Friday, April 24, 2015

Fancy Animal Carnival

Artist Hung Yi, who hails from Taiwan, has installed "Fancy Animal Carnival"--a big grouping of 13 large sculptures featuring 19 different animals--on Civic Center Plaza. Each one is intricately painted on enamel and they have whimsical names like Money Frog and Sharing Elephants. I walk past them every day and people are delighting in them. There's just something gleefully pleasing about stumbling upon these guys unawares. We took Mabel down there the other evening and she ran around loving them while I took pictures. There's a distinct Takashi Murakami influence going on here (check out those smiling flowers painted on some of them) but I'd say it's been taken to a whole different place. Look and see--

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Ongoing Poem Series About the Summer of 2006 Continues Today on Poetry Thursday

June 12, 2006
This morning as I crossed Jones

I happened to look up the incline
and there was a cable car
sitting on California Street
right at the top of the hill
Because it was at the crest
it was perfectly silhouetted
against a soft pale yellow sky
and even with my poor vision
I could see all the little people inside
and the poles and slats and window frames
the whole thing like a tiny painting or stage set

image source is here

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Walking the Walk

Ok! Here's what's been happening in my book editor world this past week:

I walked past the dictionary (the big one that lives, always open, on a shelf in our bedroom, because, yes, we are those people) and it just so happened to be open to this page: publish / publisher / publishing / publishing house.

I got my first 2 advance copies of books coming out this coming Fall that I edited: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova, and Here Kitty Kitty  by Mallory McInnis. So fun! And of course this makes me want more, more, more! Luckily, more will soon be here. 

My colleagues Kristen, Yolanda, and I did our behind-the-scenes art book publishing talk at the Chronicle Books Metreon Store. There was a great turn out--80 people came! And I think it went well. At least, folks said they were entertained.

I met with the awesome artist Rae Dunn, and she gave me this amazing tiny ceramic leaf (or perhaps feather?) as a gift. I am a lucky girl.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Non-Gender-Normative Legos: The First 10

In my view, a good creative project is 1) one you have the time for, and 2) one that obsesses you a little bit. This project, for me, is both of those things. I get to work on it when Mabel wants to play with Legos together (which is often). And when I'm not working on it I find myself frequently thinking about it, coming up with new ideas. It all started because this winter Mabel became totally fascinated with Legos. Up till then she'd enjoyed the big Duplo blocks a lot, but once she discovered the little Lego bricks it was a whole new level of engagement--many weeks go by when this is the only toy she pulls out of the cupboard, again and again and again. Bill and I both love Legos. We loved them as kids. But once we set about buying her some for Christmas we discovered that things have changed since we were young: there are no longer just Legos--there are Legos and Lego Friends. Wanna know what that means? Boy Legos and girl Legos. Don't even get me started on how much I hate that fact, in particular, or the egregious stereotypical gendering of children's toys and products in general. Suffice to say: I hate it. A LOT. A day or two after Christmas I stuck some different heads on different bodies and took a picture and put it on Instagram with the caption "Lego, we love you, but your gender norms are bringing us down." And the more I looked at the skinny pretty girls and the macho firemen and EMT's, the more I felt it. But now and then you get lucky--instead of just stewing in helpless anger I discovered that the strong emotions I felt about this seemingly trivial (but really not trivial at all) topic were in fact an inspiration for creativity. And thus the #nongendernormativelegos project was born. Is the hashtag sweeping the nation? Nope. As of right now I'm the only single person in the world using it. But do I both enjoy the heck out of this, and does it help me feel like I'm doing just a teensy tiny something, placing my bean on the side of the scale that's about raising our kids with forward-looking gender politics in mind? Well, yes. Silly as it may seem, resoundingly yes. So, without further ado, I give you the first 10 images in what is bound to be a much longer series.

Above: Fashion Guy Goes Shopping in Paris

Tomboy College Student Skater Girl on Her Way to Class

Plus-Size DJ Girl

High-Powered Business Guy Is Also a Dedicated Yoga Enthusiast

The Chef and the Veterinarian Have Adopted a Baby Girl

Mechanic. Nuff Said. 

Charismatic Bad-Boy Little Person (His Style Icon is Tyrion Lannister)

Girls Who Don't Have Pretty Faces Relax by the Pool

The Bearded Lady Walks Her Kid to School

Young Professional Woman Shares a Tender Moment With Her Castro-Dwelling Grandfather

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grandpa's Collage Birthday Party

Here's what it looks like when my family gets together to make collage valentines and celebrate my dad's birthday. Complete reportage on this same event lives here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Market Street Prototyping Festival

Last Friday night and then again on Saturday afternoon we hit up various chunks of the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Arranged along both sides of the street on five different blocks of Market, ranging from Civic Center to the Embarcadero, lots of different very creative folks had put together rough mock-ups of a wide variety of things--mostly interactive in some way or another--that they think out to exist and be built for real and permanently installed on this busy thoroughfare for pedestrians to use and enjoy (and, indeed, apparently some number of them actually really will be). I don't know if this event was designed with little kids in mind, but Mabel and the many other children we saw there adored it. She wanted to interact with every single thing. If none of this is making very much sense--what were these things? art? design? carpentry? all of the above?--just take a gander at these whole bunch of photos and see if that makes it any clearer. It might.