Wednesday, March 24, 2010

spring fever

Have had traveling on the brain lately. It's hard to sit at my desk all week staring out the windows at the bright cloudless city. ESPECIALLY after I dragged my family to see the William Eggleston show at the Art Institute when they visited last weekend. Who wants to drive into the golden hazy 70s Clint Eastwood sunset wearing cowboy boots and a white tshirt? This kid.

In an effort at self-knowledge, I'm going to trace my fantasy road trip fixation to two root causes:
1) The incredibly annoying brouhaha surrounding the signing of the health care bill. (Sidenote: Robert Reich is not annoying.) WHYYYY are people so eager to complain about a complex piece of legislation whose actual nature they are willfully ignorant of?? I mean, I've been a terrible member of this democracy for the past few months and know next to nothing about what's going on, but at least I'm not an old codger at the age of 23 updating my Facebook status every hour with a new complaint about "higher taxes" that's obviously straight-up copy-and-pasted from the Heritage Foundation twitter feed.* Ah, America. How can it be that I love you in such an embarrassingly bone-deep way and yet am extremely irritated by you on a daily basis. Why can't you just be an epic Walt Whitman poem that involves me picking heritage tomatoes off the vine barefoot and backfloating lazily down the Shenandoah???
2) I've been way too materialistic lately and as a result have been very dumb about my spending. So it would be nice to get in a car with hardly any possessions and just drive away.

*does this actually exist? if so, kill me now, and then please send me the link

Monday, March 1, 2010


In order to not become crazy, I like to fill winter up with things to do. Last year I took a ballet class at an amazing Gothic-church-turned-dance-studio and a course on the history of neurology and psychiatry (how does a professor make even lobotomies boring?? it's possible). This year I just finished taking a letterpress class at the Center for Book & Paper Arts, during which I learned how to set metal & wood type, mix ink, operate one of these babies, and cut paper with a giant guillotine(!!). Luckily it was so fun that I didn't even mind waking up multiple Saturdays at 8 or ingesting mass quantities of lead. There is something so zen about working on art early in the morning: in this case, the creaky floorboards and the sharp smell of metal and mineral spirits and the clatter of turning presses mixing with the clattering el down the block. You can just zone out and drink your tea and MAKE STUFF for hours on end (that is, once you've learned enough through trial and error to stop constantly fucking up).

I'm not very good at painting or drawing or sculpture, so thank G-d that I live in the 21st century and can therefore HARNESS TECHNOLOGY to create art. And by technology, I mean pre-World War II technology, i.e. bulky darkroom equipment, toxic chemicals, and 1700-pound presses chockfull of ball-bearings and gears and bolts--the kind of stuff not featured on gizmodo or hawked by Steve Jobs. For me, at least, there's a lot to be said for the physicality of photography and printmaking, and for the ability of the average person to understand the technology behind them. And there's something very, very beautiful about using basic physics and mechanics--a box with a tiny hole cut in it, containing a silver-coated plate--to create something as completely non-utilitarian as art.

I could go on for days and days about my embarrassing mystical feelings about loud clunking things, or things that make your hands dirty, or microscopes, or petri dishes full of agar, but let us save a little something for future posts, shall we? Instead, here are some fun publicity photos I recently took of my roommate Alisa as her performance alter-ego, Plucky Rosenthal. Some of them are blurry, but you know what? Making them was FUN. And perfection is sooooo annoyingly 21st century.

Technology sidenote: my ipod earbuds are breaking for the zillionth time (gahhh Steve Jobs x2). Does anyone have suggestions for a relatively inexpensive pair of quality headphones (preferably over-the-ear)? I have to listen to this song on repeat until the end of time...