poor Polar Bears...

Yesterday I went on a class field trip with 50 (more or less) totally insane and excited second-graders to see Disney's 'Earth' movie. Not going into just how insane the kids were, I will say that most of them calmed down once the movie started, enraptured by the beautiful scenes.

Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, the writers/directors of both the Disney film and the BBC documentary 'Planet Earth', stated that it had been their vision to create them simultaneously.

On one hand, this duel project is fantastic, as it makes the amazing filming accessible to a broader audience (i.e. 50 screaming schoolchildren), but I couldn't help but think about how much cash is being stuffed into executives pockets as a result of these great projects. (But then, perhaps that's just me being bitter after working in marketing at a fund of hedge fund for three years?)

Also, as Richard Nilsen of The Arizona Republic wrote:

"'Earth' is the BBC documentary TV series 'Planet Earth' run through the Disney meat grinder and turned into fast food."


He continues:

"The visuals are still stunning. The TV series contains some of the most amazing and beautiful nature footage ever shot. Dizzying images of birds flying over Mt. Everest and underwater shots of elephants swimming or lions congregating at night for the kill. The shot of the great white shark leaping out of the water and scooping up a midair lunch of seal will make your jaw drop.

But in 'Earth,' it has all been dumbed down, edited into heart-warming little vignettes with baby animals looking unbelievably cute and tender-eyed, and then slathered with some of the most cloying, cliche-ridden narration ever put to microphone."

I have to agree.

"It's quite a comedown," Richard continues. "The original series was narrated in Great Britain by the legendary David Attenborough. When it was aired on the Discovery Network in the U.S., that narration was gutted and replaced with a more conventional script read by Sigourney Weaver. Now, it is James Earl 'Voice of God' Jones reading such hackneyed lines as elephants 'on an epic quest for food and water,' and cheetahs and gazelles in 'the drama of hunter and hunted.'

Worse, at certain moments, the narrative is actually offensive, as when a bird of paradise is filmed in its mating dance and Jones is required to say, 'Get down, baby,' with a jazz track playing in the background. Meant to be funny, it comes across as marginally racist, a not too-distant cousin to 'feets don't fail me now.'

The movie is clearly aimed at children. But the dialogue is so bland and platitudinous that even a 5-year-old is likely to turn his head and utter an exasperated 'oy.'

Almost as bad is the hackneyed symphonic score that Mickey-Mouses every emotion we are manipulated into feeling."

Richard ends by saying, "The word 'Disneyfication' is not a compliment."

True that.

I was going to write my own review of the Disney film, but with Richard already having written all of my own thoughts, there's just no need.

I will hand this to Disney, however... For each ticket purchased this past Earth Week, one tree will be planted. That's great, huh?

I wonder, however, how large a 'footprint' is created by the movie theaters every time they show the film? Or, *gasp*, how large a 'footprint' was pounded out over the Earth in the filming of the documentary and movie?

Perhaps, for the sake of sanity, it's best not to think about such things?

I think a lot about the plight of the planet. From the time I was in middle school, when I helped spearhead a campain against using polystyrene in public schools, I've been conscious of conservation issues. Granted, in New York I've slacked on my saving-the-world duties. Here, even recycling is difficult. I have friends who live in apartments that are not visited by city workers who pick up recycling. Hm. Come to think of it, I'm not sure of the laws and policies, if any, that the city has in place... I'll have to work on finding out.

I've been (slowly) working towards completion of a 'Last Supper' canvas, on which I'm embroidering various animals.

Granted, unicorns, as far as I know, have never existed (ask me sometime about my trip to the zoo to see them;), but all of the others have. The Dodo has been extinct for quite some time, and some of the others, though not extinct, are on their way out.

The Polar Bear, for example...

Disney's 'Earth' really hit home about the "tragic plight" of the Polar Bear. This huge carnivorous animal is often used to illustrate the affects of rapid climate change. I threw one on my canvas because I am also bothered by the loss of this animal's habitat (ice).

My daughter likes the canvas very much, and last night we not only talked about it, and what it means to her (it makes her "happy and sad," she said), but we talked for a spell about Polar Bears in general and what their eventual demise means.

I won't go over all of the points we talked about. Most of them are things every person knows. But I did think it especially poignant when Anevay said, in tears, "I'm glad that the Polar Bears will have been on the planet while I'm on it. It'll mean more then when they're dead."

Basically, Anevay was saying that she'll feel a connection to these animals that she might not to creatures already extinct.

I appreciate that Anevay is sensitive to conservation issues. It's hard, at times, to know what to tell her. In the last year, we've been reading books about rapic climate change, and talking more and more about the affects both humans and natural patterns have on the planet. We've also been visiting zoos- not only to see animals from around the world, but to relax.

And yet...

I've had a problem with zoos for many years.

In college, I took a couple of biodiversity courses. I understand the arguments for keeping endangered animals in captivity. I know the importance of maintaining the planet's biodiversity, and I respect and commend the effort to promote conservation through education (which many zoos do, and do well). On the other hand, I feel that to do this in many ways just appeases human guilt over the killing off of species and the destruction of habitat. I guess I have a hard time seeing how keeping animals in captivity is any different from maintaining a 'freak-show'.

Yep, yet another posting that is all over the place. Sorry, people. Maybe I should have just written 'Happy Earth Week'!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I went on a second grade field trip and survived!

Anevay clearly is having a miserable time on the second-grade field trip today.
My group, three of the most rowdy, yet awesomest kids ever.

I'm still decompressing after today.

50 screaming children taking a subway, hanging out in a movie theater, and then a return subway trip, almost proved the end of me. Fortunately, I escaped with my life.

My sanity, however, is not faring as well...

I did gain a bit of it back taking in all of the beautiful flowering trees around and outside of Anevay's school:

I'm told it is going to be 80 degrees here in NY tomorrow, and 88 on Sunday (that's 31 Celsius!!). I think a great brunch/picnic tomorrow and a day at the beach on Sunday will wash away the stress of today! (although I will admit, there were many fun moments today with the kids)

Have a great weekend!

Quickest sketches ever - the week in review

Anevay and her friend Alameda on the J-train before school
Wet (because of the rain!!!) strangers on the J-train

My group on a field trip today- fast, fast, FAST sketching amid insane children!
A sleepy Anevay sucking her thumb...

Hahahahaha- hope you weren't expecting anything in the way of perspective!
This week I concentrated mostly on my writing, but I did a handful of 5-20 second sketches, mostly on the subway. I also looked at a lot sketches done by other people (via drawing sites on the Internet), and after seeing that most of them were executed far better than anything I've done lately, I've come to four conclusions: 1) I don't have the patience these days to concentrate on lines; 2) I don't have the time to sketch; 3) in between my bouts of writing, I'm going to do it anyway, because it's fun to draw without a care, for no reason except to just have it out; 4) and finally, Anevay loves sitting with me on the train, doodling away...

A few more: