Mexico 2019 Part 1.

December 30th, 2019

Mexico! I went a ways back to Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta for the beading intensive with my dream beading artists so I’m not going to cover everything because I did a considerable amount already (see here for the last trip). Anything new I will share aggressively; I accrued a lot. Let’s start with the flight to Mexico City. As we lined up to board I was next to some men that had a really specific look going on. After studying their tattoos (skulls, Satanic pentagrams, skulls with Satanic pentagrams, horned demon faces, flames, upside-down crosses, naked ladies making bad choices, etc.), their black clothing and their guitar cases I came to the (correct) conclusion that these gentlemen were in a band. I did some research when I saw the stickers on their luggage and their name is Belphegor. Belphegor is listed as “blackened death metal” because apparently “death metal” didn’t adequately get the point across. Some of their albums are Blood Magick Necromance, Infernal Live Orgasm and my personal favorite, Bondage Goat Zombie. What was most surprising is they were very nice. I don’t know what I expected, maybe they would eat raw meat or something but they didn’t do any of that. One of them had a neck pillow covered in other band’s names which was rather sweet. The only problem I had was – you know when you’re finding your seat and you’re putting your luggage in the overhead bins and the plane is playing pleasant stuff? The lead singer called in “scheisse musick” and I was like sir, this is Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me” and while it is not everyone’s taste it’s a classic, I’m sorry AeroMexico is not blasting some festive number about a cockroach-infused undead woman so settle down with your snotty comments. Drink your beer and eat your snacks and hush.

Please enjoy their logo.

My main purpose for going to Mexico was two-fold: One was to show The Moomins the Diego Rivera murals and Teotihuacan and to go to the studios of the artist who made the alebrijes I saw in Puerto Vallarte. In case you don’t remember I went to a gallery called Peyote People where I was introduced to this exquisite work:

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2016/05/24/mexico-part-3-and-done/

Yeah. I felt a lot of feelings but the pieces were thousands of dollars and that’s more dollars than I have. I did end up buying some small pieces and I was right – going directly to the artists’ studio dropped the prices considerably. An added bonus is watching them work and meeting them in person. That was pretty miraculous.

Here are a few loner images to whet the appetite.

This place was not open so I don’t know what they were selling. I will never know.

I really liked this chandelier with the flame-shaped glass caps over the actual bulbs.

You’re damn right I paid to take a picture with the Mexican Freddy Mercury. That’s not an opportunity you can pass up.

At a church there was this campaign to make items for handicapped people using soda tops. I liked both the idea and the designs.

There were almost no Chinese restaurants which as an American made me feel confused and uncomfortable so when I saw this one I felt compelled to take a picture of it.

The skyline of Mexico City main square at sunset. I like this picture. It’s so black and spiky.

More to come.

Growth and knowledge via the Internet.

December 21st, 2019

I went to Mexico! To look at art! And Oakland California! Where I ended up looking at art! Now I’m back. While I go through my gross dirty laundry and my stack of photos please enjoy these informative treasures.

 

1. This is a long read but it’s totally worth it. I was blown away.

https://pricklylegs.tumblr.com/post/188456524966/synebluetoo-costumersupportdept

 

2. There’s a man who makes things and I delight in watching him work. His name is Bobby Duke and not only is he talented as hell, he is also charming and has a Southern accent. I do love me an accent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkbJemDY-00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBcjGlXuQAI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSFPG1ACz5g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taF0nY9GqMg

 

3. I saw a video where a gorgeous male elk walked reeeeeeal close to some men who I think were fishing. The elk was so majestic. He turned his face toward the camera and made his call which sounded… piercing and otherworldly. I don’t know what I expected an elk call to sound like but it wasn’t this.

https://pricklylegs.tumblr.com/post/188374421161

I thought this elk might have been an anomaly but apparently not

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20PET6-Hr_c

I think it’s pretty amazing. People compare it to the sound the undead tormented nazguls make in Lord of the Rings but now that I know it comes out of such a cool creature I don’t find it frightful at all.

 

4. No one think of the cameraman.

https://blizzardofjj.tumblr.com/post/188492221581/nobody-thinks-of-the-cameraman

 

Update: Apparently EVERYONE knows the sound an elk makes except me. I am disappointed in myself for not knowing the calls of antlered mammals but I guess you can’t know everything. Hopefully this disappointment will ebb.

Update on the update: It has not ebbed.

The time has come for charts.

November 11th, 2019

I included these pictures of gourds and pumpkins because I am loving the names.

And this isn’t really a chart situation but I find the comments delightful.

Deer Skull 2.0.

November 4th, 2019

Remember Blinged Out Deer Skull? Cricket gave me a deer skull he found in his backyard and I decided to cover it with beadwork. The finished product looked like this:

I was content with Deer Skull for a while but the I found the box of supplies I used for it and I decided to fix some things that bothered me.

1. Those daggers on the bridge of the nose. They don’t match anything and since they’re so protuberant they tend to fall off, requiring me to glue them back on regularly.

2. The bead-woven sections. I was a bit precious with those, not allowing anything to cross over or overlap with them. That makes them look like they’re not integrated with the piece as a whole and I don’t want that.

3. Those sequins and pin on the forehead beaded panel. Not doing anything to improve the piece.

Here is the skull with the updates:

I’m much happier with it now. That’s how it goes with art: You make something and then after some time has passed and you’ve lived with it for a while the piece can evolve.

Rotting never looked so good.

October 30th, 2019

We’ll get into the title topic but first: I went to the new ‘n’ improved MoMA! They got the building next door and expanded into that new space. It is a very big museum now. My friend G is a member and got me in for $5 so it was well worth my time. We went through all the new stuff (they have structures covered in bells that I thought were great) and we went through the older, most established collection (Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, etc.) That’s where I saw the cat.

That cat is so very special. It reminded me of the naive style of Rousseau.

Untrained, simple, clean. Not a great grasp of three-dimensional space. That was when I noticed a detail of the cat painting.

That is a perfectly rendered lion sculpture. Exact proportions. The light hits exactly where it’s supposed to. Which means the artist could have painted a nice normal cat but chose to make this janky-ass busted cat-thing with no back legs and eyes that look right through your torso laying on a really disorganized couch. I have questions for this artist. Several questions.

Okay, back to the title. I love love love when artists take aspects of life we as a culture consider ugly and make it beautiful. That’s where Kathleen Ryan comes in. You remember those foam fruit impaled with sequins on your grandma’s table? It was a very popular look in the 1960s.

Kathleen Ryan makes larger-than-life fruit and covers the surface with semi-precious stones and steel pins to mimic mold and the natural process of the fruit breaking down. It is stunning work. Her style and where she chooses to place the stones and shells and pearls are so creative.

There’s a video of how Kathleen works. It loops. I might have watched it four times in a row.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ekksLBx-2/

I would like to steal this idea and make something similar. I have many beads I don’t know what to do with, I inherited them or someone gave them to me, this would be a terrific way to use them up.

Caitlyn the Mortician and an origami cat.

October 18th, 2019

I’ve spoken on many an occasion about how much I like Caitlyn the Mortician. Here and here, specifically. Snorth got tickets to see Caitlyn live on her book tour and since both Snorth and I are big fans we decided to combine our talents to make Caitlyn a present. We decided on a unique origami cat. Snorth folded one and I took it and drew spookiness all over it. I tried to make it special by putting the date and “4 C8lin” (“For Caitlin”) on the back of the head.

Then I unfolded it and smoothed it flat.

It turns out that all the illustrations were on one side of the paper which is good because you don’t have to worry about the front and the back lining up when it’s printed. I photographed the unfolded drawing and brought it into Illustrator and made a elegant crisp Illustrator file from it with some slight modifications so it’s wouldn’t be an issue if during the folding process things were not exactly lined up (Snorth called it paper creep).

After Snorth printed and folded the new Illustrator version I decided it needed some festive glitter so I took one of my nail polishes and jazzed it up a bit with a dotting tool.

Because unless you have fancy cameras and lights the glitter never shows up properly here is the nail polish I used, First Class by ILNP. You can appreciate the holo.

And Caitlyn loved it! Here is the photo of her and Snorth and Snorth’s niece.

I’d like to think it’s on display somewhere in her home or office.

Internet things I have come across in my travels (on the www, I didn’t leave the house.)

October 13th, 2019

1. Evelyn from the Internets. She has existed for a looooong time but I only came across her recently when I clicked on a video about the origin of “Black sounding” names. Really interesting btw, I learned a lot. Who knew French was such a big part of it? Not me, you know, until now. I thought hey maybe this nice person has more videos and then I crawled into her YouTube page and I have not emerged for days. I will now post some of my favorites.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=575LByUKT00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KWHfNxntlQ&t

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR1iO5J1mK4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVie7O6lF1Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6b2aN-yKrQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhTrCCdCVm0

 

2. Does everyone remember the great kid who captured his relationship with the local deer back in 2016? If not, here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1IRrZEmBe0

Guess what happened in 2019??

https://coldgamekelv.tumblr.com/post/186343370606/my-girl-canela-is-out-here-enjoying-her-hot-girl

 

3. This is a thing that is.

This is not the first charitable act Pornhub has done. I never stop being amused by their actions. In addition to the scholarship referenced below, Pornhub had a $25,000 scholarship for women in STEM. You don’t have to be in the adult entertainment industry, you simply need to answer their essay question like any other scholarship. I would love to work on Pornhub’s charity projects. UPDATE: Oh, Pornhub is Canadian. That explains the niceness.

This video is Safe For Work so no worries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=s6R1iwsHdAk

 

4. Anderson.Paak’s “Come Down.” I heard a short bit of this song in an ad and I looked for it. It’s a real tight song and wait a second, are they sampling the Israeli national anthem??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OqrcUvrbRY

It’s the only national anthem I know all the words to other than the American one. And it turns out, yes, this dope track sampled the Israeli national anthem which is famously morose. Good job, whoever produced “Come Down.” Eclectic choice, I like that.

The Israeli national anthem *: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMwSlp7I7IQ

 

* Which I now found out sampled from Smetana’s “Moldau” and that drew its inspiration from a Scandinavian folk song so errybody sampling errybody .

The enigma of Maureen Maher.

September 29th, 2019

As I have mentioned numerous times I watch an absurd amount of television. Like, borderline unconscionable. I do like me those one hour crime stories. I’ve watched a lot of 48 Hours and in the process I’ve seen a lot of host Maureen Maher. Here’s the deal: Most of these hosts stand in front of a benign pattern  / green screen wearing a dark-colored whatever and tell the intro and outro of the story. Not Maureen. Maureen shows up every time in a complex leather jacket with a lot of flaps and buttons. If she’s in front of a green screen it’s got a run-down warehouse on it (why?) and she’ll often hold her hands in weird positions in front of her torso like she’s a noble in Louis XIV’s court. I did some research and apparently others have noticed this.

 

I consider this a true diamond image in a pile of coal images. We’ve got a flappity jacket, a crappy 3D warehouse AND Maureens’s doing something extra-weird with her hands, making a portal or stargate of some kind. It’s all-encompassing. I feel like I’ve been blessed.

Broadway.

September 22nd, 2019

I don’t often go to the theater because it’s absurdly expensive (about $100++ a ticket) and the audience is filled with people. I don’t know if you know this but people as a whole are really badly behaved. They fool around on their phones. They forget to turn off the ringer even after being reminded 72 times. They unwrap crinkly plastic wrappers on candy for what seems to be forty-five minutes. I read this nugget this morning that chilled me to the bone.

Horrifying. So I tend to stay home. But sometimes I forget, decide to go out there, brave the masses and absorb culture straight from the source. I saw the play referenced above, Betrayal. It was really well done. I had never seen Pinter’s work before. The show was nice and brisk, 90 minutes with no intermission. It was dry and British and a solid classic play. Tom Hiddleston was great but I though Charlie Cox (Daredevil on Netflix) was such a terrific actor he made the other two look subpar. That man is talented as hell. As soon as the audience stopped clapping at the end I booked it out of there with great haste. I did not want to get enmeshed in the hordes of women vibrating with desire outside the stage door. There was so, so many of them.

On Wednesdays Broadway shows have a matinee at 2:00 and another show at 7:00 or 8:00 so I made the choice to double-punch my theater experience. I got a ticket for Dear Evan Hansen (musical) at 2:00 and To Kill A Mockingbird (play) at 7:00. Even though Dear Evan Hansen came out a few years back I have done an excellent job of learning as little as possible about it. I knew one song in its entirety and a chunk of one other and that’s it. I had a rough idea of the plot but nothing concrete. So there was many components that I did not anticipate. Hooooo, that show gutted me like a fish. It’s about social anxiety and feeling alone and high school which exacerbates the social anxiety and isolation because in case you forget high school is straight-up the worst. It incorporates social media because things are different now, everybody can know everything in zero seconds and once it’s out there it’s out there forever. I’m going to try to tell you the smallest amount while explaining my experience so if you go to see the show it’s not spoiled too much for you. The show started, set up the characters (it feels like more but there’s only eight actors total) and the first song kicked in. It was fine, it felt pretty standard, I was whelmed. I settled in for an adequate time. And then song #2 happened and I was like, “Oh no, this is going to be a ride, I can tell.” I made it all the way into Act II after the intermission before I teared up. I made almost all the way to the end before the choking crying started. It gave me great comfort to hear all the sniffling and gulping around me, we were feeling all the feels. After the show ended I stood up, exited my row and did some deep breathing in the hallway. I would highly recommend this musical. The role of Evan Hansen is exceptionally difficult to perform and it’s worth seeing the show to see the actor portray the role. It’s tough but it’s worth it. Try to see a matinee (Wednesdays and Saturdays) so when you exit you aren’t walking out into nighttime and then promptly going home and going to sleep. You need some time to digest. Here’s a video of the original cast which basically gives you the identical amount of information I just did, so not major plot points, only the basics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCqoj1Y4PiQ

After eating a pastrami sandwich moistened with my tears I walked about 40 feet to the other theater where To Kill A Mockingbird was playing (the Broadway theaters are very close to each other). That show was great. I loved the book when I read it in school and I think this production did a stellar job of capturing those emotions. The three lead kids were played by adults and I didn’t think I could get past that but they were effective at portraying children and I didn’t notice after a while. Aside from the horrendous racism, and there is plenty, there are some funny moments. It’s a wonderful example that no feeling is isolated, there’s always some grief and some humor and some anger all mixed in together. The scenery moves a bit too much but other than that, big fan. Also highly recommend.

NYC stuff.

September 16th, 2019

A few select items:

1. I walked past a deli specializing in pickles and this sign was in the window.

I will now start wishing people “May The Lord of Pickles smile upon your crocks.” You don’t even have to like pickles and it still feels good to say. Bonus: Don’t tell people what you’re referencing. Just hit ’em with the good wishes, include a sweeping arm gesture and walk away. Leave ’em blessed and confused.

2. Moomins and I finally went to the Whitney Museum in the meatpacking district of New York (more on that later) and in the process we went to Chinatown to the restaurant where my father proposed to my mother, Hop Kee. The ambience is not great, think really clean 1980s office bathroom, tile and florescent lighting for days. The food is amazing though. While Moomins was attacking a steamed fish like Jack the Ripper I looked behind her head and saw a sign that tells a thousand stories.

“If ONE MORE PERSON asks me where the G****MNED BATHROOM IS I will straight up throw a piece of crockery at them. Try me. TRY. ME.”

3. Now on of the big elements of New York activity. The Moomins and I have been meaning to go to what used to be the new Whitney Museum (we put it off so long that it’s now just the Whitney). I struggle with modern art. Some of it is good, some of it is bad and all that’s fine but then some of it is straight smoke and mirrors and I am 100% done with that. I thought I would make it into the actual exhibition space before I started fuming but I was wrong. While Moomins was sorting out the ticket situation I ambled into the gift shop and started perusing the usual niceties – big coffee table books, scarves, umbrellas, etc. In a table case there was some pleasant enough jewelry and whatnot… And then I saw it. It was a not particularly well-made two hump porcelain candle holder, one hump per candle. Since there were two of them on display I could see they were made from a mold. Next to the candle holders were some basic white candles. All of this is fine. The comment next to it was you would buy this candle holder and you would get ten candles that come with it. And when you burn the candles you become part of the artwork because each one is unique. And it was selling for $900. Yeah okay here’s the thing: That’s how all candles work. You burn them, they drip all over and there’s your unique sculpture. And I would have understood this for $50. But $900? With the two zeros and everything?

Point is I checked my umbrella into coat check in a rage. I ended up being really impressed with the museum’s collection. It’s an enormous collection of American artists, predominantly painters. What I liked was each painting was made in a cross-section of time and place, x and y axis, and you get a sense of what America was like at that time. There was a portrait done of a Communist leader when this country was close to becoming Communist and in addition to the portrait itself you can see the painting style that was emerging at that time, the colors of the clothes, the tablecloth, etc. There were some paintings done in shortly before the Great Depression of the Ford factory that were like the calm before the storm (the storm being the epic unemployment to come). tt was done in a style I was unfamiliar with called Precisionism where lines are put in specific areas that span across the painting and give it the impression of a clean stained glass window. It’s like the opposite of Impressionism. Where Impressionism is soft and ethereal, Precisionism is crisp lines everywhere. Not a loose stroke to be had. The most famous piece in that style is this:

So I have no regrets in regards to the classic collection. Then there was the moderny modern section. Many years ago I had the experience where on my college campus they got sculptural elements and put all over in random spots (in front of the library, in the courtyard near the humanities building, etc.). One day I was walking past the student apartments where I saw a massive pile of wood and fabric so I did a circle around it to see if there was a placard about the artist who made it. It was at that time I realized it was a pile of garbage. It was a moment of clarity for me. “If the art is indistinguishable from trash, it’s trash.” I’ve now expanded that to “If a cleaning lady comes into the gallery and mistakes your art for trash and throws it away, it’s trash.” I’ll give you some examples.

These were very large hollow plastic shapes. They looked like enormous chrysalises, the casings that caterpillars make to turn into butterflies. Did I fully understand? Not really. Could I clearly tell this was art? Yes I could.

And then there was this.

What is that, tape and floor tile and wood or something? Yeah, that’s not gonna make the cut.

Pass…

…Fail.

I went outside because I needed a breath of fresh air and the topper on the cake was the sculpture that greeted me. When I was in Vienna last winter I was in a museum that had a whole gallery devoted to a plaster cast of a woman tweezing her mustache with a shard of broken glass and farting frankincense. I wish I was kidding. Here’s the post, complete with pictures. I thought that that chapter of my life was done. I was wrong. I wasn’t really sure what this sculpture was and I didn’t look at it for very long. There’s a figure on a dolly being pushed or pulled or something like an ox and then the smoke kicked on.

Are those Mets socks? I imagine I made several art patrons uncomfortable when I semi-yelled, “Is it POSSIBLE for me to not see any more things with smoke coming out of the butthole??? Is THAT something I can opt for???” With context that is an extremely concerning statement so I understand the people that carefully moved away from me. I stared at the skyline which was very nice until I collected myself and then calmly took the elevator down to the ground floor to wait for The Moomins. I would encourage you to visit the Whitney Museum because the permanent collection is excellent. And the space is great. And the views are also great. And the restaurant looked pretty good. May The Lord of Pickles smile upon your crocks and may you not encounter any vaping anuses. I wish that for each and every one of you.