Friday, January 29, 2010

New Bar Sneak Peek {let's go to the lodge}

Last night I stopped by the old Steamworks/new Lodge. Ian’s got Sean Thurston painting a series of “trophy heads,” on the wall in true hunt lodge/man cave style, and so far, they live up to the reputation Sean has established for himself. Highly rendered, balancing humor and design, the new pieces are looser than some of Sean’s previous works, but he explains, “They’re meant to be seen in low, bar, lighting.”

In addition to the mural (which is likely to be the focus of the space), Ian and Maryanne are upgrading the bar amenities, and adding a smoke eater that works. They project that the bar will be open towards the end of February/beginning of March.

We {I} wish them tons of luck and success!

Here’s a link to Ian talking with Joey Marchy and Tony Allegretti.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Portents of Goodness

So I’ve talked a lot about how this past year was full of difficult family stuff. That while I was attempting to move in a new direction (and receiving some good feedback) emotional roadblocks kept throwing themselves in my direction. But I’m not the only one, 2009 was tough for most of the people I know.

In my first post of 2010, I hoped that 2010 would be a better year. And so far, that hope is bearing modest fruit. This past summer I had the worst vacation ever. I went to the family cabin in Northern Michigan, and not only is the cabin in horrible, uncomfortable shape, the weather was cold and rainy, and, I picked a screaming fight with my father then ran out of the house crying. Though my father and I made up, it was with a lot of trepidation that I invited my parents down here this past week. My nervousness was unfounded.

Though I think my parents could possibly send the Dali Lama into screaming fits of frustration, this trip went really well. The weather was mild enough that we spent most of our days walking the neighborhood and beaches. But the highlight of the trip was our excursion to Cumberland Island. For years my friends have been telling me what an amazing place the island is. But me being me, I seem to always think that tomorrow is when I’ll go have a Cumberland adventure. However, when I mentioned it to my family, my father said he’s been wanting to go to the island for 30 years. So we went. And it was an amazing, transformative experience. I think my family and I will remember it as one of our best times together for the rest of our life.

So, thus far, 2010 has started auspiciously. Hopefully the trend will continue.

*of course, that's not to say that there weren't moments when I wanted to scream, or, I'm sure, my parents thought me pretentious and a little OCD. But, if your parents define who you are (whether you react against them, or in line with them) the more I can be compassionate in my dealings with my own family, the more I can be compassionate with myself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

art nobody uses

"“I am a fisherman of social absurdity, if you will… My focus is to politicize disenfranchisement, to make it neut, to reinvent what’s beneath us, to remind us where we all come from." WPL

I got this from Mark Creegan today: nullspace, a new art gallery / studio has opened at 108 East Adams Street Jacksonville, FL, 32202. Curated by its owners, Mark Creegan, Kurt Polkey, and Jefree Shalev, the inaugural show, presented by the Leon Castelli Group and titled "Art You Can't Use," will take place on Friday, January 22, 2010 between the hours of 7 pm and 10 pm. Show runs thru Feb 19th

A brief description of the show: William Pope L is an iconoclastic performance artist whose themes include economics, race, disenfranchisement, and cultural values. Using Pope L's life and career as a jumping off point, Mark Creegan, Kurt Polkey and Jefree Shalev will bring drawing, performance art, installation and video together to create a cohesive jumble of ideas around those themes.

On a personal note: the other day I dropped in and talked with Jefree and Kurt for an article I am putting together for Arbus. Suffice to say that lots of things were said that will never get printed. However I came away from the space with the distinct feeling that even if people are extraordinarily critical of what goes down there, they’ll be happy.

Jefree and Kurt talked a lot about the need for a space that isn’t driven by revenue needs. Formerly it’d be safe to say that SeeSaw occupied that niche. But as the economy boomed, space itself became a commodity that few could afford to use for an experiment. Now though, through the Downtown Vision initiative, Mark, Kurt, and Jefree are able to give space to their thoughts (they describe themselves as a for-profit gallery with a non-profit attitude).

I hope to stop by this Friday…with my parents in tow.

*above image taken from one of William Pope L’s performance pieces {I believe} from his eRascism project.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Closing...

Looking back over 2009, I am amazed at how much I got done, and how much more I feel like I have to do. I’ve been telling friends and acquaintances that 2009 was one of the most amazing years of my life…in the same way that in 1939, Hitler was Time’s man-of-the-year.

2009 was both incredibly challenging, and rewarding. I traveled more than I ever have, to places I am intimately familiar with, as well as the brand new. I discovered a love of, and affinity for, the open road. Though I liked driving for hours alone in the Texas Panhandle, and even more through Northeastern New Mexico…I also discovered that I am the kind of traveler badly in need of a control room: on the way out to Santa Fe, I managed to lose my glasses (still had my prescription sunglasses), and on the way back (in Amarillo), I managed to leave my purse—full of everything I needed to live--on a hotel counter top because I left in a panic to outrun a snowstorm. By the time I outran the storm, 100 miles later, I realized I’d left my purse behind...a calling card of absent-mindedness. Luckily, the motel where I stopped trusted me to get the cash and pay them the next day, and my (now) husband wired $$$ to the local Wal-Mart.

Since the snowstorm was so bad, all the roads heading back to Amarillo were closed, but the people at the La Quinta were kind enough to mail my purse back to me. Everything intact.

2009 also brought with it several devastating events that I’ve mentioned here and it took me until October to realize that I am still kind of processing them. Not just the events, but the change they wrought.

Perhaps most auspiciously, I got married to Nick Wagner this May, and that feels like the right thing to have done, though now when he’s being absurd and I am haughtily looking down my nose at his antics, he just reminds me that I married him…and therefore am partially culpable. Nice.

I also finally made it to Miami during Art Basel, and though it’s an overwhelming event, I was pleased that I left it feeling more energized about the future than weighted down with that insidious thought, “everyone is an artist.” It was also at Art Basel that I hit my first-ever Bullseye playing darts. Perhaps that contributed to my buoyancy…

More recently, I tried my first recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And though I can honestly say I did not see Julie and Julia until after I’d read Julia Child’s My Life in France, the pervasiveness of the movie did excite my curiosity, and therefore inspire the gift (Mastering was a part of Christmas). Thus I am a part of the cadre of home-cooks inspired by the movie and rushing out to by their own Le Creuset pots and attempt French cooking…we’ll see how it goes.

But back to the recipe: Quiche aux Oignons (onion quiche). Made with 2 pounds of sweet Vidalia onions, cream, and eggs, the result was more like a desert tart than a main course. So rich, we could only eat a tiny slice at a time, it exemplified the notion of technique vs. ingredients. How such simple--humble really--ingredients can transform into something so incredibly decadent was an object lesson in patience (the 2 lbs took an hour to cook down) and simplicity. Hopefully one I can bring into the New Year.

Plus it’s nice that 2010 (the numeric arrangement) has such an appealing, visually balanced quality…it can’t help but be a good year right?