the categorical days: Arts

November 10, 2008


From Wilhelm Staehle

I'm quite enjoying reasonable and excellent artwork to hang on the wall.

This is a new and likely forever favorite from The Bazaarium brings the silhouette masterpiece theatre series home quite attractively.

In other news, I'd new brakes put on the car today, and this gives me great comfort.

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September 28, 2008

Making a movie about making a world

Shooting the action from above

Today I donned my first wireless microphone... you know the little ones they clip to your shirt for interviews? It was terribly exciting even if I was a bundle of nerves.

Here's how it went down...

In July I got a note from a fella named Steve Juras. He's working with a group of folks on a documentary about Ed Emberley's Make a World book.

Related sidetrack: I've fawned over this children's drawing book before, and also list Ed as a big inspiration in my life.

Steve was curious if I would be available to answer some questions about my experience with Ed's book.

Heck yeah I would.

Fast forward a few months and the day was upon us.

I got an extra large coffee this morning and met the traveling film crew at the studio. They set up the lights and cameras. I fuddled through questions and crossed my fingers that editing can do wonders.

Wendy, the other third of Wire & Twine and fellow Emberley disciple, came out to chit chat in the afternoon. We both got to dust off our skills and do a bit of drawing to boot.

All in all? The experience was fantastic. We got to hear about the process of getting the movie off the ground and stories of other folks who found inspiration in the book. We also learned a little about Ed and he sounds just as awesome as we would imagine him to be.

I think the best part is that a whole new audience is going to be introduced to his lifelong work. There can't be too much good stuff in the world.

To get in touch with the filmmakers, visit their pre-production page or join the Ed Emberley Fan Group on Facebook.

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September 09, 2008

Westcott House Centennial

a mighty fine example of prairie style architecture.

Dan, at rehearsal up in Springfield Ohio on Friday, texted me to check out the Westcott House website. I'd heard about this Frank Lloyd Wright home and knew it was in Springfield, but not much beyond that.

Turns out it has been freshly restored and a centennial performance would happen on Saturday.

A few calls later, I had my mom in tow the next day and we went up to attend the night of celebration.

Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of the renowned architect, started the evening off with a talk about the history, inspiration, and process his grandfather employed. Fascinating stuff.

Less is only more where more is no good.
—Frank Lloyd Wright

It was a fantastic evening with the talk, slideshows and movies of the house through the ages (at one point it was broken up into several apartments and then severely dilapidated), all the images scored with music by the symphony.

I plan to go back for the full tour soon.

The Westcott House (tours, programs)
Prairie School (wiki)
The Mike Wallce Frank Lloyd Wright interview (video)

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July 31, 2008

Drum Corps

The Troopers from Casper WYO perform at Soaring Sounds 29

I've never been to one of these Drum Corp events. My partner has been raving about them for years, and even has a few of those fancy twirling flags packed away with camping supplies. (Because nothing says camp quite like a flag routine.)

When we found out a sanctioned event was happening up the street, curiosity won out and I agreed to go. And my first impression, walking up to the Centerville High School stadium?


A lot of people like this stuff. A LOT.

And they're rowdy.

And a tad bit crazed. (All in a good way mind you, as I support passion that doesn't degrade others.)

Aside from the loud mom crew behind us that insisted to talk through every single moment of every routine, I found the whole affair a sonic and visual treat.

Current music: Yes "Hold On"

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March 01, 2008

Art of Food

Hot about his product

That's John up there. You might have seen him from time to time pop up on these virtual pages. He married my friend Anne, teaches school, makes art, and can whip up a killer chocolate waffle. (He also made a favorite t-shirt I wear proudly)

Now I've seen his paintings in bits and pieces, but never been to a show of his work proper. That changed on leap day when he was part of a big show called the Art of Food down in Covington.

It opened yesterday with much fanfare (and calories).

Culinary samples from around Greater Cincinnati were set up in the main space of The Carnegie and flanked by galleries for each artist.

Everything was delicious, from art to food, but especially seeing old friends and shaking hands of new ones. Good times.

PhotosCheck out John's meat and other photos from the opening

The show is running through March 28, 2008. More information at The Carnegie's site.

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January 11, 2008


The dragon above the stage. Aronoff Center. Cincinnati, OH

Saw Wicked (again) last night. This time the seats were immensely better than the first time around. (Those box seat balcony things on the side of the theatre look really awesome, but the views are crap.)

The view on the ground exposed much of the set and lighting I'd not seen before. It was like an entirely different show.

My mom came along and said the show was like being 10 years old and seeing a fairy-tale come to life in a whole new way. I remember those goosebumps. And after playing the heck out of the soundtrack over the past year or so, those goosebumps are still there.

Previously I wrote "I like this show a lot.... for taking an old familiar story and twisting it deliciously into something with greater meaning." I'm not sure if the meaning is greater, but I always appreciate when my notions are expanded by another perspective.

Current music: Original Broadway Cast "For Good"

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September 09, 2007

Monoprint Workshop

Arting up the plate

Second class at the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative. (The first workshop was for lithography).

I was without a muse yesterday and instead of exploring the new medium, I tried to make something that attempted to be a cohesive work with a subject and composition.

Turned out awful. I'm not sharing it. But there are other photos from the day I'll piece together when queue opens up.

The good part was that I got to know some of the students and teachers better, and I'm also learning my way around Dayton little by little.

Current music: Morrissey "Dear God Please Help Me"

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August 13, 2007

It’s only embarassing if you tell people

Schottenstein Center: Value City Arena

I saw the Pop-Tarts American Idol tour pass through Ohio on Saturday.

I cannot remember my state of mind when the tickets were purchased, but I can assure you I was not sober.

I'm still processing what went down, but I think it went something like this:

- We had to walk 7 miles from the parking lot to get to the show.

- Sanjaya performed a Michael Jackson song, finally. (The Way You Make Me Feel). I made a little video recording but it pains me to watch so I'm not uploading it. All of the kitsch entertainment value he once held for me has been replaced by sadness.

- At first we thought Gina Glocksen was being ungrateful and distant, but we then realized the other girls must be driving her absolutely bonkers on the tour bus. B O N K E R S. (That means you Melinda Doolittle, with your coy "who me?" shrug. I swear she spoke in parseltongue at one point)

- Phil Stacey put on a sailor outfit while the girls sang Prince's "America" from Around the World in a Day - which is an awesome song in it's weirdness, but in this context made it just weird.

- For the most part, everyone sang songs that we'd never heard of or never wanted to hear again. However, Lakisha Jones made good with I Will Always Love You.

(aside: insert moment of silence for Whitney)

- Blake Lewis made up for most of the muck and rocked the house. Chris Richardson was right behind him with his mammoth guns he's developed while learning to play drums and guitar.

- There were a couple other girls and another guy, but I forget what they sang. We left so we could get to bed before midnight.

Highlights of the day besides the show? Pool swimming, garlic fries, and a picture of myself I don't loathe... thx Brown (but I do need to work on more expressions outside of "glare").

Current music: Prince "Pop Life"

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July 24, 2007


Cincinnati Opera at Music Hall

I've written before how I've never enjoyed opera.

I could be the curmudgeon who compares everything to rock and roll - that bombast with undecipherable lyrics, but I'll refrain tonight.

It was dress rehearsal for Aida. Dan had a pair of tickets as he's not only performing, but he's actually on stage! In costume! [ Go here to view the above photo uncropped—it looks better that way. Hover over the image to see where he's standing, then zoom in to realize you can't really see him at all, but all the costumes are awesome anyway. ]

Mom joined me for the evening. I hadn't known she'd seen this particular opera back when she was a kid—following along with a translation under the guidance of a particularly inspired language teacher. You just can't shake good learning experiences. (But I wouldn't want to give up the projected subtitles they have these days)

When Dan's stint was over, we considered leaving after the second intermission but hem-hawed only briefly. We really wanted to watch the entire performance.

This is a first for me.

Maybe it was having my mom there, or the sets, or the costumes, or having dancers from the Ballet onstage, or the music. Maybe I'm gaining a better understanding of performance in general because of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Whatever the combination, I quite enjoyed this Cincinnati Opera.

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July 17, 2007

Lithography Workshop

July 14th & 15th

Good soul Amy, an almost relative up here in Dayton, told me about this Lithography Workshop by the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative a while ago, and I said sign me up.

We got there with coffee in hand and our pencils sharpened ready to take notes. Nice small class - nine students with an expert on hand for every pair.

I (dumbly) hadn't thought drawing would be required - but luckily I had access to this photo of birds from a journal entry back in 2004.

We spent the afternoon learning about the process and filling our aluminum plates with marks from the Lithographic crayons. They had a nice oil pastel feel and took kindly to the tooth on the plates. Not sure how to maintain sharp detail - but that's for subsequent experimentation.

We let the images set overnight and returned the following day to run them through the press on newsprint and then a final on nice paper. It could very well be an edition of one, but the nice bit about lithography is that you can make a run and get a good lot from a single plate. I hope to make a separate page outlining all the steps when I can get a few more questions answered so I don't provide false information.

Related: Unlike lithography, monoprints produce only one image, and the Dayton Printmakers Coop has a workshop in September. If you're in the area, you might check it out. I hope to. Details here.

PhotosSome snapshots around the workshop, and a little video to boot:

Lithography Workshop on Vimeo.

Soundtrack in video: Manitoba "Thistles And Felt"

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January 05, 2007

letter people

figures created through the use of a single letter in a variety of fonts and typefaces.

The Dayton Visual Arts Center not only has a darn fine logo, they've also got a sweet studio and exhibition space in the heart of downtown Dayton.

I went there last night with a couple of folks to check things out and also catch the mini-show of Christina Pereyma – on hand and adding to her display of cheeky woodblock type characters.

Not to be confused with the recently surfaced Typographic pin-up calendar, her work employs a sense of humor that is welcome. I met a handful of folks and circled the snack table. All was good.

Afterward I raided a kitchen for leftovers and then tried out Tony Hawk on the Wii. Jury's out on that.

Things I learned today:
- Even Amy and Kevin's leftovers are better than my best cooking. I have to work on that.
- A great title for a painting would be "It Matches Our Couch"
- Beck's NA tastes pretty darn good.

Current music: Pavement "Type Slowly"

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October 25, 2006

Madame Butterfly

performed by the Dayton Opera

I've always wanted to connect with opera on an intense emotional level. I figure this stems from watching that scene in Philadelphia where Tom Hanks provides a description of an operatic piece (La Mama Morte ) while it plays in the background.

I keep going to operas hoping for those goose bumps, but it never shakes down that way.

Seeing the dress rehearsal for Madame Butterfly in Dayton last week was no different.

Continue reading "Madame Butterfly"

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October 09, 2006

Blue Man Group

at the US Bank Arena, or to me, what will always be Riverfront Colesium

This isn't going to be a glowing review.

I've seen the Blue Man Group three times in Chicago. Each time was awesome. I gushed, and so did most of the folks I know that saw it.

I suppose this word-of-mouth fueled the Blue Man Productions to create their traveling How To Be a Megastar tour. A tour that preys upon those that think they're going to get a (good) taste of that awesome experience.

Maybe it does achieve greatness, for the uninitiated - but for me it was a big, impersonal blight. I don't need to look up at big projection TVs to feel like I am participating in a live event.

And though not their fault - it was also the most uncomfortable show I have ever seen. I refuse to sit on the "floor" again. Those metal fold-up chairs and lack of slope create a tension I don't need in life.

It should be noted I also hate "waving my hands in the air like I just don't care."

I want to care.

Boo, blue men. Boo.

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September 28, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance

On stage at the Aronoff Center, Cincinnati, OH [ +zoom ]

I may have mentioned a while back that I got rid of cable. So what's with these bits of TV that filter into my life? Easy enough answer: all my friends have television sets. And Project Runway night is sacred.

It comes on late however, and there (used to be) so many shows on right before it that filled the reality-tv-contest-talent-show niche.

Most of them were awful. All of them use the whiz-bang graphics and musical flourishes pioneered by Survivor, and many of them used the three judge panel of bitter-dude-with-accent, ditzy chick, and forgettable person.

Thanks to the Brown, I got suckered into So You Think You Can Dance late into the game, missing all the dag-awful auditions (pity). But I caught all the good ones, and how good they were.

Like the show with Tim Gunn, this one requires skill, artistry, and constraints — namely, folks have a particular dance style, but have to break out of it for solo, couples, and group dancing. It's like a combination of modern ballet and a classic Michael Jackson video. The show gave me a new appreciation for dance as an expressive art.

Yada yada yada, this is becoming long winded. Benji rightfully won this past season, and with the top 10, went on tour.

I caught them last night and my smile muscles haven't stopped hurting, and my hands are still a little raw from clapping so much. What fun! I wish all TV could go on tour.

Oh, and cameras were allowed, so I have over 500 shots, until I can sift through them this weekend, the one pictured above will have to suffice.

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September 15, 2006


Pulled out the camera for the taking-a-bow bit

I was lucky to catch Quidam twice on it's stop in Cincinnati. Each time was a different experience: One view was farther away with a view of the whole stage, and last night it was more intimate - three rows back from the action.

Both times were great. The far view afforded visual symphony of the whole spread, while the up-close-and-personal seat revealed the intense balance of the individuals (and their beads of sweat). To boot, the performers expressions ranged from sweet and hilarious, to super-freaky. It can be scary to see someone in clown make-up stop in front of you, glare, and throw a jab in the air as if they were about to attack (luckily this was not me).

I'm blathering, time to head down to the radio station and hug some folks.

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September 12, 2006

Ed Emberley’s “Make a World”

The book that changed my life

As a kid my mom drove me all the way to the Art Academy for kids' drawing class. I loved those hours, and had great fun. But the real kicker was shopping in the book store at the art museum after lessons completed. It was there I was allowed to get an Ed Emberley book every few visits.

And this, this is how I learned to draw.
How to see things as shapes put together.

I honestly believe drawing is something anyone can learn, at any age. It's like laying brick. If you devote attention, you can do it. (Take a life drawing class if you don't believe me) ... or...

These books are a fine place to start.

Advanced practices are based on these principles: Break down what you THINK you see, and understand the shapes.

All that said, they've re-issued Ed's Make a World book. The one chock full of subjects ranging from vehicles, to people, to buildings. (Mind you, it's all stick figurey, but valuable).

I'm not entirely thrilled with the reprint, and I made a little video review of the new edition viewable here (with my shoddy voiceover), but I still love the book, don't get me wrong.

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August 11, 2006

more melt

a slice of a painting by Ursula Roma on the wall

I picked up sandwiches at Melt today, still ranking as my favorite place for lunch in the city.

They've recently raised their prices a wee bit, but it's worth it, and they've expanded their menu over the summer. So it's all good. Plus, there's always something fun to see hanging on the walls from local artists.

In other news, I have been on a candy bar buying spree. Not sure what will come of that besides tighter waistbands.

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June 21, 2006

ware ware

I believe this is Sparky the Cat

In lieu of forthcoming NYC recap, I offer this tidbit my friend brought back from the Chris Ware show at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (now running through August 27, 2006).

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January 24, 2006


A (snippet of) work by Tony Oursler in the lobby of the Contemporary Arts Center

Lunch with my brother and mom downtown.

It was his birthday.

He's still older than me.

Afterward, the gift shop at the CAC coerced us to throw a little extra money in the meter.

Didn't tour through the exhibits (yet), but I've made a mental note to make sure to hit the regular Art Museum to see the Borrowed Time: The Photograph as Music Album Cover show, which closes next week.

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July 13, 2005

Margaret Garner

at the Cincinnati Opera

I went to the dress rehearsal of Margaret Garner last night at Music Hall. They do a full run through for family, friends and the press. The ticket read "No Cameras" and I complied, capturing this billboard on the way home in lieu of something on stage.

And what a something it was...

A while back I declared my disdain for opera. I don't get the cadence of it, pining instead for more distinct melodies. It always seems so... tragic. This makes me fidget.

But this one made the hairs on the back of my arms stand up ever so slightly from time to time, and I actually teared up a few moments.

Long story short, some spoilers: A woman is tried for killing her children so they won't have to grow up in slavery. The courts have to decide if she should be charged with destruction of property or murder. The latter would provide legal discourse that slaves were indeed human.

I was a bit shocked when the judges sang that the law and the Bible was on their side (in support of the "destruction of property" charge.) I was expecting some controversy—just not that angle.

Overall it was thought provoking and well played out (in English mind you.) I think I have a better understanding of how tragedy plays into this art form and I'm proud that Cincinnati is part of the commission that had this piece created.

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March 13, 2005

Another Flea Market

Fine art for 7 bucks

I was determined when I got home yesterday, to find out the origin of the phrase flea market .

According to Oxford Dictionary experts:

Flea Market comes from the French marche aux puces, a name originally given to a market in Paris. The fleas were thought to be in the goods, because they were of the kind to attract vermin. The earliest English use we have found dates from 1922.

Went up north to Caesar Creek. It was like a small mirrored copy of the market we went to last weekend, saturated with the same type of merchants:

  • overpriced used videogames/movies
  • t-shirts with iron-on hunting scenes
  • plenty of imported knock-off products
  • another scientology booth
  • one vendor (pictured above) that actually sold old junk. He even did it with some sideshow air, complete with bowler hat and a mechanical arm to grab things way up high

Add one tacky framed print into my hands. Oh, and a jar of chow chow from a booth that sold old fashioned candy and whatnot.

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March 06, 2005

Trader's World

Ohio’s Largest Family Shopping Mall

I'm not sure what constitutes a "family" shopping mall, but I always thought Trader’s World was a big flea market.

It was the perfect weather for driving up I-75 and wander around building after building of... stuff. I was hoping to find some old paintings I could vandalize. Sadly, most of the artwork was cheese. Expensive cheese—right up there with Thomas Kinkade, painter of light.

I got excited when I saw a box of unopened Sharpies® marked a dollar for a pack of five. Closer examination proved these were fakes though, with poor engrish used on the packaging. Pity.

Otherwise there was NASCAR stuff, "Git R Done" vomit strainers, lots of "new" DVDs priced too high, a Scientology booth, fried foods and a good smattering of eye candy.

I did buy something though, and I'm thrilled with it. It's a bootleg CD of Super Nintendo ROMS (about 450) and a Dreamcast emulator burned on the disc. I got home and dusted off the old Sega system and was playing Super Mario Bros on my TV with a Dreamcast controller in minutes. A little sluggish, but tolerable.

PhotosA couple more photos from the flea market.

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February 12, 2005

Clearing House

A post about Beautiful Losers that never made it out the door

Back in March of last year was the Beautiful Losers exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center, but it was also the night of the stellastar* concert. I never got around to getting these photos posted.

Also never posted:
• 49 day roadtrip from 2003
• Thanksgiving in Europe from the same year
• Slew of pictures from Wonderfest in Louisville
• Coachella last year
• Jaunt from Seattle to Lazy Bear, also last year

I need to just let go of adding captions and just post them.

Baby steps.

The grammy's provided enough mindless backdrop to crop these, not so good shots from inside the gallery. Blurry mainly from stealth photography after I found out I wasn't supposed to be taking photos.

I can't wait to get back to Chicago to see the Cloud Gate.

Oh, I should mention, the Beautiful Losers exhibit left a minty fresh feeling that still lingers in my mind to this day. The wall by Ryan McGuinness pictured above was the biggest culprit.

PhotosSome images from the Beautiful Losers show.

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January 06, 2005

Oh my chicken soup with ramble

Yeehaw for scanners, but I’m going to need to get some fresh pens

I've almost depleted the stockpile from the heavy snow—it’s down to canned goods now.

Yesterday, I broke out the Chicken Soup with (wild) Rice which seemed appropriate for a chilly (albeit rainy) day. As I stirred the pot, I drifted back to when I was a kid, scrutinizing Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months while singing along with Carole King on the record player.

You can't shake these things.

So I stir, and hum along to myself, remembering how much I loved Sendak's style, and how a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to consider helping her illustrate a children's book. With my chops rusty from the other day, one thing led to another and I started to think about drawing—a skill I feel that anyone can learn.

I started by tracing, then emulating. The classes of my youth, where craft won over composition. On to college where I feel I really learned how to see for the first time and translate it through my fingers.

That memory alone could occupy an entry all unto itself where I thank a professor from Ohio State by the name of Mike Arrigo. (Thank you Google)

Anyways, all these things swirling around as the soup heats and smells like metal.

All this stuff, linked to this very moment.

Baffling really. And nonsensical at the same time.

The soup was fine. Not much to write about, and the crackers were sort of stale (even though my brother taped the package closed — who else would do that?)

Save for the Zestas, the other thoughts, those made for a nice lunch hour.

SPECIAL BONUS: listenA clip of Carole King singing the song.

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August 11, 2004

Mie Yim

Ni-Na-No by Mie Yim (first name pronounced Mee YAY)
2004, 11'10" x 35'

My friend Art was telling me about their new exhibition at the JCCC Gallery of Art the other week, and he sent me a thumbnail of a piece he thought I'd like.

Made with pastels on the wall of the gallery, the scene depicts lots of critters doing questionable things. Maybe it was because of the transient nature of the installation, I find stuff that expires intriguing.

I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's the colors, or the playfulness of the characters (I'm usually not so fond of cute bear stuff), but I really like this. It's fun, and a little twisted.

In fact, I'd like to stare up at it and see the detail up close. I know I'm missing out on the nuance from all the scaling and compression going on here. I've tried color correcting it as well, to no avail.

They've extended the show, so perhaps I will have an opportunity to see it for myself.

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April 26, 2004

Northside graffiti

In the alley off Hamilton Ave.

Encouraged by the Beautiful Losers exhibition and recent posting by BlackCustard, I thought this piece of work just around the corner from my digs warranted closer inspection.

Getting up close, I was blown away by the sheer amount of detail. Things I never noticed even walking by.

See a bigger image (be patient if you're on dial-up)

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April 18, 2004

Change of Life

Left: Movie Star Junkie (Detail), 1997. Photo by John Waters
Right: John Waters, Los Angeles, 1994. Photo by Greg Gorman

<< Rewind — Thor kept itinerary details light, pointing me to the subway, pavement, bus or cab to our destinations.

First stop? The John Water's exhibit luckily extended at the New Museum. Who knew this director also is a photographer? I suppose it's like talking to Phil Collins' people, aren't we all?

Anyways, we get there and I dab my flop-sweat with a hanky and try to focus.

Then I got into the rhythm of the show, digging Water's juxtaposition and humor. At points, I found myself letting out staccato grunts of delight. I can't remember much in life, but I don't remember laughing inside an art gallery so heartily.

A room in the back housed a flick of Divine re-enacting the Kennedy assassination. What fun.

Two thumbs up, and one dirty foot.

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April 03, 2004

Beautiful Loser

Mixed media installation on 1979 Ford delivery Truck
Barry McGee and Josh Lazcano

Dave and I were productive monkeys today, getting business in order, watering plants in the studio, and tackling piles of papers. Wandering around downtown for lunch, nonplussed with the options, we stumbled across the installation outside the CAC. I've determined that I'll go see the new exhibit, Beautiful Losers tomorrow.

Other than that, it's been a pretty unspectacular day. Well, unless you consider losing 4 years of email and corrupting an Entourage database spectacular. I've been fiddling with Office X installers, updaters, FAQs and tech sites all night to no avail. Strangely, I'm not freaking out, but there is a sense of immense loss. All my backups are experiencing the same issue. This can't be right.

I know, not near as exciting as shirtless pics, but that's the way the data crumbles.

UPDATE: Start fresh with Entourage, launch to rebuild database, back to finder, switch in the old dud database. Bingo. Fixed. Bless America, with whatever God you choose.

Filed under: Arts, Cincinnati | | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

An Evening with Dame Edna

The Dame fishes for shoes from audience members

Complimentary tickets in the corporate suite were too good to pass up, at the request of my mom and brother, so tonight I breezed through the 100 miles back to Cincinnati for an evening show. The drive home was spectacular as dusk and I fell upon the skyline.

I laughed at the crowd-picking antics of this Aussie, even snorted here and there - which is an indicator that I can't help but admit I enjoyed myself.

But there were a few moments where the fat or old jokes just seemed thin and tired. Formula comedy works though, and by the second half, the pacing was spicy enough to keep me from wondering what the time was on the phone.

Back to formulas, how easy it must be to get the skinny on a city and inject it into the stereotypical punchlines. At one point, I felt like I was listening to class humor, but the class that was picked on was not present.

These tickets may have been free, but were not as cheap as the jabs.

It was interesting, seeing the show in a comfortable room behind the audience with bottles of wine and the sound piped in. It was a privileged feeling, albeit detached like a barn from the house.

Continuing along a metaphor, was this show some right of passage, akin to being awarded a toaster oven? Some feather to put in the gay cap with friends of Kenny?

Eh, I'm being too obtuse and jaded. I really did enjoy myself.

Maybe it was because the laughter of my company was not muffled by the theater. A portrait of a small, diverse group genuinely grateful for the experience.

Filed under: Arts, Cincinnati | | Comments (1)

January 03, 2004

Four Seasons in One Day

Crashpad (complete with little towels and mints)

The day began with a run through tour of the Cincinnati Art Museum while the weather was still a bit springlike and t-shirty. Hitting the Cincinnati Wing along with some of the modern, European and American rooms, Art and I absorbed as much as we could on a tight schedule.

Since we were in Eden Park, we drove by the Rookwood Pottery building (now restaurant) and went through Mt. Adams - a place that could give San Francisco a run for it's money with steep hills.

Then were we off to St Louis and went directly to the MonkeyBear's for an evening of videogames and a quick trip to the bar. Then more videogames.

It progressively got chilly heading west. It seems like winter again.

Some photos from the Cincinnati Art Museum Things that struck my eye.

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December 29, 2003

A day with Art

Contributing to the kids section

Art came into town and we spent the day going to museums and enjoying the fine 60 degree weather avoiding the stadiums and Bengals' loss to Cleveland.

The Contemporary Arts Center is all different now with new exhibits. None of the cool things from the opening are there any longer (no more manequins in orange jumpsuits). Such is the transient nature of these spaces. Sadly, the current works just don't suit the venue well (or, vice versa).

Anyways, there was some (not much) fun stuff scattered about. I laughed when I saw the "Go Fags" pennant hidden in the 'Art in Politics' exhibition.

Since I couldn't take photos in the gallery, I decided to create a knockoff in the kids exploration area upstairs. They have all these paints, markers, construction paper, glue and whatnot lying about ready to be used. They encourage visitors to make something and add it to the wall.

I wonder how long my masterpiece will stick around.

Filed under: Arts, Cincinnati | | Comments (0)

December 18, 2003

The Habana Series


So I haven't written this up proper, and since I am in Columbus and the camera is out in some freezing parking lot blocks away, I'll back up a moment to my weekend in Kansas City a little over a month ago.

It was the Saturday after I accompanied Art to the Charlotte Steet Fund exhibit opening. He was speaking with the other artist's for a Q&A session. Aside from this, the day gave me the opportunity to go through the gallery without the crowd and din of conversation and see his work without distraction.

His series of black and white photographs was separate from the rest of the show, in a side room. Arranged on three walls in a U configuration, the prints echoed the layout of the Habana "resort" in Oklahoma City - the location we were introduced some months earlier at the Great Plains Rodeo. Standing in the middle of the room, looking around, you can get a sense of the place, and of what goes on there.

The Habana has several nightclubs and bars that attract regular blue collar gay men from around the Midwest. After last call, the deck above the pool becomes the place to continue the evening. Where men walk around and peer into rooms. They lurk in the shadows. Doors cracked, an invitation.

At first glance, these are simply photos of men looking into the windows of motel rooms. The figures are in motion. The lighting is natural. Dark.

What he has captured here, with camera placed in stealth, is the glance.

The cruise.

Something I have averted after countless failure and varying degrees of discomfort.

The photos are fascinating. The suggestion. The expressions. The hunt.

As Art spoke of his work that afternoon, a hush fell over the audience as they realized the context.

My own feelings are much harder to resolve, other than I like the photos very much, on many levels. It's hard to separate my reaction though, after being privy to the process.

Feeling privy though, seems to sum up what the photos represent, and it's evocative.


With the proliferation of camera phones, new legislation is being introduced to ban taking and disseminating pictures of people in "sensitive or compromising states." In fact, a congressman from Ohio is the author of a bill passed by the Senate on this very issue. There's relevance beyond the walls of the gallery it seems.

The Kansas City Star wrote up a favorable review of the show, and Art's work. Again, a warm feeling of recognition swept over me as I heard Art's grin through the receiver of the phone as told me about the article.

Privy, again.

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November 22, 2003

Europe: Day 2 - Kröller-Müller Museum


We got on a tram before i was awake, although strangely lucid and alert for a sleeping person. Then we got on a train. We took the train to a bus. And there we were, at the Kröller-Müller Museum.

I had been here before, but my memory, without aide of digital devices is sorely lacking. It was all new to me. (I don't know what I was doing 3 years ago, let alone 10)

Touring the museum, leisurely (there was no crowd right when it opened), was quite nice. In between galleries, I sat and had a Fanta with Dan. I have always loved the non-sweet tickle of orange Fanta in Europe. Why on earth they sell the sugary crap-variant with the same name in the US, baffles me.

We regroup and wander the sculpture gardens. Quite idyllic, this place.

After some tasty sausage, potatoes, vegetables, applesauce, pickles and mustard (and more Fanta), it was off to the bikes to hit a tour of the Hunting Lodge.

The hunting lodge had one interesting combination of design details I thought was amusingly anal. The sideboard in the entryway had four legs that lined up with the tile pattern on the floor. How peculiar, these wealthy folk.

Leaving the lodge, we found two bikes missing, and the other group on the tour (a dozen perhaps) also found their bikes gone. We tried a few combinations of getting two fellers on one bike, with no success.

No mind, I walked with the Marmot and he pointed out trees and other details of the landscape I may have missed on wheels.

That evening, we hit bars and I frankly don't remember much of them. Dark, smoky, crowded, and little beers.

Filed under: Arts, Travel | | Comments (0)

November 17, 2003

Back in one piece

Pondering the Serra

Between the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis stands this spiral steel sculpture by Richard Serra. I was hesitant to like it, but once I wound through the metal walls and lost my sense of balance and felt the heat brush against me like a ghost, I decided it was nice.

I'm picky about big rusting pieces of metal guised as art. A junkyard is infinitely interesting. However, simplicity can be arresting and in this case, it works.

Like a donut, my weekend in St. Louis was tasty - bookended by a trip to Kansas City to see Art's photography at an opening. Sadly, I've little time to recount as I hop on a plane for Amsterdam in t-minus 49 hours.

Work. Work. Clean. Pack. Woosh.

Filed under: Arts, Travel | | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

Man, can I take a picture of your hair?

He said, "Sure."

I went to the Artspace in Kansas City to see Art's opening with the Charlotte Street Fund on Friday. His collection of photographs were in their own room while the rest of the gallery was devoted to the other 6 painters, sculptors, and graffiti artists awarded grants.

I don't often go to openings, so I wasn't prepared for what to expect. What should I wear? I asked. Art told me I could wear my suspenders and jeans if I wanted to.


So we got there and chatted briefly with his parents and made our way to the beer after a quick tour of his photos. It was nice to meet his rep who didn't even try to hit me up for buying one of his prints.

The crowd was cool and mixed. One lady, in a cowboy hat and sunglasses was three sheets to the wind and I enjoyed watching her. There's only two reasons to wear sunglasses to a museum or a bar:

1.) You're blind. or
2.) You're an asshole

I think she was the latter, albeit a fun-to-watch asshole. I think she got kicked out for doing too many drugs upstairs, Art says that this colors the evening inappropriately. He doesn't think drugs were involved.

Got to meet some of the nice folks that work with Art and talked to a handful of people I didn't know just for the heck of it.

This one kid with frizzed out afro-like hair was not shy about my request to document his head.

A good opening, and in suspenders no less.

Filed under: Arts | | Comments (0)

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