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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Categorized as Arts

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.

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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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Categorized as Arts

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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Quidam

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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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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Categorized as Arts, Books

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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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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wink

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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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.