le flipbook

I'm not feeling terribly bloggy today, but it's been a week. Lots has happened. Turkey was eaten, &c. So here I am. I'm distracted by my cat meowing for food (it starts getting dark around 3:30 lately, which really throws off his internal clock mechanism) and the oil heater guy cleaning vents in the basement. Sounds like he's in the floor. It's a little unsettling, actually...

Anyway, I'll try to focus. After a few days of classes last week, Neal and I drove to Connecticut for Thanksgiving dinner with friends of my brother's family. We had our second snow shower that morning, just a light dusting, really, but my brother reported about four inches on the ground where he was. People from around here laugh when I tell them that four inches of snow nearly kept us homebound. That's why everyone out here hates California - they're jealous and the cold makes them even grumpier and they take it out on us. Anyway, we took our chances and made it there safely, passing several three-foot snowmen on the way. I had a blast and the mini-break was much needed. The weather cleared for our drive home and we discovered a Tim Horton's off I-84, exit 67. My sister-in-law fed us well before we left, but we had to make a pit stop at the coffee shop that Neal tells me is on every corner in south-east Canada. You can see more pics from the drive there and back by clicking here.

Before spending the rest of the weekend selling Christmas cards, I finally watched Miranda July's "Me You and Everyone We Know." It was amazing. All-time personal top ten. For sure. I particularly enjoyed the driving scene with the goldfish in the beginning and the "Back and Forth. Forever." bit. I was downright chortling. Anyway, I knew she had a website, as does the movie, but just discovered she also does a bit of the blogging. She's my new art hero.

Speaking of art, I've been doing a little research on flipbooks lately and came across this site. They call it "le flipbook." I love when the French incorporate English/American words into their vernacular. Put "le" in front of anything and it's okay by me. You can watch video clips on the site of flipbooks being, well, flipped. How great is that? Maybe I'll recruit Neal to help me do a similar presentation if and when I make any flipbooks of my own. Stay tuned...


I love bubbles

Before I give a report on New York, I have to write a few lines about ANTM, which I finally caught up on last night. As in past seasons, just when I pick a favorite, she takes whatever personality trait I like too far to the point of being obnoxious and becomes that week's house target. Lisa immediately stood out for me when I rather belatedly starting watching this season's episodes a few weeks ago. But in the last couple of episodes she crossed a line, apparently for the judges as well because, as you know if you watch the show, she got the boot last week. Maybe it was the peeing in the diaper incident. But even in the midst of all that, in a sort of montage of how the house was making the girls crazy, she stood out for me. In one clip they showed, she was in the hot tub and proclaimed, "I love bubbles!" I knew her fate, actually, before watching the show (that's what I get for not keeping up) and I was okay that she was the one leaving, but I have to say, I felt a little sad at that state-the-obvious moment.

But Kim's my new favorite. She reminds me of Eva - the ultimate ANTM winner from a couple of seasons ago. Tyra does a pretty good job of breaking down the girls and then building them back up, but every now and then, as if that wasn't enough, (as happened with Eva right around the same time during her season) the majority forms a mob and gangs up on one of the girls. This is when honesty rides a fine line with cruelty. It's the "calling you out" syndrome. Anyway, the girls were on their way home from a photo shoot, I think, in their stretch Hummer, when Bre and Nik started in on her. Jayla really took it to the cruelty level, and then the group condemned Nicole for defending Kim. Poor Kim, trapped in a confined space, being confronted by a bunch of righteous, judgmental nineteen-year-olds. Get a bunch of teenage girls together in a house for six weeks and show me one girl who's not guilty of talking behind another girl's back. Anyway, I really felt for Kim, but you know what, it'll only make her stronger and when she wins, the other girls will have their chance to cry.

But enough about ANTM...New York was, as they say, fabulous. And getting up early to catch the 7 a.m. bus from Boston's South Station really wasn't all that bad. There were five of us on the bus, and I was, apparently, the only one who had coffee. Everyone else slept while I was wide awake. I didn't want to miss anything during our road trip, especially as we approached New York. This was only my third visit, so the scale of the city in particular is still so amazing to me. You see the skyline from the freeway but twenty minutes later, you're still not there yet.

After lunch at Chelsea Market we hit the streets, visiting about fifteen galleries along Tenth Ave and on West 19th through 26th. The highlights for me were, in terms of galleries visited, Bellwether, Paula Cooper, 303 Gallery, Metro Pictures, and Gagosian. And in terms of artists, I'd have to go with Mark Dion, Hans Haacke, Mark Bradford, Lari Pittman, Mike Kelley (holy cow, what a show!), and Bill Viola. Most of the artists whose work I liked were from L.A., go figure...Anyway, the bus ride home that night left me stiff and tired, but overall, I had a blast. I've posted a few more images on my Flickr page.

A couple of random thoughts along the way and while there: All of the Sheraton hotels I see in Massachusetts look like castles. Why is that? The NY subway system is great, but the price has doubled since the last time I was there ($2 per ride! it's almost as bad as BART...). Also, on our way back to the bus stop, we took the blue line (A, C, or E, I can't remember which one), which smelled like cat poo. At West 4th, we transferred to the B/D line and every handrail was sticky. Yuck. Finally, while waiting outside the restrooms in Chelsea Market I couldn't help but notice that eavesdropping on a group of girls also in line was like watching Sex and the City. One girl actually said something like, "I never wear sneakers." Sneakers! I love New York. But at the end of the day, I gotta admit, I'm a jeans and sneakers kinda gal...


shark meat

My how the weeks are flying by. Seems as if I just blogged yesterday. Hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week and after that just a couple weeks of classes remain. I handed in my aesthetics paper yesterday and breathed a wee sigh of relief but it was, sadly, short-lived. I have a final, much longer paper due in less than two weeks. I haven't decided what I'm going to write about yet. Initially I thought, since I devoted several weeks of my life to this stuff, I'd continue with aeshetics, but then I realized that that would be crazy. Don't get me wrong, aesthetics is loads of fun, but it might be interesting to switch gears and dig deep into something else.

So the funkdom has lifted slightly. It's typically a good funk, very fertile, productive ground, just a little shaky. It's been a crazy couple of months so I'm bound to have my ups and downs. At the end of the day, I'm usually still diggin' it all.

To recap my week...three second year students presented a collaborative art experience on Monday evening and I have to say, I was impressed (read about "second year slackers" below). Imagine a room with astro turf covering the floor, a live webcast of the California coastline projected on one wall, "Jaws" playing in a much smaller projection in the corner of the room, near the floor, upside down, a couple of lounge chairs, and a champagne fountain in the center of the room on a decorative accent table. Pink champagne filled the fountain and we barbecued skewers of shark meat. I didn't actually eat any shark, but I did have some bubbly and just generally enjoyed the whole experience. Though not as disturbingly surreal or class-conscious, it kinda reminded me of a Bunuel film, eating shark and drinking what looked a little like frothy ocean water tainted with blood while watching Jaws and real surfers bobbing up and down in the ocean. Other students read all sorts of other stuff into it, which I got, but honestly, I enjoyed that I didn't have to work so hard to "get it."

In the end, the second year slackers proved me wrong, and honestly, I'm more than happy to "eat my words" as they say. My efforts in the studio, on the other hand, have been mixed lately. I keep starting projects and then almost immediately feeling stalled. But I had a really productive critique today and that's the last one until my review board on December 20th. So I've got a little over a month to hash it all out and try to make some sense of what I've been doing over the past ten weeks. This is what one corner of my studio looked like today.

I'm also hoping tomorrow's day-trip to New York and the approximately fifteen galleries we're scheduled to visit (fifteen! in six hours!) will inspire me. I'm ridiculously excited but I can't quite grasp the fact that I'm going to New York and coming back in one day. It's a long day - a four hour bus ride there and back - but it's possible. Wild...I'll be sure to take pictures and tell y'all about it when I return.

But before that...Neal and I are down to the last two episodes of the first season of "House." Not sure I mentioned it in my pop culture recap but it's my official show of the moment...there was Buffy, of course, Sex and the City and then Six Feet Under...now I have House. We typically watch two, three, sometimes even four episodes in a row, so it's been a pretty intense viewing experience and I'm totally on the edge of my seat to see how it all ends. It pretty much all boils down to Cameron and House. I don't know, I'm fascinated by their relationship but I fear someone will get hurt...

Otherwise, things are getting busy at work, gearing up for my first holiday season in retail. Should get interesting...


the funky bunch

I'm in a bit of a funk today. I blame it on the five-page paper I'm to write on aesthetics before Thursday. I've got Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and one contemporary, Norman Bryson, to work with. Focusing on one seems boring but trying to tie all four together seems a bit ambitious for five pages. Oy!

Anyway, I was going to title this entry "bitch, bitch, bitch," 'cause that's what I usually write about and that's what I intended to do before I settled into my aesthetics-induced funkdom. I was simply going to give a report on our Friday afternoon trek to Cambridge for dinner and a movie. We went to the Kendall Square Landmark cinemas to see "The Squid and the Whale." Seeing an independent film in a Landmark theater reminded me of how similar Cambridge and Berkeley really are. It's a love-hate thing for me and always has been, with Berkeley in the past and now with Cambridge/Somerville. Like living in Oakland, I'm "keepin' it real," as they say, in Dorchester, but I admit I may occasionally cross the river for good movies and good coffee.

Good dining experience, on the other hand, not so much. We decided to take the 'T' a couple stops to Harvard Square after the movie to check out a sit-down Mexican restaurant. There was a line of folks (probably all the transplanted Californians on the perpetual search for good Mexican food) waiting outside (and it was damn cold that night!). We were told it would be about ten minutes to get inside, followed by about another hour for a table. Say what? Same story with the other three or four restaurants we tried. Does nobody cook in Cambridge?

Normally, I'd write Harvard Square off on principle. I don't care how good their margaritas are, I'm not waiting over an hour to have dinner...anywhere. It has something to do with a pushover mentality that I generally try to avoid. But I'd totally live in or near Harvard Square if I could afford it. All that brick and ivy and that huge Au Bon Pain with the "wall of pastries," as like to call it...I think I could ignore the crowds.

But anyway, the movie was quite good. More "serious," I guess, than K & S, but really just made me want to watch K & S again. So maybe K & S is still my favorite of Noah Baumbach's "oeuvre" so far, but S & W is definitely much better than "Highball" and "Mr. Jealousy." Some similarities to K & S, actually: the father in each, the intellectual literary character that hasn't actually read the book, etc. Finally, I loved the squid and whale anecdote/metaphor. Anyway, I'm not much of a film critic, as you can see, but I dug it.

Back to that paper...


second year slackers, me, and Ed

Current vitals...the sun is shining but the Weather Channel informs me that it's 41 degrees outside (feels like 32). There are but three hours of daylight remaining. It's supposed to hit the 50s this weekend. Should be nice.

Speaking of staying inside...I tapped all my inner strength on Monday to leave the cozy warmth of the apartment to make it to the weekly graduate group critique. Didn't want to miss Matthew's pink bulletin board (there was, as you may or may not be able to imagine, lots to talk about) and there was a rumor that two Second Year Students would be showing work. Turns out they weren't ready but I've since been informed they'll be exhibiting some sort of collaborative piece involving champagne next week. I'm sure it will be brilliant.

I came into this program surprised (not annoyed) that there were so many "fresh out of college"/"born in the 80s" first year students. On the other hand, I was downright intimidated by the clique of hot shot second years, the boys that are savvy on language and philosophy. I'm not exactly shy or quiet so it didn't take me long to warm up and speak out in class, nevermind that what I was saying probably made little sense. But I still felt somewhat in awe of the clarity of their comments toward other folks' work and the chumminess I sensed between them. Not that I wanted to be a part of it, only that I hoped us first years would develop those skills and that sense of community.

The latter's starting to happen, I think, but I have to admit I'm kind of disappointed by the level of slackdom I sense in so many of the second year students. I've read in the advice columns of a number of magazines that might fall under the mind/body/spirit category that one might battle disappointment by lowering one's expectations. I admit I typically have high expectations, of people, priceline hotel rooms (I've learned to have NO expectations in that respect...it works, too!), etc. And I suppose I could just mind my own business. But I just wonder if these students realize they don't have to move cross-country in some cases and pay $24,000 per year to be a slacker. In fact, they could drop out of school to become a full-time slacker, even holding down a part-time day job. They might even be able to maintain an income of around $24,000 while, for the most part, perfecting their slacker lifestyles.

Whatev. Maybe I'm just having a bad day.

In other news, I successfully survived a presentation on aesthetics yesterday. I was totally into it, actually, but imagine I have some work to do on my pedagogical technique. I just hope we didn't totally bore everyone. Now I have a week to reflect further on the topic in a five page paper.

And Ed Ruscha was in town yesterday, giving a lecture of some sort at Harvard. I had to work, but it's okay, 'cause I have a ticket to an "evening" with Ed at the MFA next April. Perhaps I'll pitch my "then and now" homage to his 1966 work, "Every Building on the Sunset Strip." Maybe I could get a grant to travel to L.A. in, say, February, to complete the project...

Anyway, I'm off shortly to finally see Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale." Can't wait..."Kicking & Screaming" is easily one of my favorite movies and I'm really hoping the critical success of this new film will finally inspire whoever's in charge of such things to release K & S on DVD. That would be a beautiful thing.


dude, it, uh, snowed...

My brother, nephew, and niece came to visit this weekend, which reminded me that we live in Boston. Neal and I don't get out much, but family in town is a great excuse to explore a little. New experiences included dinner at Blasi's in nearby Adams Village and a visit to the New England Aquarium. I think everyone enjoyed both, but parking near the aquarium is a nightmare. They only validate the nearby parking garage tickets with aquarium membership, which is probably less than what we spent for admission for three adults and two children, plus the $29 parking garage fee. Ouch! Oh well, hopefully with each visit or excursion we'll be a little wiser.

Speaking of life in Boston...it snowed last Saturday. Mmm-hmmm, that's right, snow, that white fluffy stuff. When we were planning our move east I thought my first New England snow entry would be a little later in the year, say during winter. I'd call it "Dude, it's snowing," I told everyone. But the day of snow (during which I met my old boss for lunch and then worked through the afternoon and evening, hence, no time to blog) was followed by a week of sun and temperatures in the 60s, so it was, as have been, I've been told, all the other crazy weather patterns in the last two and a half months, quite "unusual," just like the heatwave during our arrival in Boston, the ten or so days of nonstop rain in October, and, now, the early snow. However, I've already lived here long enough to not question a week of "unusual" Bay Area-like weather. I'll take it!

And before, as Lewis Black complains, "a wind blows and we're stuck with twigs for six months" (or something to that effect), above is a close-up image of fall foliage outside the main Museum School building. This image doesn't do it justice, but it really is as amazing as everyone says...

In other news, I'm feeling a bit stalled in the studio. I tend to get involved in process for a couple of weeks, but once I complete a stage, I have a hard time maintaining that momentum. Here's a re-assembled image of some of the fragments I've been working on over the past few weeks:

Based on this kind of work, I've decided to register for digital photography and screenprinting next semester; I hear that's a killer combo and think screenprinting's the logical next step for me. Maybe painting really is dead. Anyway, I have yet another individual critique tomorrow so perhaps that will inspire me to move on with this stuff. And at least I have over a month to make some progress before my semester review board on December 20th. The late review board gives me over two weeks without classes to spend some quality time in the studio. Nice...

Finally, in an update to my last entry, I finally had a chance to watch a couple episodes of this season of ANTM. I'm hoping my viewing will be able to continue because the show is, in my opinion, back on track. Last season was filled with empty, immature, and not terribly attractive model wannabes, but this time around they seem to have collected a group of oddly self-conscious, sensitive, and quite lovely gals. There was a glimmer of a catfight brewing on the next episode, but for the most part, the girls seem to immediately self-reflect on any bad behavior toward another competitor while still making for good television. There's little in the way of diva attitude for Tyra to break down. What will she do??


pop culture recap

Despite my busy schedule, balancing grad school, part-time job, husband and two neurotic cats, I've managed to find some time for television and netflix. It's been awhile since I wrote about my favorite shows, so I thought I'd take a moment to recap my fall lineup.

Sadly, I was unable to watch the season premiere or any subsequent episodes of America's Next Top Model...I haven't even had time to keep abrest of critical writing about the show care of Salon's Heather Havrilesky (I'm sure she's commented on it in some way). I attempted to watch this season's family-of-four themed Amazing Race (it's on Tuesdays, after Gilmore Girls, which I'm committed to watching...more on that in a bit) but never got hooked - it's all about the interpersonal dramas that unfold in the first one or two episodes. For starters, the family-of-four theme is pretty broadly applied, and the kids involved demonstrate predictable attitude. Having just moved cross-country with two cats I think next season's theme should be couples with pets. Talk about challenging...

So, little or no reality television for me this season, which is probably not such a bad thing. As mentioned above, I've been able to watch Gilmore Girls religiously. The chemistry between the actors gets a little better with every season, but Rory's poor taste in men has not evolved much since the show began and we had to suffer through the impossibly serious highschool relationship with puppy-eyed love interest Dean. Jess was alright and appears to make a comback of some kind in the next ep, so we'll see, but I ain't diggin' Logan.

On a positive note, Lauren Graham's hair looks great, don't you think? Not sure about Alexis Bledel's bangs, but then, I spent the better part of the last four years growing mine out...

I've just lost any male readers I may have had.

And speaking of Lost...pretty great so far, but takes itself way too seriously to be commented on by me in this here blog.