Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't Mind the Chaos

I consider myself a fairly low-maintenance person. I need caffeine in my system, and a good book, and I can get by. I use a flip-phone. Which I love. I like big, bounding dogs. I'm a leo, but I'm really, really not. My favorite color is brown.

But I have been without internet for five days, and I DO NOT LIKE IT.

I moved up to Rochester last week, since I'll be starting my PhD in modern art there this fall. Unfortunately, the internet hates me. Or rather, the cable company hates me, and as a result, I won't have internet until next week, at the earliest. SO HOW AM I BLOGGING?!?!?!

LET ME JUST TELL YOU. I have found the coffee shop of my DREAMS, just one block away. And that is significant, which anybody who knows my caffeine obsession understands. It's this kinda dark, kinda gritty indie place called Boulder Coffee Company that uses indigo Fiesta Ware (hi Jen) and has huge modern artworks on all of the walls. It has a stage for live performers, and a HUGE WONDERWOMAN PORTRAIT in the back, right next to an abstract sunflower oil painting (hi Brian). And they're playing Joan Jett. They KNOW me. Also, they serve alcohol at night.

Did I mention the coffee? It is perfection in soy-latte form. I die.

Moving is a really weird concept. And I've moved a LOT in my 21 years, so I would know. You put your entire life into a truck, all squished in on itself so that the contents of your kitchen, which have never before met the contents of your bedroom, which have never before met the junk in your garage, are suddenly all up in each other's business for a long, awkward drive.

Also, there's something about moving that turns my psyche into mush. Like I said, I've moved probably 8 or 9 times in my 2-ish decades, so it really shouldn't phase me, but when you find yourself in a strange, too-quiet new apartment surrounded by unidentifiable boxes (I suck at packing) and with no idea of where to's daunting. My solution? Reach for the Harry Potter. Instant comfort. I know, NERD. Hi Brian.

I like making lists. Have some lists.

Things I learned this week:
1.) My books are out of control. OUT. OF. CONTROL.
2.) Filling a completely empty pantry is mad-expensive.
3.) I always forget to buy maple syrup. God damn.
4.) Being low-maintenance does not stop me from being a closet-hog. Sorry Brian.
5.) If you have good water pressure, you should stop and appreciate it.
6.) Walmart is weird.
7.) I could live comfortably in a coffee shop for at least 2 days. At least.
8.) It is more than likely that I will either be the victim or the witness of a murder in the basement of my apartment building. It is terrifying.
9.) My guitar is a person. Because I miss it like a person (I forgot it at my sister's place....I'm a bad mommy).
10.) My boyfriend and I CAN have an entire phone conversation consisting of growling. Grrrrr. Rarrrrr. Womp.

Things I love about my apartment:
1.) It has a sun porch. With French doors.
2.) It has a claw-foot tub.
3.) Walk. In. Closet.
5.) Though the basement is mad-ax-murderer creepy, I can use it to practice my ghouling. Also, Brian wants ghosts.
6.) If I walk around in my underwear, there's only about a 30% chance that somebody will see me from a neighboring building. Which is fairly good odds.
8.) The bathroom is carpeted, which is an oddity, but it's an oddity my chronically cold feet like. Toasty.
9.) My apartment is the highest one in the building, which I have decided makes me king of the building. I think it's logical.
10.) My land-lady texts. With smilies.

Pictures will follow once I have internet (fo realz).

Can you tell that I took full advantage of the delicious coffee here? Can you?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fever Ray- Who is the Alpha?

I listen to Fever Ray when I can't sleep. Insomnia is a small insanity, and I like it to feed it things only slightly stranger than I am. Fever Ray is Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson, one half of the Swedish duo The Knife. She reminds me a little of Björk and a little of Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, but not much else.

"When I grow up, I want to live near the sea
Crab claws and bottles of rum
That’s what i’ll have staring at the seashell
Waiting for it to embrace me.

I put my soul in what I do
Last night I drew a funny man
with dark eyes and a hanging tongue
It goes way bad, I never liked a sad look
From someone who wants to be loved by you."

The videos and lyrics are gorgeous, but, visual aesthetics aside, there's something savage in the music. She's taking something very subtle and shoving it into our arms with videos like "When I Grow Up," but it doesn't spoil it. It's metallic like blood, a lot of it, and sweet like night flowers.

"The Wolf" was written for that sillygoose version of Little Red Riding Hood that came out a few months ago, but I just think it's dead-sexy (shout hhheeeeyyyyyyy if the beginning reminds you of the orgy theme from the second season of True Blood...).

"Keep the Streets Empty For Me" is the most beautiful new song I've heard in a while. The feeling is a little different from her other stuff, embracing melancholy instead of madness. It's a climactic ending, it's a walk alone at night. You can see your breath, it's love, and you're tripping:

It's just so darn good. Rock on insomniacs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wanderlust- Sea Shanties

Little known fact: I am one of the last remaining ancestors of George Harbo, prolific Norwegian rowboat-across-the-Atlantic-er. There's even a sea shanty about them. Google it. Hot damn, I know. It has very little to do with anything, but I like sea-things.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Sound Suits of Nick Cave

Nick Cave is the director of the School of the Art Institute’s graduate fashion program, but that's not why I'm fascinated by him. I'm not even sure what to call his work, but he makes these insane costumes, which are kind of like sculptures, which he puts on contemporary dancers, so that they kind of become part of performance art. Kind of. Kind of because they're just really quite bizarre, but also beautiful, and even at their weirdest, they make you smile. He calls them "Sound Suits" because his first piece, made of twigs gathered from the ground in Chicago's Grant Park, was an artwork you could hear. They're made of everything from lost socks and dryer lint to human hair. The real thrill is when the dancers don these creatures and move together (see second video).

They're aliens. They remind me of a hundred different things--Dr. Seuss, extreme haute couture, Harry-huntin' Death Eaters, African and Native American ceremonial costumes, Star Wars, and Aunt Beast from A Wrinkle in Time, among others--but they are wholly their own. I love the way Judy Lightfoot describes them in her review of Cave's current exhibition: "They seem the grand universal embodiments of human elation and knickknacks." If you saw one of these coming toward you, would you smile, or be afraid?

These suits are challenging for me because they dance on that line between art and extreme fashion, playing with the genre of "wearable art." I truly mean "playing," because, unlike most of the works that can be classified as "wearable art," these works are fun.

^This video is phenomenal. I've seen it a couple of times, and it still makes me smile. I love the way he exhibits them. It's like Improv Everywhere, but with big, beautiful Muppets.

Cave's Sound Suits are on display in “Nick Cave: Meet me at the Center of the Earth,” at the Seattle Art Museum through June 5. I hear there's one made entirely of Beanie Babies. ROAD TRIP.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poetry Wednesday today going to be SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY. Did I just rock your world? Don't worry, the "not mine" part today is still a poem.


There’s this god-awful table in our house that I always pass out on. Not on it on it, but passed out on a chair, head and elbows on the table, sleeping in a puddle of my own drool. And this table pisses me the hell off, every single time. It’s got this really beautiful exposed wood grain you’re supposed to want to stroke and make conversation about, but when I wake up in my own drool, it just makes me real mad. Staring at that wood grain when you’re hung over is like spinning around 300 times when you’re four years old and have a half-pound of gummy bears in your gut. You spin and spin and then throw red and green bears up all over.

So I’m waking up on this table, and I’m only wearing one shoe, and my shoe is sticking to the floor a little where last night’s wine never got mopped up. My other shoe is hanging by its dirty laces from the overhead light. There’s a fly zooming repeatedly into the closed window, and the god damn wood grain is moving in my peripheral vision.

Cold chill. Freezing-cold-for-just-a-second-reminder-that-you’re-human. I get them when I’m sunburned, slow-cooked and shiver-roasted in the sun. I get them when I’m drunk. I get them.

It’s early afternoon before one of my housemates walks in and suggests I take a bath. I’m exactly where I was when I woke up, and I’m not going to answer, so she goes down the hall to start the water for me. No choice.

Shoelaces are too much to handle. So I’m chest-deep in hot water with one tennis shoe still on, knee slung over the edge of the tub to keep it dry. I’m gonna have this one dirty foot, this one cold spot where the hot water wasn’t welcome. I’m Achilles.

What would you say if I told you that it’s all fate, all of it? That we never really have a choice. That we’re all broke-back bunnies shaken in the mouths of rabid dogs, and that’s all we’ll ever be. There’s a controlled IV drip feeding you your love and hate, and you’re sad and silly if you think otherwise. You’ve got this call button, and they tell you it’s for when you need more medicine, but the button doesn’t work, and you’re stuck with what they give you. Drip. I love you. Drip. I hate you. Drip.

We all make choices, she says. My housemate. She’s sitting on the toilet seat watching me get waterlogged. She’s chewing on her cuticles, she’s talking to the wall. She’s being silly and sad. You’ve got to want to be happy, she says. She’s pulling the psychoanalysis shit on me, and I’m not having it. I pull my left foot, shoe, sock, and all, into the water. It sends up bubbles. She sighs and walks out.

It’s not that I don’t want to be happy.

You’re a terrible, selfish-ass skunk of a human being, and I love you to death. No choice.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, something not-mine that I love:

An untitled poem
by Joshua Beckman

The birds know. The wind knows. Call me. I’m always
in the same place watching the same thing. The sound of
water, of wind, of flags, of the birds’ deserved babies
crying for the rain. The birds know. Translucent is the wallet
that holds the money on its way. Children stop. Pilgrims
stop. Tugboats drift. The wind knows. I’m always in the
same place watching the same thing. You know. The blue bridge
opening for no one. The water knows. A translucent wallet
filled with water. Flags flapping at the sign of water. We
know. We start singing at the sight of the translucent wallet
holding water. It’s singing. It knows. It’s always in
the same place watching the same thing. The blue bridge
opening for no one. The rain on its way to a wallet of water.
The birds know. Always the same place, the same thing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


You know when somebody sends you something, and it's exactly what you needed, but you don't realize you needed it until you get it? Yes, that is precisely what this is.

This art/music video, "Rippled," is a collaboration between Darcy Prendergast and the creative team at OH YEAH WOW. They use the music of ALL INDIA RADIO to animate light frame by frame. It's all real people, shot by a normal camera using long exposure. I'm in love with it. I love how they make the people who puppet the lighted-world into ghosts. I'm drawn to the idea of them, to the idea of things that linger and haunt and exist in shades of themselves. It's beautiful, the way these people exist on another plane, just out of reach.

Founder's Day

I'm recovering from Vassar's Founder's Day celebration, and trying to focus on final papers. Which is difficult when it's sunny and warm and yesterday I had unlimited access to a beer truck. So you get pictures.