Friday, October 30, 2015

Oakland Art Outing

I took a little one-woman field trip to check out some art shows in Oakland.

First, above and below, I saw the brilliant Leah Rosenberg's new show "Where Once Was None" at Pro Arts Gallery (based upon materials created when she was artist in residence at Irving Street Projects, as seen here). Love love love.

Also at Pro Arts were these three pieces (above and below) by Tamra Seal. I particularly liked the wall of colorful soap dispensers.

Next I went to the Mills College Art Museum to check out the show Public Works: Artists' Interventions 1970s-Now, curated by my author and pal Christian Frock. 

Susan O'Malley

I was running a bit late so didn't have time to take a lot of pictures, but here are a few great pieces from the show. Above, Jenny Holzer.

Guerrilla Girls

Bonnie Sherk

Laurie Jo Reynolds

Karen Finley

And, outside, near an empty birdbath, I spotted one of Candy Chang's public art projects in action. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Here is the Next Installment in the Ongoing Poem Saga About the Summer of 2006

July 17, 2006
Over the weekend

at the farmers market we got
among a great many other things
(eggs! stone fruit! turnips! tomatoes! cauliflower!)
a teeny tiny bouquet of lily of the valley

small enough to fit in a small jam jar
on the shelf in the hall by the bowl
where we try to always keep our keys
With such small demure downturned white blossoms

It doesn’t smell up the whole hall
the way the lavender did
(the lavender which met with such a gristly end
by way of mold which still makes me shudder just thinking about it)

but often when I walk past
I’ve been moved to pause
and put my face down near the flowers for a sniff
and it is just divine let me tell you

Reminds me of both my mother and grandmother
for vague reasons I can’t entirely recall
having to do with a bottle of perfume
and maybe some scented soaps

image source is here

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"You Will Ignore Us At Your Peril"

I believe this piece by Mira Jacob "I Gave A Speech About Race To The Publishing Industry And No One Heard Me" may very well turn out to be the most important thing written about publishing this year. Author Mira Jacob was invited to give a speech about diversity at the Publisher's Weekly Star Watch party. What happened next I find so deeply shaming as a member of the publishing community (and as a person who would have been in attendance at this event if I worked in New York) that it's actually hard to read--and, of course, therefore all the more deeply important to read. The second part of the piece is a transcription of her speech in full and it is so very good, and so inspiring. The two parts together add up to something profoundly powerful and deeply important. Please read it.

And, if you're interested in reading more deeply about the topic of diversity in publishing, I also recommend this much longer piece "Equity in Publishing: What Should Editors Be Doing?" a round-table discussion between a number of publishing professionals put together by Antonio Aiellog for Pen America. Not only is it an excellent read, but it also contains a great bunch of links at the end connecting to other recent key writings on the subject.  

Image above by Will Varner for BuzzFeed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Home Style Quiz

If you enjoy a) thinking about home interiors from time to time, and b) quizzes (and who does not?!) then you will enjoy this thing. Above, a single-question home quiz from Apartment Therapy that determines your entire style personality. So fun! Just choose the one you like best. For me, that is clearly #D (as can be seen in the photo of our living room just below -- hobnail sofa + butterfly chair? come on, they've got us pegged!), which makes me an Eclectic Collector. Apparently this means means I "like to mix up different elements to create a stylish mish-mash that reflects your unique point of view." Well, yes. Right on the nose, quiz people. The rest of the answers are here. What are you?

Originaly seen via Cup of Joe.
If you want to see the rest of our apartment it's here

Monday, October 26, 2015

Squinty Baby

I wonder if I will ever get over my astonishment that she was once so tiny and is now so big. Likely not.

Lea Maupetit

I am positively in love with these still-lifes, landscapes, and pictures of books by Lea Maupetit. The shapes! The color! The use of the quotidian! Love love love.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Next Up in the Continuing Poem Series About the Summer of 2006 Comes This One

July 14, 2006
Last night on the way home

on the bus there was a kid
all the way in the back
with a homemade paper-plate mask
shoved up on his forehead
upon reflection I believe it was a lucha libre face
Then when I got home
there was a new blue and white striped shoe box
sitting on our front porch
the lid open and inside
a pair of run-down odd old faded reddish plastic sand shoes
like someone bought new shoes
and changed into them on our front steps
leaving the box and their old shoes behind
Maybe it was one of those boys who wait overnight
in their lawn chairs with their blankets wrapped around them
outside the trendy shoe store down the block
Anyway I wouldn’t have given it another thought
except later in the evening as I was clearing the table
I happened to glance out the window
and see on the front porch of the building across the street
a blue and white striped shoe box there too

This morning it was so foggy that it was almost raining
tiny pinpoints of an extremely fine mist
just barely tactile on my legs and face
Then down on Stockton a car so shiny and new
it didn’t yet have license plates went by
covered in big drops of water like it came out of a hard rain
Maybe it was pouring on the other side of the tunnel

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Reads

One of the best things about the fall, in my humble opinion, is that it's when all the big new books come out. You can always count on a crop of new things to read from a slew of your favorite authors. Ones I'm particularly looking forward to this year are new books by Maira Kalman, Alan Bennett, Patti Smith, David Mitchell, Sloane Crosley, and Ruth Reichl.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Gargoyle

Every year we go to the pumpkin patch with some friends of ours. Mabel takes this as an opportunity to cook up a secondary costume, in addition to the official Halloween Costume that will be deployed in a couple of weeks. This year, inspired by our Paris travels, she decided she wanted to be a gargoyle. It's hard to see in the photos (because she  refused point blank to have her picture taken other than in her official Gargoyle Pose) but we actually did find pointy gray gargoyle ears, as well as gray face paint and black feathered wings. Pretty cool.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sitting On the Sofa With Daddy

Here's another unearthed baby polaroid. Just chilling on the sofa with her dad, as one does. But back at the time when the fact that she could actually sit up was in itself actually quite remarkable.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Todd Hido

One of my absolute favorite photographers is Todd Hido. In general, I seem to have a bit of an odd tic where I often find things that other people find sad, dark, or depressing, to be quite uplifting and beautiful. I don't mean that I'm goth at all, seeing beauty in the blackness. No, rather, I actually don't find these things to be sad or dark at all. A great case in point is Lydia Davis' short story "What You Learn About the Baby" which I find transcendentally uplifting, while everyone else who reads it seems to think it is a total downer. I can't really explain what's going on here, and have to just guess I must be wired a little funny. Another perfect example of this phenomenon is Todd Hido's photography. Of course a great many people acknowledge that his night-time houses and empty winter roads are exceptionally beautiful, but writing about his work also tends to include words like "bleak," "lonely," "stark," and "spooky." Maybe they're just not getting it. Or, much more likely, I'm just not getting it. But either which way I always find these images fill me with joy. The wonder of them. The magic. How can that not make me happy?