Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Random Photos


I found a few pics in my cell phone that I had forgotten about...plus a few odds and ends from this weekend. Above is Stagg and I on December 24th. We stop in at this bar sometimes after leaving his parents up in burbs.


Me and Kim Stagg's cousin this past winter holiday. When they were growing up they had similar interests and were good buddies and used to go to nightclubs or go to concerts together. I love her.


I took this picture because these are like the chairs I want to get.

In Aztec mythology, the volcanoes were once humans who were deeply in love. This legend features two star-crossed lovers, the young brave warrior Popocatépetl and the beautiful princess Iztaccíhuatl. The father of Iztaccíhuatl, a mighty ruler, placed a demanding condition upon Popocatépetl before he could take Iztaccíhuatl as his bride. His mandate required that Popocatépetl first engage in battle against the tribe’s enemy and return victorious. Variations of the legend include the added stipulation that Popocatépetl needed to return with the vanquished enemy’s head as proof of his success.


Iztaccíhuatl and prince Popocatépetl - Artist Jesus Helguera
The story continues with Popocatépetl setting off for battle with Iztaccíhuatl waiting for her beloved’s return. Treacherously, a rival of Popocatépetl’s sends a false message back to the ruler that the warrior has been slain when in fact, Popocatépetl has won the battle and is ready to return to his Iztaccíhuatl. However, the princess upon hearing the false news, falls ill and succumbs to her deep sorrow, dying of a broken heart. When Popocatépetl returns triumphant to his people only to encounter his beloved’s death, his heartbreak is inconsolable.

He carries Iztaccíhuatl's body to the mountains whereupon he has a funeral pyre built for both himself and his princess. Grief-stricken beyond measure, Popocatépetl dies next to his beloved. The Gods, touched by the lover’s plight, turn the humans into mountains, so that they may finally be together. They remain so to this day with Popocatépetl residing over his princess Iztaccíhuatl, while she lay asleep. On occasion, Popo will spew ash, reminding those watching that he is always in attendance, that he will never leave the side of his beloved Izta. From: here

Stagg in front of a version of this painting and beloved legend.


Artowrk by Victoria Degaditio...sorry about quality I was using my cell phone. I forgot I even had my camera with me! BUT...listen...this is a painting in tribute to one of the women killed in Jaurez. Remember my post on femicide?

I took this picture because Stagg and I really want to live in Pilsen. Either this neighbourhood some day or downtown. I haven't phoed the number yet...I should do that now. Remind me and I'll tell ya how much they are asking, okay?

This is one of my favourite bars in chicago. Not because it's nice, plays cool music or is fun. The bartender is a curmudgeon. He is just like so sour. We even went here with my daughter and her friend...it's like as much a cultural event as any museum.

This is inside the place. And the other day, the guy just totally abused us. He has a special place in his heart for Stagg. And for me, well he loves it that I placed an order...he is especially fond of strong women. But...I can't not go there...even my daughter txted me when I said we weregoing to this museum in Pilsen she said, "you have to go see that bartender".

Fierce!



Monday, March 30, 2009

Shakespeare Reading Group




As I mentioned in an earlier post...I am a participant in an online reading group for Shakespeare. We are just starting MacBeth and already it's going really well. Other participants include a NY actor who has played roles in shakespeare, an avid book enthusiast in Norwich England, a former administrator for a Shakespeare theatere, another avid reader in Singapore.

It's a fairly down to earth group of folks who just love reading together. We just finished off a discussion of All's Well That Ends Well.

We came up with the idea to read one scene every two days. It makes for a great option of taking your time...and finding time in a busy schedule to participate. Of course some people can read ahead but we try to skip spoilers, even with his well-known plays.

Here is our reading/discussion schedule for MacBeth

March 27: Act 1, Scene 1: A desert place.
March 29: Act 1, Scene 2: A camp near Forres.
March 31: Act 1, Scene 3: A heath near Forres.
April 2: Act 1, Scene 4: Forres. The palace.
April 4: Act 1, Scene 5: Inverness. Macbeth's castle.
April 6: Act 1, Scene 6: Before Macbeth's castle.
April 8: Act 1, Scene 7: Macbeth's castle.
April 10: Act 2, Scene 1: Court of Macbeth's castle.
April 12: Act 2, Scene 2: The same.
April 14: Act 2, Scene 3: The same.
April 16: Act 2, Scene 4: Outside Macbeth's castle.
April 18: Act 3, Scene 1: Forres. The palace.
April 20: Act 3, Scene 2: The palace.
April 22: Act 3, Scene 3: A park near the palace.
April 24: Act 3, Scene 4: The same. Hall in the palace.
April 26: Act 3, Scene 5: A Heath.
April 28: Act 3, Scene 6: Forres. The palace.
April 30: Act 4, Scene 1: A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
May 2: Act 4, Scene 2: Fife. Macduff's castle.
May 4: Act 4, Scene 3: England. Before the King's palace.
May 6: Act 5, Scene 1: Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.
May 8: Act 5, Scene 2: The country near Dunsinane.
May 10: Act 5, Scene 3: Dunsinane. A room in the castle.
May 12: Act 5, Scene 4: Country near Birnam wood.
May 14: Act 5, Scene 5: Dunsinane. Within the castle.
May 16: Act 5, Scene 6: Dunsinane. Before the castle.
May 18: Act 5, Scene 7: Another part of the field.
May 20: Act 5, Scene 8: Another part of the field.

I find the reading time frame for discussing really relaxing. Shakespeare really comes alive with a group reading...and then we have sought out film versions of the plays to discuss once we've gotten through the text. It's very accessible and reveals how very rich, layered but entertaining...mostly entertaining reading and watching Shakespeare's play can be.

Anybody out there wanna join us?

:)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Action Packed Weekend!


Love this purse! It's like an airbrushed muscle car. Was all over the place this weekend. 1) Walked a lot on Saturday morning. 2.) I am a moderator for an online Shakespeare group (click on yellow text...why not join us?!) reading MacBeth right now. 3.) Re-watched a great movie called Wendy and Lucy: highly recommend, minimalist independent (budget $300,000), great organic film-making. Score 10/10. 4.) I cut Stagg's hair and it came out pretty good...go check his blog! Made a huge pot of chili. Made a huge baked bean dish. 5) Went for lunch with neightbour on Saturday...Thai food. 6.) Went grocery shopping to get supplies to make organic Tom Yum Soup that I had for lunch at Thai place. 7. ) Made some posts at Cormac McCarthy forum about the influence of punk music on women performers, and the Cowboy Junkies. 8.) Made some posts on Cormac McCarthy forum about the positive significance of Madonna and Spears kiss in LGBT community, gay marriage, and the jerk-off material for many single straight guys. heh heh 9.) Walked almost five miles really fast Sunday morning with friend Jessica. 10.) Watched Dennis Rodman...who Stagg and I love on Celebrity Apprentice. 11.) Made about 3 dozen handmade postcards. 12.) Watched the three magnificent performances by Prince on Jay Leno which I had recorded and saved. And we just generally did a bunch of stuff...going all day all weekend...






The mural behind Stagg and Andy is a chain link fence turning into butterlies...

I loved being able to see Duarte's work cart. Cool!


Hector Duarte, if you click on the picture, you can read a little about him. He lives in Pilsen, just down the street from the Cultural Center.

Coincidently...we ran into Andy's friend Nicole (and her cousin) who helps out at Art Group!





I can't even list all the stuff we did and got done this weekend. A lot of fun! But...I creid when Dennis Rodman got fired from Celebrity Apprentice...it hurt to see him with a drinking problem and so confused. We love you Dennis!!!




Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spooning


I usually am really disappointed when mid-season any tv show does a "recap episode"...especially Survivor but this week's "Survivor recap episode" was actually pretty well done with new scenes. The funniest was this segment on Exile Island.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Holy Wolf Suit


I started crying almost as soon as I first saw this trailer. Everytime I think of it I get verklempt. This looks so awesome.

And...the music is ARCADE FIRE!!!!


I notice too the screenplay is co-written by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Somebody Give Josh Holloway An Emmy!!! Dammit!!!


Was I saying something? I forgot what I was trying to say...


Oh...right...

Look, he's gorgeous, just that alone is a wonderful thing...

But the last two episodes of LOST have shown off some fine acting. The show has always been full of fantastic actors...but these last two episodes really had some tricky events and confrontations. The way the story is going...without giving away anything...is really interesting from an actors perspective. I wonder how many other fans out there are enjoying the acting mad skills? It's been part wonderful part nervewracking...and Josh Holloway has had some AWESOME moments...give that man an Emmy!!! I mean Hooloway/Sawyer was even brilliant with his shirt on. With entire Dharma Initiative coveralls on! (um, those are just cruel and unusual punishment for us fans)

Dammit!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beautiful!



For a HD version click on the link below...

Gallows - Vulture (Dirty Version)

Wow!

I am so stoked for Gallows new album and was excited to recieve this video link from Asterisk (thanks man!)

The video for "The Vulture (Act II)" is part of a four song, half hour long movie that was written and co-directed by Gallows lead man Frank Carter and directed by Adam Powell. The movie visually deals with the harsh realities of life which forms the lyrical foundation for the band's new album Grey Britain.

I not only LOVE the song...but the cinematography and make-up is excellent. I was really impressed by Frank Carter what an amazing multi-talented artist. And he is a model too!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama Organic


Trailer for movie Food Inc.

"After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply.

The most vocal booster so far has been the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has emphasized the need for fresh, unprocessed, locally grown food and, last week, started work on a White House vegetable garden. More surprising, perhaps, are the pronouncements out of the Department of Agriculture, an agency with long and close ties to agribusiness.

In mid-February, Tom Vilsack, the new secretary of agriculture, took a jackhammer to a patch of pavement outside his headquarters to create his own organic “people’s garden.” Two weeks later, the Obama administration named Kathleen Merrigan, an assistant professor at Tufts University and a longtime champion of sustainable agriculture and healthy food, as Mr. Vilsack’s top deputy.

Mr. Hirshberg and other sustainable-food activists are hoping that such actions are precursors to major changes in the way the federal government oversees the nation’s food supply and farms, changes that could significantly bolster demand for fresh, local and organic products. Already, they have offered plenty of ambitious ideas."


"The federal government is culpable, the activists say, because it pays farmers billions in subsidies each year for growing grains and soybeans. A result is an abundance of corn and soybeans that provide cheap feed for livestock and inexpensive food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.

They argue that farm policy — and federal dollars — should instead encourage farmers to grow more diverse crops, reward conservation practices and promote local food networks that rely less on fossil fuels for such things as fertilizer and transportation."


RELATED LINKS:

1.) From New York Times
2.) Vertical Farming
3.) "Skyscraper Farming" March 2, 2009
4.) Time Magazine article on Vertical Farming.
5.) The advantages of Vertical Farming:


-Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
-No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests

VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
-VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
-VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
-VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
-VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of
evapotranspiration
-VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible
parts of plants and animals
-VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
-VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
-VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
-VF creates new employment opportunities
-We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on
earth
-VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps
-VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical
LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.
-VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water
and land for agriculture.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Some Canadian Bluegrass Alt. Country




Light Enough To Travel

Wound up drunk again on Robson St.
Strange cuz we always agreed
At the start of every evening
That's the last place I wanna be
Coffee drinkers dressed in black with no sugar
They don't give me no respect
They say look her comes another one
And I don't know what they mean yet

And I say
Keep it light enough to travel...
Don't let it all unravel
Keep it light enough to travel

Promise me we won't go into the nightclub
I feel so fucked up when I'm in there
Can't tell the bouncers from the customers
And I don't know which ones I prefer

Promise me we won't go into the nightclub
I really think that it's obscene
What kind of people go to meet people
Someplace they can't be heard or seen

Keep it light enough to travel...
Don't let it all unravel
Keep it light enough to travel

I broke the windows of the logging company
Just to get a little release
I had to throw down my accordion
To get away from the police

And I say...

Keep it light enough to travel...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Excerpts...


Last year I read the most amazing novel. It was the best novel I read for 2008 at any rate. Right now, my sister is reading it and we've been talking on the phone about it. So I've been re-reading it and taking some notes. It's over 900 pages and quite a mouth full. I think it's really the most incredible book. I just wanted to gather up some interesting excerpts, and it might help inspire someone here to read the book...or help my sister and I focus our ideas when we talk long distance. One set of notes I am taking is listing the artists mentioned in the novel...and the following are just cool excerpts...

***********************************************
The four of them met again at the contemporary German literature symposium held in Salzberg in 1996. Espinoza and Pelletier seemed very happy. Norton, on the other hand, was like an ice queen, indifferent to the city's cultural offerings and beauty. Morini showed up loaded with books and papers to grade, as if the Salzberg meeting had caught him at one of his businest moments.

All four were put up at the same hotel. Morini and Norton were on the third floor, in rooms 305 and 311, respectively. Espinoza was on the fifth floor, in room 509. And Pelletier ws on the sixth floor, in room 602. The hotel was literally overrun by a German orchestra and a Russian choir, and there was a constant musical hubbub in the hallways and on the stairs, sometimes louder and sometimes softer, as if the musicians never stopped humming overtures or as if a mental (and musical) static had settled over the hotel. Espinosa and Pelletier weren't bothered in the least by it, and Morini seemed not to notice, but this was just the sort of thing, Norton exclaimed, one of many others she wouldn't mention, that made Satzberg such a shithole.

Naturally, neither Pelletier nor Espinosa visited Norton in her room a single time. Instead, the room that Espinoza visited (once) was Pelletier's, and the room that Pelletier visited (twice) was Espinoas's, the two of them as excited as children at the news spreading like wildfire, like a nuclear conflaguration, along the hallways and through the symposium gatherings in petit comite, to wit, that Archimboldi was a candidate for the Nobel that year, not only cause for great joy among Archimboldians everywhere but also a triumph and a vindication, so much so that in Salzberg, at the Red Bull beer hall, on a night of many toasts, peace was declared between the two main factions of Archimboldi scholars, that is between Pelletier and Espinosa and Borchmeyer. page 36.

*******

It was Lola, Rosa's mother, who always traveled with a weapon, never going anywhere without her stainless-steel spring-loaded switchblade, Amalfitano remembered as he smoked a Mexican cigarette, sitting in his office or standing on the dark porch. Once they were stopped in an airport, before Rosa was born, and Lola was asked what she was doing with the knife. It's for peeling fruit, she said. Oranges, apples, pears, kiwis, all kinds of fruit. The officer gave her a long look and let her go. Ayear and a few months after that, Rosa was born. Two years later, Lola left, still carrying the knife.

Lola's pretext was a plan to visit her favorite poet, who lived in the insane asylum in Mondragon, near San Sebastian. Amalfitano listened to her explanations for a whole night as she packed her bag and promised she'd come home soon to him and Rosa. Lola, especially toward the end, used to claim that she knew the poet, that she'd met him at a party in Barcelona before Amalfitano became a part of her life. At this party, which Lola described as a wild party, a long overdue party that suddenly sprang to life in the middle of the summer heat and a traffic jam of cars with red lights on, she had slept with him and they'd made love all night, although Amalfitano knew it wasn't true, not just because the poet was gay, but because Lolas had first heard of the poet's existence from him, when he'd given her one of his books. page 164-165.

*****


The dean's name was Augusto Guerra and he had the pale, shiny skin of a fat man, but he was actually thin and wiry. He didn't seem very sure of himself, although he tried to disguise it with a combination of folk wisdom and a military air. He didn't really believe in philosophy either, or, by extension, in the teaching of philosophy, a discipline frankly on the decline in the face of the current and future marvels that science has to offer, he said. Amalfitano asked politely whether he felt the same way about literature. No, literature does have a future, believe it or not, and so does history. Augusto Guerra had said, take biographies, there used to be almost no supply or demand and today all anybody does is read them. Of course, I'm talking aboutbiographies, not memoirs. People have a thirst to learn about other people's lives, the lives of their famous contemporaries, the ones who made it big or came close, and they also have a thrist to know what the old chincuales did, maybe even learn something, although they aren't prepared to jump through the same hoops themselves. Amalfitano asked politely what chincuales meant, since he had never heard the word. Really? asked Augusto Guerra. I swear, said Amalfitano. Then the dean asked Professor Perez: Silvita, do you know what chinaules means? Professor Perez took Amalfitano's arm, as if they were lovers, and confessed that she really didn't have the slightest idea, although the word rang a bell. What a pack of imbeciles, thought Amalfitano. The word chincuales, said Augusto Guerra, like all the words in the Mexican tongue, has a number of sense. First, it means flea or bedbug bites, those little red wells, you know? The bites itch, and the poor victims can't stop scratching, as you can readily imagine. Hence the second meaning, which is restless people who squirm and scratch and can't sit still, to the discomfort of anyone who's forced to watch them. Like European scabies, say, like all those people with scabies in Europe, who pick it up in public restrooms or in those horrendous French, Italian, and Spanish latrines. Related to this is the final sense, call it the Guerrist sense, which applies to a certain class of traveler, to adventurers of the mind, those who can't keep still mentally. Ah, said Amalfitano. Magnificent, said professor Perez. Also present at this impromptu gathering in the dean's office, which Amalfitano thought of as a welcom meeting, were three other professors from the literature department, and Guerra's secretary, who uncorked a bottle of Californian champagne and passed out paper cups and crackers. page 200.


****

In Detroit, Fate rented a car, and after he checked a map from the car rental agency, he headed to the neightborhood where Barry Seaman lived.

Seaman wasn't home, but a boy told him he was almost always at Pete's Bar, not far from there. The neighborhood looked like a neighborhood of Ford and General Motors retirees. As he walked he looked at the buildings, five and six stories high, and all he saw were old people sitting on the stoops or leaning out the windows smoking. Every so often he passed a group of boys hanging out on the corner or girls jumping rope. The parked cars weren't nice cars or new cars, but they looked cared for.

The bar was next to a vacant lot full of weeds and wildflowers growing over the ruins of the building that had once stood there.On the side of a neighboring building he saw a mural that struck him as odd. It was circular like a clock, and where the numbers should have been there were scenes of people working in the factories of Detroit. Twelve scenes representing twelve stages in the production chain. In each scene, there was one recurring character: a black teenager, or a long-limbed, scrawny black man-child, or a man clinging to childhood, dressed in clothes that changed from scene to scene but that were invariably too small for him. He had apparently been assigned the role of clown, intended to make people laugh, although a closer look made it clear that he wasn't there only to make people laugh. The mural looked like the work of a lunatic. The last painting of a lunatic. In the middle of the clock, where all the scenes converged, there was a word painted in letters that looked like they were made of gelatin: fear. page 241

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wallpaper Goes A Little Manga



We've got a book on "How To Draw Manga" Stagg brought home from work. So I kind of wanted to do a riff on a painterly version of manga. Actually, manga has very rigid formulas for the work, even a strand of hair going in one direction can make the formla fail. So really, everything about this version is wrong, but it's fun to break rules sometimes. The idea of such brush strokes and wild style is antithetical to manga. The comic style is more like a pulp fiction book cover.

The wallpaper is getting quite long. I've managed to make an artwork that can only be seen...at least for now...in film. I'm not sure what I think about that, it's pretty funny. I've made wallpaper ever since I began painting as a kid. It's an obsession. As soon as the ground is dry enough we'll video this stuff by stretching it out along the sidewalk out front, and using a board with the camera duct-taped to it. I solicited assistants on Saturday.

The top section on the right "alien comic" is going to attach to the roll on the floor.

The top left section is attaching to the bottom of the right section, below the woman...

Some tweaking...she doesn't have a gun in the first picture. Her hair wasn't big enough, or with contrasts from black and white dramatic enough. I needed to adjust her cheek & jawbone. The dino-monster was out of proportion...all fixed!

Saturday


We had a cocktail party on Saturday night. If I don't have a party, I won't do housework. Seriously. And to fight off the winter blues. Above is Jessica she lives across the hall and we went to her party January. It's great to have great neighbours!

Stagg, Andy, who does Art Group with me, and Darrick, Stagg's friend from high school and art school and the "hood".

Above is Darrick with his band, Dolt 45.

Darrick and wife Nancy...
Oh I know you're gonna ask...what did we snack on? I didn't cook. We had hotdog bagels, we had pretzels, chips, frozen Snickers (thanks Jessica!) ,chicken wings, pickles olives, cole slaw, cheese and crackers.

That's Joan and Silvio T. No, they didn't actually come over Saturday. Just their spirit. That's Madonna's dad. Darrick and Nancy brought over a bottle of wine from his Ciccone Winery! We are going to plan a trip to visit the winery this summer...and yes, there is a Madonna wine :)