December 2006 Archives

Season's greetings

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Things stay the same

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I'm still slowly reading the magnificent Diane Arbus biography by Patricia Bosworth (highly recommended) upon which Fur was partially based.

Something I love very much about it is the familiarity. Diane Arbus grew up and worked in New York, so it's set in my daily landscape. I mean, it's reality, so it shouldn't surprise me, but I was stunned that she and I read some of the same books.

The real kicker was a section discussing other important photographers associated with and influenced by her circle... including my photography professor from last semester, with whom I wrote poetry and chatted about nonsense.

It's easy to take for granted that the people we see everyday are the same ones making the history of art. I do wish I took my professor seriously in our half-assed plan to collaborate on a poetry book last summer.

It's exceedingly comforting that for all the changes New York has seen since Diane walked these streets, so much of her experience remains tangible and similar to mine.

I'm coming to suspect there isn't really a great secret to being an artist, so much as going out in the world and seeing what you see. Of course the courage to actually do that, honestly and unflinchingly... well that's another matter altogether.

My gift to myself

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My closet before:

Approximate amount of laundry done on Thursday night:

(It took five or six hours - not including the time folding and putting it away - and cost somewhere around $45)

My closet after:

Okay, and my second closet:

I am beginning to consider that maybe I have too much clothing.

In all this laundering, I did towels and sheets too and cleaned the bedroom. As Eric snuggled into bed he murmured, "It's like being in a hotel..."

Words cannot describe how happy this makes me.


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I was just walking out of our apartment to the grocery on the corner, and a few steps past my building, I saw a crowd of young teenagers in dark clothes and hoodies walking down the street. No big deal, I see groups like that all the time.

I moved to the left of the sidewalk and they passed by, then one turned around and punched me in the back of the head and yelled "Merry Christmas!"

I turned around and yelled "What the hell is wrong with you?! Why would you do that?!!" and it startled him, so he scampered back to his friends, who were as surprised as I was. He stammered, "That's just, that's how it is," and I continued saying "No, that's assault, you know. What the fuck? Why would you ever think that's okay?!" and he didn't say anything, so I yelled "Yeah, big tough guy, don't even have anything to say. Go fuck yourself!"

I turned, furious, and a middle-aged guy came up to me (yeah there were people all around), asked if I was okay, and apologized for them. I said it's fine, they're not his kids, and he said "Well, I mean, I have a son that age, and I know how that kind of thing looks."

I kept thinking "Man, I should have punched that kid right back," and as this nice guy was trying to explain that they're not all like that, I nodded and was mentally calculating the odds of his friends jumping on me had I punched him.

I went to the grocery, my head and the ear he clipped stinging, and concentrated all my energy on not crying or getting upset because I know that was his intention. When I got home, I called my parents and what had been teary "why-me-ism" turned into thoroughly indignant outrage.

I called my local precinct and explained what had happened, and the guy said unfortunately, that's just the neighborhood. He was almost patronizing, saying he knows the buildings on my block are nice, but it's really a bad area, what with the projects on the corner and the poor neighborhoods nearby. I said, yeah I know, I've lived here two years, and this wasn't crime - it was just some idiot kid being malicious.

The police officer told me it wasn't technically assault and since there was no physical injury, it's only considered harassment, so there isn't much they can do about it. He said he knew the group of kids, they hang out at the bodega on my corner, and sometimes they do this kind of thing. I got exasperated and said look I'm not telling you how to do your job, but if my mother came up to visit or he happened to think it was okay to deck an elderly woman, someone could get seriously injured. It's not my fault I didn't lose my balance and fall forward and knock out my teeth or get a concussion, but someone should go talk to those kids and scare them a little.

At the end, the cop basically sighed and agreed to send a car up to the corner to, I don't know, yell at them?

It's just bullshit.

It pisses me off because I am really friendly to all the kids in our neighborhood. I am polite to them, I hold doors for them at the bodega, I say "excuse me" instead of shoving them or giving them attitude when they're blocking the whole sidewalk. I'm not one of those people who walks around with my nose in the air and a prissy attitude, nor do I walk around afraid, and it's bullocks that they would lash out at me and make it that now I'll suspect every young black kid I see of being the one who punched me in the head.

I hate that the friends of this idiot will grow up to be treated like thugs, whether deservedly or not, because they are from the same area and appear the same as this kid. I hate that their lives are so misguided and they've been raised so poorly that they have nothing better to do at 6:30 on a Friday night than hang out on the corner and punch random white girls in the back of the head.

Most of all? I hate that even the police have given up on them already and figure it's only a matter of time before they actually do injure or rob or rape someone and get into the system for real.

The future of America is as bright as ever. Motherfuckers.

Since I'm driving Eric crazy with this...

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Of all the Christmas hymns, carols, and seasonal music I've heard this time of year, can you guess what's been relentlessly, irrevocably stuck in my head for days now?

Yep, Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey."


(here on YouTube)

My need to hear this song is insatiable. And yes, I really have been playing it on repeat and singing it whenever it's not playing for longer than I can remember.

I had it in my head the whole time I was in the hospital, I heard it whenever the choral music stopped at the Met, I was mentally humming it during dinner, and basically it has become the background noise by which I live my life lately.

If you are as much of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am (apparently), you might also enjoy:



and of course:


(In Your Eyes)

Man, he made some really interesting videos. The literalness sometimes is hilarious.

Pleasures of the season

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Last night Eric and I met up with his mother and brother in Manhattan to see a Christmas concert at the Metropolitan Museum. The Choral Society of Grace Church performed, and it was just astonishingly beautiful.

The concert was held in the medieval sculpture hall, in front of the choir gates and Christmas tree, which gave it a rarefied, church-like atmosphere and seriously kick-ass acoustics. They sang vespers selections from Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil and several other gorgeous pieces*. I was positively thrilled by the sheer power of the human voice, and all in all it was a fantastic experience.

Afterwards we took a cab a few blocks up Madison to the lovely Bistro du Nord for a delicious dinner. I had perhaps the best quiche Lorraine I've ever had, with a mesclun salad and decadent chocolate profiteroles for dessert.

As Eric and I were walking back to the subway, I thought about how nice it was to be in the city at Christmastime and how lucky we are to live in a place with so many delightful experiences to offer.

If I wasn't in the Christmas spirit before, I most definitely am now.

If you are a music nerd or just curious, the program was as follows:
Rachmaninoff - Vespers, from All-Night Vigil, Opus 37 (1915)
- Priidite, Poklonimsya
- Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda
- Blazen Muzh
- Vechernyaya Pesn
- Nyne Otpushchayeshi
- Tropar
Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki )b. 1933): Totus Tuus (1987)
Rachmaninoff - Hymn of the Cherubim from Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, Opus 31 (1910)
Rachmaninoff - The Six Psalms from The All-Night Vigil, Opus 37 (1915)
Ukrainian folk song Sh'edryk arranged by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych (the melody to which has been co-opted for the Western song "Carol of the Bells" and parodied by Family Guy here)
Rachmaninoff - Hymns of the Resurrection from The All-Night Vigil, Opus 37 (1915)


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While I was indisposed, the internet kept churning out things for amusement and items of desire...

- I really want an apron, and I think these are among the front runners.

- Heh. Seriously? As if we needed any further reason to feel self-important?

- Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Tracks of 2006.

- I Guess I'm Floating's Top 25 Songs of 2006.

- Cool Hunting presented some highlights from Scope Miami, among them Edgar Cobi├ín and Ryan Carr Johnson, both of whom I'd like to look into further.

- I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to check out Wooster Collective's Wooster on Spring project, especially since the photos I've seen look amazing. Also, there's a Flickr pool - sweet.

- This image cracked me up, particularly after my Art of the Book class.

Perhaps more to come soon - my hand is still crazy sore from the IV and typing is less than pleasant.

The smell of hospitals in winter

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Yeah, so umm, this weekend, this happened:

And that really sucked.

I'm fine now, courtesy of many bags of IV antibiotics and in spite of more than twelve hours next to a delirious woman screaming at the top of her lungs.

It is so very wonderful to be home.

Big sigh of relief, kind of

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I am ever so close to being done.

I just finished grading the undergraduate final exams, and all I've got left is to revise a catalog entry (which was due Wednesday night) for tomorrow, then I'm done until January.

Oh, well there's the little matter of being asked to re-write my term paper for Northern Baroque.

And being told out-right that there's absolutely no way I'll pass thesis preview in January.
But you know, otherwise fantastic.

Maybe I will feel better tomorrow, but I suspect this is the kind of feeling that green tea & mango frozen yogurt is made for.

Fret fret fret

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I know you all love these lists, but they are soothing to me. Just ask Holly.

So, here we are then. Less than six work days left to the semester, with my tasks as follows:

Art of the Book:

  • Final Project, a book object. Will be embellishing clothing items which hang together in layers on a hangar, progressively reductive methods as follows:
    • clay & enamel or acrylic necklace with title
    • quilted scarf, made with printed images of Venus and female nudes, made from scratch
    • corduroy jacket, with a mermaid embroidered (using sewing machine) in 3 colors of blue thread, possible beading
    • blue Oxford shirt, stenciled with angelfish, damsel fish etc. using navy screen printing ink
    • light blue t-shirt either dyed or drawn on with markers in abstract wave shapes
    • teal long sleeve t-shirt bleached with jellyfish and primordial shapes
    • white sports bra with abstract archetypal shapes cut into fabric
    • papered hangar with collophon
  • Re-do stab binding: sequence of yellow and red lines intersecting and overlapping on acetate pages, painted in acrylic, sewn with intertwined red and yellow embroidery thread
  • Re-do Heidi Kyle flap book inspired by the Ehon exhibit at the NYPL, using motif of the rainbow to unify spiritual and physical worlds - find way to make an accordion folded spine using aluminum, cut aluminum flaps, paint aluminum flaps & cover with enamels, adhere aluminum to self using crazy industrial glue, construct rest of book, write collophon
  • Give presentation of three books, final project & outside work on Monday afternoon

Progress: have gathered materials for projects, picked 13 art historical images for scarf, Eric helped me make a vector drawing of the mermaid

Northern Baroque Art:

  • Scan and edit 42 slides & set up final section of website
  • Mentally prepare responses to essay questions and memorize useful quotes and intelligent things to include
  • Study extensively for final exam, including finding images from the Frick which I fogged out completely because I was running on less than 3 hours of sleep and thought I might pass out and sleep on that plush, plush carpet

Progress: did the slide stuff (will no longer be blamed for the rest of the class failing), thanked God that one of the exam essay questions is on Rembrandt, whom I just wrote my research paper on (yessss!) and will have plenty to write about, located most of my class notes and slide lists

Painting / Thesis:

  • paint like the wind
  • organize disjointed and inadequate body of work into defensible, cohesive trajectory of thought demonstrative of grad student level work
  • come up with something to say about what I've been doing besides "Paint is fun, and I like pretty colors."
  • hang aforementioned (and still wet) body of work around studio without damaging it too badly
  • final critique for Thesis class Tuesday afternoon
  • final critique for Painting class Wednesday afternoon

Progress: finished two paintings last night & the night before, worked back into previously abandoned pieces and pulled something decent out of them, sketched strategies for several other pieces... will locate amphetamine supplier at earliest convenience

Art History Theory & Methodology:

  • spend Friday at the NYPL organizing a critical bibliography on Roger Fry in full, annotated and done intelligently
  • revise & complete catalog entry on painting from the school's collection, somehow include as yet incomplete research
  • give presentation of bibliography Wednesday evening

Progress: almost none... yikes. Will stop blogging and get going on catalog searches presently.

Other Obligations:

  • attend mandatory meeting at the Brooklyn Museum for next semester's Materials, Techniques & Conservation lab one hour prior to Methodology class... which was announced last week... and I can't be late getting back to campus despite driving up Washington Ave at rush hour
  • call my doctor and find out why he won't just fill my prescription in full and keeps wanting me to come in for a visit despite my repeated protests that seriously, my insurance only covers one visit per year no matter how much he wants to seep more money out of me
  • get in touch with CUNY to beg to register for a French class for next semester that I neither have time for nor am particularly looking forward to, yet need
  • bake cookies for undergraduate class's final on Thursday, sit through exam, frantically grade pile of finals
  • do laundry so that I don't have to go naked to aforementioned activities and commitments

Progress: backwards. Managed to partially rearrange furniture in apartment, lose everything I need, and make it extremely difficult to negotiate the obstacle course that has become my life.

In summary, I am so stressed that I've gone the other way and reached a Zen-like calm. I am prepared to simply put my head down and work until things are done. Or until I crack. Whatevs.

I wish we still wore hats

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When my mother and I were in Virginia for Thanksgiving, we happened upon a stand of big, elaborate hats. If you've ever been to church in the south, you know the kinds of hats I mean. They were fantastic.

My mom and I tried them on, took each others photos looking "jaunty," and a salesman came over, politely offering a mirror if we wanted to see ourselves. My mom laughed that we were just having fun, and it was only after more riotous laughter that we noticed the sign which said "Do not touch hats without assistance."

Oops. Damn Yankees with their irreverent hat-wearing.

Of course we came away with the conclusion that more people should wear hats. Fabulous, elaborate hats. I tried to pull the "I'm a NY artist, I can get away with it" card, but even still, I know it's out of character.

The thing is, people do wear hats all the time. Slumpy, dumpy, shruggy, shapeless skull caps. Frumpy toques. Boring ass, dull as hell, mess-up-your-hair types of wintry hats. These are the hats I wear when I have to go move my car and haven't showered in a day or two. These are the hats which declare "Just don't look at my hair today."

I say, the hell with those types of hats (even as I plan to knit myself some more).

When you look at all the fabulous shapes and styles of hats out there, it's disgraceful that we can't do better by our heads than some dull acrylic ribbing.

A well-made hat fits so perfectly it won't blow off, without needing to ravage one's hairstyle in the process. It adds flair, style, and a statement of confidence and personality that no amount of enormous earrings or sunglasses ever could.

I know I was right along with those who mocked Victoria Beckham for her horse's ass hat, but if everyone wore hats, she would have looked darling. Well, maybe.

Anyway, I don't see why southern church ladies should have all the fun. We buy so many hair products it's a little absurd, and all we really need is some bobby pins, a nice chignon, and a gorgeous hat.

So let's have it. Seriously wonderful hats. You know you want them.

(Damn it I still wish I bought that green one!)

I love pizza

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No big secret, but I seriously love pizza. Once upon a time, a friend suggested that if I were to make it last with a man, my love for him would at least have to equal - if not surpass - my love for pizza.

Fortunately, this is the case with Eric.

This evening I made pepperoni pizza... with cheese in a heart shape. It was super-yummy.

(The pepperoni is like 4 inches in diameter, btw, lest you think I made some kind of puny, insignificant pizza.)

Also, I have had waaaaay too much eggnog already, and I suspect that cutting it with skim milk doesn't really help. Turns out, the white rum I got in Costa Rica makes the perfect eggnog. Swoon.

Color me psyched

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I'm a big fan of the site Wooster Collective, which I've mentioned before. I love seeing so many diverse types of art, particularly the visceral and wonderful kind which resists the clinical detachment I see in a lot grad school pieces.

They're in the midst of a really exciting project, Wooster on Spring, where they've invited all these amazing artists to come and art up a whole building on Spring Street, which will be open to the public for three days: December 15, 16 & 17.

It goes without saying, I really really want to check this out.

Yet another reason to passionately love New York.

Subliminal tacos

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There are a few types of foods which, at any time, any place, I would absolutely eat. Lasagna, bologna sandwiches, macaroni and cheese...

Perhaps top of the list is Mexican food. Cheesy, saucy, spicy - muy deliciosa. At any given moment, I could totally go for a taco.

This afternoon while listening to the radio at my studio, they were talking about the recent E. coli outbreak traced to several local Taco Bells. One of the cast members, as well as many callers, admitted that hearing the news reports made them think "Mmm Taco Bell."

So I came home craving tacos.

Then on Unwrapped (which is maybe like, my favorite show ever), the whole episode was to do with really spicy foods.

Clearly, it was meant to be.

Eric and I ordered from Castro's, and I had, with no exaggeration, the best taco I've ever eaten in my entire life. Seriously. It was awesome.

Check out other stuff

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Since I have a whole mega-load of other things I have to do, I'd recommend you go elsewhere for the time being.

For reals, check these other things out:

  • From this NY Times article, I learned about, a very handy ZIP code based local site featuring many cities and neighborhoods, including mine. Very very cool.
  • I haven't read it yet, but the usually thoughtful and enjoyable John Perreault has written about theKiki Smith show at the Whitney, which I'm looking forward to.
  • I really really want to make these 3D paper snowflakes for our windows. Because I'm seven. (via)
  • And Eric sent a link to this OLED screen video watch. Is this perhaps a hint at what he'd like for Christmas??

I have many things to share and tell you about, but I have a date with the fine folks at Duane Reade, then the aforementioned pile of things to do. But soon, my pet, soon, we will be together.

Eric and I decided that this weekend would be a convenient and sensible time to completely reorganize the apartment again, which adds the playful game of "Damn it where's my _____?" every time I try to leave.

You know you envy my glamorous lifestyle.

I'm so unique

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Thank you Amanda, for another fun thing to gank.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Depending on whether I go by Vicki or Victoria, there are 6 or 4 others. I suspect some auto-googling is in order to get to the bottom of this.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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