Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Big Wont.

Yours Truly: Accidental Shadow Self-Portrait 12.11

There was Yours Truly, as is the big wont, in car, in traffic, in captiva, listening to all-day Patti Smith (that is not part of the wont-ness, but was today's unofficial soundtrack, Easter to be quite specific, and more specifically, a few of the more YT-unloved tracks), and en route to the offices of the Shiney Happy Mag for a photo shoot. As in YT in front of the cam, not on that other, and more usual, side of the divide.

And despite having listened to Easter since its release, and absorbing the whole of it as a work of art (voice, lyrics, band), the following snippet was quite a surprise from its title song.

Again I am the salt, the bitter laugh.
I am the gas in a womb of light, the evening star,
the ball of sight that leads that sheds the tears of Christ
dying and drying as I rise tonight.
So many surprises.

So there I was in the slow 190 North situation, from before where one gets off in the Middling City to get to officialdom, or that big ugly concrete hotel, or to meet someone at Stobba, or to whirr around the feeble yet still kicking encampment rendition of Occupy!, to the 290. And YT had no clear explication what this image was for. Why I had to wear a black shirt, why I had to be there, why I would be wearing a handed-over vest embroidered with the logo of the Shiney Happy.

The car was relieved of me and I trotted into the building and up then to the Shiney Happy offices to be photographed by KC & G Kratt.

I hopped onto the mark, a white-on-white X.

So what is this for, YT queried.

Apparently for something to do with Valentine's Day.

So, using that for inspiration, I decided to play Cupid by jumping à la Philippe Halsman of jump-model fame (and his subsequent, famed notation that Marilyn Monroe jumped like a little girl, for whatever that might be worth) sky-high.

And then I added twirls.

And then a trot to the mark and a twist in the air with hands nearly off the seamless. And G, always concerned & full of maternal sweet vibes, reminded me to not trip on the cables of the battery packs, and YT had to - of course - offer the visual implausibility of YT crashing through the seamless and through the window behind said seamless.

Then YT moved on to another style of jump, and then to heart shapes with hands and arms and then on to points beyond and beyond and beyond. As in outside the offices of the Shiney Apple.

Moral: One might be a cranky ass after sitting in post-accident slow-downs but when One is called upon to hit the mark - any mark - one must do so with vim and vigour.

Vigorous Love.

postscript: Blogger has once again tweaked itself to high levels of annoyance and now for whatever reason all my words are in italics and YT loathes Italics, an unnecessary hold-over from the early days of typesetting. Not that there's any little thing wrong with the days of my pub forbears, but this tipsy styling - unwanted - on Blogger is ever so pesky, as pesky as a car that cannot move to the beat and surge of rock & roll.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Accidental Frame Series: Blue-Lit Curtain + Revelers. Gala. Amherst, NY 11.4.
Yours Truly lives life as an endurance sport, one of a few cherished chestnuts being "Sleep when You're Dead." Amongst the collected chestnuts the very private "Attack the day with Joy," which I say to myself every morning, repeated on the wake-up message on my iPhone screen. In case You didn't realize this, wake-ups are customizable. 

Everything is customizable, if You can figure shit out.

Thought about YT's Accidental Frame Series: sometimes these images, to my reckoning, are the off-kilter, usually, mis-firings that capture the aura of events Perfectly.

After a marathon, Art Endurance Test of four solo shows within a span of 1.5 years, including the most magical one of all in DUMBO a year ago (magical in its inception, its happening, the opening, and the loving crush of my Shiney Apple friends) YT self-promised a rest of Art for a while. Like a year or so. Well, if You know YT, this is a self-ruse at its best as as soon as the wall labels are yanked off the walls, I'm thinking 'What now.'

The What Now is now a solo show in October in the Middling City and I'm thinking of an all-drawings show. And then I committed to a group show after the new year, its theme being Janus. As soon as I read Janus I RSVPd as a yes as Janus has captivated me since I paid attention greatly to a drawing by Robert Longo of same title - or so, as my artistic imagination can at time take small and pleasurable liberties - and learned more about this Roman god of beginnings and endings. 

At Parsons I made several video pieces, including one devoted to the idea of Janus. I am now thinking, as of this morning, of casting two male twins (the video featured two women, not twins) to be Janus. The video is a forehead-to-forehead awareness, rolling, before a stretch to touch backs of heads, into a neck hug, and lastly the Janus gesture.

Endnote on the idea of endurance. Yesterday afternoon I went out on rollerblades for twelve miles, starting out with music, the usual protective gear, and the goal of looking and pushing, on the roadway along the water, curving to the small town, to a backroad with ditches full of water, occasional trash, and dead animals. It was two hours of limbs reaching, rolling along with music, giving an occasional wave to people burning leaves, or mowing, or on their bikes. I passed at one point a young boy teen with something in his hands, walking slowly along a ditch, and I had a rush of childhood memory - that feeling of wanting independence, and how that could be found in some moments where time could be stretched out while the adults were occupied. 

And now there's a collage of other roads meandered down for a moment to reclaim balance: the road in Pennsylvania after a long car ride and before a funeral; a road in Massachusetts before the beginning of a job, and meeting a man down the road who showed me his art studio, and then finding my boss walking toward me on the road, looking for me and a piece of my adventure; the street in Chicago to just have a fucking break and lose the nausea of a frenetic cab ride.


Endurance, Love.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unified Chaos: Occupy Wall Street, From the Loud Comfort of a Found Arm Chair

Manhattan’s Wall Street is under siege. Barricades have seized this quadrant of the city; every block has barricaded sidewalks quelling foot traffic. On my way from the Subway and walking along Broadway to Zuccotti Park, home of New York City’s Occupy Wall Street encampment, I overheard a tour guide complaining that barricades would be barring them from uncomplicated sightseeing.

Occupy Wall Street: Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. 10/12/11 Photo: Nancy J.Parisi
I write this seated in an armchair a few feet behind the sprawling onsite jam band facing outwards toward Trinity Place on the park’s steps. Straight ahead are musicians, flag wavers, dancers, and beyond them the barricaded onlookers, photographers, passersby, and First Responders.

The band is mainly drummers with someone on a full drum kit, various people on other drums and buckets, and a wizened sax player, who at this moment has stopped playing to outstretch his arms toward his audience while shouting “Freedom!”

The armchair is faded floral and was probably found curbside on some nearby partially-residential street. I had an artist friend who had a live-work space on nearby Beaver Street: this is not the most livable of Manhattan neighborhoods. And, as everyone knows, not too far away is Ground Zero.

Moments ago a man, perhaps pleased with my recording of the goings-on with my camera around my neck, and laptop on my lap, came up and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. I can still feel where his stubble brushed my face. Where are all these encampers shaving, and bathing?

There are hundreds of placards (held aloft, and at rest on top of dozens of electric blue tarps that cover clumps of personal possessions. I watched a woman enthusiastically create two anti-greed/government placards from two sides of a pizza box. People donate food, and pizza is a popular item: food is free and I watched the peaceful chow line where people could make a PBJ, eat some pizza or other donated food.

This is all very organized. Live music faces Liberty Place, just across the street from Brooks Brothers and the sky-high NYPD surveillance box, replete with video cameras, and, for some reason, devices to measure wind velocity and direction. A chalkboard announces when organized marches will be taking place, and where they will be headed to.

Just now the band went a bit more up-tempo, inspiring me to write faster: this entire collaborative voiced action in this park is powerful, and is being noticed around the world. Hopefully those high above this park in offices, are realizing that their own actions must change. It's idealistic, and as one of the placards read, it's organized chaos. But it feels - and sounds - good.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Libran Musings at the Height of Libra Season

Yours Truly, while minding her own business, sipping a little anti-cold vodka at The Pub last night after a full day of shooting, spied a fellow Libra across the room - the famed AJ Fries.

There was the famed AJ Fries hug of significance, and then the discussion of birthdays and parties, and balloons and festoonery.

As the Buffalo Bills (who make all of those with Buffalo DNA want to shout, for good and bad) play on with Cincinnati  (a name that would be much more interesting pronounced with a faux Italian accent - try it) YT is plotting the next and much-needed foray to the Shiney Apple for art, erudition, and the making of art and ideas.

Speaking of Ideation and such, there was a big rock rumour that Radiohead would be playing for those encamped on Wall Street. A quote from Occupy Wall Street's site:
Due to miscommunication within our rapidly expanding and adjusting group, we were unable to determine that this was a hoax in time; it can be difficult to seperate rumor from fact in an open source movement.
We are all living amid the open source movement, know it or (k)not. This is the sharing of information of all genres, an empowering facet of our ever-controlled social structures.

Time to make, do, and drive.

Driving Rain, Love.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bob Memories During Irene Weekend.

“Some are born mad. Some remain so.”  - Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Bad-Ass Hurricane Bob. 1991

 Bee-stung, wind-stung, song-stung.

There is nothing like battening down hatches (physically and metaphysically) to wrap most in the all-for-one and one-for-all sentiment that should occur more frequently - the sense of collective well-being and cause, not the natural/man-made disaster taking place along the east coast of the USA this weekend, of course. As Al Gore implores, the frequency of disasters of natural/man-made varieties will keep coming with more severity as the ice melts, as the sun shines with greater ferocity, frying our collective protective skins, and destinies.

And today, as the hurricane Irene seemingly wanes from a 4 to a 3 to a 2 to tropical storm, the thoughts of Yours Truly, former, decade-long counselor/teacher of children in the state of Maine (at the toppermost) naturally/man-madely turn to memories of Bob.

Bob encroached on the summer of 1991. According to my calculations that is exactly one score ago, and was at the end of our camp's second session. YT was acting as not only an assistant director, but the Arts & Crafts teacher. I created a program for all campers, daily. I taught six periods a day, and kayaked away my stress on the spring-fed lake daily, taking to open roads when possible to enjoy the surrounding area, and Portland, as time allowed. Or as heartstrings tugged.

As I had proved myself many times to be unflappable in the face of kid-related disasters small, x-l, natural, and man-made, I was always called in by camp foundress Nancy Maier to assist and brainstorm (and at times to deliver the most unruly of girls back home before dinner in the camp van - to backroads Maine towns, to Providence, and to Manhattan) in the midsts of challenges.

Discussion took place about what to do about Bob, expected in the next day or so. We planned a move down the road to a closed-for-summer brick elementary school. We expected that this would be an overnight, and we'd all be returning to camp the following day. Everyone was piled into the gym, where everyone was to sleep in their sleeping bags, mats were in short supply. We/they had food, water, games and music to play.

YT and Nancy Maier surveyed the background, technical aspects of the school as some of the power was obviously waning, with lights flickering as the storm approached and heavy rains fell. And heavy branches fell.

Here it should be noted that YT was supposed to have a night off and had been very much looking forward to spending a night in Portland with a friend. Coming from Buffalo, where blizzards deter no one from leaving the house and heading out to what is usual, YT drove off after lunch expecting to make it to Portland despite reports of twelve-foot waves in the city. What does that mean to a woman from Buffalo who knows that three feet of snow can seem, with drifts, and other heady factors, like a mere six inches. So off I drove in my little car, making it about three miles when it became very clear that a hurricane meant lots of falling branches, and trees, with big pieces of debris of Nature flying by the car. The car and I returned to the school parking lot, relieved. I had made an evacuation plan and now I was in the midst of that plan.

Nancy and I decided we should investigate ways to keep the power going (if need be), and I located the fuses and breakers. Lights were half-off, it was like a Filipino brown-out. Nancy grew up in the Shiney Apple with supers, but I, a Middling City renter, was more familiar with these items. I flicked breakers. I looked at fuses. The security system began to wail as its power supply was momentarily cut off when I jolted that breaker. When the alarm sounded we looked at each other with "oh shit" looks as the sounds of several screaming girls could be heard coming from the gym. Finally I figured out how to turn the siren off, or it went off. The power was out and while it was still light I decided to attempt jumping the generator battery with my car. The generator was in a small room near a door so I could reach it with my jumper cables. What YT didn't realize was that the battery needed water - when the school's maintenance man was finally able to make it to the school, he told me so, and then did jump the generator in the same way that I'd tried with his truck. So much for being a powerhouse superhero.

After a semi-sleepless night in the principal's office with Nancy and Mo Ganey, Nancy and I returned to our camp to survey the damage, to see if the kids could return. Funnels had spun off the small lake and cut the top halves of trees off, leaving a clear path of damage. Power lines were down. Toilets could not flush. The campers had to be evacuated from the school before their session was complete - and staff had to move personal belongings for the girls. It was a bit chaotic but nobody was hurt, and there were many disappointed kids (and parents, I'm sure) as that summer ended abruptly.

Hurricanes, in a nutshell, are more than a Neil Young metaphor, more unpredictable than a raging Middling City blizzard, and nothing to sneeze at. In January YT will make a third trip to New Orleans, the first time after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. On my first trip there I photographed a week of Mardi Gras. The second trip I shot a jazz funeral. This trip I plan on shooting what remains of NOLA's charming eccentricities.

I'm not one for fruity drinks (and fruit in general) but may sip a Hurricane there with the hopes of banishing remaining hurricane badness, like a liquid smudge stick.

Smudgy, Liquid Love.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Unshrinking Line

Today is a day of unshakeable faith, unwavering line, and apparent questionable doubt.

Today, amongst other things, it was announced and spread like a burning line on a dry sketchbook's page, that artist/painter/thinker Cy Twombly died.

And it's one of those passings that surprisingly hits harder than others.

What it was that he did was create an art whose aura held in it no falseness, no overly-meditated moments, and had within its boundaries of frame a detectable jubilance.

Here is a quote that Yours Truly gleaned from still the world's best journal, the NYT:

In the only written statement that Mr. Twombly ever made about his work, a short essay in an Italian art journal in 1957, he tried to make clear that his intentions were not subversive but elementally human. Each line he made, he said, was “the actual experience” of making the line, adding: “It does not illustrate. It is the sensation of its own realization.” 

An artist in their own words is what any student, looker, or fan should strive to find.

Now YT is recalling with a small shudder one instructor (in overly-designed outfits) at Parsons School of Definition who recoiled at the quest of YT to learn about just who in hell we were reading, whose words we were sucking on about the very matter at hand - understanding the need and the motivation and the science of Art behind the Art.
It is the same as Loving a painting yet never bothering to learn the artist's name, nor its title.
Information does matter and, ironically, there is a sometimes deliberate unwillingness to dive into Why in this age of the over-informed.
Maybe that's over-informed in matters of triviality, and the lessening of mental responsibility if it's always an app away to snap-tell and Google.

YT still enjoys the jarring Why.

Anyone who makes a line hopes for a line without consciousness, over-awareness, awkward self-editorializing, jumping-to-guns of opine.

YT has oso many tales to tell of things that transpired in San Francisco, in the Shiney Apple, and points beyond.
But it's time to walk away from the backlit world and jump back in to the other.

Love of Other.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Newest and Most Perfect Yours Truly

Here is my newest and most favoured self-portrait of recent vintage.

Yours Truly is being, as we say in the photojournalistic racket, low-key.
Please note the striped blazer.
Yours Truly had just gone behind the scenes mid-gig for a look at the vid installations of Steina of Iceland.
Not at all to be confused with Tom of Finland.
Although with my graduate schooling I could delve into a thesis of sorts on how or why these two could theoretically conspire and draw parallelograms around and about their works.

Here is an open letter to the red-haired young man/old kid who YT sat next to at a wedding gig this past Saturday.

Dear Red,
Just because Yours Truly's ass hit the plastic folding chair next to you intended for your date of unknown and, according to you, questionable provenance, I am not your date. You are not going to leave with me, and you are not going to make out with me behind the big white tent.
And no lady wants to hear your wending and whining tale of you finding yourself - buck up, Red, and show some confidence.
Perhaps you were in your cups but no lady wants to hear that you think of yourself as a big kid. Quel turn-off.
And skip the intel on how many bad dates you've been on, how no matter the outcome a date costs you $30. I do wish I'd asked if that was for two dinners, or one, for if it's two I am wondering if your tastes might stray further than Olive Garden or the like.
And even still if that $30 is your very own tab I think you need to investigate better joints, or, as I suggested, maybe just meet a lady out for a drink instead of a meal. Then your exit strategy is much easier.
I wish you good luck.
Your photog dinner acquaintance.

Love of a solid work-in-progress.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Enthrallment Parfait.

Ryoji Ikeda's The Transfinite               

Another Perfect finding, after a gleaning of what to see in the Shiney Apple.
The walk after looking at Cory Arcangel, of the Middling City, with LauraK, to Park Avenue Armory, to see this lingeringly inspiring work by Ryoji Ikeda, The Transfinite.
What, You may ask, is this.
Sound and image, all engulfing, created by this Japanese sound and vid artist who lives in gai Paris.
Could Yours Truly be jealous on one more single level.
To be Japanese, to be so adventurously large with work, to be living in Paris.
YT, to decompress from experiencing the work on its two sides, had to walk the halls of the armory, and spent some time in a very silent room - the Colonel's Room I believe it was entitled. And, as is the fashion, it was ringed with Colonel portraits, cigar-holding, dire-looking, and in various states of festoonery.
And the most moderne of them all looked sadly out of place with its smooth photo-like-ness.
YT made some drawings, as is my wont, in the comforts of the Whitney's stairwell, a place where YT will draw several more times before it is closed and changes into the Met's stairwell when the Whitney moves to new and rather innocuous digs designed by Piano in the Meatpacking District alongside the proverbial, the potent High Line.
Fantasy Du Jour: another Shiney Apple exhibition in 2012, and one in gai Paris.
Drawings, images in pixels of vid and still varieties.

Varietal Love.