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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


No, this is not a photograph of an installation at the National Holocost Museum, though it still says a 1000 words.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

coming attractions

I just received a letter from an Australian friend I drank a lot of wine with this time last year. As I reread her letter I have a Siamese cat in my lap who is less curious about what I am doing than why I am not feeding her. Mr. Beloved is snoring by my side and I've yet to enjoy my morning coffee.

My other Aussie friend, S and I zing emails back and forth once and while. We both have blogs so its a bit easier to catch up on what's up with each other if we have the time to do so. I completely understand my friend's sense of doubt and frustration with the limitations of exhibiting one's work. It's great when we are new on the scene and there is a lot of interest in what we are doing! After that, well its a whole other story, another strategy, etc. There are congrats when we get our shows on the calendar but somehow it seems to be anticlimatic.

Mr. Beloved and I are plugging away at our work... things are happening for us both, though slowly. His book will be published this year and he's been commissioned to write a play about the friendship between an eccentric writer and scientist.

I'll be participating in a performance/video piece at a branch of the Whitney Museum in NY this spring. Its a whole different kind of work I've recently become interested in... part of it is the nature of the project and part of it is the result of recent journeys. There is also a new series of works on linen created during the time I was in France in August. THAT was a very, very strange residency. I feel guilty going away so much but there really isn't a much for my career here these days. NYC is another story. Another effort, another direction. I feel closer to Paris as far as my painting goes.

Part of it is the stigma of being a mid-career artist. There seems to be less of a stigma in Paris. (I'm sure there are other stigmas but at least AGE doesn't seem to be one of them)

Here collectors think that if you aren't famous by the time you are in your 40's then they want to know why not... so if the collectors ask those questions the gallerists follow suite. Its really such a boring question. I just want to work but there is the matter of heat and morgage to consider...

Otherwise its been a very quiet week for me. I arrived home a week ago with the CRUD. I read my posts from last year and it seems to be something I get every winter. I think I need to sleep with a humidifier since I seem to be getting sick every winter. It proved to be a good opportunity to lay low and work on this video piece but now I am ready to get back in the studio.

Valentines was pretty low key this year. Mr. Beloved and I went to his favorite pub around the corner and I told him all about waiting in line at the Musee Picasso with my Aussie friend and the ghost of Dora Maar. There are other people I met at the Cite that I'd love to hear from... Ben, the Australian playwrite for one. Mitra and her beautiful family... I worry that Bush will get his way and there will be American troops in Iran. What will become of them? I hear from Fab and Jane once in awhile. We SMSed when I was in Paris in Aug. but he was out of the country. He said they'd been in Tasmania in a recent email. I would have loved to have been there for those long nights of drinking and laughter.

Its hard to remember but we are all painters... artists, writers. The rest of it is just a distraction - the career shit just gets in the way... even when its good it can get in the way.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Auspicious February

Last night Mr. Beloved and I nearly missed the PBS American Experience focus on New Orleans due to a review I read in the NYT: "City of Feel-Good Music and Feel-Bad History" By NEIL GENZLINGER. I am relieved we gave it a chance since it was very enlightening and I KNOW more about NOLA than most folks.

It's very obvious to me that Mr. G just doesn't get IT. Last night I realized that most Americans don't and perhaps IT's a place ya just have to live in to get tho that wasn't a requirement for moi. My first real New Awlin's experience was when I was a sophomore in college. I'd made some friends from the Gulf Coast who were planning to drive down for the ruckus of Mardi Gras. I was game. We left the Thurs or Fri prior to Fat Tues... I think. Its funny... I don't even remember who I rode down there with... nothing about the drive or where we stayed. Maybe with someone's parents someplace in the suburbs that first night. I wore my first pair of pointy cowboy boots... they weren't premium, since I was on an art school budget. That was a mistake.

I remember painting faces and taking photos of Lucy and Brian playing their juice harps by the light of the street lamp on Jackson Square. I remember painting faces on Bourbon Street with a little wooden sign Brian had made saying "Face Paints While U Wait." I'd use one hand to prop a slightly tipsy person against a wall so I could paint their face and they would hold their drink in one hand and the paint water in the other. It was interesting watching how often they would mistake the paint water for their Hurricane as the night wore on. I had NO MONEY. I took 20 dollars with me and if I didn't get tips from the face painting I probably would have eaten saltines from the salad bar all weekend... and I certainly didn't have money for drinking. When one is completely sober in the Zeitgeist of New Orleans during Carnival it is a true circus. We went to the Cafe du Monde. I had my first cafe au lait and beinets. I ran into people I hadn't seen in years. I felt like I was in the place I needed to be maybe for the first time in my life.

That night I wound up crashing with Jeff and Adele (an Egyptian scientist with three masters degrees and workin on a Phd who was flippin pancakes at the waffle house because he didn't have a green card) Don't ask me how we found these guys in a city crammed with revelers since I'll never know. Cell phones weren't even on the horizon back then. I didn't have any friends in NOLA at the time and barely knew most of the the people I was traveling with... we were all studying poetry or science or social work or fine art at a southern university about 5 hours north of NOLA... like minded souls in a land of southern belles, jocks, rednecks and good ole boys. Fraternities and Sororities tried to run things in those days but we did a pretty good job of giving them a run for their money.

That night poet Jeff drove us to his friends' apt and parked in the parking garage. I think we were in a Colt or some other small hatchback of the late 70's vintage. His friends never came home. We tried to sleep in the Colt. My legs were cramping from the walking, the boots, maybe from growing out of my tight levi's, from drinking bourbon...maybe from all those reasons. (Bourbon always gave me leg cramps. I don't drink it today... every)

I was 19 years old, almost 20. Adele and Jeff were so sweet. Neither of them ever made a move on me though I had a slight crush on Jeff and Adele had a slight crush on me. Those were the days when bohemia was full of kindness and people were just sweet... (what happened?)

That car, though. It was a disaster on wheels. Early in the morning after Fat Tuesday many of us (MSU bohos) were crammed in the same car and passing over the Lake Ponchatrain Bridge. The car died. There are 7 or 9 people crammed in this COLT and it is shaking as semi s roll past us. I have to admit, it was a little scary. Just like in a sweet fable, some Jed Clampet-like family with an open truck stopped on the bridge and let us all cram into the back of their truck. We were in face paint and costume and must have been quite something to see. The most amazing thing is they used what they had: jumper cables!!! - to attach the two cars and tow Jeff's Colt to the other side of the bridge.

We poured out of the truck at some fast food joint on the other side of the bridge and everyone SOSed their connections from a payphone for help. I had one phone number with me - my mother's old college roomate and her family. They lived on that side of the lake. They had visited us when I was kid and gave us our first Siamese Cat, Pepper. I hadn't seen the Rusts since I was a kid. I called them out of the blue. They came to the rescue, picking up me with Jeff and Adele and towed Jeff's car to their home.

(At this point - its Wednesday - I've missed three days of classes back at old Moo U...) They let us shower (encouraged us, I'm sure!), fed us and put us up for the night. In the meantime, their daughter's boyfriend proceeded to repair the car. I think it may have cost 35 dollars in parts. I never knew if Jeff had the money to pay him or not. We took off on Thurs or Fri. I missed a week of classes but found my muse for many years to come during that auspicious week.

New Orleans showed me what was possible when one lives in a place where "do what thou wilt" is laizze faire. No one judges as long as you aren't hurtin anybody. The most memorable Mardi Gras costume I saw that year (1980) was a young man dressed as Peter Pan. He was struttin past St. Louis Square with nothin on but a pot hangin from his waist over his peter. On the back of the pan was scrawled in black marker "Peter Pan". He was wearing high tops and nothin else. It was a mild, sunny Mardi Gras that year.... or this guy woulda been way ahead of the season!

When I reorganize my office I'll hope I can come up with some images of that time. It was pure magic for me. A much better education than anything I would have learned in class that week.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

step by step

It may snow later this week so I am anxious to get back to my walking routine around the great lakes of the neighborhood. I've been away for about ten days so my routine was broken and I've taken on the additional suffering of a major rhinovirus. It's been bedrest for close to a week - off and on of course. As soon as I think I am ok to tip toe out into the world the floodgates will open and my nose will run like a broken water main... or I'll start coughing like a TB victim. I'm tired of it but I haven't been to the MD because this crud hasn't been accompanied by a fever.

I caught it from a NY artist so I think its just a different bug than my immune system has encountered before. I've been pretty successful over the past season warding off colds with appropriate behaviors and supplements - but not this MF. Its a mucus monster - so much so those mucinex commercials have almost convinced me to try their product. I try to be media conscious and media literate to avoid being sucked into advertising. I think its the flea and mite of contemporary culture and until they invent a filter (art?) that is effective I try to shake it off like any good mongrel.

In the meantime, this bedrest if great for catching up on my reading and figuring out the ins and outs of the new and enforced blogger. I've already had some problems with it and I don't want to get sucked into changing my template since I know from fellow bloggers' experiences that will involve reworking ALL my links. That is a P.I.A that I'd like to avoid since my head is already full of mucous. I'd rather start a new blog... cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze.

Please send me your most effective home remedies if you have the time and the pity. I already know about bed rest, comsumption of fluids, vitamin C, echinacia, zinc, etc. Anybody know a good witch doctor?

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